Despite scarce information surrounding Richard Baines’ early life, he graduated from Cambridge University in 1576 and became an Elizabethan intelligencer. Given his profession, he most likely frequented the Tower of London and reported to Sir Francis Walsingham. Starting in 1579, he spent four years of his life at the English College at Rheims in France. While at the seminary he became a deacon, and eventually a priest. After plotting to poison the seminary’s well, he was imprisoned for one year. Evidence suggests that Marlowe was also in Rheims at this time doing similar intelligence work. Baines is most well-known for his memorandum regarding Kit Marlowe. Baines scornfully described the playwright, specifically attacking Marlowe’s religious beliefs as atheistic. This caused intrigue, as his note was delivered to Crown authorities just before Marlowe’s death in 1593. There are many questions regarding whether or not Baines’ himself played a role in Kit’s demise.
Author: Alexander Demeule (Spring 2017); Editors: Lauren Gillis, Jessica Massey (Fall 2017)