The Brewer’s Sting

What I have called the Brewer’s Sting in my little book on Mary Queen of Scots in Staffordshire (Youcaxton 2019) has been underestimated in mainstream histories. In 1585 the Queen was moved back to the grim fortress of Tutbury Castle in order to isolate her from plotters, with a strict regime applied by the puritan Sir Amyas Paulet, but the role of the apparently unimportant supply of beer is underestimated.

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Was Marlowe a Spy? Revised

The theory that Christopher Marlowe should be seen as a spy as well as a poet gained considerable impetus in 2005 with Park Honan’s Christopher Marlowe, Poet and Spy. Honan’s book sought to establish Marlowe’s credentials in the world of espionage. To a considerable extent he succeeded as entries to the influential Oxford Dictionary of National Biography demonstrate.

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Gilbert Gifford – Double Agent

The Chillington Estate in South Staffordshire, where the Gifford (currently spelt Giffard) family have lived since 1178, is a classic example of a gentry household – the people there were rarely the Great and the Good but staged memorable developments none the less. The best known incident in the history of the estate, the day Charles II spent in the oak tree at Boscobel on the estate escaping from defeat at the battle of Worcester in 1651, happened through the fortunes of war. But the previous. significant event involving the family followed the equally momentous visit of Elizabeth 1 in 1575.

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