Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PARRY , WILLIAM (d. 1585 ), Roman Catholic conspirator ,

was probably the son of Harry ap David , of Northop, Flints. To escape his creditors, he entered Burghley 's service as a spy on Roman Catholics , and crossed to the Continent in 1571 , 1579 , and 1582 . He himself became Roman Catholic in sympathy, and was convinced of the need for Elizabeth 's assassination. His part in a proposed conspiracy against her life was betrayed by a fellow- conspirator , following Parry 's condemnation in the House of Commons in 1584 of a bill against Jesuits . He was found guilty, and executed 2 March 1585 . Doubts exist whether he was guilty, and still more whether he had the necessary determination and ability to have executed the plot.


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • P. Hughes , Rome and the Counter-Reformation in England (London, 1942) , 222-6;
  • D. Mathew , The Celtic Peoples and Renaissance Europe. A study of the Celtic and Spanish influences on Elizabethan history (1933) , 237-8;
  • D. Williams , A History of Modern Wales (London, 1965) , 71.


Sir Glanmor Williams, M.A., Swansea

Published date: 1959