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:

John Grant

Lord of the Manor of Norbrook, a strategically-placed mansion located a few miles north of Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire and close to Lapworth, birthplace of Robert Catesby.

Grant was sworn-in as a member of the inner circle of the plotters in February of 1605 when he and his brother-in-law, Robert Wintour, were summoned to a meeting with Robert Catesby and Thomas Percy at the Catherine Wheel Inn in Oxford. Grant and Robert Wintour were responsible for amassing a stockpile of weapons and preparing stables of horses to be used during the anticipated rebellion. In addition, Grant was to be responsible for the abduction of the young Princess Elizabeth, in order to establish the Princess as the new monarch once her father, and presumably her brothers, had perished in the Parliament explosion.

Grant was seriously injured at Holbeche House when some gunpowder which had been laid out in front of the fire to dry, caught an ember and exploded. During his trial, Grant said very little but is reported to have displayed great courage and self-assurance. He expressed no sorrow for his part in the Gunpowder Plot, stating that he was convinced the project was far from sinful. He was executed on January 30, 1606 at St. Paul's Churchyard, along with Sir Everard Digby, Robert Wintour and Thomas Bates.

Robert Keyes

A Jesuit convert, Keyes has been described as a tall man with a red beard. He was the sixth conspirator to join the plot, around October of 1604. His main function in the plot was to tend to Robert Catesby's home in Lambeth, which was used as a storage facility for gunpowder and other necessary supplies. It was Keyes (on behalf of Thomas Percy) who presented Guy Fawkes with the watch for the timing of the fuse which would initiate the explosion.

After discovery of the plot, Keyes was among the last to leave London, preceded by all except Rookwood (who stayed to gather information) and Francis Tresham (who seemed to be in no hurry to flee the city, an action which further fuelled the suspicion that he had become a betrayer).

Keyes was captured in Warwickshire on November 9, 1605 and interrogated three days later. During his trial, he spoke little but said that his motive had been to promote the common good and turn the country back toward the Catholic faith. He was executed in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster on January 31, 1606, together with Ambrose Rookwood, Thomas Wintour and Guy Fawkes (who was the last to mount the scaffold).

Thomas Percy

Born around 1563. Much of Percy's early life remains a mystery. He entered Peterson College at Cambridge in July of 1579. Tall and well-built, Percy was said to have had a serious expression but an attractive manner, with "large and lively" eyes.

On May 13, 1604, Percy became one of the original five conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, the others being Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, John Wright and Guy Fawkes. Percy had much to offer the conspiracy: zeal, dedication to the cause and valuable connections with Northumberland, not to mention free access to the Court.

After the discovery of the plot, Percy was killed at Holbeche House on November 8, 1605 dying instantly from the same bullet which caused fatal injury to Catesby.

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