Devon links to Elizabethan assassin Theodore Paleologus
The new book An Elizabethan Assassin, about the life of Theodore Paleologus, includes a few links to Devon that would pique the interest of history enthusiasts.
Written by John Hall, the story follows ‘Seducer, spy and ruthless assassin, Theodore Paleologus’, who also claimed to be heir to the ancient family of emperors of Byzantium.
Theodore turns out to be more than a rogue, yet author John includes the account of ‘memorial services are still conducted with imperial honours at Theodore’s grave in Cornwall’.
Turns out that Paleolgus’ youngest son Ferdinand was born in Plymouth. ‘Ferdinand, a pioneer colonist whose gravestone in Barbados is now a tourist attraction, founded a short-lived Caribbean dynasty profiting from slave-trading and buccaneering, while his own son died on board the ship which seized the richest prize in the history of piracy’.
Also, the Paleologus story revealed in the book are the family’s dealings with infamous figures like Sir James Bagge of Saltram – a foul-mouthed swindler who embezzled the funds meant for Charles I’s fleet, and who was said to be responsible for the death of 4,000 sailors by provisioning them with rotten meat – and the Civil War turn-coat “Skellum” Grenville, the royalist general notorious for his savage but unsuccessful assault on rebel-held Plymouth in 1645.
An Elizabethan Assassin: Theodore Paleologus: Seducer, Spy and Killer by John Hall is published by the History Press on August 5 2015, £17.99 Hardback