Winwood, Sir Ralph

, secretary of state in the reign of James I. was son of Mr. Lewis Winwood, some time secretary to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk; and was born about 1565, at Aynho, in Northamptonshire. He was at first sent to St. John’s college, Oxford, whence he was elected a probationer-fellow of Magdalen college in 1582. He took both the degrees in arts, and that of bachelor of law; and in 1692, was proctor of the university. Afterwards he travelled on the continent, and returned a very accomplished gentleman. In 1599, he attended sir Henry Neville, ambassador to France, as his secretary; and, in‘ the absence of sir Henry, was appointed resident at Paris: whence he was recalled in 1602-3, and sent that year to the States of Holland by James I. In 1607, he was knighted; and the same year appointed ambassador jointly with sir Richard Spencer to Holland. He was sent there again in 1609, when he delivered the remonstrance of James I. against Vorstius (See Vorstius) the Arminian, to the assembly of the States, to which they seemed to pay very little attention. Upon this the king proceeded to | threaten them with his pen; and plainly told them, that if they had the hardiness to “fetch again from hell ancient heresies long since dead, &c. he should be constrained to proceed publicly against them.” It is certain that his majesty wrote a pamphlet against Conr. Vorstius, which was printed in 1611.

In 1614, Winwood was made secretary of state; in which office he continued till his death, which happened Oct. 27, 1617. He was interred in the parish church of St. Bartholomew the Less, London. Lloyd tells us, that “he was a gentleman well seen in most affairs, but most expert in. matters of trade and war.” But although others acknowledge his abilities and integrity, they add that he was nol; sufficiently polished as a courtier, as there was something harsh and supercilious in his demeanour. He left a son named Richard, afterwards of Ditton Park in Bucks, who dying without issue in 1688, his estate went to a son of Edward earl of Montague, who had married his sister. In 1725, were published at London, in 3 vols. folio, “Memorials of Affairs of State in the Reigns of queen Elizabeth and king James I. collected chiefly from the original papers of the right honourable sir Ralph Winwood, knight, some time one of the principal secretaries of state. Comprehending likewise the negotiations of sir Henry Neville, sir Charles Cornwallis, sir Dudley Carlton, sir Thomas Edmonds, Mr. Trumble, Mr. Cottington, and others, at the courts of France and Spain, and in Holland, Venice, &c. wherein the principal transactions of those times are faithfully related, and the policies and the intrigues of those courts at large discovered. The whole digested in an exact series of time. To which are added two tables, one of the letters, the other of the principal matters. By Edmund Sawyer, esq.” then one of the masters in chancery. 1


Gen. Dict. Biog. Brit. Supplement Lloyd’s State Worthies. —Ath. Ox. Vol. I. Granger.