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Robert Keyes's Geni Profile

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Robert Keyes

Birthdate: (41)
Birthplace: England
Death: January 31, 1606 (37-45)
Westminster, London, Middlesex, England (Hanged, drawn and quartered)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Margaret Keyes

Occupation: Conspirator, Gunpowder Plot
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Keyes

Please note it seems Wikipedia misidentified his parents & wife. Parents are not known but I believe the wife shown in Geni is correct.

Robert Keyes was a member of the group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605. He was the sixth man to join the plot.

Unlike several other conspirators Keyes was not a particularly wealthy man. He was trusted by Robert Catesby, the plot's author, with guarding the explosives stored at the latter's lodgings in London. When the plot was uncovered he fled the city, and was captured several days later in Warwickshire. He was subsequently tried with his co-conspirators, found guilty, and in January 1606 hanged, drawn and quartered.

The Jesuit priest John Gerard described Keyes as "a grave and sober man, and of great wit and sufficiency".[9] Father Oswald Tesimond claimed that Keyes had "tasted persecution himself, having lost his goods because of it"[10] while historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson's image of him was of a "desperate man, ruined and indebted".[11] Tall, with a red beard, despite his relative poverty Catesby declared him "a trusty honest man", and may have paid him for his services.[1] Like fellow plotter Guy Fawkes, he was thought capable of looking after himself.

The conspirators were tried on 27 January 1606 at Westminster Hall. Despite entering pleas of not guilty (only Digby professed his guilt), all eight were found guilty. They were each allowed to speak "wherefore judgement of death should not be pronounced against them".[20] Keyes made no attempt to excuse his actions, claiming that "death was as good now as at any other time",[21] preferable to living "in the midst of so much tyranny".[22][23] The Jesuit Oswald Tesimond wrote in his Narrative of Keyes's defence:

He claimed that his motive had been to promote the common good. That is, he hoped that his native land would be turned back to the Catholic faith. The violence of the present persecution had driven him also to take part in the conspiracy.[10]

On 31 January 1606 Keyes, Rookwood, Thomas Wintour and Fawkes were taken to the Old Palace Yard in Westminster, to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Rookwood and Wintour were the first to ascend to the gallows. Grim-faced, Keyes went "stoutly" up the ladder, but with the halter around his neck he threw himself off, presumably hoping for a quick death. The halter broke, however, and he was taken to the block to suffer the remainder of his sentence.[24]


  1. Notes & Queries page 149. "Lucy, sister of this Robert Kaye, married John Pickering of Pitchmarsh, and died in 1565, leaving issue. John Pickering married, secondly, Ursula, daughter of Thos. Oxenbridge of Etchingham, Sussex, and had by her, with other children, Margaret, baptized May 23, 1568,afterwards became the wife of Robert Keyes, the individual who was concerned in the plot; but of his family or connexions nothing more is known. Anon."
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Robert Keyes's Timeline

January 31, 1606
Age 41
London, Middlesex, England