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The Exact details of what happened back in the old days is pretty much unknown, even to this day. This is because of the lack of various sources dating back to the time, and by people that were involved. Most sources come from diaries, official government documentation, and letters written, as well as newspapers. Since all of this information is bias, to a point, it should be noted that below is what is currently believed based on these sources and historians that look into the type of things that were done, read what writings they can, look at other different sources and try to figure out what most likely happened. There are still some widely debated theories on most of this, but the Author has tried to piece together useing atlest 2 DIFFERENT agreeing sources for each bit, where possible. Please bear this in mind.


Henry VIII circa 1540, by Hans Holbien
Henry VIII circa 1540, by Hans Holbien
The Events leading up to the Gunpowder plot can be traced back sometime but we can shorten it to beginning in 1526. Unhappy with the lack of male heirs from his wife, Catherine of Aragon (Widow of Henry VIII's Brother, Arthur), King Henry VIII of England started to have at least two known mistresses and began to separate from Catherine because he had fallen in love with one of her ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn (sister of his mistress, Mary Boleyn). When it came out to the public about the King and Miss Boleyn, Catherine was 42 years old and deemed no-longer able to bare his much wanted Male Heir. After looking though the Bible and deeming his female children as 'not counting', Henry believed he was not able to have a male heir because Catherine was the wife of his brother (Levitucus 20.21: "If a man shall take his brother's wife it is an unclean thing... they shall be childless") and he used this to try and petition the Pope for an annulment (Despite Genesis 38.8 saying "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother"). When Catherine found out about this, she was upset and appealed to the Pope, who she believed would listen to her as her nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor, to stop the annulment, This appeared to have worked as the Pope refused the Annulment. In 1533, Anne Boleyn became pregnant with Henry's Child. Henry had to act on this and his Solution was to reject the power of the Pope and to have the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, grant the Annulment. Catherine was force to renounce the title of Queen and take the title 'Princess Dowager of Wales', a title which she refused to acknowledge.

Anne would only allow Henry to bed her IF they were married. By 1528, Anne had been introduced to the court and began to show interest in religious reform. Due to her public arguments with the King, fierce temper and unheld tongue, Anne was not liked around court and when the people of England learnt that Anne was given precedence over the duchesses of Norfolk and Suffolk, the latter who was the King's own sister, at Christmas time of 1529, they didn't seam to care for her either. Henry still seamed to spend more and more time with Anne and on the 1st of September, 1531, Anne was given the newly created title of Marquess of Pembroke. By October, she was even given a position of honour at meetings between Henry and the King of France. When knowledge came out that she was Pregnant, Henry was forced into action and around 25th January , 1533, Henry was secretly married to Anne, despite his marriage to Catherine not being dissolved at the time. As far as Henry cared, His marriage to Catherine never existed and so he was free to marry anyone he wanted. On the 23rd of May, The Archbishop proclaimed the Marriage of Henry to Catherine was invalid and by the 1st of June, Anne set off to Westminster Abbey to be crowed Queen. In August, things were ready for the birth of the young prince and named were short-listed to Edward or Henry. However, at around 3pm on 7th September, Princess Elizabeth was born. Anne knew this didn't bowed well for her and it was important that she bore a son. By January of 1534, she was pregnant again, but the child didn't carry and was either a Miscarriage or stillborn. In 1535, she was pregnant for the third time, but miscarried what was believed to be a boy. The Queen blamed Henry for making her upset after he had taken a fall from jousting. She knew her life was in threat as she was not able to produce a son and the fact that the King took fancy of one of her ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. Anne had already made tons of enemies at court and using the Kings attentions to Jane Seymour, they plotted to get rid of her. After years of investigations and arrests her Musician and friend, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris and the Queens own brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, the Queen was arrested on charges of Adultery, Incest and plotting to murder the King. Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and Sir Thomas Wyatt were also arrested on grounds of Adultery with the Queen. In the end, on 19th May, 1536, the Marriage to the King was declared invalid and she was beheaded on grounds of Adultery.

Pope Clement VII circa 1531, by Sebastiano Del Plombo
Pope Clement VII circa 1531, by Sebastiano Del Plombo
In 1533, when the King had gone against the will of the Pope, Parliament had forbidden all appeals to Rome and prohibited the Church from making any regulations without the king's consent. To Pope Clement VII, this was an outrage and he took steps towards the excommunication of Henry and Thomas Cranmer, and declared that the decree of annulment against Catherine was invalid, so Henry was never married to Anne. By this time, the Ecclesiastical Appointments Act of 1524 had been passed in England, which stated only the King was the Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England, and ten years later, the Treasons Act of 1534 said it was an act of treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge the King as this. The Church of England was now under Henry 's Control, and not Rome 's. This created an even bigger Rift between Roman Catholic and the Church of England.

While Henry 's new church of England was very much like the Catholics, there was a lot of ill will towards the Roman Catholics and the Pope. Henry had already extinguished all papal power in England, but then he lead the dissolution of the monasteries. When Henry died, England went though a time of theological chaos. His only son, the sickly Edward VI tried to steer the Church of England more away from the catholic side and towards Protestantism. It was the first time that the Protestant faith was being established in England and a number of reforms happened, such as the abolition of clerical celibacy, abolition of Mass and the introduction of compulsory services in English, the Anglican Church became a recognisably Protestant Body, and Edward took great interest in religius matters. This really annoyed the Catholics and when he died, his Cousin, Lady Jane Grey was named as his heir, as he wanted to excluded his half sisters. However, there was a lot of dispute, and Lady Jane was only queen for nine days before Mary the 1st, became queen. Mary was very much Catholic, and shortly after becoming Queen, she issued a proclamation that she would not force people to follow Catholicism, however, within a few months, a number of major reform churchmen had been imprisoned. Early in October of 1553, Mary 's first parliament was established and declared that Henry and Catherine 's marriage was in fact Valid, as well as abolishing all of Edward 's religious laws, which brought back clerical celibacy, creating problems for many priests that were married. Mary had always hated her fathers break from Rome and after removing all Protestantism, she wanted to reconcile with Rome. After her husband persuaded parliament to repeal the more protestant laws passed by Henry, the Church of England was once again under Rome when, In 1554, Pope Julius III finally agreed on the deal to reunite. However, in the same year, He revived the Heresy acts. Under these acts, many Protestants were executed and approximately 800 rich protestants left to country to live in exile.

Elizabeth circa 1575, Artist Unknown
Elizabeth circa 1575, Artist Unknown
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, who was one of the major forces in Edward's protestantism beliefs, had been imprisoned for his views and was forced to watch Bishops burn at the stake. Cranmer renounced his protestant theology and rejoined the Catholic faith. However, despite the law which should have absolved him as a repentant, Mary refused to allow it and on the day of his burning, he again turned to Protestantism. In total, 283 executions took place, most of which by burning. However, even Mary 's Husband's own ecclesiastical staff condemned him for taking part in them and he was advised that such a cruel enforcement could cause a revolt, but Mary did not relent. This lead to a lot of anti-catholic and anti-spanish feelings among the English people, as Mary 's husband Philip, was Spanish. When Mary died, her half sister, Elizabeth the 1st, took the throne. Elizabeth more shared her father's views and being fearful of Catholic Europe taking over the country, Elizabeth used the Anti-catholic views created by Mary, to bring the country more away from Catholicism and started a reign of repression of the Catholics to make sure that there wouldn't be a problem of foreign invasion getting the locals to help them out, which would make an invasion alot easier. When, in 1588, the Spanish Armada was defeated, the Catholics lost hope in their Spanish saviours. Near the end of Elizabeth 's reign, it became illegal to talk of the succession but it was well known that James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was to be Elizabeth 's Heir to the throne, and both Protestants and Catholics agreed with this, due to his closeness to Henry by blood. In 1598, there was a believed plot to poison Elizabeth by rubbing poison onto the pommel of her saddle. Within a few months of returning to the Country, Edward Squire was arrested and executed for this plot. In his confession, he claimed it was planned by Henry Walpole, who had been executed some years earlier. A letter in 1599 from Robert Persons to Henry Garnet claimed the whole plot was a made up ploy to discredit Spain and the Jesuits in England. By 1601, Elizabeth was relying more and more on a small group of Personal advisor 's including The Cecil family (Lord Burghley and his son, Sir Robert Cecil) & Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. When the earl of Leicester died, and Lord Burghley getting old, many wanted Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex, to take there place and dominate the court. Many who had been outcast from the political scene rallied around Essex, but Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone took his place. With a party of Nobles and gentleman, including Robert Catesby, Francis Tresham, Thomas Percy, John Grant, and brothers John & Christopher Wright, Essex tried to get him into the queens favour by crying 'Murder, Murder, God Save the Queen! ' and 'For the Queen! '. However, this did not work and Essex's group occupied Ludgate and Algate. After a short battle, Essex realised he would not win and try to burn any incrimination documents of his treasonable plans to force the Queen into giving him control in the English Court. The 'Essex Rebellion ' failed and many of the people behind it were killed or imprisoned.

James circa 1606, by John De Critz
James circa 1606, by John De Critz
When Mary, Queen of Scots (Mary 1st of Scotland) had a child, James VI, and was shortly after imprisoned for the believed murder of Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley), whom she was married to at the time, Mary was forced to abdicate from the throne of Scotland and pass it down to her thirteen month old son in 1567. When Elizabeth 1 of England passed away without child in 1601, she had named James as her heir and became the first Stuart King of England, ending the reign of the Tudor family. Since he was then both King of Scotland and England (as well as Ireland), he often used the title 'King of Great Britain '. When he had become King of Scotland, he had inherited a reformation church which was trying to remove all remnants of Catholicism, such as Bishops and Dioceses in an attempt to fully establish a Presbyterian system. However, James himself, saw Bishops as natural allies to the monarchy. When he became King of England, however, he was impressed with the church system which supported the monarch as head of the church, but there were many more Roman Catholics then there where in Scotland and there was also a set of laws which meant he had to enforce strong penalty against them. Even though he has been brought up under the influences of the Protestant church of Scotland, he had been baptised as Catholic, and he preferred to offer more religious freedom then Elizabeth had. As well as this, James had a tendency to claim more power then he had and gave away honours recklessly and it is said that on his way to be crown in London, he knighted 300 people and within four months, had knighted more people then Elizabeth had in her whole reign. This led to a lot of jealousy among the knights as well as corruption.

While James' entry to England had met with much joy by the people with tons of festivities taking place when he was crowned on 25th July 1603, His early days started to hit a rough spot. James allowed more freedom of religion but there were still left over anticatholic legislation. Roman Catholic Priest, William Watson, led a plot to kidnap King James 1 and force him to repeal all anticatholic legislation. This plot was exposed by the English Jesuits, led by Father Henry Garnet, who feared for retribution against Catholics IF the plan had failed. Both William Watson, and fellow priest, William Clark, were executed for there parts in this plot. However, Sir George Brooke was known to be part of it. Due to its discovery, it led to next plot, the 'Main Plot ' or 'Maine Plot ' was discovered. Allegedly lead by Henry Brooke (Lord Cobham) and funded by Spain, the Plot was to involve Sir George Brooke and Thomas Grey Raising a Regiment of men and marching on London in order to take over the government. Henry Brooke was to work as a Negotiator and the information which came out at trial said Henry Brooke was in the process of negotiating with the Count of Aremberg to contact Spain for £160,000. He would then travel to Brussels, then Spain to collect the money and bring it England, Vis Jersey, where Sir Walter Raleigh was governor. Raleigh and Cobham were then to divide up the money and decide how best to use it to help with the plan. It failed before it go too far due to the discovery of the Bye Plot, in which Sir George Brooke was question and believed he could get a lighter sentence by informing on his brother. This information didn't have the wanted result and led to Sir Brooke being executed along with the Bye Plot Conspirators. Cobham was Executed for his part in the Main Plot and Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London for 13 years, and then released, however, as of 1845, there is some debate that Sir Edward Coke, the Prosecutor, did a good job to get him prosecuted as there was little evidence that Raleigh was connected with the Plot.

King James wanted more union with Scotland and England to make it one single country, however both sides didn't like it. When he went to commons to request his title to be changed officially to King of Great Britain, in April of 1604, they refused on legal grounds. By October, he assumed the title but was told by Sir Francis Bacon that he could not use it in any legal proceeding instrument or assurance. In August of 1604, with the aid of Robert Cecil and Henry Howard, James was able to sign a peace treaty with Spain ending the long Anglo-Spanish War. The Treaty, called the Treaty of London, acknowledged that Spain 's hopes of restoring Roman Catholicism to England were at an end, but this did cause some problems for James as he distrusted people abroad for there repression of Catholics, but due to the two plot attempts, he started to encourage the Privy council to show even less tolerance towards them. When finding that his wife had been sent a rosary by the Pope, James exiled all Catholic priests and reimpose fines to people that did not attend CoE church services.

Robert Catesby, Artist unknown after Unknown engraver
Robert Catesby, Cira 1794. Artist unknown after Engravering by Crispijn Van de Passe
Around 1572, Robert Catesby was born in what is believed to be the town of Warwickshire. He was the third and only surviving son of Sir William Catesby and Anne Throckmorton. On his father's side, he was a descendant of Sir William Catesby, who was an influential councillor of King Richard III and was captured at the Battle of Bosworth Field and on his mother's side, he was a descended of Sir Robert Throckmorton, who was in close favour with Queen Mary. Both sides of the Family were known as Catholics and had paid the price for their beliefs. His father, Sir William, had been imprisoned for some years and, in 1581, had been tried along side William Vaux and his Brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Tresham, for the Harbouring of a Jesuit, Edmund Campion. In 1586, Robert attended and was educated at Gloucester hall, in Oxford but it is believed he left without taking his degree as it would have meant taking the Oath of Supremacy, which made the person swear allegiance to the monarch as the head of the church of England. Swearing it, would have been against his Catholic views and failed to swear it, would have been treason and Roman Catholics who refused were often executed. In 1593, Catesby married Catherine Leigh, the daughter of a wealthy Protestant, Sir Thomas Leigh. Not only did this marriage bring a dowry of £2,000 but due to her being a protestant, this helped Catesby escape some of the laws against him being catholic. This marriage seamed to be a matter of love, and not just convenience. In 1594, Catesby 's grandmother died, leaving him a property at Chastleton, in Oxfordshire and not long later, Catherine gave birth to her first son, William. However, William died very young, though not known when, and they had a second son, Robert. Robert Survived and was baptised at Chastleton's Protestant Church on the 11th November, 1595. Later in 1598, Catherine died and it is believed that Catesby then turned to a more fanatical form of Catholicism then his more peaceful one and was one of the people arrested in the believed 'Poison Pommel ' Plot.. In 1601, Catesby was part of the Essex Rebellion (See Above for more details on this) as, while Essex's interests where to help himself, Catesby hoped that if Essex succeed, it would lead to a Catholic Monarch. It failed and Catesby was wounded, Imprisoned and fined 4,000 marks.

John Wright (Nicknamed 'Jack ') was born in January of 1568, with his younger brother Christopher (nicknamed 'Kit ') believed to have been born in 1570. Little is known about their Parents, Robert Wright and Ursula Rudston apart from they were both Catholics who had served fourteen years together in Hull Prison for their beliefs. As well as having the two boys, they had 3 daughters together, including Martha (who married Thomas Percy) and Ursula. From Robert Wright's first Marriage to Anne Grimston, he had another son, William, and two daughters, Martha and Anne. The Brothers were baptised and went to St Peter's School in York, a school which while seamed to be Conformist, had a catholic headmaster and many notable Catholics were educated there. Though going there, it seams John started to wane in his faith and became an excellent swordsman, Often claimed to be one of the finest of the time and was very keen on fighting until he reconciled with the catholic faith. At some point John married his wife Dorothy and seamed to have endured some amount of trouble due to their faith as more then once, there name appears on lists of known Catholics. Christopher, married Margaret Wade, the Sister of Marmaduke Ward who was the husband of Ursula Wright, Kit and John's brother. It is believed, that Marmaduke Ward was also the Brother of Thomas Ward, who was the Servant to William Parker (Lord Monteagle). Kit was described as a fairly quite man of few words and able to keep a secret well and like his brother, he wasn't a strong catholic until a bit later in life, where he became very strong in his beliefs and he was also described as a close and loyal friend of Robert Catesby. Like Catesby, the brothers were arrested for being part of a believed plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, though they were later freed with only Edward Squire being executed. In 1601, they joined Catesby as part of an entourage for Robert Deverux and took part in the Essex Rebellion. John Spent a short time in solitary confinement in White Lyon Prison but got off pretty lightly. It is unknown what happened to Kit, apart from also getting away lightly.

Robert Wintour was born around 1565 and was the eldest son, and Thomas was Born around 1571 and was the Second son of George Wintour, of Huddington Court, and his first wife, Jane Ingliby, Daughter of Sir William Ingilby of Ripley Castle. George Wintour was the Son of Robert Wintour and Catherine Throckmorton, Daughter of Sir George Throckmorton. The Wintours sometimes used to claim kinship with Robert Catesby, Francis Tresham and the Wright Brothers. It is worth noting that there name , Wintour, came from the Welsh 'Gwyn Tour ', Meaning 'White Tower ' and would be spelt either Wintour or Wyntour, but not Winter (as it commonly believed). When George Wintour died in 1594, Robert Wintour inherited the bulk of the estate, as he was the eldest son. This estate included the manor of Huddington Court, in Worcestershire, Hops yards and 25 salt-evaporating pans. The Pans were often said to be the best in England and provided most of the rich income of the Wintour Family. Thomas was described by Father John Gerard was being a man of mean stature but strong, comely and very valiant. He was also discreet and devout as well as being a reasonable scholar, well educated and able to speak Latin, Italian, Spanish and French. While being trained as a lawyer, Thomas decided to fight in Flanders against the spanish and gained a great reputation as the most outstanding and widely talked about condottien (mercenary soldier leader) in the field of war. However, in 1600, he decided that the war was unjust and impossible for him to remain part of. He then travelled to Rome for the Jubilee and signed the English College of Rome pilgrims book, where he stayed for 13 days from 24th February 1601. Meanwhile, Robert married Gertrude Talbot, Daughter of Sir John Talbot, heir to the earldom of Shrewsbury, and one of the wealthiest landowners in the region, as well as being a firm catholic, who had spent 20 years in prison for recusancy. After allying himself with one of the richest catholic families in the area, Robert turned Huddington Court into a Refuge for priests.

Thomas Percy believed circa 1606, Artist Unknown
Thomas Percy believed circa 1606, Artist Unknown
Believed to have been born around 1563, Thomas Percy is generally accepted to be the Great-grandson of the 4th Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy. and was accepted as kinsman to Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland. In 1579, He attended Peterson College at Cambridge and was matriculated the following year. He had a reputation as an enthusiastic, but reckless swordsman and with John Wright, he traveled the country in order to fight other skilled swordsman to hone their skills, however, as a matter of pride, they never wore the protective equipment normally used for demonstrated fights. In 1591, he married Martha Wright, Sister to Christopher and John Wright. It was after this marriage, that Percy became active in trying to improve the catholic cause in England. In 1595, he was given a position of trust by the 9th Earl of Northumberland and made him an agent of his estates, and the following year, he was made the constable of Alnwick castle, one of the Earl's strongholds on the scottish border. Percy was far from a scrupulous man and was able to extract the rents, even from the often uncooperative tenants, however 34 Charges of dishonesty, including unlawful imprisonment, forgery and questionable evictions were proved against him by the tenants. In 1596, he was imprisoned for killing a Scot in a border skirmish and a short time later, involved with the Earl of Essex in an attempt to capture Sir Robert Ker, the Scottish warden of Western Mash. However, this did not unimpressed the Earl, and in 1600, he personally joined him and was rewarded with the sum of 200 pounds. Despite later protestations to the contrary, the Earl was a reputed Catholic Sympathiser, his father being beheaded for his part in the rising of 1572, on behalf of Mary, Queen of Scots. The Earl was wealthy and powerful, but both wealth and power had been damaged during the Elizabethan Period and he wanted to repair this damage. He also kept a track of the rise in power of Robert Cecil and, during the last years of Elizabeth, Thomas Percy approached the Earl with the idea of making James VI of Scotland, her successor. Northumberland liked the idea and promised James the Support of the Catholic 's in order to smooth the accession in exchange for more toleration towards the Catholics, as well as improving his own station. The Earl sent Percy to see James in Scotland at lest three times by 1602 with secret written and verbal messages telling James how the catholics would readily accept him as their King if he would accept them as his loyal Subjects and release them for years of persecution. Many of them had great expectations from James as they had fought for the cause of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, and there were rumours that James own Wife was a Catholic. Percy brought back good news from James, saying that James had given his word to not only free them, but actively favour them and admit them every honour and office on an equal par with the Protestants. However, after seemingly forgetting this promises upon becoming King, Thomas Percy was humiliated and became very disappointed and angery at being deceived by James. Many Catholics came to believe that Percy was lying to them all along and this did not help his reputation. He sent a supplication form to James, on behalf of the Catholics in hope of reminding him of the promises, but James ignored it and even publicly denied making any promises of tolerance to anyone, and that he would not ever consider it.

Guy Fawkes was believed to have been born 13th April, 1570 in Stonegate, Yorkshire, to Edward Fawkes and Eidth Blake. He was the only son, but second born child. Anne Fawkes, the first, was born 3rd October 1568 but had only lived seven weeks before dying. In 1572, Edith gave birth to Another Anne and in 1575, Elizabeth. Edward Fawkes was a notary of York and advocate of the consistory court of the archbishop of York. Guy became a pupil at the Free School of St. Peters, which was suspected Catholic school. There is is believed to have met fellow school attendees, John and Christopher Wright, Thomas Morton (later to become the Bishop of Durham), Sir Thomas Cheke and Oswald Tesimond. During his time, he was under the tutelage of John Pulleyn, the headmaster and a suspected Catholic from a noted family of recusants. In 1578, Edward Fawkes died and Edith spent nine years as a sedate and respectable widow before moving to Scotton between 1587 and 1589. When there, she met and married Dionysius Bainbridge, and they seamed to made use of Guy 's inheritance while it was still under there powers to do so. When leaving school, Guy got a job as Footman to Anthony Browne, the 1st Lord Montague, a member of a leading recusant family. Browne took a dislike to Fawkes and dismissed him not long later, where he was then employed by Anthony-Maria Browne, the Lord's grandson and 2nd Lord Montagu. It is believed that this is where he first met Robert Catesby, whose sister had married into Browne's Family. When Fawkes became of Age in 1591, he disposed of parts of his inheritance and sold the estate in Clifton and travel to right in the Eighty Years War, for the Catholic Spanish against the Dutch Republic. Around 1595, Fawkes went to Flanders with one of his cousins to fight for the spanish army, under the command of archduke Albert of Austria. It was here that he took the Italian version of his first name and became Guido Fawkes. His strong leadership and skill as a fighter made him notable among the other soldiers and it is here he was believed to have become noticed by Sir William Stanley, the head of the english regiment in Flanders, Hugh Owen and Father William Baldwin. Sir William Stanley, had been held in high regard by Queen Elizabeth I, but after his surrender of Deventer to the spanish in 1587, he and most of his troops switched sides and started to serve Spain. Fawkes became a Junior Officer (Alferez), and after fighting well in the siege of calaris, in 1596, he was recommended for a captaincy by 1603.

Born around 1565, Robert Keyes was the son of Edward Keyes, the Rector of Stavely, and his wife. While Edward himself was Protestant, his wife 's family were renowned as recusants. and was related to the Catholic Babthorpes of Osgodby, and the Mallory and Ingiby families, making him a relative of John and Christopher Wright, as well as Robert and Thomas Wintour and Keyes ' First cousin, Elizabeth Tyrrwhitt, was married to Sir Ambrose Rookwood. He was raised Protestant but by the early 1600s, he was a jesuit convert. He also married Christiana, the widow of Thomas Groome. He was in the employment of Lord Mordaunt and his Wife was governess to the Lord 's children. He also had a servant of his own, William Johnson.

Thomas Bates was born in Lapworth, in an unknown year, and was a long standing retainer of the Catesby Family, living in a small cottage at Ashby St Ledgers, with his wife, Martha and his children. He was devoted to his master and appears to have been engaged in cattle-dealing on behalf of Catesby, more then doing any menial work, having his own servant and describing himself as a yeoman.

John Grant was believed to have been born 1570. He lived in Norbrook in warwickshire and was the Lord of Norbrook Manor. This was part of the Catholic Midlands Belt, which included Lapworth, where Catesby was born and raised, Coughton Court, Huddington Court, home of Robert and Thomas Wintour and Clopton. Grant was the Son of Thomas Grant and Alice Rudding. Both the Grants and the Rudings were old established families in England. The Main seat of power for the Grant family had once been Snitterfield, but by 1545, they came into the possession of Norbrook, a nearby estate and moved there. At some point he married Dorothy Wintour, the Sister or Half Sister of Thomas and Robert Wintour and had a son, Wintour Grant. Norbrook became a refuge for priests in England and was often visited by the Pursuivants, whose job it was to root out hidden Priest. However, not only did they not find anything, but Grant was so forceful in his resistance to the pursuivants, that in the end, they stopped visiting. Father John Gerard described him as being fond of paying the pursuivants not with crowns of gold, but with cracked crowns, and dry bones instead of drink and other good cheer. In 1601, he took part in the Essex Rebellion.

Sir Ambrose Rookwood, Circa 1804. Artist Unknown
Sir Ambrose Rookwood, Circa 1804. Artist Unknown
Sir Ambrose Rookwood was born around 1578 and was the second of four sons of Robert Rookwood of Staningfield by this second wife, Dorothea. Having held the manor of Stanningfield since Edward I, they were a old an influential family in the area of Suffolk and many members of the family had represented Suffolk in parliament. The Family was also staunchly catholic and a large amount, including Robert and Dorothea, had been fined and imprisoned for Recusancy. Ambroses's cousin, Edward, had spent 10 years in prison and the authorities viewed the family as troublemakers. However, in 1578, Edward had entertained Queen Elizabeth I, at his home, Euston Hall. This had created a major dent in the families finances and decreased there influence for many years to come. Along with two of his brothers and sister Dorothea, they were helped by Father John Gerard, to be smuggled to Flanders for their education where, Ambrose and his two brothers were educated by jesuits at Saint-Omer and were among it's first pupils. Dorothea, was taken to St. Ursula's at Louvain. Both of his brothers later became priests, his elder brother, Henry, became a franciscan and his half-sisters, Dorothea and Susanna became Nuns. However, this did not happen to Ambrose. He married Elizabeth Tyrwhitts, from a prominent family of catholics and cousin to Robert Keyes, as well as being related to the Wrights and Wintours, and had atlest two sons, Robert and Henry. Upon his fathers Death in 1600, Ambrose inherited Coldham Hall as his elder brother had died in Spain soon after leaving school and the manor then became a refuge for Priests, and the following year, he took part in the Essex rebellion.

Sir Everard Digby was born 16th of May 1576, or 1578 and was the son of Everard Digby of Stoke Drg, and Maria Neale, Daughter of Francis Neale. While the family had known ancient roots, Digby's Son, Kenelm, later commissioned a genealogy list which allegedly traced his family back to Aelmar, 'Anglicus-Saxonus '. When he was either 14 or 16, Digby's father died and his wardship was purchased by Roger Manners, Esq. While Digby's parents were believed to have had catholic tendencies, the family had never experienced persecution first hand, which lead to Sir Everard seemingly having a untroubled protestant early life. In 1596, he married Mary Mulsho, the only daughter and heiress of the devout protestant William Mulsho of Gothurst. This appears to have been a happy marriage as Digby described his wife as the Best wife that ever man enjoyed, and they had two sons, Kenelm and John. Being both Wealthy and wellconnected, Digby presented himself to court and was received into the office of gentleman Pensioner. Everard was very popular in court and seen as a excellent horseman, swordsman and musician. He did not have much interest in Politics, preferring the sports field. Around 1599, Digby's Neighbour, Mr Roger Lee, introduced him to the Jesuit Priest, John Gerard, but simply said he was a friend. During talks, they would raise catholic issues in passing, with Lee taking the # bolder stand to lead suspicion away from Father Gerard. Digby was clearly taken in by the act as he once inquired as to Gerard's suitability as a match for his sister, as he wanted to see her married to a catholic, because they were good and honourable people. When Mary's parents died, she became mistress of the House, and when her husband was on one of his trips to London, she expressed a wish to convert to the catholic faith. Gerard then reviled himself as a priest but she did not believe him, until she saw him in clerical dress. Soon later, Digby became ill while in London, and was attended by Gerard, who received him into the church. He was less surprised then his wife at finding out Gerard was a priest, and was glad to have a priest that understood men like him. So secret was both Mary and Digby in there faith that Digby asked Gerard's help in bring his wife into the church. Gerard was amused at this and watched them try to convert each other before finding out about the other. Digby was one of the ones who welcomed the new King James at Belvoir Castle and was knighted in 1603. However, as with others, he soon grew bitter when the promises James made vanished.

Francis Tresham, Artist and time unknown
Francis Tresham, Artist and time unknown
Francis Tresham was born around 1567 and was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Tresham and Merial Throckmorton. He was believed to have been educated in Oxford, at either St John 's College or Gloucester hall (or maybe both), though he and his fathers Catholic religion would have stopped his graduation. In 1586, Francis was a frequent visitor to the French Ambassadors house, along with Lady Elizabeth Strang, Lady Compton and other notable catholics. Tresham's father had been born near the end of Henry VIII's reign and was regarded by the catholic community as one of there leaders, being received into the Catholic church in 1580, in the same year, he later allowed the Jesuit Edmund Campion to stay at his house in Hoxton. When Campion was captured in 1581, this lead to Thomas being tried in the star chamber, where he refused to fully comply with the interrogators and began years of fines and prison time. By 1591, Tresham had grown bitter of the treatment handed out to his father and was desperate to scheme against the government. In June of 1591, He was arrested and committed to fleet prison for abusing the authority of a warrant. He had apparently altered a privy council warrant from a Clothier called Barnewell, to a tenant of the Tresham's who owed a great deal of money. With a group of henchmen, he ransacked the tenants house and violently assaulted his pregnant daughter, and was arrested. He wasn't released until december of 1591. In 1593, he married Anne Tufton, the Daughter of Sir John Tufton of Hothfield, Kent and had three children, Twins Lucy and Thomas (1598) and Elizabeth. Thomas died in infancy, Lucy later became a Nun in Brussels and Elizabeth married Sir George Heneage. Sir Thomas proclaimed the accession of James I to the English throne but when the King's promises of a forestry commission and the end to the recusancy fines where not kept, his money was seriously depleted and when he died in 1605, he left behind a debt of £11,500. While Francis was meant to be a man of sound judgement and able to look after himself, he was noted as also being hotheaded in nature and not much to be trusted and Father John Gerard indicates that he was arrested in 1596, alone with Robert Catesby, John and Christopher Wright for taking part in the poisoned pommel conspiracy. In 1601, he joined in the Essex Rebellion but was captured and imprisoned. While there, he made appeals to Katherine Howard (nee Knyvet), but these were rebuked. His sister, Lady Mounteagle, alerted John Throckmorton, his cousin, for help. He then appealed to 'the three most honorable parsons and one especiall instrument' for help and Tresham was promised freedom on the condition that, over the next three months, his father paid £2,100 to William Ayloffe and he was released on the 21st of June, 1601.

In 1602, Thomas Wintour travelled to Spain, under the guise of 'Timothhy Browne'. Father Henry Garnet had given him letters of introduction to the English Jesuits in Spain and he was to act as the contact between them and the council. After the execution of Essex, things weren't going well. Robert Catesby, Lord Monteagle & Francis Tresham were all involved in the failed rebellion and were behind to trip. Wintour was to supply Military intelligence to the Spanish in exchange for pensions payable to the major catholics and military aid in future action. While Wintour claimed that this promise was made by King Philip III, by 1603, the Money was not being sent and Philip was trying to make peace with England, following the Death of Queen Elizabeth. In 1603, Wintour sent Christopher Wright on a similar mission to Spain but was sent with a letter of recommendation from Father Garnet to Father Joseph Creswell, a high ranking Jesuit in Spain. Meanwhile, Stanley, Owen and Baldwin gave Guy Fawkes a task to head to Spain to enlighten King Philip concerning the position of the catholics in England. While in Spain, he met up with Christopher Wright and together they set about obtaining spanish support for an invasion of England. In his Memorandum, Fawkes described King James as a heretic who intended to have all the papist sec driven out of England. He then denounced Scotland and the King's Favorites among the Scottish nobles and decided it was impossible to reconcile England and Scotland for very long. While King Philip III received them Politely, he was unwilling to offer any support after Philip II's military campaigns had bankrupted his country. In October, Catesby met up with Thomas Percy, where Percy threated to kill James for his Treachery, but Catesby said he had a better way.

The Houses of Parliament, as seen in the Time of James I, Artist and time unknown
The Houses of Parliament, as seen in the Time of James I, Artist and time unknown
In 1604, After King James I denied ever making and promises to the Catholics, James made matters worse then under Elizabeth and claimed his utter detestation of Papist, saying that the Bishops must see to the severe and exact punishment of every catholic, going as far as trying to banish all priest from the country. Catesby & Wintour decided that no help was coming from Spain and if they wanted a Catholic England, they would have to take matters into their own hands. Catesby met with Wintour in London, along with John Wright and laid down plans for a plot to blow up the King and parliament using gunpowder, the Gunpowder Plot. Catesby was adamant that things were so bad, that a sharp remedy was needed and that the plot would be morally justifiable as an act of self-defence, but it was to be the last resort. Wintour was sent to Flanders on behalf of Catesby and some of the other Catholics to meet the Constable and tell him of the condition of the English Catholics and request either an inclusion in the peace treaty or to make an arrangement with James, that would allow the Catholics to pay him off and lesson there oppression, believing that the Catholics did not have long before they would be completely destroyed in England. When this failed, Wintour turned to his back up plan, recruitment. After being aware of the mission of the Soldier, Guy Fawkes, in 1603 and having knowlegde of him via Kit Wright, he sought him out. First he turned to Sir William Stanley and Hugh Owen, who found and introduced Wintour to Fawkes in Ostend. He told Fawkes that some good friends of his wished his company in England and dropped some further hints of action since Spain would not help. Fawkes decided to go with him and they travelled to London, where, on the 20th May 1604, they met up with Catesby, Thomas Percy and John Wright, in the Duck and Drake Inn. Percy had already been informed of Catesby's plot a few weeks before Fawkes returned to England and alone, in a private room, all swore an oath of secrecy on a prayer book before heading to another room to celebrate a Mass with Father John Gerard.

In October, Robert Keyes was introduced into the group and charged with looking after Catesby's house in Lambeth, where the gunpowder and other supplies were to be stored. To disguise his identity, Fawkes took the name of John Johnson, who was a Servant to Percy and was entrusted with the care of some property Percy had rented. He was then given the task to prepared for work on a Mine which was to be dug until the Houses of parliament, but these plans were delayed until December, due to the commissioners of the union between England and Scotland were meeting in the very house Percy had rented an appartement in. Also in December, there was a minor accident where noticing some unusual activity of his master, Thomas Bates, servant to Catesby, learnt of the plot and Catesby and Wintour decided to bring him into the plot. It was only a few months until work on the Mine proved to be too difficult for the men, not used to physical labour and slow, when there was a deadline of february 1605, when parliament was planned to open, however, due to concerns over the plague, it was delayed until October. There is, however, some debate that contemporary accounts of this tunnel, may be false, as there is no proof to back it up, but there is little to explain why such a lie was created as it would have done little to further discredit the plotters. By March of 1605, the Tenancy for an undercroft beneath the House of Lords became available, and via Percy, Fawkes began filling it with barrels of powder, hidden under piles of Iron bars and faggots. Catesby also recruited Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright and John Grant. Grant had a house at Norbrook which was idea for storing of weapons for an midlands upraising that was being planned. Fawkes was then sent to flanders to report the details of the plot to Stanley and Owen. In June, Catesby met with the principal Jesuit in England, Father Henry Garnet, and while talking about the war in Flanders, he asked how moral it was to kill innocents. Garnet said that such actions could often be excused. During a second meeting in July, Garnet showed Catesby a letter from the Pope which forbade a rebellion. Catesby replied that if the Pope knew what he planned, he would not hinder it for the general good of the country. After a few words of protest from Garnet, Catesby told Garnet that he was not bound to take Garnet's word of that it was the Pope's will, believing he knew better. A short while later, Father Oswald Tesimond, told Garnet that he had learnt of the plot from taking Catesby's Confession. A third meeting between Garnet and Catesby had Garnet, while not knowing the full details of the plot, trying to dissuade Catesby from his actions. Possibly believing that they would clearly win against the King, Rookwood commissioned London Cutler, John Craddock, to place a Spanish blade into a sword Hilt, which was engraved wit the story of the Passion of Christ, a Public and dangerous statement of Faith. By the End of October, he had changed the grip into a gold one, and it was finally delivered on the 4th of November.

Guy Fawkes & Robert Catesby Loading the Gunpowder, Cica 1840 by George Cruikshank
Guy Fawkes & Robert Catesby Loading the Gunpowder, Cica 1840 by George Cruikshank
On the 20th of July, approx 36 barrels of gunpowder had been stored in the undercroft, but yet again, the threat of the plague delayed the opening of parliament and it was now to open on the 5th of November. Due to these delays and changes to the plan, Catesby's money was running out and it was decided that in order to keep the plan running, they needed to invite more into the plot. Catesby brough in Sir Ambrose Rookwood, who was not only rich and young, but had a fine stable of horses, that they plotters needed. By the end of August, Fawkes had to return to London to replace a number of spoiled powder barrels, while living at a house belonging to Mrs Herbert, a widow that lived on the backside of St.Clement's Church. On 14th October, Francis Tresham was brought into the plot and the day after, Catesby asked Fawkes to exchange greetings with his former employer, Lord Montague and ask him when Parliament was to open. After being told, Catesby replied that he felt Montague would take no pleasure in being there. Montague agreed as he had already been imprisoned for speaking out against antipapist legislation in the house. Worried as to the fates of some Catholic peers, Fawkes met with Catesby, Thomas Wintour and Tresham to discuss how they could be excluded from the explosion. Several others of the Conspirators had also expressed worries about fellow Catholics. Percy was worried about the Earl of Northumberland and when the Earl of Arundels name was mention, Catesby suggested that a minor wound might excuse hom from the chamber on that day. Keyes wanted to warn the Earl of Peterborugh, but it was dismissed. On the 21st, Everard Digby was brought in and the final meetings were made to confirm the action. Fawkes was to light the fuse and use a boat on the thames to escape. When word reached the others that it had gone off, an uprising would be started in the midlands, during which the young Princess Elizabeth would be capture. Fawkes would escape to Flanders and explain to the Catholics there what had happened in England.

Fragment of the Mounteagle Letter
Fragment of the Mounteagle Letter
On Saturday 26th October 1605, William Parker, the 4th Baron Monteagle received an anonymous letter while staying at his house in Hoxton. This letter warned Monteagle not to be in Parliament for it's opening and that they should receive a terrible blow, yet will not see who hurts them. It was noted at the time, by Edmund Church, Mounteagles Confidant, that Monteagle was expecting the letter, though didn't know much about the Plot, though he was close friends with many of the plotters. This letter then found it's way into the hands of Robert Cecil, the Secretary of State and 1st earl of Salisbury. Monteagle's servant warned Catesby of the betrayal and along with Thomas Wintour, they went to see Tresham, believing he was behind it. Tresham convinced the two that he was not behind the letter but urged them to abandon the plot, now that it was discovered. Catesby awaited the return of Percy before making his decision. He decided that the letter was too vague to be a threat to the plot and Fawkes was sent to make the final checks on the gunpowder. Salisbury was already aware of parts of the plot, but still didn't know the full details or who was behind it, and decided to wait to see what would happen. On the 3rd of November, Catesby, Wintour and Percy were in London, in a meeting. It is unknown what they met about, but it's believed it was to do with the plans to abduct Princess Elizabeth as Percy had been seen enquiring about movements of the King's Daughter, and Catesby had already met with Fawkes to discuss kidnapping Prince Henry, rather then Elizabeth. The conspirators then decided to make a fast retreat to the midlands, ready for the uprising, while Fawkes said he would watch the Cellar by himself. It is theorised that Fawkes was picked to stay and fire because of munitions experience in the low countries.

Monday Afternoon, 4th November 1605. Thomas Howard, the Lord Chamberlain & Earl of Suffolk, searched the parliament buildings along with Monteagle and John Whynniard. In the Undercroft, they found unusually large piles of billets and faggots and saw Fawkes. They asked who the piled belonged to, and he said it was his lord, Thomas Percy. The men did not like the Looks of Fawkes and reported the details to the King. He Agreed and they searched again, just before midnight, with the party lead by Sir Thomas Knyvett, a Magistrate and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Fawkes had gone to warn Percy after the first search, but had returned to find Knyvett there. The Pile of faggots and billets was once again searched, but this time, they found the Gunpowder under it. Fawkes was arrested at once and they found a watch, slow matches and touchwood on his person. Early morning on the 5th of November, The Privy Council met in the Kings Bedchamber and Fawkes was brough in, under guard. He refused to give any information beyond the name John Johnson and that he was the servant of Thomas Percy. Later, when question by the King as to how could he conspire as part of such treason, he replied that a dangerous disease required a desperate remedy and that he would have blown all the scotsmen back to scotland. Catesby and some of the others were unaware of what had happened in London until Rookwood caught up with them in Dunstable. They knew Fawkes had been arrested and the plot had failed. Rookwood, Catesby, Bates, the Wright brothers and Percy reached Catesby's home at Ashby St Ledgers by 6pm, where Catesby's Mother and Robert Wintour were staying. Catesby did not wish his mother to know what was going on and asked Wintour to met him on the edge of town. They then road to Dunchurch and met with Digby and his party. Digby was not aware of what was going on but they told him that the King and Salisbury were dead and they should carry on with the plan.

On the 6th of November, they raided Warwick Castle for supplies and then carried on to Norbrook to collected the stored weapons. While they rested before carring on to Huddington, Catesby gave Bates a letter for Father Garnet, to explain what had happened and to ask for help in raising a welsh army to help with the Uprising. Garnet refused and asked Catesby to stop his 'wicked ' actions and listen to the Pope. Garnet then fled, fearful of arrest. At 2pm, the group arrived at Huddington where they met with Thomas Wintour. By this time, everyone knew what had happened and people showed them no sympathy and friends and family members were fearful of being associated with such traitors. Meanwhile, back in London, Fawkes was being tortured, gently at first, but worse and worse until he gave a confession and by the 7th of November, he had given away much of what he knew, and Catesby was a wanted man. Many of the group had gone to confession, fearing they had little life to live and many of the supporters had fled, leaving only a small group of thirty six. In the pouring rain, they traveled to the home of Lord Windsor, at Hewell grange. He was away so they helped themselves to supplies of arms, ammunition and money. After the locals shunned them, they reached holbech house in Staffordshire at 10pm. Tired and worn out, with hope fading, They spread out some of the soaking wet gunpowder from Hewell grange, in front of the fire to dry out. The Gunpowder caught light and the flames engulfed Catesby, Rookwood, Grant and another unknown man. Catesby was just scorched, Digby and John Wintour gave themselves up while Thomas Bates and Robert Wintour fled. In the end, the group was down to just Catesby, Rookwood, the Wright Brothers, Percy and a badly injured John Grant, who was left with 'burnt out ' eyes. They resolved to fight when the King's men arrived and Catesby, knowing his end was near, kissed his gold crucifix, stated he had done it all for the honour of the cross, and swore to fight to the death.

The Explosion at Holbeach
The Explosion at Holbeach, Cica 1840 by George Cruikshank
On the morning of the 8th, the house was under siege by the Sheriff of Worcester's forces. Within a short span of time, and with only a brief stand, Christopher Wright was killed along with Catesby and Percy (Both of whom were killed by John Streete, who was paided two Shillings a day, for life, which was noted as being a large reward for someone that was in no personal risk, and killed two practically unarmed men from behind a tree). John Wright was mortally wounded, but lasted almost a day before finally dying. Many items of clothing such as Christopher's boots were taking as well as other items for 'souvenirs '. Thomas Wintour was hurt in the belly as well as other wounds before being captured. Along with Thomas Wintour, John Grant & Sir Ambrose Rookwood were the main ones captured at the house. Sir Everard Digby & John Wintour had already given themselves up. Thomas Bates had fled and Christopher Wright had thrown him some money he was to take to Wrights Family, and an amount to kept himself. He was captured on the 12th November in staffordshire. Being of a low cast, he was imprisoned in the gatehouse prison. Robert Wintour and a man named Stephen Littleton had fled and where later captured together at Hagley Park, the home of an Uncle of Stephen Littleton but a Servant, David Bate, led the authorities to them after two months. Robert Keyes had fled long before, when news broke in London and was caught in Warwickshire on the 9th of November. When News had spread of Fawkes being captured, Francis Tresham had went into hiding but was arrested on the 12th November, where he wrote a statement claiming he had tried to delay the plot until they could see how the new parliament dealt with catholics. He died on the 22nd December while imprisoned in the Tower of London. By the 9th of November, Fawkes had given in to all torture and named his fellow conspirators in the plot, after hearing that some of them had already been arrested in the siege of Holbech.

On Monday the 27th January, 1606, 'Blessed ' Edward Oldcorne and Father Henry Garnet were captured and the eight surviving conspirators were put on trail at Westminster Hall but the Verdict was already decided. On the 30th January, Robert Wintour, Sir Everard Digby, John Grant and Thomas Bates were executed and on Friday 31st January, Guy Fawkes, Thomas Wintour, Sir Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes were lead to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster where they were executed. All were Hung, drawn and quartered.

After the plot, the third of the Catholic conspiracies against him, King James was forced to reconsider his policy towards the English Catholics. While he still wanted stricter controls of the Catholics, this did not last long. By May 1606, Parliament passed an act which required citizens to take an Oath of Allegiance to the King. James believed this was merely for Civil obedience but it meant the Catholics had to deny the pope's authority over the king. In Catholic countries, this was heretical. James, however, wanted no blood to be spilled and said that Jesuits and priests would simply asked to leave the country, however he became more lenient and would allow Catholics to live in peace if they took the Oath of Allegiance or were Crypto-Catholic (Catholic only in private), even allowing them into his court, much like his original promises.


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