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  • John Gerard Died SP (1564 - 1637)
    John Gerard Born : 4 October 1564 Died : 27 July 1637 - Rome John Gerard is one of the most fascinating of the Jesuit priests in England, and his two books, Narrative and Autobiography, provi...
  • Edmund Whitelocke (1565 - 1608)
    Edmund Whitelocke (1565–1608) was an English soldier, royal courtier and suspected conspirator. Life He was born in the parish of St. Gabriel, Fenchurch Street, London, on 10 February 1565, the e...
  • Sir Edward Phelips, MP, Speaker of the Commons (c.1554 - 1614)
    ) Family and Education b. c.1560, 4th s. of Thomas Phelips† of Montacute by Elizabeth, da. of Matthew Smith of Bristol. educ. New Inn; M. Temple 1572, called 1578. m. (1) Margaret (d.1590), da. of Ro...
  • William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle (c.1575 - 1622)
    William Parker , 4th Baron Monteagle was born in 1575 and died on the 1st of July 1622 at Great Hallingbury, Essex, where he was buried. Parents: eldest son of Edward Parker, 12th Baron Morley (died ...
  • Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564 - 1632)
    Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (April 27, 1564—November 5, 1632), is known for the circles he moved in as well as for his own achievements. He acquired the sobriquet The Wizard Earl, due to ...

Gunpowder Plot

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.

The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England's Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James's nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters were John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives.

The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, on 26 October 1605. During a search of the House of Lords at about midnight on 4 November 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder—enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble—and arrested. Most of the conspirators fled from London as they learnt of the plot's discovery, trying to enlist support along the way. Several made a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcester and his men at Holbeche House; in the ensuing battle Catesby was one of those shot and killed. At their trial on 27 January 1606, eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

Details of the assassination attempt were allegedly known by the principal Jesuit of England, Father Henry Garnet. Although Garnet was convicted of treason and sentenced to death, doubt has been cast on how much he really knew of the plot. As its existence was revealed to him through confession, Garnet was prevented from informing the authorities by the absolute confidentiality of the confessional. Although anti-Catholic legislation was introduced soon after the plot's discovery, many important and loyal Catholics retained high office during King James I's reign. The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years afterwards by special sermons and other public events such as the ringing of church bells, which have evolved into the Bonfire Night of today.