Waad, William (DNB00)

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WAAD, Sir WILLIAM (1546–1623), clerk of the council, diplomatist, and lieutenant of the Tower, born in 1546, was the eldest son of Armagil Waad [q. v.], by his second wife, Alice, sister of William Patten [q. v.] Both his parents died in 1568, and William succeeded to the family property, his father’s sons by his first wife having predeceased him. In 1571 he was admitted a student of Gray’s Inn, and a few years later, doubtless with a view to entering the service of government, he began travelling on the continent. In July 1576 he was residing at Paris, and frequently supplied political information to Burghley, whose ‘servant’ he is described as being (cf. Lansd. MS. 23, art. 75). He claimed ‘familiar acquaintance’ with the celebrated French publicist, Jean Bodin, from whom he seems to have derived some of the news he forwarded to Burghley. In the autumn of 1576 Sir Amias Paulet [q. v.] took Wade to Blois (Cal. State Papers, For. 1575-7 passim). During the winter of 1578-9 he was in Italy, whence he forwarded to Burghley reports on its political condition. From Venice in April 1579 he sent the lord-treasurer fifty of the rarest kinds of seeds in Italy (Cal. Hatfield MSS. ii. 254). In May he was at Florence, and in February 1579-1580 he was residing at Strasburg. In the following April he was employed on some delicate mission in Paris by Sir Henry Cobham. The suggestion in the Cal. State Papers, Venetian, that he was ambassador to Spain and Portugal in 1579 is misdated. In 1580 he received instructions as ambassador to Portugal (Sloane MS. 1442, f. 114). In 1581 he seems to have returned to England, and entered the service of Sir Francis Walsingham as secretary, and in 1583 he became one of the clerks to the privy council (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1611-18, p.198). In April of that year he was sent to Vienna to discuss the differences between the Hanse Towns and English merchants abroad, and in July he accompanied Lord Willoughby on his embassy to Denmark to invest the king with the insignia of the Garter, and to negotiate an agreement on mercantile affairs (Birch, Memoirs of the Reign of Elizabeth, i. 24, 31). In January 1583-4 he was sent to Madrid to explain the expulsion from England of the Spanish ambassador, Mendoza. He arrived in March, but Philip II refused all his requests for an interview, and ordered him out of Spain, with an intimation that he was fortunate to escape free (Cotton. MS. Vesp. C. vii. f.392; Cal. State Papers, Simancas, 1580-6, pp. 516, 520-1; Birch, i. 45, 48; Froude, xi. 414, 422). He was back in England on 12 April, and with his return diplomatic relations between England and Spain ceased. In the same month Waad was sent to Mary Stuart to induce her to come to terns with Elizabeth, and his account of the interview is printed by Froude (Hist. xi. 448-51). In February 1584-5 he was appointed to accompany Nau to the court of James VI, but was stopped at the last minute (Cal. State Papers, Simancas, 1580-6, p. 533). In March Waad was despatched to Paris to demand the surrender of the conspirator Thomas Morgan (1543-1606?) [q. v.] Henry III was willing to consider the request but the catholic league and the Guises were violently opposed to it, and even instructed the Duc d’Aumale to waylay Waad and rescue Morgan on their way to the coast. Waad, however, convinced that he could not secure Morgan, contented himself with obtaining a promise that he should be detained in prison in France, but Aumale nevertheless attacked the envoy near Amiens, and inflicted on him a severe beating as an answer to his demand for the extradition of a catholic from France.

In August 1585 Waad accompanied William Davison [q. v.] to the Low Countries to negotiate an alliance with the States-General. A year later he took a prominent part in arranging the seizure of Mary Stuart’s papers which implicated her in the Babington plot. He himself went down to Chartley in August 1586, and, while Mary was decoyed away on a hunting expedition, arrested her secretaries Nau and Curle, and having ransacked her cabinent, carried back a valuable collection of papers to London (ib. 1580-6, pp. 625-6; Amyas Poulet, Letter-Books, pp. 288 sqq.; Froude, xii. 160 sqq.) For this important service he was paid thirty pounds (Acts P. C. 1586-7, p. 211). In the following February he was again sent to France to explain the execution of Mary Stuart, to demand the recall of De l’Aubespine, the French ambassador, on the ground of his dependence on the league and complicity in Stafford’s plot [see Stafford, William, 1554-1612], and to justify Elizabeth’s detention of French shipping. For some time he was denied audience, the recall of the French ambassador was refused, but more success attended his endeavour to arrange the dispute about detention of French shipping in England and English shipping in France (Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1581-91, pp. 475, 477, 483, 492, 517, 527, 533). He returned to England in June.

This was the last of Waad’s diplomatic missions. In 1588 he was returned to parliament as member for Thetford; he was also elected to the parliament of 1601 as member for Preston. He was, however, mainly occupied with his duties as clerk of the privy council, and especially in tracking treasonable practices and examining jesuits and recusants. His zeal in these pursuits gained him the reputation of being the chief persecutor of the catholics (ib. Dom. 1601-1603, p. 199; cf. Lansd, MSS. 63, 66, 145, 148, 153; Law, The Archpriest Controversy, i. 84, 85, 155, 208, 212, 215, 226; Foley, Records, vol. iv. passim). As early as September 1584 he had, when Walsingham’s secretary, gained great credit by piecing together and deciphering the fragments of the treasonable document which Father William Crichton [q. v.] had torn up on his capture; a portrait of Waad thus engaged is given in Bishop Carleton’s ‘Thankfull Remembrance,’ 1624 (the story, sometimes described as ridiculous, in undoubtedly true; see Mr. T. G. Law in English Hist. Review, viii. 698). From this time Waad was frequently engaged in bringing to light plots against the queen’s life among them being that of Dr. Roderigo Lopez [q. v.] in 1594, of which Waad drew up a narrative, extant at the record office (State Papers, Dom. Vol. ccxlviii. art. 7), and Essex’s rebellion in 1601 (see Carleton, Thankfull Remembrance; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1591-1603, passim).

Waad found abundance of like occupation under James I, by whom he was knighted on 20 May 1603. During the summer and autumn he was busily engaged in tracking out the Main and By plots [see Brooke, Henry, eighth Lord Cobham]], and Watson, William, d. 1603]. On 12 Nov. he conducted Ralegh from the Tower to stand his trial at Winchester (Gardiner, Hist. i. 123; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603-10, pp. 27, 35). After his trial, Cobham, according to Sir Anthony Weldon, wrote: ‘That villain Wade did often solicit me, and, not prevailing, got me, by a trick, to write my name on a piece of white paper, which I, thinking nothing, did, it was forged by that villain Wade, by writing something above my hand without me consent or knowledge’ (Weldon , Court and Character of James I, ed. 1811, i. 350). It is hinted that Waad behaved in a similar manner with regard to the confession of Thomas Winter [q. v.]; in the examination of the gunpowder-plot conspirators Waad, who had been appointed lieutenant of the Tower on 15 Aug. 1605, was on of the chief agents (Jardine, Gunpowder Plot, Gerard, What was the Gunpowder Plot?; and Gardiner, What Gunpowder Plot was, passim). Waad’s treachery, however, rests on most inconclusive evidence. Mural inscriptions placed by Waad in the queen’s house in the Tower commemorating these events are still extant (Gerard, pp. 264-267).

On 21 Oct. 1605 Waad was returned to parliament for West Looe, in succession to Sir George Harvey, who was also him predecessor in the lieutenancy of the Tower. In 1609 he became a member of the council of the Virginia Company, in which he was largely interested; he subscribed 75l. and paid 144l. 10s. He was also one of those who, on 25 Nov. 1612, bought the Bermudas from the Virginia Company, and on 28 Nov. 1614 resigned them to the crown. Meanwhile, in 1613, he had been dismissed from the lieutenancy of the Tower. The closeness with which he guarded Sir Thomas Overbury [q. v.] and his own integrity proved inconvenient to the Countess of Essex. He was charge with carelessness in guarding his prisoners, with allowing Arabella Stuart the use of a key, and even with embezzling her jewels. These were mere pretexts, and in May 1613. Waad was forced to give way to a more complaisant lieutenant in the person of Sir Gervase Helwys (Cal. State Papers, Dom. lxxi. 84; Amos, Great Oyer of Poisoning, p. 107; Gardiner, ii. 179). On 23 Aug. he also resigned his patent as clerk of the privy council.

Henceforth Waad lived in retirement at Belsize House, Hampstead. He died at his house, Battles Hall, near Maunden, Essex, on 21 Oct. 1623, and was buried in Maunden church. His tomb, with a long inscription to his memory, was recently restored by Mr. William de Vins Wade. Any anonymous portrait, engraved by Jenner, is reproduced in Brown’s ‘Genesis of the United States’ (ii. 900). Waad was to some extent a patron of literature. According to Lloyd, ‘to his directions we owe Rider’s “Dictionary,” to his encouragement Hooker’s “Ecclesiastical Polity,” and to his charge Gruter’s “Inscriptions”' (State Worthies). John Taylor, the water poet, dedicated ‘The Sculler’ to Waad in 1612, and again referred to him in his ‘Farewell to the Tower Bottles’ in 1623.

Waad married, first in 1586, Anne (1571-1589), daughter of Owen Waller, a citizen of London; her property in East Ham involved Waad in prolonged litigation (Acts P. C. 1586-7, p. 235). She died in childbirth in 1589 at Waad’s house in Wood Street, and was buried in St. Alban’s church, Wood Street. He married, secondly, about 1599, Anne (d. 1645), daughter of Sir Humphrey Browne. By his first wife Waad had one son, Armagil, a student at Gray's Inn; and by his second wife one son, James (1606?-1671), and five daughters (the details in Lansd. MS. 83, art. 82, about an illegal marriage in 1596, indexed as referring to Sir William Waad, refer to one Michael Wade; a similar error is made in Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1601-3, p. 189).

[Manuscript collections relating to the Wade family by Stuart C. Wade at Magdalen College, Oxford; Lansdowne MSS. passim; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1580-1623, Foreign 1575-7, Spanish 1580-6, Venetian 1581-91; Cal. Hatfield MSS. vols. ii-vi.; Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, 1580-90; Camden’s Annales; Stow’s Annals; Weldon’s Court of James I, pp. 346, 350; Winwood’s Memorials; Birch’s Mem. Of Elizabeth; Edward’s Life of Ralegh; Wright’s Elizabeth, ii. 215, 335, and Essex, ii. 208; Nicolas’s Life of Davison, p. 215; Granger’s Biogr. Hist.; Brown’s Genesis U.S.A.; Foster’s Gray’s Inn Reg.; Official Ret. Members of Parl.; Froude’s Hist.; Gardiner’s Hist.; authorities cited. The elaborate flourish Waad gave to his initial W. has been read as W. J., and is printed as such in the Acts of Privy Council, 1588-9 passim; if it were not a mistake, it would be a comparatively early instance of the use of a double Christian name in England.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.271
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
402 i 25 Waad, Sir William: for a mistake). read a mistake for 1580, in which year he received instructions in the capacity of ambassador to Portugal (Sloane MS. 1442, f. 114)
404 i 15 for misread read read
18·19 for the earliest instance, by more than fifty years, read a comparatively early instance