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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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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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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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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, ...

Article

See Hilton, John

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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 ...

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Jenison, Robert (b. 1648/9), informer, was the second of four sons of John Jenison (1622/3–1680), of High Walworth, Durham, and his first wife, Catherine Ironmonger (bap. 1615, d. in or before 1666). He is said to have been aged seventeen in 1666. Like his brothers he was educated at ...

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Lamport, William [Guillén Lombardo] (1611/1615–1659), soldier and spy, was born in Wexford, Ireland, probably on 25 February 1615, although his brother affirmed that his birth was in 1611. He was the youngest of four children of Richard Lamport (d. 1636?), merchant and scion of a noble Catholic Anglo-Irish family, and his wife, ...

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MacDonnell, Alasdair Ruadh, of Glengarry [alias Pickle the Spy] (c. 1725–1761), spy and chief of clan Macdonnell of Glengarry, was the eldest son of John MacDonnell (d. 1754), chief of Glengarry, and his wife, the daughter of Colin Mackenzie of Hilton...

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MacMoyer [Weyer], Florence (d. 1713), informer and schoolmaster, was born in co. Armagh, into a family which since at least the mid-fourteenth century had been hereditary keepers of the Book of Armagh and had as a consequence enjoyed a large landholding under the archbishop. In 1609 this amounted to eight townlands in the barony of ...

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J. M. Rigg

revised by Mihail Dafydd Evans

Macnally, Leonard (1752–1820), playwright and political informer, was born in Dublin, the only son of William Macnally, merchant of Dublin. According to biographies published in his lifetime, and probably on the basis of information provided by himself, Macnally was related to 'many of the principal Roman Catholic families in ...