English conspirator, a leader of an unsuccessful plot to assasinate Queen Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603) and install Elizabeth´s prisoner, the Roman Catholic Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots), on the English throne.
The episode is important historically because Mary was executed as an accomplice in the scheme. Babington was brought up in a wealthy Derbyshire family whose members practiced the proscribed Catholic religion in secret. His devotion to Mary Stuart began in his early youth when he served as page at the castle to which she was confined.
Settling in London in 1580, Babington became a member of the secret society founded to support Jesuit missionaries operating clandestinely in England. In 1586 he joined the priest John Ballard in a grandiose, ill-conceived conspiracy to destroy the government and make England a Catholic country.
Babington detailed their plans in correspondence with Mary, but his letters and her repliers were intercepted by the head of Elizabeth´s secret service, Sir Francis Walsingham. Babington discovered his danger and fled to Harrow.
He was captured in late August 1586, convicted along with Ballard and five others of high treason, and executed.
Mary was put to death on Feb, 8, 1587.