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Ian Fleming `used 16th century spy as inspiration for James Bond`

30-Oct-2008 • Literary

A 16th Century spy belonging to an aristocratic family called Bond may have been the inspiration for Ian Fleming's 007, it has emerged - reports The Telegraph.

A diary has come to light detailing the exploits of John Bond, an Elizabethan secret agent whose family motto is "Non Sufficit Orbis" - The World Is Not Enough.

The Bond family are based in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, where Fleming went to prep school.

It was here, at the Durnford School, that he first started hearing Boy's Own stories that inspired his most famous creation.

Experts believe he would have picked up the legendary tales of John Bond whose family are extremely well known in the area.

The journal, which has remained in the family but has previously been unseen in public, was written by Denis Bond, John Bond's son.

Written retrospectively, it tells how his father was a spy for the Queen who assisted Sir Francis Drake on many missions, including the 1586 raid on the Azores, which Spain had just bought from Portugal.

It is believed that he first saw the motto - belonging to King Philip II of Spain - during that mission, and adopted it for his own family to begin with as a bit of a joke.

Mr Fleming is known to have used places and people he grew up around as inspiration for characters in his James Bond novels.

Though he would not have seen the diary, he may well have heard tales of how Bond led a similar life to 007 by travelling far and wide on behalf of Queen and country, although some of his methods though might not be approved by his fictional namesake.

An entry from 1573 tells how John Bond escaped the Bartholomew's Day massacre in France by taking a woman and child hostage and threatening to kill them unless he was allowed to go free.

William Bond, the current head of the family, said he believed John Bond adopted the motto "the world is not enough" - later the title of a Bond film - as a joke at the expense of the Spanish monarch.

He said: "I was always a bit embarrassed by it because it sounds a bit over the top.

"I think that in Elizabethan times it must have been seen as a joke because if he had used the motto seriously he could have had his head chopped off.

"When Ian Fleming was at school in Dorset there is every reason to think he would have come across the family and the motto, and given it to James Bond."

Fleming first used the motto in his 1963 book On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Rodney Legg, Dorset historian and author said: "Fleming once said that "everything I write has a precedent in truth", and I think it is true of the Bond motto.

"He was at school right next to the Dorset Bonds and would surely have been aware of the motto. He might even have known of the Elizabethan spy John Bond."

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