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Thomas Randolph

Randolph, Thomas, 1523–90, English diplomat. He was graduated from Oxford (1545) and served as principal of Broadgates Hall (later Pembroke College), Oxford, until forced because of his Protestant sympathies to flee to France upon the accession (1553) of Queen Mary I. He returned (1559) after the accession of Elizabeth I and served her in diplomatic missions to Scotland, where he acquired the friendship of Mary Queen of Scots. He was directed to block the marriage of Mary to Lord Darnley, and in 1566 he was dismissed from Edinburgh, charged by Mary with giving money to support the rebellion of James Stuart, 1st earl of Murray. Randolph's letters during his service in Scotland are a valuable source for the history of the period. In 1568 he headed a special trade embassy to Russia. Subsequently he was sent on missions to France. In 1580 he was in Scotland intriguing on behalf of the imprisoned James Douglas, 4th earl of Morton. His plot to abduct the young King James VI was discovered, and Randolph narrowly escaped death. In 1586, however, he successfully arranged a treaty with Scotland.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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