Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Sarah Meacham

Second Advisor

Michael Dickinson

Third Advisor

Joshua Eckhardt


This thesis examines the life of Francis Lymbry, an English ship pilot captured in the Virginia colony in 1611 while spying for the Spanish crown. Decried as a traitor and a “Judas” by contemporary English men of letters, Lymbry has remained a marginal figure in Jamestown’s history for centuries. The thesis draws on unpublished archival sources as well as published collections of documents relating to the founding of Jamestown. These sources illuminate Lymbry's early life in England, his defection to the Spanish, and his captivity in Virginia. The thesis also evaluates the 1624 claim that Lymbry was hanged as a traitor in 1616 on a voyage from Virginia to England. Francis Lymbry’s story offers fresh insights into Spanish policy towards English colonial projects in North America as well as the nature of identity and national loyalty in the early modern world.


© Rebecca Rose

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Sunday, August 08, 2027