Elizabethan Spy Week! 

14 to 22 February 2015

Tudor World will be having an Elizabethan spy week! When we think of spies, images of the dashing James Bond first come to mind. However, spying has been around a lot of longer than may be supposed. These spies worked with codes and invisible ink, breaking seals and forging signatures. Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s famous spymaster, had a network of agents operated in secret and were amongst some of the most famous in the land, including William

Shakespeare, Dr John Dee (whose number was 007!), Christopher Marlow - and a number of witches.

Walsingham was also responsible for (some say set up) the Catholic plot whose exposure led to the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Using Dr Dee’s psychic powers, he was apparently able to discover that the plotters were passing secret messages to the imprisoned Scottish queen hidden in barrels of wine.

Intelligence work also involved learning how to break the different codes used by plotters in their correspondence. Often, letters of the alphabet were shuffled in a certain sequence and, once the key was worked out, the message could be read and understood. Alternatively individual letters could be substituted with numbers, symbols or signs of the zodiac. But spies had to learn not only how to decipher code but also how to write it themselves. See if you can crack the code at the school desk?

Each young visitor will be given a Time Travelling passport to complete, which will be stamped at the end.

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