Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BEDLOE , WILLIAM ( 1650 - 1680 ), adventurer and Popish Plot informer .

Born at Chepstow, Mon. He progressed from thieving in England to swindling on the Continent and, on emerging from a spell in Valladolid prison , achieved the rare feat of stealing money from Titus Oates . In Oct. 1678 , on the conclusion of a six months’ stay in Newgate , he embarked on an exceptionally successful career as an informer , by claiming to be able to reveal the facts of the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey . He gave evidence against over a dozen priests , and even accused the queen , Catherine of Braganza , of plotting to murder the king . He d. at Bristol , 20 Aug. 1680 . A contemporary considered him much superior to Oates in imagination and fluency of speech, and hardly inferior to him as a liar and a perjurer .


  • Catholic Record Society , xlvii, xlviii;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • J. Pollock , The Popish Plot. A study in the history of the reign of Charles II .


John Martin Cleary, Cardiff

Published date: 1959