Today’s installment concludes The Gunpowder Plot,
our selection from What the Gunpowder Plot Was by Samuel R. Gardiner published in 1897.
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Previously in The Gunpowder Plot.
Place: House of Lords, London
“It appeareth the powder was in the cellar placed as it was found the 5 of November, when the Lords came to prorogue the Parliament, and sayeth that he returned again to the said house near the cellar on Wednesday the 30 of October.
“He confesseth he was at the Earl of Montgomery’s marriage, but, as he sayeth, with no intention of evil, having a sword about him, and was very near to his Majesty and the Lords there present.
[20: The words in Italics are marked by pen-strokes across them for omission.]
“Forasmuch as they knew not well how they should come by the person of the Duke Charles, being near London, where they had no forces (if he had not been also blown up), he confesseth that it was resolved among them that the same day that this detestable act should have been performed, the same day should other of their confederacy have surprised the person of the Lady Elizabeth, and presently have proclaimed her Queen, to which purpose a proclamation was drawn, as well to avow and justify the action, as to have protested against the Union, and in no sort to have meddled with religion therein, and would have protested also against all strangers, and this proclamation should have been made in the name of the Lady Elizabeth.
“Being demanded why they did not surprise the King’s person, and draw him to the effecting of their purpose, sayeth that so many must have been acquainted with such an action as it would not have been kept secret.
“He confesseth that if their purpose had taken effect, until they had had power enough, they would not have avowed the deed to be theirs; but if their power (for their defence and safety) had been sufficient, they themselves would then have taken it upon them. They meant also to have sent for the prisoners in the Tower to have come to them, of whom particularly they had some consultation.
“He confesseth that the place of rendezvous was in Warwickshire, and that armour was sent thither, but the particular thereof he knows not.
“He confesseth that they had consultation for the taking of the Lady Mary into their possession, but knew not how to come by her.
“And confesseth that provision was made by some of the conspiracy of some armour of proof this last summer for this action.
“He confesseth that the powder was bought by the common purse of the confederates.
“L. Admiral [Earl of Nottingham] Earl of Salisbury L. Chamberlain [Earl of Suffolk] Earl of Mar Earl of Devonshire Lord Chief Justice [Popham] Earl of Northampton “Attended by Mr. Attorney-General [Coke].”
 G.P.B., No. 49. In the Stowe copy the names of the commissioners are omitted, and a list of fifteen plotters added. As the paper was enclosed in a letter to Edmondes of the 14th, these might easily be added at any date preceding that.]
The 9th, the day on which Fawkes was put to the torture, brought news to the government that the fear of insurrection need no longer be entertained. It had been known before this that Fawkes’ confederates had met on the 5th at Dunchurch on the pretext of a hunting-match, and had been breaking open houses in Warwickshire and Worcestershire in order to collect arms. Yet so indefinite was the knowledge of the council that, on the 8th, they offered a reward for the apprehension of Percy alone, without including any of the other conspirators. On the evening of the 9th they received a letter from Sir Richard Walsh, the Sheriff of Worcestershire.
[22: Probably, as Father Gerard suggests, what would now be known as a coursing-match.]
[23: Proclamation Book, R.O., p. 117.]
[24: A late postscript added to the letter to the ambassadors sent off on the 9th (Winwood, ii. 173) shows that before the end of the day Salisbury had learned even more of the details than were comprised in the sheriff’s letter.]
“We think fit,” he wrote, “with all speed to certify your Lordships of the happy success it hath pleased God to give us against the rebellious assembly in these parts. After such time as they had taken the horses from Warwick upon Tuesday night last, they came to Mr. Robert Winter’s house to Huddington upon Wednesday night, where — having entered — [they] armed themselves at all points in open rebellion. They passed from thence upon Thursday morning unto Hewell — the Lord Windsor’s house — which they entered and took from thence by force great store of armour, artillery of the said Lord Windsor’s, and passed that night into the county of Staffordshire unto the house of one Stephen Littleton, Gentleman, called Holbeche, about two miles distant from Stourbridge, whither we pursued, with the assistance of Sir John Foliot, Knight, Francis Ketelsby, Esquire, Humphrey Salway, Gentleman, Edmund Walsh, and Francis Conyers, Gentlemen, with few other gentlemen and the power and face of the country.
[25: November 5th.]
[26: November 6th.]
[27 November 7th.]
“We made against them upon Thursday morning, and freshly pursued them until the next day, at which time, about twelve or one of the clock in the afternoon, we overtook them at the said Holbeche House — the greatest part of their retinue and some of the better sort being dispersed and fled before our coming, whereupon and after summons and warning first given and proclamation in his Highness’s name to yield and submit themselves — who refusing the same, we fired some part of the house and assaulted some part of the rebellious persons left in the said house, in which assault one Mr. Robert Catesby is slain, and three others verily thought wounded to death whose names — as far as we can learn — are Thomas Percy, Gentleman, John Wright, and Christopher Wright, Gentlemen; and these are apprehended and taken: Thomas Winter Gentleman, John Grant Gentleman, Henry Morgan Gentleman, Ambrose Rokewood Gentleman, Thomas Ockley carpenter, Edmund Townsend servant to the said John Grant, Nicholas Pelborrow, servant unto the said Ambrose Rokewood, Edward Ockley carpenter, Richard Townsend servant to the said Robert Winter, Richard Day servant to the said Stephen Littleton, which said prisoners are in safe custody here, and so shall remain until your Honours good pleasures be further known. The rest of that rebellious assembly is dispersed, we have caused to be followed with fresh suite and hope of their speedy apprehension. We have also thought fit to send unto your Honours — according unto our duties — such letters as we have found about the parties apprehended; and so resting in all duty at your Honours’ further command, we take leave, from Stourbridge this Saturday morning, being the sixth of this instant November 1605.
“Your Honours’ most humble to be commanded,
(28: November 8th.)
This ends our series of passages on The Gunpowder Plot by Samuel R. Gardiner from his book What the Gunpowder Plot Was published in 1897. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.
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