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Article

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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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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Bolron, Robert (fl. 1665–1682), informer and perjurer, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. Apprenticed to a jeweller in London, he left after a year to become a foot soldier at Tynemouth Castle. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–7) he served on a frigate. In 1674 ...

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Bruce, Robert (d. 1602), political agent and spy, was 'the son of a poor gentleman and a merchant's daughter' (CSP Scot., 1597–1603, 609), and a brother of the laird of Bynnie. He acted for some time as secretary to James Beaton...

Image

James Carey (1837–1883) by unknown engraver, pubd 1883 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by R. V. Comerford

Carey, James (1837–1883), Fenian and informer, was the son of Francis Carey, a bricklayer, who migrated from Celbridge, co. Kildare, to Dublin. There his wife (whose name is not known) kept a lodging-house in James Street, where James was born to them. He had at least one brother. ...

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Cecil [alias Snowden], John (1558–1626), Roman Catholic priest and spy, was born at Worcester and educated at Trinity College, Oxford; he graduated BA in 1576 and MA in 1580. He and several other scholars left Oxford in August 1583 to attend the English Catholic seminary at ...

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Chester, Charles (c. 1554–1604), informer and wit, probably born in Bristol, was one of ten children of Dominic Chester (d. 1575), merchant and MP, and his wife, Mary (d. 1572), the daughter of Roger Barlow, merchant and explorer, and his wife, ...

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Cowell, Gervase [Gerry] (1926–2000), intelligence officer, was born on 4 August 1926 at 44 Clarendon Crescent, Sale, Manchester, the second son and youngest of the three children of Frederick Arthur Cowell (1885–1969), precision engineer, and his wife, Alice Mary, née Raffo (1894–1987). He attended ...

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Dugdale, Stephen (d. 1683), informer, may have come from a minor gentry family of Staffordshire, but his parentage is unknown. He later claimed that as a young man he was converted to Roman Catholicism by a priest named Knight, and was in his care until ...

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Everard, Edmund (fl. 1673–1711), informer, is of obscure origins, but may have been of Irish descent. He was apparently employed as an agent to the French court, and was also employed for a time as an assistant secretary to the duke of Monmouth...

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Alexander Wallace Fielding (1918–1991) by unknown photographer [left, with resistance fighters in Crete] © reserved; News International Syndication; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fielding, Alexander Wallace [Xan] (1918–1991), intelligence officer and author, was born Alexander Percival Feilman Wallace on 26 November 1918 at Ootacamund, in southern India. His father, Alexander James Wallace—variously described by his son as a major in the Sikhs and as a barrister—and his Irish mother, ...

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Foley, Francis Edward [Frank] (1884–1958), intelligence officer, was born on 24 November 1884 at 7 Walrow Terrace, Highbridge, Somerset, the third of six children of Andrew Wood Foley (c.1850–1932), engineer, and his wife, Isabella Turnbull. Foley's father was of Irish descent; his mother was a Scottish Catholic. ...

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Gifford, Gilbert (1560–1590), spy, was the son of a recusant, John Gifford (d. 1613), of Chillington in Staffordshire. He went abroad while still in his teens and on 31 January 1577 entered William Allen's college for the training of missionary priests at ...

Article

C. L. Kingsford

revised by M. J. Mercer

Hensey, Florence (fl. 1748–1760), physician and spy, was born in co. Kildare, the son of Florence Hensey (d. 1757) of Ballycumeen, and his wife, Mary (d. 1748). Brought up as a Catholic, he moved to England when very young; he then apparently was educated at the ...

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Higgins, Francis [called the Sham Squire] (1746–1802), newspaper proprietor and spy, was born in Dublin, the son of Patrick Higgins, an attorney's clerk, and his wife, Mary; his parents had moved there from Downpatrick, co. Down. Higgins passed his early years in menial employments, became an attorney's clerk, by report converted to protestantism, though his name is not found in the official list of converts (and his later reconversion to Roman Catholicism is alluded to), and, through deception, married an heiress, ...

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Hillgarth, Alan Hugh (1899–1978), intelligence officer and author, was born on 7 June 1899 at 121 Harley Street, London, the second son and third of five children of Willmott Henderson Hillgarth Evans, a general surgeon with a special interest in dermatology, and his wife, ...

Article

See Hilton, John

Article

Hilton, John (fl. 1679–1688), informer, was of unknown parents. Little is known of him prior to his notoriety in the 1680s as an informer against nonconformists. The Quakers tried to discover his origins in order to expose his misdeeds. Apparently his roots were among the Roman Catholic minor gentry of ...