Gunpowder Plot 400th anniversary

Gunpowder Plot 400th anniversary

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The Gunpowder Plot

Click to buy fireworksThe Conspirators

WHO WERE THE GUNPOWDER PLOTTERS?

The chief conspirators in alphabetical order:

Thomas Bate Robert Keyes Thomas Wintour
Robert Catesby Thomas Percy Christopher Wright
Everard Digby Ambrose Rookwood John Wright
Guy Fawkes Francis Tresham  
John Grant Robert Wintour  

Read about their roles in the Gunpowder Plot:

Thomas Bates

Born at Lapworth, he was a long-standing retainer to Robert Catesby and the Catesby family, and proved to be invaluable to the conspirators, being totally loyal and reliable. As a man of "ordinary condition," he was able to carry out many activities, such as driving wagons and acting as a messenger, without attracting suspicion.

After discovery of the plot, Bates fled London with Catesby, but lost all resolve after he witnessed Catesby's injuries in the gunpowder explosion at Holbeche House. Bates fled the scene only to be captured in Staffordshire on November 12th.

On the scaffold, Bates was completely penitent, asking for forgiveness and claiming that it was loyalty to Catesby which had prevented him from obeying God, his country and the King.

Robert Catesby

Born in 1573, Robert Catesby, was also known as "Robin". He was tall and considered a handsome, dashing man of noble character and impressive dignity. He was also known to be a courageous horseman and supreme swordfighter. Generous and affable, Catesby was well-liked by those who knew him. He won many acquaintances over to Catholicism and had great success in converting Protestants to his faith. Catesby's house in Lambeth was the first headquarters of the Gunpowder Plot and was used for the initial storage of munitions.

Catesby died during the raid on Holbeche House in Staffordshire (the home of Stephen Littleton) on November 8, 1605, after escaping from London early on the morning of Tuesday, November 5th. Catesby and Thomas Percy were both apparently shot with a single bullet.

Catesby is considered to be the originator of the Gunpowder Plot. He was a cousin of fellow-co-conspirators the Wintour brothers.

Sir Everard Digby

Born around 1576 in Leicestershire. A staunch and wealthy Catholic convert, Digby owned large estates in Rutland. His role was to have been to lead a Midlands Rebellion after the demise of Parliament.

At court he was a very popular character, being an excellent horseman, swordsman and musician, with a passion and ability for field sports. Digby entered the plot at the end of August in 1605, via an introduction by Robert Catesby.

Digby provided money and management skills to the conspirators, donating the considerable sum of £1500 to the cause, and was to have played a major role in the Midland Uprising. He reunited with Catesby after the failure of the plot and assisted in the writing of the letter to Father Garnet which explained the purpose of the scheme.

Digby fled Holbeche House after the gunpowder explosion but was arrested shortly afterwards near Dudley.His execution which took place on January 30, 1606 was said to be a highly dramatic affair with Digby in good spirits and unrepentant while maintaining a courtly civility.

Some of the plotters are depicted in the page header, derived from a contemorary woodcut (l to r):
Everard Digby, Robert Winter, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter