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Alkin, Elizabeth [nicknamed Parliament Joan] (c. 1600–1655?), nurse and spy, was the wife of Francis Alkin, who was hanged as a spy in Oxford by royalist forces during the civil war. Alkin's activities are known largely from her surviving petitions for payment and relief (many of them undated or misattributed in ...

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Richard Garnett

revised by Troy O. Bickham

André, John (1750–1780), army officer and spy, was born in London on 2 May 1750, the eldest son of Anthony André (1717–1769), a Genevese merchant settled in the city, and Marie Louise Girardot (1721?–1813). He had at least one brother and sister. He was educated at home and possibly at ...

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John André (1750–1780) by John Keyse Sherwin, 1781 (after self-portrait, 1780) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Armorer, Sir Nicholas (c. 1620–1686), royalist army officer, conspirator, and courtier, was born at Belford, Northumberland, a younger son of Thomas Armorer (d. 1642), of Belford, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Robert Clavering of Callaly in the same county. Like his brother ...

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Bacon, Anthony (1558–1601), spy, was the fourth of five sons of Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510–1579), administrator, of Gorhambury, Hertfordshire, and the first with his second wife, Anne, née Cooke (c.1528–1610) [see Bacon], daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, Essex...

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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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Bampfield, Joseph (1622–1685), army officer and spy, was probably born in Devon, one of a family long established in the west country, but his parentage and early life are obscure. There is no validity for the earl of Clarendon's later statement that he was an Irishman, although he may have been educated at ...

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Edward Bancroft (1744–1821) by Nathan Branwhite, pubd 1801 (after Samuel Medley, 1800) [Institutors of the Medical Society of London; standing, far left] © Copyright The British Museum

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Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821), chemist and spy, was born at Westfield, Massachusetts, on 9 January 1744. His tutor was Silas Deane, later a member of the American congress. After a brief apprenticeship to a physician in Connecticut, Bancroft went to sea at the age of eighteen. In 1763 he was in ...

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Bazna, Elyesa [alias Cicero] (b. 1903), spy, was born at Pristina near Belgrade, the son of Albanian parents. He later said that his father, Hafiz Yazan Bazna, was a mullah, and that both his grandfather and one of his uncles were among ...

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Thomas Billis Beach [Henri Le Caron] (1841–1894) by Sydney Prior Hall, pubd 1889 [giving evidence before the Parnell commission] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beach, Thomas Billis [alias Henri Le Caron] (1841–1894), spy, was born on 26 September 1841 at Colchester, Essex, the second son of the family of thirteen children of John Joseph Billis Beach (d. 1888/9), a Methodist cooper, and his wife, Maria Beach, ...

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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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Bizzarri [Bizari], Pietro (b. 1525, d. in or after 1586), historian and spy, was born probably in Sassoferrato Castello (Marche), Italy, the son of Antonio Bizzarri, a soldier who died in 1528. He must also have lived in Perugia, hence his common description as ...

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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' (...

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