Robert Poley (Pooley)

Robert Poley spied for the Elizabethan government, carried messages, and played a key role in the Babington Plot. 

Robert Poley worked as a messenger and spy for the British Government, under the employ of Sir Robert Cecil and Sir Francis Walsingham. He was present for the slaying of playwright Christopher Marlowe by Ingram Frizer in the Widow Bull’s tavern in Deptford. A known “double dealer”, he occasionally worked for Marlowe, especially within the Scottish Court as he traveled there three times between December 1592 and March 1593. He played a majorole in the Babington Plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I, named in a document as a conspirator. He worked undercover researching the inner workings of the Jesuits, while falling in and out of favor with the government over allegations of misspeaking against his employers and attempting to smuggle his cousin George of Bedhampton into the country. Several of his ciphers have been discovered, decoded, and connected to various cases of Elizabethan espionage. He spent a year and a half in the Tower of London for alleged treason, which he used his time there to gather information from his fellow prisoners. His birth date and death date, along with the locations, are unknown. 

Author: Jennifer Carion , (Stonehill College 2019)

Editor: Jennifer Carion, (Stonehill College 2019)

Poley (Pooley), Robert