Bond of Association

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The Bond of Association was a document created in 1584 by Francis Walsingham and William Cecil, Lord Burghley after the failure of the Throckmorton Plot in 1583.


The document obliged all signatories to execute any person that:

  • attempted to usurp the throne
  • successfully usurped the throne
  • made an attempt on Elizabeth's life
  • successfully assassinated Elizabeth

In the latter case, it also made it obligatory for the signatories to hunt down the killer.

Royal approval[edit]

Elizabeth authorised the Bond to achieve statutory authority.


The Bond of Association was a key legal precedent for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587. Walsingham discovered alleged evidence that Mary, in a letter to Anthony Babington, had given her approval to a plot to assassinate Elizabeth and by Right of Succession take English throne. Ironically, Mary herself was a signatory of the Bond.


Ridley, Jasper (1987). Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue. Fromm International. pp. p. 254. 

O'Day, Rosemary (1995). The Tudor Age. England: Longman Group Limited.