A tip off from a Welsh spymaster led to no less than one Spanish armada in opposition to England, a historian has revealed.
Hugh Owen and a community of Elizabethan Catholics used courtroom moles to provide Spain intelligence about England’s forces, and performed a hand in an tried invasion, in response to a examine by Jonathan Roche, of the College of Nottingham.
The PhD thesis, God’s spies: the Spanish Elizabethans and intelligence through the Anglo-Spanish Warfare, means that Owen influenced the sending of no less than one armada in opposition to England and handed Philip II of Spain copies of presidency paperwork.
Roche’s work cites an “overreliance on English-language sources, implying that the Spanish Elizabethans have been solely involved with, and concerned in, English politics” in earlier research.
He delves into Owen’s reviews in Spanish archives, which counsel that the espionage had an impression on Spanish navy technique through the Anglo-Spanish Warfare from 1585 to 1604.
Owen, a Brussels-based Welsh Catholic in exile, had a community which included Jesuits and a double agent mentioned to have labored for the Earl of Essex. He fled to Brussels, the place he coordinated his community, after his half within the Ridolfi Plot to assassinate Elizabeth I.
In 1597 he instructed Spain that Essex had taken many of the frontline fleet to the Azores to intercept a treasure fleet, which left England undefended. In keeping with Roche, his report led to the fast deployment of the third Spanish Armada, which failed solely due to storms off the Scilly Isles.
Roche instructed The Occasions: “The Armada of 1597 got here inside miles of touchdown in Cornwall and, if it weren’t for a storm, who is aware of what may need occurred?”
It’s believed that Owen could have additionally had a hand within the first armada in 1588, nonetheless, papers which will have pointed to his involvement have been misplaced.
Owen was accused by London of involvement within the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and was subsequently arrested within the Spanish Netherlands after the authorities in England demanded his extradition. However he was freed by his Spanish protectors. He died in exile in Rome in his eighties.
Roche instructed The Occasions: “We keep in mind Elizabethan Catholics as martyrs, executed brutally for practising their religion, or as terrorists hell-bent on re-establishing the Catholic church in England by excessive acts such because the Gunpowder Plot, however the discovery of this English Catholic spy community and the intelligence it despatched to Spain highlights a much more refined and complicated technique by which English Catholics sought to understand their dream.”
The summary of the thesis says: “This thesis investigates the political actions through the Anglo-Spanish Warfare (1585-1604) of a gaggle of English Catholic exiles, who, on account of their political alignment with the Spanish monarchy, have been known as the Spanish Elizabethans.
“It reveals how considered one of this group, Hugh Owen, a Brussels-based Welsh Catholic exile, developed a classy espionage community, which gathered intelligence from England.
“This data this community obtained was integral within the Spanish Elizabethans’ efforts to advance their political and spiritual ambitions: particularly, the re-establishment of Catholicism in England, achieved both by a Spanish navy invasion or by the accession of a Catholic candidate to the English throne upon Elizabeth’s dying.
“The restricted extent to which the Spanish Elizabethans have been studied has been a consequence of the overreliance on English-language sources, implying that the Spanish Elizabethans have been solely involved with, and concerned in, English politics.
“This thesis, although, adopts a broader analytical strategy. Drawing on materials from Spain and Italy along with English sources, it argues that the Spanish Elizabethans have been lively individuals in political debates throughout Europe and exhibits how the English intelligence supplied by the Spanish Elizabethans formed these discussions.
“The Spanish authorities in Madrid and Brussels, in addition to the Papacy in Rome, needed to be persuaded that committing navy and monetary sources to the reason for English Catholicism was one of the best use of those restricted sources.
“Intelligence, gathered from England by Owen’s espionage community, was essential on this endeavour, forming an integral a part of a multi-faceted marketing campaign which additionally included printed texts, navy proposals, and chronic lobbying.
“Furthermore, by an investigation of the intelligence reviews despatched by Hugh Owen to Spain – the avisos de Inglaterra – this thesis explores the direct impression of Spanish Elizabethan intelligence on the Anglo-Spanish Warfare, revealing beforehand unknown particulars concerning the battle which, in English-language historiography, is normally examined from an Elizabethan perspective alone.”