Gelston author uncovers intrigue in book about a murderer and spy

John Hall, of Gelston, author of An Elizabethan Assassin.
John Hall, of Gelston, author of An Elizabethan Assassin.
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A former journalist has made use of his investigative skills to dig up the past for his latest book.

John Hall, of Gelston, has written a biographical tale, full of intrigue, called ‘An Elizabethan Assassin’.

An Elizabethan Assassin

An Elizabethan Assassin

It tells the tale of the colourful but elusive character Theodore Paleologus, who surfaced in mysterious circumstances in Elizabethan England.

Mr Hall, 74, researched the book over eight years, revealing Paleologus as a ‘multiple murderer, mercenary, seducer and spy’.

Lincolnshire plays a large part in the story as Paleologus was master of the notorious 2nd Earl of Lincoln’s horse for 16 years. The book looks at Lincoln, who was hated by his neighbours, servants and tenants, and who was also a monstrous tyrant to his wife and family.

Paleologus was reported to Queen Elizabeth’s secretary for plotting the murder of the countess at the earl’s behest. He married and had at least four children born at Tattershall.

Mr Hall said: “My last book, ‘That Bloody Woman’, a biography of the Boer War peace campaigner Emily Hobhouse, was joint winner of the Holyer An Gof Prize for non-fiction, and my outline for Elizabethan Assassin was awarded the Elizabeth Longford grant for historical biography by the Society of Authors. This award funded original research on the Paleologus family not only in Britain but Italy, Theodore’s birthplace, and the Caribbean, where his son was one of the earliest settlers and where he founded a short-lived dynasty profiting from the slave trade and piracy.”

A chapter of the book examines those who lay claim to being descended from Paleologus, but the only person who can lay claim to being genuine and having the name is Victor Paleologus who is in jail in America for murder, although he denies it. Mr Hall corresponds with him.

Mr Hall is married to the Rev Lilian Hall whose ministry was the Loveden group of churches before she retired.

An Elizabethan Assassin is published by The History Press and is available on Kindle and from Amazon as well as book shops.