Gunpowder Plot 400th anniversary

Gunpowder Plot 400th anniversary

Gunpowder Plot
plotters
bonfire night
links

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:

Ambrose Rookwood

Born in 1578. His chief part in the plot was to provide horses for those who would carry news of the Parliament explosion to Robert Catesby and other conspirators who were waiting in Dunchurch. He is also believed to have supplied Catesby with gunpowder.

Rookwood was one of the last of the conspirators to flee from London, remaining behind to gather as much information as he could. Despite his delayed start, however, his posting of fast mounts enable him to make an epic ride, quickly catching up to the other members of the group and continue with them onto Holbeche House. First slightly injured by the explosion of the gunpowder at Holbeche House, Rookwood later sustained further injury in the fighting.

Rookwood was executed on in Old Palace Yard at Westminster on January 31, 1606, together with Thomas Wintour, Robert Keyes and Guy Fawkes. On the scaffold, he made a complete confession, offered up a prayer that the King convert to the Catholic faith and requested God to bless the monarch and the royal family in order that they might "live long to reign in peace and happiness."

Thomas Tresham

Francis Tresham is believed to have been born in 1567, and was cousin to Robert Catesby, the historical originator of the Gunpowder Plot.

At the time of the scheme, he had recently inherited extensive estates in Northamptonshire but his reckless spending of money and extravagant lifestyle put him in debt. He was also very concerned for the salvation of his two brothers-in-law, Lord Mounteagle and Lord Stourton, which made Tresham the prime suspect as author of the infamous warning letter which gave away the Plot. Many historians believe that he may indeed have played a more overt role in the betrayal of the plot, acting as a double agent, although he did manage to persuade Catesby and Thomas Wintour otherwise.

November 2nd found Tresham attempting to convince the other conspirators that their plot had been discovered and that they should all take safety in flight. In fact, Tresham himself had received a licence that very day permitting him to travel abroad for two years. Tresham was in no hurry to leave London after the arrest of Guy Fawkes and it has been suggested that he may have taken the opportunity to have offered his services to the government. Nevertheless, Tresham was arrested on November 12th and promptly wrote a full confession. Later that month, he also implicated Henry Garnet. The only chief conspirator never to be indicted, it is believed that Tresham may have fallen victim to poison at the age of 37 while imprisoned in the Tower, the object being to silence him.

Robert Wintour (or Winter)

Born in 1565 or 1567, Robert Wintour was the oldest of the convicted Wintour brothers. Although he initially refused to join the plotters, Wintour eventually agreed to be sworn in (along with John Grant) at the Catherine Wheel Inn in Oxford some time during February of 1604, but throughout the course of the campaign, he often displayed a lack of commitment to the cause.

Managing to escape the raid on Holbeche House, Wintour remained at large for two months afterwards, eventually being captured at Hagley Park on January 9, 1606, along with a minor conspirator by the name of Stephen Littleton. Wintour was executed on January 30, 1606 in St. Pauls' Churchyard, London, along with Sir Everard Digby, John Grant and Thomas Bates. On the scaffold, he was quiet and withdrawn, saying little. Although he appeared to be praying to himself, Wintour did not publicly ask mercy of either God or King for his offence.

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