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Baillie [Bailly], Charles (c. 1541–1625), conspirator and informer, was probably born in the Low Countries of Scottish descent. He was a good linguist, and from about 1564 found employment in the household of Mary, queen of Scots. By 1571 he was in the service of ...

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William Bedloe (1650–1680) by Robert White, pubd 1681 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bedloe, William (1650–1680), informer and adventurer, was the second son of Isaac Bedloe (d. 1656). William Bedloe was born in Chepstow on 20 May 1650 and spent his early life both there and in Bristol. Much of his early life was deliberately clouded in obscurity. His own published account of his parentage and ancestry remains dubious. He claimed that his father had been a gentleman soldier who had served the king in the civil wars and whose own father was ...

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Berkenhead, William (bap. 1648, d. 1701), Jacobite spy, was apparently born at Northwich in Cheshire and baptized there in Witton Chapel on 3 April 1648. His parents were Randolph Berkenhead, the earl of Derby's bailiff in Northwich, and his wife, Elizabeth Harcourt, one of the ...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...