Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

George Kendall, Spy and a founder of Jamestown, Virginia

In 1598 Robert Cecil went again to France with Thomas Sackville (Dorset) to meet Henri to try and secure agreement to peace with Spain. This failed and Sackville went on to the United Provinces with a similar intent. Cecil now searched for a means to achieve peace.

Active at this time too was Sir Thomas Edmondes who was Queen Elizabeth’s agent in France dealing with Henri IV de Navarre and the Protestants. Henri wrote to Elizabeth ‘I recommend him to you with all my heart, which is more yours than mine’. This role continued until 1596 when he was appointed her ‘Secretary of the French Tongue’. He returned to Paris in 1597 and again in 1698. Then in 1600 Edmondes was appointed Elizabeth’s Agent in Flanders dealing with the Archduke. Following the success of the peace negotiations Edmondes became in 1604 Ambassador to the Archduke’s court for five years. He was then appointed Ambassador to France in 1610 for seven years by King James. In 1616 he was appointed Comptroller of the Household and in 1618 Treasurer of the Household to King Charles 1. He retired to his house at St Albyns, Essex and died in 1639. He had three daughters one of whom, Isabella married Henry, Lord De La Warr, who was the son of the Thomas West who landed at Jamestown in 1610; and more on him below.

The other family with interesting links were the Knollys. Robert Dudley’s second wife was Lettice Knollys, and her sister Anne married Thomas West, De La Warr. Sir William Knollys, their brother was employed by Queen Elizabeth to try and negotiate peace between Spain and Holland in 1592. In 1601 he became her Treasurer of the Household. He died in 1631

Against that general background I introduce a George Kendall (GK), of great interest. From the State Papers dated November 1600 I quote a letter from GK to Robert Cecil:

‘I thought good to give you some satisfaction of my estate, and reasons for taking this action in hand.

  1. I have been brought up Her Majesty’s Scholar in Westminster, and from that place by her bounty have received the birth of my better part, and for that obliged.


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