Anthony BACON

Born: 1558, London

Died: 1601

Buried: St. Olave's Church, Hart Street

Father: Nicholas BACON (Sir Lord Keeper of the Great Seal)

Mother: Anne COOKE

Anthony Bacon was born into one of the wealthiest families in England in the year 1558, the same year Elizabeth became Queen. His father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, along with his Uncle, William Cecil, would together rule England under the watchful eye of their Queen for the next twenty years. Nicholas Bacon, soon after Elizabeth's rise to power became Lord Keeper of the Seal and the family immediately moved to York House on the Strand. Here Anthony spent his childhood with his younger brother Francis. His mother, Lady Anne Cooke, was the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, a man of great learning and once tuthor to King Edward VI. Anne became one of the most learned women of her day capable of speaking French, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Hebrew and Italian. Her two sons, Anthony and Francis acquired this learning through her home instruction.

At the time of Sir Nicholas' death in 1579 his household at Gorhambury contained more than seventy persons including the steward, the seal bearer, the sergeant-at-arms, the auditor, treasurer receiver, and the secretary who where all senior officers. Also included where many yeoman officers in charge of pantry, cellar, kitchen, wardrobe, chamber, hall and lodge. Under these where the lesser servants, cleaners, grooms and others. From the very beginning Anthony was surrounded by great wealth and power.

Until Apr of 1573 both boys received their education at home. In Apr they both entered Trinity College, Cambridge along with Edward Tyrrell, one of the Lord Keepers' wards. At Cambridge they lodged under the master's roof. Bishop Whitgiff was at the time the Master of Trinity College and shortly afterwards he went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anthony was to form a lasting friendship with the Bishop as some of surviving letters show.

Anthony and Francis developed a very close brotherly relationship and their early lives where very idyllic and free from the harsh realities of the word outside. Looking back years latter Anthony was certainly cognizant when he wrote:

"We were as twinned lambs, that did frisk I th' sun,
and bleat the one at th' other; what we charged
Was innocence for innocence, we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed
That any did...

The affection appears to have lasted most of their life and only broke down a year or two before Anthony died.

In the year 1580 Anthony left England to travel to France. His journey lasted 12 years. During that time they continued to correspond:

...They were trained together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection, which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities made separation of their society, their encounters, though not personal, have been royally attorneyed with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies, that they have seemed to be together though absent: shook hands, as over a vast; and embraced as it were from the ends of opposed winds. The heavens continus their loves!

Anthony was charged with sodomy in the summer of 1586, in France, after a scandal with his favourite page, Isaac Burgades, and David Boysson and Paul de la Fontayne.

Anthony left Mantaubon after the scandal, with Ned Selwyn, Thomas Lawson, and Jacques Petit. He lived for a time with Francis at Gray's Inn. Later Anthony established in Redbourn

Richard Field, the printer, obtained 18 Apr 1593 a license for the publication of VENUS AND ADONIS, with a dedication to Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton. The Earl was twenty years old and the handsomest man at Court.

"But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather..."

This dedication to Southampton has bettered better explanation' and thrown scholars for centuries off the path. The author of the poem was actually warning the young Earl to beware of the ills of Queen Elizabeth. Timing was perfecto: Southampton was heralded as the most handsome Courtier in Elizabeth's Court. The author was more than aware of the dangers, being a victum himself at 16. It happened at his father's country estate when the Queen paid a visit. He knew from personal experience the Elizabeth's fascination for younger men and her desire to indulge herself in her emotions.

In Sep 1595 Roger Manners, Fifth Earl of Rutland received leave to travel abroad to France and Italy. For his journey and for his personal guidance a manuscript of 'Profitable Instructions' was drawn up. When it was printed in 1633 the assumed writer was Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex. James Spedding argues in his 'Life and Letters of Francis Bacon', that the true author of the manuscript was none other than Francis Bacon. Spedding goes on to demonstrate a mental relationship between the manuscript and some of the acknowledged writings of Francis Bacon. For the sake of argument lets just say outright that the manuscript was indeed written by a Bacon, Anthony Bacon, older brother to Francis, who was at the time Secretary to the Earl of Essex, and responsible for receiving and sending intelligence reports over much of Europe through a network of spies that he established during his twleve years abroad. Indeed Anthony in the few short years since his arrival back in England in 1592 had managed to set up and operate one of the most sophistacated spy networks. It was at this point that the Earl began to climb the stairway to power. Their rivals couldn't match them in their ability to seek and find valuable imformation which Essex presented to Elizabeth and her council. As a result Essex was offered a seat in the Privy Council. 

Henry Cuffe (1563-1601), author and politician obtained in 1594 the post of secretary to the Earl of Essex. The Earl employed a number of educated men, who where chiefly involved in a voluminious foreign correspondence. At the time Cuffe entered his service, Edward Reynolds, Sir Henry Wotton, Anthony Bacon, with Tom Lawson, and Temple were already members of Essex's household, and the new commer was described as a 'great philosopher' who could 'suit the wise observations of ancient authors to the transactions of modern times'. He accompanied Essex to Cadiz in 1596, and wrote an account of it on his return for publication, but it was prohibited by order of the Queen and her council. Anthony Bacon to whom Cuffe confided the manuscript, succeeded, however, in distributing a few copies.

When Essex was acused, then convicted, of high treason, Anthony left the house and simply disappeared. He died at the house of Frances Walsingham (daugther of Sir Francis, widow of Phillip Sidney and wife to Earl of Essex), where he was buried in a vault, St Olave's Church, Hart Street.


For More information See:

Rictor Norton, "Anthony Bacon", The Great Queens of History"


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