ROGERS, Daniel (c.1538-91), of Silver Street, St. Olave's, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1538, at Wittenberg, 1st s. of John Rogers, preacher, by Adrienne van der Weede of Antwerp. educ. Wittenberg 1555-9; Oxf. BA July 1561; MA Aug. 1561. m. 1587, Susan, da. of Nicasius Yetswiert, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Government agent in Paris 1565-75; envoy in Netherlands Mar. 1575-Mar. 1577; sec. to Merchant Adventurers at Antwerp July 1575-8; envoy in Germany and Netherlands June 1577-Jan. 1578, Oct. 1580; clerk of PC May 1587; ambassador extraordinary to Denmark Sept. 1587-Jan. 1588, July-Aug. 1588, Jan. 1590.1


The circumstances of his birth and early life made Rogers both a protestant and a European. The death of his father, the Marian protomartyr, and his own subsequent return to Wittenberg to study under Melancthon must have confirmed the teaching of his youth, and it would not have been surprising if he had entered the ministry as his father had intended him to do. This course was several times urged upon him. As late as 1570 his master Sir Henry Norris I urged Cecil to persuade Rogers to set his hand to the Lord’s harvest, and Dr. Thomas Wilson suggested that he be given a bishopric in 1576. But his concern for ‘the Lord’s harvest’ was expressed in the political rather than the ecclesiastical field.2

After returning to England upon the accession of Elizabeth and taking a degree at Oxford, he entered Norris’s household in Paris as steward and tutor to his sons. Next he became an agent for his ‘especial friend and patron’ (as Rogers once described him), Francis Walsingham, who succeeded Norris as ambassador in Paris in 1570. To Rogers’s decade in Paris belong a quantity of Latin poetry and historical works, and here he first began his literary friendship with the leading Dutch humanists, with whom he became so closely associated that when a volume of verse was published to celebrate the foundation of the university of Leyden in 1575, Rogers was the only foreigner among the contributors. In that same year he graduated to official employment as an envoy, an appointment he held in conjunction with that of secretary to the Merchant Adventurers, who naturally soon came to feel that Rogers put their interests second to those of the Crown. In the summer of 1577 he accompanied his fellow litterateur Philip Sidney on a number of journeys between Holland and Germany with the object of negotiating a tripartite defensive agreement between England, the Netherlands and the German protestant princes. That September he was active behind the scenes at the Frankfurt convention, which plastered over the cracks between the doctrines of the Lutheran and Calvinist princes.3

On a mission to Germany in the autumn of 1580 Rogers was imprisoned at Bucholtz in the bishopric of Munster as a result of pressure exerted by the King of Spain. His fate arousing concern only among his literary friends, it was not until February 1582 that the government made any attempt to secure his release. A ransom of £200 was eventually agreed, Burghley authorizing Rogers to collect it himself through a levy on the English clergy. Not surprisingly, the money was slow in coming in, thus providing Rogers with an excuse to avoid acceding to demands from the Earl of Leicester for his return to the Netherlands in 1585 and 1586. Again, in 1588, he was suggested for an embassy to the German protestant princes, but by this time, wary of Walsingham, and newly married to the daughter of Queen Elizabeth’s French secretary, his ‘rare zeal for the good and repose of the Christian republic’ was flagging, and he applied for posts at home, first for the treasurership at St. Paul’s, then for a prebend at Windsor. Finally accepting a clerkship of the Privy Council, he made three ceremonial missions to Denmark, between the last two of which he was returned to Parliament for a Cornish borough without leaving any mark upon the records. In all probability both Rogers’s clerkships and his parliamentary seat were arranged by Burghley, who admired his scholarship, and to whom Rogers had turned increasingly since his return from captivity. For his part Burghley had described Rogers in July 1586 as ‘so worthy a man and my very good friend’.4

Safe in harbour at last, with a secure job, powerful friends and a young wife about to bear his second child, Rogers died suddenly, in his early fifties, on 10 Feb. 1591. He was buried at Sunbury, Middlesex, beside his father-in-law. In his will, made on the day of his death and proved the next day, he appointed his wife executrix and his brother John and colleague William Waad overseers. An estate in Shropshire went to his son Francis and the unborn child was to have £30 p.a. if a boy and £300 at the age of 16 if a girl. She was baptized Posthuma.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


This biography is based upon J. A. Van Dorsten, Poets, Patrons and Professors: Sir Philip Sidney, Daniel Rogers and the Leiden Humanists.

  • 1. Lansd. 155, f. 128; CSP For. 1575-7, pp. 67, 78, 603, 605; 1587, p. 65; 1586-8, pp. 369-71, 471; 1588 (Jan.-June), pp. 74-5, 113; APC, xv. 111; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 681; 1581-90, pp. 425, 643.
  • 2. Foxe, Acts and Mons. vi. 591-612; CSP For. 1567-71, pp. 375-6; K. de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques des Pays Bas et de l’Angleterre, ix. 111-13.
  • 3. CSP For. 1566-8, pp. 489-90; 1569-70, pp. 30, 263; 1575-7, pp. 67, 71, 87, 102, 120, 126, 137, 149-50, 151-2, 153, 158-9, 163, 603, 605; 1577-8, pp. 22-5, 47-9, 95-7, 97-104, 124, 151-3, 153, 214, 237-9, 293-6, 347; A. G. H. Bachrach, Huygens and Britain, i. 13; Read, Walsingham, i. 299-300, 303, 311-14, 330, 347, 349-50, 365, 366; Burghley, 159-60, 188-9.
  • 4. CSP Span. 1580-6, p. 296; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 30, 157, 300, 417; Lansd. 42, f. 168; 46, f. 150; Leycester Corresp. (Cam. Soc. xxvii), 83, 326, 367, 383, 405; CSP For. 1588 (Jan.-June), 33.
  • 5. PCC 7 Sainberbe.