Francis Throckmorton was an English Catholic who acted as a messenger between Catholics in Italy, Spain and France, Mary Queen of Scots and the Spanish ambassador in England. His activities, particularly regular meetings with the Spanish ambassador, arose the suspicion of Sir Francis Wolsingham (Elizabeth's spymaster). Following his arrest and subsequent torture, Throckmorton confessed to his role in a plot to overthrow Elizabeth and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. Although he subsequently withdrew his confession (claiming it has been obtained through torture) Throckmorton was convicted of treason and beheaded in 1584.

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