Bond of Association

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The Bond of Association was a document created in 1584 by Francis Walsingham and William Cecil 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 last case, the document 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 the English throne. Ironically, Mary herself was a signatory of the Bond.


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

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