Winwood, Sir Ralph, 1563?–1617, English diplomat and statesman. He served as ambassador to France (1601–3) and agent to the States-General of the Netherlands (1603–14). At The Hague he assisted the Dutch as much as possible in their revolt against Spain. On his return to England he was made (1614) secretary of state, secured the friendship of James I's favorite, the earl of Somerset, and upheld James's subsidy demands and the impositions in the Addled Parliament of 1614. Winwood helped secure the release of Sir Walter Raleigh from the Tower of London (1616) and urged him on his fatal expedition against the Spanish fleet and possessions. By his death Winwood escaped the consequences of this act.