William Bedloe - Encyclopedia


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WILLIAM BEDLOE (1650-1680), English informer, was born at Chepstow on the 10th of April 1650. He appears to have been well educated; he was certainly clever, and after coming to London in 1670 he became acquainted with some Jesuits and was occasionally employed by them. Calling himself now Captain Williams, now Lord Gerard or Lord Newport or Lord Cornwallis, he travelled from one part of Europe to another; he underwent imprisonments for crime, and became an expert in all kinds of duplicity. Then in 1678, following the lead of Titus Oates, he gave an account of a supposed popish plot to the English government, and his version of the details of the murder of Sir E. B. Godfrey was rewarded with £50o. Emboldened by his success he denounced various Roman Catholics, married an Irish lady, and having become very popular lived in luxurious fashion. Afterwards his fortunes waned, and he died at Bristol on the 10th of August 1680. His dying depositions, which were taken by Sir Francis North, chief justice of the common pleas, revealed nothing of importance. Bedloe wrote a Narrative and impartial discovery of the horrid Popish Plot (1679), but all his statements are extremely untrustworthy. See J. Pollock, The Popish Plot (1903).

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