The Tudor Society

17 October – Sir Philip Sidney, Tudor poet, courtier and soldier

On this day in Tudor history, 17th October 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the poet, courtier and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney, died as a result of an injury inflicted by the Spanish forces at the Battle of Zutphen in the Netherlands.

Sir Philip Sidney is known for his literary works, which include "Astrophel and Stella", which was inspired by his sweetheart, Lady Penelope Devereux, "The Arcadia” and “A Defense of Poetry.

Sidney was lucky to escape the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris, but was shot in the thigh at the Battle of Zupthen and died twenty-six days later.

You can read his work "Astrophel and Stella" at and you can find out more about Philip Sidney in his The History of Parliament bio at

Also on this day in history:

  • 1560 – Baptism of Walter Marsh, spy and Protestant martyr, at St Stephen's Church, Coleman Street, London. Marsh was burned to death in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori after having his tongue and hands cut off. He had been accused of being paid by Elizabeth I to spy on Catholics and showing contempt for the Eucharist. Find out more in my Claire Chats talk on him - click here.
  • 1592 – Death of Frances Brooke, Lady Cobham, wife of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham. She was buried at Cobham. Lady Cobham is known for being featured in the famous Elizabethan family portrait, The Cobham Family (1567). She served Elizabeth I as Mistress of the Robes and Lady of the Bedchamber.
  • 1595 – Death of Sir Thomas Heneage, courtier and politician, at the Savoy. He was buried at St Paul's Cathedral, in the Lady Chapel. Heneage served Elizabeth I as a member of Parliament, gentleman of the Privy Chamber, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

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17 October – Sir Philip Sidney, Tudor poet, courtier and soldier