Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Markham, Griffin
MARKHAM, Sir GRIFFIN (1564?–1644?), soldier and conspirator, born about 1564, was the eldest of the twelve sons of Thomas Markham of Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, and Kirby Bellars, Leicestershire, by Mary, the heiress of Ryce Griffin of Braybrooke and Dingley, Northamptonshire. He was a first cousin of Robert Markham of Cottam, the father of Francis and Gervase, who are separately noticed. Sir Griffin's father was high steward of Mansfield and standard-bearer to Queen Elizabeth's band of gentlemen pensioners. Some of his brothers gave great trouble to their father by becoming recusants. Robert, the second, went over to Rome in 1592.
Griffin served as a volunteer under Sir Francis Vere in the Netherlands, and he was at the siege of Groningen in 1594. He was afterwards with the Earl of Essex before Rouen, when he received the honour of knighthood. For an offence which does not appear to be specified he was confined in the Gatehouse in 1696, and there are several letters from him at this time preserved at Hatfield. He was soon released. In 1697 he went to Spain, and returned with news of the sailing of a Spanish fleet. He seems to have been turbulent and restless. When the Earl of Essex was sent to Ireland in 1599, Markham served under him in command of all the cavalry in Connaught. Sir John Harington wrote of him as a soldier well acquainted with both the theory and practice of war. On the accession of James I, Markbam became connected with the conspiracy having for its object the accession of Arabella Stuart to the throne. He was apprehended in July 1603, at the same time as Sir Walter Raleigh, Lords Grey and Cobham, Watson a priest, and some others. The proclamation for his arrest described him as ' a man with a large broad face, of a bleak complexion, a big nose, and one of his hands maimed by a shot of a bullet.' The lawyers made out two branches of the plot, called t he ' Main ' and the ' Bye,' and there was much false swearing at the trial, which took place at Winchester in November. Markham was accused of having been concerned in the 'Bye' plot. He confessed that he had yielded to the persuasions of Watson, the priest. All the prisoners were convicted of high treason, Brooke and Watson were executed. On 9 Dec. Markham was brought out to a scaffold in front of Winchester Castle, but just as he was putting his head on the block he was ordered by the sheriff to rise, and was led back into the great hall of the castle. Lords Grey and Cobham were treated exactly in the same way. It was then proclaimed by the sheriff that the king had granted them their lives. On the 15th the prisoners were remanded to the Tower. Markham was banished, and his estates confiscated. He had married Anne, daughter of Peter Roos of Laxton, but had no children. He went to the Low Countries, where, in February 1609, he fought a duel with Sir Edmund Baynham 'upon discourse about the Powder Plot,' In the autumn of that year Markham's wife opened communications with Cecil, in the hope of getting a pardon for her husband. In 1610 he was in communication with the English envoy Trumbull at Antwerp (Winwood, Memorials, iii. 142). Markham was in close correspondence with Beaulieu, the secretary to the English embassy at Paris, forwarding him information of various kinds, and in one of his letters he speaks of having visited several of the German courts. Markham was living in March 1643-4, when he wrote to the Marquis of Newcastle from Vienna, regretting that his age precluded him from fighting for Charles I (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1644, pp. 36, 45, 46, 64, and 86). Nothing further is known of him. His brother William assisted in the attempted escape of Lady Arabella Stuart from the Tower in 1611, and died in 1617. There is a pedigree belonging to the present writer, drawn for Markham by William Cam- den, the Clarenceux king of arms, on vellum, twelve feet long, with 165 shields of arms emblazoned on it. The latest date on this pedigee is 1617, and Camden died in 1623, so that the pedigree must have been drawn between those dates. The dates are referred to reigns of German emperors instead of English kings ; it was perhaps prepared to assist in gaining Markham an order of knighthood or other distinction at a German court.
[There is an account of the trial in the State Trials, and references in the Calendar of State Papers (Domestic), 1603. Many references to the proceedings of Markham occur in the Cecil Correspondence at Hatfield, including Ave letters from Brussels in 1607-8-9, praying for a pardon, in Sir Dudley Carleton's Letters, and in the Lansdowne and Harleian Collections. The letters to Beaulieu from Düsseldorf, 1610-12-23, and one to the Duke of Buckingham from Ratisbon in 1623, are among the Lansdowne MSS. Markham's Pedigree is in Proc. Soc. Antiq. 17 Not. 1859.]