The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Gunpowder Plot and Lord Mounteagle's
Letter, by Henry Hawkes Spink Jr.

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Gunpowder Plot and Lord Mounteagle's Letter
       Being a Proof, with Moral Certitude, of the Authorship of
              the Document: Together with Some Account of the Whole
              Thirteen Gunpowder Conspirators, Including Guy Fawkes

Author: Henry Hawkes Spink Jr.

Release Date: June 18, 2012 [EBook #40029]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Robert Cicconetti, Henry Gardiner and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

Transcriber’s Note: The original publication has been replicated faithfully except as listed here.

The text conforms to changes in window size.

Exterior view of a substantial brick countryside manor with







(A Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Judicature in England).



[All rights reserved.]

Veritas temporis filia. Truth is the daughter of Time, especially in this case, wherein, by timely and often examinations, matters of greatest moment have been found out.” — Sir Edward Coke (the Attorney-General who prosecuted the eight surviving conspirators).

“Suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty which History has the power to inflict on Wrong.” — Lord Acton.

“History, it is said, revises the verdicts of contemporaries, and constitutes an Appeal Court nearest to the ordeal of heaven.” — Dr. James Martineau.





Bland’s Court,
       Coney Street,
To the Right Honourable
             Viscount Halifax.

My Lord,

The book which your characteristic generosity has permitted me to dedicate to you wears a two-fold aspect. For it is as to one portion — and predominantly — an Inquiry taking the form of a discourse with questions and proofs, propositions and demonstrations. While as to another portion — but subordinately — it is a History taking the form of a narrative of events, a relation of mental occurrences, a statement of concrete facts. Now these twain aspects will be found duly to play their respective parts in the course of the subsequent pages, in accordance with a selected order and method.

With most of the allegations of fact and the inferences therefrom, and with many of the assumptions and conclusions which this work contains, your Lordship will agree. From others you will disagree. Whilst in the case of a third class, it may be that you will deem a suspension of judgment to be the part which wisdom and justice alike enjoin.

Speaking for myself, both as a man and as a native of our great County of Yorkshire — whose sons are atviii once speculative and practical, imaginative and concrete — necessity, in the form of an imperative sense of duty, has been laid upon me, to declare, with unmistakable emphasis and straightforward directness, what I hold to be the Truth governing the subject-matter wherewith I have sought to deal. For Truth is that which is, and its contradictory is error. This line of action I have pursued with the greater determination, inasmuch as daily observation of external events — and, if less frequent, still actual reflection thereupon — has strongly convinced me, even against my will, that much of the “forcible feebleness” and most of the “stable instability” of modern British Statesmen and Politicians have their origin and rise in nothing else than this: — lack of clarity of thought and want of knowledge of those, fixed fundamental intellectual, moral, and political principles which ought to be the sure inheritance of the human Race. And pre-eminently of that portion of the Race which is conscious of a lofty imperial mission. “For evil is wrought by want of thought as well as by want of heart.”

The ancient Stagyrite ranked Poetry above History, because the former bequeaths to Man universal principles of action, whereas the latter bestows upon Man only a relation of individual facts.

But the History of the Gunpowder Treason Plot rises to a higher unity. Because for a man to have read and mastered an impartial record of that deliberate andix appalling scheme of “sacrilegious murder,” which happily Destiny first frustrated, and afterwards, through Nemesis, her unerring executioner, signally avenged in the sight of all men, is to have witnessed, with the eye of the historic imagination, a drama that is a poem in action.

Nay, more; it is to have had a personal, experimental realization, through the historic feeling, of what is meant, in the realm of Moral actualities, by the infliction of Retribution, the working out of Expiation, the regaining of Justness, the restoration of Equality between outraged Right and outraging Wrong, and the attaining by the tempestuous, passionate human heart of final tranquillity, rest, and peace.

For one of the greatest recorded Tragedies in the world is the History of the Gunpowder Treason Plot, regard being had to the intellectual and moral ends effected by that history’s recital.

The man who has truly, if indeed but commemoratively, through force of the medium of language merely, taken his part in this great Action, even at a distance of well-nigh three hundred years, will have had his soul cleansed and purified by cleansed and purified pity and terror. Then will he have had that soul soothed and healed. He will have been first abased and then exalted.

For so to act is to weep with a Humanity that weeps. Then with that same Humanity to join in a triumphant pæan of victory that has for its universal and glorious theme this reality of realities which cannot bex broken, namely, that Universe — whereof Man, though not the measure, constitutes so large a part — is primevally founded and everlastingly established in Goodness, Being, and Truth.

Trusting that your Lordship will crown your gracious kindness by pardoning the great length of this Introductory Letter,

I beg to remain,
   My dear Lord Halifax,
       Yours sincerely and gratefully,
           HENRY HAWKES SPINK, Jun.
Saturday, 26th October, 1901.

Tragedy primarily implies imitation of Action by action, not by language, although of course language forms a constituent part.

See the “Poetics of Aristotle,” chap. vi.


“Although it is by no means proved to be impossible that this nobleman [Lord Mounteagle] was a guilty confederate in the Plot, the weight of evidence is at present in his favour. It is, however, a most curious State mystery: and I am persuaded that, if the truth is ever discovered, it will not be by State papers, or recorded confessions and examinations. When such expert artists as Bacon and Cecil framed and propagated a State fiction in order to cover a State intrigue, they took care to cut off or divert the channels of history so effectually as to make it hopeless, at the distance of three centuries to trace the truth by means of documents which have ever been in their control. If the mystery should hereafter be unravelled, it will be probably by the discovery of some letters or papers of a domestic nature, which either slumber in private repositories, or remain unnoticed in public collections.” — Letter by David Jardine, Editor of “Criminal Trials,” to Sir Henry Ellis, F.R.S., “Archæologia,” pp. 94-95. Dated 30th November, 1840.



The writer of the following work desires respectfully to put forward a modest contribution to the solution of one of the greatest problems known to History.

The problem referred to arises out of that stupendous and far-reaching movement against the Government of King James I. known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot.

This enterprise of cold-blooded, though grievously provoked, massacre was, of a truth, “barbarous and savage beyond the examples of all former ages.” But because the movement had a profoundly — in the Aristotelian sense — political causa causans, therefore it is of perennial interest to governors and governed.

The causa causans, or originating cause, of the Gunpowder Treason Plot, in its ultimate analysis, will be found to involve that problem of problems for Princes, Statesmen, and Peoples all the world over: — How to allow freedom of human action, and yet faithfully to maintain Absolute Truth concerning the Infinite and the Eternal — or that which is believed to be Absolute Truth.

To the intent that the mind of the reader may ever and anon find relief from the stress and strain occasioned by the dry discussion of Evidence and the severe reasoningxiv from necessary or probable philosophical assumptions, the writer has designedly interspersed, both in the Text and in the Notes, matter of a Biographical and Topographical nature, especially such as hath relation to the author’s honoured native County — Yorkshire — and his beloved native City — York.

The writer has thought out his thesis, and has treated the same without fear or favour — limited and conditioned only by a regard for what he knew or supposed, and therefore believed, to be the truth governing the subject-matter under consideration. Nobody can say more, not even the most advanced or emancipated thinker living.[A]

[A] Cf., “The Ethic of Free-thought,” by Professor Karl Pearson. (Adam and Charles Black, 1901.)

If it be demanded of the author why a member of the lower branch of the legal profession hath essayed the unveiling of a mystery that has baffled the learning and ingenuity of men from the days of King James I. — the British Solomon — down to the days of Dr. Samuel Rawson Gardiner, the renowned historian of the early English Stuarts, the author’s answer and plea must be — for it can only be — that by the decrees of Fate, his eyes first saw the light of the sun in a County whose history is an epitome of the history of the English people; and in a City which is an England in miniature.

In conclusion, the writer would be fain to be pardoned in saying that he has not had the advantagexv of frequenting any British or Foreign University, or other seat of learning — all the education that he can make his humble boast of having been received in Yorkshire Protestant Schools.

The writer’s guide, during the past eighteen months, wherein he hath “voyaged through strange seas of thought alone,”[A] has been “the high white star of Truth. There he has gazed, and THERE aspired.”[B]

Saturday, 26th October, 1901.

[A] Wordsworth.

[B] Matthew Arnold.



Three movements against Government of James I. in the year of the Gunpowder Treason Plot (1605) distinct though connected — (1) General wave of insurrectionary feeling on part of Papists by reason of penal laws of Queen Elizabeth — (2) Gunpowder Plot devised by Robert Catesby — (3) Rebellion in Midlands under leadership of Sir Everard Digby — Earl of Salisbury, his spies and decoys, may have fomented first movement but not others — Certainly not projectors of Gunpowder Plot — Traditional story accepted in main outlines.
Reasons given why subordinate conspirator, Francis Tresham, cannot have “discovered” Plot — True principles laid down to guide mind of Inquirer into personnel of (1) Revealing Conspirator, (2) Penman of Letter.
A “division of labour” in beneficent work of “discovering” Plot — Why? — Probabilities of case suggest at least three persons engaged in “swinging round on its axis diabolical Plot” — Whom Revealing conspirator would employ — Persons most likely.
Who was Lord Mounteagle? — Ancestry — Father: Lord Morley — Title, Mounteagle, derived through mother, Honourable Elizabeth Stanley, heiress of William Stanley third Lord Mounteagle — Mother akin to Howards through Leybournes of Westmoreland.xviii
Lord Mounteagle receives Letter 26th October, 1605, between “six and seven of the clock,” at Hoxton, near London — Opened by Mounteagle — Read by a member of his household, Thomas Ward — Full text of Letter given — 27th October, Ward tells Thomas Winter, a conspirator, that Letter had been received by Mounteagle — Had been taken to Robert Cecil first Earl of Salisbury, Principal Secretary of State — 28th October, Winter repairs to White Webbs by Enfield Chase, ten miles north of Westminster — Informs Catesby that “game was up” — Catesby says “would see further as yet” — Guy Fawkes sent from White Webbs to view cellar under House of Lords — Finds all marks undisturbed — Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder, wood, and coal all ready for fatal Fifth — Fawkes returns at night safely — Thomas Winter meets (or is met by) subordinate conspirator, Christopher Wright — Fawkes captured early on Tuesday, November 5th — Christopher Wright announces to Thomas Winter Fawkes’ capture.
In reign of Queen Elizabeth and early part of James I., “the castellated castles, moated halls, and gabled manor-houses” of old England “the sheltering, romantic roof-trees of those who clung” to the ancient Faith — Why? — Henry VIII.’s religious “change” and that of his progeny, King Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth, unlikely to be acceptable “all on a sudden” to bulk of English people — Why? — Penal Legislation against Papists on part of Government — Jesuits in England, 1580 — Campion and Parsons — Three Classes of English Jesuits — Mystics, or Politicians — Mystics and Politicians — The thirteen Gunpowder plotters well-disposed towards Jesuits — But plotters only Politicians.
Sir William Catesby (father of the arch-conspirator Robert Catesby) and Sir Thomas Tresham (father of Francis Tresham), fine old English gentlemen — Types of best class of Elizabethan Catholic gentry — Both persecuted byxix Government — Sir Thomas Tresham for more than twenty years pays for Fines equal in our money to £2,080 a year, as a “popish recusant” — Sir Thomas suffers imprisonment for at least twenty-one years after being Star-Chambered — Such transactions account for phenomenon of Gunpowder Treason Plot.
All thirteen plotters “gentlemen of name and blood” (save Thomas Bates, a respectable serving-man of Catesby) — Names of plotters as follow: — Robert Catesby (Ashby St. Legers, Northamptonshire) — Thomas Winter (Huddington, near Droitwich, Worcestershire) — Thomas Percy (Beverley, E.R. Yorkshire) — John Wright (Plowland, Holderness, E.R. Yorkshire) — Guy (or Guido) Fawkes (York) — Robert Keyes (Drayton, Northamptonshire) — Christopher Wright (Plowland, Holderness, E.R. Yorkshire) — Robert Winter, (Huddington, near Droitwich, Worcestershire) — Ambrose Rookwood (Coldham, Stanningfield, Suffolk) — John Grant (Norbrook, Warwickshire) — Sir Everard Digby (Gothurst, near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire) — Francis Tresham (Rushton, Northamptonshire) — Four out of conspirators natives of Yorkshire: Thomas Percy, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Guy (or Guido) Fawkes — Five others indirectly connected with it: Thomas Winter, Robert Winter, John Grant, Robert Keyes, and Ambrose Rookwood — Thomas Winter and Robert Winter, grandsons of distinguished Knight, Sir William Ingleby, of Ripley Castle, near Knaresbrough and Bilton-cum-Harrogate, Nidderdale, Yorkshire — John Grant’s wife, Dorothy Grant, a grand-daughter of said Knight — Robert Keyes, a grandson of Key (or Kay), Esquire, of Woodsome, Almondbury, near Huddersfield.
CHAPTER VIII. (same continued)26
Jesuit Father Edward Oldcorne a native of York — Oswald Tesimond most probably a native of York likewise — Before going to Rheims and Rome Oldcorne studied medicine.xx
Further analysis of problem as to what conspirator would be likely to “discover” Plot — A subordinate plotter — Introduced late into Plot — One with good moral training at home in childhood — One with trustworthy friend to act as Penman of warning Letter — One with trustworthy friend who could act as Go-between with Government — Christopher Wright, Edward Oldcorne, Thomas Ward.
Fawkes, in Confession, dated 17th November, 1605, says mine from Percy’s house, adjoining Parliament House, begun 11th December, 1604, by five principal conspirators — Christopher Wright sworn in to help in mining work “soon after” — Text of conspirators’ secret oath.
Christopher Wright’s family further described — Father: Robert Wright, Esquire, of Plowland, Holderness — Mother: Ursula Rudston, of Rudstons, Lords of Hayton, near Pocklington — Mother akin to Mallories, of Studley Royal, near Ripon — Wrights akin to Wards, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, near Ripon, likewise — Christopher Wright’s wife, Margaret Wright, possibly née Margaret Ward, of the Wards, of Mulwith.
Edward Oldcorne described — A native of St. Sampson’s Parish, York — A student of medicine — Goes to Rheims and Rome for higher studies — Ordained Priest — Joins Society of Jesus — In 1588 lands in England — Stationed by Father Henry Garnet, chief of Jesuits in England, at Hindlip Hall, four miles from Worcester — Hindlip Hall home of Thomas Abington, Esquire, and the Honourable Mary (Parker) Abington, daughter of the Lord Morley and sister to the Lord Mounteagle — Oldcorne’s extraordinary influence in Worcestershire — Styled “the Apostle of Worcestershire” — A man of mental equipoise.
“The Letter” critically examined.xxi
Further critical examination of “the Letter.”
Mounteagle “knew there was a Letter to come to him before it came” — Who was his “Secretary,” Thomas Ward? — Almost certainly brother-in-law to Christopher Wright — Proofs of this assertion — Entry of marriage in St. Michael-le-Belfrey’s Church, York, of a “Thomas Warde of Mulwaith, in the p’ishe of Rippon, and M’rgery Slater, 29th May, 1579” — Entry of burial of “Marjory wife of Thomas Warde of Mulwith,” in Register at Ripon Minster, about eleven years after, 20th May, 1590.
Entry of christening of Edward, son of Christopher Wright, of Bondgate, Ripon, in Ripon Minster Registers, 6th October, 1589 — Of Eliza, daughter of Christopher Wright, of Newbie, 23rd July, 1594 — Of Francis, son of Christopher Wright, of Newbie, 12th July, 1596 — Of Marmaduke, son of Christopher Wright, of Skelton, 3rd February, 1601 — Thomas Warde, of “Mulwaith,” in 1579 — Thomas Warde, of “Mulwith,” in 1590 — Inference of propinquity between Christopher Wright and Thomas Warde, at least between years 1589 and 1590 inclusive — Thomas Warde probably in diplomatic service of Queen Elizabeth, under Sir Francis Walsingham — Probably sent on mission to Low Countries in 1585.
Proof that William Ward, a son of Marmaduke Ward, of Newby, had an uncle who lived at Court — Inference that this was Thomas Ward, member of household of Lord Mounteagle.
Inference drawn that Christopher Wright, Thomas Warde, and Lord Mounteagle were personally acquainted.xxii
Marmaduke Ward at Lapworth, in Warwickshire — Arrested by Government — Released — Inference that he had a powerful friend at Court.
Suggested proof of how Mounteagle came to be associated with Thomas Ward — Biographical and Topographical evidence adduced in support.
CHAPTER XXII. (same continued)76
CHAPTER XXIII. (same further continued)81
Letter conveyed to Hoxton on Saturday evening, 26th October, 1605, between six and seven of the clock, in pursuance of pre-arrangement — Suggested that pre-arrangement was made by Thomas Ward.
Thomas Ward sees Thomas Winter, one of the chief conspirators — Suggested inference that Christopher Wright had bidden Thomas Ward so to do — In order to compass flight of rest of conspirators.
Thomas Winter interviews Francis Tresham, one of subordinate conspirators, on Saturday night, 2nd November, one week after delivery of Letter to Lord Mounteagle.
Tresham tells Winter that Government knew of existence of the mine — How had Government such knowledge? — Suggested concatenation of evidence that Christopher Wright told fact to Thomas Ward (or Warde); Ward to Lord Mounteagle; Mounteagle to Francis Tresham; Tresham to Thomas Winter.xxiii
Earl of Suffolk (Lord Chamberlain) accompanied by Lord Mounteagle visits cellar under House of Lords, where thirty-six barrels of gunpowder are stored — They light upon Guy (or Guido) Fawkes.
Quotation from “King’s Book” — Version of Gunpowder Plot put forth by “lawful authority” — Showing procedure of Earl of Suffolk and Lord Mounteagle on search of cellar under House of Lords, Monday, 4th November — Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder stored ready for firing by Fawkes on fatal Fifth.
Quotation from the “Hatfield MSS.,” giving account of meeting at Fremland, Essex, in July, 1605 — Present thereat (amongst others) Lord Mounteagle, his brother-in-law Francis Tresham, and Father Henry Garnet, then Superior of English Jesuits — Account of Sir Edmund Baynham — Despatched in September on double mission to Pope of Rome — Baynham described — A Gloucestershire Roman Catholic gentleman — Belike of the swashbuckler type.
Christopher Wright.
Marmaduke Ward, of Newbie (or Newby), near Ripon, comes up to Lapworth, in Warwickshire — Lapworth, the birthplace of arch-conspirator Robert Catesby — One of the large Catesby Warwickshire possessions — In May, 1605, Lapworth let by Catesby to John Wright — Marmaduke Ward, brother-in-law to John Wright and Christopher Wright, arrives at Lapworth about 24th October, 1605 — Suggestion that Marmaduke Ward was sent for by Thomas Ward — In order, haply, to prevail upon brothers Wright to abandon scheme of insurrectionary stir in Midlands.xxiv
What objections against hypothesis that Christopher Wright was Revealing conspirator? — What objections against hypothesis that Father Edward Oldcorne was Penman of Letter? — Evidence of one William Handy, serving-man to Sir Everard Digby, Knt., quoted, weighed, and disposed of.
Evidence of a certain Dr. Williams, of reign of Charles II., author of pamphlet purporting to be History of the Gunpowder Treason Plot, quoted.
Probable untrustworthiness of Dr. Williams’ reported statement manifested by convincing argument — Singular story that Letter was penned by the Honourable Anne Vaux, one of the daughters of William Lord Vaux of Harrowden — Story told, examined, and disposed of.
Dr. Williams’ reported statement a faint adumbration of truth — Why? — Because Williams’ report tends to corroborate evidence that Letter emanated from Hindlip Hall — Suggestion made as to whence and how Williams’ report had its origin — The Lady of Hindlip may have guessed truth, through her womanly perspicacity.
Evidence, deductions, and suggestions finally considered tending to show that Christopher Wright after delivery of Letter exhibited consciousness of having revealed Plot.
Old Dutch print, published immediately after detection of Plot (reprinted in “Connoisseur” for November, 1901), shows Christopher Wright in act of engaging in earnest discourse with arch-conspirator Robert Catesby — Slightly tends to confirm tradition that (1) Christopher Wright firstxxv ascertained that Plot was discovered, and that (2) Christopher Wright counselled that “each conspirator should betake himself to flight in a different direction from any of his companions.”
Evidence of William Kyddall — Kyddall accompanies Christopher Wright from Lapworth (twenty miles from Hindlip Hall) to London, on Monday, 28th October — Arrive in London, on Wednesday, 30th — Evidence of Mistress Dorathie Robinson, Christopher Wright’s London landlady, as to padlocked hampers, evidently containing fresh gunpowder.
Conspirators are “shriven” and “houselled” at Huddington by Jesuit Father Nicholas Hart — Ambrose Rookwood — Rookwood “absolved” by the Jesuit priest “without remark” — Reason why suggested.
CHAPTER XLI. (same continued)134
Robert Cecil first Earl of Salisbury, Principal Secretary of State, instructs Sir Edward Coke, Attorney-General, to disclaim that any of these wrote Letter — Reason why suggested.
Archbishop Usher reported divers times to have said “that if Papists knew what he knew, the blame of the Gunpowder Treason would not lie on them” — Suggested explanation of the oracular words — Second Earl of Salisbury reported to have confessed that the Gunpowder Plot was “his father’s contrivance” — Suggested explanation of this strange report.
Critical examination of the Letter renewed — Writer must have regarded Plot as a scheme defecated of criminous quality — Reason why.xxvi
Coughton Hall (now Coughton Court), in Warwickshire, ancestral home of grand old English Roman Catholic family of Throckmorton — Father Henry Garnet, Superior of English Jesuits, harboured here from 29th October, 1605, to 16th December, 1605 — Father Oswald Tesimond at Coughton on Wednesday, 6th November — Bates sent with letters from Catesby and Sir Everard Digby to Father Garnet and Lady Digby — Bates despatched from Norbrook, in Warwickshire — Arrives at Coughton — Fathers Garnet and Tesimond have conference for half-an-hour — Garnet gives leave to Tesimond to proceed to Huddington, in Worcestershire — Whither conspirators and rebels were come, early on Wednesday, 6th November — Tesimond arrives at Huddington — Psycho-electrical will force of Catesby works on mind of Tesimond — Tesimond inspired with rebellious ardour against Government — Dashes on to Hindlip, within five miles of Huddington.
Tesimond arrives at Hindlip — Urges the Master of Hindlip and Father Oldcorne to join rebels — Master of Hindlip and Father Oldcorne decline — Anger kindled in breast of Tesimond — Rides off towards Lancashire in hope of rousing to arms dwellers in that Catholic county.
Who and what was Father Henry Garnet? — A native of Nottingham (1555) — A scholar of Winchester School — Joins Jesuit Novitiate in Rome (1575) — Problem of Garnet’s moral and legal guilt (or otherwise) impartially discussed.
CHAPTER XLVIII. (same continued)157
At the end of August, 1605, Garnet leaves London for Gothurst — Famous pilgrimage to St. Winifred’s Well, Flintshire, North Wales, about 5th September, made from Gothurst — Lady Digby, Ambrose Rookwood and his wife,xxvii the Honourable Anne Vaux, and upwards of thirty others, join the pilgrim-band — Father Garnet and Father Percy, chaplain to Sir Everard Digby, lead the cavalcade — Away about a fortnight.
Pilgrims return from St. Winifred’s Well to Gothurst — A fortnight before Michaelmas (11th October, old style) — Father Garnet at Great Harrowden, Northamptonshire, — Ancestral home of Edward Lord Vaux of Harrowden.
4th October, 1605, Father Garnet at Great Harrowden — Pens a long letter to Father Parsons in Rome.
21st October, Father Garnet at Gothurst (most probably) — Pens a short post scriptum to letter of 4th October — Blots out three lines of letter — Assigns as cause therefor “FOR REASON OF A FRIEND’S STAY IN THE WAY” — Who was this friend?
CHAPTER LIII. (Chapters XLV. and XLVI. with more particularity)172
Sir Everard Digby rents Coughton, near Alcester, Warwickshire — Sir Everard to be in command of Midland Rising against Government — Many Catholic gentlemen from Midland counties expected to rebel by reason of galling anti-Catholic persecution — Sir Everard Digby, on Sunday, 3rd November, rides to Dunchurch, near Rugby, in Warwickshire — Robert Winter, of Huddington, joined by Stephen Littleton, of Holbeach, Staffordshire, also by latter’s cousin, Humphrey Littleton — Tuesday, November 5th, Cousins Littleton, Sir Robert Digby (Coleshill), younger Acton (Ribbesford), and many others, join “hunting match” on Dunsmore Heath — Some of these gentlemen with leader, Sir Everard Digby, await arrival of Catesby and the rest of conspirators in an Inn at Dunchurch — At six of the clock in evening of Tuesday, fatal Fifth, in wild headlong flight from London, Catesby, Percy, two Wrights, and Ambrose Rookwood rush into ancient mansion-house ofxxviii Catesbies at Ashby St. Legers, Northamptonshire — Announce capture of Fawkes — Hold short council of war — Snatch up weapons of warfare — North-westwards that November night — Arrive at Dunchurch Inn — Digby told of capture of Fawkes — Many Catholic gentlemen return to their homes — Plotters and rebel-allies plunge into the darkness — Make for “Shakespeare’s country” — Arrive at Warwick by three of the clock on Wednesday morning — From stables near Warwick Castle take fresh horses, leaving their own steeds in exchange therefor — Dash on towards John Grant’s “moated grange,” Norbrook, Snitterfield (where Shakespeare’s mother held property) — At Norbrook “take bite and sup” — Rest their fatigued limbs awhile — On saddle-back once more — This time bound for Huddington, near Droitwich, Worcestershire, the seat of Robert Winter — Arrive there probably about twelve o’clock noon of Wednesday (some authorities say two o’clock in the afternoon) — Tesimond comes from Coughton to Huddington — Catesby hails Tesimond with joy — Tesimond proceeds to Hindlip Hall — On Thursday morning, at about three of the clock, all company at Huddington “assist” at Mass offered by Father Nicholas Hart, a Jesuit from Great Harrowden — Whole company “shriven and houselled” — Before daybreak all on march again north-westwards — Halt at Whewell Grange, seat of the Lord Windsor — There help themselves to large store of arms and armour — Plotters and rebels then numbered about sixty all told — Cross the River Stour, in flood — A cart of gunpowder rendered “dank” in crossing — Proceed to Holbeach House, in Staffordshire — Mansion-house of Stephen Littleton, Esquire, a Roman Catholic gentleman of ancient lineage.
High Sheriffs of Warwickshire and Worcestershire with posse comitatus in pursuit — Plotters and rebels arrive at Holbeach (near Stourbridge) at ten of the clock on Thursday night — Early Friday morning explosion of drying gunpowder at Holbeach — Catesby, Rookwood, and Grant burnt — Catesby unnerved — Arch-conspirator and others betake themselvesxxix to prayers — “Litanies and such like” — Make an hour’s “meditation” — About eleven of the clock on Friday, 8th November, Sheriff of Worcestershire and “hue and cry” surround Holbeach — Siege laid thereto — Thomas Winter disabled by an arrow from crossbow — Catesby and Percy, standing sword in hand, shot by one musket — Catesby expires — John Wright wounded unto death — Christopher Wright mortally wounded — Percy grievously wounded — Dies a day or two afterwards — Ambrose Rookwood wounded — Sir Everard Digby apprehended — Rest taken prisoners, except Stephen Littleton and Robert Winter, who escape.
Father Henry Garnet changes his mind — Does not go up to London — But from Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire, goes down to Coughton, in Warwickshire, on the 29th October — All Saints’ Day (November 1st) at Coughton Hall (now Coughton Court) — Mass “offered” by Father Garnet.
Stephen Littleton, the Master of Holbeach, and Robert Winter, the Master of Huddington, harboured at Rowley Regis, in Staffordshire, by a tenant of Humphrey Littleton, Esquire, of Hagley, Worcestershire, a cousin to Stephen Littleton — Humphrey Littleton harbours the two fugitives from justice at Hagley House, home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. John Littleton — Both fugitives betrayed by man-cook at Hagley — Delivered over to the officers of the law and conveyed to the Tower of London.
Humphrey Littleton consults Father Edward Oldcorne, the Jesuit, respecting the moral rightness or wrongness of the Gunpowder Plot — Father Oldcorne’s Reply to Littleton in extenso.
Reply analyzed — Divisible into two distinct parts — First part: gives an answer sounding in abstract truth alone, in otherxxx words, leaves Littleton in abstracto — Second part: disclaims knowledge of end plotters had in view and means they had recourse to.
Metaphysical Argument grounded on Oldcorne’s Reply to Humphrey Littleton — Argument seeks to demonstrate that from tenour and purport of Oldcorne’s Reply, the Jesuit must have had a special interior knowledge of the Plot.
CHAPTER LX. (same continued)195
CHAPTER LXI. (same continued)198
CHAPTER LXII. (same continued)200
CHAPTER LXIII. (same continued)201
CHAPTER LXIV. (same continued)204
CHAPTER LXV. (same continued)208
CHAPTER LXVI. (same continued)210
CHAPTER LXVII. (same continued)212
CHAPTER LXVIII. (same continued)215
CHAPTER LXIX. (same continued)220
Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne captured at Hindlip Hall the last week of January, 1605-6 — Conveyed to the Tower of London — Father Oldcorne “racked five times, and once with the greatest severity for several hours” — On 7th April, 1606, at Redhill, near Worcester, Father Edward Oldcorne, Priest and Jesuit, hanged, drawn, and quartered as a traitor — Brother Ralph Ashley, his servant, hanged at the same time and place.
True inferences to be drawn from Father Oldcorne’s “last dying speech and confession.”xxxi
Edward Oldcorne — Ralph Ashley.
Thomas Ward.
Guy Fawkes.
Letter of Lord Bishop of Worcester (Dr. Bilson), to Sir Robert Cecil, as to Diocese of Worcester.
Thomas Ward (or Warde).
Mulwith, near Ripon.
Plowland, Holderness.
Equivocation. Letter of the Rev. George Canning, S.J., Professor of Ethics, St. Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst.xxxii
Circumstantial Evidence defined. (a) Evidence generally: (by Mr. Frank Pick, York).
Discrepancy as to date when immaterial (per Lord Chief Justice Scroggs, temp. Charles II.).
List of those apprehended for Plot in Warwickshire, &c. (a) List of those frequenting Clopton (or Clapton) Hall, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.
Richard Browne (servant to Christopher Wright), his evidence.
William Grantham (servant to Hewett, Hatter), his evidence.
Robert Rookes (servant to Ambrose Rookwood), his evidence.
John Cradock (Cutler), his evidence.
Lord Chief Justice Popham’s statement as to Christopher Wright.
Sir Richard Verney, Knt., John Ferrers, William Combe, Bart. Hales (Warwickshire Justices): Joint Statement to Earl of Salisbury, as to Mrs. John Grant and Mrs. Thomas Percy.
Paris (boatman), his evidence, as to taking Guy Fawkes to Gravelines, France, during “vacation,” 1605.xxxiii
Miss Emma M. Walford, her opinion as to resemblance between Edward Oldcorne’s original Declaration of 12th March, 1605-6, and original Letter to Lord Mounteagle (both in Record Office, Chancery Lane, London, W.C.).
Professor Bertram C. A. Windle, M.D., F.R.S., his opinion as to distances between certain localities in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire, and Buckinghamshire.
Letter of Lieut.-Colonel Carmichael as to same.
Order of Queen Elizabeth in Council, dated 31st December, 1582, addressed to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of York.
NOTE (as to authenticity of Thomas Winter’s Confession)323
NOTES (1-180)327



The author regrets to have to request his indulgent readers to be kind enough to make the following corrections [Transcriber’s Note: These have been applied.]: —

Page 19, line 14 from top. — Put ) after word “conspirators,” not after word “Tresham.”
Page 77, line 9 from top. — Read: and “great great grandfather of Philip Howard Earl of Arundel,” instead of “great-grandfather.”
Page 79, in note, line 5 from top. — Read: “ninth Earl of Carlisle,” instead of “seventh Earl of Carlisle.”
Page 87, in note, line 8 from bottom. — Read: “Burns & Oates.”
Page 117, line 5 from top. — Read: “William Abington,” instead of “Thomas Abington.”
Page 122, in note, line 2 from top. — Read: “Duke of Beaufort,” instead of “Duke of St. Albans.”
Page 140, line 4 from top. — Read: “incarcerated,” instead of “inccarerated.”
Page 285, in note, line 2 from top. — Read: “kinswoman,” instead of “kinsman.”
Page 321, line 16 from top. — Read: “Deprave,” instead of “depeave.”



In order that the problem of the Gunpowder Plot may be understood, it is necessary for the reader to bear in mind that there were three movements — distinct though connected — against the Government on the part of the oppressed Roman Catholic recusants in the year 1605. The first of these movements was a general wave of insurrectionary feeling, of which there is evidence in Yorkshire as far back as 1596; in Lancashire about 1600; and in Herefordshire, at a later date, much more markedly. Then there was the Gunpowder Plot itself. And, lastly, there was the rebellion that was planned to take place in the Midlands, which, to a very limited extent, did take place, and in the course of which four of the conspirators were slain. That Salisbury’s spies and decoys — who were, like Walsingham’s, usually not Protestants but “bad Catholics” — had something to do with stirring up the general revolutionary feeling is more than probable; but that either he or they planned, either jointly or severally, the particular enterprise known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot — which was as insane as it was infamous — I do not for a moment believe.

All students of English History, however, are greatly indebted to the Rev. John Gerard, S.J., for his threexxxvi recent critical works on this subject; but still that the main outlines of the Plot are as they have come down to us by tradition, to my mind, Dr. Samuel Rawson Gardiner abundantly proves in his book in reply to the Rev. John Gerard.

The names of the works to which I refer are: — “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” the Rev. J. Gerard, S.J. (Osgood, McIlvaine & Co.); “The Gunpowder Plot and Plotters” (Harper Bros.); “Thomas Winter’s Confession and the Gunpowder Plot” (Harper Bros.); and “What Gunpowder Plot was,” S. R. Gardiner, D.C.L., LL.D. (Longmans).

The Articles in “The Dictionary of National Biography” dealing with the chief actors in this notable tragedy are all worthy of careful perusal.

The History of the Jesuits in England, 1580-1773,” by the Rev. Ethelred L. Taunton, with twelve illustrations (Methuen & Co., 1901), contains a chapter on the Gunpowder Plot; and the Plot is referred to in Major Hume’s recent work, entitled, “Treason and Plot” (Nisbet, 1901).



One of the unsolved problems of English History is the question: “Who wrote the Letter to the Lord Mounteagle?” surely, one of the most momentous documents ever penned by the hand of man, which discovered the Gunpowder Treason, and so saved a King of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland — to say nothing of France — his Royal Consort, his Counsellors, and Senators, from a bloody, cruel, and untimely death.

In every conspiracy there is a knave or a fool, and sometimes, happily, “a repentant sinner.”

Now it is well known that the contrivers of the Gunpowder Treason themselves suspected Francis Tresham — a subordinate conspirator and brother-in-law to Lord Mounteagle — and many historians have rashly jumped to the conclusion that, therefore, Tresham must have been the author.

But, when charged at Barnet by Catesby and Thomas Winter, two of his infuriated fellow-plotters, with having sent the Letter, Tresham so stoutly and energetically denied the charge that his denial saved him from the point of their poniards.

Moreover, the suspected man when a prisoner in the Tower of London, and even when in the act of throwing himself on the King’s mercy, never gave the faintest hint that the Letter was attributable to him. But, on the contrary, actually stated first that he had intended to reveal the treason, and secondly that he had been guilty of concealment.


Now, as a rule, “all that a man hath will he give for his life.” Therefore it is impossible, in the face of this direct testimony of Tresham, to maintain that to him the discovery of the Plot is due: and the force of the argument grounded on Tresham’s being the brother-in-law to Mounteagle, and that the accused man showed an evident desire that the Plot should be postponed, if not altogether abandoned, melts away like snow before the sun.[1][2][A]

[A] See Notes at End of Text, indicated by figures in [ ].

To whatever decision the Historical Inquirer into this hitherto inscrutable mystery is destined to come after reviewing and weighing the Evidence now available — which to-day is more abundant from a variety of accidental circumstances, than when Lingard and Mackintosh, and even Gardiner and Green, wrote their histories — it is manifest that the Inquirer’s decision in the matter cannot be as certain as a mathematical conclusion. But, it may be morally certain, because of the many degrees of probability that the information now ready to our hand will inevitably give that are favourable to the conclusion which the following pages will seek, by the evidence of facts, to sustain. And, as the ancient historian tersely says: “Ubi res adsunt, quid opus est verbis?” — “Where facts are at hand, what need is there for words?”

The Evidence to be relied on is mainly the evidence known as Circumstantial,[B] and consists of two classes of acts. One of these classes leads up to the performance of the transaction — namely, in the one case, the dictating of the Letter by the primary Author; in the other case, the penning of the Document by the secondary Scribe. Whilst the other class of acts tends to3 demonstrate that the Author of the Letter and the Penman respectively were conscious, subsequent to the commission of the transaction — in the former case, of having incurred the responsibility of being the originating Cause of the Document; in the latter case, of being the Agent for its physical production.

[B] As to the nature of Circumstantial Evidence — see Appendix.

Before we begin to collect our Evidence, and, à fortiori, before we begin to consider the inferences from the same, we ought to bear in mind certain fixities of thought, or, in other words, certain self-evident fundamentals which are grounded in logic and daily experience. These fixities of thought or self-evident fundamentals will be points from which the reason of the Historical Inquirer can take swing. And not only so; but — like the cords of the rocket life-saving apparatus of the eager mariner — they will be lines of attachment and rules of thought, whereby first to secure to ourselves the available Evidence; and secondly, to prove to the intellect the truth of a theory which, if allowed, shall redound, in respect of courage and integrity, to the praise and honour of Man.



Now, to my mind, it is a proposition so plain as not to require arguing, that there must have been at least two persons engaged in the two-fold transaction of dictating the Letter and of being the penman of the same. For although it is, of course, physically possible that the work may have been accomplished by one and the same person, yet that there was a division of labour in the two-fold transaction is infinitely the more likely supposal: because of the terrible risk to the revealing conspirator of his handwriting being detected by the Government authorities, and, through them, by his co-partners in guilt, should he have rashly adventured to be his own scribe; and this though he feigned his penmanship never so cunningly.

Now if such were the case, it follows that there must have been some second person — some entirely trustworthy friend — in the conspirator’s confidence. Nay, if the exigencies of the nature and posture of affairs demanded it, a third person, or even a fourth, might have been also taken into confidence. But only if absolutely necessary. For the risk of detection would be proportioned to the number of persons in the secret: — it being a rule of common prudence in such cases that confidences must not be unnecessarily multiplied.

Therefore it follows that, supposing there was a second person in the confidence of the “discovering” or revealing conspirator to pen the Letter; and supposing5 there was a third person in the confidence of that conspirator, with or without the knowledge and consent of the second person, to act as a go-between, an “interpres,” between the conspirator and Lord Mounteagle, these two persons must have been very trustworthy persons indeed.

Now a man trusts his fellow-man in proportion as he has had knowledge of him either directly or indirectly; directly by personal contact, indirectly through the recommendation of some competent authority.

Experientia docet. Experience teaches. A man has knowledge of his fellow-man as the resultant of the experience gained from relationship of some kind or another. And relationship is created by kinship, friendship, or business — intending the word “business” to embrace activity resulting from thought, word, and deed extending to the widest range of human interests conceivable. Relationship creates bonds, ties, obligations between the several persons united by it.

Hence, the practical conclusion is to be drawn that if “the discovering” or disclosing Gunpowder conspirator, with a view to revealing the intended massacre, had recourse to one or more confidants, they must have been one or more person or persons who were united to him by kinship, friendship, or business, in the sense predicated, possibly in all three, and that they must have been persons bound to him by bonds, which if “light as air were strong as iron.”

Let us now turn to the Evidence to-day available bearing upon the momentous document under consideration. We will begin by saying a few words respecting the Lord Mounteagle, whose name, at least, the Gunpowder Treason will have for ever enshrined in the remembrance of the British people.



William Parker,[3] the son and heir of Lord Morley, whose barony had been created by King Edward I. in 1299, was called to the House of Lords as the fourth Baron Mounteagle, in right of his mother the Honourable Elizabeth Stanley, the only child and heiress of the third Baron Mounteagle, whose wife was a Leybourne of Westmoreland.

At the time of the Plot (1605) the fourth Lord Mounteagle was thirty years of age. His principal country residence appears to have been at Great Hallingbury, near Bishop Stortford, in the County of Essex. His chief town-house seems to have been in the Strand. He married before he was eighteen years of age, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham of Rushton, Northamptonshire, a high-minded, scholarly Roman Catholic gentleman of great wealth, who had been knighted at Kenilworth by Queen Elizabeth in 1577.

Mounteagle was connected through his mother alone, to say nothing of his father, with some of the noblest families in the land. Besides the then well-nigh princely Lancashire House, the Stanleys Earls of Derby, to whom he was related in both the paternal and maternal lines, through his mother Elizabeth Stanley, Mounteagle was related, as cousin once removed, to those twain gracious, beautiful souls, Anne Dacres Countess of Arundel and Surrey, widow of the sainted Philip Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey, and to her sister the Lady Elizabeth Howard, wife of “Belted Will Howard”[4] of7 Naworth Castle, the ancient home of the Lords Dacres of Gilsland, near Carlisle, commonly called the Lords Dacres of the North, in contradistinction to the Lords Dacres of the South, of Hurstmonceaux Castle in the County of Sussex.

Mounteagle was, therefore, through his mother, a near kinsman to the remarkable Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel, who married Aletheia, the only child and heiress of Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, and god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth.

This Earl of Arundel eventually became the well-known patron of the fine arts. But in the year 1605 the young peer had not yet quite attained his majority.

Mounteagle, again, through his mother’s relationship with the gifted Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel just mentioned, would be also connected with a nobleman who at that epoch was counted a very model of “the pomp, pride, and circumstance of ancient nobility,” with John Lord Lumley[5] of Lumley Castle in the County Palatine of Durham, whose wife was Jane, daughter of Henry Fitzalan Earl of Arundel, a nobleman “exceeding magnifical,” who indeed in his day had even cherished aspirations to the hand of the last representative of the Royal House of Tudor herself.

Lord Mounteagle consorted much with English Roman Catholics, and, in some sense, prior to the year 1605, was of that religion himself. He had been present with his wife’s brother Francis Tresham a little after the Midsummer of 1605 at Fremland in Essex, on the occasion of the celebrated meeting when Father Henry Garnet, the head of the Jesuits in England, took occasion to have special warning speech with Catesby respecting a general question propounded by Catesby to Garnet about a month or six weeks previously (i.e., the beginning of Trinity Term,8 1605), and from the answer to which general question Catesby shamefully drew that particular conclusion which the promptings of his evil will desired, in order that the enormity he had purposed might be made acceptable to the wavering conscience of any dubious fellow-plotter against whose resurgent sense of right and wrong he thought he might have to strive.

Lord Mounteagle is a difficult man accurately to reckon up, either intellectually, morally, or religiously. For he seems in all three aspects to have been a slightly ambiguous person.[A] Yet certainly he was no mere titled fool, with a head-piece like a windmill. Far from it: he was probably a man of sufficient, though not, I think, of the very highest intelligence, good-natured, easy-going, and of very engaging manners.[B]

[A] It is curious and amusing to hear that the following was the opinion of Robert Catesby concerning the peerage of his day: — “He made account of the nobility as of atheists, fools, and cowards; and that lusty bodies would be better for the commonwealth than they.” — See “Keyes’ Examination,” Record Office.

[B] A certain English periodical, a few years ago, spoke admiringly of Lord Mounteagle’s twentieth century connection, the present Duke of Devonshire, as being one’s beau-ideal of the “you-be-damned” type of Englishman. Probably the same periodical would have found, had it been in existence in the seventeenth century, a similar contentment in the contemplation of the fourth Lord Mounteagle.

By his contemporaries, it is evident that even prior to 1605 Mounteagle was made much of and greatly courted. But less, I opine, on account of the intellectual and moral qualities wherewith he was endowed, than on account of the exalted station of his kith and kin and the general excellency and eminency of his own external graces and gifts of fortune.

So much, then, for the present, concerning the now famous William Parker fourth Baron Mounteagle, whom History has crowned with a wreath of immortals.



On Saturday, the 26th of October, ten days before the intended meeting of Parliament,[A] Lord Mounteagle, we are told, unexpectedly and without any apparent reason or previous notice, directed a supper to be prepared at his mansion at Hoxton, where he had not been for more than a twelve-month before that date.

[A] Parliament had been prorogued from the 3rd of October to the 5th of November. Lord Mounteagle was one of the Commissioners.

The “Confession” by Thomas Winter, which I regard as genuine, I have also drawn upon freely in my relation of facts. — See Appendix.

It will be well, however, to relate the history of what occurred in the exact words provided for us in a work published by King James’s printer, and put forth as “the authorised version” of the facts that it recorded. The work bears the title — “A Discourse of the late intended Treason,” anno 1605. “The Discourse” says: — “The Lord Mounteagle, sonne and heire to the Lord Morley, being in his own lodging ready to go to supper at seven of the clock at night one of his footmen whom he had sent of an errand over the streete was met by an unknown man of a reasonable tall personage[6] who delivered him a Letter charging him to put it in my Lord his Master’s hands, which my Lord no sooner received but that having broken it up and perceiving the same to be of an unknown and somewhat unlegible hand, and without either date or subscription, did call10 one of his men unto him for helping him to read it. But no sooner did he conceive the strange contents thereof, although he was somewhat perplexed what construction to make of it ... yet did he as a most dutifull and loyall subject conclude not to conceal it, whatever might come of it. Whereupon notwithstanding the latenesse and darknesse of the night in that season of the year, he presently repaired to his Majesties palace at Whitehall and there delivered the same to the Earle of Salisbury his majesties principall secretarie.”

The Letter was as follows: —

“My lord out of the loue i beare yowe to some of youere frends i haue a caer of youer preseruacion therfor i would aduyse yowe as yowe tender youer lyf to deuys some exscuse to shift of youer attendance at this parleament for god and man hath concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme and thinke not slightlye of this aduertisment but retyere youre self into youre contri wheare yowe maye expect the euent in safti for thowghe[7] theare be no apparance of anni stir yet i saye they shall receyue a terrible blowe this parleament and yet they shall not sei who hurts them this councel is not to be contemned because it maye do yowe good and can do yowe no harme for the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter and i hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good use of it to whose holy proteccion i comend yowe.”

(Addressed on the back) to “the ryght honorable the lord mouteagle.”

The full name of the member of Lord Mounteagle’s household who read the Letter to Lord Mounteagle, we learn, was Thomas Ward.[8]

Ward was acquainted with Thomas Winter, one of the11 principal Gunpowder plotters; for Winter himself had formerly been in Mounteagle’s service, and at the time of the Plot was almost certainly on amicable terms with the young nobleman.

On the 27th of October, the day following the delivery of the Letter, Thomas Ward came to Thomas Winter (being Sunday at night) and told him that a Letter had been given to Lord Mounteagle, which the latter presently had carried to Robert Cecil Earl of Salisbury. — “Winter’s Confession.

Winter, thereupon, the next day, Monday, the 28th October, went to a house called White Webbs, not far from Lord Salisbury’s mansion Theobalds.

White Webbs was a lone and (then) half-timbered dwelling, “with many trap doors and passages,” surrounded by woods, near Enfield Chase, ten miles north of Westminster.

At this secluded spot Thomas Winter had speech with Catesby, the arch-conspirator, “assuring him withal that the matter was disclosed and wishing him in anywise to forsake his country.” — “Winter’s Confession.

Catesby told Winter, “he would see further as yet and resolved to send Mr. Fawkes to try the uttermost protesting if the part belonged to himself he would try the same adventure.” — “Winter’s Confession.

On Wednesday, the 30th October, from White Webbs, “Mr. Fawkes,” as Thomas Winter styles him, went to the cellar under the House of Lords, where thirty-six barrels of powder, wood, and coal were stored in readiness for the bloody slaughter purposed for November the Fifth.

Fawkes returned to White Webbs at night, at which the conspirators “were very glad.” Fawkes had found in the cellar his “private marks” all undisturbed.


“The next day after the delivery of the Letter,” says Stowe (though as a fact it was probably five days after the delivery of the momentous document, namely, on the following Thursday), this self-same “Thomas Winter told Christopher Wright” — a subordinate conspirator, — “that he (Winter) understood an obscure letter had been delivered to Lord Mounteagle, who had conveyed it to Salisbury.”[9]

Hence, most probably, either Thomas Winter went in search of Christopher Wright to afford him this piece of information; or Wright went in search of Winter to obtain it.

At about five o’clock in the morning of Tuesday, November, the Fifth, about five hours after Fawkes’ apprehension by Sir Thomas Knevet and his men,[10] the said Christopher Wright went to the chamber of the said Thomas Winter and told him that a nobleman (i.e., the Earl of Worcester, Master of the Horse) “had called (i.e., summoned) the Lord Mounteagle, saying, ‘Rise and come along to Essex House,[11] for I am going to call up my Lord of Northumberland,’ saying withal, ‘the matter is discovered.’” — “Winter’s Confession.

Of this conspirator, Christopher Wright, it is said,[12] that “he was the first to ascertain that the Plot was discovered.” Probably this refers to the information he (Christopher Wright) obtained as the upshot of his interview with Winter on (probably) Thursday, the 31st October.

Christopher Wright was, likewise, the first to announce the apprehension of Fawkes on the morning of the 5th of November.

It is also further said of Christopher Wright by one[13] who wrote during the last century, that “He advised that each of the conspirators should betake13 himself to flight in a different direction from his companions. Had this been followed several of them would have probably succeeded in making their escape to the continent. The conspirators, however, adopted another course, which issued in their discomfiture in Staffordshire, where Christopher Wright was also killed.”



During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and during the earlier part of the reign of King James I., almost all those castellated castles, moated halls, and gabled manor-houses which to-day, still standing more or less perfect, “amidst their tall ancestral trees o’er all the pleasant land,” go to constitute that “old England” which her sons and daughters (and their brethren and kinsfolk beyond the seas) know and love so well; during the reign of Elizabeth and during the earlier part of the reign of James I., these now time-honoured, ivy-clad abodes and dwellings of English men and English women, over whom the grave has long since closed, but who in their day and generation were assuredly among the heroic and the supremely excellent of the earth, were the sheltering, romantic roof-trees of those who clung tenaciously to the ancient religious Faith of the English race.

This Faith was indeed that faith which had been taken and embraced by their “rude forefathers” of long ages ago, in the simple hope and with the pathetic trust that it might “do them good.”[A] And this their hope, they believed and knew, had been not in vain, neither had been their trust betrayed.

[A] See the beautiful apologue of the Saxon nobleman of Deira, delivered in the presence of St. Edwin King of Northumbria; given in Bede’s “Ecclesiastical History.”


In the days of the second Henry Tudor — fons et origo malorum — the fountain-head and well-spring of almost all of England’s many present-day religious and social woes — the men and women of England and Wales knew full well, whether they were of Cymric, Saxon, Scandinavian, or Norman race (or a mixture of all four), that to that assemblage of ideas and emotions, laws and rules, habits and customs, which had come to them from men of foreign blood and alien name, dwelling on the banks of the far-off “yellow Tiber” and under sunny, blue Italian skies — these men and women, I repeat, knew full well that to their religious Faith they owed almost everything that was best and truest and most enduring, either in themselves or their kith and kin.[A]

[A] Yorkshire, being the greatest of English Shires, had among the inhabitants of its hills and dales and “sounding shores,” representatives of the various races which compose the English nation. In the West Riding especially, those of the old Cymric or British stock were to be found. (Indeed, I am told, even now shepherds often count their sheep by the old British numerals.) This strong remnant of the old British race in the West Riding probably accounts for the marvellous gift of song wherewith this division of Yorkshiremen are endowed to this day, just as are the Welsh. In none other portion of England was there such a wealth of stately churches and beautiful monasteries as in Yorkshire, the ancient Deira, whose melodious name once kept ringing in the ears of St. Gregory the Great, of a truth, the best friend the English people ever had. But Yorkshire realised that “before all temples” the One above “preferred the upright heart and pure.” Therefore, canonized saints arose from among her vigorous, keen-minded, yet poetically imaginative sons and daughters. York became sacred to St. Paulinus and St. William; Ripon to St. Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex; also to St. Willibrord, the Apostle of Holland; Beverley was hallowed by the presence of St. John of Beverley; Whitby by the Saxon princess St. Hilda, the friend of Caedmon, the father of English poetry. The moors of Lastingham were blest by the presence of St. Chad and St. Cedd; and Knaresbrough by St. Robert, in his leafy stone-cave hard-by the winding Nidd.

Now regard being had to the indisputable fact that for well-nigh a thousand years England had been known abroad as “the Dowry of Mary and the Island of Saints,” by reason of the signal manifestations she had displayed in the way of cathedrals and churches, abbeys and priories, convents and nunneries, hospitals and schools (which arose up and down the length and breadth of the land to Northward and Southward, to East and West,16 thereby, by the aid of art, adding even to England’s rare natural beauty), it was never at all likely that the bulk of the English people would, all on a sudden, cast off their cherished beliefs and hallowed affections respecting the deepest central questions of human life.[14]

Moreover, it may be taken as a general rule, to be remembered and applied by princes and statesmen, all the world over and for all time, that Man is a creature “full of religious instincts:” — “too superstitious,” should it be thought more accurate and desirable so to describe this undoubted habit and bent of the human mind.

Thence it follows that it is the merest fatuous folly for princes and statesmen if and when they have got themselves entangled in a false position, from some external cause or causes having little or no relation to the Invisible and the Eternal, to bid their subjects and denizens, “right about turn,” at a moment’s notice: however “bright and blissful” such mental evolutions may be deemed to be by those who have unwisely taken it into their foolish head to issue the irrational command.[A]

[A] That able and strong-minded Englishman, Dr. Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, said (in 1901) in the House of Lords, during the debates on that pathetically ridiculous document, the Sovereign’s Declaration against Popery, when speaking on Lord Salisbury’s proposed amended form, that England was resolved “to stand no interference with her religion from the outside.” It is a good thing that the heathen Kings Ethelbert and Edwin were less abnormally patriotic 1300 years ago. For the idea of “independence” has to be held subject to the “golden mean” of “nothing too much.” A fetish must not be made of that idea, especially by a people conscious of lofty imperial destiny. And “unity” must there be between ideas that are controlling fundamentals — in other words, between ideas intellectual, moral, and spiritual.


Now, in the days of Queen Elizabeth[A] those whom religious loyalty prompted to worship supremely “the God of their fathers” after a manner that those eager for change counted “idolatry,” were marked by different mental characteristics. This was so throughout England; but especially was it so in those five northern counties which comprised what was then by Catholics proudly styled “the faithful North.”

[A] The mother of Queen Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn, died reconciled to the Church of Rome. Her daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, was brought up in the tenets of that Church; but, like one type of the children of the Renaissance, Elizabeth was unconsciously “a Tribal Deist.” Margaret Roper, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, was equally “cultured,” but she accepted the Catholic tradition in its letter and in its spirit. I may here state that I have a great intellectual admiration for Queen Elizabeth, whose virtues were her own, while her faults, to a large extent, were her monstrous father’s and her Privy Counsellors’, who told her not what she ought to do but what she could do, which no really faithful adviser of a Sovereign ever does.

Some of these English “leile and feile,” that is loyal and faithful, servants of Rome were, on the subjective side, retained in their allegiance to the Visible Head of Christendom by bonds formed by mere natural piety and conservative feeling — dutiful affections of Nature which are the promise and the pledge of much that is best in the Teutonic race.

Others were mainly ruled by an overmastering sense of that lofty humility which foes call pride, but friends dignity.

Whilst a third class were persuaded, by intense intellectual, moral, and spiritual conviction that — “in and by the power of divine grace” — come what might,18 nothing should separate them from those hereditary beliefs which were dearer to them far than not merely earthly goods, lands, and personal liberty, but even than their very life.

This last-mentioned class, from and after the year 1580, “the year of the Lord’s controversy with Sion,” as the old English Catholics regarded it, who loved to recall that “good time” when Campion and Parsons “poured out their soul in words,” especially Campion, who was remembered in the north for three generations: this last-mentioned class, I say, were oftentimes, though certainly not always, found to be greatly attached to the then new Society of Jesus, which, in England, was in the glow and purity of its first fervour.

This last-mentioned class — I mean the Jesuitically-affected class of English Catholics — were also again sub-divided into three sub-divisions. One sub-division was composed of Mystics; another of Politicians; and a third of those who, realising a higher unity, were at once Mystics and Politicians — or, in other phraseology, they were Men of Thought and Men of Action.

Now, the Gunpowder conspirators belonged to the last-mentioned class, and to the second division of that class. That is to say, they were mere Politicians, speaking broadly and speaking generally.



It hath been truly observed by one of the most knowing and candid of modern students of Elizabethan biographical literature, that Sir William Catesby, the father of the arch-gunpowder conspirator, Robert Catesby, in common with the great majority of the country gentry throughout England, who were resident upon their own estates, and unconnected with the oligarchy which ruled in the Queen’s name (i.e., Queen Elizabeth’s) at Court, threw in his lot with the Catholic party, and suffered in consequence of his conscientious adherence to the old creed.[A]

[A] Dr. Augustus Jessopp: Article — “Robert Catesby,” “National Dictionary of Biography.”

While Sir Thomas Tresham (the brother-in-law of the last-mentioned Sir William Catesby and father of Francis Tresham, one of the subordinate conspirators), was so attached to the ancient faith of the English people that, we are told, he not only regularly paid — by way of fines — for more than twenty years, the sum of £260 per annum, about £2,080 a year in our money, into the Treasury rather than not maintain what (to him) was “a conscience void of offence,” but he also spent at least twenty-one years of his life in prison, after being Star-Chambered in the year 1581 along with Lord Vaux of Harrowden and his brother-in-law, Sir William Catesby, on a charge of harbouring Campion.


The Fleet prison in London, Banbury Castle and Ely — his “familiar prison,” as Sir Thomas Tresham pleasantly styled the last-named place of incarceration — were the habitations wherein he was enabled to make it his boast in a letter to Lord Henry Howard, afterwards the Earl of Northampton, writ in the year 1603, “that he had now completed his triple apprenticeship in direst adversity, and that he should be content to serve a like long apprenticeship to prevent the foregoing of his beloved, beautiful, and graceful Rachel; for it seemed to him but a few days for the love he had to her.”[A]

[A] Quoted from papers found at Rushton in Northamptonshire, the seat of Sir Thomas Tresham, which he himself designed, being an architect of some skill.

Well may the spiritual descendants to-day of these grand old Elizabethan Catholics exclaim: — “Their very memory is pure and bright, and our sad thoughts doth cheer!”



The men known to history as the Gunpowder Plotters were thirteen in number.

They were at first Robert Catesby, already mentioned, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy, John Wright, and Guy (or Guido) Fawkes.

Subsequently, there were added to these five — Robert Keyes, Christopher Wright (a younger brother of John Wright), and lastly Robert Winter (an elder brother of Thomas Winter),[A] Ambrose Rookwood, John Grant, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham, and Thomas Bates.

[A] Lord Edmund Talbot, brother to the present Duke of Norfolk, K.G., Hereditary Earl Marshal of England, is allied to Robert Winter, through the latter’s marriage with Gertrude Talbot, the daughter of John Talbot, Esquire, of Grafton in Worcestershire. The brother of Gertrude Winter became Earl of Shrewsbury. John Talbot had married a daughter of Sir William Petre. Lord Edmund Talbot, I believe, now owns Huddington.

Of these thirteen conspirators, all, with the exception of Thomas Bates, a serving-man of Robert Catesby, were, as Fawkes said, “gentlemen of name and blood.”

Thomas Percy was the eldest of the conspirators and in 1605 was about forty-five years of age.

Sir Everard Digby was the youngest, being twenty-four years of age, whilst the ages of the others ranged betwixt and between.[15]

Thomas Percy, a native of Beverley, an ancient and historic town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, was therefore a Yorkshireman by birth. He was the son of Edward22 Percy and Elizabeth his wife. Though not the ringleader of the band of conspirators, Thomas Percy must have cut the greatest figure in the eyes of the public at large. For he was a “kinsman” of Henry, ninth Earl of Northumberland, according to the testimony of the Earl himself,[16] and through this nobleman Thomas Percy had been made Captain of the Pensioners-in-Ordinary — Gentlemen of Honour — in attendance at Court. At the time of the Plot, too, Thomas Percy — the Constable of Alnwick and Warkworth Castles — acted as officer or agent for his noble kinsman’s large northern estates, at Alnwick, Warkworth, Topcliffe, Spofforth, and elsewhere.

Robert Catesby, the arch-conspirator, was — as we have seen already — the son and heir of Sir William Catesby, whose wife was a daughter of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton in Warwickshire.

Sir William Catesby was a gentleman of ancient, historic and distinguished lineage, who had large possessions in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire, yielding him about £3,000 a year, or probably from £24,000 to £30,000 a year in our money.

These large estates his ill-fated son Robert Catesby succeeded to in expectancy in 1598.[17]

Catesby, the younger, diminished his annual revenue very considerably by involving himself in the rising of the brilliant Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex (1601), who had given to Catesby a promise of toleration for Catholic recusants, who chafed greatly under a system of politico-theological persecution, at once galling, cruel and despicable.

But this promise of toleration was conditioned by the very vital condition precedent that the insurrectionary movement of the gallant but rash Essex against the Government of Elizabeth had a successful issue.


The movement, however, was emphatically not smiled on by Fortune, that fickle goddess, with the result that Catesby found himself locked up in prison, and was only ransomed by payment of a sum of £3,000.

This heavy fine, together with the fact that in the year 1605 his mother, the Dowager Lady Catesby, was living at Ashby St. Legers in Northamptonshire, and owned for life all rents of the estates, except Chastleton near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, seems to have been the cause that, at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, Catesby had not any very great amount of ready money in hand.

Besides this, until some four or five years prior to 1603, the year of the death of Queen Elizabeth, when he began to practise the religion which in 1580 his father, Sir William Catesby, had embraced or re-embraced, and for which the latter had suffered imprisonment and heavy fines, Robert Catesby “was very wild; and as he kept company with the best noblemen of the land, so he spent much above his rate, and so wasted also good part of his living.”

“He was of person above two yards[18] high, and though slender, yet as well proportioned to his height as any man one should see.” He was, moreover, reputed to be “very wise and of great judgment, though his utterance was not so good. Besides, he was so liberal, and apt to help all sorts, as it got him much love.”

At the time of the Plot Catesby was about thirty-five years of age. He had married Catherine Leigh, a daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh, of Stoneleigh, a Protestant gentleman of wealth and influence in Warwickshire. The Parish Register of Chastleton has the following entry: — “Robert Catesbie, son of Robert Catesbie, was baptised the 11th day of November, 1595.”[19] He had only this one surviving child, who is said to have married the only child of Thomas Percy.


Catesby had the misfortune to lose his wife by death before the year 1602, and at the time of the Plot his home seems to have been with his mother, the Dowager Lady Catesby, at Ashby St. Legers in the County of Northampton, the family ancestral seat. For in 1602 he had sold his residence, Chastleton, in Oxfordshire.

Now, as Robert Catesby, it seems by many circumstances, was the first inventor and chiefest furtherer of the Plot, it is worth while thus lingering on a description of what manner of man he was.

It, however, may be asked how came it to pass that this one person gained such prodigious ascendency over twelve other persons so as to make them, in the event, as mischievously, nay fatally, deluded as himself?

The answer is manifold: for besides the wrongs which these ruthless plotters sought to avenge, they evidently came under a potent psychological spell when they came under the influence of this wayward, yet fascinating, son of the brilliant age of Elizabeth — an age in which men’s intellectual and physical powers too often attained a complete mastery over their moral powers.[20]

For a proof of Catesby’s immense influence over others, it may be mentioned that Ambrose Rookwood, one of those whose blood afterwards stained the scaffold at the early age of twenty-seven for his share in the wicked scheme, says of Catesby that “he (Rookwood) loved and respected him as his own life.”[21]

Four things seem to have caused those who came in contact with Robert Catesby to have been carried captive at his will, if from the first they were at all well affected towards him — his personal appearance, his generosity, his zeal, and his skill in the use of arms.

We are told that Tesimond (alias Greenway), another contemporary of Catesby, says that “his countenance25 was exceedingly noble and expressive. That his conversation and manners were peculiarly attractive and imposing, and that by the dignity of his character he exercised an irresistible influence over the minds of those who associated with him.”[22]

His zeal was of that kind which is contagious and kindles responsive fire.

As for his martial prowess, it was sufficiently attested by his behaviour at the time of the Essex rising, when Father Gerard, his contemporary, tells us that “Mr. Catesby did then show such valour and fought so long and stoutly as divers afterwards of those swordsmen did exceedingly esteem him and follow him in regard thereof.”[23]



Thomas Winter came of a Worcestershire family. His father, George Winter (or Wintour), had married Jane Ingleby, the daughter of Sir William Ingleby, a Yorkshire knight of historic name, whose ancestral seat was Ripley Castle, near Knaresbrough[24] in Nidderdale, one of the most romantic valleys of Yorkshire.

Jane Winter’s brother, Francis Ingleby,[25] a barrister, and afterwards a Roman Catholic priest, was hanged, drawn and quartered at York, on the 2nd of June, 1586, for exercising his priesthood in York and his native County.

He was a man of rare parts, and the heroic story of his life and death must have often thrilled the hearts of his sister’s children.

Would that they had taken him as their model. For of all those many Roman Catholic Yorkshiremen[A] who, of divers ranks and degrees, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, preferred “death” to (what to them) was “dishonour,” none has left nobler memories than this self-sacrificing, exalted soul.[26]

[A] At least 49 persons, priests and laymen, suffered death in York alone for the Pope’s religion, between the reigns of Henry VIII. and Charles II. inclusive. The place of execution was usually the Tyburn, opposite Knavesmire, near Hob Moor Gate, in the middle of the Tadcaster High Road. In the reign of Philip and Mary no Protestant was burned to death in Yorkshire. Archbishop Heath, of York, like Bishop Tunstall, of Durham, and the great Catholic Jurist, Edmund Plowden, who, for conscience sake, declined the Chancellorship when offered to him by Elizabeth, did not think they could “save alive” the soul of a “heretic” by roasting “dead” his body at the stake. And they were right.


Thomas Winter, the ill-fated nephew of him just mentioned, was a courageous man and an accomplished linguist.

He had seen military service in Flanders, in behalf of the Estates-General against Spain, and in France, and possibly against the Turk.

We are told by a contemporary that “he was of such a wit and so fine a carriage, that he was of so pleasing conversation, desired much of the better sort, but an inseparable friend of Mr. Robert Catesby. He was of mean stature, but strong and comely and very valiant, about thirty-three years old, or somewhat more. His means were not great, but he lived in good sort, and with the best.”[27] He seems to have been unmarried.

Sir Everard Digby was a tall, handsome, singularly generous, charming young fellow, and like Ambrose Rookwood, previously mentioned, had won the loving favour of all who knew him. Digby had two estates in the County of Rutlandshire (Tilton and Drystoke), also property in the County of Leicestershire; and through his amiable and beautiful young wife, Mary Mulsho, a wealthy heiress, he was the owner of Gothurst[A] (now Gayhurst) in the parish of Tyringham, near Newport Pagnell, in the County of Buckinghamshire, still one of England’s stately homes.[28]

Francis Tresham was married to a Throckmorton, and was connected with many English families of historic name, high rank, and great fortune.

[A] Gothurst (now Gayhurst), resembles in its style of architecture, The Treasurer’s House, York, on the North side of the Minster, the town-house of Frank Green, Esquire. Walter Carlile, Esquire, now resides at Gayhurst.


He was a first cousin to Robert Catesby through his mother — a Throckmorton. Tresham and the Winters were also akin.

Francis Tresham, like his cousin, Robert Catesby, had been involved in the Essex rising, and his father, Sir Thomas Tresham, had to pay a ransom of at least £2,000 to effect his son’s escape from arraignment and certain execution. Powerful interest had been exerted in the son’s favour with Queen Elizabeth by Lady Catherine Howard, the daughter of Lord Thomas Howard, Lieutenant of the Tower, and afterwards Earl of Suffolk.[29]

John Grant was a Warwickshire Squire, who had married Robert and Thomas Winter’s sister Dorothy. Grant’s home was at Norbrook, near Snitterfield, a walled and moated mansion-house between the towns of Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon.[30] Grant was a taciturn but accomplished man, who had been likewise fined for his share in the Essex rising.

John Wright and Christopher Wright were younger sons of Robert Wright, Esquire, of Plowland (or Plewland) Hall, Welwick, Holderness, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

They were related to the Inglebies of Ripley, through the Mallories of Studley Royal near Ripon. Hence were they related to Thomas Winter, Robert Winter, and Dorothy Grant.

Robert Keyes, of Drayton in Northamptonshire, was the son of a Protestant clergyman and probably grandson of one of the Key or Kay family of Woodsome, Almondbury, near Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Through his Roman Catholic mother, Keyes was related to Lady Ursula Babthorpe, the daughter of Sir William Tyrwhitt[31] of Kettleby, near Brigg, Lincolnshire, and wife of Sir William Babthorpe, of Babthorpe and29 Osgodby, near Selby, in the East Riding of Yorkshire Sir William Babthorpe was “the very soul of honour,” one of the most valiant-hearted gentlemen in Yorkshire, and himself, likewise, related to the Mallories, the Inglebies, the Wrights, and the Winters. His sister was Lady Catherine Palmes, the wife of Sir George Palmes, of Naburn, near the City of York.

Ambrose Rookwood, of Coldham Hall — an ivy-clad, mullion-windowed mansion still standing — in the parish of Stanningfield, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, was of an honourable and wealthy Suffolk family, who had suffered fines and penalties for the profession of their hereditary faith.

His wife was a Tyrwhitt and sister to Lady Ursula Babthorpe. At the time of the Plot he was twenty-seven years of age.[A]

[A] Edward Rookwood, of Euston Hall, Suffolk, was cousin to Ambrose Rookwood. At Euston in 1578 Queen Elizabeth was sumptuously entertained by Edward Rookwood. — See Hallam’s “Constitutional History,” and Lodge’s “Illustrations.”

Of the engaging Ambrose Rookwood a contemporary says, “I knew him well and loved him tenderly. He was beloved by all who knew him. He left behind him his lady, who was a very beautiful person and of a high family, and two or three little children, all of whom — together with everything he had in this world — he cast aside to follow the fortunes of this rash and desperate conspiracy.”[32]

Guy Fawkes was also a Yorkshireman, being born in the year 1570, in the City of York.

His baptismal register, dated the 16th day of April, 1570, is still to be seen in the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, hard-by the glorious Minster.


Probably that one of four traditions is true which says that the son of Edward Fawkes, Notary and Advocate of the Consistory Court of York, and Edith, his wife, was born in a house situated in High Petergate. In fact, in the angle formed by the street known as High Petergate and the ancient alley called Minster Gates, leading into the Minster Yard, opposite the South Transept of the Minster, and at the top of the mediæval street called Stonegate.[A]

[A] The house I refer to is occupied by the Governors of St. Peter’s School (where Fawkes was himself educated), by Mr. T. H. Barron, and Mr. Matkins. It is still Minster property. It is a brick Elizabethan house refaced. Fawkes’ grandmother, Mrs. Ellen Fawkes, almost certainly lived in a house in High Petergate, on the opposite side of the road, probably. His father may have had a house also at Bishopthorpe. — See Supplementum I.

Though the property Guy Fawkes inherited was small, his descent and upbringing had made him the equal and companion of the gentry of his native County.

In the thirty-third year of Elizabeth (1592), in a legal document dealing with his property, Guy Fawkes is described as of Scotton, a picturesque village in the ancient Parish of Farnham, between Knaresbrough and Ripley, in Nidderdale.

Fawkes was a tall athletic man, with brown hair and an auburn beard. He was modest, self-controlled, and very valiant. He left England for Flanders most likely in 1593 or 1594. At the time of the conspiracy he was about thirty-five years of age. He was unmarried.

Fawkes was highly intelligent, direct of purpose, simple of heart, well-read, and, as a soldier of fortune in the Netherlands, not only “skilful in the wars,” but, apart from his fanaticism, which seems to have grown by degrees into a positive monomania, possessed of many attractive, and even endearing, moral qualities.


Fawkes held a post of command in the Spanish Army when Spain took Calais in 1596, and gave promise of becoming, like his friend and patron, Sir William Stanley, an ideal “happy warrior,” and one of England’s greatest generals.[A]

[A] It is interesting and instructive to compare the Forty Years’ War between Spain and the Netherlands with the present unhappy strife in South Africa between Britons and the descendants of those that repelled the arms of the once greatest soldiery in the world. The war between Spain and the Dutch was not a religious war at the commencement of the struggle. It arose out of a chafing under the sovereignty of Spain, and a dispute about tenths. In fact, many Catholics fought against Philip II. in this war at the beginning.

I visited Scotton for the first time on the day set apart in York as a general holiday for the Relief of Mafeking (19th May, 1900).

It is said by an old writer, “Winter and Fawxe are men of excellent good natural parts, very resolute and universally learned.”[33] In the days of their joyous youth these two gifted men may have many a time and oft played and sported together in Nidderdale, with its purple moors, its rock-crowned fells, its leafy woods, its musical streams, its flowery ghylls, its winding river.

Guy Fawkes was a son of destiny, a product of his environment, a creature of circumstances — always saving his free-will and moral responsibility.

But, dying, he must have remembered his dear York and sweet Scotton.



Let us deal with the inferences from the Evidence, and ascertain to what further suggestions those inferences give rise.

Now, among the first things that must strike the reader of the list of actors in the Gunpowder tragedy is the large number that were, directly or indirectly, connected with the far-stretching, prolific province of Yorkshire. Of the whole thirteen conspirators, four first drew the breath of life in that grandest and fairest of English Counties, namely: Thomas Percy, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Guy (or Guido) Fawkes. While five of the other intending perpetrators of an action which, if consummated, would have indeed “damned them to everlasting fame,” indirectly had relations with it.

Nay, more; of the four members of the clerical profession whom the Government sought to charge with complicity in this nefarious designment, namely: Fathers Garnet, Tesimond, Gerard, and (subsequently) Oldcorne — two out of the four, Oswald Tesimond and Edward Oldcorne, were likewise Yorkshiremen.[A]

[A] The late Bishop Creighton, in his fine illustrated work entitled, “The Story of some English Shires” (Religious Tract Society), says: — “Yorkshire is the largest of the English shires, and its size corresponds to its ancient greatness.”

Edward Oldcorne was certainly a native of the City of York, and it is very likely indeed that Oswald Tesimond was a native also.[34]


Moreover, Oswald Tesimond, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Guy Fawkes were all educated at the Royal School of Philip and Mary in the Horse Fayre, at the left-hand side going down Gillygate, York, where Union Terrace is now situated, just outside Bootham Bar, and not far from the King’s Manor, where Henry Hastings Earl of Huntingdon, or his preceding or succeeding Lords President of the North, presided in State over the Council of the North and the Court of High Commission.[A]

[A] Lord Strafford, the representative of Charles I. in Ireland, was in after years Lord President of the North. In his day the King’s Manor was known as the Palace of the Stuart Kings, for both James I. and Charles I. sojourned there. It is now used as a beneficent Institution for the Blind, as a memorial to that illustrious Yorkshireman, William Wilberforce, M.P., the immortal slave emancipator. One of the rooms in the old Palace is called the Earl of Huntingdon’s room to this day. William Wilberforce’s direct heir, William Basil Wilberforce, Esquire, resides at Markington Hall, near Ripon.

The Earl of Huntingdon was a scion of the House of York, and had Elizabeth become reconciled to the Church of Rome the Puritans would have probably rallied round Lord Huntingdon as their King. The Honourable Walter Hastings, the Earl’s brother, was a Roman Catholic. They were, of course, akin to Queen Elizabeth, and were descended from the “Blessed” Margaret Plantagenet Countess of Salisbury.

It is more than probable that Edward Oldcorne also quaffed his first draught of classical knowledge at the same “Pierian spring;” for we are told that his parents “in his young years kept him to school, so that he was a good grammar scholar when he first went over beyond the seas.”[35]

Before going to Rheims and Rome Edward Oldcorne had studied medicine.

Who among these unparalleled conspirators is then the most likely, either through fear or remorse or both feelings, to have first put into motion the stupendous machinery whereby the Gunpowder conspiracy was revealed? Only34 an energy practically superhuman would be, or could be, sufficient for the accomplishment of such an end, as — well-nigh at the eleventh hour — speedily to swing round on its axis a project so diabolical and prodigious as the Gunpowder Plot.

For the passion — the concentrated, suppressed, yet volcanic passion — that had purposed so awful a catastrophe was deep as hell and high as heaven.

And well might it be, regard being had to the indisputable facts of English History from the year 1569 — the year of the Rising of the North, which was stamped out with such cruel severity — down to the year 1605. Truly, the measure of the Gunpowder conspirators’ personal guilt was the measure of their representative wrongs. Yet this, in itself, for these wrong-doers was no ground of pardon or release: for, by a steadfast decree of the universe, “The guilty suffer.”



Now, according to the laws which govern human nature, a subordinate conspirator, introduced late into the conspiracy, whose early training was such as to lead him, on reflection, to regard as morally unlawful the taking of a secret oath, such as the Gunpowder conspirators had taken: a conspirator in whose heart emotions, not only of compassion but also of compunction, were likely to be awakened by the remembrance of that training, as the day was about to dawn and as the hour was about to strike when would be consummated one of the bloodiest tragedies that had ever stained an evil world: a conspirator answering to this, I say, was the most likely to be the conspirator who revealed this purposed appalling massacre, the bare thought of which causes strong men to shudder, even to this day.

Still more likely would be a conspirator who, fulfilling the description just mentioned, adds to that the following, namely — that he possessed an entirely trustworthy friend who would act as penman of any document he might wish to use as a means of communicating a secret yet warning note to a representative of the intended victims.

And yet still more likely would be a conspirator who, to the descriptions of the two preceding paragraphs, added a third, namely — that he possessed a second entirely trustworthy friend who would act as an “interpres” — a go-between — to drive home the full36 intended effect of the document penned by the hand of the first; and this with the express knowledge and consent of that first.

Hence, such go-between would be the agent common to both the revealing conspirator and his scribe, and would be informed, directed and controlled by them.

Regard being had to the fixities of thought or self-evident fundamentals which in the introduction to this Inquiry were enunciated, these two friends, these two confidants must have been bound to the revealing conspirator by bonds, ties, obligations, “light,” indeed, “as air, yet strong as iron,” which were the outcome of kinship, friendship, or business (in a superlatively wide sense), possibly of all three.

Now the inference that I draw, from a reviewing and weighing of the Evidence to-day available in relation to this matter, is this, that Christopher Wright was the conspirator who revealed the Plot, and that his worthy aiders and honourable abettors were, first, Thomas Ward, the gentleman-servant (and almost certainly kinsman) of Lord Mounteagle himself, amicus secundum carnem; and, secondly, Edward Oldcorne, Priest and Jesuit, amicus secundum spiritum: — friends according to the flesh and to the spirit respectively.



Let us proceed to support these statements with Evidence and with Argument.

(1) Now was Christopher Wright a subordinate conspirator, introduced late into the conspiracy? It is plain that he was, from “Thomas Winter’s Confession,” where he says: “About Candlemas we brought over in a boat the powder which we had provided at Lambeth and layd it in Mr. Percy’s house, because we were willing to have all our danger in one place. We wrought also another fortnight in the mine against the stone wall which was very hard to beat through, at which time we called in Kit Wright (sometime in February, 1605), and near to Easter as we wrought the third time, opportunity was given to hire the cellar in which we resolved to lay the powder and leave the mine.”

Again, in the published “Confession” of Guy Fawkes (17th November, 1605), Fawkes says, that a practice “in general was first broken unto me against his majestie, for releife of the Catholique cause, and not invented or propounded by myself. And this was first propounded unto me about Easter last was twelve-month,[36] beyond the seas, in the Low Countries of the Archdukes’ obeyance by Thomas Wynter.”

Fawkes says, in his “Confession” further on: “Thomas Percy hired a howse at Westminster ... neare adjoyning the Parlt. howse, and there wee beganne to make a myne about the XI. of December, 1604. The38 Fyve that entered into the woorck were Thomas Percye, Robert Catesby, Thomas Wynter, John Wright, and myself, and soon after[37] we tooke another unto us, Christopher Wright, having sworn him also, and taken the sacrament for secrecie.”[38]

Therefore Christopher Wright must have become a confederate about ten months after Fawkes himself and the other prime movers in the nefarious scheme, and his services were requisitioned — as the modern phrase goes — primarily for the purpose of adding to the amount of manual labour available for the digging of the mine, which was afterwards abandoned for the cellar as the receptacle for the gunpowder that was to effect the explosion purposed.

(2) Now, was Christopher Wright a conspirator whose early training was such as to lead him, on reflection, to regard as morally unlawful the taking of a secret oath such as the Gunpowder conspirators had bound themselves by, and one in whose heart emotions, not only of compassion but also of compunction, were likely to be awakened by the remembrance of that training as the day was about to dawn and the hour was about to strike when the awful tragedy would be consummated?

If a man’s character may be presumptively known by his friends, still more may it be presumptively known by his progenitors; and in the light of this principle I therefore answer the foregoing question emphatically in the affirmative.

But what was the form of the oath taken by all these conspirators save one, namely, Sir Everard Digby, who was specially “sworn in” on the hilt of a poniard?

It was this: — “You shall swear by the Blessed Trinity and by the Sacrament you now propose to receive,39 never to disclose, directly or indirectly, by word or circumstance, the matter that shall be proposed to you, to keep secret nor desist from the execution thereof until the rest shall give you leave.”

This oath was administered to the conspirators by each other in the most solemn manner — “kneeling down upon their knees with their hands laid upon a primer.”[39]

Immediately after the oath had been taken,[40] we are told, Catesby explained to Percy, and Winter and John Wright to Fawkes, that the project intended was to blow up the Parliament House with gunpowder when the King went to the House of Lords.[41] This would include the Queen, the Commons, Ambassadors, and spectators who would be present during the King’s Speech.

From Fawkes’ “Confession,” already quoted, it would seem probable that all five prime conspirators imparted their prodigious designment of sacrilegious, cold-blooded murder to the conspirator Christopher Wright.



Who and what then, with more particularity, was Christopher Wright?

He was the third son of Robert Wright and Ursula his wife, who was the daughter of Nicholas Rudston, Esquire (of the Rudstons, Lords of Hayton,[A] near Pocklington, in the East Riding of the County of York, since the reign of King John). Ursula Rudston’s mother was Jane, the daughter of Sir William Mallory, of Studley Royal, near Ripon.[42]

[A] It is gratifying to the historic feeling to know that the Manor of Hayton is still owned by a member of this ancient family, the present possessor being T. W. Calverley-Rudston, Esquire, J.P., of Allerthorpe Hall, Pocklington.

Christopher Wright was born about the year 1570, the year after the Rising of the North[43] under “the Blessed” Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland, and Charles Neville Earl of Westmoreland, in which movement many of Christopher Wright’s mother’s relatives and connections (notably “old Richard Norton,” his sons, and the Markenfields) were implicated.[44]

Plowland (or Plewland) Hall, in the Parish of Welwick, in Holderness, was doubtless where Christopher Wright first beheld the light of the sun. Plowland Hall, or Great Plowland as it is sometimes called, is situated on the left of, and a little distance from, the high-road, on slightly rising ground, between the ancient town of41 Patrington and the pretty village of Welwick. When Robert Wright and Ursula, his wife, and their sons, John and Christopher, and their daughters, Ursula and Martha, knew the place, now so historic, Plowland Hall was a fortified dwelling, surrounded by a deep moat and approached by a drawbridge, much after the fashion of Markenfield Hall, in the Parish of Ripon, the ancestral seat of the Markenfields, heroes of Flodden and kinsmen of the Wrights, Wards, Nortons, Mallories, and numberless others amongst the ancient and wealthy Yorkshire gentry.

Christopher Wright and his elder brother John were educated, along with Guy Fawkes and Oswald Tesimond, at the Royal Grammar School (as we have already stated) in the Horse Fayre, Gillygate, in the City of York.

Their master was the Reverend John Pulleyn, who probably belonged to the ancient and honourable West Riding family of the Pulleyns (or Pulleines), of Killinghall, near Bilton-cum-Harrogate, and of Scotton, in the Parish of Farnham, near Knaresbrough.

The two Wrights’ parents were stanch Roman Catholics, and their mother had suffered imprisonment “for the Faith” in York for the “space of fourteen years together,” during the time when Henry Hastings Earl of Huntingdon was Lord President of the North, i.e., between the years 1572 and 1599. (Henry third Earl of Huntingdon was one of the few members of the ancient nobility who accepted whole-heartedly the Calvinistic Protestantism then gradually taking root in England.)

One of Christopher Wright’s sisters, Ursula, was married to Marmaduke Ward, Gentleman, of Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon; another, named Martha, was married to Thomas Percy, Gentleman, the Gunpowder conspirator.


It is said of John Wright, Christopher Wright’s brother, and of his brother-in-law, Thomas Percy, that they were formerly Protestant, and became Catholic about the time of the rebellion of the Earl of Essex. But it is certain John Wright and Thomas Percy[45] must have been both brought up Roman Catholics in the days of their childhood; although they probably ceased to practise their duties as such until about the year 1600. For it is incredible that the son and son-in-law of Robert Wright and Ursula, his wife, should have been brought up as children and youths anything other than rigid Catholics, whatever else for a season they might, in the days of their early manhood, have become, either from conscientious conviction or reckless negligence, whereof the latter alternative is doubtless the more probable.

From the account of the Gunpowder conspirators given by Father John Gerard, the friend of Sir Everard Digby, and, it is highly probable, the friend of the Wrights also, it would seem that Christopher Wright was a taller man than his brother John,[A] fatter in the43 face and of a lighter-coloured hair. “Yet,” says Gerard, “was he very like to the other in conditions and qualities and both esteemed and tried to be as stout a man as England had, and withal a zealous Catholic and trusty and secret in any business as could be wished.”[46]

[A] It is, however, possible that John Wright may have come under the influence of the Blessed William Hart (styled the Apostle of York and the second Campion), a priest who suffered death at the York Tyburn in 1583. Because Hart was indicted for (amongst other things) “reconciling” a “Mr. John Wright and one Cooling.” — See Challoner’s “Missionary Priests.” If so, John Wright would then be about fourteen years of age. It, however, may have been another John Wright; perhaps of Grantley and one of the brothers of Robert Wright, the father of John Wright, the conspirator. Cooling was probably Ralph Cowling, of York, a shoemaker, the father of Father Richard Cowling (certainly of York), a Jesuit and relative of the Harringtons, of Mount St. John, and, therefore, of Guy Fawkes. See Note 147, where will be found a letter under the hand of this Father Cowling (or Collinge) to a gentleman in Venice — possibly Father Parsons or someone else of authority among the Jesuits — respecting the Harringtons and Guy Fawkes. Ralph Cowling, the father, died in York Castle a captive for his Faith, and was buried under the Castle Wall — I think facing the Foss towards Fishergate.

Christopher Wright was married. His wife’s name, we know, was Margaret.[A][47] I strongly suspect that Mrs. Christopher Wright was a sister of both Marmaduke Ward and Thomas Ward, of Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon; yet of this there is only, perhaps, slight evidence, so that no positive argument can be grounded upon it, considered by itself; though the evidence of Mistress Robinson, Christopher Wright’s landlady in London, indirectly tends to confirm such a suspicion. — See Evidence of Dorathie Robinson, postea, where she says that Wright had “a brother” in London.

[A] See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 89.

When Guy Fawkes was examined in the Tower of London, in the forenoon of the 6th of November, he said, in answer to a question — “You would have me discover my friends; the giving warning to one overthrew us all.”

Now, if Guy Fawkes eventually revealed the conspiracy by reason of the agony caused by the physical pains of the rack, when after the first racking he was told he “must come to it againe and againe, from daye to daye, till he should have delivered his whole knowledge,” is it, I ask, a thing incredible that the son of a Yorkshire Catholic mother that had spent fourteen years of her life in “durance” for her profession of her forefathers’ ancient Faith, should have revealed the conspiracy itself, by reason of the agony caused by the moral pains of a pricking conscience, goading him to madness for having committed in act (in the case of the unlawful oath), in desire (in44 the case of the intended murder) most horrible crimes against the offended Majesty of Heaven?

I think not.

Therefore I conclude that it is antecedently probable that in the heart of Christopher Wright, emotions, not only of compassion but also of compunction, were awakened by the remembrance of the early training he had received at his mother’s knee: emotions which were potent enough, under the wisdom and skill of one whose special duty it was to “work good unto all men,” speedily to swing right round on its axis, though well-nigh at the eleventh hour, the diabolical designment known to History as the Gunpowder Treason Plot.

Had Christopher Wright any entirely trustworthy friend, one who not only would prove a healing minister to a mind diseased with the leprosy of crime, but also be an able and ready helper for giving effect to an all but too late repentance? Was there anyone to whom he could have recourse, who was at once wise of head, sympathetic of heart, and skilful of hand?

There was.



For at Hindlip Hall, near the City of Worcester, there had dwelt for the past sixteen years one who was not only the trusted spiritual guide of Thomas Abington, Esquire, and the Honourable Mary (Parker), his wife, daughter of the Lord Morley and sister to the Lord Mounteagle, but who by reason of his remarkably zealous labours in that part of the country had come to be accepted as a very Apostle of Worcestershire.

This was Edward Oldcorne, a Priest and a Jesuit.

He was the son of John Oldcorne, Tiler, a schismatic Catholic, of St. Sampson’s Parish, in the City of York. His mother was Elizabeth Oldcorne, a rigid Catholic recusant, who had suffered imprisonment “for the Faith.” He was born about the year 1560, and proceeded to the English College at Rome in 1582, aged twenty-one, for the higher studies. He was most probably at the Royal School in the Horse Fayre, in York, and he may have been there at the same time as Oswald Tesimond,[48] John Wright,[49] Christopher Wright, and Guy Fawkes, though about ten years the senior of the three latter. As already has been stated, before going beyond the seas he had studied medicine. He was a man remarkable alike for mental acumen, tranquillity of spirit, gentleness of nature, and strength of will. He was one of those Jesuits who, realising a higher unity, were at once Mystics and Politicians. His equipoise of mind shows him to have been a very great man — indeed, on account of his46 combination of mental gifts and graces, I think the greatest, in reality, of all the early English Jesuits. For “he saw life steadily and saw it whole.”[A]

[A] Matthew Arnold.

“All the chiefest gentlemen,” says Father Gerard, Oldcorne’s contemporary, “and best Catholics of the county where he remained and the counties adjoining depended upon his advice and counsel, and he was indefatigable in his journeys.”[50] Again, a MS. Memoir[51] says, “so profuse was his liberality in aiding others that he supplied the necessities of life to very many Catholics. It was very evident his residence was well selected in the midst of the Catholics of that district of the Society of Jesus, so great and so promiscuous was the concourse of people flocking thereto for his sermons, for his advice, and the sacraments.”[52][B]

[B] See Supplementum II.

Now, Father Oldcorne was the spiritual adviser of Robert Winter, another subordinate plotter, and also of Catesby, according to the statement of one Humphrey Littleton, who knew Oldcorne well. And as John Wright was a tenant of Catesby’s Mansion House, at Lapworth, in Warwickshire, about twenty miles distant from Hindlip, Christopher Wright must have not only heard of Father Oldcorne’s fame as a “counsellor of the doubtful” and a “friend in need,” but it is at least possible he may have been among those divers Catholics and Schismatics[53] in the country thereabouts who flocked to him for conference and to have his exhortations.[54][C]

[C] Evidence of the practical side of Oldcorne’s mind is furnished by the fact that we are told he often begged leave in Rome of his superiors to visit the hospitals and serve in the kitchen. And when the English College was in low water, owing to the parents of the scholars not being able to pay for their sons through stress of the persecution, Oldcorne was sent to the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily to negotiate pecuniary assistance. His business embassy was eminently successful, and he brought back “a good round sum” to the College. — See Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 272.


Again, Christopher Wright appears to have been especially friendly with two other conspirators, namely, Thomas Winter and Ambrose Rookwood. And it is worthy of notice that Huddington Hall, in Worcestershire, the seat of Robert Winter (of which place Thomas Winter is also described), and Clopton Hall, in Warwickshire, near Stratford-on-Avon (whither Ambrose Rookwood removed soon after Michaelmas, 1605), were easily accessible to and from Hindlip Hall, where Father Oldcorne was, in general, to be found when not engaged at some other missionary station, such as Worcester City or Grafton Manor, the seat of John Talbot, Esquire, then heir presumptive to the Earldom of Shrewsbury and father-in-law to Robert Winter, who had married Miss Gertrude Talbot.[A]

[A] The site of Shakespeare’s new residence, which he built and called New Place, at Stratford-on-Avon, had belonged to the Clopton family.

Clopton Bridge and Clopton Hall (or House) are still well known to all visitors to the shrine of Shakespeare. It is to be remembered that Clopton Hall, the property of Lord Carew, whither Ambrose Rookwood repaired for temporary residence soon after Michaelmas, 1605, was by road twenty-three miles from Hindlip Hall, where Father Oldcorne resided.

Ambrose Rookwood and Christopher Wright were particular friends. Rookwood was a man of very tender conscience, which, however, unhappily failed him at the most crucial moment of his life, namely, when he consented to join in the Plot which proved his ruin. But indirectly he probably unknowingly strengthened Christopher Wright’s resolve to reverse the Plot, by revelation. The influence of “associating” (even if of not always “according”) “minds” one upon the other is very subtle but very powerful.



Let us now examine the Letter itself.

The first thing to be noted is that no reprint that I have seen of the famous Letter, whether in ancient or modern continuous Relations of the Gunpowder Plot, is strictly correct. For they all omit the pronoun “yowe” after the words “my lord out of the loue i beare.” This pronoun “yowe” is indeed crossed out in the original Letter with a blurred net-work of lines.[55] But, this notwithstanding, it can be still detected in the original document, happily, even to this day, to be seen in the Record Office, London.

Now the fact that this word “yowe” is crossed out in this mysterious fashion, coupled with the fact that the words used at the end of the Letter are as follow: “and i hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good[56] use of it to whose holy proteccion i comend yowe,” makes it clear (to my mind) that an universal temporal salvation of the destined victims was intended by the revealing conspirator and by his penman, and not merely the particular salvation of the recipient of the Letter.

Again, the meaning of the words “for the danger is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter,” is in one sense fairly clear. For as Wilson says, in his “Life of James I.” (1653), p. 30, “the writer’s desire was to have the letter burned, and then the danger would be past both to the writer and the receiver, if he had grace to make use of the warning.”[57]49

This must be the, at least, ostensible meaning. For it is obvious that neither Wright nor Oldcorne (ex hypothesi) would, for different but most potent reasons, wish the penman of the Letter to be known to the then public, either Catholic or Protestant.

Now it was in accordance with universal right reason and moral fitness that Father Oldcorne should — so far as was consistent with his being satisfied that warning of the Plot had been given through trustworthy channels to the King’s principal Secretary of State — keep in the background and not himself in person adventure upon the theatre of action, even for the purpose of compassing an object which he was bound by his vocation, alike in Justice and Charity, to compass. For by the Act 27 Elizabeth, he was “a traitor,” being a Priest and remaining in England for more than forty days. While the fact that he was a Jesuit into the bargain would be, of course, counted an aggravation of his statutory offence.[58]

Again, Father Oldcorne had to remember, besides the ideal standard that his vocation imposed upon him, the practical standard which was the unwritten law that guided the conscience of the best of the average Catholics in that period of their intolerable sufferings.[A] For it is a fact of human nature that every man seeks to instruct his conscience by some objective rule or50 standard of Truth and Right; but that instincts and emotions oftentimes finally rule men rather than reason and argumentative proof.

[A] The English papists groaned under the following persecution: — The poor were practically liable to be fined (and therefore sold up “stick and pin”) one shilling every time they absented themselves from their parish church. The richer members of the community were compelled to pay £20 per lunar month. Many of the English nobility, gentry, and yeomanry were ruined by this; indeed the Catholics must have been very rich on the whole to hold out as long as they did. It was the Government authorities (Clerical and Lay) that did the persecuting; individual Protestants often sought to mitigate the miseries of their fellow-countrymen from whom they differed in religion. Being reconciled to the See of Rome was death, and to be a popish priest was by the terrible Statute 27 Eliz. to be “a traitor” and to be liable to be hanged, cut down alive, bowelled, and quartered. To say Mass was to be liable to a fine of 200 marks and imprisonment for life (a mark was 13s. 4d.). To hear Mass was to be liable to a fine of 100 marks and imprisonment for life. To harbour a priest was death and forfeiture of property.

It was, furthermore, incumbent upon Oldcorne to recollect that more harm than good is frequently occasioned in this entangled world by an unseasonable, indiscriminate, “heroic” application of abstract principles (faultless in themselves) to the varied and perplexing circumstances of man’s terrestrial life.

To illustrate my propositions: It is worth while remembering that even so lofty a soul as Mrs. Ambrose Rookwood evidently regarded her husband, primarily, as a sufferer for conscience sake, and only secondarily, if at all, as a repentant sacrilegious traitor and murderer in desire, who was suffering condign punishment and paying the just penalty of his ruthless crimes.

No doubt special allowances have to be made for this poor woman, inasmuch as her husband and children were all the world to her. But still the following recorded statement proves that the tendency was for even the best of the average English Catholics of that day, of whom Mrs. Rookwood is a fair type and specimen, to centre their sympathies on the wrong-doers rather than on the wronged.

This was natural enough; for man’s disposition is to be led by his unconscious instincts and emotional51 sympathies rather than by drawn-out reason and cool argument, as has been mentioned above.

It was the bounden duty of Oldcorne to hold that disposition strictly in check and to keep himself absolutely master of the tendency. But, on this being assured, he was bound likewise to remember that the tendency existed, and that he lived in a world not of angels, nor of machines, but of men — of men indeed who were not totally depraved, nor utterly corrupt, yet who were sorely wounded and weakened in intellect, heart, and will.

The crying want of the present day — as of Oldcorne’s day — is not only for men but for men who are statesmen. And no man can be a statesman unless he has a wide and profound knowledge of human nature, and who, while he pities human nature and loves it, never makes the mistake of expecting too much from it. In other words, we require men who are humanists and humorists, as I cannot but think was the character of Edward Oldcorne.

Now, no man in England knew better nor recognised more fully (for he knew the virtually omnipotent transforming power of the precedent conditions of person, time, and circumstance) the truth of the propositions I have just enunciated than did Father Oldcorne. But this notwithstanding, I hold it was not the truth of the foregoing propositions ALONE — indisputable doubtless as he regarded them — that finally controlled the motives that ruled the action — in substance and in form — at the most critical moment of the existence of this acute, disciplined, high-minded Yorkshireman, when by Fate he was called upon to contemplate, after the fateful November the Fifth, the bloody, prodigious Gunpowder Plot, and the mighty feat which Destiny had imposed upon him for helping to spin the same right round on its axis, even though well-nigh at the eleventh hour.[59]52

What finally controlled the motives, the positive not negative motives, that ruled that beneficent and never-to-be-forgotten action of this Yorkshire Priest and Jesuit in that supreme moment — the Plot having then become, through his instrumentality, as a mere bubble-burst — will be discovered in due course of this Inquiry.

The remark of Mrs. Rookwood to which I have referred is given in Gerard’s “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 219. Thomas Winter, Rookwood, Keyes, and Fawkes were drawn on their hurdles from the Tower to the Yard of the old Palace of Westminster over against the Parliament House.

“As they were drawn upon the Strand, Mr. Rookwood had provided that he should be admonished when he came over against the lodging where his wife lay: and being come unto the place, he opened his eyes (which before he kept shut to attend better to his prayers), and seeing her stand in a window to see him pass by, he raised himself as well as he could up from the hurdle, and said aloud unto her: ‘Pray for me, pray for me,’ She answered him also aloud: ‘I will; and be of good courage and offer thyself wholly to God. I for my part do as freely restore thee to God as he gave thee to me,’”

This was Friday, the 31st day of January, 1605-6.

On the previous day in St. Paul’s Churchyard had been likewise hanged, cut down alive, drawn, and quartered, Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates.

Catesby, John Wright, and Christopher Wright had been slain at Holbeach on the 8th of November previously.

Thomas Percy died of wounds there received the next day.


Father Tesimond had proceeded to Huddington, doubtless mainly in the hope, let us trust, of stirring up in the hearts of these desperate creatures sorrow — that great natural sacrament — for their awful crimes that, not in vain, had cried to Heaven for vengeance! For truly the guilty suffer and the blood-guilty man shall not live out half his days.



Now there is a sentence in the Letter whose wording is peculiar, but which, I submit, is pre-eminently a wording likely to be used by two natives of Yorkshire.

I mean the sentence, “I would aduyse yowe as yowe tender your lyf to deuys some excuse to shift off youer attendance at this parleament,” meaning thereby, “I would advise you as you have a care for your life to devise some excuse to put off[60] your attendance at this parliament.”

Once more, a comparison of the Letter sent to Lord Mounteagle with a Declaration not only signed by Father Oldcorne but entirely in his handwriting, dated the 12th of March, 1605-6,[61] reveals this remarkable fact that there is, first, a general similarity between the penmanship of both documents; and, secondly, there is a particular similarity in the case of the following letters: — the small c/s, l/s, i/s, b/s, w/s, r/s, long s/s (as initials), and short s/s (as terminals); also the m/s and n/s are not inconsistent with being written by one and the same hand. The handwriting in the Letter is, for the most part, not in round hand, but in roman character. The letters do not all lean at the same angle to the horizontal. Evidently the writer had endeavoured “painfully” to disguise his handwriting, but conscientious carefulness and a disciplined will emphatically characterise both documents.[62] See Appendix.

Now Thomas Ward, the gentleman-servant of Lord Mounteagle, was, I maintain, the intermediary — the diplomatic intermediary — through whom Christopher55 Wright (ex hypothesi) acted in communication with Mounteagle. And this, with the express knowledge and consent of Father Edward Oldcorne, who was, almost certainly, well acquainted with Thomas Ward.[63]

In short, the revelation was a curvilinear triangular movement.



Mounteagle, we are told, knew there was a Letter to be sent to him before it came.[64]

Lingard says the conspirators suspected that Tresham had sent the Letter, and that there was a “secret understanding between him and Lord Mounteagle,[A] or at least the gentleman who was employed to read the Letter at the table.” (The italics are mine.)

[A] It is to be recollected that the conspirators themselves suspected that there was a secret understanding, at least between the gentleman-servant of Mounteagle and Tresham, whom they thought was the revealing conspirator. — See Greenway’s MS., quoted by Lingard.

In a letter dated 19th November, 1605, of a certain Sir Edward Hoby to Sir Thomas Edmondes, the King’s Ambassador at Brussels, after giving an account of the discovery of the Plot, Hoby says: — “Such as are apt to interpret all things to the worst will not believe other but that Mounteagle might in a policy cause this letter to be sent, fearing the discovery already of the letter, the rather that one Thomas Ward, a principal man about him, is suspected to be accessory to the conspiracy.”

Now there is evidence which creates a moral certainty that Christopher Wright and a certain Thomas Ward (or Warde, for the name was spelt either way at that time) were closely allied by virtue of at least one marriage (if not indeed more than one) subsisting between certain (virtually undoubted) relatives of theirs then living.


Christopher Wright’s sister, Ursula, was (as has been already mentioned) the wife of one Marmaduke Ward (or Warde), of Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon, in the County of York.

A lady of high family named Winefrid Wigmore, the daughter of Sir William Wigmore, of Lucton, in the County of Herefordshire, says, in her “Life of Mary Ward,” the gifted daughter of Marmaduke Ward and Ursula, his wife: “Mary Ward was the eldest daughter of Mr. Marmaduke Ward, of Givendale, in the County of York. Mulwith and Newby were Manor-houses of his.”[65]

Now in the Parish Register, which was published in the year 1899, belonging to the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, in the City of York, is to be found the following remarkable entry: “Weddinges 1579. — Thomas Warde of Mulwaith in the p’ishe of Rippon, and M’rgery Slater, S’vant to Mr. Cotterell, maried xxixth day of May.[66]

But for only eleven years (lacking nine days) were Thomas Warde and Margery his wife destined to be united in the bonds of wedlock. For the Register of Ripon Minster records “the burial,” under date “May the 20th, 1590, of Marjory wife of Thomas Warde of Mulwaith.”[67]

They do not seem to have been blessed with offspring. At any rate there are no names of any children of these two spouses entered in the Register of Christenings still kept at Ripon Minster. Although, of course, there may have been such baptized at home[A]58 “secretly,” or even at some other church than at the chapel of the Skelton Chapelry, or than in Ripon Minster, the mother church of the great Parish of Ripon.

[A] But see Supplementum III. postea, and the evidence there given; evidence which is also interesting as showing how, at any rate sometimes, “the oracle was worked,” with reference to that curious historical problem, the apparent baptism of the children of papists by the minister of the parish church. In Ireland, I have been told, at one time the authorities of the then establishment accepted the mere “allegation” that certain rites had been complied with by the popish clergy.

Dr. Elzé is grossly wrong in arguing that because Shakespeare’s name is found in the Register of Christenings in the parish church of Stratford-on-Avon, therefore Shakespeare’s father was a Protestant. Such a conclusion founded on such proof is simply ludicrous. — See Elzé’s “Life of Shakespeare” (Bell & Sons), p. 457. One really is disposed to distrust many of the conclusions of “German learning” when Elzé argues like this. To my mind, much of “the critical” work (so called in a certain department) may be hereafter found to be full of flaws from building on too narrow a foundation of evidence. How little man can know of the Past which affords him evidence to hang even a dog on with absolute, as distinct from moral, certitude! (I wish especially not to be thought to imply any disrespect towards the great German people, whose love for him who is for all nations and all time fills me with the profoundest admiration. But Truth is no respecter of persons when it detects errors, or the probabilities of errors, on the part of such as should be “masters of those that know.”)

For even the Rigmaydens, of Woodacre Hall, Garstang (harbourers of Campion in 1581), in the most Catholic part of Lancashire, apparently had at least some of their children baptised at the parish church. — See Colonel Fishwick’s “Parish of Garstang” (Chetham Soc.)



Now we know that Marmaduke Warde was of Mulwaith (or Mulwith) in the year 1585. For the “Life” of his daughter Mary expressly states that she was born at Mulwith in that year. And if a Thomas Warde was of Mulwaith (or Mulwith) only six years prior to 1585, and again of Mulwith in 1590, when he lost his wife, the inevitable inference is that the said Marmaduke Warde and the said Thomas Warde belonged to one and the same family, and that, in all probability, they were akin to each other as brothers.[68]

Again, the Register of Ripon Minster records on the 6th day of October, 1589, the baptism of Edward,[A] the son of a certain Christopher Wright, of Bondgate, Ripon.

[A] If this Edward Wright is the same as a certain Prebendary Edward Wright, of Ripon Minster, who received his nomination from King James I. on the 26th of March, 1613, then at least one cousin of Mary Ward must have conformed to the Established Church. — See “Memorials of Ripon,” in 3 vols. (Surtees Society.)

He would be about 23 years of age when the royal favour was thus vouchsafed to him.

An Edward Wright was Mayor of Ripon in the year 1635. — Gent’s “Ripon.” — Probably the son of Prebendary Edward Wright.

Another cousin of Mary Warde, I find, had likewise conformed — a Dr. Warde, the Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He belonged, I think, to the Wardes, of Durham, descended from a brother of Sir Christopher Ward.

On the 23rd day of July, 1594, of Eliza, daughter of Christopher Wright, of Newbie.[69]60

The baptism on the 12th day of July, 1596, of Francis, son of Christopher Wright, of Newbie.

And furthermore, on the 3rd day of February, 1601, the baptism of Marmaduke, the son of Christopher Wright, of Skelton.

Now, when we recollect that a Marmaduke Warde was certainly brother-in-law to a Christopher Wright; and when we recollect that we have proof that a Thomas Warde and a Marmaduke Warde were, respectively, of Mulwaith (or Mulwith) in the Parish of Ripon, and that a Christopher Wright was of Bondgate, Newbie, and Skelton, all likewise in the Parish of Ripon; and when we further recollect that these three gentlemen were of these several places in the closing decades of the years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, only one conclusion is forced upon the mind of even the most sceptical, namely, that the said three gentlemen must have known, and been known to, one another personally, without the shadow of any reasonable doubt.

And again; that between those years, 1589 and 1590 inclusive, the said Thomas Warde and the said Christopher Wright had known each other intimately, by meeting within the bounds of the Parish of Ripon, — nay even within the chapelry of Skelton — is surely one of the likeliest things in the world.

Furthermore, it is possible that the Thomas Warde, of Mulwaith (or Mulwith), was in the diplomatic service of Queen Elizabeth in the Netherlands, along with Queen Elizabeth’s well-known diplomatist and Treasurer of the Chamber, Sir Thomas Heneage, the step-father of Lord Southampton, Lord Mounteagle’s friend, as well as Shakespeare’s patron.

For I find that the great Sir Francis Walsingham, in a letter dated from “the Court,” the 24th of March,61 1585 — six years after the marriage of Thomas Warde, of Mulwaith, to Marjory Slater, and five years before her lamented death — that the great Sir Francis Walsingham, in a letter to the Earl of Leicester, “Lord Lieutenant-General of Her Majesty’s Forces in the Low Countries,” speaks of a “Mr. Warde.”[A]

[A] See the “Leicester Correspondence” (Camden Soc.), p. 187.

Now we know for certain from Winwood’s Memorials[B] that a Mr. Walter Hawkesworth, of the Hawkesworths of Hawkesworth Hall, in the Parish of Otley, in the County of York, was in the diplomatic service of King James I., and that, according to Foster’s “Pedigrees of Yorkshire Families” he was poisoned at Madrid when on an embassy there.

[B] See also Sir Ralph Sadler’s Papers. Edited by Sir Walter Scott.

Hence, is it quite within the bounds of possibility that his remote kinsman, Thomas Warde, of Mulwith, may have been in the diplomatic service of Queen Elizabeth. The Hawkesworths and the Wardes had, in days long gone by, twice formed alliances by marriage, so that the families were distantly akin. Indeed it was from Sir Simon Warde, of Esholt, in the Parish of Otley, and of Givendale, in the Parish of Ripon, that the Hawkesworths of Hawkesworth had by marriage alliance gained the Hawkesworth Estate. — See Foster’s “Pedigrees of Yorkshire Families.”

But is there any evidence that links Thomas Ward (or Warde), of Mulwaith (or Mulwith), and the Ward (or Warde) family in general, of Givendale, Newby and Mulwith, with the Lord Mounteagle?[C]

[C] It will be seen as this narrative further unfolds itself that it is almost certain that Thomas Warde (or Ward) was in the service of the Government as a Catholic diplomat under Walsingham. And, moreover, it will appear probable that the servant Warde (or Ward) “had as much, off” as the master Walsingham.


And, first of all, is there any evidence to show that Marmaduke Ward ever had a brother in London, who lived at Court?

There is.



For in Foley’s “Records[70] we are told that Father George Ward, alias Ingleby, was a son of Marmaduke Ward, Esquire, of Newby, near Ripon, by his wife Ursula Wright.[A] And in a note at the foot of the self-same page, it is stated that William Ward entered the English64 College at Rome in the name William Ingleby vere Ward, 4th October, 1614, at the age of twenty-three; that the family was of distinction in the county, and his uncle lived at Court. (The italics are mine.)

[A] I am, however, inclined to think that Ursula Ward died early in the year 1588, after the birth of her son, probably George, and that the Elizabeth Ward, who is mentioned in Peacock’s “List of Roman Catholics in Yorkshire in 1604” as the wife of a Marmaduke Ward, of the Parish of Ripon, was the mother of Elizabeth Ward, Teresa (or Ann) Ward, William Ward, and Thomas Ward. Indeed, the mother of all Mary Warde’s father’s children, except Mary herself, Barbara, John, and George.

I think, moreover, that Elizabeth Ward was a Sympson, probably of Great Edston, near Kirbymoorside, Rydale, in the North Riding of the County of York. The Sympsons, of Edston, had a daughter Elizabeth at this time. — See Foster’s Ed. of “Glover’s Visitation.”

In the Ripon Minster Registers there is certainly the entry under date 15th May, 1588, of a wedding between a “Marmaduke Warde and Elizabeth Sympson.” Now Mary Warde, the eldest child of Ursula Warde, was born the 23rd day of January, 1585-86, and Barbara in the year 1586; so that if Ursula Warde died in the year 1588 (at the early part) after giving birth to George Warde, Marmaduke Warde might be conceivably married again in May, 1588. Sir Thomas More’s case would afford a precedent for so early a second marriage. The marriage of Marmaduke Warde and Elizabeth Sympson may have taken place at Ripon from the house of friends, in the presence of some semi-popish conforming Vicar. Winefrid Wigmore styles George Ward Mary’s “owne brother,” implying that there was at least one half-brother. — See “Life of Mary Ward” vol. i., p. 427. John Ward, the elder brother, died from wounds received in a duel. He must have taken after his uncle John Wright, who was one of the most expert swordsmen of his time, and never happy but when sending a challenge to some swordsman or another who specially boasted himself of skill in the use of that ancient weapon.

Moreover, there is evidence tending to prove, with absolute certitude, that the “Ward” or “Warde” family, of Givendale, Newby, and Mulwith were connected with the family of Mounteagle, both on his mother’s side through the Mounteagles, and on his father’s side through the Barons Morley.[71]

Also is there evidence tending to prove, with moral certitude, that either through the Stanleys or the Morleys, or some other family or families, the Wards (or Wardes) were connected by marriage and actually related to Lord Mounteagle by blood.

The proof is this: — In the “Life of Mary Ward,” [72] by Mary Catherine Elizabeth Chambers, it is stated that Mary Ward was in some way related to the before-mentioned lady of high family, Winefrid Wigmore, of Lucton, Herefordshire, who was an accomplished woman, speaking five languages fluently.

Now it is known that Winefrid Wigmore’s father, Sir William Wigmore, had married Anne Throckmorton, one of the daughters of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Now Lady Wigmore, through the Throckmortons and the Treshams, “was connected with the families of Lord Mounteagle, Morley, Berkeley, and Vaux.”[73]

Hence it follows that, through the Wigmores,[A] the Throckmortons, and the Treshams, there was a connection of some kind or another between Mary Ward’s family65 and the families of Mounteagle, Morley, Berkeley, and Vaux.[74]

[A] Since the text was written, I have found out that Winefrid Wigmore, through her mother, was a cousin once removed to Elizabeth, Lady Mounteagle (née Tresham). — See Notes 30 and 76 postea.

Again, Mary Ward was related to Mary Poyntz (pronounced Poynes), a lady whose ancient family had come over with William the Conqueror.[75] Mary Poyntz, herself a lovely woman, was the daughter of Edward Poyntz, Esquire, of Iron Acton and Tobington Park, in the County of Gloucester.[76]

Sir Nicholas Poyntz, who was living in 1580, the father of Edward Poyntz, had married Margaret Stanley, the daughter of Edward Earl of Derby. This lady was the mother of Edward Poyntz, the father of Mary Poyntz, the relative of Mary Ward.

Now I find (from Burke’s “Extinct Peerages”) that Henry Parker Lord Morley, the grandfather of William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle, had married Elizabeth Stanley, daughter of Edward Earl of Derby.

Hence the Poyntz and the Mounteagles were cousins. Again, the Wards were in some way or other related to the Poyntz family. Hence it follows that through the Poyntz the Wards were related in some sort with Lord Mounteagle, by means of the Stanleys, Mounteagle’s father’s ancestors and mother’s ancestors.[77]

For it is obvious that families connected with or related to the same family are connected with or related to each other.

Again, there was certainly a further marriage connection and a probably blood relationship between the Morleys, Mounteagles, and Wards through the great House of Neville.

(We may be sure that a young nobleman like the fourth Lord Mounteagle would be glad to recognise the Wards of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale as “Cousins” if such were the fact, and to treat them in every respect as being on an equality with him.)


Therefore the combined Evidence so far gives us this conclusion: —

That a Christopher Wright was the brother-in-law of Marmaduke Ward, of Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon.

That Marmaduke Ward was of the same place — Mulwith (or Mulwaith) — as a person named Thomas Warde, who was married in a church in York in the year 1579, and whose wife died in the year 1590, and whose burial is recorded to this day at Ripon Minster.

That a Christopher Wright, most probably the brother-in-law of Marmaduke Ward, and thus most probably the connection of Thomas Warde, was residing at Newby, near Mulwith,[78] in the Parish of Ripon, between the years 1594 and 1596 inclusive, and in the neighbourhood of the City of Ripon, and within the boundary of its parish, from the year 1589 to 1601.

That Marmaduke Ward’s son, William, had an uncle who lived at Court.[A]

That the Wardes were connected with, and related to Lord Mounteagle by common family ties.[79]

[A] The fact that a Christopher Wright who lived at Newbie in 1596, and at Skelton (Newbie itself is in the Parish of Skelton) in 1601, when he called one of his children “Marmaduke,” raises a strong presumption, I maintain, that this Christopher Wright was the brother-in-law of Marmaduke Ward.

At this time there was also a Francis Wright at Newbie, and a John Wright at Grantley. They may have been the children of John and Christopher Wright, the uncles of John and Christopher Wright, the Gunpowder plotters. And, of course, it is possible that the Christopher Wright who lived in Bondgate, Newbie, and Skelton between the years 1589 and 1601 may have been a cousin or other kinsman of Christopher Wright the plotter, or even of different families altogether. But in the Register of Welwick Church are the following entries of Burials: “13 October 1654 ffrauncis Wright Esquire and 2 May 1664 ffrauncis Wright Esquire” (communicated by the Rev. D. V. Stoddart, M.A., Vicar of Welwick), entries which tend to prove that the Newby Wrights and the Plowland Wrights were one and the same persons, and, therefore, of one and the same clan.

There seem, from the “Memorials of Ripon,” vol. iii. (Surtees Soc.), to have been “Wrights” in Ripon and the neighbourhood for many generations, certainly long before the reign of Henry VIII., when the grandfather of the plotters is said to have come from Kent into Yorkshire. — See Foster’s “Glover’s Visitation of Yorkshire.” Possibly the Wrights of Kent originally sprang from Yorkshire.

“A Christopher Wright” lived at South Kilvington, near Thirsk, in the nineteenth century. — See the tablet to his memory in the church of that parish.


Hence, from the foregoing evidence, the conclusions are inevitable, first, that Thomas Warde, of Mulwith, who married Marjory (or Margery) Slater[A] in 1579, was almost certainly a connection and relative of Lord Mounteagle, in whose household Warde held an honoured and honourable position; or, as doubtless we should say nowadays, was the young peer’s private secretary: and, secondly, that, through the said Thomas Warde, Christopher Wright likewise was almost certainly by affinity connected with, if not related by blood to, the same highly-favoured English nobleman.

[A] This marriage of Thomas Warde, of Mulwaith, to Marjory (or Margery) Slater, “servant to Mr. Cotterill,” of the Parish of St. Wilfrid, York, forcibly reminds one of the romance which Lord Tennyson has immortalized in his charming little poem, “The Lord of Burleigh.” Moreover, it is worthy of remark that there was a family connection between the family of Cecil and a family of Ward, most probably the Wards of Mulwith, or those akin to them. — See Hatfield’s “Hist. MSS.” (Eyre & Spottiswoode), pt. viii., p. 553, where it says, “Pedigree connection of the Cecil and Ward families, partly in Lord Burleigh’s hand,” pt. i., 204-289.



But again, seeing that we know that a certain Thomas Ward lived at Court, by reason of his being a member of the household of Lord Mounteagle, who had been admitted to Court ever since the accession to the throne of James the First, by this point also I know not how to escape from these several probable conclusions: that the Thomas Warde (or Ward), the gentleman-servant of Lord Mounteagle, was the brother of Marmaduke Warde (or Ward); that, by consequence, he was the connection of Christopher Wright; and that by remoter consequence, Christopher Wright himself was a connection of Lord Mounteagle likewise.

Now, granting the family connection between Thomas Warde and Wright, there is no antecedent improbability, but the contrary, in the supposal that Christopher Wright, if and when stricken with remorse at the thought of his sworn part and lot in the iniquitous Gunpowder Plot, had recourse to this Thomas Warde, who was his connection, for trustworthy and effectual help in saving from a sudden and cruel death, haply himself and his confederates, but certainly his Sovereign and the Senators of his Fatherland, along with Heaven alone knows whom else beside!

Furthermore, if there were any antecedent improbability in such a supposal as that Christopher Wright should have recourse to this particular Yorkshireman, Thomas Warde, in the hour of his need, it should69 be had in continual remembrance — as a self-evident proposition from the constitution of human nature — that the person or persons to whom a Yorkshireman like Christopher Wright (supposing him to have been the revealing plotter) almost certainly would have recourse would be, if possible, some tried and constant native of his own County, whose intellect, he would think, there was some guarantee for being shrewd and practical, his heart not devoid of fellow-feeling with a “brother in adversity,” and his will at once indomitable and energetic.[80] One who indeed laughs at alleged impossibilities and who cries: “It shall be done!



Lastly, there is proof, indirect indeed but very telling, that Thomas Warde must have been closely akin to Marmaduke Warde, and that both must have been related to Lord Mounteagle.

This proof is contained in the following “Examination of Marmaduke Warde, Gentleman, in the County of Yorke, taken at Beauchamp Court before Sir Fulke Grevyll, Knight, and Bartholmewe Hales, Esqre., on Wednesday, the 6th day of November, the day following the arrest of Fawkes and the flight of the others of the conspirators from London towards Dunchurch, in Warwickshire: —

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 47.[81]

“The examinacion of Marmaduke Warde, gent. of Newbie in the countie of yorke taken before Sr. ffowlk Grevyll[A] Knight and Bartholmewe Hales esqr.

“This ext beinge demaunded when he came into this Countreye saith a fortnight since & hath since continued at Mr Jo: Writes at Lapworth, where Mr Write discontynuinge the space of on weeke past his71 sister in lawe Mrs Write intreated him (beeinge accompanyed wth on Marke Brittaine her man) to goe to Mr Winter wth a horse to Huddenton where as theye past by Alcester about an hower after the troope past this ext was apprehended but the saide Brittaine beeinge well horst escapt hee further saith hee knewe not of the companies passinge yt way vntill they came to Alcester nor of theire purpose any thinge at all.”

[A] This was the celebrated Sir Fulk Greville, the friend and biographer of Sir Philip Sidney. Greville was afterwards created Lord Brooke. His tomb, with a famous inscription, is in the church of St. Mary, Warwick.

Now, from the “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 91, it is evident, first, that Marmaduke Warde got into no trouble of any kind, notwithstanding that for a fortnight he had been actually dwelling under the roof-tree of one of the principal conspirators, and when apprehended was even in the act of taking a horse from Lapworth to Huddington, the mansion of Robert Winter, one Gunpowder traitor and armed rebel, who was also the brother of another Gunpowder traitor and armed rebel — the latter, indeed, being among the very chiefest of the traitors and rebels.

It is evident, secondly, that on reaching London town the Master of Newbie, in the County of York, lodged in Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn, apparently as a matter of course.

Moreover, the marvel of the whole thing is enhanced by the fact, first, that Marmaduke Ward’s name is bracketed along with Richard Yorke (a follower of Robert Winter) and Robert Key (doubtless Robert Keyes), the Gunpowder traitor, who was arrested in Warwickshire by himself and not in the company of the others (it is supposed he had been to Turvey, in Bedfordshire, to see his wife and children at Lord Mordaunt’s, and was making his way towards Holbeach); and by the fact,72 secondly, that the said Marmaduke Ward, Richard Yorke, and Robert Key are specially described as “suspected persons usually resorting to Mr. Winter, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Rookwood’s.”[A]

[A] See add. MS. 5874, fo. 322, British Museum. See also Appendix for the list of suspected persons usually resorting to Mr. Winter’s, Mr. Grant’s, and Mr. Rookwood’s.

Mr. Winter’s house would be Huddington, in Worcestershire; Mr. Grant’s, Norbrook, in Warwickshire; Mr. Rookwood’s would be Clopton Hall (or House), Stratford-on-Avon. Mabie’s “Life of Shakespeare” (Macmillan, 1901), p. 393, contains a picture of the dining-hall at Clopton.

Now the inferences that I draw from these two truly astounding circumstances are these following: — That Marmaduke Warde must have had literally “a friend at Court,” or his lodging when he reached the great Metropolis, as a matter of course, would have been not — emphatically not — Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn, but, of a surety, the Tower of London.

That this “friend” must have been very closely allied to him in some way or another.

And that this “friend” must have been a very powerful friend indeed, especially when one remembers the punishment that was inflicted after the Plot had become a mere bubble-burst by the Court of Star Chamber upon Marmaduke Warde’s own connection (through the Gascoignes), Henry Earl of Northumberland,[82] and upon the Lords Montague, Mordaunt, and Stourton, the latter of whom had married a daughter of good Sir Thomas Tresham; and the prosecution of Marmaduke Warde’s other connection, Sir John Yorke, of Gowthwaite Hall, in Nidderdale, as late as the year 1612, on a charge of complicity in the Plot.[83]

Now, from all these three inferences, surely the further inference is inevitable, that the probabilities are73 so high as to amount to moral certitude, that Thomas Warde and Marmaduke Warde were each allied, in blood, to William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle.

And “probability” that amounts to moral certitude is, as every-day experience, as well as philosophy, tells us, “the very guide of life.”

Therefore the historical Inquirer henceforward is warranted in reason in pursuing his inquiries into this matter on the following assumption, at the very least, namely, that Christopher Wright, Marmaduke Warde, Thomas Warde, and Lord Mounteagle had common family ties subsisting between them in the year 1605.

And, consequently, upon such an assumption the Inquirer may justifiably build his hypothesis respecting the revelation of the Gunpowder Treason Plot.[84]



But, it may be asked, is there any Evidence, however remote, to show how it is possible that Mounteagle may have been brought into personal contact with his morally certain kinsman, Thomas Warde (or Ward)?

There is.

For it is to be remembered that although Mounteagle seems to have spent most of his time in London and Essex, his grandmother, Elizabeth Lady Morley, the wife of Henry Parker Lord Morley, was, as we have seen, of the then well-nigh princely house of the Stanleys Earls of Derby, she being, in fact, a daughter of Edward Stanley Earl of Derby, as was Margaret Lady Poyntz, the wife of Sir Nicholas Poyntz,[A] of Iron Acton, in the County of Gloucester, the father of Edward Poyntz, Esquire, the relative of the Wardes of Yorkshire.

[A] It is a remarkable fact that Sir Thomas Heneage (whose name frequently occurs in the correspondence of Sir Francis Walsingham with the Earl of Leicester when in the Low Countries), married for his first wife Anne Poyntz, the eldest daughter of Sir Nicholas Poyntz and the Honourable Margaret Stanley, the daughter of Edward Stanley Earl of Derby. — See “Visitation of Essex, 1612” (Harleian Soc.) under “Poyntz.” — Sir Thomas Heneage is described as Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Sir Thomas Heneage married for his second wife the Dowager Countess of Southampton, the mother of Shakespeare’s friend and patron. Now this Earl of Southampton, like the Earl of Rutland, was an intimate friend of Lord Mounteagle.

Besides, as we have also seen, this was not William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle’s only relationship with75 England’s “North Countrie,” — that birthplace and home of so much that is most original and energetic in the English race. For this happily-circumstanced young peer was related doubly to the great Lancashire house of Derby, being, indeed, the heir and successor to the honours and estates of the Stanleys Lords Mounteagle, of Hornby Castle, near “time-honoured Lancaster.”

In fact, through his mother Elizabeth (Stanley) Lady Morley, William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle was the owner of Hornby Castle, situated in the Vale of the Lune, one of the grandest portions of North-east Lancashire.

Again, through his grandmother Anne (Leybourne) Lady Mounteagle, Lord Mounteagle was descended from two other families belonging to the ancient and wealthy Catholic gentry of the North, some of whom the Wards, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, in the Parish of Ripon, in the County of York, must have known personally, and certainly all of whom they must have greatly honoured.

I refer to the Prestons, of Levens and Preston Patrick, in the County of Westmoreland, and of Furness and Holker, in Lancashire, “North of the Sands,” and to the Leybournes (or Labourns), of Cunswick, Skelsmergh, and Witherslack,[A] in the County of Westmoreland, and of Nateby-in-the-Fylde, in the west of the County of Lancaster.[85]

[A] The modern Witherslack Hall, in Westmoreland, is the property of the present Earl of Derby. It is situated in a lovely neighbourhood which instinctively recalls the words of the poet:

That come before the swallow dares, and take,
The winds of March with beauty.” — Winter’s Tale.

Witherslack is reached from Arnside, Silverdale, or Grange-over-Sands.

The old Witherslack Hall of the Leybournes is now a farm-house.



Lastly, it should be remembered, in endeavouring to trace out by inevitable inference the nature of the tie or ties, manifestly very strong, that bound Mounteagle to Marmaduke Ward (and therefore to Thomas Ward), that the ancestors of both Mounteagle and the Wards had, in the year 1513, fought together at the great battle of Flodden Field, in Northumberland, in which the Scots were led by King James IV. of Scotland, who married Margaret Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VII. of England, and whom naught would content, like many a valiant Scot before and since, save “a soldier’s death or glory.”

In the memorable fight, the fifth son of Thomas Stanley first Earl of Derby, namely, Sir Edward Stanley (whose mother was a Neville),[A] turned the fortunes of the77 day in favour of the English by attacking with his archers the rear of the Scottish centre — which centre, led by King James himself in person, was assaulting, with some success, the English forces, whose vanguard was led by Lord Thomas Howard, in 1514 created the Earl of Surrey.

[A] The first Lord Mounteagle’s mother was Lady Eleanor Neville, the sister of Richard Neville, so well known to history as “the King Maker.” The Wards were related to the Nevilles in more than one way. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., the earlier chapters.

In Staindrop Parish Church, three miles from Winston, Darlington, are still to be seen the monuments of the great Ralph Neville and his two wives. This was the first Neville who bore the title Earl of Westmoreland. There are also the monuments of Henry Neville fifth Earl of Westmoreland, and two out of his three wives. His son Charles was the last Neville who bore this title. — See Wordsworth’s “White Doe of Rylstone.” I visited Raby Castle, Durham, with its famous Hall and Minstrels’ Gallery, on the 1st of July, 1901. Raby Castle is owned now by Henry De Vere Vane ninth Lord Barnard, who also owns Barnard Castle, overlooking the Tees, celebrated by Sir Walter Scott in “Rokeby.”

This Earl of Surrey was afterwards the second Duke of Norfolk, of the Howard line of the Dukes of Norfolk, and great great grandfather of Philip Howard Earl of Arundel, who died in the Tower of London in 1595.

The Mowbrays had been the holders of the coveted title Duke of Norfolk[A] from the year 1396 down to 1475, when John de Mowbray Earl of Warren and Surrey, the fourth of the Mowbray Dukes of Norfolk, died leaving no son but only a daughter, Anne, in her own right Baroness Mowbray and Segrave, and also in her own right Countess of Norfolk. This lady was contracted in marriage to Richard, afterwards created Duke of Norfolk, a son of King Edward IV., but they had no issue.

[A] The first Earl of Norfolk was Thomas of Brotherton, a brother of King Edward II. The date of this ancient Earldom was 1312. It fell into abeyance on the death of Richard Duke of Norfolk and his wife Anne Lady Mowbray.

Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey (the half-cousin of Lord Mounteagle) was created Earl of Norfolk by a patent of King Charles I. (formerly Duke of York) in 1644. At the present date (25th June, 1901) the House of Lords has under consideration a claim by Lord Mowbray Segrave and Stourton that he be declared senior co-heir to the Earldom of Norfolk created in 1312. (A case of great historic interest.)

The second of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk, the hero of Flodden Field, was the father of Thomas third Duke of Norfolk, commonly called the “old Duke of Norfolk.”


He was that Duke of Norfolk, under Henry VIII., who opposed the insurgent Yorkshire and Lancashire “Pilgrims of Grace” (1536) led by the gallant Robert Aske,[A] of Aughton, on the banks of the Yorkshire Derwent, when in the event Aske was hanged from one of the towers of the ancient City of York — probably Clifford’s Tower — and many of his followers tasted of Tudor vengeance.

[A] Representatives of the family of Robert Aske are still to be found at Bubwith, near Aughton, and, I believe, at Hull. Aughton is reached from the station called High Field on the Selby and Market Weighton line. Aughton Parish Church is a fine mediæval structure. Hard-by is Castle Hill, the site of the ancient castle of the Askes, showing also evident traces of two large moats which had surrounded the fortified buildings on the hill which constituted the Aughton Hall of days gone by.

“The old Duke of Norfolk” was the father of that illustrious scion of the house of Howard who, under the name Earl of Surrey, has left a deathless memory alike as warrior, statesman, and poet.

The Earl of Surrey’s son was Thomas Howard fourth Duke of Norfolk, who is the common ancestor of the present Duke of Norfolk and the present Earl of Carlisle.

The fourth Duke of Norfolk’s head fell on the scaffold, by reason of the Duke’s aspiring to the Royal hand of Mary Queen of Scots.[B]

[B] Slingsby Castle, 28 miles north-east of York (now dismantled), is associated with the Mowbrays Dukes of Norfolk, they giving the Vale near the Howardian Hills and Rydale the title, Vale of Mowbray. While Sheriff Hutton Castle, 10 miles north-east of York (rebuilt by the first Earl of Westmoreland), is associated with the Howards Dukes of Norfolk; for the “old Duke” lived there for 10 years during the reign of Henry VIII. (The occupier of part of Sheriff Hutton Castle now (1901) is Joseph Suggitt, Esq., J.P.)


The then Lord Dacres of the North, “who dwelt on the Border” at Naworth Castle,[A] near Carlisle, was likewise a sharer in the renowned laurels of Flodden Field.

[A] The Howards Dukes of Norfolk give their name to the Howardian Hills, through Lord William Howard, who married the Honourable Anne Dacres, of Naworth Castle and Hinderskelfe Castle, now Castle Howard. Historic Naworth and that veritable palace of art, Castle Howard, belong to that cultivated nobleman, Charles James Howard ninth Earl of Carlisle, whose gifted wife, Rosalind Countess of Carlisle (née Stanley of Alderley), is akin to the famous William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle, of the days of James I.

This before-mentioned Sir Edward Stanley, the fifth son of Thomas Stanley first Earl of Derby, was created by Henry VIII. Baron Mounteagle, and he was the great-great-grandfather of William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle, who married Elizabeth Tresham.

The story of the battle of Flodden Field[86] and its famous English archers must have been familiar to Mounteagle from his earliest years. And he, doubtless, would have learned from maternal lips that, in consequence of his ancestor’s prowess in that historic fight, his mother’s family received from Henry VIII. the famous title whereby he himself had the good fortune to be known to his King and his fellow-subjects.

I find from Baines’ “History of Lancashire,” vol. iv., ed. 1836, that Hornby Castle, in the Vale of the Lune, in the Parish of Melling, did not pass out of the family of the Lords Morley and Mounteagle until the reign of Charles II. (1663), when it was sold to the Earl of Cardigan: that James I. confirmed to William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle certain ancient rights and privileges, such as court view of frankpledge, etc.: and that James stayed at the Castle in the year 1617, on his return from Scotland to London through Lancashire.80 Baines also says that Sir Edward Stanley first Lord Mounteagle (who married Anne Harrington, daughter of Sir John Harrington) successfully petitioned Henry VII. for the Hornby Estates, in consequence of the attainder of James Harrington, apparently his wife’s uncle.



The first Lord Mounteagle left Hornby Castle to his son Thomas second Lord Mounteagle.

William third Lord Mounteagle, the son and heir of Thomas the second Lord Mounteagle, died in 1584, and is buried in the Parish Church of St. Peter, Melling.

Lady Mary Brandon,[A] the eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, was the first wife of Thomas second Lord Mounteagle, whose second wife was Ellen Leybourne (née Preston), the mother of Anne, the wife of William third Lord Mounteagle, who died in 1584.

[A] Lady Mary Brandon was the daughter of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, who was married four times, one of his wives being a sister of Henry VIII. The Duke of Suffolk was grandfather of Lady Jane Dudley, commonly called Lady Jane Grey, one of the finest moral characters Protestantism has produced. — See Spelman’s “History of Sacrilege” (Masters, ed. 1853), p. 228.

Ellen Preston’s father was Sir Thomas Preston; her mother was a Thornborough, of Hampsfield Hall, Hampsfell, in the Parish of Cartmel, North Lancashire. The Thornboroughs (or Thornburghs) had held some of the following manors from the time of Edward III.: — Hampsfield Hall, Whitwell, Winfell, Fellside, Skelsmergh, Patton, Dallam Tower, Methop, Ulva, and Wilson House, all either in North Lancashire or Westmoreland.

In the parish church of Windermere, at Bowness, near Lake Windermere, there is a window containing, besides royal arms (possibly those of Henry V.), the82 arms of Harrington, Leybourne, Fleming de Rydal, Strickland, Middleton, and Redmayne, most of which houses of gentry of “the North Countrie” were more or less allied to the fourth Lord Mounteagle.

Sir Edward Stanley first Lord Mounteagle was in possession of Hornby Castle and its broad acres at the date of Flodden Field, 1513.[A] This is interestingly evidenced by the two following stanzas from the old “Ballad of Flodden Field”: —

[A] In the battle of Flodden Field, which caused such lamentation, mourning, and woe in Edinburgh, several citizens of York behaved themselves valiantly under Sir John Mounville. Among English lords in this fight were the Lords Howard (Edmund Howard), Stanley, Ogle, Clifford, Lumley, Latimer, Scroope (of Bolton), and Dacres; among knights were Gascoyne, Pickering, Stapleton, Tilney, and Markenfield; and among gentlemen were Dawney, Tempest, Dawbey, and Heron. — See Gent’s “Ripon,” p. 143.

It is said that the gallant Northumbrian Heron knew all the “sleights of war.”

“Most lively lads in Lonsdale bred,
With weapons of unwieldly weight;
All such as Tatham Fells had bred,
Went under Stanley’s streamers bright.
From Silverdale to Kent Sand Side,[87]
Whose soil is sown with cockle shells;
From Cartmel eke and Connyside,
With fellows fierce from Furness Fells.”

Now, the fourth Lord Mounteagle would, almost certainly, know that among the many valiant knights that fought with his forbear, Sir Edward Stanley, was Sir Christopher Ward, who led the Yorkshire levies to the victorious field, and who came of the great family of Ward (or Warde), long famous in the annals of the West Hiding of Yorkshire about Guiseley, Esholt, and Ripon.


For, as the grand old “Ballad of Flodden Field” again tells us, the English arms were reinforced

“With many a gentleman and squire,
From Rippon, Ripley, and Rydale,
With them marched forth all Massamshire,
With Nosterfield and Netherdale.”

The honourable fact just mentioned concerning the valiant Yorkshire knight, Sir Christopher Ward, together with the fact of the relationship, whatever was its precise degree, between the families of Mounteagle and Ward, through the Nevilles and, almost certainly, other ancient houses besides, would tend to cement the bond of union betwixt William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle and his private secretary or gentleman-servant, who — as we have proved by evidence and inevitable inferences therefrom — it is all but absolutely certain must have been Thomas Warde,[A] of Mulwith, the brother of Marmaduke Ward, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale.[88]

[A] Sir Edward Hoby is the only contemporary, so far as I know, that has written in English the name of Lord Mounteagle’s gentleman-servant as such who read the Letter on the 26th of October, 1605.

Now, Hoby writes Ward without the final “e.” If this be borne faithfully in mind there is no objection to my writing the name either “Ward” or “Warde” indifferently.

To write Thomas Warde as well as Thomas Ward helps the mind, I think, to realize the force of the evidence and arguments of this Inquiry; hence my so doing. But, of course, I wish to make it clear that it is inference only, not direct proof, that supplies the missing link in identifying Thomas Ward.

With the consequence that both Lord Mounteagle and his older — almost certainly diplomatist-trained — Elizabethan kinsman would share the lofty traditions, memories and ways of looking at things common to both, which would characterize an historic race that had84 been of high “consideration” long before the sister Kingdom of “bonnie Scotland” gave to her ancient foe a King from her romantic and fascinating but ill-fated Stuart line.



Having then thus established the point that if Christopher Wright and his conjectured Penman of the Letter wished to put themselves into communication with the King’s Government, Christopher Wright himself had family connections in Mounteagle and Ward, who were pre-eminently well qualified — from their Janus-like respective aspects — for the performance of such a task, let us proceed with our Inquiry.

For there is Evidence to lead to the following conclusions: —

(1) That the revealing conspirator (whoever he was) had arranged beforehand that Mounteagle should be at Hoxton on the memorable Saturday evening, the 26th day of October, 1605, at about the hour of seven of the clock.

Moreover, my strong opinion is that this arrangement was made through the suggestion of Thomas Ward, the diplomatic intermediary, with the express consent of Mounteagle himself.

The suggestion, I think, may have been made by Thomas Ward at Bath,[A] a town which Ward possibly86 took on his leaving Lapworth, in Warwickshire, whither, I surmise, he repaired some time between the 11th of October and the 26th of that month.

[A] It is possible that Mounteagle and Catesby may have been together at Bath between the 12th of October, 1695, and the 26th October.

See a curious letter dated 12th October, but without date of the year, from Mounteagle to Catesby (“Archæologia,” vol. xxviii., p. 420), discovered by the late Mr. Bruce.

There is a copy of this “Archæologia” in the British Museum, which I saw in October, 1900.

(2) That Thomas Ward’s was the guiding mind, the dominant force, or, to vary the metaphor, the central pivot upon which the successful accomplishment of the entire revelation turned, inasmuch as, I submit, that Ward must have received from the conscience-stricken conspirator a complete disclosure of the whole guilty secret, with full power, moreover, to make known to Mounteagle so much of the particulars concerning the enterprise as in the exercise of his (Ward’s) uncontrolled diplomatic discretion it might be profitable to be made known to Mounteagle, in order that the supreme end in view might be attained, namely, the entire spinning round on its axis of the prodigious, diabolical Plot.

(3) That Thomas Ward (or Warde) was the diplomatic go-between, the trusty mentor, and the zealous prompter of his master throughout the whole of the very difficult, delicate, and momentous part that Destiny, at this awful crisis in England’s history, called upon this young nobleman to play.

If Ward (or Warde) were born about the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, in the year 1605 he would be well-nigh in the prime of life, namely, forty-six years of age; whereas Mounteagle, we know, was just about thirty. Hence was Warde, by his superior age and experience of men and things, well fitted to play “the guide, philosopher, and friend” to Mounteagle in the matter.[A]

[A] If Thomas Warde were sent to the Low Countries, as I think it almost certain he was sent, although I cannot prove it, belike he may have been one of those Elizabethan gentlemen Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote in the “Two Gentlemen of Verona”:

“Yet hath Sir Proteus ...
Made use and fair advantage of his days:
His years but young, but his experience old:
His head unmellowed, but his judgment ripe;
And, in a word (for far behind his worth
Come all the praises that I now bestow)
He is complete in feature and in mind,
With all good grace, to grace a gentleman.”

It sheds some very faint corroborative light on the supposal that Thomas Ward was the “Mr. Warde” mentioned by Sir Francis Walsingham in the “Earl of Leicester’s Correspondence” (Cam. Soc), that Sir Thomas Heneage, a trusted diplomatist of Queen Elizabeth in the Low Countries, married Anne Poyntz, the daughter of Sir Nicholas Poyntz and Margaret Stanley, a daughter of Edward Stanley Earl of Derby, especially when it is recollected that the Poyntz and the Wards, of Mulwith, were related. — See “Life of Mary Ward” (Burns & Oates, 2 vols.)

Also a “Mr. Wade” mentioned, by Walsingham to Leicester in a letter dated 3rd April, 1587, may have been really “Warde.” — See Wright’s “Elizabethan Letters,” vol. ii., p. 335.

Again, “The Calendar of State Papers,” Domestic Series, 1581-90, gives, page 93, a Thomas Warde, as an examiner for the Privy Council, taking down evidence in the cause of Robert Hungate and wife v. John Hoare and John Shawe, in the year 1583.



Now what is the Evidence to support the preceding paragraphs (1), (2), and (3)?

As to paragraph (1), the Evidence is direct.

There was a tradition extant that Mounteagle expected the Letter, told to a gentleman named Edmund Church his confidant. — See Gardiner’s “Gunpowder Plot,” p. 10.


Moreover, the fact that the footman was in the street at about seven of the clock when the missive was given to him is strongly suggestive of the fact that he had been anxiously sent thither by some one, so that he might be ready at hand to receive the document immediately on its arrival.

As to paragraphs (2) and (3), the Evidence is indirect and inferential.

It is this: — Thomas Ward was manifestly on excellent terms with Mounteagle on the one hand and with the conspirators on the other.

For it is evident that no sooner had Mounteagle arrived back from his errand of mercy on that dark night of Saturday, the 26th day of October, 1605, than he divulged to his servant almost all, if not quite all, that had passed at Whitehall during his never-to-be-forgotten interview with Salisbury, the King’s principal Secretary of State.[A]

[A] The days of the week and the dates of the month run parallel for the years 1605 and 1901. Thus both the 26ths of October are on a Saturday. What was the condition of the moon on that memorable Saturday night?

That Lord Mounteagle had imparted to Thomas Ward almost all, if not quite all, that had passed between Lord Salisbury and himself on the delivery to the latter of the peerless document to my mind is clear from the fact that the faithful Ward, the very next day (Sunday) repaired to Thomas Winter, one of the principal conspirators, and told Winter that the Letter was in the hands of Salisbury! — “Winter’s Confession.

Assuming that Thomas Ward was a Ward of Mulwith, he would be a family connection of Thomas Winter as well as of Christopher Wright through Ursula Ward and Inglebies, of Ripley, in Nidderdale.


Now, what is proved by this very significant fact of Thomas Ward’s so unerringly darting off to Thomas Winter, one of the prime movers in this conspiracy of wholesale slaughter, when he (Ward) had all the adult male inhabitants of London and Westminster to make his selection from?

Plainly this: that the revealing conspirator (whoever he was) must have “primed” Thomas Ward by previously telling Thomas Ward that Thomas Winter was one of the chiefest of those involved in the conspiracy.

Again; as Winter had been formerly in Mounteagle’s service (a circumstance doubtless well known to the revealing conspirator), that revealing conspirator would naturally, nay inevitably, bid Ward put himself not only into speedy communication with Mounteagle, in order to reach Salisbury, the principal servant of the King, but, this done, also into speedy communication with Thomas Winter, one of the chief promoters of the baleful enterprise, in order that by dint of Winter’s powerful influence the general body of the latter’s co-conspirators might be warned, and not merely warned, but haply prevailed upon to take to their heels in instant flight.

Thus the great end aimed at by the curvilinear triangular movement — wherein (ex hypothesi) the Penman, Father Oldcorne, as well as the go-between, Thomas Ward, and the revealing Christopher Wright, was a party and responsible actor — would be, with clear-eyed, sure-footed, absolute certitude, secured and accomplished — nothing being left to the perilous contingencies of purblind, stumbling, limited chance.



Now, I maintain that there is Evidence, from a very unexpected quarter, that Thomas Ward had received from the revealing plotter a complete disclosure of every one of the material facts and particulars of the Plot, including the existence of the mine, the hiring of the cellar, the storing therein of the gunpowder, and even the names of the conspirators. And that, moreover, Thomas Ward had received the fullest power “to discover” to his master, Lord Mounteagle, all that had been told to him (Ward) by the revealing plotter, if, in the exercise of his (Ward’s) uncontrolled diplomatic discretion, he deemed it necessary in order to effect, primarily, the temporal salvation of the King and his Parliament, and, this done, in order to effect, secondarily, the escape of the conspirators themselves.

The Evidence to which I refer is deducible from the testimony of none other than Francis Tresham, Evidence which he gave to Thomas Winter in Lincoln’s Inn Walks on Saturday night, the 2nd day of November, just one week after the delivery of the Letter to Lord Mounteagle, and just one day after the Letter had been shown by Salisbury to the King.[89]

Thomas Winter, in his “Confession,” writes thus: “On Saturday night I met Mr. Tresham again in Lincoln’s Inn Walks, where he told such speeches that my Lord of Salisbury should use to the King, as I gave it lost the second time, and repeated the same to Mr.91 Catesby, who hereupon was resolved to be gone, but stayed to have Mr. Percy come up whose consent herein we wanted. On Sunday night came Mr. Percy and no ‘nay,’ but would abide the uttermost trial.”[90]

To what purport can these “speeches” have been, I should like to know, which so mightily wrought on the nerves of even the doughty Thomas Winter that they were potent enough to break down and sweep away the barriers formed by the strong affection which he naturally must have harboured for the pet scheme and the darling project that had cost himself and his companions the expenditure of so much “slippery time,”[91] so much sweat of the brow, and so much treasure of the pocket? Yea, indeed, to what purport can these “speeches” have been?



In the King’s Book, after describing Salisbury’s first visit to James in “the privie gallerie” of Whitehall Palace, it is stated that it was arranged that there should be another meeting on the following day, Saturday, the 2nd of November.

The precise words of the Royal Work are these: “It was agreed that he [i.e., Salisbury] should the next day repair to his Highness; which he did in the same privie gallerie, and renewed the memory thereof, the Lord Chamberlaine [i.e., Suffolk] being then present with the King. At what time it was determined that the said Lord Chamberlaine should, according to his custom and office, view all the Parliament Houses.”

This pre-arranged meeting with the King on the Saturday was duly held just one week after the delivery of the Letter, Salisbury and Suffolk the Lord Chamberlaine being present thereat; and I suggest that, most probably, Mounteagle himself was, if not then actually within ear-shot, yet not afar off.

Now it is evident from Lingard’s “History” that Tresham had told Winter that the Government had already intelligence of the existence of “the mine.”[92]

Tresham also told Winter that he (Tresham) knew not how the Government had obtained this knowledge (vol. ix., p. 72).

The inevitable inference, therefore, that reason demands should be drawn from these statements of Tresham93 is that Mounteagle must have either sent for his brother-in-law, or gone himself to see him, and that Mounteagle then must have told the terrified Tresham that he (Mounteagle) knew for a fact that a mine had been digged,[A] and that the same information probably that very day (Saturday) would be imparted to the King’s Government likewise.[93]

[A] I hold that the probabilities are that Christopher Wright told Thomas Ward of the existence of the mine: that Thomas Ward told Mounteagle: that Mounteagle told Tresham: and that Tresham told Winter.

Thus would be the concatenation complete, naturally and easily, with no link missing.

This explanation, moreover, stands unspeakably more to reason than the one which woodenly says that Tresham himself revealed the dread secret respecting the mine to Mounteagle, and that then, out of his own mouth, the unhappy man hazarded self-condemnation in the presence of the astute Winter only one day after his (Tresham’s) life had been in the gravest possible jeopardy at Barnet, near White Webbs, from the poniards of the infuriated Catesby and Winter.[94]



Again, on Monday, the 4th instant, Mounteagle offered to accompany his distant connection, the Earl of Suffolk, to make the search in the cellar.

Whyneard, keeper of the King’s wardrobe, declared to the two noble searchers that Thomas Percy had hired the house and part of the cellar or vault under the same, and that “the wood and coale” therein were “the said gentleman’s own provision.”

Mounteagle, on hearing Percy named, let drop — probably in an unguarded moment — words to the effect that perhaps Thomas Percy had sent the Letter.

Now, guarded or unguarded, to my mind, the fact that Mounteagle, in any shape or form, mentioned Percy’s name on that momentous occasion tends to show that Mounteagle knew all the material facts and particulars of the Plot, including even the names of the conspirators.[95]

But Mounteagle, I hold, was resolved to do his duty to his King and his country on the one hand, and to his friends — his reprobate, insane, but (he full well knew) grievously provoked friends — on the other.

He was determined, spurred on, I suggest, by Thomas Ward, to save the King and Parliament from bloody destruction by gunpowder on the one hand, and to save his own kith and kin and boon companions on the other: of whose guilt, or otherwise, he did not constitute himself the judge, still less the executioner.


To this end the young peer watched and measured the relative value and effect of every move on the part of the Government like a vigilant commander, bent, indeed, on securing what he deemed to be the rights and interests of the wronged and the wrong-doers alike.

And, most probably, being driven into a corner at the last and compelled so to do by the imperious exigencies of his primary and supreme duty, namely, the saving of the King and Parliament from being rent and torn to pieces in a most hellish fashion, truly “barbarous and savage beyond the examples of former ages,” Mounteagle actually himself told Salisbury to inform Sir Thomas Knevet and his band of armed men to keep a sharp lookout for a certain tall, soldierly figure, “booted and spurred,” in the neighbourhood of the cellar, before the clock struck the hour of midnight of Monday, November the 4th. If this were so, it accounts for the efforts of Knevet, Doubleday, and others being so speedily crowned with success.

Fawkes was probably taken into custody in the court adjoining Percy’s house and the House of Lords’ cellar, and a few moments afterwards secured by being bound with such things in the nature of cords as Knevet and his men had with them. — See Gardiner’s “Gunpowder Plot,” pp. 132-136.

The dark lantern, now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, was left burning in the cellar by Fawkes.



Let me now make two quotations.

One is from the King’s Book, giving an account of the procedure followed by the Earl of Suffolk the Lord Chamberlain, and the Lord Mounteagle, the champion, protector, and hero of the England of his day, in whose honour the “rare” Ben Jonson[96] himself composed the epigram transcribed at the end of this Inquiry.

The other quotation, collected from the relation of a certain interview between Catesby, Tresham, Mounteagle, and Father Garnet, is one which plainly shows that Mounteagle was closely associated with Catesby, not merely as a passive listener but as an active sympathiser, as late as the month of July, 1605, in general treasonable internal projects, which indeed only just fell short of particular treasonable external acts.

But this, of course, does not prove any complicity of Mounteagle in the particular designment known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot, of which diabolical scheme, I have no reasonable doubt, the happy, debonair, pleasure-loving, but withal shrewd and generous, young nobleman was perfectly innocent.

These two quotations show, first, how zealously and faithfully Mounteagle of the Janus-face, looking both before and after — as henceforward we must regard him — kept his hand on the pulse of the Government at the most critical hour of his country’s annals, with a view to doing what both he and his mentor deemed to be97 justice in the rightful claims and demands, though diverse and conflicting, of each group of “clients.”

And, secondly, how wisely and prudently Christopher Wright and his counsellor or counsellors had acted in determining upon this favoured child of Fortune as their “vessel of election” for conveying that precious Instrument, which for all time is destined to be known as Lord Mounteagle’s Letter, to the Earl of Salisbury and, through him, to King James, his Privy Council and Government, on that Saturday night, the 26th day of October, 1605.

The King’s Book says: “At what time hee [i.e., the Earl of Suffolk,[97] the Lord Chamberlain] went to the Parliament House accompanied with my Lord Mounteagle, being in zeale to the King’s service, earnest and curious to see the event of that accident whereof he had the fortune to be the first discoverer: where having viewed all the lower roumes he found in the vault under the upper House great store and provision of Billets, Faggots, and Coales; and enquiring of Whyneard, keeper of the Wardrobe, to what use hee had put those lower roumes and cellars; he told them that Thomas Percy had hired both the house and part of the cellar or vault under the same, and that the wood and coale therein was the sayde gentleman’s owne provision. Whereupon the Lord Chamberlaine casting his eye aside perceived a fellow standing in a corner there, calling himself the said Percyes man and keeper of that house for him, but indeed was Guido Fawkes the owner of that hand which should have acted that monstrous tragedie.”[98]

The Discourse then goes on to say that the Lord Chamberlain reported to the King in the “privie gallerie,” in the presence of the Lord Treasurer, “the Lord Admirall,” “the Earles of Worcester, Northampton, and Salisbury,” what he had seen and observed, “noting Mounteagle had98 told him, that he no sooner heard Thomas Percy[A] named to be possessour of that house, but considering both his backwardnes in Religion and the old dearenesse in friendship between himself and the say’d Percy, hee did greatly suspect the matter, and that the Letter should come from him. The sayde Lord Chamberlaine also tolde, that he did not wonder a little at the extraordinarie great provision of wood and coale in that house, where Thomas Percy had so seldome occasion to remaine; as likewise it gaue him in his minde that his man looked like a very tall and desperate fellow.”[99]

[A] I think that Lord Mounteagle or Thomas Ward (or both) must have given some member of the Privy Council a hint that a Christopher Wright was a probable conspirator, for it is noticeable that on the 5th of November several persons testified as to Christopher Wright’s recent whereabouts. Ward probably hoped that Wright’s name would be joined with Percy’s in the Proclamation, and so haply warn the conspirators the better that the avenger of blood was behind. Or, the Government may have procured Christopher Wright’s name from some paper or papers found in Thomas Percy’s London house, on the 5th of November, the day of Fawkes’ capture.

At that time the Privy Council undertook all preliminary inquiries in regard to the crime of High Treason. It is different now; at first the case may be brought before an ordinary magistrate.



Shortly after Midsummer (i.e., July), 1605, Father Garnet was at the Jesuit house at Fremland, in Essex. Catesby came there with Lord Mounteagle and Tresham.

At this meeting, in answer to a question, “Were Catholics able to make their part good by arms against the King?” — Mounteagle replied, “If ever they were, they are able now;” and then that young nobleman added this reason for his opinion, “The King is so odious to all sorts.”

At this interview Tresham said, “We must expect [i.e., wait for] the end of Parliament, and see what laws are made against Catholics, and then seek for help of foreign princes.”

“No,” said Garnet, “assure yourself they will do nothing.”

“What!” said my Lord Mounteagle, “will not the Spaniard help us? It is a shame!”[A]

[A] If Mounteagle was in the company of Catesby at Fremland in the summer of 1605, these two may have been together at Bath between the 12th October and the 26th. Catesby probably would endeavour to induce Lord Mounteagle to join Sir Everard Digby’s rebellion, as he did induce Stephen Littleton and Humphrey Littleton.

Then said Father Garnet, “You see we must all have patience.”[100]

It is also to be remembered that when Sir Edmund Baynham, a Gloucestershire Catholic gentleman of good100 family — but of whom Winter said “he was not a man fit for the business at home,” i.e., the purposed Gunpowder massacre — went to Flanders and Rome in the first week of September, 1605, Mounteagle appears to have written certain letters of introduction or of general recommendation, in Baynham’s behalf, to English Catholics residing in Flanders or in Rome. Jardine says that “it is not quite certain that Baynham was himself entrusted with the great secret of the Plot.”[101]

I think that it is morally certain he was not.

Sir Edmund Baynham[A] was intended by the prime conspirators to be at Rome to justify (if he could) to the Pope any action that the conspirators might have perpetrated on or after November the Fifth in behalf of their religion. But the prime conspirators were far too astute “to open their mouth” to let a chattering, hare-brained swashbuckler like Baynham “fill other people’s” in every wine-shop en route for “the Eternal City.”

[A] Father Garnet was also employing Sir Edmund Baynham as his diplomatic intermediary with the Pope in order “to gain time,” so that meanwhile the plotters might find space for repentance! Garnet was apparently one of those men who though possessed of a profound knowledge of Man know little or nothing of men. Whereas Oldcorne seems to have had practical reason as well as theoretical wisdom. Oldcorne, I take it, had a good, strong, clear, practical head on his shoulders, which included in its armoury will, in the sense of power, as well as intellect and heart, and “where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Guy Fawkes probably was authorised to impart and possibly actually did, under the oath, impart some knowledge of the Plot to Captain Hugh Owen, a Welsh Roman Catholic soldier of fortune serving in Flanders under the Archdukes.[102] Owen’s name figures in the Earl of Salisbury’s instructions to Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney-General who prosecuted the surviving Gunpowder conspirators in the historic Westminster Hall.


Moreover, I have thought that at least some of the powder must have been purchased in Flanders through the good offices of the said Captain Owen. The powder and the mining tools and implements appear to have been stored at first in the house at Lambeth and placed under the charge of Robert Keyes and, eventually, of Christopher Wright. The powder was, I take it, packed in bags, and the bags themselves packed in padlocked hampers. Afterwards, I conclude, the powder bags were deposited in the barrels, and the barrels themselves carried by two of the conspirators, with aid of brewers’ slings, and deposited in the cellar, which apparently had at least two doors.



Now, when deep within the depths of the moral being of Christopher Wright there first arose that tender day-spring, a realization of guilt and shame: that crimsoned dawn, a sense of grief and sorrow for those two high crimes whereby his wretched conscious-self had been made darksome and deformed: acts, wondrous in the telling, in that soul had been indeed wrought out; regard being had to the overmastering power of Man’s conditioned yet free will.

Furthermore, the historical Inquirer cannot but seek, if possible, by the exercise of the philosophic faculty, to penetrate to what, on the human side, may have been the originating cause, the moving spring, of the limited yet responsible moral nature of a guilty creature, whose eyes for well-nigh three hundred years have been closed by a violent death; of a guilty creature who, in the awful tragedy of his end, verified in himself, in the sight of all men, the sublimely terrible words of the old Greek tragedy, “The guilty suffer.”

For wrong-doing, by a steadfast law of the universal reason, “till time shall be no more,” will ever entail temporal punishment; and, by nature, expiation and atonement must be wrought out in the criminal’s own keen consciousness.

Yet, by a compensating law of universal reason, as inexorable as its fellow, according as Man does work out that measure of punishment, expiating and atoning, which103 to him Destiny has allotted for his guerdon, in that proportion does his soul regain its forfeited harmoniousness and peace.

Now the originating cause, the moving spring, in the case of the, I hold, contrite Christopher Wright was, on the human side, the flooding of his soul by memories pure and bright of days long, long ago.

I need not labour this point; but in a note I will relate certain facts concerning her to whom Christopher Wright owed the gifts of life and nurture, which will sufficiently tell what manner of woman that Elizabethan Yorkshire mother was, in respect of courage, humanity, and devotedness to her ideals.[103]

I furthermore opine that, although it was the personal dawning consciousness of Christopher Wright himself that primarily prompted the happy step of recourse to Father Edward Oldcorne,[104] yet Christopher Wright, in my judgment, already had confided the just scruples of his conscience to the ear, not of a “superior” judicial Priest, but of an “equal” counselling Layman.

That Layman, I hold, was Thomas Ward, who, belike, heightened and strengthened his connection’s laudable resolve.[105]

Now, if such were the case, I do not doubt that Father Oldcorne, that skilled, tried “minister of a mind diseased,” the duties of whose vocation urged him, with persistent force, promiscuously “to work good unto all men,” voluntarily offered to pen the immortal Letter; provided he were released from the obligations of that solemn secrecy imposed by “the seal of the Confessional”: released by the Penitent himself, in whom alone resided the prerogative of granting or withholding such a release.



Again; I think that probably Thomas Ward had either at Hindlip, Evesham or elsewhere at least one interview with the great Jesuit himself — “the gradely Jesuit,” as the good, simple-hearted Lancashire Catholics would style him — in order that Father Oldcorne might receive from Ward in person satisfactory assurance that, with certainty, when the Letter had been prepared it would be delivered directly by Ward himself, or indirectly by him, through Mounteagle, to the Government authorities.

Nay, to make assurance doubly sure, it is even possible that Father Oldcorne may have insisted on a second Letter being penned and sent to another nobleman at the Court, the Earl of Northumberland, a man of ancient lineage and great name, with whom Ward, through the Gascoignes, would be distantly connected.[106]

It appears to me that the moral certitude is so strong that Thomas Ward was brother to Marmaduke Ward, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, that it seems practically almost the mere extravagance of caution to express a doubt of it.[A]

[A] It will be remembered that we have evidence that William Ward, a son of Marmaduke Ward, had an uncle who lived at Court.

This evidence is of the greatest value and importance in identifying Thomas Ward, the secretary and friend of Lord Mounteagle, and should be continually borne in mind by all my readers.

It should be also remembered that Edmund Neville, the claimant of the Earldom of Westmoreland, was the man who accused Dr. William Parry of a plan to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Now this Neville became a suitor for the hand of Mary Ward, though about double her age. Neville would be related to the Wards, and perhaps knew Thomas Ward when in 1584 Parry was tried and executed. Parry had invited Neville to join in assassinating the Queen. I believe Parry to have been a great liar; but all the same it is not absolutely certain that the wretch was not the victim of a state intrigue. If we could ascertain at Hatfield more about Thomas Ward there might be a clue to the Parry mystery.


Now, the suggestion that Thomas Ward was probably in the Midland counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire sometime about the 11th of October, 1605,[107] is, I maintain, to some very slight extent supported by the fact that we know for certain that Marmaduke Ward came up from Yorkshire to Lapworth about thirteen days afterwards, and that he was bracketed with those who were said to have been at the houses of John Wright, Ambrose Rookwood, and John Grant at that time.[A]

[A] See the List of the names of conspirators, insurgents, and others arrested in the Midlands given in the Appendix.

Now, if about the 11th of October Thomas Ward found at Lapworth, Clopton, and Norbrook every inchoate evidential sign of a heady, hopeless, armed rebellion, what was there more natural than that he should have despatched some trusty horseman, fleet of foot, “from the heart of England” down into Yorkshire, bearing an urgent missive adjuring Marmaduke Ward, by the love that he bore to his kith and kin, to come up to Lapworth with all speed possible? To the end that he might use his counsels and entreaties to induce his late wife’s combative brother, John Wright,[108] the close-natured Christopher Wright, the gallant Ambrose Rookwood, and the strong-willed John Grant, to abandon all designment of insurrectionary stirs.

For Thomas Ward, from the experience of a man at Court aged forty-six, who knew from the daily observation106 of his own senses, how firmly James’s Executive was certainly established, must have clearly perceived that, at that time Catholic stirs against the Government could be fated to have only one unhappy issue and disgraceful termination, namely, the utter, bloody, irretrievable ruin of all that were so thrice wretchedly bewitched as to have become entangled in them.[A]

[A] It is to be borne in mind that hereafter proof may be forthcoming that Christopher Wright married Margaret Ward, the sister of Marmaduke and Thomas Ward. I think that they had another sister named Ann Ward, who married a Marmaduke Swales. — (See Ripon Registers). There was an old county family called Swales at Staveley Hall, near Farnham and Scotton. They were Roman Catholics. They are the same, I opine, as the Swales (or Swale) family, of South Stainley, between Ripley and Ripon, whose descendants are of the ancient faith in Yorkshire to this day.

The late Sir James Swale, Bart., of Rudfarlington, near Knaresbrough, I conclude, likewise belonged to the same race. I was introduced in the year 1898 to this fine specimen of an old Yorkshire Catholic by my friend, Charles Allanson, Esq., of Harrogate — himself of an old West Riding family that “had never lost the Faith.”

And this the rather, when it is remembered that, the names of John and Christopher Wright were already unfavourably known to the Government; since during Elizabeth’s reign, in the year 1596, they, together with Catesby, Tresham, and others, had been put under arrest by the Crown authorities, who feared that on the death of Elizabeth these “young bloods” would, at what they deemed to be “the psychological moment” for the execution of their revolutionary designs, lead, sword in hand, the oppressed recusants in some wild, fierce dash for liberty.[109]



We have now considered the Evidence leading up to the commission of the respective acts that this Inquiry, at an earlier part, has attributed severally to Christopher Wright and Father Oldcorne, who stand, as it were, at the angular points in the base of that triangular movement of revelation, at whose vertex is Thomas Ward (or Warde), the entirely trustworthy friend and diplomatic intermediary common to both the repentant conspirator and the beneficent Priest of the Society of Jesus.

But before proceeding with the Evidence and the deductions and suggestions therefrom, which tend to prove that, subsequent to the dictating of the Letter by Christopher Wright and the penning of the same by Father Oldcorne, these two Yorkshiremen were conscious of having performed the several parts attributed unto them, let us deal with certain objections that may be put forward as preliminary objections fatal to the contentions of this Inquiry.

Now, there is an objection which, with a primâ facie plausibleness, may be advanced against the hypothesis that Christopher Wright was the dictating, repentant, revealing conspirator, through whom primarily the Plot was frustrated and overthrown.

And there is also a second objection that may be urged against the hypothesis, with even still greater primâ facie plausibleness, that Father Edward Oldcorne,108 Priest and Jesuit, was the meritorious Penman of the dictated Letter.

Each objection must be dealt with separately.

Let us take the objection in the case of Christopher Wright first, and, having laid that one, proceed to the objection in the case of Edward Oldcorne.

Now, a certain William Handy, servant to Sir Everard Digby, on the 27th day of November, 1605, before (among others) Sir Julius Cæsar, Kt., Sir Francis Bacon, Kt.,[110] and Sir George More, Kt., High Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, deposed (among other things) the following: —

That early on Wednesday morning, the 6th of November, as the fugitives were proceeding from Norbrook to Alcester, he (Handy) heard the younger Wright say, “That if they had had good luck they had made those in the Parliament House fly with their heels upward to the sky;” and that “he spake these words openly in the hearing of those which were with him, which were commonly Mr. John Grant, the younger Grant, and Ambrose Rookwood.”[111]

Now, Christopher Wright may have used these words in the early part of that November day, and every candid mind must allow that they are not the words that one would expect to find in a sincerely repentant criminal.

But the philosopher knows that there is “a great deal of human nature in Man.” While the experienced citizen of the world who knows men practically, as the philosopher knows Man theoretically, will not be literally amazed, or even unduly startled, at finding these words recorded against Christopher Wright, even after (ex hypothesi) he had become as one morally resurrected from the dead.

For it is to be remembered that Christopher Wright was the brother of John Wright, and the brother-in-law of Thomas Percy, Thomas Percy having married Martha109 Wright, of Plowland Hall. Now, concerning John Wright and his brother-in-law, Thomas Percy, the following traits of character are chronicled by their contemporary, Father John Gerard.[112]

“It was noted in him [i.e., Thomas Percy] and in Mr. John Wright (whose sister he afterwards married) that if they had heard of any man in the country to be esteemed more valiant and resolute than others, one or the other of them would surely have picked some quarrel against him and fought with him to have made trial of his valour.”

On the march then, with such relatives as these close at hand, there is no antecedent improbability, but the contrary, in the supposal that Christopher Wright used these words by way of a feint, to the end that he might, peradventure, draw his companions away from those scaring suspicions, by the haunting fear of which Wright’s self-consciousness would be sure to be continually visited.

For “Conscience doth make cowards of us all.”

Truly, “The guilty suffer.” And it was part of the awful temporal punishment wherewith severe, just Nemesis, the dread executioner of Destiny, visited this — I still hold, all outward shows to the contrary notwithstanding — repentant wrong-doer, that he should be fast bound to one of the spiked, lacerating wheels of a flying chariot that he desired, “to the finest fibre” of his tortured, writhing being, to have no part nor lot in driving: fast bound, for the residue of that all too brief mortal career, which, on that chill November morning, was rapidly drawing to its shattered close.



What objection, then, can be brought against the hypothesis that Father Edward Oldcorne, Priest and Jesuit, and native of the City of York, was the Penman of this most momentous perhaps of all Letters ever writ by the hand of man?

It is this, that in a pamphlet by a certain Dr. Williams, published about the year 1680,[113] purporting to be a History of the Powder Treason, with a parallel between the Gunpowder Treason and the Titus Oates’ alleged Popish Plot of the reign of Charles II., there occurs the following statement: —

“Mrs. Habington was sister to the Lord Mounteagle and so being solicitous for her brother, whom she had reason to believe would be at the parliament, she writ the aforesaid letter to him, to give him so much notice of the danger as might warn him to provide for his own safety, but not so much (as she apprehended) as might discover it. From this relation betwixt the two families, it was that Mr. Habington alone of all the conspirators, after sentence, had his life given him. This account Mr. Habington himself gave to a worthy person still in being.” (The italics are mine.)

Now, of course, if Mrs. Habington (or Abington), of Hindlip Hall, near Worcester, where Father Oldcorne was domesticated for sixteen years, actually wrote the Letter, then Father Oldcorne did not. There can be no two opinions about that, even with the most sceptical.


But did she?

I submit that this testimony of Dr. Williams, second,[114] third, or fourth hand possibly, is hopelessly inadequate for the establishing of any such conclusion.

First, let it be noted that, although “the worthy person” to whom Mr. Abington is said to have imparted this tremendous secret — and apparently to none other human creature in the wide world beside — was living in the year 1680 (or thereabouts), his thrice-important name is not divulged by the learned author, neither is the faintest hint given as to where he may have resided.

Accordingly, we cannot submit the now dead but once highly privileged gentleman to the salutary ordeal of cross-examination: a fact which is well-nigh fatal to his credibility for any serious student of true history; with the further consequence that a grave suspicion is, by this very fact alone, at once cast upon the entire story.

Secondly, Dr. Williams does not say that he (Williams) himself had this testimony direct from the unnamed and unidentified witness — “the worthy person still in being” in (or about) the year 1680.

Therefore, this story may have been handed on by wagging, irresponsible, chattering tongues, whose name is legion. With the result that it gained, not lost, in the course of transmission to the mind of Dr. Williams, who has enshrined in the printed page, still to be viewed in the British Museum, the far-fetched tale for the benefit of succeeding ages.



Now, if Dr. Williams solemnly had said that he knew Mrs. Abington personally, and that she (Mrs. Abington) had told him (Williams) with her own lips that she had writ the Letter, the case would have been a good way towards being established: assuming the lady to have been intellectually and morally capable at the time when she made such statement, and Williams himself a man whose word could be relied on.

Or, if Mr. Abington had told Williams that he knew his wife had writ the Letter because he saw with his own eyes the lady do it, then the case would have been also a good way towards being established.

Or, if Mr. Abington had told Williams that he believed his wife had writ the Letter because she had told him (Abington) she had done so immediately after she alleged she had performed the meritorious deed, the case would have been some slight way towards being established.

But when the only shred or patch of evidence we have to support the stupendous article of belief that Mrs. Abington accomplished the immortal feat is an uncircumstantial, uncorroborated allegation by Dr. Williams that some person or another unknown (on the most favourable view) told him (Williams) that Mrs. Abington had writ the Letter merely because her husband said so, then the case for Mrs. Abington’s authorship of the document is in no way towards being established.


And, therefore, the story falls to the ground.

And, therefore, it should be, in reason, henceforward consigned to the limbo of exploded myths and idle tales.

It is true that Dr. Nash in his work on Worcestershire,[115] written in the eighteenth century and published in 1780, declares that “Tradition in this county says that she [i.e., Mrs. Abington] was the person who wrote the Letter to her brother, which discovered the Gunpowder Plot.”

But then, obviously, this alleged tradition is absolutely worthless, unless it can be shown to have been a continuous tradition from the year 1605 down to the time when Nash was writing his “History.” For if the tradition sprang up at a later date, for the purposes of true history its value as a tradition is plainly nothing.

The learned David Jardine — to whom all students of the Gunpowder Plot will be for ever indebted for his labours in this conspiracy of conspiracies — in his “Narrative,” published in the year 1857, and to which reference has been already frequently made in the course of this Inquiry, says,[116] “No contemporary writer alludes to Mrs. Abington as the author of the Letter.”

And Jardine evidently does not think that the penmanship of the document can be brought home to this lady.

Moreover, if Mrs. Abington had written the Letter of Letters, surely she would have, at least, shared her brother Lord Mounteagle’s reward, which was £700 a year for life, equal to nearly £7,000 a year in our money.

For if £700 a year was the guerdon of him that merely delivered this Letter of Letters, what should have been the guerdon of her that actually penned the peerless treasure?


But the hypothesis that Mrs. Abington penned the Letter of Letters has absolutely no foundation in contemporary evidence. For there is not the faintest echo of an echo of testimony, nor the merest shadow of a shade of proof that either she or Mr. Abington had the remotest previous knowledge of the Gunpowder Treason Plot.

And the mere fact that Mr. Abington, although the harbourer of Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne, was spared from undergoing the extreme penalty of the law, in itself tends to disprove the allegation that either he or his wife had been in any way privy to the Plot. For no plotter’s life was spared.

Mr. Abington became a celebrated antiquary, especially in regard to his own County of Worcestershire, within the confines of which he was ordered by the King to remain for the rest of his days. — See Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 212.[A]

[A] The splendid Elizabethan mansion known as Hindlip Hall, four miles from Worcester, with a large and magnificent prospect of the surrounding country, was demolished early in the nineteenth century. A picture of this mansion is in the Rev. Ethelred Taunton’s book, “The Jesuits in England” (Methuen & Co.). The present Hindlip Hall is the seat of the Lord Hindlip.

In these circumstances, Dr. Nash’s alleged tradition cannot possibly outweigh the inferences that the facts known and inferred concerning the Plot all tend to establish. For these inferences, both in respect of what happened before and after the penning of the Letter, all go to show this: that the conjectures, surmises, and suggestions of this Essay are indeed probable to the degree of moral certitude.

And I respectfully submit these same conjectures, surmises, and suggestions cannot be upset, still less broken, by knowledge commensurate with zeal.


Jardine mentions the singular hypothesis that this famous Letter was penned by the Honourable Anne Vaux, at the dictation of the Honourable Mrs. Abington.

Now, the Honourable Anne Vaux was one of the daughters of the Lord Vaux of Harrowden, in Northamptonshire, at whose house Father Henry Garnet (the chief of the Jesuits in England) lived for many years, from 1586, when Garnet returned to England from Rome. Anne Vaux and her sister, the Honourable Eleanor Brookesby, were high-minded women who lived at White Webbs, Stoke Pogis,[A] Wandsworth, and other places of Jesuit resort, rendering, along with Edward Brookesby,[B] Esquire (the husband of Eleanor Brookesby), the members of the Jesuit Society in England signally devoted service.

[A] The mansion-house at Stoke Pogis, where the Dowager Lady Vaux lived for a time along with Miss Anne Vaux, had been built by Elizabeth’s favourite Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton. If this was the manor-house of Stoke Pogis, then Gray, the author of the immortal “Elegy in a Country Churchyard,” sojourned at the place.

[B] Edward Brookesby was of Arundel House, Shouldby, Leicestershire. Frances Brookesby (his sister, probably, and one of Queen Anne’s Maids of Honour), became a devoted friend of Mary Ward. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. ii., p. 23.

This was especially so in the case of the Honourable Anne Vaux, who spent and was herself spent in behalf of labours wherein the English Jesuits busied themselves for, as they thought, the greater glory of God and the greater good of man.

Jardine, however, after comparing the Letter with many letters and papers at the then State Paper Office, which are undoubtedly in the Honourable Anne Vaux’s handwriting, says, “I am quite unable to discover the alleged identity of the handwriting.”[117]



Now, regard being had to the fact that “there is seldom smoke except there be, at least, some little fire, the question arises: Is it possible to account, on rational grounds, for any such statement of the worthy person still in being in 1680 as Dr. Williams credits him with?

(Nash’s evidence, in the absence of proof of a continuous tradition, is not one whit more worthy of credence than Dr. Williams’ impalpability.)

It is possible.

For, it is well within the bounds of rational probability that what Mr. Abington said to some person or persons unknown (assuming that he ever said anything whatever) was not that his wife “had writ the Letter,” but that his wife “knew, or thought she knew, who had writ the Letter.”

The way in which to test the matter is this: Supposing, for the sake of argument, that my hypothesis be true, and that Father Oldcorne did actually pen that Letter which was the instrument, not only of the temporal salvation of Mrs. Abington’s brother, the Lord Mounteagle, but also of her father, the Lord Morley, together with many others of her kinsfolk, friends, and acquaintance, as well as of her lawful Sovereign and His Royal Consort, is it, or is it not, probable that Mrs. Abington would guess, in some way or another, the mighty secret?

It is probable.


For let it be remembered who and what Mrs. Abington was.

The Honourable Mary Parker, the daughter of Edward Parker Lord Morley and the Honourable Elizabeth Stanley, was the mother of William Abington, the well-known poet[118] of that name, who was born, in fact, on or about the 5th of November, 1605.

Therefore Mrs. Abington was the mother of a son who was a man of distinguished intellectual parts.

Moreover, seeing that usually it is from the mother that a son’s capabilities are derived rather than from the father, it is more, rather than less, likely that Mrs. Abington herself was a naturally clear-minded, acute, discerning woman, gifted with that marvellous faculty which constitutes cleverness in a woman — sympathetic, imaginative insight.

Now if this were so, Mrs. Abington’s native perspicacity would be surely potent enough to enable her to form a judgment, at once penetrating and accurate, in reference to such a thing as the penmanship of the great Letter — a document which had come home, as events had proved, with such peculiar closeness to her own “business and bosom.”[119]

In these circumstances, may the Lady of Hindlip not, in after days, when the tragic scenes of those fateful years 1605 and 1606 had become a sad, pathetic memory merely, have recalled to mind certain special aspects in the play of the countenance, in the tone of the voice, aye, in the general mien of Father Edward Oldcorne that she had noted shortly from and after the Michaelmas of that unhappy year 1605, forming evidence whence she might draw her own shrewd, wise conclusions?

May not this honourable woman — honourable by nature as well as by name — have recollected that she118 had then observed that the holy man sought more than hitherto had been his wont the retirement of his “secret chamber?” That, at that period, he seemed more than ever absorbed, nay hidden, in thought?

May she not have recalled that at that “last” Christmastide, too, he, who was by nature so severely yet sweetly just, and the humblest among men, had shown himself disposed to judge those wicked wrong-doers with a mildness and a leniency that assuredly, perforce, betokened — what? I answer, a consciousness of some high prerogative, some kingly right, abiding in him, whereby he was warranted in thus speaking.

Again; did he not then manifest a disposition, remarkable even in him, to act in diametrical opposition to the ordinary way of men, which is so well expressed by the sarcastic, cynical, yet only too true saying, that “the world is ready enough to laugh with a man, but it leaves him to weep alone.” And this, when “a compassionate silence” (save in extraordinary circumstances) was the utmost that Justice and Charity alike would prompt even a Priest and a Jesuit (nay, even a Priest and a Jesuit of the type of Edward Oldcorne) to display towards the wretched, erring victims of that “ineluctabile fatum,” that resistless decree of the Universe — “The guilty suffer.”

Now, I submit, with sure confidence for an affirmative answer, to the judgment of my candid readers — of my candid readers that know something of human nature, its workings, its windings, and its ways — the question: Whether or not it is not merely possible, but probable, that Mrs. Abington divined that stupendous secret, through and by means of the subtle, yet all-potent, mental sympathy, which must have subsisted betwixt herself and the disciplined, exalted, stately soul, who, as119 a Priest — aye! as a very Prophet — this high-born lady, or at least her spouse, had “counted it all honour and all joy” to have harboured, as a beloved spiritual Father, “elect and precious,” for no less than sixteen years?[120]



Let us finally consider the Evidence and the deductions and suggestions therefrom which tend to prove that subsequent to the dictating of the Letter by the contrite, repentant Christopher Wright, and subsequent to the penning of the Document by the deserving, beneficent Edward Oldcorne, each of these two Englishmen, aye! these two Yorkshiremen, were conscious of having performed the several functions that these pages have attributed unto them.

Let us take, then, the case of Christopher Wright first.

Now, the Evidence that tends to show that Christopher Wright was conscious of having been the revealing plotter and dictating conspirator[121] has been already mainly set forth, but let me recapitulate the same.

It is as follows: —

(1) That either Thomas Winter must have gone in search of Christopher Wright, or Christopher Wright must have gone in search of Thomas Winter, in order that it might be possible for Stowe to record on p. 880 of his “Chronicle” the following allegation of facts: —

“T. Winter, the next day after the delivery of the Letter, told Christopher Wright that he understood of an obscure letter delivered to the Lord Mounteagle, advising him not to appear at the Parliament House the first day, and that the Lord Mounteagle had no121 sooner read it, but instantly carried it to the Earle of Salisbury, which newes was presently made known unto the rest, who after divers conferences agreed to see further trial, but, howsoever, Percy resolved to stay the last houre.”[122]

(2) Poulson says, in his account of the Wrights, of Plowland (or Plewland) Hall, in his “History of Holderness,” vol. ii., p. 57, that Christopher Wright “was the first who ascertained that the plot was discovered.”

(3) Christopher Wright was possibly being harboured by Thomas Ward in or near Lord Mounteagle’s town-house in the Strand during a part of Monday night, the 4th of November, and during the early hours of Tuesday, the 5th.

Or, if Christopher Wright were not being so harboured, then it is almost certain he must have been taking such brief repose as he did take at the inn known by the name of “the Mayden heade in St. Gyles.”[A] For there is evidence to prove that this conspirator’s horse was being stabled at that hostelry in the afternoon of Monday, the 4th of November.

[A] The Strand is not far from the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. This well-known church has now two district churches, Christ Church, Endell Street, and Holy Trinity, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. (Communicated by Mr. J. A. Nicholson, Solicitor, York.) In 1891 the population of St. Giles’s Parish was 15,281.

This we know from the testimony of William Grantham, servant to Joseph Hewett, deposed to on the 5th of November, 1605,[B] taken before Sir John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice of England.

[B] See Appendix.

Moreover, the Lord Chief Justice Popham[C] reported122 to Lord Salisbury on the 5th of November as follows: “Christopher Wright, as I thyncke, lay this last night in St. Gyles.” — “Gunpowder Plot Book,” Part I., No. 10.

[C] Of the Leyborne-Pophams, of Littlecote, Co. Wilts.

(4) Again; from the following passage in “Thomas Winter’s Confession” it is evident that Christopher Wright, at a very early hour in the morning of Tuesday, November 5th, must have been in very close proximity to Mounteagle’s residence, in order to ascertain so accurately — either directly, through the evidence of his own senses, or indirectly, through the evidence of the senses of some other person (presumably of Thomas Ward) — what there took place a few hours after Fawkes’s midnight apprehension by Sir Thomas Knevet.

Thomas Winter says: —

“About five o’clock being Tuesday came the younger Wright to my chamber and told me that, a nobleman[A] called the Lord Mounteagle, saying, ‘Rise and come along to Essex House, for I am going to call up my Lord of Northumberland,’ saying withal ‘the matter is discovered.’

[A] It was Edward Somerset Earl of Worcester, Master of the Horse, I believe, an ancestor, lineal or collateral, of the Duke of Beaufort. Worcester was a Catholic.

“‘Go back, Mr. Wright,’ quoth I, ‘and learn what you can at Essex Gate.’

“Shortly he returned and said, ‘Surely all is lost,[123] for Leyton is got on horseback at Essex door, and as he parted, he asked if their Lordships would have any more with him, and being answered “No,” he rode as fast up Fleet Street as he can ride.’

“‘Go you then,’ quoth I, ‘to Mr. Percy, for sure it is for him they seek, and bid him be gone: I will stay and see the uttermost.’”


(5) Furthermore; Lathbury, writing in the year 1839,[A] asserts that Christopher Wright’s advice was that each conspirator “should betake himself to flight in a different direction from any of his companions.”[124]

[A] Lathbury’s little book, published by Parker, is a very careful compilation (me judice). It contains an extract from the Act of Parliament ordaining an Annual Thanksgiving for November 5th; also in the second Edition (1840) an excellent fac-simile of Lord Mounteagle’s Letter. In Father Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” (1896), on p. 173, is a fac-simile of the signature of Edward Oldcorne both before and after torture.



Now, as somewhat slightly confirming this statement of Lathbury, is the fact that in an old print published soon after the discovery of the Plot, which shows the conspirators Catesby, Thomas Winter, Percy, John Wright, Fawkes, Robert Winter, Bates, and Christopher Wright, Christopher Wright is represented as a tall man, in the high hat of the period, facing Catesby, and evidently engaged in earnest discourse with the arch-conspirator. Christopher Wright to enforce his utterance is holding up the forefinger of his right hand. Catesby’s right hand is raised in front of Christopher Wright, while Catesby’s left hand rests on the hilt of the sword girded on his side.[125]

(Of course the evidence in paragraphs (2) and (5) of the last chapter may have emanated from one and the same source; but the great point is that it has emanated from somewhere.)

In connection with Christopher Wright’s propinquity to Thomas Ward possibly, and to Thomas Winter possibly likewise, on the Sunday immediately previous to the “fatal Fifth,” the two following items of evidence are of consequence: —

(1) In Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 98, we are told: “On Sunday, the 3rd of November, the conspirators heard from the same individual who had first informed them of the Letter to Lord Mounteagle, that the Letter125 had been shown to the King, who made great account of it, but enjoined the strictest secrecy.”

This individual was Thomas Ward. — (Jardine.)

Now, we have seen already that Stowe’s “Chronicle” records “the next day after the delivery of the Letter” there was a conjunction of the planets — Thomas Winter and Christopher Wright.

This conjunction at or about this period I hold to be a very significant fact, tending to show that either the one or the other must have sought his confederate out, as has been remarked already.

But from the following important Evidence of William Kyddall, servant to Robert Tyrwhitt, Esquire,[A] brother of Mrs. Ambrose Rookwood, and kinsman of Robert Keyes, it is evident that it was physically impossible for Christopher Wright to have met Thomas Winter on Sunday, the 27th of October; inasmuch as Christopher Wright was then at Lapworth, only twenty miles distant from Hindlip Hall.[B]

[A] Robert Tyrwhitt and William Tyrwhitt and one of Thomas Winter’s uncles, David Ingleby, of Ripley (who married Lady Anne Neville, a daughter of Charles fifth Earl of Westmoreland), along with “Jesuits,” were, about the year 1592, great frequenters of Twigmore, in Lincolnshire, twelve miles from Hull by water. John Wright afterwards lived at Twigmore. Father Garnet is known to have been at Twigmore.

[B] For the information as to the distances between Coughton and Hindlip; and Stratford-on-Avon and Hindlip; also between Lapworth and Hindlip, I am indebted to Charles Avery, Esq., of Headless Cross, near Coughton; the Rev. Father Atherton, O.S.B., of Stratford-on-Avon; and George Davis, Esq., of York.

Yet this does not disprove the material fact of the meeting itself, the date or circumstance of time not belonging to the essence of the assertion. (See Appendix.)



Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 52.

“The examinacon of William Kyddall of Elsam in the Countie of Lincolne srvant to Mr. Robert Turrett of Kettleby[A] in the said Com. taken the viiith daie of November 1605 before Sr Richard Verney Knighte high Sherriff for the Com. of Warr. Sr John fferrers & Willm Combes Esqr Justices of peace there saith as followeth.

[A] Kettleby is near Brigg, in Lincolnshire. Twigmore, where John Wright had lived, is also near the same town. (Communicated by R. H. Dawson, Esq., of Beverley, a descendant of the Pendrells, of Boscobel.)

“That he was intreated of Mr. John Wrighte, who was dwellinge at Twigmore in the Countie of Lincolne, to bringe his daughtr beinge eight or nine yere old to Lapworth to Nicholas Slyes[B] house where he hath harbored this half yere. He brought the child to Lapworth the xxiiiith of October, and there was Mr. John Wrighte and his wife and Mr. Christopher Wrighte and his wife, soe he continued at Lapworth from Wednesdaie to Monday, from thence he goeth to London wth Mr. Christopher Wrighte and came to London on Wednesdaie betwixt two & three a Clocke to St. Giles to the signe of the Maydenhead from whence Mr. Wrighte wente into the Towne 127and he stayed at the Inn, uppon ffriday one Richard Browne srvant to Mr. Wrighte wente downe into Surrey, and on ffriday at night Browne returned and he & Browne wente uppon Sattersdaie for the Child to a Towne he knoweth not about Croydon Race and broughte it to the Maydenhead at St. Gyles to Mr. Wrighte the ffathr who seeinge the child too little to be carried sent them backe wth it to the place whence thei fetched it on Sonday Morninge, and thei retorned Sondaie night to the Maydenhead and it was purposed by Mr. Wright to come awaie wth this examinate uppon Mondaie morninge but staied because Mr. Wrightes Clothes were not made till Tuesdaie morninge and then Mr. Wrighte sent this examinate and[A] William Ward nephew to Mr. Wrighte downe to Lapworth in Warwickshire whither they were now goinge. He saith he lefte Mr. Wright at London and knoweth not the causes why he came not away wth them he saith that Browne lyeth in Westminster neare Whitehall at one Bonkers house. Thei broughte in their Cloakbagge a suit of Cloathes for Mr. John Wright a Petronell and a Rapier & dagger thinkinge to find him at Lapworth.

[B] Probably Nicholas Sly and his house were well known to Shakespeare. John Wright appears to have gone to Lapworth (which belonged to Catesby) about May, 1605. Who Mrs. John Wright was I do not know.

[A] William Ward, one of the sons of Marmaduke Ward, it will be remembered, had an uncle who lived at Court. This surely must have been Thomas Ward. And I opine that the boy had been on a visit to this uncle; for at this time his father was at Lapworth, the house of John Wright. It is possible, however, that Christopher Wright and Kyddall may have brought young Ward up to London from Lapworth; but I do not think so, otherwise we should have been told the fact in Kyddall’s evidence, most probably. (The italics are mine.)

“Richard Verney.[B]
Jo: fferrers.[C]
W. Combes.”[126][D]

[B] Sir Richard Verney, Knt., would be a friend, belike, of Sir Thomas Lucy, Knt., of Charlcote (a Warwickshire Puritan gentleman).

[C] Of the Ferrers, of Baddlesley Clinton (a very old Catholic family).

[D] From whom Shakespeare bought land. To John Combes, brother to William, the poet bequeathed his sword by Will.

(No endorsement).


Mistress Dorothie Robinson, Widdow, of Spur Alley, on the 7th of November, 1605, also deposed as follows: —

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 41.

“The examinacon of Dorathie Robinson[127] widdow of Spurr Alley.

“Shee sayeth that one Mr. Christopher Wright gent did lye in her house about a Moneth past for xviiien dayes together and no more. And there did come to him one Mr. Winter wch did continually frequent his Company and about a moneth past the said Winter brought to her house two hampers[A] locked wth two padlockes, and caused them to be placed in a little Closet at the end of Mr. Wright’s Chamber. But what was in the said hamps, was privately conveyed away by Winter wthout her knowledge, and the hamps was geven to her use.

“Shee sayeth that Mr. Wright could not chuse but know of the conveying of those thinges wch were in the hamper as well as Mr. Winter.

“Shee sayeth that Mr. Winter by report of his man, was a Worcestershire man, and his living Eight score poundes by the yeare at the lest.

The said Mr. Wright hath a brother in London,[B] whose servant came to him in this woman’s house, and the129 same morning of his going away, wch was a Moneth on Tuesday last.

“That the said Wright was to seeke his loding againe at this woman’s house; but she tould him her lodgings were otherwayes disposed of. And then he went his wayes. And since that tyme shee never saw him.

She sayeth that shee saw Mr. Winter uppon Sunday last in the afternoone. But where he lodgeth she knoweth not. (The italics are mine.)

“I can find no manner of thing in this woman’s house whereby to geve us any incouragemt to proceede any further.

“The said Mr. Wright did often goe to the Salutation to one Mr. Jackson’s house; And one Steven the drawer as shee thinketh will tell where hee is.”

[A] These hampers contained the fresh gunpowder, no doubt, mentioned by Thomas Winter in his “Confession” written in the Tower. This sentence tends to confirm the genuineness of the Confession.

[B] Who was this brother? I suggest that by brother is meant brother-in-law, and that as a fact Christopher Wright had married Margaret Ward, the sister to both Marmaduke and Thomas Ward. If this be correct, then we have demonstrative proof of the servant of Thomas Ward calling upon Christopher Wright (probably with a message from Thomas Ward) the very same morning as, I hold, that Christopher Wright went down into Warwickshire, where he would be within twenty miles of Father Oldcorne. This evidence is important. The word came, too, is noticeable, implying, I think, a habit of coming, a frequentative use of the past tense of the verb. Observe also “and the same morning,” implying cumulative acts of “coming,” the visit of that day being the last of a series of visits.

Mr. Jackson also deposed: —

“He sayeth that he knoweth Mr. Wright very well, But it is about a fortnight past,[128] since he ws at his house, and since that tyme he knoweth not what is become of him. (The italics are mine.)

“He sayeth further that he knoweth not any other of his Consorts or Companyons, yf hee did he would reveale it.

(Endorsed) “The examinacon of Dorathy Robinson Widdow of Spurr Alley.”

Furthermore, we have the following Evidence of Mistress Elizabeth More:130 —

7 Nov: 1605.

State Papers Domestic — Jas. I., Vol. xvi., No. 13.

“The Declaracon of Elizabeth More the wief of Edward More taken the 5th of November 1605.

“She saieth that the gent that lay at her howse wth Mr. Rookwood this last night and the night before his name is Mr. Keyes and he took upp the Chamber for the said Mr. Rookwood.

“And she saieth that uppon ffryday night last Mr. Christofir Wright came to this exaite howse wth the said Mr. Rookwood and lay that night in a chamber on the said Mr. Rookwoode Chamber.

(Endorsed) “5th No: 1605.

“The Declaracon of Elizabeth More.”

Mistress More, I find, lived near Temple Bar.[A]

[A] Where was Spur Alley? and how far were Temple Bar and Spur Alley from the town-house in the Strand of the Lord Mounteagle, and therefore of his Lordship’s secretary, Thomas Ward?

It will be noted by the judicious reader that the conjectured fact that Christopher Wright’s London lodgings were within a short distance of where, doubtless, his — I suggest — brother-in-law (Ward) was to be found tends to support my theory.



Before we well-nigh finally take our leave of Christopher Wright, I should like to bring before my readers two pieces of Evidence, from each of which, at any rate, may be drawn the inference that it was one of the conspirators themselves that revealed the tremendous secret.

That Christopher Wright was that revealing conspirator, the manifold considerations which the preceding pages of this Inquiry have established, I trust, will satisfy the intellect of my readers, seeing that those considerations, I respectfully but firmly urge, must be held to have built up a “probability” so high as to amount to that “moral certitude” which is “the very guide” of Man’s terrestrial life, in that it furnishes Man with those sufficient rules which direct his daily action.[129]

But, in bringing the first piece of Evidence to which I allude before the eyes of my readers, I desire, with great respect, to say that I am keenly conscious that I run the risk of incurring the condemnation implied in the words: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

But, since “circumstances alter cases,” I feel warranted (under correction) in adventuring, in this one instance, upon a particular line of argument which I feel is, as an affair of taste, primâ facie unseemly, and, as a matter of feeling, a line of action, in ordinary cases, to be rigorously eschewed.


Yet, seeing that such a course of conduct cannot be held to be morally wrong, my plea is — and I respectfully submit my all-sufficient plea is — that an Inquiry, having for its purpose the elucidation of the hitherto inscrutable mystery as to who revealed, or who were instrumental in revealing, so satanic an enterprise as the Gunpowder Plot, being far, far removed beyond the range of mere logic-chopping, dry-as-dust, non-human investigations, justifies the following, in one instance, of a course of action which unquestionably would clash with mere, decorous taste, and would collide with mere delicate feeling, except, by the case being altered, it were lifted into the realm of the categories of the extraordinary and the special.

Then the nature of the act or action composing that course of conduct would be, in a sense, fundamentally and meritoriously changed. And, therefore, it would be, by a double title, morally justifiable.

Now, when the Gunpowder conspirators were at Huddington, the mansion-house of Robert Winter, on Thursday, the 7th day of November, certainly most of the conspirators, and probably all of them, received the Sacrament of Penance through the ministry of a Jesuit Father, named Nicholas Hart (alias Strangeways and Hammond), who besides being an alumnus of Westminster School, and for two years a student of the University of Oxford, had, prior to his becoming a Priest and a Jesuit, “studied law in the Inns of Court and Chancery in London.”[130]

Now, William Handy, the serving-man of Sir Everard Digby (of whom we have already heard), further deposed as follows:[131]

“On Thursday morning, about three of the clock, all the said company, as well servants as others, heard Mass, received the Sacrament, and were confessed, which133 Mass was said by a priest named Harte, a little man whitely complexioned, and a little beard.”

Now, Ambrose Rookwood, on the 21st day of January, 1605-6, deposed[132] that he confessed to Hammond at Huddington, on Thursday, the 7th of November, that he was sorry he had not revealed the Plot, it seeming so bloody, and that after his confession Hammond absolved him without remark.

The precise words of the ill-fated Rookwood hereon are these: —

Gunpowder Plot Books — No. 177.

“The voluntarie declaration of Ambrose Rokewood esquier. 21 Janu. 1605 [1606]

“I doe acknowledge that uppon thursday morninge beeing the 7th of November 1605 my selfe and all the other gentlemen (as I doe remember) did confesse or sinnes to one Mr. Hamonde Preeste, at Mr. Robert Wintour his house, and amonges other my sinnes I did acknowledge my error in concealing theire intended enterprise of pouder agaynste his Matie and the State, having a scruple in conscience, the facte seeminge to mee to bee too bluddye, hee for all in generall gave me absolution without any other circumstances beeing hastned by the multitude that were to come to him.

“Ambrose Rookewoode.
“Exr p. Edw. Coke
       W. Ward.”
“... pouder
       xxth of January 1605.
Declaration of Ambrose
Rookewoode of his own hand.”



Now, regard being had to the fact that this kneeling young Penitent was, with his own lips, avowing the commission in desire and thought of “murder most foul as at the best it is”[A] (and “we know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him”[B]), by confessing to a fellow-creature a wilful and deliberate transgression against that “steadfast Moral Law which is not of to-day nor yesterday, but which lives for ever”[C] (to say nothing of his avowal of the commission in act and deed of the crime of sacrilege,[D] in taking a secret, unlawful oath contrary to the express prohibitions of a visible and audible Institution which that Priest and that Penitent135 alike believed was of divine origin), I firmly, though with great and all-becoming deference, draw these conclusions, namely, that one of the plotters had already poured into the bending ear of his breathless priestly hearer glad tidings to the effect that he (the revealing plotter, whoever he was) had given that one supreme external proof which heaven and earth had then left to him for showing the genuineness of his repentance in regard to his crimes, and the perfectness of his contrition on account of his transgressions, by taking premeditated, active, practical, vigorous steps for the utter frustrating and the complete overthrowing of the prodigious, diabolical Plot.

[A] Shakespeare.

[B] St. John the Divine.

[C] Sophocles.

[D] Of course the Gunpowder Treason Plot was a “sacrilegious crime,” because it sought to compass the death of a king who was “one of the Lord’s anointed,” as well as because of the unlawful oath of secrecy, solemnly ratified by the reception of the Sacrament at the hands of some priest in a house behind St. Clement’s Inn, “near the principal street in London called the Strand.” — See “The Confessions of Thomas Winter and Guy Fawkes.” This house was probably the London lodging of Father John Gerard, S.J. Winter and Fawkes said that the conspirators received the Sacrament at the hands of Gerard. But “Gerard was not acquainted with their purpose,” said Fawkes. Gerard denied having given the conspirators the Sacrament. — See Gardiner’s “What Gunpowder Plot was,” p. 44. One vested priest is very much like another, just as one soldier in uniform is very much like another. So Fawkes and Winter may have been mistaken. Besides, they would not be likely to be minutely examining the features of a priest on such an occasion.

Furthermore; that it was because of the possession by Hammond of this happy intelligence, early on that Thursday morning, before sunrise, that therefore, in the Tribunal of Penance, “he absolved” poor, miserable (yet contrite) Ambrose Rookwood “for all in general” — “without any other circumstances.”

That is, I take it, without reproaching or even chiding him — in fact “without remark.”[A]

[A] Father Nicholas Hart (alias Hammond) appears to have been stationed with the Vauxes, of Great Harrowden, usually. Foley (iv., Index) thinks it probable that the Father Singleton, S.J. (alias Clifton), mentioned by Henry Hurlston, Esquire, or Huddlestone, of the Huddlestones, of Suwston Hall, near Cambridge; Faringdon Hall, near Preston, in Lancashire; and Millom, “North of the Sands,” was in reality Father Nicholas Hart (alias Hammond). I do not think so. For, according to the Evidence of Henry Hurlston (Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., pp. 10, 11), who was at Great Harrowden, on Tuesday, November 5th, at five o’clock in the afternoon, Father Strange, S.J. (a cousin of Mr. Abington, of Hindlip), and this said Father Singleton, “by Thursday morning took their horses and intended to have ridden to Grote.” They were apprehended at Kenilworth. This Father Singleton is a mysterious personage whose “future” I should like to follow up. Was he the same as a certain “Dr. Singleton” who figures in the “Life of Mary Ward” vol. i., p. 443? and was he of the Catholic Singletons, of Singleton, near Blackpool?



The other piece of Evidence that I wish to bring before my readers which tends to show that it was one of the conspirators themselves that revealed the Plot is this: —

Jardine gives in his “Criminal Trials[133] a certain Letter of Instructions to Sir Edward Coke,[134] the Attorney-General who conducted the prosecution of the surviving Gunpowder conspirators at Westminster Hall[135] before a Special Commission for High Treason, on the 27th day of January, 1605-6.

This very remarkable document is in the handwriting of Robert Cecil first Earl of Salisbury.

It is as follows: —

“These things I am commanded to renew unto your memory. First, that you be sure to make it appear to the world that there was an employment of some persons to Spain for a practice of invasion, as soon as the Queen’s breath was out of her body. The reason is this for which the King doth urge it. He saith some men there are that will give out, and do, that only despair of the King’s courses on the Catholics and his severity, draw all these to such works of discontentment: where by you it will appear, that before his Majesty’s face was ever seen, or that he had done anything in government, the King of Spain was moved, though he refused it, saying, ‘he rather expected to have peace,’ etc.


Next, you must in any case, when you speak of the Letter which was the first ground of discovery, absolutely disclaim that any of these wrote it, though you leave the further judgment indefinite who else it should be. (The italics are mine.)

“Lastly, and you must not omit, you must deliver, in commendation of my Lord Mounteagle, words to show how sincerely he dealt, and how fortunately it proved that he was the instrument of so great a blessing as this was. To be short, sir, you can remember how well the King in his Book did censure[A] his lordship’s part in it, from which sense you are not to vary, but obiter (as you know best how), to give some good echo of that particular action in that day of public trial of these men; because it is so lewdly given out that he was once of this plot of powder, and afterwards betrayed it all to me.

“This is but ex abundanti, that I do trouble you; but as they come to my head or knowledge, or that I am directed, I am not scrupulous to send to you.

“You must remember to lay Owen as foul in this as you can.”

[A] The word “censure” here means, formed an opinion of his lordship’s part. From Lat. censeo, I think.

Now, strangely enough, in the day of public trial of these men, the learned Attorney-General forgot in one particular the aforesaid clear and express Injunctions of his Majesty’s principal Secretary of State.

For, if he be correctly reported, Sir Edward Coke then said: — [136]

“The last consideration is concerning the admirable discovery of this treason, which was by one of themselves,138 who had taken the oath and sacrament, as hath been said, against his own will; the means was by a dark and doubtful letter sent to my Lord Mounteagle.[A] (The italics are mine.)

[A] “Truth will out!”

Now, regard being had (1) to what Salisbury bade Coke not say; and (2) to what Coke as a matter of fact did say, I infer, first, that it was one of the conspirators who revealed the Plot; because of just scruples that his conscience had, well-nigh at the eleventh hour, awakened in his breast: that, secondly, not only so, but that the Government, through Salisbury, Suffolk, Coke, and probably Bacon, strongly suspected as much: that, thirdly, this was the explanation not only of their comparatively mild treatment of the Gunpowder conspirators themselves,[137] but also, I hold, of the subsequent comparatively mild treatment of the recusants generally throughout the country.[138]

For had the Government stripped all English Papists of their lands and goods and driven them into the sea, Humanity scarcely could have complained of injustice or harshness, regard being had to the devilish wholesale cruelty of the Gunpowder Plot.

Contrariwise, the entire action of the Government resembles the action of a man in whose hand the stick has broken whilst he is in the act of administering upon a wrong-doer richly deserved chastisement.

For, indisputably, the Government abstained from following after, and from reaping the full measure of, their victory (to have recourse to a more dignified figure of speech) either on grounds of principle, policy — or both.

Moreover, none of the estates of the plotters were139 forfeited. And this, regard being had to the fact that the plotters were “moral monsters,” and to the well-known impecuniosity of the tricky James and his northern satellites, is itself a circumstance pregnant with the greatest possible suspicion that there was some great mystery in the background. — See Lathbury’s “Guy Fawkes,” pp. 76, 77, first Edition.

For, even if deeds of marriage settlement intervened to protect the plotters’ estates, an Act of Parliament surely could have swept them away like the veriest cobwebs. For Sir Edward Coke himself might have told the King and Privy Council that “an Act of Parliament could do anything, short of turning a man into a woman,” if the King and Council had needed enlightening on the point.



Again: the primary instinct of self-preservation alone would have assuredly impelled the bravest of the brave amongst the nine malefactors, including Tresham, who were incarcerated in the Tower of London, either to seek to save his life when awaiting his trial in Westminster Hall, or, at any rate, when expecting the scaffold, the ripping knife, the embowelling fork, and the quartering block, in St. Paul’s Churchyard or in the old Palace Yard, Westminster, to seek to save his life, by divulging the mighty secret respecting his responsibility for the Letter of Letters, had anyone of them in point of fact penned the document. For “skin for skin all that a man hath will he give for his life.”

Hence, from the silence of one and all of the survivors — a silence as unbroken as that of the grave — we can, it stands to reason, draw but this one conclusion, namely, that the nine surviving Gunpowder conspirators were stayed and restrained by the omnipotence of the impossible from declaring that anyone of them had saved his King and Parliament.

Hence, by consequence, the revealing conspirator must be found amongst that small band of four who survived not to tell the tale.

Therefore is our Inquiry reduced to within a narrow compass, a fact which simplifies our task unspeakably.

If it be objected that “a point of honour” may have stayed and restrained one of the nine conspirators141 from “discovering” or revealing his share in the laudable deed, it is demonstrable that it would be a false, not a true, sense of duty that prompted such an unrighteous step.

For the revealing plotter, whoever he was, had duties to his kinsfolk as well as to himself, and, indeed, to his Country, to Humanity at large, and also to his Church, which ought, in justice, to have actuated — and it is reasonable to believe would have assuredly actuated — a disclosure of the truth respecting the facts of the revelation.

But I hold that the nine conspirators told nothing as to the origin of this Letter of Letters, because they had none of them, anything to tell.

Moreover, I suggest that what Archbishop Usher[139][A] meant when he is reported to have divers times said, “that if Papists knew what he knew, the blame of the Gunpowder Treason would not lie on them,”[140][B] was this: —

[A] Protestant Archbishop of Armagh.

[B] Such a secret as the answer to the problem “Who revealed the Gunpowder Plot?” was a positive burden for Humanity, whereof it should have been, in justice, relieved. For it tends to demonstrate the existence of a realm of actualities having relations to man, but the workings of the causes, processes, and consequences of which realm are invisible to mortal sight; in other words, of the contact and intersection of two circles or spheres, whereof one is bounded by the finite, the other by the infinite. Now, in the case of strong-minded and intelligent Catholics, the weight of this fact would have almost inevitably impelled to an avowal of the fact of revelation had not the omnipotence of the impossible stayed and restrained. Hence, the absence of avowal demonstrates, with moral certitude, the absence of ability to avow. And this latter, with moral certitude, proves my point, namely, that one of the four slain divulged the Plot.

That it was “the Papist Doctrine” of the non-binding force of a secret, unlawful oath that (Deo juvante) had been primarily the joint-efficient cause of the spinning142 right round on its axis of the hell-begotten Gunpowder Plot.

It is plain that King James’s Government[A] were mysteriously stayed and restrained in their legislative and administrative action after the discovery of the diabolically atrocious Gunpowder Treason Plot.

[A] It is the duty of every Government to see that it is true, just, and strong. Governments should confine their efforts to the calm and faithful attainment of these three ideals. Then they win respect and confidence, even from those who fear them but do not love. James and the first Earl of Salisbury, and that type of princes and statesmen, oscillate betwixt the two extremes, injustice and hysterical generosity, which is a sure sign of a lack of consciousness of absolute truth, justice, and strength.

And illogical and inconstant as many English rulers too often have been throughout England’s long and, by good fortune, glorious History, this extraordinary illogicalness and inconstancy of the Government of King James I. betokens to him that can read betwixt the lines, and who “knows what things belong to what things” — betokens Evidence of what?

Unhesitatingly I answer: Of that Government’s not daring, for very decency’s sake, to proceed to extremities.

Now, by reason of the primal instincts of human nature, this consciousness would be sure to be generated by, and would be certain to operate upon, any and every civilized, even though heathen, government with staying and restraining force.

Now, the Government of James I. was a civilized government, and it was not a heathen government. Moreover, it certainly was a Government composed of human beings, who, after all, were the persecuted Papists’ fellow-creatures.

Therefore, I suggest that this manifest hesitancy to proceed to extremities sprang from, and indeed itself143 demonstrates, this fact, namely, that the then British Government realized that it was an essentially Popish Doctrine of Morals which had been the primary motive power for securing their temporal salvation. That doctrine being, indeed, none other than the hated and dreaded “Popish Doctrine” of the “non-binding force” upon the Popish Conscience of a secret, morally unlawful oath which thereby, ipso facto, “the Papal Church” prohibited and condemned.

Hence, that was, I once more suggest, what Archbishop Usher referred to, in his oracular words, which have become historic, but which have been hitherto deemed to constitute an insoluble riddle.

For certainly behind those oracular words lay some great State mystery.

The same fact possibly accounts for the traditional tale that the second Earl of Salisbury confessed that the Plot was “his father’s contrivance.” — See Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” p. 160.

For the Plot was “his father’s contrivance,” considered as to its broad ultimate effects on the course of English History, in that the Plot was made a seasonable handle of for the destruction of English Popery. And a valuable and successful handle it proved too, as mankind knows very well to-day. Though “what’s bred in the bone” is apt, in this world, “to come out in the flesh.” Therefore, the British statesman or philosopher needs not be unduly alarmed if and when, from time to time, he discerns about him incipient signs, among certain members of the English race, of that “staggering back to Popery,” whereof Ralph Waldo Emerson once sagely spoke.

’Tis a strange world, my masters! And the whirligig of Time brings round strange revenges!



We come now to the last portion of this Inquiry — to the last portion, indeed, but not to the least.

For we have now to consider what Evidence there is tending to prove that subsequent to the penning of the Letter by Father Edward Oldcorne, he was conscious of having performed the meritorious deed that, I maintain, the Evidence, deductions, and suggestions therefrom all converge to one supreme end to establish, namely, that it is morally (not mathematically) certain that his hand, and his hand alone, actually penned that immortal Letter, whose praises shall be celebrated till the end of time.

Before considering this Evidence let me, however, remind my readers that there is (1) not only a general similarity in the handwriting of the Letter and Father Oldcorne’s undoubted handiwork — the Declaration of the 12th day of March, 1605-6 — a general similarity in point of the size of the letters and of that indescribable something called style,[141] but (2) a particular similarity in the formation of the letters in the case of these following, namely, the small c/s, l/s, i/s, b/s, w/s, r/s, long s/s (as initials), short s/s (as terminals), while the m/s and n/s are not inconsistent.[A]

[A] Bentham aptly terms the comparison of Document with Document, “Circumstantial real Evidence.” — See Best’s “Principles of the Law of Evidence,” and Wills on “Circumstantial Evidence.” See Miss Walford’s Letter (Appendix).


Moreover, there is (3) this fact to be remembered, that in both the Letter and in the said Declaration, the name “God” is written with a small “g,” thus: “god.”

It is true that, of course, not only did this way of writing the name of the Supreme Being then denote no irreverence, but it was commonly so written by Englishmen in the year 1605.

Still, it was certainly not by them universally so written. For in the fac-simile of “Thomas Winter’s Confession” the word “God” occurs more than once written with a handsomely made capital G,[142] to mention none other cases.

There is to be also remembered (4) the user of the expressions “as yowe tender youer lyf,” and “deuys some exscuse to shift of[143] youer attendance at this parleament for god and man hathe concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme.”

For these expressions are eminently expressions that would be employed by a man born in Yorkshire in the sixteenth century.

Again; there is to be noted (5) the expressions as “yowe tender youer lyf,” and “god and man hathe concurred.” Inasmuch as I maintain that as “yowe tender youer lyf” was just the kind of expression that would be used by a man who had had an early training in the medical art, as was the case with Edward Oldcorne.

For “Man to preserve is pleasure suiting man, and by no art is favour better sought.” And a deep rooted belief in the powers of Nature and in the sacredness of the life of man are the two brightest jewels in the true physician’s crown.

Once more; (6) the expression “god and man hathe concurred” is pre-eminently the mode of clothing in146 language one way, wherein a rigid Roman Catholic of that time would mentally contemplate — not, indeed, the interior quality of the mental phenomena known as the Gunpowder Plot, in which “the devil” alone could “concur,” but the simple exterior designment of the same, provided he knew for certain that it could be considered as a clear transparency only — as a defecated cluster of purely intellectual acts.[A]

[A] It is manifest that if, in intent, Oldcorne by his own Letter had destroyed the Plot, he, of all other people in the world, would have the prerogative of regarding the Plot as a clear transparency; while of the Plot as a transparency, he would feel a freedom to write “god and man hathe concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme.” If the Writer had not the prerogative of regarding the Plot as a clear transparency then these results follow — that he regarded Him (Whose Eyes are too pure even to behold iniquity) as concurring in the designment of a most hellish crime, nay, of participating in such designment; for he couples God with man. Now the Letter is evidently the work of a Catholic. But no Catholic would regard God as the author of a crime. Therefore the Gunpowder Plot to the Writer of the Letter can have been regarded as no crime. But it was obviously a crime, unless and until it had been defecated of criminous quality, and so rendered a clear transparency. Now, as the Writer obviously did not regard it as a crime, therefore he must have regarded it as defecated, by some means or another; in other words, as a clear transparency. And this, I maintain, proves that the Writer had a special interior knowledge of the Plot “behind the scenes,” that is, deep down within the depths of his conscious being.

Furthermore, in reflecting on these preliminaries to the general discussion of the Evidence tending to prove a consciousness on Edward Oldcorne’s part, subsequent to the penning of the Letter, of being responsible for the commission of the everlastingly meritorious feat, let it be diligently noted that the Letter ends with these words: “the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter and i hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good use of it to whose holy proteccion i contend yowe.” (The italics are mine.)


Now, I opine that what the Writer intended to hint at was a suggestion to the recipient of the Letter to destroy the document. Not, however, that as a fact, I think, he really wished it to be destroyed.[144] Because it is highly probable that (apart from other reasons) the Writer must have wished it to be conveyed to the King, else why should he have said, “i hope god will give you the grace to mak good use of it”?

And why should the King himself in his book have omitted the insertion of this little, but here virtually all-important, adjective?[145]

Besides, the Writer cannot have seriously wished for the destruction of the document. For in that case he would not have made use of such a masterpiece of vague phraseology as “the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter.”[146] But, on the contrary, he would have plainly adjured the receiver of the missive, for the love of God and man, to commit it as soon as read to the devouring flames!

Lastly should be noted the commendatory words wherewith the document closes. These words (or those akin to them), though in use among Protestants as well as Catholics in the year 1605, were specially employed by Catholics, and particularly by Jesuits or persons who were “Jesuitized” or “Jesuitically affected.”[147]



Having dealt with the preliminary Evidence, we now come to the discussion of the main Evidence which tends to show that subsequent to the penning of the Letter Father Edward Oldcorne, Priest and Jesuit, performed acts or spoke words which clearly betoken a consciousness on his part of being the responsible person who penned the document.

That this may be done the more thoroughly, it will be necessary to ask my readers to engage with me in a metaphysical discussion.

But, before attempting such a discussion, which indeed is the crux of this historical and philosophical work, we will retrace our steps somewhat, in the order of time, to the end that we may, amongst other things, haply refresh and recreate the mind a little preparatory to entering upon our severer labours.

Now, on Wednesday, November the 6th, Father Oswald Tesimond went from Coughton, near Redditch, in Warwickshire, the house of Thomas Throckmorton, Esquire, to Huddington, in Worcestershire, the seat of Robert Winter, who had married Miss Gertrude Talbot, of Grafton. The Talbots, like the Throckmortons, were a people who happily managed to reconcile rigid adherence to the ancient Faith with stanch loyalty to their lawful Sovereign.[A]

[A] I believe that the grand old Catholic family of Throckmorton still own Coughton Hall, which is twelve miles from Hindlip.


Tesimond, leaving behind him his Superior Garnet at Coughton, went, it is said, to assist the unhappy traitors with the Sacraments of their Church. But, I imagine, he found most of his hoped-for penitents, at least externally, in anything except a penitential frame of mind.

This was the last occasion when Tesimond’s eyes gazed upon his old York school-fellows of happier, bygone days — the brothers John and Christopher Wright.[148]

Now, to Father Tesimond, as well as to Father Oldcorne, Hindlip Hall[A] and Huddington[B] (in Worcestershire), Coughton,[C] Lapworth,[D] Clopton,[E] and Norbrook[F] (in Warwickshire), must have been thoroughly well known; for at Hindlip Hall for eight years Tesimond likewise had been formerly domesticated.

Where resided either temporarily or permanently: —

[A] Thomas Abington.

[B] Robert Winter and Thomas Winter.

[C] Thomas Throckmorton.

[D] John Wright and Christopher Wright.

[E] Ambrose Rookwood.

[F] John Grant.

Dr. Gardiner’s “History of James I.” (Longmans) contains a map showing the relative positions of these places.

On Wednesday, the 6th November, Fathers Garnet and Tesimond were at Coughton. Catesby, along with Percy, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Sir Everard Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, and others, was at Huddington. Catesby and Digby had sent a letter to Garnet.

Bates was the messenger, and was come from Norbrook, the house of John Grant, where the plotters rested in their wild, north-westward flight from Ashby St. Legers. For to Ashby the fugitives had posted headlong from London town on Tuesday, the “fatal Fifth.”


Catesby and Digby urged Garnet to make for Wales.[A]

[A] Catesby had great influence over Tesimond, and it was Tesimond whom Catesby first informed of the Gunpowder Plot, in the Tribunal of Penance. Tesimond had a sharp and nimble, but probably not very powerful, mind. Catesby gave Tesimond permission to consult Father Henry Garnet as to the ethics of the Plot. Moreover, Catesby gave the Jesuits permission to disclose the particular knowledge of the Plot they had received, provided they thought it right to do so. This is how we come to know what passed between Catesby and Tesimond, and then between Tesimond and Garnet. Tesimond had received from Catesby about the 24th July, 1605, in the Confessional, a particular knowledge of the Plot, in the sense that he was told there was projected an explosion by gunpowder, with the object of destroying the King and Parliament; but all particulars respecting final plans he did not know till a fortnight before the 11th of October, I think.

After half-an-hour’s earnest discourse together, Father Garnet gave leave to Tesimond to proceed to Huddington to administer to the wretched fugitives the rites — the last rites — of the Church they had so disgraced and wronged. Garnet remained at Coughton. Tesimond tarried at Huddington about two hours.

Tesimond arrived at Hindlip from Huddington in a state of the greatest excitement possible. He showed himself on reaching Hindlip to be a choleric man, while Father Oldcorne — who seems to have kept perfectly calm and cool throughout the whole of the momentous conference — Tesimond himself denounced, if he did not reproach, as being phlegmatic.

Tesimond, evidently, had been commissioned by Catesby,[B] at Huddington, to incite Mr. Abington, his household, and retainers, including (I take it, if possible) Oldcorne himself, to join the insurgents at Huddington,151 Holbeach, Wales, and wherever else they might unfurl the banner of “the holy war,” or, in other words, the armed rebellion against King James, his Privy Council, and Government.

[B] Tesimond, in my opinion, was completely over-mastered by the more potent will of his penitent (?) Catesby. Cf., The case of Hugh Latimer and Thomas Bilney; Bilney made a Protestant of Latimer, who was Bilney’s confessor. These afford striking examples of the power of psycho-electrical will force.

Tesimond’s mission, however, to Hindlip, proving fruitless, he thereupon rode towards Lancashire, in the hope of rousing Lancashire Catholics to arms, as one man, in behalf of those altars and homes they loved more than life.



Now, in this calm and dignified demeanour of Oldcorne, at Hindlip, which evidently so annoyed, nay, exasperated — because it arrested and thwarted — his younger brother Jesuit (both of whom, almost certainly, had known each other in York from boyhood), the discerning reader, I submit, ought in reason to draw this conclusion, namely, that Edward Oldcorne was tranquil and imperturbable because, in regard to the whole of the unhappy business, that so possessed and engrossed the being of Oswald Tesimond, Edward Oldcorne’s was a mens conscia recti — a mind conscious of rectitude — aye, a mind conscious of superabounding merit and virtue.

So important evidentially do I think the diverse demeanour[149] of Tesimond and Oldcorne on this occasion, that I will transcribe from Jardine’s “Criminal Trials[150] Oldcorne’s testimony of what took place at Hindlip Hall at this interview: — [151]

“Oldcorne confesseth that upon Wednesday, being the 6th of November, about two of the clock in the afternoon, there came Tesimond (Greenway) from Huddington, from Mr. Robert Winter’s to Hindlip, and told Mr. Abington and him ‘that he brought them the worst news that ever they heard,’ and said ‘that they were all undone.’ And they demanding the cause, he said that there were certain gentlemen that meant to have blown up the Parliament House, and that their plot was153 discovered a day or two before; and now they were gathered together some forty horse at Mr. Winter’s house, naming Catesby, Percy, Digby, and others; and told them, ‘their throats would be cut unless they presently went to join with them.’ And Mr. Abington said, ‘Alas! I am sorry.’ And this examinate and he answered him that they would never join with him in that matter, and charged all his house to that purpose not to go with them. He confesseth that upon the former speeches made by this examinate and Mr. Abington to Tesimond, alias Greenway, the Jesuit, Tesimond said in some heat ‘thus we may see a difference between a flemmatike [phlegmatic] and a choleric person!’, and said he would go to others, and specially into Lancashire, for the same purpose as he came to Hindlip to Mr. Abington.” [152][153] (The italics are mine.)



Father Henry Garnet, the chief of the English Jesuits, left London at the end of August, 1605,[154] and proceeded towards Gothurst (now Gayhurst), in the Parish of Tyringham, three miles from Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire.[A]

[A] The seat of Walter Carlile, Esquire, as has been already mentioned. I have to thank this gentleman for his courteousness in informing me that Gayhurst (formerly Gothurst) is three miles from Newport Pagnell. An excellent picture, together with descriptive account, of Gayhurst, is given in the “Life of Sir Everard Digby,” by one of that knight’s descendants. Gothurst contained a remarkable hiding-place, which was probably constructed by Nicholas Owen, the lay-brother of Father Garnet. According to Father Gerard, the friend of Digby, Gothurst was ten miles from Great Harrowden, the seat of the young Lord Vaux.

Now, who was Henry Garnet, whom the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Coke, described in Westminster Hall as “a man — grave, discreet, wise, learned, and of excellent ornament, both of nature and art;” but around whose name so fierce a controversy had raged for well-nigh 300 years? He was born in 1555, and brought up a Protestant of the Established Church; his father being Mr. Briant Garnet, the head master of the Free School, at Nottingham; his mother’s name was Alice Jay. Henry Garnet was a scholar of Winchester School, and the intention was to send him to New College, Oxford. However, he resolved to become reconciled to the Pope’s religion, and in 1575 joined the Jesuit Novitiate in Rome,155 where the great Cardinal Bellarmine was one of his tutors.

Now, to the end that the claims of Truth and Justice, strict, severe, and impartial, may be met in relation to this celebrated English Jesuit, it will be necessary to repeat that as far back as about the beginning of Trinity Term (i.e., the 9th June, 1605), Catesby, in Thames Street, London — outside the Confessional — had propounded to Garnet a question, which ought to have put the Jesuit expressly upon inquiry. For that question was, in case it were lawful to kill a person or persons, whether it were necessary to regard the innocents which were present, lest they also should perish withal.

And this the rather, when Catesby on that very occasion “made solemn protestation that he would never be known to have asked me [i.e., Garnet] any such question as long as he lived.” — See “Hatfield MS.,” printed in “Historical Review,” for July, 1888, and largely quoted in the Rev. J. Gerard’s articles on Garnet, in “Month” for June and July, 1901.

On the 24th of July, 1605, Garnet had sent a remarkable letter to Rome, addressed to Father Aquaviva, the General of the Jesuits. — See “Father Gerard’s Narrative,” pp. 76, 77, in “Condition of Catholics under James I.,” edited by Rev. John Morris, S.J. (Longmans, 1872).

In this letter, which of course was in Latin, Garnet says — amongst other things betokening an apprehension of a general insurrectionary feeling among Catholics up and down the country in consequence of the terrible persecution which had re-commenced as soon as James I. had safely concluded his much-desired peace with Spain — “the danger is lest secretly some Treason or violence be shown to the King, and so all Catholics may be compelled to take arms.


Garnet then proceeds: “Wherefore, in my judgment, two things are necessary, first, that His Holiness should prescribe what in any case is to be done; and then, that he should forbid any force of arms by the Catholics under Censures, and by Brief, publicly promulgated; an occasion for which can be taken from the disturbance lately raised in Wales, which has at length come to nothing. It remains that as all things are daily becoming worse, we should beseech His Holiness soon to give a necessary remedy for these great dangers, and we ask his blessing and that of your Paternity.” (The italics are mine.)

Now, by the word “censures” here, I presume, Garnet meant excommunication, that is, a cutting off from the visible fellowship of Catholics and (what would frighten every Catholic, whether his faith worked by love or fear, that is, whether it were a rational form of religion or a mere abject superstition) a deprivation of the Sacraments of his exacting Church, which are, according to Rome’s tenets, the special means devised by the Founder of Christianity whereby Man is united to “the Unseen Perfectness.”



When Garnet penned this letter to the General of the Jesuits in Rome, he had, outside the Confessional, a general knowledge of the Gunpowder project from Robert Catesby.

Thus much is clear.

That is to say, Garnet had a great suspicion, tantamount to a general knowledge, that Catesby had in his head some bloody and desperate enterprise of massacre, the object whereof was to destroy at one fell blow James I. and his Protestant Government. — See Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 78.

Garnet most probably in the Confessional even did not at first know all particulars.

That is to say, he did not know that it was intended to put thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the House of Lords — consignments of explosives which it was further intended were to be ignited, when Parliament met, by Guy Fawkes, booted and spurred, by means of a slow-burning match, which would give him one quarter-of-an-hour’s grace to effect his escape to a ship in the Thames bound for Flanders: and that the young Princess Elizabeth was to be seized at the house of the Lord Harrington, in Warwickshire, and proclaimed Queen after her parents and two brothers, Henry Prince of Wales and Charles Duke of York, had been torn and rent into ten thousand fragments.


But this able, learned, sweet-tempered, yet weak-willed, unimaginative, irresolute man knew enough outside the Confessional — which is the point we have to deal with here — to render himself liable to have been sent to the galleys by the Pope, if His Holiness could have laid hold of him, when, notwithstanding this atrocious knowledge, he actually refused to give ear to the arch-conspirator, even although Catesby, on Father Gerard’s own admission, “offered sometimes to tell him [Garnet] that they [Catesby and his friends] would not endure to be so long so much abused, but would take some course to right themselves, if others would not respect them or could not relieve them.” — Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 78.

Truly “Evil is wrought by want of thought as well as by want of heart.”

The fact that Garnet knew violence was likely to be shown to his lawful Sovereign, coupled with the fact that Garnet might have learned all the particulars about that purposed violence had he not, through a negligence which can be only characterized as grossly criminal, passively omitted, if indeed he had not actively declined, to obtain those particulars from the lips of the arch-conspirator himself — such facts make the case up to the 24th of July, 1605, absolutely fatal against Garnet. And such facts can lead the unbiased mind of the philosophical historian (who does not care a pin about all the ecclesiastical spite, on either one side or the other, that ever was or ever shall be), can lead to one inevitable conclusion only: that Henry Garnet was justly condemned to death by an earthly tribunal for misprision, that is, for concealment, of High Treason against the Sovereign power of his Country. Although, being a priest, he ought to have been ecclesiastically “degraded” first, according to the provisions of the Canon law, and then handed159 over to the secular arm for condign punishment, according to the law of the outraged State.

For, “Id certum est quod certum reddi potest,” that is, certain knowledge which can be reduced to a certainty.

Again, the damning evidence against Garnet is clenched by a letter that he sent to Rome, dated 28th August, wherein, amongst other things, he said: “And for anything we can see, Catholics are quiet, and likely to continue their old patience, and to trust to the King or his son for to remedy all in time.” — Gerard’s “Narrative,” pp. 78, 79.

Now Garnet[A] was a man of most acute mind and very clear-sighted; but he was intellectually unimaginative as well as morally weak-willed. And such a man is never a far-sighted man.

[A] Garnet was a profound mathematician and accomplished linguist, amongst other acquirements.

But as Garnet’s moral character was almost certainly good on the whole, the conclusion that Justice suggests in reference to this letter of the 28th August especially is that, through intense grief and anguish of mind, Garnet had lost his head, and was not wholly responsible for either his words or actions.[B]

[B] After Father Tesimond had told Garnet (with Catesby’s leave) of the Plot, thereby bringing the matter as a natural secret indirectly under the seal of the Confessional, Garnet could not sleep at nights. Now, sleeplessness, combined with carking care and keen distress of heart, would inevitably tend to unbalance even the very strongest of human minds, at least, temporarily. Tesimond told Garnet generally of Catesby’s diabolical plan “a little before” St. James’-tide (i.e., the 25th of July, 1605), at Fremland, in Essex, but by way of confession. The Government, however, it seems to me, from the report of the trial in Jardine’s “Criminal Trials” and from Lingard, condemned Garnet not because he did not reveal particular knowledge he had received in the Confessional from Tesimond, but because he did not reveal general knowledge he had from Catesby outside the Confessional. This, in fairness to James I., Salisbury, and the King’s Council, should be faithfully borne in mind. Moreover, according to one school of Catholic moralists, in either case the Government ought to have been communicated with if Garnet could have done so without risk of divulging Tesimond’s name. Indeed, Garnet himself took this view — the view which most princes and statesmen will prefer, I should fancy. Garnet, however, had not the machinery ready to his hand to carry both views into practical effect. Therefore Garnet, to my mind, was eminently justified in not divulging the particular knowledge he had from Tesimond by way of confession. For according to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, the Christian Aristotle, a natural secret may be indirectly protected by the seal of the Confessional if the priest promises so to protect it. I conclude, however, that (1) according to the dictates of right reason the promise may be either implied or expressed, and (2) that in the case of overwhelming necessity the promise may be broken, as in the case of High Treason, if the priest can avoid, with absolute certitude, exposing the name of the depositor of the wicked secret. It was because Garnet could not avoid exposing Tesimond’s name practically that he was justified in not acting upon his own abstract principles in relation to the knowledge he had from Tesimond by way of confession.



At the beginning of the month of September, 1605, Father Garnet was at Gothurst,[A] three miles from Newport Pagnell, in the County of Buckinghamshire,161 and about the 5th of September from this still standing stately English home there proceeded the nucleus of a pilgrim-band bent for the famous well of St. Winifred, the British Saint, situated at Holywell, in North Wales.

[A] Gothurst (now Gayhurst) is twelve miles from Northampton and from ten to fifteen miles from Great Harrowden. Weston Underwood and Olney, immortalized by William Cowper, are not far from both places. The poet would be distantly related to young Lord Vaux of Harrowden, through the Donnes, who, like Lord Vaux, through the Ropers, were descended from Sir Thomas More. To Walter Carlile, Esquire, who now resides at Gayhurst, which was the ancient name of the Estate (Gothurst, however, being its name in Sir Everard Digby’s day), I am indebted for the information as to the distance of Gayhurst from Northampton. Cowper was, it will be recollected, the intimate friend of the Throckmortons of his day.

Sir Everard Digby, the Master of Gothurst, was not of the company, as he was engaged in negotiating a match between the young Lord Vaux of Harrowden, then a youth of about fourteen years of age, with one of the daughters of the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Suffolk. But Lady Digby formed one of the band, as did the uncle of Lord Vaux, Edward Brookesby, Esquire, of Arundell House, Shouldby, Leicestershire, and his wife the Honourable Eleanor Brookesby, together with her sister the Honourable Anne Vaux.

At least two Jesuits formed part of the cavalcade, Father Henry Garnet and Father John Percy, the chaplain to Sir Everard Digby.

Father John Gerard, who had “reconciled to the Church,” as the phrase went, both Sir Everard and Lady Digby and was their intimate and honoured friend, as well as the friend of the Dowager Lady Vaux of Harrowden and her family, did not join the pilgrimage.

Father Gerard was most probably in Yorkshire at this time. For there is interesting evidence tending to prove that about the 25th of August, 1605, this Lancashire Jesuit was being harboured as the guest of Sir John and Lady Yorke, at Gowthwaite (or Goulthwaite) Hall, near Pateley Bridge, in Nidderdale.[A]

[A] See “The Condition of Catholics under James I.” Edited by John Morris, S.J. (Longmans, 1872), p. 257.

The following abstracts from the Evidence of two of Sir Everard Digby’s serving-men, who accompanied162 their devout, charming young mistress on this now famous pilgrimage, will give the best account of what took place on this occasion.[A] They are as follow: —

[A] St. Winifred’s Well is at Holywell, Flintshire, Wales, and is sacred to St. Winifred of Wales, an early British Virgin and Martyr. Her “Life” will be found in Butler’s “Lives of the Saints,” under date November 3rd, her Feast Day. The waters of the Well are of healing quality, very copious and icy cold. There is an elegant mediæval stone Chapel built over the Well. (I visited this ancient shrine of a British Maiden — who still rules human hearts — in September, 1897, on my return from Ebbsfleet, where the thirteenth Centenary Commemorations had been held in honour of the spiritual grandsire and sire of the English race, the Italian Pope Gregory the Great and the Italian Benedictine Monk Augustine.)

Gunpowder Plot Books — No. 153.
[Abstract.] ii. Dec. 1605 [In Cal. 11 Dec. 1605.] “Th’examination of James Garvey servt to Sr Everard Digby
*    *    *    *    *

“Saieth about Bartholmew tide last his ladie roade to St. Wenefred’s Well from Gotehurst: first daie to Deyntrie:[A] 2 to Grantz:[B] 3 to Winters:[C] 4 to Mr. Lacon’s:[D] 5 to Shrewsberie: 6 to holte:[E] 7 to the well: they staied at the well but one night: and retorned the163 first day 2 to holt 2 to Mr. Banester’s at Wen[F] 2 to Mr. Lacon’s againe and so retorned to Gotehurst.

[A] Daventry, Northamptonshire.

[B] John Grant’s, at Norbrook, Snitterfield, Warwickshire.

[C] Huddington Hall, near Droitwich, Worcestershire.

[D] Most probably at Kinlet Hall, about five miles from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire.

[E] Holt, in Denbighshire.

[F] Wem, Shropshire.

“Saieth ther were in that jorney the ladie Digby, Mrs. Vaux,[B] Mr. Brookysby and his wief Mr. Darcy[C] one Thomas Digby[D] a tall gentleman: one fisher[E] a little man: Sr frauncis Lacon and his daughter and two or 3 gentlemen more went with them from Mr. Lacon’s to the well, &c., &c.

[B] Miss Anne Vaux.

[C] An alias of Father Garnet; Farmer was another of Garnet’s aliases.

[D] An uncle of Sir Everard, belike.

[E] An alias of Father Percy, afterwards famous for his historic controversy with Archbishop Laud.

(Endorsed) “11 Dec. 1605.

“The Examn of James Garvie srvt to Sr Everard Digby.”

Gunpowder Plot Books — No. 121.

“Th’examination of William Handy servaunte to Sr Everard Digby taken the xxvijth of November 1605
*    *    *    *    *

[Par. 4] — “Saith that he haith bin at many masses since Easter last sometimes at the howse of the said Digby sometimes at the howse of the L: Vaux sometimes at the howse of Mr. Throgmorton at the howse of Mr. Graunt at the house of Mr. Winter and at the house of Mr. Lacon in Shropshire and at Shrosbury in an Inn and at a Castle in the Holte in Denbeghe or Flintshire, and at St. Wynyfride’s Well in an Inn, from whence164 the gentlewomen went barefoote to the said well and in their retourne from the said well at one Farmer’s howse about 7 miles from Shrosbury, and from thence to Mr. Lacon’s where they had masse whereat Sr Frauncis Lacon was from thence to Mr. Robert Winter’s and from thence to Mr. Graunte’s from thence to Deyntree and from thence to Sr Everard Digby at all which places they had masse.[A]

[A] The reason why the Examiner who took down the Evidence was particular to inquire about Masses was that for a priest to say (or offer) Mass was to be liable to a penalty of 200 marks (a mark being 13s. 4d.) and imprisonment for life; while for a lay person to hear (or assist at offering) Mass was to be liable to a penalty of 100 marks and imprisonment for life. To harbour a priest was felony and the penalty was hanging, but without the cutting down alive, drawing and quartering. This last was the portion of the priests who, by remaining in England 40 days, were held ipso facto guilty of High Treason without proof of the exercise of priestly functions. This last penalty, of course, rendered unnecessary the having recourse to the penalty of 200 marks fine and imprisonment for life, since the greater included the less.

*    *    *    *    *

(Endorsed) “27 Nov. 1605.

“Th’examination of Wm. Handy servt to Sr Everard Digby.”



The pilgrim-band numbered about thirty souls, and included Ambrose Rookwood and his wife in addition to those before mentioned. Ambrose Rookwood appears to have been sworn in as a conspirator by Catesby and others in London about ten weeks before the 2nd day of December, 1605, so that I conclude this must have been very soon after his return from Flintshire.

Sir Everard Digby was also made a confederate by Catesby alone about this time, and in the “Life” of that well-favoured but misguided knight there is an admirably-written account of the unhappy enrolment of the ill-fated young father of the famous cavalier and diplomatist, Sir Kenelm Digby.

It would seem that Father Garnet proceeded to Gothurst with the pilgrims on their return. But he must have shortly afterwards retraced his steps to Great Harrowden.

For a fortnight before Michaelmas (11th October, old style) the chief of the English Jesuits was being harboured at Great Harrowden, the house of the Dowager Lady Vaux and the young Lord Vaux.

Great Harrowden Hall appears to have been rebuilt by the guardians of the youthful baron a little before the year 1605. For in “The Condition of Catholics under James I.,” being largely the life of Father John Gerard, there is (p. 147) the following statement: “Our hostess set about fitting up her own present residence166 for that same purpose, and built us separate quarters close to the old Chapel.... Here she built a little wing of three stories for Father Percy and me. The place was exceedingly convenient, and so free from observation that from our rooms we could step out into the private garden, and thence through spacious walks into the fields, where we could mount our horses and ride whither we would.” On p. 175 Father Gerard says: “Our vestments and altar furniture were both plentiful and costly ... some were embroidered with gold and pearls and figured by well-skilled hands. We had six massive silver candlesticks on the altar, besides those at the sides for the Elevation; the cruets were of silver also, as were the basin for the lavabo, the bell, and the thurible. There were, moreover, lamps hanging from silver chains, and a silver crucifix on the altar. For greater Festivals, however, I had a crucifix of gold, a foot in height.”

The Hall at Great Harrowden contained hiding-places for the priests, probably contrived by Brother Nicholas Owen, the servant of Father Garnet.

The priests that resided at Great Harrowden were at that time mainly Jesuits. And besides Father Gerard himself, Fathers Strange, Nicholas Hart, and Roger Lee were there oftentimes to be found.[A]

[A] The present Lord Vaux of Harrowden, in the course of a most courteous reply to various historical questions the writer ventured to propound to him, says, in a letter dated 15th November, 1901, that his residence, Harrowden Hall, was erected in the year 1719. It will, therefore, not be the self-same mansion as that wherein Fathers Garnet, Gerard, Fisher, Roger Lee, etc., were wont to be harboured by his Lordship’s distinguished ancestors.

None of the grand old English Catholic families, those “honourable people,” if such were ever known to mortal, have a better right than the Lords Vaux of Harrowden, to take as their motto those fine words of Gerald Massey: —

“‘They wrought in Faith,’ and not
‘They wrought in Doubt,’ —
Is the proud epitaph that we inscribe
Above our glorious dead.”

The name “Vaux of Harrowden” is still to be found in the bead-roll of English Roman Catholic Peers. And, along with such historic names as Norfolk, Mowbray and Stourton, Petre, Arundell of Wardour, Stafford, Clifford of Chudleigh, and Herries, the name “Vaux of Harrowden” was appended to “the Roman Catholic Peers’ Protest,” dated from the House of Lords, 14th February, 1901, addressed to the Earl of Halsbury, Lord High Chancellor of England, anent “the Declaration against Popery,” that Our Most Gracious King Edward VII. was compelled, by Act of Parliament, to utter on the occasion of meeting His Majesty’s first Parliament.



On the 4th of October, Father Garnet wrote a long letter to Father Parsons in Rome, who was then virtually the ruler of the Catholics of England, though that sturdy Yorkshireman, Father John Mush,[A] among secular priests, together with many others, resented being dictated to by Father Parsons, certainly a man of great genius, but indulging too much the mere “wire-puller” instinct and propensity to be reckoned a prince among ecclesiastical statesmen.

[A] Mush may have been of the Mushes, of Knaresbrough, stanch Catholics, but in humble circumstances. — See Peacock’s “List.”

This letter of Father Garnet’s, to which reference has been just made, is a remarkable production. It begins as follows:168 —

“My very loving Sir,

“This I write from the elder Nicholas[A] his residence where I find my hostess with all her posterity very well; and we are to go within few days nearer London.”

[A] Father Nicholas Hart, S.J., as distinguished from Brother Nicholas Owen, S.J.

The letter then says: —

“The judges now openly protest that the King will have blood and hath taken blood in Yorkshire.”[B]

[B] The “Venerable” Thomas Welbourn and John Fulthering suffered at York on the 1st August, 1605; and William Brown at Ripon on the 5th September. — See Challoner’s “Missionary Priests.” Ed. by T. G. Law (Jack, Edinburgh).

There were four paragraphs at the end of the letter.

Now, a short but separate paragraph of three lines is carefully obliterated between the first and the third of these paragraphs.

The third paragraph ends thus: —

I cease 4th Octobris.

The fourth paragraph then continues: —

“My hostesses both and their children salute you. Sir Thomas Tresham is dead.”[C]

[C] The hostesses would be those valiant women, Elizabeth Dowager Lady Vaux of Harrowden (née Roper), the Honourable Eleanor Brookesby, and the Honourable Anne Vaux. William Lord Vaux of Harrowden, who harboured Father Parsons in 1580-81, had married for his second wife a sister of Sir Thomas Tresham. This Lord Vaux’s eldest son Ambrose, a priest, resigned his title in favour of his half-brother the Honourable George Vaux, afterwards Lord Vaux of Harrowden. The first wife of William Lord Vaux was Elizabeth Beaumont, of Gracedieu, Leicestershire. She was the mother of Ambrose, Elizabeth, and Anne Vaux. Father Garnet for many years lived at Harrowden, from 1586 as the guest of William Lord Vaux, whose son, George Lord Vaux of Harrowden, married Elizabeth Roper, daughter of the first Lord Teynham. This lady was the above-named Dowager Lady Vaux of Harrowden, mother of Edward Lord Vaux of Harrowden, who became as “noble a confessor for the Faith” as were his numerous other relatives. (The present Lord Vaux of Harrowden, whose family name is Mostyn, is descended from the above-mentioned Lords Vaux, through the female line.)

Here ends the body of the letter.



After the body of the letter there is a post scriptum.

Now, there are nine words in the post scriptum that suffice to clench the argument of this book.

And why? Because, I respectfully submit, those nine words show that between the 4th day of October, 1605, and the 21st day of October, Garnet had received from somewhere intelligence to the effect that machinery was being put into motion whereby the Plot would be squashed.

For the post scriptum to this letter of Father Garnet is as follows: —

21º Octobris.

“This letter being returned unto me again, FOR REASON OF A FRIEND’S STAY IN THE WAY, I blotted out some words, purposing to write the same by the next opportunity, as I will do apart.

“I have a letter from Field, the Journeyman in Ireland, who telleth me that of late, there was a very severe proclamation against all ecclesiastical persons, and a general command for going to the churches, with a solemn protestation that the King never promised nor meant to give toleration.

“I pray you speak to Claude, and to grant them, or obtain for them all the faculties we have here; for so he earnestly desireth, and is scrupulous. I gave unto two of them, that passed by me, all we have; and I think it sufficient in law; for being here, they170 were my subjects, and we have our faculties also for Ireland, for the most part. I pray you procure them a general grant for their comfort.”

The letter and the post scriptum are alike unsigned. The letter and the post scriptum are still in existence, and, I believe, are preserved in London in the archives of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.

I am indebted for my copy to the work entitled, “A True Account of the Gunpowder Plot,” by “Vindicator” (Dolman), 1851 — taken from Tierney’s Edition of “Dodd’s Church History.”

The Claude referred to in the post scriptum is Father Claude Aquaviva, the then General of the Jesuits, who lived in Rome.

(Irish Catholics will not fail to notice the interest this afflicted, much-tried Englishman took in their case on the 21st October, 1605.)

Father Gerard says in his “Narrative of the Plot,” p. 269: “Father Oldcorne his indictment was so framed that one might see they much desired to have withdrawn him within the compass of some participation in this late Treason; to which effect they first did seem to suppose it as likely that he should send letters up and down to prepare men’s minds for the insurrection.”

Again; respecting Ralph Ashley, the Jesuit lay-brother and servant of Father Oldcorne, Gerard says, on p. 271: “Ralph was also indicted and condemned upon supposition that he had carried letters to and fro about this conspiracy.”

Now, my deliberate conjectures are these: That Edward Oldcorne had indeed sent “Letters” which his servant Ralph Ashley had carried concerning “this conspiracy.” That one of those Letters was sent and carried to Henry171 Garnet. And another to William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle.

On the 12th of March, 1605-6, Father Garnet, when a prisoner in the Tower of London, before the Lord Chief Justice Popham, Sir Edward Coke, Sir William Waade (Lieutenant of the Tower), and John Corbett, “confessed that Father Parsons wrote to him certain letters last summer [i.e., 1605] which he received about Michaelmas last, wherein he requested this examinat to advertise him what plotts the Catholiques of England had then in hand; whereunto for that this examinat was on his journey he made no answere.”

Yea, indeed, this was a part of the truth, no doubt. But the remainder of the truth, I suggest, was that the Plot of Plots Garnet had learned, a few days after the aforesaid Michaelmas, was being assuredly squashed by Edward Oldcorne.

Poor Henry Garnet, a sorry, pathetic figure in the history of his Country, surely. Yet, because much was lost, he knew that it did not therefore follow that all was lost. For this gifted, distraught, erring man still held “something sacred, something undefiled, some pledge and keepsake of his better nature.”

That something was his point of honour as a Priest of the Catholic Church.[A]

[A] How many a gallant soldier and sailor in our own day, young and old, has been sustained in life and death by the consoling infinite thought of fidelity to the commands of a lawful superior; by the comforting transcendental thought of duty done! Cf., Frederic Denison Maurice’s fine passage on the inspiring and ennobling idea of Duty, in his “Lectures on the Epistles of St. John (Macmillan); also Wordsworth’s magnificent “Ode to Duty.”



Sir Everard Digby had rented Coughton, near Alcester, in Warwickshire, from Thomas Throckmorton, Esquire, as a base for the warlike operations, which were to be conducted in the Midlands as soon as intelligence had arrived from London that the King, Lords Spiritual and Temporal, together with the Gentlemen of the House of Commons, “were now no more.”

On Sunday, the 3rd of November, the young knight rode from Coughton to Dunchurch, near Rugby.

Robert Winter the same day left Huddington and, sleeping on the Sunday night at Grafton, at the house of his father-in-law, John Talbot, Esquire, rode on to Coventry, in company with the younger Acton, of Ribbesford, and attended by several servants.

At Coventry, Robert Winter was joined by Stephen Littleton, of Holbeach House, in Staffordshire, just over the borders of Worcestershire; and also by his cousin, Humphrey Littleton, brother to the then late John Littleton,[A] of Hagley House, Worcestershire, who had been engaged in the Essex rising.

[A] All the Littletons were descended from the great Judge Littleton, author of “Littleton on Tenures.” The present Lord Lyttelton belongs to the same family.

On the following Tuesday, November the 5th, the whole party proceeded towards Dunchurch, the armed cavalcade continually increasing in numbers.


The plan was, that at Dunsmore Heath, under a feigned hunting or coursing match, there should be a gathering of the Midland Catholic clans, then very numerous and powerful. Dunsmore Heath, in fact, was to be the rendezvous of the insurgents.

Robert Winter left the cousins Littleton at “the town’s end” of Dunchurch, and rode on to Ashby St. Legers, the ancestral seat of the Catesbies, where, indeed, the Dowager Lady Catesby was then residing.

Here Robert Winter hoped to meet Catesby, with whom, after the latter had reported progress with reference to things done in London on that Tuesday morning, Winter purposed to gallop off to the rendezvous at Dunsmore Heath.

Ambrose Rookwood was one of the latest to leave for the provinces. He owned many fine horses; and he had placed relays of horses all the way from London to Dunchurch. Rookwood rode one horse at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. Riding for dear life, he overtook Catesby, Percy, and the two Wrights, near Brickhill. Percy and John Wright cast off their cloaks and threw them into the hedge to ride the more swiftly.[155]

About six o’clock in the evening of Tuesday, just as Lady Catesby, Robert Winter, and some others were about to sit down to supper in the old mansion-house, there fell upon their ears a mingled din, occasioned by horses’ feet and men’s excited voices.

Soon in rushed, with scared faces and travel-stained garb, grievously fatigued and intensely agitated, the son of the house (Robert Catesby), Thomas Percy, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Ambrose Rookwood. Their announcement was the capture of Guy Fawkes early that Tuesday morning.


After holding a short council of war, the whole band of conspirators, snatching up all the weapons of warfare they could lay their hands on, took horse again and rode off to Dunchurch.

Sir Everard Digby, his uncle (Sir Robert Digby, of Coleshill), Stephen Littleton, Humphrey Littleton, and many others were awaiting their arrival at Dunchurch, in an inn.

The six fugitive conspirators, all bespattered with the mire of November high roads, with dejected looks and jaded aspect, arrived in due time to tell their tale.

Soon Sir Robert Digby departed with one of his sons, then Humphrey Littleton, and speedily many others of the hunting party.

It was determined by the ringleaders to make for Wales; for the Catholics of the Principality were then very strong,[A] and the Counties of Warwick, Worcester, and Stafford were to be traversed, from all of which valuable reinforcements were expected.

[A] It is a curious fact that in the reign of Elizabeth, Father Weston, S.J., specially spoke of Wales, along with the counties bordering on Scotland, as being firm in its attachment to the Church of Rome. It was the lack of a Welsh College in Rome which, causing the supply of priests to fail, gradually caused the interesting Cymric people to lose the Faith which they of all the inhabitants of the British Isles were the first to embrace.

It is to be remembered, however, that there has always been a remnant in a few of the valleys of Wales faithful to the See of Rome; and Dr. Owen Lewis, the Bishop of Cassano, a Welshman, aided Cardinal Allen to found Douay College, in 1568. Several of the Martyrs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, too, were Welsh.

At the English College at Rome the Welsh and the English students had violent and, to read of, amusing quarrels. Evidently the Welsh, students looked down upon their Anglo-Saxon compeers as belonging to a comparatively inferior race.

About ten o’clock on Tuesday night the full175 company, now about thirty strong, set out for Norbrook,[A] the house of John Grant.

[A] At Warwick, en route for Norbrook, they took some horses out of a stable near the Castle, and left their own steeds in exchange therefor. They arrived at Warwick at about three o’clock on Wednesday morning.

Thence, it will be recollected, Bates was sent with a note from Catesby and Sir Everard Digby to Father Garnet, at Coughton, urging Garnet to join the rebels in Wales.

Lady Digby had also a letter from her husband, but the poor young wife, we are told, could, alas! do naught but cry.

After a halt of about two hours for refreshments and the procuring of more arms, the insurgents once more slipped their feet into the stirrups, and on they rode for Huddington, near Droitwich, where they arrived at two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 6th. Sentinels were posted at the passage of every way at Huddington, possibly by the order of John Winter, half-brother to Robert and Thomas Winter.

Here they were joined by Thomas Winter, who had come down from London with the latest news; also by the Jesuit, Father Tesimond, whom Catesby hailed with joy.

They rested for a good few hours at Huddington; and, as we have seen already, at about three o’clock in the morning of Thursday all the gentlemen assisted at Father Nicholas Hart’s Mass, went to Confession, and received, at the Jesuit’s, hands, what most of them from their childhood had been taught to believe was “the Bread of Angels,” and “the Food of Immortality.”[B]

[B] Certainly Man’s nature needs these things; but the question is: Can it get them? “Aye, there’s the rub.”


Before daybreak of Thursday the fugitives were on the march north-westward again. For “there is no rest for the wicked.”

The rebels made for Whewell Grange, the seat of the Lord Windsor, one of the numerous Worcestershire Catholic families.

At Whewell Grange the traitors helped themselves to a large store of arms and armour.

Then they sped on towards Holbeach House, near Stourbridge, in Staffordshire. Their number was then about sixty all told, although earlier in the march it had increased to about a hundred. In two days they had traversed about sixty miles, “over bad and broken roads, in rainy and inclement weather.”

To the dire disappointment of Catesby, Sir Everard Digby, and the rest, John Talbot, of Grafton, drove Thomas Winter and Stephen Littleton from his door when they sought his aid for the rebellion.[A]

[A] See Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 112, to which I am indebted for this account; also Handy’s evidence, Jardine’s “Criminal Trials,” vol. ii., pp. 165, 166.

And Sir Everard was constrained to avow that of the wealthy Catholic gentry “not one man came to take our part though we had expected so many.”[B]

[B] Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 112. Holbeach House is no longer standing.



The High Sheriffs of Warwickshire and Worcestershire, with their posse comitatus, were in pursuit of the fugitives, who arrived at Holbeach House at ten of the clock on Thursday night.

At Holbeach they prepared to make their last stand. And alack! never more were the brothers John and Christopher Wright destined to behold Lapworth, Twigmore, Ripon, Skelton, Newby, Mulwith, York, or Plowland,[A] nor any of those scenes around which must have clung so many endearing associations and sacred memories.[156]

[A] For an account of recent visits to Mulwith and Plowland, see Supplementum IV. and Supplementum V.

To the generosity of my friend, Miss Burnham, the lady of Plowland, my readers owe the view of the present Plowland House, which forms the Frontispiece to this Book. The old Hall occupied the site of the present dwelling, and faced the river Humber towards the south. The gabled buildings in the rear are ancient, and behind them are a few mossy Gothic stones, evidently belonging to the old chapel. Behind the ancient buildings is a willow-fringed remnant of the old moat. George Burnham, Esq., brother to Miss Burnham, is the owner of this historic spot. Edward Wright Burnham, Esq., of Skeffling, Holderness, is their brother. The names Edward Wright suggest descent from Edward Wright, the son of Christopher Wright, the revealing conspirator.

Early in the morning of Friday some of the company went out to descry whether or not reinforcements were in sight. Others began to prepare their shot and powder.

Catesby, Rookwood, and Grant were severely burnt in the face, especially the two latter, with some damp or dank178 gunpowder which they were drying on a platter before the kitchen fire, and into which a hot cinder fell.

This incident seems to have thoroughly unnerved Catesby and all his wicked confederates. They saw in the fact a stroke of poetic justice — nay, the flaming, avenging sword of Heaven.

Thomas Winter was told by Catesby and the rest, in reply to his question, “We mean here to die.”

Winter thereupon replied, “I will take such part as you do.”

“Then they all fell earnestly to their prayers,” says Gerard, “the litanies and such like.” They also “spent an hour in meditation.”

About eleven o’clock in the forenoon of that black Friday, November the 8th, 1605, the High Sheriff of Worcestershire arrived with the whole power and force of the county, and beset the house.

Thomas Winter, going into the court-yard, was shot in the shoulder with an arrow from a cross-bow, and lost the use of his right arm.

John Wright was shot dead.

Christopher Wright was mortally wounded.

Ambrose Rookwood was wounded in four or five places.

John Grant was likewise disabled.

Catesby and Thomas Percy, each sword in hand, and “standing before the door” close together, were mortally wounded by two successive shots fired by one musketeer, who afterwards boasted of his resolute carriage of himself on that eventful day.[A]

[A] The man’s name was John Streete. He received a pension of two shillings a day for life, equal to about sixteen shillings a day in our money. Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” p. 155.


Catesby, before receiving his fatal shot, we are told by Father Gerard in his “Narrative,” p. 109, “took from his neck a cross of gold, which he always used to wear about him, and blessing himself with it and kissing it, showed it unto the people, protesting there solemnly before them all it was only for the honour of the Cross, and the exaltation of that Faith which honoured the Cross, and for the saving of their souls in the same Faith that had moved him to undertake the business; and seth he saw it was not God’s will it should succeed in that manner they intended, or at that time, he was willing and ready to give his life for the same cause, only he would not be taken by any, and against that only he would defend himself with his sword.

“This done, Mr. Catesby and Mr. Percy turned back to back, resolving to yield themselves to no man, but to death as the messenger of God.

“None of their adversaries did come near them, but one fellow standing behind a tree with a musket, shot them both with one bullet,[A] and Mr. Catesby was shot almost dead, the other lived three or four days.

[A] It was with one musket, but two successive bullets.

“Mr. Catesby being fallen to the ground, as they say, went upon his knees into the house, and there got a picture of our Blessed Lady in his arms (unto whom he was accustomed to be very devout), and so embracing and kissing the same, he died.”[B]

[B] The mind of each of the thirteen Gunpowder conspirators affords the intellectual philosopher and the moral philosopher rich food for thought. What a reflection from human nature is not the soul of these men, one and all — especially Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, Ambrose Rookwood, and Christopher Wright. I would especially point out the strange superstition that Catesby exhibited in wishing to blow up the Parliament House, because it was there the iniquitous laws had been made against the Catholics. He primarily wished, like some pagan, to be revenged on the material object, which had been the unconscious and irresponsible instrument of his kinsfolk’s and friends’ hurt.

Moreover, how true to daily experience is the behaviour of Catesby in his last moments: of one who in his youth had been very wild, but who, on reaching maturer years, had grown to have a great devotion to her whom Wordsworth has so beautifully styled “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.”

Again; the dying soldier’s flying for protection to, and the kissing in his last agony, when the light of life was about to be quenched in his mortal eyes for ever, a picture of her who is “the Mother of Christ,” and whom millions hold to be likewise “the Refuge of sinners,” is startlingly true to human nature.

But — “Close up his eyes, and let us all to meditation.” For “In la sua volontade è nostra pace” — “Only in the Will of God is man’s peace.” And the essence of that Will is the Everlasting Moral Law.

On the 9th of November Sir Edward Leigh wrote to the Privy Council that the Wrights were not slain as180 reputed, but wounded. Not till the 13th was their death certified by Sir Richard Walsh, High Sheriff of Worcestershire. — See Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” pp. 153, 154.

Whatever was the case with John Wright, it seems clear that the weight of evidence inclines to show that Christopher Wright did not expire on Friday, the 8th November, but that he lingered at least a day or two. The exact day of Christopher Wright’s death, and what became of his remains, may be ascertained facts hereafter, possibly. At present, they are unknown.[157]



Father Garnet did not go nearer London than Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire, between ten and fifteen miles distant from Great Harrowden.

We know that he was at Gothurst when Catesby was there, on Tuesday, the 22nd of October, one day after the date of the post scriptum mentioned in the last chapter. Probably the post scriptum of the 21st October was written at Gothurst and not at Great Harrowden, though the letter itself of the 4th October undoubtedly was penned at Harrowden, between ten and fifteen miles distant from Gothurst, as just remarked.

The Honourable Anne Vaux, whose maternal grandfather was Sir Thomas Beaumont, Master of the Rolls, was a level-headed woman of acute mental perceptions as well as of great moral ardour and intense spiritual exaltation.[A]

[A] The psychologist will have observed that these qualities are not seldom combined in a certain order of minds. Cf., Shakespeare’s “great wits to madness are near allied” — some thinkers will be inclined to say.

Miss Vaux was allied to both Catesby and Tresham, and their words, and still more their doings, during the few months then last past, had been not unnoticed by her. She evidently had that strange premonitory foreboding, that curious sense of swift approaching doom, which have marked all tragedies written or unwritten since the world began.

Moreover, the large number of cavalry horses in the stables of Norbrook and Huddington (those places being her182 fellow-pilgrims’ and her own places of sojourning when en route for Holywell) had alarmed Anne Vaux’s imagination. And in reply to the lady’s anxious inquiries she had been told by her iniquitous, head-strong connections — Catesby and the rest — that the horses were wanted for the troop of horse whereof Catesby was to be in charge, with King James’s permission, in aid of the cause of the Spanish Archdukes in the Low Countries, then still in rebellion against the Spanish sovereignty.

Again; at either Harrowden or Gothurst, Miss Vaux sought out her father’s friend, and her own honoured and beloved spiritual counsellor, the chief of the English Jesuits, and told him that she feared that some trouble or disorder was a-brewing; and, moreover, that some of the gentlewomen, namely, the wives of the conspirators, “had demanded of her where they should bestow themselves until the burst was past in the beginning of the Parliament.”

Garnet, in reply, asked his inquirer who told her this; but she said “she durst not tell who told her so; she was [choked] with sorrow.”[A]

[A] Garnet’s examination of the 12th March. Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 157.

At Coughton, Father Garnet said Mass on the 1st of November, All Saints’ Day.

There “assisted” at this Mass the Lady Digby,[B] Mr. and Mrs. Brookesby, Miss Anne Vaux, and almost the whole of Sir Everard Digby’s Gothurst household.

[B] Lady Digby had been brought up a strong Protestant, and, like most converts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the Church of Rome from Calvinistic Puritanism, she became an ardent devotee of the Jesuits. (The point of contact was probably a common interest in the problems of the mystical life, and a tendency towards a grave, sober, strict regularity of “daily walk and conversation.”) George Gilbert, a gentleman of high Suffolk family and great wealth, was likewise a convert from Calvinism, through the instrumentality of the Jesuit Fathers, Darbyshire and Parsons. Gilbert, as a young man, daily “waited upon the ministry” of the once celebrated Puritan Divine, Dering, the friend of Thomas Cartwright. George Gilbert died in Rome in 1583, holding in his hand a crucifix made in prison by “the Blessed” Alexander Briant, a martyr friend of “the Blessed” Edmund Campion. Of Briant it is said he was “of a very sweet grace in preaching,” and that he was “replenished with spiritual sweetness” when suffering the tortures of the rack. George Gilbert mainly defrayed the cost of painting on the walls of the Church of the English College at Rome certain pictures of some of “the English Martyrs,” although “old Richard Norton,” of Norton Conyers, near Ripon, and some others who as exiles had “with strangers made their home,” likewise subscribed to the expense of the pious and artistic work. I saw, on the 13th October, 1900, through the kind courtesy of the Right Reverend Monsignor Giles, D.D., Rector of the English College, copies of these remarkable pictures, copies which are painted on the walls of that very College where Father Oldcorne himself had been educated.

The original pictures on the walls of the Church are no longer in existence. The copies, however, even in our own day, have played an important part in “the beatification” of those of the English Martyrs already beatified, including “the Blessed” Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland, who suffered death at York in 1572. — See the “Acts of the English Martyrs,” by the Rev. J. H. Pollen, S.J. (Burns & Oates).


At Gothurst, however, was Sir Everard himself, busy making his final preparations for the war he was about to levy upon his King.

We find Sir Everard there also on November 2nd, All Souls’ Day, the last he and his ill-fated comrades were destined to keep on earth. — See Gerard’s “Narrative.”

On All Saints’ Day, Father Garnet appears to have offered some prayers, or otherwise advised the offering of the same, which had a certain reference to the King, the Parliament, and the hoped-for triumph of his Church over her enemies, especially over those then molesting the faithful English remnant of “the elect.” He also appears, according to his own admission, to have spoken a sermon which might be easily construed as bearing184 some allusion to the then wretched condition of the unhappy English Catholics.[A]

[A] See Letter to Miss Anne Vaux, dated 2nd March, 1605-6, quoted in Foley, vol. iv., p. 84, where Garnet says: “There is a muttering here of a sermon which either I or Mr. Hall [an alias of Father Oldcorne] made. I fear mine, at Coughton. Mr. Hall hath no great matter, but only about Mr. Abington, though Mr. Attourney saith he hath more.”

Now, I infer that all this tends to demonstrate that Father Henry Garnet felt that a great burden or load had been lifted from his heart in regard to the aforetime perilous, but then practically abortive, Gunpowder Treason Plot. Therefore he must have known, from some source or another, that the Plot would be squashed before Tuesday, November the 5th, had dawned upon a “fallen world,” and all danger from the Plot finally swept away.

Again, in the Mass for All Saints’ Day there is a hymn, one verse of which is: “Take away the faithless people from the boundaries of the faithful, that we may joyfully give due praises to Christ.”

Cardinal Allen had induced the Pope “to indulge” the recital of these words by Catholics for the harmless “intention” of the “Conversion of England.”

Garnet, at Coughton, appears to have urged the recital of the same words for “the intention” of the “confounding” of the anti-popish “politics,” and the “frustration” of the “knavish tricks” of James at the forthcoming Parliament. If Garnet did so, then he must have known that James and his Parliament would be in existence to work mischief! And this once more proves that he knew the Plot would be squashed and finally swept away.



Soon after Catesby, Rookwood, and Grant had been injured by the exploded gunpowder at Holbeach House (as has been already mentioned in Chapter LIV.), Robert Winter, the Master of Huddington, deeming discretion the better part of valour, quitted the ill-fated mansion of Stephen Littleton.

Now, it so fell out that Robert Winter met with Stephen Littleton, the Master of Holbeach, in a wood about a mile from Holbeach. And for no less than two months these two high-born gentlemen were wandering disguised up and down the country. Having plenty of money with them, the fugitives bribed a farmer near Rowley Regis, in Staffordshire, a tenant of Humphrey Littleton, cousin to Stephen Littleton, to grant them harbourage.

On New Year’s Day the rebels came very early in the morning to the house of one Perkes, in Hagley. After an extraordinary adventure there (an account of which may be read in Jardine’s “Criminal Trials,” vol. ii., pp. 90-93), at about eleven of the clock one night, Humphrey Littleton conveyed the two hunted delinquents to Hagley House, in Worcestershire, the mansion wherein dwelt his widowed sister-in-law, Mrs. John Littleton,[158] a Protestant lady, to whose children the place apparently belonged.

Mrs. Littleton was herself either in, or on the way to,186 London at this time, so the two traitors were harboured without the lady’s knowledge or consent.

By the treachery, however, of the man-cook at Hagley, or rather, in justice it should be said, by his diligent zeal in the service of his sovereign lord the King, Stephen Littleton and Robert Winter were captured by the lawful authorities, and forthwith conveyed to the Tower of London.

Now, some time during these two months of the wanderings of these two gentlemen, with whose efforts to elude the vigilance of the law of the land Humphrey Littleton had connived, this same Humphrey Littleton repaired to Father Edward Oldcorne, probably at Hindlip, in order to be resolved in respect of certain doubts which he (Humphrey Littleton) said had entered into his mind as to whether or not the Gunpowder Treason Plot were or were not morally lawful.

Now, although an English Roman Catholic gentleman, it is certain that Humphrey Littleton, like a great many more of his co-religionists before and since, was by no means perfect. Inasmuch as, first, we hear tell of “a love-begot” boy of his (if Virtue’s pure ears can pardon the phrase), who was to become a page of Robert Catesby, in the event of Catesby’s going in command of that company of horse to Flanders to fight, with James’s permission, in behalf of the Spanish Archdukes, whereof we have already heard. And, secondly, Humphrey Littleton was plainly deemed by the astute Edward Oldcorne to be what we should nowadays style “a dangerous fellow,” who was capable, from various motives, of propounding a question of that sort in order to entrap. That is to say, in order wantonly to cause mischief, whatever might be the tenour or purport of Oldcorne’s answer — mischief among either Catholics or Protestants.[159]187

We will, however, let Father Oldcorne tell his own tale as to what took place on the occasion of this momentous visit to him by Humphrey Littleton. For the great casuist’s own words are contained in his holograph Declaration of the 12th day of March, 1605-6, written by him when a prisoner in the Tower, and which I beheld in the Record Office, London, on the 5th of October, 1900.[160]



Gunpowder Plot Books — Vol. II., No. 202.

“The voluntarie declaration of Edward Oldcorne alias Hall Jesuite 12 Mar. 1605 [i.e., 1605-6].


“Mr. Humfrey Litleton[A] telling me that after Mr. Catesbie saw him self and others of his Companie burnt wth powder, and the rest of the compnie readie to fly from him, that then he began to thinke he had offended god in this action, seeing soe bad effects follow of the same.

[A] I do not know the exact point of time when Humphrey Littleton thus spoke to Father Oldcorne, except that it was certainly after the fatal 5th of November, 1605.


“I answeared him that an act is not to be condemd or justified upon the good or bad euent that followth it but upon the ende or object, and the meanes that is used for effecting the same and brought him an example out of the booke of Judges wher the 11 tribs of Israel weare comannded by god to make warrs upon the trib of Benjamin; and yett the tribe of Benjamin did both in the first and secound battaile overthrow the other 11 tribs. The like said I wee read of Lewis King of france who went to fight against the Turks and to recouer the hoolye Land, but ther he loost the most of his armie, and him self dyed ther of the plague the like wee may say when the xtianes defended189 Rhoodes against the turks wher the Turkes preuayled and the xtianes weare overthrowne, and yet noe doubt the xtians cause was good and the turks bad and thus I applied it to this fact of Mr. Catesbie’s it is not to be approved or condemned by the euent, but by the propper object or end, and meanes wch was to be vsed in it; and bycause I know nothinge of thes I will neither approve it or condeme it but leave it to god and ther owne consciences and in this warie sort I spake to him bycause I doubted he came to entrap me, and that he should take noe advantage of my words whither he reported them to Catholiks or Protestants.

“(Signed) Edward Oldcorne.

“Acknowledged before vs

        “J. Popham.[A]
        Edw. Coke.[B]
        W. Waad.[C]
        John Corbett.”

(The A and B at the left side of the Declaration are Coke’s own marks.)

[A] The Lord Chief Justice of England.

[B] Afterwards the celebrated Lord Chief Justice of England, and Editor of “Littleton’s Tenures.” This Humphrey Littleton, mentioned in the Text, was a descendant of Sir John Littleton, Author of the immortal legal work.

[C] Lieutenant of the Tower of London.



We are now come to the crux of this Inquiry.

To every philosophical thinker who takes the trouble to ponder the matter it must be evident that the ethical principles enunciated in the first part of the Declaration, given in extenso in the preceding chapter, are intellectually irrefutable and morally irreproachable; although their obviousness, certainly, will not be palpable to “the man in the street.”

The answer of this clear-sighted, strong-headed Yorkshireman, is indeed the answer that is the resultant of exact ethical knowledge, that is, of moral science. For what is science, either in the realms of the intellectual, the moral, the political, or the physical, but “exact knowledge.”

Moreover, these principles are the resultant of abstract moral science, or exact ethical knowledge pure and simple.

Now, “Morality is the science of duty.”[161] But, just as it is most mischievous indiscriminately to apply abstract principles of morality, however faultless in themselves, to the complex affairs of individuals and of States, so is it most dangerous to strew broadcast statements of the abstract principles of ethics for the untutored mind of the merely practical man — first of all, to misunderstand; and, secondly, to wrest to his own undoing and that of his equally unfortunate fellow-men.


This is certainly so in the present stage of the world’s imperfect education. Though one lives in the hope that sooner or later that “ampler day” may dawn, when, from the least unto the greatest, men shall come to have a happy conscious realization of the truth of the poet’s dictum: “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;”[162] “Happy is he who hath been able to learn the causes of things.”

Still, truth — that which is — is truth.

And partial truth is not less true, according to its measure and in its degree, than the full orb of truth.[A]

[A] Strategy in war has for its intellectual and moral justification the fact that partial truth is not less true, in its measure and in its degree, than the full orb of truth.

Furthermore, “Wisdom is justified by all her children;” even although some of those children are tardy in realizing and in expressing their sense of such justification.

Now, although all this stands to reason — nay, because it is true, is even the perfection of reason — it was an enunciation of principles by Father Oldcorne, which it was more than probable would be misinterpreted by two sets of people, the intellectually stupid and the morally malicious.

Nay, it may be allowed that even persons of the highest intelligence and of the utmost good faith — such as, in the last century, the late David Jardine[163] — might easily enough think that Edward Oldcorne deserved condemnation and chiding for thus apparently showing such a marked disposition to look at this grave matter, the moral rightness or wrongness of the Gunpowder Plot, as though it were as purely abstract and scholastic192 a question as that famous moot of the middle ages: “How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?”[A]

[A] Oldcorne had special private knowledge that the Plot would never be a Plot executed, because (1) he knew Christopher Wright had resolved to reveal it; because (2) he knew that his own personal act had ended the Plot by his penning the Letter.



Now, the contention is this: That regard being had to the extraordinary heinousness of the Gunpowder Plot, in point of underhand stealthiness and secrecy as well as of deliberateness, malice, magnitude, and cruelty, no man of moral uprightness and intellectual keenness could be — without doing a violence to his human nature that is all but incredible — so unspeakably reckless and utterly insane as to fling broadcast to the winds, for the wayfaring man and the fool to pick up and con for their own and their hapless fellow-creatures’ moral destruction, an oral statement as to this diabolical Plot, that expressed ways of looking at the Plot merely speculative and simply in the abstract,[A] save and except on one condition only, namely, that such speaker had had both from without and from within, et ab extra et ab intra, a special knowledge.

[A] It is to be noted that in this momentous Declaration of the 12th March, 1605-6, Oldcorne in the first part reserves or conceals “partial truth;” that is to say, in this case, truth in the concrete, or truth in action. While in the second part of the Declaration Oldcorne orally disclaims, denies, or dissembles integral truth, that is here a special and particular knowledge of the end the plotters had in view, and the means they purposed to adopt. The knowledge he had received was of a nature official, and at least conditionally, though not absolutely, private knowledge.

Furthermore, a special knowledge, with absolute certitude, which warranted the speaker in mentally surveying that Plot not merely as it then was at the194 moment when he was giving utterance to his speculative statement concerning it, but, as he full well knew, at some point of time prior to that fateful day, November the 5th, 1605, it had been destined to be perpetually, namely, A PLOT ante factum in æternum, a mere abstract mental plan for ever. Aye, a mere abstract mental plan to all eternity; because transmuted and transformed by some process wherein that speaker had himself taken a primal, an essential, a meritorious part.[A]

[A] The argument is that a man at once good and clever, like Edward Oldcorne, would not, according to the rules that govern human nature and daily experience, have clothed in words and then let loose to wander about the world seeking whom it might fall in with and victimize, a bare abstract proposition regarding the Plot, unless he had been first absolutely certain that the foundation-thing, the Plot itself, was too attenuated and ghost-like to work hurt or mischief to any human creature.

Now, since Littleton propounded his question after the 5th of November, Oldcorne had an ordinary ground for allowing himself to speak of the defunct Plot purely in the abstract. But this was an obviously very dangerous thing to do, both for Littleton’s sake, the general public’s sake (Catholic or Protestant), and for the speaker’s own sake. Therefore the fact that Oldcorne did so speak postulates something more than ordinary. Hence, as Oldcorne was a man of virtue both intellectually and morally, the reasonable inference is that Oldcorne had an extraordinary ground for his answer which endued him with a special liberty of abstract speech in regard to the matter. That extraordinary ground, I maintain, was based deep down within the depths of his own interior knowledge.



But it may be objected that instead of assuming that Father Oldcorne was a man not only of mental keenness but also of moral uprightness, and proceeding forthwith to build an argument on such an assumption, the writer ought in truth and justice to have proved, by evidence or reason, the latter part of the proposition. And this the rather, seeing that so many of the co-religionists both in our own day as well as in the days of Father Oldcorne have regarded that society, whereof Oldcorne was a distinguished English member, with not merely unfeigned suspicion but with sincere dislike, and even with genuine loathing.[A]

[A] The most formidable adversaries of the Jesuits far and away have been Roman Catholics of a particular type of mind. Blaise Pascal, that colossal genius, has been probably their most successful enemy.

Now, the unbiased historical philosopher is content not only to let the dead bury their dead but also to let theologian deal with theologian. To the historical philosopher, a Jesuit is a man and nothing more: nothing more, that is, so far as his being entitled to receive at the former’s hands the benefit of all those natural rights which belong to all members of the human species. For all men (including Jesuits) are, in the mind of the philosopher, “born free and equal.”

Hence it follows that when, amid the chances and196 changes of this mortal life, the historical philosopher is thrown across the path of a Jesuit, he looks at him, as a matter of duty, straight in the face, just as he looks at any other rational creature; and then seeks to ascertain, by dint of normal touchstones and tests, what manner of man the person is whom that philosopher, by the ordinances of fate, has then and there confronted.

Now, in the case of Edward Oldcorne, the Text of this Inquiry, and also the Notes thereunto, supply abundant proof that Oldcorne came of a good, wholesome, Yorkshire stock — hard-working, honest, and honourable; that his own mental nature was broad, rich and full, high-minded, just, and generous.[A]

[A] Father Henry Garnet, S.J., landed in England in 1586 along with the gifted Robert Southwell, whose prose and poetical works belong to English literature. Father Weston was then the Jesuit Superior. Father John Gerard landed, along with Father Edward Oldcorne, off the coast of Norfolk, in August, 1588, shortly after the decisive fight with the Spanish Armada, off Gravelines. As illustrating the conscientiousness and courage of this Yorkshire Elizabethan Jesuit, the following quotation from Foley, vol. iv., p. 210, may be of interest: “Father Oldcorne was employed sometime in London by Father Garnet, diligently labouring in the quest and salvation of souls. He was ever of a most ready wit, and endeavoured as far as possible to adapt himself to the manner of those with whom he lived. There were exceptions, however, in which, consumed with an ardent zeal of asserting and defending the Divine honour, he could not refrain from correcting those whom he heard uttering obscene and injurious language either towards God or their superiors. When in London, in the house of a Catholic gentleman, he struck with his fist and broke into pieces a pane of stained or painted glass representing an indecent picture of Venus and Mars, which he considered wholly unfit for the eyes of a virtuous family.”

[The curious philosopher wonders whether this Elizabethan Catholic gentleman, having been deprived of his “Venus and Mars” in such a high-handed fashion, afterwards became anti-Jesuitical.]

Therefore is it, alike by evidence and reason, borne in upon the mind of the philosopher that, on grounds of197 probability so high as to afford practical certitude, he may proceed to build his argument upon the assumption that Edward Oldcorne was a man not only of intellectual acumen but also of moral integrity, as has been already predicated of him.



Now, in the first part of his Declaration, Father Oldcorne uttered concerning the Gunpowder Plot a proposition which expressed partial truth alone. Because he expressed truth in the abstract only, not truth in the concrete also, concerning that nefarious scheme.

In other words, Father Oldcorne severed in thought the two kinds of truth, the two aspects of truth, the two parts of truth, which being unified gave the whole truth respecting the moral mode of judging the Gunpowder Treason Plot.

Oldcorne severed concrete truth from abstract truth,[A] practical truth from speculative truth, and so far as his hearer, Humphrey Littleton, was concerned, held that concrete truth, that practical truth, suspended at the sword-point over Littleton’s head.

[A] Or, it may be said, Oldcorne separated concrete truth from abstract truth, practical truth from speculative truth, holding the former in solution, and putting into the hands of Littleton the latter alone, in the form of a dangerous precipitate.

Now, I maintain that, regard being had to the terrific danger of Littleton’s occasioning mischief, either through stupidity, malice, or both, a man of the intellectual and moral calibre of Edward Oldcorne would have never suffered his tongue to give utterance to a proposition dividing, as with a sword, concrete truth from abstract truth, practical truth from speculative truth, and then199 holding the former suspended above the head of his questioner, unless and until that great Priest and Jesuit had been first possessed of the living consciousness that he had had, and then was, at that very instant of time when speaking, having that Plot, which represented “the sum of all villainies,” in that it involved “sacrilegious murder,”[A] firmly and unconquerably crushed under his feet.[164]

[A] This phrase is used by Shakespeare in “Macbeth” (1606), I suggest, with indirect reference to the Gunpowder Plot, which Shakespeare must have followed with the most breathless, absorbing interest. For Norbrook was in Snitterfield, where his mother (Mary Arden) had property; while Coughton was the home of the Throckmortons, the Ardens’ relatives. Clopton House, where Ambrose Rookwood was living from Michaelmas, 1605, Lapworth, where John Wright resided from May, 1605, and where Christopher Wright and Marmaduke Ward visited him (all of which places were in that “garden of England,” Warwickshire), must have been as familiar to the poet almost as his own Stratford-on-Avon.

I find the name “Robert Arden,” of Pedmore, Worcestershire, 112 miles from Stourbridge, down as “a popish recusant” for the year 1592, in the “Hatfield MS.,” part iv.



And how could this be?

It could be only by dint of a two-fold knowledge, a two-fold, warranting, justifying, vindicating knowledge, which this Priest and Jesuit held stored-up deep down within the depths of his conscious being, a knowledge passive or receptive which had come to him “from without,” ab extra; a knowledge active or self-caused which he had bestowed upon himself “from within,” ab intra.

Now, the passive knowledge “from without” was the knowledge Oldcorne had had from the penitent plotter of that penitent’s resolve to reveal the Plot to his lawful Sovereign by the most perfect means for so doing that by the human mind could be devised.

The active knowledge “from within” was the knowledge that Oldcorne had possessed, and was at that moment possessing, of his own sublimely conceived and magnificently executed act and deed: although even this active knowledge “from within” was itself indirectly traceable to that penitent plotter’s repentant resolve and repentant will.[A]

[A] We know on the authority of Sir Edward Coke himself that one of the conspirators was supposed to have revealed the Plot, and indeed such must have been inevitably the case. Now, the proved position of Thomas Ward in the work of communicating with Thomas Winter suggests that Ward was the diplomatic go-between. But it is obvious that Ward cannot have himself penned the Letter; for if he had been in the service of Elizabeth’s Government his handwriting would be known to the Government. Now, circumstantial evidence tends to prove that Father Oldcorne did. Therefore the relationship of priest and penitent and the machinery of the Tribunal of Penance is forthwith, naturally and easily, brought into play. Now, in these days of “emancipated and free religious thought,” it is difficult for us readily to realize the stupendous force that the alleged supernatural facts of historical Christianity had upon the mind of all those who lived consciously hemmed in, as it were, by an alleged supernatural tradition of Christianity, whether Calvinistic or Roman Catholic, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Those alleged facts were assumed and deliberately calculated upon as among the ruling and controlling realities of daily life. Now, a Yorkshire Roman Catholic — especially one brought up in the Wright, Ward, Babthorpe, Ingleby, Mallory circle — might be easily frightened, nay, terrified, into confession and avowal of his crimes, and therefore into satisfaction, and therefore into reversal, by the mere fact that about the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, 11th October (old style), 1605, when “examining his conscience” he came to realize the tremendous and awful wickedness of his two crimes, sacrilege and murder. For the Archangel “Michael — who is like unto God” — would be to him a being as real and living and of transcendently greater power — an important consideration — than even the stern reality of the hangman of the gallows-tree and the ripping knife; while a close-natured, thoughtful Yorkshireman like Christopher Wright would vividly realize, with his shrewd instinct for values and tendencies, that, unrepentant, his ultimate fate — either here or hereafter — was not worth while the risking. For, on the one hand, he may have peradventure, consciously or unconsciously, argued there is the certainty of falling, sooner or later, into “the Hands of the Living God,” and of being by Him consigned to the charge of Michael, the Minister of His Justice; while, on the other, there is the going, not to the chill, viewless wind, but to a sympathetic rational creature with a brain, heart, eyes, hands, and feet, and the getting him, in the solid reality of flesh and blood, to put a speedy stop, here and now, to the whole unhappy business, and so save further trouble. (A man of middle age, well educated, belonging to an old Yorkshire Roman Catholic family that “had never lost the Faith,” told a relative, not long ago, that “after being on the spree” he should have certainly committed a great crime had he not been stayed by the knowledge that, if he did so, “he would go plump into Hell.” I mention this to show how, at least, sometimes the Catholic conscience works even in these “enlightened” days. Hence, the antecedent probability of the truth of my suggested solution of how the revealing conspirator was motived to reveal the conspiracy. For an Inquiry into the Gunpowder Plot is a great philosophical study of human motives as well as of probabilities; and the case of Christopher Wright (ex hypothesi) is, in relation to the example just cited, an à fortiori case.)



But, it may be plausibly objected, if it were of such dangerous tendency indiscriminately to give utterance to bare, abstract, moral principles only, how came it to pass, then, that Oldcorne, who was a good man, morally, as well as a clever man, intellectually, suffered himself thus to act when questioned by Humphrey Littleton respecting the moral lawfulness, or otherwise, of the Gunpowder Plot?

Now, Oldcorne, as we have already seen in his Declaration quoted above, has recorded a — that is one — reason202 why he left Littleton in abstracto — that is furnished with truth in the abstract merely. And beyond a doubt, as subsequent events so signally proved, the astute Jesuit’s judgment of Littleton’s character had not erred one whit.

Littleton, as Oldcorne justly feared, was a “dangerous fellow,” one who was likely to entrap the innocent, and one who was, therefore, not entitled, either in Justice or in that more refined kind of justice called Equity, to have his question dealt with by anything other than a flanking movement; or, in other words, by anything other than such an intellectual manœuvre as would turn aside the question Littleton had elected to propound to the great mental strategist — as would turn aside the question Littleton had elected to propound, on the face of it, probably, and as the event proved, certainly, from sinister motives and with crooked aims.


Hence, partly because of his questioner’s inferred insincerity and pernicious purposes did Oldcorne sever speculative truth in thought from concrete truth in action; or, in other words, Oldcorne gave to Littleton an answer “sounding” in partial truth alone.



Now, partial truth, as has been affirmed already, is not, in its proportion, less true than the full orb of truth.[A] And many are the times and many are the circumstances in this strangely chequered human life of ours, with its endless movements and its perpetual vicissitudes, when apparently conflicting and antagonistic duties can be in justice, equity, and honour reconciled on one condition only, namely, that man shall leave to Omniscience alone, “from Whom no secrets are hid,” a knowledge of the full orb of certain degrees of some particular kind of truth, governing some particular subject-matter under consideration.[165][B]

[A] It is never morally lawful to tell a lie, that is, to speak contrary to one’s mind, or to deceive by word contrary to that law of justice which bids a man render to all rational creatures their due.

To act a lie is as base and wicked as to tell a lie, and often more unmanly and contemptible besides: else might the deaf and dumb be unjustly deceived with impunity.

[B] The noble science of casuistry is founded on the fact that partial truth is not less true, in its measure and in its degree, than the full orb of truth.

A knowledge of casuistry, that is, of the principles of moral science scientifically applied to the living facts of the living present, will be of primal necessity to British statesmen in the twentieth century, which will be a century of few, but strong, principles, and of few, but strong, men to apply those principles.

Efficiency, and efficiency through scientific exactitude, will be the characteristic aim of all the great Imperial Powers of the world in the near future. Here, in England, with all our intellectual, moral, and physical virtues (which indeed are neither few nor contemptible), we have been too apt to allow a number of persons to speak for us, able in their way, no doubt, but of limited mental vision, and hopelessly incapable of grappling with the problems that confront a world-wide Empire, embracing a fifth (some say a fourth) of the human race. A democratic Empire must choose leaders that are wise, just, self-controlled, courageous; and then that Empire must entrust freely and fearlessly their destinies with such leaders, who must not be afraid faithfully to go “full tilt” against ignorant prejudice or short-sighted prepossession.

Now, wisdom (or prudence) is the cardinal virtue which presides over all the other three virtues. And wisdom (or prudence) tells us that strategy in war, that sometimes necessary evil; diplomacy betwixt the representatives of nations; and above and beyond all the imparting to the general body of the people only so much knowledge of the tendencies of current events as is for the common good, can have intellectual and moral justification on this one fundamental ethical principle only, namely, that partial truth is not less true, in its measure and in its degree, than the full orb of truth.

Again; where a sound intellectual and moral basis is not consciously held, man, by the rules that govern his rational nature, will not “walk sure-footedly.” Moreover, it is impossible for a self-respecting free people to allow that essential unity does not prevail betwixt the fundamental principles of both private action and public action. For just wars and politics are not the pawns of a game that has been devised and patented by the devil. Just wars and politics are ethics working in the living present, in the wider field of human conduct. And, properly understood, they are, after their kind, and must be, if they are lawful to rational creatures, as noble and as much under the reign, rule, and governance of the Ideal Man as are those solemn acts of life which have been (amongst other purposes) devised to remind man of the transcendental nature of his origin and destiny.


Just as on some wild, tempestuous night, the full orb of the silvery moon is obscured to the eye of the gazer by a dark, driving cloud.

Now, it has been said that, partly, because Oldcorne inferred insincerity of heart in Humphrey Littleton, and, partly, because Oldcorne inferred in his questioner pernicious purposes in propounding the question he did propound respecting the moral lawfulness, or otherwise, of the Gunpowder Plot, therefore Oldcorne gave Littleton an answer sounding in partial — that is, in this case, in abstract, in speculative — truth alone.


Oldcorne’s own expressed words are as follow: —

In this warie sort I spake to him bycause I doubted he came to entrap me, and that he should take no advantage of my words whither he reported them to Catholics or to Protestants.

Unquestionably, this must have been a reason — one reason, that is — for Father Oldcorne’s flanking, evasive reply, sounding in partial — that is, in this case, in abstract, in speculative — truth alone.

For otherwise a man of such approved goodness and established character would have never declared it to be a reason. The contrary supposal it is impossible to entertain.

But because Oldcorne’s declared reason was undoubtedly a reason, it does not follow — regard being had to persons, times, and circumstances — either from the demands of universal reason or moral fitness, that it was his only and sole reason, nor (still less) that it was his paramount and predominant reason for his action in question, that is, for his mode of couching the aforesaid Declaration in partial truth alone.

What leads to the conclusion with resistless force that Oldcorne’s alleged reason cannot have been his paramount, his predominant, reason is the simple, indisputable fact that such an aim so egregiously miscarried.

Therefore, in the case of so astute and clever a man, as all the evidence we have concerning Oldcorne to demonstration proves him to have been, it is rendered probable, to the degree of moral certainty, that the great casuist had some far stronger reason latent within him than the reason he chose to put forth for couching an answer to Humphrey Littleton, sounding in partial truth alone.

Besides the sufficient, indeed, yet inferior reason,207 grounded on the primal instinct of personal self-preservation, or, in other words, to put the matter bluntly, the mere brute instinct of not being entrapped, wisdom suggests that Oldcorne must — his moral character being what we know it was — have had a reason latent deep down within the depths of his conscious being, which was not only a sufficient but superior reason, not only a true but a sublime reason, for severing in this grave matter, and holding suspended, truth in thought from truth in action.

Yea, Father Oldcorne, I maintain, gave Humphrey Littleton the flanking, evasive answer that he did give him, notwithstanding the inevitable, possible, and even probable dangers attendant thereon, because he (Oldcorne) felt within himself, “to the finest fibre of his being,” a freedom, a three-fold freedom, which warranted, justified, and vindicated him in so answering.

Now this freedom was a three-fold freedom, because it was a thrice-purchased freedom.

And it was a thrice-purchased freedom because it had been purchased by the merits: —

(1) Of the personal, actual repentance of the revealing plotter himself. By the merits

(2) Of the imputed (or constructive) repentance of that penitent’s co-plotters. And by the merits

(3) Of the laudable action of Oldcorne himself.



Now, Oldcorne, being a man as good as he was clever, and as clever as he was good, manifests from the inherent nature of his answer to Humphrey Littleton a sense, a consciousness, an assurance of freedom from the restraints and obligations which would have undoubtedly stayed and bound him had he not been already freed from their power.

Now, it is a superior power that countervails, that renders impotent an inferior power.

Now, Oldcorne would be freed from the restraining power of moral obligations, as to the user of a particular character of speech, if he had had residing within him a power of superior, of sublimer, that is, of countervailing force.

Now, Oldcorne, in his answer to Littleton, manifestly gives evidence of power, of countervailing power.

Knowledge gives power: gives countervailing power.

Therefore it follows that the presence of power, of countervailing power, in Oldcorne proves likewise the strong probability of knowledge, of countervailing knowledge likewise.

And what kind of knowledge can such two-fold knowledge have been, save a meritorious knowledge of what aforetime had been, but which was then no longer, the Gunpowder Treason Plot?

For, from the very moment of Oldcorne’s becoming conscious that the Plot as a plot had vanished into thin209 air by (1) personal, actual repentance; by (2) imputed or constructive repentance; by (3) a personally heroic act: had vanished like the morning mists before the beams of the rising sun, Oldcorne would feel himself, so to speak, immediately to be endued with an extraordinary power: with a power that would straightway cause him to grow to a loftier stature than all his fellows: with a power that then would enable him, as it were, to scale the heights, and, at length, to mount up to the very top of what aforetime had been the baleful Plot, but which Plot Oldcorne full well knew would be henceforward and for ever emptied and defecated of and from all murderous, criminous, sacrilegious quality.[166]

Hence was Oldcorne warranted, justified, and vindicated in viewing and surveying “the fact of Mr. Catesbie’s” simply speculatively and purely in the abstract.

Hence was Oldcorne warranted, justified, and vindicated in leaving Humphrey Littleton in abstracto, after the latter had propounded to him his dangerous question: of leaving the doubter with an answer sounding in partial truth alone.



Now, this conclusion leads inevitably to the further conclusion that Edward Oldcorne must have had latent within him, deep down within the depths of his conscious being, a particular knowledge, as distinct from a general knowledge, a private knowledge as distinct from a public knowledge, not indeed of this Plot as a plot, but of the Plot after it had been, when it had been, and as it had been first transmuted and transformed, by the causes and processes hereinbefore mentioned: transmuted and transformed into an instrument, sure and certain for the temporal salvation of his fellow-men.

Yea, because Edward Oldcorne’s noblest mental faculty, his conscience, gazing with eagle-eye, sun-filled, yet undazzled and undismayed, upon absolute truth was able unshrinkingly and calmly to bear witness to the other indivisible parts of his rational nature, that his mind in relation to that fell enterprise, which from first to last must have “made the angels weep,” was a mind not only of passive innocence, but of active rectitude, therefore must he have felt himself to be not barely, but abundantly free. Free, because he knew there was no mortal in this world, and no being in the world to come, to condemn him at the bar of eternal Justice; nay, none rightly even to be so much as his accuser: free to survey the baleful scheme purely speculatively: free, orally to express the results of that survey, either as to whole or part, in abstracto, in the abstract merely;211 and this notwithstanding the risk of misinterpretation from his questioner’s “want of thought,” or “want of heart.”

For everlastingly was it the truth, that none could gainsay nor resist, that in relation to this matter, at any rate, it was the lofty privilege of Edward Oldcorne — indeed a man, if ever there were such, “elect and precious” — to have been made “a white soul:” to have been made a soul like unto “a star that dwelt apart.”

Res ipsa loquitur. Yea, the words of Edward Oldcorne speak for themselves. And from those words evident is it that it was the kingly prerogative of this disciplined, self-repressed, humblest of men, to know the truth as to the once atrocious plan: to know the truth and to be free.

For his language implies, and, his mind and his character being what they were, his language is intelligible on none other supposal than this: That at the very moment when his tongue gave utterance to this now famous flanking, evasive answer to his inquirer, he, even he, had possession of a power, a knowledge, a living consciousness, that he had been exalted to be the chosen agent of that Supreme Power of the Universe, to Whom by infinite right, Vengeance belongs: the chosen agent whereby the aforetime, but then no longer, stupendous Gunpowder Treason Plot had been, to all eternity, overthrown, frustrated, and brought to nought.[167]



Hence may we say, of a surety, has it been proved that Edward Oldcorne, Priest and Jesuit, used words which imply that, as a fact, he viewed the Plot ante factum, before the fact, and in the abstract merely.

That, being a man as good as he was clever, and as clever as he was good, he must have had his warranting reasons, his justifying reasons, his vindicating reasons for so doing, when such a course of action was obviously likely to be attended with danger from misinterpretation from both the fool and the knave; from both the man lacking thought and from the man lacking heart.

That such warranting reasons, such justifying reasons, such vindicating reasons would be found in the fact that Oldcorne knew the Plot was no longer a plot, but a scheme emptied and defecated of all evil, all murderous, all criminous, all sacrilegious quality. Nay, that it was a scheme sublimated and transfigured by his (Oldcorne’s) own superabounding merit and virtue in relation to the once diabolical, but then repented of, prodigious plan.

Therefore is the inevitable conclusion pressed upon us with resistless force, that, according to the changeless laws which govern man’s intellectual and moral nature, Oldcorne must have had some official or semi-official particular and private knowledge of the thirteen Gunpowder traitors’ heinous project, as distinct from and in addition to that merely personal, general knowledge, which he necessarily cannot have failed to possess in his213 capacity of an ordinary English citizen: some professional or quasi-professional special, private knowledge, as distinct from that general, public, common knowledge, which every sane man then a subject of the British Crown could not help not being possessed of, at that very instant of time when Humphrey Littleton propounded to the great casuist Humphrey Littleton’s aforetime unhappy question.[A]

[A] It is quite clear to my mind that Christopher Wright, the revealing plotter, must have himself expressly freed his confessor from the obligation to absolute secrecy, which the seal of the Confessional would impose. It may have been that Oldcorne made this a condition precedent to his agreeing to pen the Letter. Or, it may have been that Wright’s own strong Catholic instincts and natural sense of justice suggested the necessity of this course. As already remarked, a natural secret, that is, a something that is not a sin, which alone forms matter for Sacramental Confession, may indirectly come under the seal, if the confessor promises expressly or impliedly to accept the natural secret under the obligations of the seal. But in Wright’s case there could be no question of his communication being in the nature of a natural secret protected indirectly by the seal by reason of Oldcorne’s promise. And though freed by the penitent from the duty of absolute secrecy, Oldcorne would be still under a positive duty of discretion.

I say advisedly aforetime unhappy question.

For, I respectfully maintain that the ratiocinative faculty to-day, of a surety, demonstrates that in the majestic cause of impartial, severe, historical truth, the act of this frail, erring child of man, Humphrey Littleton, has proved itself now to be thrice happy.

O felix culpa!” “O happy fault!” Out of bitterness is come forth sweetness.

Humphrey Littleton was not pardoned by King James, his Privy Council, and Government, notwithstanding the invaluable disclosures he had made.[168]

This high-born English gentleman was executed at Redhill, Worcester, on the 7th day of April, 1606, along with (among others) another open rebel, John Winter, the214 half-brother of Robert Winter and Thomas Winter, the Gunpowder traitors.

Humphrey Littleton, we are told by his contemporary, Father John Gerard, asked forgiveness of Father Oldcorne more than once, and said that he had wronged him much.

He also asked forgiveness of Mr. Abington, who, though condemned to death, was ultimately pardoned at his wife’s and Lord Mounteagle’s intercession.

Humphrey Littleton “died with show of great repentance, and so with sorrow and humility and patient acceptance of his death made amends for his former frailty and too unworthy desire of life.”

Stephen Littleton, the Master of Holbeach — who had likewise joined in the rebellion in the Midlands, under Sir Everard Digby, which grew out of the Gunpowder Plot, although a distinct movement from it, albeit connected with the Plot — was made a public example of in his native County of Staffordshire, in terrorem, as a terror to evil-doers: this unfortunate English gentleman suffering the extreme penalty of the law, according to his contemporary, the aforesaid Father John Gerard, in the ancient town of Stafford.



We now come to the second and latter part of Father Oldcorne’s Declaration to Humphrey Littleton, from the whole of which Declaration Littleton drew the conclusion that Oldcorne answered “the action was good, and seemed to approve of it.”[A]

[A] By thus disclaiming knowledge of “these” — that is, the object the plotters had in view in their nefarious Plot, and the means they purposed having recourse to, to attain their object — Oldcorne deliberately throws a veil over the full orb of truth. But Littleton might have discerned, had he taken the trouble so to do, that Oldcorne was equivocating under a sense of prior obligation; and the clue was afforded by the person of the speaker and the tenour of the answer itself. In the former part of the Declaration, by leaving Littleton in abstracto, he had thrown a veil over a portion of the full orb of truth. Just as the silvery moon, on some tempestuous night, may be first partially obscured, by a thick, dark, driving cloud, and then afterwards wholly obscured, from the view of the gazer.

“And thus I applied it to this fact of Mr. Catesbie’s; it is not to be approved or condemned by the event, but by the proper object or end, and means which was to be used in it; and because I know nothing of thes, I will neither approve it or condeme it, but leave it to god and ther owne consciences, and in this wary sort I spoke to him bycause I doubted he came to entrap me; and that he should take noe advantage of the words whither he reported them to Catholics or Protestants.”[B]

[B] Oldcorne’s full answer to Littleton would be, “and because I know nothing of these [that I am at liberty to tell you, Humphrey Littleton”]: these last words being interiorly expressed, perhaps.

Now, in the first place, let it be remembered that these words were spoken not before but after Wednesday,216 the 6th of November, when, as Oldcorne himself has left on record, and which indeed we have seen already, Father Tesimond came from Coughton to Huddington, and from Huddington to Hindlip; and when “he said that there were certain gentlemen that meant to have blown up the Parliament House, and that their plot was discovered a day or two before.”[A]

[A] Father Oldcorne says that Tesimond reached Hindlip at two o’clock. Now, as Tesimond came from Huddington, where, already, he had had an interview with Catesby, the conspirators must have reached Huddington before two o’clock; probably they reached the mansion-house at twelve o’clock mid-day. Bates says that Tesimond was at Huddington half-an-hour; but Jardine says two hours. Query, what does “Greenway’s MS.” say?

Again; Fawkes, we are told by Eudæmon-Joannes,[169] explained at the Trial of the conspirators why the prisoners pleaded “‘Not guilty,’ which was that the Indictment contained ‘many other matters, which we neither can, nor ought to countenance by our assent or silence,’ though none of them meant to deny that which they had not only voluntarily confessed before, but which was quite notorious throughout the realm.”[170] (The italics are mine.)

Now, seeing that Oldcorne told Littleton that “he knew nothing” as to the “end or object” the plotters had in their Plot, nor “the means which was to be used in it,” when the whole of England, not to say Europe, had been ringing with a knowledge of not only the end or object, but also the means, for the last past few days, and perhaps weeks, at the very least, I draw this inevitable conclusion: —

That because Oldcorne was a man as morally good as he was intellectually clever, he must have met his questioner’s inquiry with this nescience, by reason of some antecedent, official, and professional duty; or, at least,217 semi-official and quasi-professional duty, which had been imposed upon him, ab extra, from the outside, prior in time to Humphrey Littleton’s coming to him to be resolved of his doubts as to the moral rightness or wrongness of the Gunpowder Plot.[171]

In other words, that Oldcorne felt instinctively that he could recognise in a private individual, like Humphrey Littleton, no valid right, title, claim, or demand to call forth an answer, which might discover or disclose to Littleton the secret of the repentant Christopher Wright.

Yea, neither in Justice, nor in Equity, nor in Honour could the grand Yorkshireman betray to Humphrey Littleton the secret of trust that in a semi-official, quasi-professional mode or fashion had come to be entrusted to him by another, as that other’s private property and exclusive possession.

That other was Christopher Wright, the penitent revealing plotter, and whomsoever he had, explicitly or implicitly, willed should share a knowledge of the mighty secret. But to none other or others beside. And certainly not to men probably prompted by sinister motives and crooked aims.

For a knowledge of truth in action, truth in the result, truth in the event, truth in the external, and every other kind of truth in relation to the Gunpowder[A] Plot,218 integral or partial, was irrevocably held in trust by Edward Oldcorne, not for Humphrey Littleton, or the like of him, but for Christopher Wright and men that were true of heart.

[A] The end does not justify the means: neither can a man or a woman do evil that good may come. But Oldcorne would contend that, in perfect Reason, Truth may be concealed, subject to certain limitations and, regard being had to person, time, and circumstance, the clue-affording possibilities; and this whether partial truth or whole truth, in pursuance of a prior and superior moral obligation. And so would say all modern diplomatists and commanders in the field, however conscientious and upright they might be, unless they wished to court defeat, or to give away their Country, and (if justice be meted out to them) to be cashiered. Now, unity at all times and in all places must prevail. For all men are subject to the one Moral Law of Right Reason, and nowhere will you find men without souls, notwithstanding that certain members of the English middle classes sometimes seem to labour under a delusion to the contrary.

Equivocation cannot be had recourse to in matters of Contract, nor for pecuniary gain, nor sordid profit. Remember that, O all ye worshippers of Mammon! For, “a more glorious doctrine for knaves and a more disastrous doctrine for honest men,” it would be difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of than equivocation, if it were not held strictly and severely in check and under control by the dictates of Intellectual Reason and Moral Justice. Now, this highly scientific liberty, “equivocation,” is never morally lawful to the witnesses in a Court of Justice, where the judge has jurisdiction to try the parties and the cause, whether those witnesses be the parties themselves to the cause, or strangers “subpœnaed” to give testimony therein. Such persons would be justly punishable for perjury who professed that, when bearing insufficient or inadequate witness in a Court of Justice by not telling “the whole” truth, they were merely “equivocating.” Nor can equivocation be had recourse to for working hurt or injury to a fellow-creature, whether bond or free, white, black, or copper-coloured, contrary to the primary obligations of Justice, which bid man render unto all men their due. Nor with reference to Divine Truth can equivocation be used. (Hence the piteous absurdity of the Royal Declaration against Popery.)

By the mild and merciful Law of England, a criminally-accused person may equivocate, on the same moral principles as justify strategy in warfare, until his guilt has been brought home to him by sufficient proofs. Such a person equivocates by pleading “not guilty.”

Because I believe the ethical doctrine which justifies equivocation, when properly taught, to be true and not false, and because I furthermore believe that, in the interests of my Country and of Humanity at large, it is of practical consequence, as well as mentally salutary, that a knowledge of equivocation, its foundation principles, extents, and limitations, should be “understanded” by all those that have the guardianship of the People, whether in the senate, in the field, or at sea, therefore, I have requested one, who has a competent mastery of the subject, to explain the matter to my readers. This has been kindly done in a letter, which will be found in Supplementum VI. For “Melius petere fontes,” the jurist as well as the poet has it. “Better is it to have recourse to the fountain-head.

The philosophical explanation of the fact that, under the pressure of necessity, certain combatants can and do exhibit in action at the theatre of war the highest strategetical skill, in spite of their knowing nothing of the scientific doctrine of equivocation, springs from the law of reason that, as a rule, doing is the condition precedent to knowing; experience to cognition. See Ferrier’s “Institutes of Metaphysic” (Blackwood), p.15.

This was an obligation, that flowed from the truth expressed by the luminous maxim, “Qui prior est tempore potior est jure.” “He who is first in time is the stronger in point of right.”


The Jesuit could never that trust, that confidence betray. If needs be, he must be “true till death.” For it was not necessary that he should live. But it was necessary that he should live undishonoured.



Again; to all those that are “knowing” enough, the facts of this woeful tragedy “observingly” to “distil out,” the form and substance of this document of the 12th March, 1605-6, under the hand of Edward Oldcorne, alike afford evidence — conclusive evidence — that Father Oldcorne regarded the Gunpowder conspirators as repentant conspirators, through the virtual representative repentance of one of their own number.

And though it is true that, by the inexorable decree of the Universe, “The Guilty suffer,” each man for himself and not another, temporal punishment, searching, terrible, and keen, yet this is not the whole of the truth governing the perfected ethics of the matter. For “Man learns by suffering.” And guilt is pardoned on repentance, that is, on the observance and on the performance of certain equally decreed conditions.

These conditions are (1) confession, (2) contrition, which implies sorrow and regret, and (3) satisfaction or “damages,” which involves amendment, withdrawal, or reversal. And when all three conditions have been observed and performed, then

“Whoso with repentance is not satisfied,
Neither to earth nor heaven is allied.”

Hence, could the great moralist, by a complexus of intellectual acts, personal and vicarious, justly regard the whole band of plotters as transgressors released from221 the abstract guilt of their double crime. For it is a dictate of reason that the release of one joint debtor operates derivatively to the release, ipso facto, of all the rest.

Now, if Oldcorne possessed a conscious realization that, through the repentance, personal and representative, of the Gunpowder plotters, that Plot was no longer a plot, then, to speak after the manner of men, he must have had that realization as the resultant of two particular kinds, aspects, or sides of knowledge: ab extra, from without, that is, passive knowledge, or communicated, in the first step; and ab intra, from within, that is, knowledge active, or self-bestowed, in the second step.

Now, both passive knowledge and active knowledge here would imply, in the final analysis, a communication by some external mental agency, the agency of some living, intelligent being.

It would be implied in the first case, directly; in the second case, indirectly. But, directly or indirectly, the source would be the same.

Now, who can that aforesaid living, intelligent being, which reason demands, have been, if not a repentant plotter himself?

Therefore, by irresistible inference, the Letter is surely, with moral certitude, traced home at last.



Father Edward Oldcorne was racked in the Tower of London, “five times, and once with the utmost severity for several hours,”[172] in order that, haply, information might be extracted from him that would prove him to be possessed of a guilty knowledge of the Plot. But this princely soul had nothing of that kind to tell, so that King James and his Counsellors wreaked their lawless severity in vain.[A]

[A] Torture, for the purpose of drawing evidence from a prisoner, was contrary to the Law of England. Brother Ralph Ashley, the servant of Father Oldcorne, who, I maintain, carried the warning Letters to Father Henry Garnet and Lord Mounteagle, was tortured, but without revealing anything apparently. Brother Nicholas Owen, the great maker of priests’ hiding-places and secret chambers in the castles, manor-houses, and halls of the old English Catholic gentry, was tortured with great severity; but he, too, seems to have revealed nothing. Owen “died in their hands,” but whether he was tortured to death or committed suicide in the Tower is a mystery to this day. One would like to see this mystery bottomed.

On the 7th day of April, 1606, at Redhill, one mile from the City of Worcester, on the London Road, “the silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was broken, the pitcher was crushed at the fountain, the wheel was broken on the cistern.” For on that day, at that spot, the happy spirit of Edward Oldcorne mounted far, far beyond the fading things of time and space.[173]

It may be objected that Father John Gerard’s relation of the last dying speech and confession of the great Jesuit Priest and Martyr is hostile to the223 hypothesis that Oldcorne penned the great Letter, “Litteræ Felicissimæ.”

Gerard’s reported words are these; but, I contend, we have no absolute proof that they are the ipissima verba of Father Oldcorne, though he may have uttered some of these words, and something resembling them in the case of the others. — See Gerard’s “Narrative” p. 275.

“He declared unto the people that he came thither to die for the Catholic faith and the practice of his function, seeing that they neither had, nor could prove anything against him which, even by their own laws, was sufficient to condemn him, but that he was a Priest of the Society of Jesus, wherein he much rejoiced, and was ready and desirous to give his life for the profession of that faith which he had taught many years in that very country, and which it was necessary for everyone to embrace that would save their souls.[174] Then being asked again about the treason and taking part with the conspirators, he protested there again that he never had the least knowledge of the treason, and took it upon his death that he was as clear as the new-born child from the whole plot or any part thereof. Then commending his soul, with great devotion, humility, and confidence, into the hands of God and to the Blessed Virgin, St. Jerome, St. Winifred, and his good Angel, he was turned off the ladder, and hanging awhile, was cut down and quartered, and so his innocent and thrice-happy soul went to receive the reward of his many and great labours.” (The italics are mine.)



Now, in the first place, it is to be noticed that Father Oldcorne made the special disclaimer of ever having had the least knowledge of the Plot only after being asked again about the treason and taking part with the conspirators.

My respectful submissions to the judgment of my candid readers, therefore, are these: —

First, that we have no exact, that is, no scientific, proof[175] that Father Oldcorne, as a fact, employed these precise words.

And, secondly, that, even if he did so employ them, what he meant to convey to his hearers’ mind by the words was, I maintain, that he had no criminal, no traitorous knowledge of the ruthless Gunpowder enterprise; or, in other words, no guilty knowledge, no knowledge that his King and his fellow-subjects had any right, title, claim, or demand, in Reason, Justice, Equity, or Honour, to obtain or to wring from him.

For “Qui prior est tempore potior est jure.” “He who is first in time is the stronger in point of right.”

Again; “There is on earth a yet auguster thing, veiled though it be, than Parliament or King.” And that is the Human Conscience, instructed by Truth and Justice. Her rights are invincible and eternally sacred.

Gerard continues, after Father Oldcorne “followed Ralph, his faithful follower and companion of his labours, who showed at his death great devotion and fervour, as may225 be guessed by this one action of his; for whilst Father Oldcorne stood upon the ladder and was preparing himself to die, Ralph, standing by the ladder, suddenly stepped forward, and takes hold of the good Father’s feet, embracing and kissing them with great devotion, and said, ‘What a happy man am I, to follow here the steps of my sweet Father!’ And when his own turn came, he also first commended himself by earnest prayers unto God, then told the people that he died for religion and not for treason, whereof he had ‘not had the least knowledge; and as he had heard this good Father, before him, freely forgive his persecutors and pray for the King and Country, so did he also....’ He showed, at his death, great resolution joined with great devotion, and so resigning his soul into the hands of God, was turned off the ladder and changed this life for a better.” — See Gerard’s “Narrative,” pp. 27, 5276.[176]

Furthermore, Father Gerard says, on p. 269 of his “Narrative,” as we have seen already, that “Father Ouldcorne his indictment was so framed that one might see they much desired to have drawn him within the compass of some participation of this late treason; to which effect they first did seem to suppose it as likely that he should send letters up and down to prepare men’s minds for the insurrection.... Also they accused him of a sermon made in Christmas, wherein he should seem to excuse the conspirators, or to extenuate their fact, and, withal that speaking with Humphrey Littleton in private about the same matter, he should advise him not to judge of the cause, or to condemn the gentlemen by the event.”

Although Father Oldcorne was found guilty and sentenced to death, it is not clearly shewn, from Gerard’s Relation, or that of anybody else, what offences were226 proved against him. Probably, reliance was mainly placed (1) on the fact of his being a notorious Priest and Jesuit, reconciling as many of the King’s subjects to the See of Rome as possible; (2) on his providing, through the Jesuit, Father Jones, a place of refuge for Robert Winter and Stephen Littleton, two of the fugitives from Justice; and (3) on his aiding and abetting the concealment of his Superior, Father Garnet, a proclaimed traitor, at Hindlip.[A]

[A] The reason why Humphrey Littleton, at his execution, begged pardon of Mr. Abington, as well as of Father Oldcorne (see ante p. 214), was that Humphrey Littleton, when in Worcester Gaol, had reported to the Government, in the hope of getting a respite, that the Jesuits, Garnet and Oldcorne, were being concealed at Hindlip.

Father Garnet left Coughton for Hindlip, accompanied by the Honourable Anne Vaux, on the 16th December, 1605, and lay concealed there until the last week of January, 1605-6, when Garnet and Oldcorne, together with the lay-brothers, Nicholas Owen and Ralph Ashley, were captured at Hindlip, by Sir Henry Bromley, of Holt Castle, a Worcestershire magistrate, in pursuance of elaborate instructions from Lord Salisbury himself. The captives were all four solemnly conveyed to the Tower of London. Miss Vaux was herself afterwards locked up in the Tower, but finally released. This unconquerable lady seems to have “come to her grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in its season.” For, as late as the year 1635, we find her name being reported to the Privy Council of Charles I., for helping certain Jesuits to carry on a school for the education of the sons of the English Catholic nobility and gentry, at her mansion, Stanley Grange, about six miles from Derby.



Edward Oldcorne might have, perchance, saved his life had he told his lawful Sovereign that he had been (Deo juvante) a joint efficient cause of that Sovereign’s temporal salvation and the temporal salvation of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Commons of England, Ambassadors, and Heaven only knows whom, and how many else beside. For King James, with all his faults, was averse from shedding the blood even of popish Priests and Jesuits. But Oldcorne did not do so. And I hold that he had two all-sufficient reasons for not so acting.

First, he may have thought there was a serious danger of his entangling Thomas Ward, in some way or another, as an accessory, at least, after the fact, in the meshes of the Law of that unscrupulous time: the time, be it remembered, of the Star Chamber and the Court of High Commission.

And, secondly, although this great Priest and Jesuit, by virtue and as a result of the releasing act of his Penitent, Christopher Wright, had come, practically, to receive a knowledge of the tremendous secret as a Friend and as a Man, and not as a Priest, yet, because that Man and that Friend was a Priest; and because it was impossible for that Priest in practice, and in the eyes of men, to bisect himself, and make clear and manifest the different sides and aspects in which he had — subsequent to the Penitent’s release from the seal of the228 Confessional, sigillum confessionis — thought and acted in relation to the revealing plotter, therefore did Oldcorne, I opine, deliberately — because, according to his own principles, he was predominantly “a Priest,” and that “for ever” — therefore did he deliberately choose the more excellent way, aye! in the chamber of torture and upon the scaffold of death, the way of perfect self-sacrifice for the good of others.

For, by a Yorkshire Catholic mother, dwelling in a grey northern city — and who in January, 1598, is described as “old and lame”[A] — Edward Oldcorne had been taught long years ago “to adjust his compass at the Cross.”[177][178]

[A] Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 204.

Brother Ralph Ashley, too, possibly might have saved his life, had he disclosed that, whatever other letter or letters he had carried to and fro, he had carried that great Letter, that Letter of Letters, which had proved the sheet-anchor, the lever, of his Country’s temporal salvation through the temporal salvation of its hereditary and elected rulers.

But Brother Ralph Ashley knew he had a duty to perform of strict fidelity to his master, a duty which, though unknown to man, would not escape the Eye of Him to advance Whose greater glory this humble Jesuit lay-brother was solemnly pledged.

Father Gerard says, as we have already seen, in his “Narrative,” that Ralph Ashley “was divers times put upon the torture but he revealed nothing.” Gerard furthermore says that Ralph Ashley “was indicted and condemned upon supposition that he had carried letters to and fro about this conspiracy.” “But,” says Gerard, “they neither did nor could allege any instance or proof against him.” — See “Narrative,” p. 271.



A few final words as to Thomas Ward (or Warde), who was, I hold, no less than Edward Oldcorne and his Penitent, the joint arbiter of destinies and the controller of fates.

Indeed, as previously stated in an earlier portion of this Inquiry, my own opinion is that Christopher Wright probably unlocked his burthened heart to his connection, Thomas Ward, of whose constancy in friendship he would be, by long years of experience, well assured, at a time anterior to that at which he unbosomed himself to the holy Jesuit Priest, that skilled, wise, loving minister of a mind diseased.

While Ward, on his part, readily and willingly, though at the imminent risk of being himself charged as a knowing accomplice and accessory to the Plot, undertook the diplomatic engineering of the whole movement, whereby the Plot was so effectually and speedily spun round on its axis, even if well-nigh at the eleventh hour.

In bidding farewell, a long farewell, to Thomas Ward, the following extracts from a letter of Sir Edward Hoby[179] to Sir Thomas Edmunds, Ambassador at Brussels, are important, although some of the passages have already appeared in the earlier part of this Inquiry: —

“Such as are apt to interpret all things to the worst, will not believe other but that Lord Mounteagle might in a policy cause this letter to be sent, fearing230 the discovery already of the letter; the rather that one Thomas Ward, a principal man about him, is suspected to be accessory to the treason. Others otherwise ... some say that Fawkes (alias Johnson) was servant to one Thomas Percy; others that he is a Jesuit and had a shirt of hair next his skin.

“Early on the Monday [vere Tuesday] morning, the Earl of Worcester was sent to Essex House to signify the matter to the Earl of Northumberland, whom he found asleep in his bed, and hath done since his best endeavour for his apprehension ... Some say that Northumberland received the like letter that Mounteagle did, and concealed it ...

“Tyrwhyt is come to London; Tresham sheweth himself; and Ward walketh up and down.”[180] (The italics are mine.)

Surely, the twain facts that Thomas Ward “walked up and down,” and that his brother, Marmaduke, was also at large, with the latter’s eldest daughter, Mary, lodging in Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn (although we have seen the Master of Newby apprehended in Warwickshire, in the very heart and centre of the conspirators), tend to demonstrate that the King, his Privy Council, and Government were very much obligated to the gentleman-servant and, almost certainly, distant kinsman of William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle, and that they knew it.[A]

[A] Is it possible that some time after the Plot, Thomas Ward retired into his native Yorkshire, and became the officer or agent for Lord William Howard’s and his wife’s Hinderskelfe and other Yorkshire, Durham, and Westmoreland estates? I think it is possible; for I find the name “Thomas Warde” from time to time in the “Household Books of Lord William Howard” (Surtees Soc). See Supplementum III. I am inclined to think that the reason Father Richard Holtby, the distinguished Yorkshire Jesuit, who was socius, or secretary, to Father Henry Garnet, and subsequently Superior of the Jesuits in England, was never laid hold of by the Government, was that Holtby had two powerful friends at Court in Lord William Howard, of Naworth and Hinderskelfe Castles, and in Thomas Warde (or Ward). Father Holtby was born at Fryton Hall, in the Parish of Hovingham, between Hovingham and Malton. Now, Fryton is less than a mile from Slingsby, where I suspect Thomas Warde (or Ward) finally settled down, and both are only a few miles distant from Hinderskelfe Castle, now Castle Howard. Fryton Old Hall is at present, I believe, occupied by Mr. Leaf, and is the property of Charles James Howard ninth Earl of Carlisle, the descendant of Lord William Howard. The late Captain Ward, R.N., of Slingsby Hall, I surmise, was a descendant, lineal or collateral, of Thomas Ward, of the days of Queen Elizabeth and King James I.


From a grateful King and Country, Lord Mounteagle received, as we have already learned, a payment of £700 a year, equal to nearly £7,000 a year in our money.[A]

[A] Lord Mounteagle’s reward was £300 per annum for life, and £200 per annum to him and his heirs for ever in fee farm rents. Salisbury declared that Mounteagle’s Letter was “the first and only means” the Government had to discover that “most wicked and barbarous Plot.” Personally, I am bound to say I believe him. The title Lord Morley and Mounteagle is now in abeyance (see Burke’s “Extinct Peerages”); but let us hope that we may see it revived. An heir must be in existence, one would imagine; for the peerages Morley and Mounteagle would be granted by the Crown for ever, I presume. There is at the present date a Lord Monteagle, whose title is of a more recent creation.

But Ben Jonson, the rare Ben Jonson, the friend of Shakespeare, of Donne,[B] and other wits of the once232 far-famed Mermaid Tavern, Bread Street, London, deemed the temporal saviour of his Country to be still insufficiently requited. So the Poet, invoking his Muse, penned, in the young peer’s honour, the following stately epigram: —

[B] John Donne the celebrated metaphysical poet, afterwards Dean of St. Paul’s, and author of the once well-known “Pseudo-Martyr,” which Donne wrote at the request of King James himself. For one of Donne’s ancestors and descendants, see ante p. 160.

Henry Donne (or Dunne), a barrister, was brother to John Donne. He was, I believe, implicated in the Babington conspiracy along with Edward Abington, brother to Thomas Abington, and about ten other young papist gentlemen, some of very high birth, great wealth, and brilliant prospects. At the chambers of Henry Donne, in Thavies Inn, Holborn, London, “the Venerable” William Harrington, of Mount St. John, near Thirsk, was captured. Harrington fled to the College at Rheims to study for the priesthood, in consequence of the impression made upon him by Campion, who was harboured, in the spring of 1581, for ten days at Mount St. John; Campion there wrote his famous “Decem Rationes.” Harrington was executed at the London Tyburn, for his priesthood, in 1594. He is said to have struggled with the hangman when the latter began to quarter him alive. Harrington is mentioned in Archbishop Harsnett’s “Popish Impostures,” a book known to Shakespeare. Harrington was a second cousin to Guy Fawkes, through Guy’s paternal grandmother, Ellen Harrington, of York.

To William Lord Mounteagle.
“Lo, what my country should have done (have raised
An obelisk, or column to thy name;
Or if she would but modestly have praised
Thy fact, in brass or marble writ the same).
I, that am glad of thy great chance, here do!
And proud, my work shall out-last common deeds,
Durst think it great, and worthy wonder too,
But thine: for which I do’t, so much exceeds!
My country’s parents I have many known;
But saver of my country, thee alone.”



(1) The revealing plotter cannot have been Tresham or any one of the other eight who were condemned to death in Westminster Hall; otherwise he would have pleaded such fact.

(2) The revealing plotter must have been amongst those who survived not to tell the tale: that is, either Catesby, Percy, John Wright, or Christopher Wright.

(3) Christopher Wright, a subordinate conspirator introduced late in the conspiracy, was the revealing conspirator.

(4) Father Edward Oldcorne, S.J., was the Penman of the Letter.

(5) Thomas Ward was the diplomatic Go-between common to both.

All these three were Yorkshiremen.

(6) Ralph Ashley was the messenger who conveyed the Letter to Lord Mounteagle’s page, who was already in the street when the Letter-carrier arrived.

Perhaps a Yorkshireman.

(7) Mounteagle knew a letter was coming. Known to Edmund Church, Esq., his confidant.

(8) Thomas Ward, on Sunday, the 27th October (the day after the delivery), told Thomas Winter, one of the principal plotters, that Salisbury had received the document; and on Sunday, the 3rd November, that Salisbury had shown it to the King.


(9) Christopher Wright, who was at Lapworth when the Letter was delivered, and within twenty miles of Father Oldcorne, saw Thomas Winter some little time subsequent to the delivery of the Letter.

(10) Christopher Wright is said to have been the first who ascertained that the Plot was discovered.

(11) Christopher Wright is said to have counselled flight in different directions.

(12) Christopher Wright announced to Thomas Winter, very early on Tuesday, the 5th of November, the capture of Fawkes that morning.

(13) Father Oldcorne’s handwriting to-day resembles that of the Letter; by comparison of documents, certainly one of which is in Oldcorne’s handwriting.

(14) Oldcorne was accused by the Government of sending “letters up and down to prepare men’s minds for the insurrection.”

(15) Brother Ashley, his servant, was accused of carrying “letters to and fro about this conspiracy.”

(16) Father Henry Garnet, Oldcorne’s Superior, mysteriously changed his purpose expressed on the 4th October, of returning to London; and on the 29th October went from Gothurst to Coughton, in Warwickshire. (I think Garnet’s main reason for going to Coughton was in order to meet Catesby, and endeavour to induce him to discard Percy’s counsel and to seek refuge in flight.)

(17) Father Oldcorne evaded giving a direct answer as to the Plot, when questioned by Littleton, after November 5th.

(18) Hence, the facts both before and after the delivery of the Letter are consistent with, and indeed converge towards, the hypothesis sought by this Inquiry to be proved.


(19) The circumstance that Christopher Wright displayed a strangely marked disposition to “hang about” the prime conspirator, Thomas Winter, after the sending of the Letter, is a suspicious fact, strongly indicative of a consciousness on Christopher Wright’s part of a special responsibility in connection with the revelation of the Plot; as showing anxiety for personal knowledge that the train of revelation lighted by himself had, so to speak, taken fire.

(20) Christopher Wright lived not to tell the tale.

(21) Hence, the hypothesis is a theory established, with moral certitude, mainly by Circumstantial Evidence, which latter “mosaics” perfectly.

(22) Finally, the crowning proof of the theory sought by this Book to be established is found in these nine words of the post scriptum of 21st October, 1605, to letter dated 4th October, 1605, under the hand of Father Garnet to Father Parsons, in Rome[A]: “This letter being returned unto me again, FOR REASON OF A 236FRIEND’S STAY IN THE WAY, I blotted out some words purposing to write the same by the next opportunity, as I will do apart:” — The word “stay” here being used to signify “check.” Cf., Shakespeare’s “King John,” II., 2: and see Glossary to Globe Edition (Macmillan).

[A] This letter, I understand, is still extant, and is in the archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster. I wonder whether by any of the rigorous tests of modern science these “blotted out” words can be discerned. Probably they have some reference to the Plot. The late Rev. John Morris, S.J., thought they had not. But on this point I am obliged to differ, in toto, from that painstaking editor of much invaluable Elizabethan Catholic literature. See the learned Jesuit’s remarks on this letter of the 4th October, 1605, in “The Condition of Catholics under James I.” (Longmans), p. 228.

Father Morris contends that for Father Garnet to have inserted a reference to the Gunpowder Plot “between two such subjects as the choice of Lay-brothers and his own want of money,” would have been for Garnet to have exhibited a disposition “to be the most erratic of letter-writers.”

But, surely, Father Morris’s argument is feeble in the extreme when regard is had to the fact that poor Henry Garnet’s mind, from the 25th July, 1605, when he first heard from Tesimond, by way of confession, the general particulars of the Plot, down to the 4th of October, 1605, was a very weltering chaos of grief, distress, and perplexity. And, therefore, the most natural thing in the world was for him to exhibit a trifle of eccentricity in the style of his epistolary correspondence, in such trying circumstances, even with so acute and caustic a critic as Father Parsons.

I have said that about the 25th July, 1605 (St. James’-tide), Garnet had, by way of confession, the general particulars of the Plot, because I think that Garnet obtained from Tesimond final details of the Plot at Great Harrowden a fortnight before Michaelmas (11th October); in fact, after the return from St. Winefrid’s Well, in Flintshire, Wales.

It is, however, probable that about the 21st of October, at Gothurst, Tesimond may have made a further communication to Garnet, possibly in consequence of Garnet’s sending for Tesimond after he (Garnet) had received “the friend’s stay in the way.” For the old tradition was that Garnet first had particulars from Tesimond, by way of confession, about the 21st October. (See the earlier editions of Lingard’s “History.”) But, of course, this was an error by three months, Garnet first receiving at least general particulars from Tesimond about the 25th of July. (At some future date I may, perhaps, write an essay on “Garnet after the 21st October, 1605,” but at present I have not space to pursue this matter further.)



Supplementum I.

Guy Fawkes.

The forefathers of Guy Fawkes almost certainly sprang from Nidderdale, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. See Foster’s “Yorkshire Families,” under Hawkesworth, of Hawkesworth, and Fawkes, of Farnley.

Guy’s grandfather was William Fawkes, of York, who married a York lady, Ellen Harrington.[A]

[A] Ellen Harrington’s father was Lord Mayor of York, in the reign of Henry VIII., in the year 1536.

William Fawkes became Registrar of the Exchequer Court of the Archbishop of York, and died between the years 1558-1565.

William Fawkes had two sons and two daughters — Thomas Fawkes, a merchant-stapler, and Edward Fawkes, a Notary or Proctor of the Ecclesiastical Court, and afterwards an Advocate of the Consistory Court of the Archbishop of York. (Certainly it is a strange and bitter irony that an ancestry like this should have brought forth such a moral monster as poor Guy Fawkes afterwards became. But our guiding motto must be: “Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice.”)

Edward Fawkes married a lady whose Christian name was Edith, but her surname is unknown. She was the240 mother of four children — two sons and two daughters. Only one of her sons grew to man’s estate, and this was the hapless Guy.

(Only four children are known of with certainty; but Guy possibly may have had another brother, who was a student at the Inns of Court, in November, 1605.)

Now, the exact house where Edith Fawkes gave birth to her ill-fated boy is at present not known with certitude. There are four traditions respecting the place. Two traditions say the house was on the south side of High Petergate, York; one tradition that it was on the north side, adjoining the alley called Minster Gates; the fourth tradition that it was at Bishopthorpe. Personally, I am in favour of the Minster Gates’ tradition. But the Bishopthorpe tradition is worthy of a respectful hearing.

My friend, Mr. William Camidge, F.R.H.S. (than whom no man now living in York has a greater, if indeed as great, knowledge concerning the City’s antiquarian lore) tells me in a letter, dated the 5th of November, 1901, that in old Thomas Gent’s “Rippon” (1733) there is mention made of Bishopthorpe as being Guy’s birthplace. Gent says, “The house opposite the church[A] is said to be the birthplace of Guy Faux.”

[A] I.e., the old Bishopthorpe Church. The present Bishopthorpe Church is a handsome structure of recent date, at the entrance to the village from York.

Mr. Camidge continues: “I found, a few years ago, rooted in the minds of the oldest inhabitants of Bishopthorpe, the positive assurance that Guy Fawkes was born at Bishopthorpe, and the site of the house was indicated by several persons. I found one of the descendants of the former owner of the house, who assured me that her father always held that Guy Fawkes was born in the241 house; that my informant’s great grandfather maintained the same; and that for two or three generations they had shown the house as the place of Guy Fawkes’ birth. The site of the house is now a pleasure-garden; but a stone was put in the ground to mark the site.”

Now it is a remarkable fact that in almost all, if indeed not quite all, of those places where there has been a strong local tradition to the effect that the Gunpowder conspirators had some association with a particular spot, subsequent investigation has found the tradition to be well authenticated. (This was pointed out by David Jardine sixty years ago.)

Yet the strongest argument against the Bishopthorpe tradition is that Guy’s baptismal register is to-day found at the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, in the City of York.

Now, in the time of Elizabeth, as Dr. Elzé has pointed out in his “Life of Shakespeare,” a child would be baptized on the third day after birth. Hence, on the whole, I cannot personally accept the Bishopthorpe tradition as to the birthplace of Guy Fawkes.

It is, however, more than possible that as a babe in arms Guy Fawkes may have lived at Bishopthorpe. For the Act of Uniformity, whereby the York Court of High Commission had been established, would bring much legal work to his father, Edward Fawkes; and that the latter found it convenient to have a house in close proximity to his Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, a leading member of the High Commission, is one of the likeliest things in the world.

In these circumstances, then, the present-day inhabitants of Bishopthorpe may still lay the flattering unction to their souls (if they wish so to do) that Guy Fawkes drank in his mother’s milk in their picturesque Yorkshire village, on the banks of the noble Ouse.


Mr. J. W. Knowles, of Stonegate, York, another gentleman well versed in York’s antiquities, informed me in August, 1901, that a Mr. John Robert Watkinson, of Redeness Street, Layerthorpe, York, held a tradition that Guy Fawkes’ birthplace was in the house adjoining the Minster Gates.

Accordingly, some little time afterwards, I wrote to Mr. Watkinson, who at once kindly replied in a letter, dated 22nd October, 1901, as follows: —

“My reason for thinking that the house in High Petergate, at the corner of the Minster Gates, ... is the house where Guy Fawkes was born, is this:

“Some fifty years ago I was working at the same house when an old Minster mason, named Townsend, told me it was the house where Guy Fawkes was born. Job Knowles, an old bell-ringer and watchman at the Minster at the time Jonathan Martin set the Minster on fire, also told me it was the same house.

“It is an Elizabethan[A] house, but it has been re-fronted, which you would see if you went inside and looked at the wainscotting and the carved mantel-piece.”

[A] In a subsequent letter, Mr. Watkinson, who is a Protestant, tells me that he is in the seventieth year of his age, and that he is descended collaterally from Thomas Watkinson, of Menthorpe, near Selby, the father of “the Venerable” Robert Watkinson, priest, who suffered martyrdom at the London Tyburn in 1602, two years before the Gunpowder Plot was hatched.

Edward Fawkes died, aged forty-six, when his son, Guy, was not quite eight years old. He was buried in the Minster on the 17th January, 1578-9. About twenty-seven years afterwards this Yorkshire citizen’s thrice hapless child — by nature a tall, athletic man, but then,243 by torture of the rack, so crippled “that he was scarce able to go up the ladder” — met on the shameful gallows-tree, and on the quartering block, in the Old Palace Yard, Westminster, over against the Parliament House, the terrible death of a condemned traitor. The whole world knows the reason why.

Mistress Edith Fawkes, Guy’s mother, was married a second time to a gentleman named Dennis Bainbridge. He was connected with the John Pulleyn, Esq., of Scotton, near Knaresbrough, and the probabilities are that Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Bainbridge, and that lady’s children by her first husband, namely Guy, Elizabeth and Ann Fawkes, all lived by the favour of the young squire, John Pulleyn, in patriarchal fashion, at Scotton Hall. The Pulleyns and the Bainbridges were Roman Catholics, and their names (along with the names Walkingham, Knaresborough, and Bickerdyke) occur in Peacock’s “List of Roman Catholics in Yorkshire in 1604,” under the title “Parish of Farnham.” The name Percy, of Percy House, is not found in Peacock’s “List.”

[If the Bainbridges did not live at Scotton Hall, they may have lived at Percy House, hard-by the Hall. Percy House is now owned by Mr. Slater, of Farnham Hall, the property of the relatives of the late Charles Shann, Esquire, of Tadcaster.]

It is, therefore, easy to understand how it came to pass that the mind of young Guy Fawkes became impregnated with Roman Catholicism. For man is a creature of circumstances.

Yorkshire abounded in Roman Catholics in the time of Elizabeth (see the “Hatfield MSS.” and numerous other contemporary records). Such was especially the case with the district round about Knaresbrough and Ripon. And recollecting that many Yorkshiremen had244 suffered a bloody death for their conscientious adherence to their religion between the years 1582 and Easter, 1604, when the Gunpowder Plot was hatched, one ceases to marvel at such a psychological puzzle as even the mind of Guy Fawkes. — See Challoner’s “Missionary Priests” and Pollen’s “Acts of the English Martyrs,” already frequently referred to.

[“The Venerable” martyrs, Robert Bickerdyke, Peter Snow, Ralph Grimston, Francis Ingleby, and John Robinson (some priests, others laymen) came from Low Hall, Farnham; “at or near Ripon;” Nidd, near Scotton; Ferensby and Ripley respectively. While the “Blessed” John Nelson came from Skelton, York, and the “Blessed” Richard Kirkeman from Addingham, near Ilkley (both priests). All these men suffered death for legal treason or felony based upon their religion between the years 1578 and 1604. And, therefore, according to the laws that govern human nature, such events were sure to tell an impressive tale to a man like Guy Fawkes. Princes and statesmen should avoid, as far as possible, inflicting punishments that impress the imagination. Moreover, an inferior but potent objection against all religious persecution is found in the wisdom enshrined in the exclamation of Horace, “O imitators, a servile crowd!”]

The following testimony of Father Oswald Tesimond, one of Guy Fawkes’ old school-fellows, along with John Wright and Christopher Wright, at Old St. Peter’s School, in the Horse Fayre, Gillygate, York, where Union Terrace now stands, will be of interest.

Fawkes was “a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and cheerful demeanour, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observances.”245 His society was “sought by all the most distinguished in the Archdukes’ camp for nobility and virtue.” — Quoted by Jardine in his “Narrative,” p. 38.

How sad to think that such a man should have so missed his way in the journey of life as to become so demoralized as to join in the Gunpowder Treason Plot; nay, in intention, to be the most deadly agent in that Plot. What can have caused, in the final resort, such a missing of his way, and have wrought such dire demoralization? Echo answers what?

Yet nothing more clearly shows that Guy Fawkes deserved all the punishment he got than the fact that he returned to his post in the cellar, where the thirty-six barrels of gunpowder were, after no less than three distinct warnings that the Government had intelligence of the Plot. One warning was given him on Monday, the 28th October, at White Webbs, by Thomas Winter; a second, on Sunday night, the 3rd November, by Thomas Winter, after the delivery of the Letter to the King; and the third, on Monday, the 4th November, after the visit to the cellar of the Earl of Suffolk and Lord Mounteagle, of which visit Fawkes informed Thomas Percy. — See Lingard’s “History.”

Copies of the three following Deeds given in Davies’ “Fawkeses, of York,” will be read with interest. One of the Deeds is an “Indenture of Lease;” the second, an “Indenture of Conveyance;” and the third, a “Deed Poll,” whereby Dennis and Edith Bainbridge release all right to Dower in Guy Fawkes’ real estate that he “heíred” from his own father, Edward Fawkes; all the property was outside Bootham Bar, in the suburbs of York.

In “The Connoisseur,” for November, 1901, is given a fac-simile of the “Conveyance.” Thomas Shepherd Noble, Esq., of Precentor’s Court, York, one of York’s246 most respected citizens, saw these Deeds sixty years ago in York, he informed me on the 5th of November, 1901; and Mr. Noble then told me he had no doubt that the fac-simile given in “The Connoisseur” of the “Conveyance” is a fac-simile of one of the documents he saw more than half a century ago.

The Pulleyns, Pulleines, Pulleins, or Pullens (for the family spelt their name in all four ways) bore for their Arms one and four azure, on a bend between six lozenges or, each charged with a scallop of the first, five scallops sable: two and three azure, a fess between three martlets. — See Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire,” Ed. by Norcliffe.

Flower gives the Pulleyns, of Scotton, first, and then the Pulleyns, of Killinghall, near Harrogate.

Walter Pulleyn, the step-grandfather of Guy Fawkes, is given as a Pulleyn, of Scotton. Walter Pulleyn married for his first wife Frances Slingsby, of Scriven; for his second wife Frances Vavasour, of Weston, near Otley. One branch of the Vavasours, of Weston, settled at Newton Hall, Ripley, which, embosomed in trees, can be seen to-day by all those who drive from Harrogate,[A] through Killinghall and Ripley, on towards Ripon. Their son was William Pulleyn, who married Margaret Bellasis, of Henknoll; and their son and heir was John Pulleyn, almost certainly the John Pulleyn, Esquire, of Scotton, given under the Parish of Farnham, in Peacock’s “List of Roman Catholics in Yorkshire in 1604.”

[A] How lovely is this drive from Harrogate to Ripon on a bright, balmy summer-morn! How amiable the fair sights and sounds that greet from all sides the traveller’s eye and ear! What historic memories well-up in the heart as Scotton Banks, on the right hand, and Ripley Valley, on the left, appear through charming sweet vistas never-to-be-forgotten!

Flower’s “Pedigree” shows that the Pulleyns, of Scotton, had intermarried with the Ruddes, of Killinghall;247 the Roos, of Ingmanthorpe, near Wetherby; the Tankards, of Boroughbridge; the Swales, of Staveley; the Walworths, of Raventoftes, Bishop Thornton; the Coghylls, of Knaresbrough; and the Birnands, of Knaresbrough; one and all old Yorkshire Catholic gentry.

Flower also shows in his “Pedigree” of the Pulleyns, of Killinghall, that James Pulleyn, of Killinghall, married first Frances, daughter of Sir William Ingleby, of Ripley; and secondly Frances Pulleyn, daughter of Walter Pulleyn, of Scotton. They must have been cousins in some degree. Among their numerous children were Joshua and William, both Roman Catholic priests.

The “Douay Registers” (David Nutt) show that Joshua Pulleyn was ordained priest in 1578. He returned to England on the 27th August of that year. He was educated at Cardinal Allen’s[A] College in Douay. His brother, William Pulleyn, was ordained in 1583, at the same time as the future martyr, “the Venerable” Francis Ingleby, afterwards the friend of “the Venerable” Margaret Clitherow, of York, and for harbouring whom, along with her spiritual director, Father John Mush, belike of Knaresbrough, Margaret Clitherow was indicted in the Guildhall, York, at the Lent Assizes of 1586.

[A] Cardinal Allen had been a lay canon of York Minster during the reign of Philip and Mary. He was a Lancashire man, being a native of Rossall, near Blackpool.

In 1578 the College of Douay was transferred by Cardinal Allen to Rheims (or Reims), where it remained for twenty-one years, when it was transferred back to Douay. Fathers William Pulleyn and Francis Ingleby were educated at the College at Rheims (or Reims). — See “Order of Queen Elizabeth,” dated last day of December, 1582, in Appendix postea where Reims is mentioned in248 connection with the popish missionary priests it was then sending forth into the City of York.[A]

[A] Miss Catharine Pullein, of the Manor House, Rotherfield, Sussex, courteously tells me in a most interesting letter, under date 13th May, 1901, that from the inq. post mortem the above-named Walter Pulleyn died in 1580. That his son William, whose wife was a Bellasis, died before his father, so that in 1580 John Pulleyn (the one mentioned in Peacock’s “List for 1604”) was the young squire. In 1581 or 1582 John seems to have married. He suffered from the infliction of fines for popish recusancy, and appears to have left Scotton between 1604 and 1612. (Scotton Hall is to-day (1901), I believe, owned by the Rev. Charles Slingsby, M.A., of Scriven Hall, near Knaresbrough. The tenant is Mr. Thrackray.)

There is a tradition to this day at Cowthorpe (or Coulthorpe, as it is pronounced by ancient inhabitants), near Wetherby, that Guy Fawkes was wont to visit that old-world village (until recently so quaint from its thatched farm-houses and cottars’ dwellings, and but little changed belike since the days of “Good Queen Bess”).

This tradition is certainly probably authentic; for a Roman Catholic family, named Walmsley, at that time lived at Cowthorpe Hall, a dignified “moated grange” between the Nidd and the historic “Cowthorpe Old Oak.” Guy Fawkes, possibly, many a time and oft, may have stabled his horse at the old Hall when, after fording at Hunsingore the shallow Nidd, he traversed the pleasant fields betwixt Cowthorpe and Ingmanthorpe, near Wetherby, where dwelt the family of Roos, who were, as above stated, allied by marriage to Guy’s friends, the Pulleyns, of Scotton.

Lastly; so intelligent a Yorkshire lad as was, beyond all doubt or cavil, the son of Edward Fawkes and Edith his wife — the lad whose manly but delicately-formed handwriting may be seen to-day by all who have the privilege of obtaining a sight of the precious document fac-similed in a well-known monthly periodical for November, 1901[A] — must249 have visited, I opine, Ribston Park, between Knaresbrough, Hunsingore, and Cowthorpe (where had been in mediæval times a celebrated Preceptory of the Knights Templars, the record of whose deeds against “the infidel Turk” may have fired Guy’s imagination from his earliest years). Moreover, Richard Goodricke, Esquire, of Ribston, had married Clara Norton, one of chivalrous, old Richard Norton’s daughters, of Norton Conyers; and this, to the popish youth, would be an additional attraction for going to view Ribston Hall, its chapel, park, and pale.[B]

[A]The Connoisseur.

[B] Richard Norton fled to Cavers House, Hawick, in the Border Country of Scotland, and afterwards to Flanders, where he died. — See “Sir Ralph Sadler’s Papers,” Ed. by Sir Walter Scott.

The Goodrickes derived the Ribston Estate (which included the Manor of Hunsingore and the Lordship of Great Cattal) from Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle’s great-great-grandfather. The Goodrickes were akin to the Hawkesworths, who again were akin to the Fawkeses, and likewise to the Wards (see ante). The Ribston branch of the Goodrickes died out early in the nineteenth century — Sir Harry Goodricke being the last baronet. The ancient Ribston, Hunsingore, and Great Cattal demesne is now owned by Major Dent, of Ribston Hall, near Knaresbrough.

From “The Fawkes Family of York.”

This Indenture made the fourtenth daye of October in the yere of the reigne of our Sovereigne Ladye Elizabeth, by the Grace of God Queen of England Fraunce and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. the xxxiijrd, Betwene Guye Fauxe of Scotton in the County of Yorke gentilman250 of the one partye, and Christofer Lomleye of the cittie of Yorke taylor, of the other partye, Witnessethe that the said Guy Fauxe, for divers good cawses and consideracions him thereunto speciallye moveinge, hath demysed graunted and to farme letten, and by theis presentes doth demyse graunt and to farme lett, unto the sayd Christofer Lomleye, one barne and one garth on the backside of the said barn, with the appertenaunces, scytuate lyeinge and beinge in Gilligaite in the suburbes of the said cittie of Yorke, and three acres and half of one acre of arrable lande, with the appertenaunces, in Clyfton in the said countie of Yorke, whereof halfe of one acre called a pitt lande, and one roode of lande lyinge at Newe-Close-gaite, are lyinge and beinge in the common field of Clyfton aforesaid towards Roclyffe, one half acre lyeth in the field called Mylnefeilde in Clyfton afforesaid, one rood lyinge in the flatt or field called Layres, one half acre called Layres in the Fosse-feild, one half acre called Hungrine lande, one half acre beyond the newe wynde mylne, and one half acre at the More-brottes, all whiche are lyinge and beynge in the feildes of Clyfton afforesaid; and also one acre of medowe lyinge and beynge in the ynges or medowe of Clyfton afforesaid, with all and singuler the appertenaunces in Clyfton aforesaid, nowe or laite in the tenure or occupacion of the saide Christofer or his assignes; to have and to holde the said barne, garth, three acres and half of one acre of arrable lande, and the sayd acre of medowe, and all other the premisses, with all and singuler the appertenaunces, in Gilligaite and Clyfton afforesaid, unto the sayd Christofer Lomley his executors and assignes, from the feast of St. Martyne the Bishop, comonlye called Martinmas daye, nexte ensewynge the daite hereof, for and dureinge the terme of twentye and one yeres from251 thence nexte and ymediatlye ensewinge and followinge fullye to be complett fynished and ended, yeldinge and payinge therfore yerelye dureinge the said terme unto the said Guye Fauxe his heires or assignes, fortie and two shillinges of lawfull Ynglish monie at the feastes of St. Martyne the Bishop in winter and Penteycost, or within ten dayes nexte after either of the sayd feastes, yf it be lawfully demaunded, by even and equall porcions. And the said Christofer Lomley, for him his executors and assignes, doth by theis presentes covenaunte and graunte to and with the said Guye Fauxe, that he the said Christofer Lomley his executors and assignes, at his and their proper costes and chardges shall well and sufficyentlye repaire maintayne and uphould the said barne at all tymes dureinge the said terme in all necessarie reparacions, greate tymber onely excepted, whiche the said Guye Fauxe, for him his heires and assignes, doth by theis presentes covenaunt and graunte to and with the said Christofer Lomley his executors and assigns, to delyver upon the ground at all tymes as often as neede shall require dureinge the said terme. And the said Guye Fauxe, for himself his heires executors and assignes, doth by theis presentes covenant and grante to and with the sayd Christofer Lomley, his executors and assignes, that he, the sayd Christofer Lomley, his executors and assignes, shall or lawfully maye at all tyme and tymes, and from tyme to tyme, dureynge the sayd terme of twentye and one yeres, peacablye occupie and quyetlie enjoye the said barne and all other the premisses and every parte and parcell thereof, with all and everie their appurtenaunces, without lett disturbance or interrupcion of any person or persons whatsoever. And that the sayd barne, and all other the premisses, with the appurtenaunces, at the daye of the daite hereof are, and dureynge the sayd252 term of twenty and one yeres shall and may continewe, clere and clerelie dischardged, or well and sufficyently saved harmeles, by the sayd Guye Fauxe his heires and assignes, of and from all former leases, grauntes, charges, incumbraunces, and demaundes whatsoever, the rentes by theis presentes reserved, and the covenauntes in theis presentes expressed on the behalf of the said Cristofer Lomley, to be observed and performed, onely excepted and foreprised. And the said Guye Fauxe and his heires all and singuler the premisses, with the appurtenances, before by theis presentes demysed to the sayd Cristofer Lomley his executors and assignes, dureigne the terme afforesayd, against all people rightfully claimynge shall warrante and defende by theis presentes. In witnes whereof, the partyes abovesaid to theis present Indentures have interchangeablie set to their handes and seales the daye and yere above written.

Sealed and delivered, in the presence of us — DIONIS BAYNEBRIGGE — JOHN JACKSON — CHRISTOPHER HODGSON’S marke ×

This Indenture maide the firste daie of Auguste in the xxxiiijth yere of the reigne of our Soveraigne Ladie Elizabethe, by the grace of God Quewne of England Fraunce and Ireland, Defendour of the Faithe, &c. Betwene Guye Fawkes of the cittie of Yorke gentilman, of the one partye, and Anne Skipseye of Cliftone in the countie of Yorke, spinster, of the other partye Witnessithe that the said Guy Fawkes, for and in consideration of the sum of xxixli xiijs iiijd of good and lawfull English moneye to him, the said Guye Fawkes, well and trewlie253 contentid and paid by the said Anne Skipseye, at and before the ensealinge of these presentes, whereof and wherewith the said Guye knowlegith him self to be fulie satisfied contentid and paid, and the said Anne Skipseye, hir heires executors administratores and assigneis, thereof to be fullie acquited and dischargdgid for ever by theis presentes, hath geven grauntid alliened bargained and sollde, and by these presentes dothe clerelie and absolutlye geve graunt allien bargaine and sell unto the said Anne Skipseye, hir heires and assigneis, that his messuage tenement or farme-hollde, with the appurtenaunces, and a garthe and a gardine belonginge to the same, lyeinge and beinge in Cliftone in the countie of York, and towe acres and an half of arrable lande liinge in severall feilldes in Clifton aforesaid, half an acre of medowe grounde liinge in a closse callid Huntingtone buttes, within the townshipp and territories of Cliftone aforesaid, one acre of medowe lyinge in Lufton Car, thre inges endes, and towe croftes or lees of medowe in a crofte adjoyninge on the garth endes in Cliftone aforesaid, of the easte parte of the said messuage; all which premissis are nowe in the tenure and occupation of the said Anne Skipsie; and also one acre of arable land and medowe liinge in the towne-end felld of Clifton aforesaid, nowe or late in the occupation of Richard Dickinsone; and all other his landes and tenementes in Clifton aforesaid, with all comons of pasture, more grownde, turffe graftes, and all and singuler the appurtenaunces to the same belonging or apperteyninge, in whose tenures or occupations soever they nowe be, excepte thre acres and an half of arable land with the appurtenaunces in Cliftone aforesaid, whereof half an acre callid a pitt land, and a roode of land liinge at Newe Close Gate, and being in the comon felld of254 Clifton aforesaid towardes Roclif, one half acre lyenge in the felld callid Milne felld, one rood lying in the flatt callid the Laires, and half acre callid Laires in Fosse filde, one acre callid a hungrie land, one half acre beyonde the newe windemill, one acre of land at the More Brottes; all which are lyinge and beinge in the felldes of Cliftone aforesaid; and also one acre of medow lyinge and beinge in the medowe or inges of Clifton, with theire appurtenaunces to the same perteyninge or belonginge, by the said Guye Fawkes heretofore demissid grauntid and to ferme letten for diverse yeres yett to come and unexpirid to one Cristofer Lumleye of the cittie of Yorke tailor, as shall appeare by one Indenture maid thereof betwene the said Guye Fawkes of the one partie, and the said Cristofer Lumleye of the other partie, bearinge date the xiiijth daie of October in the xxxiijrd yere of the said our Soveraigne Ladie the Quenes Majestie reigne more at lardge maie appeare; together with all the deedes evidences writinges, and escriptes, towchinge and concerninge the premissis with the appertenaunces, before by these presentes bargaind and solde by the said Guye Fawkes to the said Anne Skipsie, which the said Guye nowe hathe in custodie, or which any othere persone or persones have in their custodies to his use or by his deliverie, which the said Guye Fawkes maie lawfullie come by withowte suite in lawe: To have and to holld the said messuage cotage or farme-holld, and all and singuler the premissis, with the appurtenaunces, by these presentes before bargaind and solld (except before exceptid), with all and singuler the appurtenaunces to the same perteyninge and belonginge, in Cliftone, and the felldes of Cliftone aforesaid, together with all the said deedes, evidences, writinges, and escriptes, towchinge and concerninge the255 same, as is said, to the said Anne Skipseye her heires and assigneis, to the sole and proper use and behowfe of the said Anne Skipseye hir heires and assigneis for ever. And the said Guye Fawkes, for him his heires executores and administratores, doeth covenant and graunt by these presentes to and with the said Anne Skipseye, hir heires executores administratores and assigneis, that he the said Guye Fawkes, the daie of the makinge hereof, ys the verie and trewe owner of the said messuage tenement and farme-hold, with all and singuler the landes, medowes, pastures, comon of pasture, turbaries, with the same pertenyinge or belonginge in Cliftone, and within the felldes and territories of Clifton aforesaid, with other the appurtenaunces whatsoever to the same perteyninge or belonginge before bargaind and sold, and that he is lawfullie seassid thereof in his demesne as of fee in fee simple, and hath full power and lawfull authoritie to bargaine and sell the same unto the said Anne Skipeseye hir heires and assignes for ever. And also that the said messuage tenement or farme-holld, and other the premissis, with the appurtenances, before bargaind and sold, the daie of the makinge hereoff, and at all tymes hereafter, and from tyme to tyme, is and shall stand clerely acquittid and dischardgid, or otherwise savid harmeles, by the said Guye Fawkes, his heires, executores or assignes, of and from all former bargaines, sailles, joyntores, doweres, thirde parties, feoffamentes, statutes-marchant and of the staple, recognizances, writinges of eligit, condempnations, judgmentes, executions, fines, forfaiturs, intrusions for allienations, rentes-chardges, rentes-seke, and all othere chardges and incumberances whatsoever theye be, the rentes and services hereafter to be dewe to the cheife lord of the fee thereof onely exceptid. And also256 the said Guye Fawkes, for him his heires executores and assigneis, dothe further covenant and graunt to and with the said Anne Skipseye hir heires and assigneis, that Edeth the late wife of Edward Fawkes deceassid, mothere to the said Guye Fawkes, and now wife to Dionese Baynebridge gentillman, nor any other persone or persones whatsoever, which have, shall have, or shall clame any lawfull right or title in or to the premissis or any parte thereof, shall at any tyme hereafter moleste, interrupt, or trowble, the said Anne Skipseye hir heires or assigneis, of for and concerninge the premissis or any parte thereof, but that the said Anne Skipseye hir heires and assigneis shall and maie at all tyme peacablie and quietlie possess and enjoye the same and everie parte thereof, and that all and everie persone or persones whatsoever, which doe stand seazid of the premissis or any parte thereof, shall at all tymes, and from tyme to tyme, within five yeres next ensuinge the date hereof, upon the reasonable requeste and desire of the said Anne Skipseye hir heires administratores or assigneis, make, knowledge, sealle, and deliver, unto the said Anne Skipseye hir heires executores and assigneis, all such further assurance and assurances whatsoever as shall be devisid or advisid by the learnid councell in the lawes of this realme, beinge of the councell of the said Anne Skipseye, whether the same shalbe by dede or dedes inrollid, with warrantie against all men, inrollment of these present Indentures, fine with like warrantie, recoverie with vocher or vochers single or doble, release with warrantie against all men, or otherwise or by soo manye of them as shall be advisid or requirid by the said learnid councell of the said Anne, the cost and chardges whereof in lawe shalbe at thonelie cost and chardges of the said Anne Skipseye hir heires executores257 or assigneis. In witness whereof, the parties abovesaid unto these present Indentures interchangable have sett there handes and seall the daie and yere abovesaid.



Omnibus Christi fidelibus ad quos hoc presens scriptum pervenerit Dionisius Baynbrige de Scotton in comitatu Ebor’ generosus et Edetha uxor ejus salutem in Domino sempiternam. Noveritis nos prefatum Dionisium Baynbrige et Edetham remississe, relaxasse ac omnino de et pro nobis et heredibus nostris per presentes inperpetuum quietum clamasse Anne Skipseye de Cliftone in dicto comitatu Ebor’ spynster in sua plena pacificaque possessione et seisina die confectionis presentium existenti heredibus et assignatis suis, totum jus, statum, titulum, clameum, usum, interesse et demaunda nostra quecunque que vel quas unquam habuimus, habemus, seu quovismodo infuturum habere poterimus seu deberimus de et in uno cotagio sive tenemento cum una clausura vocata A Grisgarthe et duobus croftis vel selionibus cum suis pertinentiis in Cliftone predicto in comitatu Ebor’ predicto ac de et in una roda terræ arrabilis jacentis in Favild-nooke in campis de Cliftone, inter terram Johannis Bilbowe ex parte occidente et terram Leonarid Weddell ex parte oriente, dimidia acra terræ jacente in les Sokers inter terram nuper Roberti Wright ex parte australi et terram Thome Hill ex parte boriali, una roda terræ jacente in Longwandilles inter terram Thome Hill ex parte boriali258 et terram nuper Roberti Wright ex parte australi et Thome Hill ex parte boriali, dimidia acra terræ jacente inter regias vias ibidem inter terram nuper Roberti Wright ex parte australi et Thome Hill ex parte boriali, dimidia acra terræ jacente in lez shorte layeres inter terram Johannis Bilbowe ex parte boriali et terram nuper Rogeri Browne ex parte australi, dimidia acra jacente in Huntington buttes inter terram Johannis Bilbowe ex parte occidente et terram Roberti Walker ex parte orientali, una acra terræ jacente in Lupstone Carre in le Northfelld sive campo juxta Roclif inter terram nuper Roberti Wright ex parte australi et le moore dike ex parte boriali, et tribus dimidiis acris prati jacentibus in fine prati vocati ynge endes quarum una dimidia acra jacet inter pratum Edwardi Turner ex parte boriali et Thome Burtone ex parte australi, alia dimidia acra inde jacet ex parte australi Leonardi Weddell, et tertia dimidia acra inde jacet inter Thomam Hill ex parte boriali et Henricum Granger ex parte australi, cum omnibus et singulis suis pertinentiis in Cliftone et in campis de Cliftone predicto modo in tenura sive occupatione prefate Anne Skipseye, ac etiam de et in una acra terræ et prati jacente in le Towne-end felld de Cliftone predicto modo vel nuper in occupatione Ricardi Dickensone, necnon de et in omnibus aliis terris et tenementis in Clifton predicto que nuper fuerunt Guidonis Fawkes generosi (tribus acris et dimidia acra terræ cum pertinentiis in campis de Cliftone predicto et una acra prati in prato vocato le ynges de Cliftone modo in tenura Cristoferi Lumleye, tantum modo exceptis per presentes), ita viz. quod nec nos prefati Dionisius Bainbrige et Edetha aut nostrum uterlibet nec heredes nostri nec aliquis alius sive aliqui alii pro nobis seu nominibus nostris aut nomine nostrum alterius aliquod jus, statum, titulum, clameum, usum,259 interesse vel demandum de et in predicto cotagio sive tenemento cum clausura predicta, et de predictis duobus croftis vel selionibus, aut de et in predictis premissis cum pertinentiis in Clifton et campis de Cliftone predicto ut prefertur, seu de et in aliqua inde parte sive parcellis (exceptis prius exceptis) decetero exigere, petere, clamare vel vendicare, poterimus nec debemus in futuro, sed ut ab omni actione, jure, titulis, clameo, usu, interesse, vel demando aliquid inde habendi sive petendi sumus penitus exclusi et quilibet nostrum sit inde penitus exclusus in perpetuum per presentes. Et nos vero prefati Dionisius Baynbrige et Edetha et haredes nostri predicta omnia premissa cum suis pertinentiis universis ut prefertur (exceptis prius exceptis) prefate Anne Skipseye heredibus et assignatis suis in forma predicta contra nos et heredes nostros warrantizabimus et imperpetuum defendemus per presentes. In cujus rei testimonium nos prefati Dionisius Baynbrige et Edetha huic presenti scripto nostro sigilla nostra apposuimus. Datum xximo die mensis Octobris, anno regni domine Elizabethe Dei gratia Anglie, Frauncie, et Hibernie Regine, fidei defensoris &c. tricesimo quarto.

DIONIS BAYNEBRIGGE (L.S.) — E.B. (L.S.) Seallid and delyverid in the presence of — GUYE FAWKES — WILLIAM GRANGE — JAMES RYDING.260

Supplementum II.

Hatfield MSS. — Part VI.
[Dr. Bilson] Bishop of Worcester to Sir Robert Cecil.

1596, July 17. I have viewed the state of Worcester diocese, and find it, as may somewhat appear by the particulars here enclosed, for the quantity, as dangerous as any place that I know. In that small circuit there are nine score[A] recusants of note, besides retainers, wanderers, and secret lurkers, dispersed in forty several parishes, and six score and ten households, whereof about forty are families of gentlemen, that themselves or their wives refrain the church, and many of them not only of good wealth, but of great alliance, as the Windsors, Talbots, Throgmortens, Abingtons, and others, and in either respect, if they may have their forth, able to prevail much with the simpler sort.

[A] This letter will be read with interest, as affording independent testimony to the strength of Popery in the County of Worcester during the period of Father Oldcorne’s labours.

Besides, Warwick[B] and the parts thereabout are freighted with a number of men precisely conceited against her Majesty’s government ecclesiastical, and they trouble the people as much with their curiosity as the other with their obstinacy.

[B] This is interesting as showing that in the native county of Shakespeare, Puritanism was gaining strength in 1596, probably through the influence of the Earl of Leicester, Sir Thomas Lucy (of Charlcote), and Sir Fulke Grevyll, as well as others.

How weak ordinary authority is to do any good on261 either sort long experience hath taught me, excommunication being the only bridle the law yieldeth to a bishop, and either side utterly despising that course of correction, as men that gladly, and of their own accord, refuse the communion of the church, both in sacraments and prayers.

In respect therefore of the number and danger of those divers humours both denying obedience to her Majesty’s proceedings, if it please her Highness to trust me and others in that shire with the commission ecclesiastical,[A] as in other places of like importance is used, I will do my endeavour to serve God and her Majesty in that diocese to the uttermost of my power.

[A] Under the provisions of the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity.

First, by viewing their qualities, retinues, abilities, and dispositions; next, by drawing them to private and often conference, lest ignorance make them perversely devout; thirdly, by restraining them from receiving, succouring, or maintaining any wanderers or servitors that feed their humours; and, lastly, by certifying what effects or defects I find to be the cause of so many revolting.

Her Majesty hath trusted me fifteen years since to be of the quorum on the commission ecclesiastical in Hampshire, and therefore age and experience growing, as also my care and charge increasing, I hope I shall not need to produce any further motives to induce her Majesty’s favour therein, but the profession of my duty and promise of my best service with all diligence and discretion, which I hope shall turn to her content and good of her people.

With which my most humble petition, if it please you to acquaint her Majesty; I will render you all due262 thanks, and make what speed I may towards the place where I long to be and wish to labour to the pleasure of Almighty God and good liking of her Majesty.

London 17 July 1596.


Encloses: —

The names and qualities of the wealthier sort of Recusants in Worcester diocese: —

The Lady Windsor, with her retinue.
Mr Talbot.
Thomas Abington Esq. and Dorothy, his sister.
Thomas Throgmorton, Esq.
John Wheeler gent. and Elizabeth his wife.
Thomas Bluntt gent. and Bridgett, his wife.
John Smyth gent. Thomas Greene, gent.
Hugh Ligon gent., and Barbara, his wife.
Michael Folliatt, gent., and Margaret, his wife.
William Coles gent., and Marie, his wife.
Mr Bluntt, gent. of Hallow.
Hugh Day gent. and Margaret, his wife.
Lygon Barton, gent.
John Taylor, gent., and Ann, his wife.
John Midlemore, gent., Hugh Throgmorton gent.
Humphrey Packington, gent.
John Woolmer gent. of Inkbarrow.
Rowse Woolmer, gent.
John Woolmer gent. of Kingston.
Mr Busshop gent. of Oldbarrow.
[Total] — 23.

The names of the gentlewomen that refuse the church, though their husbands do not.

Margaret, wife of Roger Pen gent.
Jane wife of John Midlemore.263
Alice wife of John Hornyhold gent.
Margaret wife of William Rigby gent.
Mary wife of Thomas Sheldon gent.
Dorothy wife of Thomas Rauckford gent.
Ann wife of William Fox gent.
Joan, wife of Thomas Barber gent.
Prudence wife of Thomas Oldnall gent.
Frances wife of John Jeffreys gent.
Elizabeth wife of Thomas Randall gent.
Mary wife of William Woolmer gent.
Elizabeth Ferreys widow.
Jane Sheldon widow.
Katherine Sparks of Hinlipp.
Dorothy Woolmer.
Jane Mary Eleanor daughters of Anthony Woolmer gent.

Of the meaner sort: —

Fourscore and ten several households where the man or wife or both are recusants, besides children and servants.


Supplementum III.

Thomas Ward.

It is probable that diligent search among the Cecil and Walsingham papers will shed more light on Thomas Ward (or Warde) than I have been able hitherto to gain.

The probabilities are, as has been already indicated, that Thomas Ward was a younger son of Marmaduke Ward, of Newby, and Susannay, his wife. That Marmaduke Ward’s elder son was Marmaduke Ward (who married Ursula Wright, and afterwards, in all likelihood, Elizabeth Sympson), the father of that extraordinary woman, Mary Ward.

I opine that Thomas Ward attached himself to the Court party of Queen Elizabeth, through the Council of the North, established by Henry VIII. after the defeat of the first Pilgrimage of Grace (1536).

Thomas Ward was just the sort of man (me judice) that Queen Elizabeth would affect. Moreover, I find that a Captain John Ward was on the side of the Crown on the occasion of the second Pilgrimage of Grace, commonly called the Rising of the North, or the Earls’ Rebellion (1569).

Therefore, through the influence of a man like Sir Ralph Sadler, who was a distinguished Privy Councillor of the Queen in the northern parts, a Yorkshire gentleman, such as a Ward, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, would have no difficulty in obtaining an entrée at Elizabeth’s Court, who, as is well known, was, from a certain English conservative instinct probably, favourably265 inclined to those Catholics whose leaning was towards the easy side of things.[A]

[A] See “Sir Ralph Sadler’s Papers,” Ed. by Sir Walter Scott. It is observable that although the Nortons and the Markenfields were for the Earls, yet members of the following Yorkshire Catholic Families (many of them kinsmen of the Wards) were for the Queen, who was not then excommunicated: — The Eures, the Mallories, the Inglebies, the Constables, the Tempests, the Fairfaxes, the Cholmeleys, the Ellerkers, and the Wilstroppes.

For these Families and their alliances see the “Visitations of Yorkshire,” by Glover, Ed. by Foster; and by Flower, Ed. by Norcliffe. Also “Dugdale” (Surtees).

Now, if Thomas Ward became a member of Elizabeth’s diplomatic service under Sir Francis Walsingham, the inevitable question arises: Can Thomas Ward (or Warde) have always maintained a conscience void of offence, or did he sometimes stoop to compliances which were unworthy of his principles and name?

At present I cannot say, yet I am constrained to allow that the following two pieces of evidence afford curious reading and suggest many possibilities: —

Hatfield MSS. — Part VI., p. 96.

Thomas Morgan to Mary Queen of Scots.

1585, Mar. 30./Ap. 9. Informs her of his apprehension at the request of the Earl of Derby. Mr. Ward’s negotiation to procure his being delivered up into England. Requires her support. Lord Paget’s money taken in his (Morgan’s) lodging. Efforts of Charles Paget and Thomas Throgmorton in his behalf.

[It is to be recollected that this said Thomas Morgan was a Catholic of a sort, who had been in the service of Archbishop Young, of York. Hence, a Ward, of Ripon and York, was the very man the subtle Walsingham would266 employ to negotiate a delicate matter requiring an accurate knowledge of Morgan’s intellectual and moral characteristics; for Ward most likely had known Morgan at York.]

Thirteen years later we find the name “Ward” again in the “Hatfield MSS.

Hatfield MSS. — Part VIII., p. 295.

1598 Aug. 4. Steven Rodwey to secretary Cecil for permission to go to Italy to go over to accompany Mr Paget into Italy.

“The disgrace with your Honour I suspect to proceed, either of Lord Cobham’s disfavour at another man’s suit, which I have not deserved; or by the suggestion of Ward Mr Paget’s, solicitor, because I refused to carry his[A] letters that was so lately “jested” with high treason, and might father all the faults I am charged with.”

[A] Whose letters? Paget’s or Ward’s?

[Who or what Mr. Steven Rodwey was, one can only surmise. Possibly he was a spy, who had been doing more business on his own account than on account of his master. Hence, his disgrace with “his Honour.”

Charles Paget, a younger brother of Lord Paget, and his friend, Thomas Morgan, figure in all histories of Mary Queen of Scots; also in “Cardinal Allen’s Memorials,” Ed. by the late Dr. Knox (Nutt), there are some interesting particulars about these two men, Charles Paget and Thomas Morgan. They were hostile to Father Parsons and Parsons’ Spanish faction among the English papists.]


But here, for the present, we must take our leave of Thomas Ward, excepting to say that it is possible that he may be the same as the Thomas Ward (or Warde) who is mentioned several times in the “Household Books of Lord William Howard,” as his agent for the Howard-Dacre, Yorkshire, Durham, and Westmoreland estates.[A] — See Note to p. 231 ante.

[A] The Rev. A. S. Brooke, M.A., the Rector of Slingsby, informs me that his parish registers begin only in 1687. The late Captain Ward, R.N., of Slingsby Hall, who lies in Slingsby Churchyard, perhaps may have had some family tradition bearing on the point. It is certainly remarkable that there should have been Wards, Rectors of Slingsby, from the time of James I., and long afterwards. It suggests that Thomas Ward, the agent of Lord William Howard, may have either married again after 1590, and had a family; or else that some of the Wards, of Durham, or others that had conformed to the Established Church received this ecclesiastical preferment at the instance of Thomas Ward. Valentine Kitchingman, Esquire, the grandson of Captain Ward, and owner of Slingsby Hall, has, however, no such tradition. (I am told through the Rector of Slingsby, September, 1901.)

The Right Honourable Charles James Howard ninth Earl of Carlisle, in the course of two most gracious replies to letters of mine, informs me that, although he has caused search to be made at Naworth and Castle Howard, he has not been able to find any particulars concerning Thomas Ward (or Warde) beyond what are mentioned in the “Household Books of Lord William Howard” (Surtees Soc.); and that probably, owing to the fire at Hinderskelfe Castle, after the time of Thomas Ward, letters or papers containing possible reference to him may have been destroyed.

Lastly; I beg to bring before my readers the following document from the Record Office, which makes mention of the name Ward; but whether or not that of Thomas Ward, of Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon, I cannot say:268 —

State Papers Domestic — Eliz., Vol. ccxxxviii., 126 I.
A. D. 1591.
Obiections against one Fletcher vicar of Clarkenwell for the permission of these maters followinge

Fyrst at conveniente tymes of receivinge the holye communion at which time he is to give warninge to all his parishioners for his privat comoditye he excepteth sume particuler persones whose names are under written and of them taketh money.

Mr Wardes[A] Two daughters.

Mr Gerrat his wiffe a watinge mayde called Mris Marye and a man called Anthenie recevinge of him for theire absence divers somes of money and in my knowledge at Easter was Twoo yeares the some of xxs in goulde.

Mr Saunders and his Two Sonnes certen unknowne money.

Besides Mris Gerrat being delivered of a doughter aboute Twoe yeares since he did forbeare to cristen yt beinge bribed with a peece of money ye Chillde being Cristned in the house, by a priest and she churched by th’ afforsaide preist being knowne to this Fletcher.

[A] What Mr. Warde can this have been? Not Thomas Ward (or Warde), of Mulwith, I think. For the presumption is that he had no children, for none are registered at Ripon Minster; and Thomas Ward was more likely to have his children christened by a Protestant minister than was his brother, Marmaduke; for the former evidently associated with Protestants much more than the latter. Moreover, in 1591 any daughters that Thomas Warde had can have been only about nine or ten years of age. His wife died the previous year, 1590. (Still it may have been.)

Norris and Watson persevantes have been divers times latly in ye closse 269and Norris hath receved in ye way of borrowinge of sume Vs of others more. But Watson by vertue of a comission from my L. of Cant. hath latly serched Gerates house and Mr Wardes where he found nothinge at all they being partly privie before of his cominge. But in Mr Wardes house theire did latly remayne hidden under ye higest place of ye stares within a nayled boarde divers bookes [not specified] pictures and other folishe serimonyes.

Orders amungst ye papistes for ye releyse aswell of prisoners as of ye porer sorte at libertye.

Yt is an order amungst ye papistes for ye releyse of prisoners aswell Jesuytes as Laymen that there be a generall colleccion which beginneth at ye L. Mountegue and so by degree to ye meaner sorte for ye maytenance of three prisones in London, viz. the Klinke, the Marshallseas and Newgate which cesseth not tyll ye some of a hundred and ffyftye poundes be gathered quarterly which somme is sente by some trustye messinger to London where yt is comitted to dyvers mens handes apoynted by the cheyfe and from them to ye foresayde prysones.

Yt is further ordered for ye porer sorte of them beinge at libertie to have theire dyett at several houses kepinge certen dayes for theyre repayre to evereye house with certen money allowed to everye one at ye wekes end And yf any recusante dye a piece of money is bequeathed to ye porest sorte to saye dirge for theire sowles for a xii moneth to be payde weklye both to men and women tyll this money be spente And thus they lyve untyll ye lyke comoditye fall agayne.

per me Robartum Weston.
(Endorsed) 20 April. Robert Weston.


[On p. 76 of Text, in Note 1 at foot of page, it is stated that the first Lord Mounteagle’s mother was Lady Eleanor Neville, sister to Richard Neville, the King-maker. But I find that, under “Stanley,” in Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire,” Ed. by Norcliffe (Harleian Soc.), the great grandfather of Edward Stanley first Lord Mounteagle, namely, Thomas Lord Stanley, is said to have married Eleanor, daughter to Richard Nevell Earl of Salisbury. Their son is given as George Lord Stanley; his son as Thomas Stanley first Earl of Derby; and his son as Edward Stanley first Lord Mounteagle, who married Elizabeth Lady Grey, daughter of Sir Thomas Vaughan, and whose son was Thomas second Lord Mounteagle.

But the “National Dictionary of Biography” (under “Stanley Earl of Derby”) says that Eleanor Countess of Derby (née Neville) was the daughter of Warwick, the King-maker. So the “learned” must be left to determine the truth upon the point.

Again; on p. 160 of Text, in Note at foot of page, I have stated that the young Lord Vaux of Harrowden was a descendant of Sir Thomas More.

But I find that that strong-minded lady his mother, Elizabeth Dowager Lady Vaux of Harrowden, was only distantly connected with Sir Thomas More. For she was descended from Christopher Roper, a younger brother of William Roper, who married Margaret More.

Hence, Christopher Roper is the ancestor of the Lords Teynham, of Kent, who, I believe, conformed to the Established Church after “1715,” as did many old English papist families.]


Supplementum IV.

An Account of a Visit to Givendale, Newby, and Mulwith, anciently in the Chapelry of Skelton, in the Parish of Ripon, in the West Riding of the County of York.

On Sunday, the 22nd day of April, 1901, it fell out that the writer found himself sojourning in the good City of Ripon; a city which a few years ago, calling its friends and neighbours together, kept, amid high festival, the one thousandth anniversary of its own foundation: at Ripon, around the time-honoured towers of whose hallowed Minster abidingly cling memories, strong and gracious, of canonized Saints and beloved Apostles.[A]

[A] St. Wilfrid, Archbishop of York and Apostle of Sussex (634-709) and his friend St. Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht and Apostle of Holland.

“Hail, smiling morn!” I exclaimed, on seeing at an early hour the bright sunshine stream through my chamber windows. On this day of rest and gladness will I hie me to the sites of the ancient roof-trees of those whose graves, parted by long distances of space and time, are known to-day, for the most part, no longer to Man, but to Nature merely.

Not to you and to me, gentle reader, are those graves to-day known (save with one exception), but to the verdant grass, the crimson-tipped daisy, the golden celandine, who are pre-eminently faithful watchers by the272 dead. For steadfastly will they remain watching until the daybreak of an endless day.[A]

[A] This exception is the grave of Mary Ward, the daughter, it will be remembered, of Marmaduke Ward and Ursula Wright, and, consequently, the niece of Christopher Wright and, I maintain, of Thomas Ward, the guide, philosopher, and friend of Lord Mounteagle. Mary Ward died at the old Manor House, Heworth, on the 20th January, 1645-46, and is buried at Osbaldwick, near York, where a stone, bearing a simple but touching inscription, is still to be seen by an increasing number of her admirers, Protestant and Catholic, the former of whom have ever styled her “that good lady, Mary Ward.” The inscription on the gravestone bears out this view of this great-hearted, truly human, English gentlewoman. It runs thus: “To love the poore, persever in the same and live, dy, and rise with them was all the ayme of Mary Ward, who, having lived 60 years and 8 days, dyed the 20 of Jan., 1645.” That gravestone might also fittingly bear a second inscription, consisting of those triumphant words of victory over death: “Credo; Spero; Amo” (“I believe; I hope; I love”). The Rev. F. Umpleby, the Vicar of Osbaldwick, and his churchwardens guard the gravestone of Mary Ward with the most commendable care.

Having duly paid my orisons to heaven in the ancient manner, and having broken my fast with such fare as my place of sojourning bestowed, I set out upon my quest.

I set forth alone, yet not alone; for mine was the companionship of lively historical ideas. But as soon as I had journeyed about one mile to the south-east of Ripon, I perforce came to a halt. For my footsteps, on a sudden, had been arrested by the ear being struck with that most musical of natural sounds — the sound of living, gurgling, murmuring waters.

I hearkened again, being infinitely pleasured by such natural music. And, mending my pace somewhat, soon found myself at Bridge Hewick, looking down from the parapet of the old grey bridge upon the rushing, boulder-broken, glancing waters of the Ure, which, after gladdening fruitful Wensleydale, flows through Ripon; and after skirting Givendale and Newby, and laving273 “the green fields of England,” in front of Mulwith, hurries on towards Boroughbridge; thence to Myton, where, by the junction of the Ure and Swale, the Ouse[A] is formed, that majestic flood, which, with broad swelling tide, flows past the towers of York, the far-famed Imperial City, whose only peer in the western world is Rome.

[A] The winding Nidd, known to St. Wilfrid and dear to St. Robert, pours itself into the Ouse at Nun Monkton, a few miles above York, and not far from historic Marston Moor.

I say I set out upon my quest for Givendale, Newby, and Mulwith alone, yet not alone; because I had the companionship of lively historical ideas.

Thus much is true. And more: for romantic fancy conjured up visions before my mental gaze during that sunny Rest-Day morning,

“When all the secret of the spring
Moved in the chambers of the blood,”[B]

[B] Tennyson’s “In Memoriam.”

as I traversed those fair budding country-lanes, “made vocal by the song” of a thousand warbling birds, and paradisaical

“With violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bright Phœbus in his strength.”[C]

[C] Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale.” — Shakespeare may have possibly known, or at least heard of, Father John Gerard, S.J., the life-long friend of Mary Ward, and the first “to English” Lorenzo Scupoli’s “Spiritual Combat.” Any educated Buddhist or Mohammedan British subject who wishes to understand the genius of Christianity should carefully study the “Spiritual Combat.” It will repay his pains.

Francis Arden, who was in the Tower of London, escaped from that prison along with Gerard during the night of 8th October, 1597. Francis Arden was probably a relative of Edward Arden, who was executed as a traitor on the 23rd December, 1583, in connection with the mysterious Somerville-Arden-Hall conspiracy against the life of Queen Elizabeth. The Shakespeares were justly proud of their connection with the Ardens, a fact which is evidenced by the well-known application of John Shakespeare (the poet’s father) to the College of Heralds for the grant of a coat-of-arms that impaled and quartered the arms of the Ardens, of Wilmcote, his wife’s family. I cannot doubt that the Ardens, of Wilmcote, Warwickshire, were of the same clan as the Ardens, of Park Hall, Warwickshire, to which family Edward Arden belonged, who was executed in 1583. To disallow the relationship of the Ardens, of Wilmcote, with the Ardens, of Park Hall (both in Warwickshire), simply because the former were less liberally endowed with worldly goods in the reign of Elizabeth than the latter, proves to demonstration that such disallowers, merely on such ground, have something yet to learn respecting the England of “Good Queen Bess” — and of every other England too.


Yea, before my mind’s eye I seemed to behold, ever and anon, riding towards and passing me on horseback, to and fro, from east to west, and from west to east, the shadowy yet tall stately forms of Elizabethan gentlemen, in feathered hat, girded sword, and Ripon spurs; aye, and of Elizabethan gentlewomen likewise, in hooded cloak, white ruff, and pleated gown.

Sometimes the groups, methought, were accompanied by one showing a graver mien and more reverend aspect than the gentlefolk among whom he rode, although apparelled and equipped externally as they. The breviary, crucifix, and large jet rosary-beads which, in my phantasy, lay concealed within the last-named’s breast, would betoken that he was a priest of the ancient faith of the English people, although at that period one of such a vocation was, by law, counted a traitor to his sovereign.

But my day-dreams vanished: from a vivid realization of a near approach to Givendale, which was announced by a new guide-post visible to the eye of flesh. A few paces further of walking, under the boughs of noble interlacing trees, brought me by the gate leading to the dwelling-house to-day known as Givendale — that275 historic name. The old hall occupied a site most probably a little to the north of the present Givendale, and was surrounded by a moat. Leland, writing in the reign of Henry VIII., describes it as “a fair manor place of stone.” Lovely views does Givendale command of the valley of the Ure,[A] looking westward towards the sister valleys of the Nidd and Wharfe and Aire.

[A] Givendale, in the time of Sir Simon Ward, who lived in the reign of Edward II., was evidently the Wards’ principal seat near Ripon; for Sir Simon Ward is described as of “Givendale and Esholt.” Esholt is in the Parish of Otley. The arms of the Wards were azure, a cross patonce, or. Sir Simon Ward’s daughter, Beatrice, was married to Walter de Hawkesworth, and, through her, the Hawkesworth estate, in the Parish of Otley, between Wharfedale and Airedale, came into the ancient family of Hawkesworth (see Text ante). To-day, the well-known Fawkes family, of Farnley (the friends of the artist, Turner, and of his great interpreter, Ruskin), own Hawkesworth Hall, a fine, ivy-clad, antique mansion looking towards Airedale. Campion was probably harboured here in the spring of 1581, and possibly also by the Hawkesworths, of Mitton, near Clitheroe.

A kind wayfarer, whom I chanced to meet near Givendale, pointed out to me the way to Skelton, Newby, and Mulwith.

I had to retrace from Givendale my steps for Skelton; but I soon found from a second friendly guide-post that my good friend of a few moments before had directed my eager steps aright.

The faithful following towards the south-east of the high road, running parallel with the woods of Newby on my right, brought me in due course to Skelton, a large limestone village, characteristic of that part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

I walked down the town street of Skelton and found that the Park-gates of Newby entered from the village.

I passed, on my left, the little chapel of Skelton, standing in its grave-yard, which, rebuilt in 1812, had taken the place of the chapel where once or twice a276 year, “after long imprisonment,” it is probable that Marmaduke Ward — though not Elizabeth, his wife, nor Mary, nor any of his other children — “against his conscience” went to hear read the Book of Common Prayer, in order to avoid the terrible penalty of having “to pay the statute,” that is, to pay £20 per lunar month by way of fine for “popish recusancy.”[A]

[A] This would be about £160 in our money. Thirteen of these payments in one year would amount to about £2,080. Father Richard Holtby, S.J., was a friend of the Wards, and the priest who decided Mary Ward’s “vocation” in Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn, London, after Marmaduke Ward had been released from his brief captivity in Warwickshire. (See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 89.) Holtby speaks of Mary as “my daughter Warde.” Now, Father Holtby, of Fryton, near Hovingham, has recorded that “after long imprisonment Mr. Blenkinsopp [of Helbeck, Westmoreland, no doubt], Mr. Warde, Mr. Trollope [of Thornley, in the County of Durham, no doubt], and Mrs. Cholmondeley [probably of Brandsby, near Easingwold], and more” were “overthrown,” which clearly means became (temporarily at least) “Schismatic Catholics,” by consenting to attend “the Protestant church.” (See Morris’s “Troubles,” third series, p. 76.) This would be in the years 1593-94-95, or previously. Peacock’s “List” for 1604, under “Ripon,” gives “Elizabeth wief of Marmaduke Ward,” but ominously no Marmaduke Ward. Therefore, like his relative Sir William Wigmore, Marmaduke Ward, it is almost certain, for a time frequented his parish church (contrary to what he deemed “the highest and best”) perhaps once or twice a year. Poor fellow! he was, however, very strict in not allowing his children to do the like. (See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., pp. 30, 31.)

The Newby Hall of to-day, the seat of R. C. De Grey Vyner, Esquire, is a grand structure, having been designed by Sir Christopher Wren about the year 1705. In the Park is the beautiful Memorial Church, built by the late Lady Mary Vyner, in memory of her son, Frederick George Vyner, who was slain by Greek brigands in the year 1870.[B]

[B] The late Dr. Stanley delivered, in Westminster Abbey, one of his beautiful and pathetic “Laments,” after the sorrowful tidings reached England that this fine young Englishman, by a deed of violence, had passed into the world of the “Unseen Perfectness.”


One mile from Newby is Mulwith.[A] It is reached by what evidently has been an avenue in days of yore, connecting the two manor-houses.

[A] R. C. De Grey Vyner, Esquire (brother-in-law to the Most Honourable the Marquis of Ripon, K.G., of Studley Royal, Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire), to-day owns Givendale, Newby, and Mulwith. They are within about five miles of Ripon, and can be also reached from Boroughbridge.

The old hall of Mulwith was most probably a castellated mansion, quadrangular in shape, with a Gothic chapel, gateway, drawbridge, and moat, pretty much like Markenfield Hall, near Ripon, at the present day. There was a fire at Mulwith in the year 1593, we know from the “Life of Mary Ward.” And it may be, that the hall was then razed to the ground and never afterwards rebuilt.[B]

[B] Mary Ward was born at Mulwith, in 1585 (see ante, p. 59). Among her devoted scholars, who crossed the seas either with her or to her, were Susanna Rookwood, Helena Catesby, and Elizabeth Keyes, each respectively related, closely related, to the conspirators bearing those names. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vols. i. and ii.

To-day Mulwith is a pleasant farmstead, built of brick with slated roof. It is a two-storied, six-windowed dwelling, with homestead, gardens, and orchards all adjoining.[C]

[C] My friend Mr. Renfric Oates, of Maidenhead, Berks., kindly made me, when in Harrogate (in May, 1901), a sketch of Mulwith, which I value highly. Since then a relative of his has bestowed upon me a portrait of Mary Ward herself. So I am fortunate indeed. In the “Life of Mary Ward,” by M. Mary Salome (Burns & Oates), the lady who so generously gifted me with a picture I can scarcely prize enough, there is a copy from the first of that remarkable series of paintings known as the Painted Life of Mary Ward, which represents Mary (then a little maiden betwixt two and three years old) toddling across the room, attired, as to her head, in a tiny close-fitting cap. This picture bears the following note in ancient German: — “‘Jesus’ was the first word of the infant, Mary, after which she did not speak for many months.” Another of the famous pictures in the Painted Life is one representing Mary, at the age of thirteen, making her first Communion, at Harewell Hall, Dacre, Nidderdale. (I visited Harewell Hall, which is still owned by the Inglebies, of Ripley, as in the days of Mary Ward, on Wednesday, the 10th April, 1901, being courteously shown round the Hall by Miss Simpson, the tenant. The River Nidd flows at the foot of this ancient, picturesque dwelling.)


In front of Mulwith still flows, as in the ancient days, the historic waters of the Ure.[A] On almost every side the eye is gladdened with woodland patches embroidering the horizon with that “sylvan scenery which never palls.”[B]

[A] Near Newby, in February, 1869, Sir Charles Slingsby, Bart., of Scriven, when a-hunting was, with some other gentlemen, drowned in the act of crossing in a boat the River Ure, then swollen high through February floods. The event cast a profound gloom over Yorkshire for many a long day. (The writer was eight years of age when this melancholy catastrophe took place, and well does he remember the grief depicted on the faces of the good citizens of York on the morrow of that sad disaster.)

[B] Lord Beaconsfield.

Hence, at last I was come to my journey’s end. For I had reached Mulwith, or Mulwaith, in the Parish of Ripon, whereof “Thomas Warde” is described, who married M’gery Slater, in the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, York, on the 29th day of May, 1579.

Mrs. John Hardcastle and her son most kindly conducted me round the place once more; for I had visited Mulwith about ten years previously, with my sister, then approaching it from the east.

And on that Sunday evening (April 22nd, 1901), an evening calm and bright, to the sound of sweet church bells, again I satisfied historic feeling by the recollection of the Past; the sense whereof bore down upon me with a force too strong for words, “too deep,” too high, “for tears.”

Many waters cannot quench Love; neither can the floods drown it.


Supplementum V.

An Account of a Visit to Great Plowland (anciently Plewland), in the Parish of Welwick, Holderness, in the East Riding of the County of York.

On Monday, the 6th day of May, 1901, the writer had the happiness of accomplishing a purpose he had long had in mind, namely, that of paying a visit to Great Plowland (anciently Plewland), in the Parish of Welwick, Holderness, the birthplace of John and Christopher Wright, and also of their sister, Martha Wright, who was married to Thomas Percy, of Beverley. These three East Riding Yorkshiremen have indeed writ large their names in the Book of Fate. For, as the preceding pages have shown, they were among that woeful band of thirteen who were involved, to their just undoing, in the rash and desperate enterprise, known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot, of the year 1605, the second year of the reign of James I., King of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and progenitor and predecessor of our own Most Gracious King Edward VII. Long may he reign, a crowned and sceptred Imperial Monarch: and in Justice may his house be established for ever![A]

[A] How full of happy augury for the future of our Empire was the fine speech of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, delivered in the Guildhall, London, the 5th December, 1901, shortly following on the Prince’s and His Princess’s return to Old England’s shores, after their historic sojourning, during the year 1901, in His Majesty’s loyal Dominions beyond the seas.


The writer arrived at the town of Patrington (the post-town of Plowland) somewhat late in the afternoon. He had not been before; but he well knew that Patrington is famous, far and near, for its stately and exquisitely-beautiful church, so aptly styled “the Queen of Holderness,” the church of Hedon being “the King.”

After viewing the general features of the little town of Patrington, which, maybe, is but slightly changed since its main street was trodden by English men and English women of “the spacious days of Good Queen Bess,” I (to have recourse to the first person singular, if the liberty may be pardoned) went in search of some ancient hostelry such as wherein “Jack Wright, Kit Wright, and Tom Percy,” then in the hey-day of their youthful strength and vigour, quaffed the foaming tankard of the nut-brown ale, or called for their pint of sack, when William Shakespeare[A] was the Sir Henry Irving of his day, and was writing his immortal dramas for all Nations and all Time.

[A] The common consent of mankind ranks Shakespeare, along with Homer and Dante, as one of the world’s three Poet-Kings.

Such a house of entertainment “for man and beast” I found in the inn bearing the time-honoured and sportsmanlike sign of the “Dog and Duck”.

On entering the portals of this ancient hostelry the historic imagination enabled me to conjure up the sight of some of the gentlemen who, three hundred years ago, must have formed the company who assembled at the “Dog and Duck;” to discuss, maybe, a threatened Spanish invasion of England’s inviolate shores; “a progress” of the great Tudor Queen; or the action of her Privy Counsellors, Lord Burleigh, Sir Francis281 Walsingham, the Earl of Leicester, Sir Robert Cecil, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the ill-fated Robert Devereux Earl of Essex; or, belike, to sound the praises of that model of chivalry, Sir Philip Sidney, the General Gordon, Lord Bowen, and Matthew Arnold of his day, and the darling of his countrymen for ever.

If I had to content myself with the historic imagination alone for the sight of John Wright, one of the most expert swordsmen of his time; of Christopher Wright, who was a taller man than his brother, of a closer and more peaceable disposition; and of Thomas Percy, their brother-in-law, who was agent for his cousin, the great head of the House of Percy; and also for the vision of all those high-born, courageous, but self-willed, wayward Yorkshire Elizabethan gentlemen, in their tall hat, graceful cloak,[A] and short sword girded on their side, with their tinkling falcons on their wrist, with their cross-bows and their dogs: if I had to be content with imagination alone for all this, on that Monday, the 6th day of May, 1901, I had the sight and vision in the solid reality of flesh and blood of “mine host” of the “Dog and Duck,” who bade me welcome in right cheery tones; and, in answer to my question, told me he well knew Great Plowland, in the Parish of Welwick (being a native of those parts), and ever since he was a boy he had heard tell that some of the Gunpowder plotters had been at Plowland.[B]

[A] The cloak was then one of the outward tokens of a gentleman.

[B] It is impossible to understand Shakespeare’s characters aright except one has first made a close study of such typical Elizabethan gentlemen as the Gunpowder plotters and their friends, and of the Elizabethan Catholic gentry in general. Hence the wide value of the labours of such men as Simpson, Morris, Pollen, Knox, and Law.


Soon was the compact made that that very evening, ere darkness came on, “mine host” should drive me to the site of where John Wright and Christopher Wright first beheld the light of the sun. (In view of the fact that the circumstantial evidence to-day available tends to prove that Christopher Wright was the repentant conspirator who revealed the Plot and so saved King James I., his Queen, and Parliament from destruction by exploded gunpowder, it may be easily conceived that I felt great eagerness to gaze on Plowland with as little delay as possible.)

A short drive brought my driver and myself within sight of the tall “rooky” trees, the blossoming orchard, the ancient gabled buildings in the background, and the handsome two-storied red-brick dwelling, all standing, on slightly rising ground, within less than a quarter of a mile from the king’s highway, which to-day are known as Great Plowland, in the Parish of Welwick, Holderness, in the East Riding of the County of York.

This, then, was the fair English landscape whereon the eyes of Christopher Wright had rested in those momentous years, from 1570 to 1580, when “the child is father of the man!” I exclaimed in spirit.

As we were entering through the gates of Plowland I made enquiry as to the name of the owner of this historic spot. I was informed that the gentleman to whom the ancestral seat of the Wrights, of Plowland, belonged resided on his own domain.

On reaching Plowland Hall (now Plowland House), Mr. George Burnham, of Plowland House, came forward, and, with frank, pleasant courtesy, never to be forgotten, assured me that I was at liberty to see the place where the two Gunpowder conspirators, John and Christopher Wright, had lived when boys.


I alighted from my vehicle, and being joined by Miss Burnham, sister to Mr. Burnham, the owner of the estate, we all three examined the evident traces of the moat, the remains of what must have been the old Gothic chapel, and certain ancient buildings and doors in the rear, which were left intact when old Plowland Hall was taken down, shortly after the middle of the nineteenth century, to make way for the present Plowland House. — See Frontispiece to this Book for picture of Plowland House.

[The Burnhams, of Plowland, are the grandchildren of the late Richard Wright, Esq., of Knaith, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. One of that gentleman’s descendants is Robert Wright Burnham, the eldest brother to the present owner of Plowland and his sister. The name Richard Wright is found in the Register of Christenings at Ripon Minster, under date 29th March, 1599, as the son of one John Wright, of Skelton.]

After taking leave of my kind friends, the “guardians” of Great Plowland, Mr. Robert Medforth, of the “Dog and Duck” hostelry, at Patrington, drove me to Welwick. A short survey of this characteristically East Riding Yorkshire village and its grey old Gothic church in its grave-yard, where John and Christopher Wright were christened, no doubt, brought the historical travels and explorations of Monday, May 6th, 1901, to a delightful and profitable close.

“Farewell, Plowland,” I interiorly exclaimed, when I turned myself in my conveyance, for the last time, to take the one last, lingering look, “Farewell, Plowland, once the home not only of those who ‘knowing the better chose the worse,’ and who, therefore, verified in themselves that law of Retribution, that eternal law of Justice, ‘the Guilty suffer,’ but also once the home of some of the284 supremely excellent of the earth. Farewell, Plowland, where Mary Ward, that beautiful soul, resided with Ursula Wright, her sainted grandmother, the wife of Robert Wright, the mother of Christopher Wright: where Mary Ward resided, during the five years, 1589 to 1594, before returning to her father’s house at Mulwith, in the Parish of Ripon, on the banks of the sylvan Ure.”

The Estate of Plowland came into the Wright family in the reign of Henry VIII., owing to John Wright, Esquire (a man of Kent), having married Alice Ryther, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Sir John Ryther, of Ryther, on the banks of the “lordly Wharfe,” between York and Selby.

John Wright’s son, Robert, succeeded as the owner of Plowland (or Plewland). Robert Wright married for his second wife Ursula Rudston, whose family had been lords of Hayton, near Pocklington, from the days of King John. Ursula Wright was akin to the Mallory (or Mallorie) family, of Studley Royal, Ripon, and so a cousin in some degree to most of the grand old Yorkshire gentry, such as the Ingleby family, of Ripley Castle and of Harewell Hall, Dacre, near Brimham Rocks, in Nidderdale, and the Markenfields, of Markenfield Hall, near Ripon, to mention none others beside.[A][B][C][D] (This is shown by the Ripon Registers.)

[A] The Most Honourable the Marquis of Ripon, K.G., Viceroy of India (1880-85), and the Most Honourable the Marchioness of Ripon, C.I., are akin to John Wright and Christopher Wright, through the Mallories of Studley Royal.

[B] The Right Honourable the Lord Grantley, of Markenfield Hall, is akin to the Wrights, through his ancestor, Francis Norton, the eldest son of brave old Richard Norton; the Mallories; the Inglebies; and many others.

[C] Sir Henry Day Ingilby, Bart., of Ripley Castle, is likewise akin to the Wrights, the Winters, and indeed to almost all the other ill-fated plotters. I may mention also that Sir Henry is likewise related to the exalted Mary Ward, who (as was the case with her great kinswoman and friend, Lady Grace Babthorpe) lived at “lovely Ripley” in her childhood, with the Inglebies of that day, on more than one occasion, as we find recorded in Mary’s “Life.”

[D] At Grantley a John Wright resided in the time of Elizabeth. He was probably brother to Robert Wright, the father of John and Christopher Wright. Grantley Hall nestles in a leafy hollow of surpassing beauty. The swift, gentle, little River Skell flows past the Hall on towards St. Mary’s Abbey, Fountains. Grantley Hall is now owned by Sir Christopher Furness, M.P. It was formerly one of the estates of the Lords Grantley.


Robert Wright (the second Wright who owned Plowland) had been married before his marriage to Ursula Rudston. His first wife’s name was Anne Grimstone. She was a daughter of Thomas Grimstone, Esquire, of Grimstone Garth. Robert Wright and Anne Grimstone had one son who “heired” Plowland. His name was William Wright. He married Ann Thornton, of East Newton, in Rydale, a lady who was related to many old Rydale and Vale of Mowbray families in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The names of William Wright and Ann, his wife (born Thornton), are still recorded on a brass in the north aisle of Welwick Church.[A]

[A] Mass was said at Ness Hall, near Hovingham, not far from East Newton, during the early part of the nineteenth century. I think that this was owing to the old Catholic family of Crathorne owning Ness Hall at this time. The Crathornes intermarried with the Wrights, of Plowland, in the days of James I. or Charles I., and I suspect that Ness Hall had been brought into the Crathorne family, through the Wrights, from the Thorntons. The Crathornes came from Crathorne, near Stokesley, in Cleveland. The Thorntons conformed to the Established Church.

William Wright was half-brother to Ursula Ward, the wife of Marmaduke Ward, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, near Ripon, the parents of the great Mary Ward, the friend of popes, emperors, kings, nobles, statesmen, warriors, and indeed of the most distinguished personages of Europe during the reigns of James I. and286 Charles I. William Wright (or Wryght, as the name is spelt on the brass in Welwick Church) was also half-brother to the two Gunpowder conspirators, John and Christopher Wright, who were slain at Holbeach House, Staffordshire, a few days after the capture of Guy Fawkes by Sir Thomas Knevet, early in the morning of November 5th, 1605.

The late Rev. John Stephens, Rector of Holgate, York, and formerly Vicar of Sunk Island, Holderness, told me, in September, 1900, that Guy Fawkes is said to have slept at Plowland Hall, on Fawkes’ departure for London for the last time, a tradition which is very likely to be authentic. For, as will be remembered, the Wrights, Fawkes, and Tesimond were old school-fellows at St. Peter’s School, in the Horse Fayre, Gillygate, York,[A] which had been re-founded by Philip and Mary, who likewise founded the present Grammar School at Ripon.

[A] John Wright, Christopher Wright, Guy Fawkes, and Oswald Tesimond must have many a time and oft passed through Bootham Bar, leading towards Clifton, Skelton, and Easingwold, along the great North Road. And besides the King’s Manor to the left of Bootham Bar, Queen Margaret’s Gateway, named after Queen Margaret (grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots), must have been to them all a thrice-familiar object. Queen Margaret, it will be remembered, was wife to King James IV. of Scotland, who fell at Flodden Field in 1513, fighting against the forces of the brother of the Scots’ Queen, King Henry VIII.

In 1516, Henry VIII. invited his widowed sister to London, “and good Queen Katerine sent her own white palfrey” for her poor sister-in-law’s “use.” On this memorable occasion the bereaved daughter of King Henry VII., through whom His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII., in part at least, traces his august Title to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, was kindly welcomed by the worthy citizens of the northern capital. — See Dr. Raine’s “York” (Longmans), p. 98.

In the month of July, 1900, at the Treasurer’s House, on the north side of the Minster, our Most Gracious Sovereign and His Beloved Consort (then the Prince and Princess of Wales) together with the present Prince and Princess of Wales (then the Duke and Duchess of York), graciously sojourned for a brief season: an event memorable and historic even in the proud annals of the second city of the British Empire.


Supplementum VI.

St. Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst,
Blackburn, 5th October, 1901.

... You are quite correct in saying that the doctrine of Equivocation is the justification of stratagems in war, and of a great many other recognised modes of conduct.

But I despair of its ever finding acceptance in the minds of most Englishmen: since they will not take the trouble of understanding it; while, at the same time, they have not the slightest scruple in misrepresenting it. It is, of course (like most principles, whether of art, or of science, or of philosophy), not a truth immediately to be grasped by the average intellect, and, therefore, liable to much misapplication. Even the best-trained thinkers may frequently differ as to its comprehension of this or that particular concrete case.

Given the tendency of human nature, English or foreign, to shield itself from unpleasant consequences at the expense of truth, it is unsafe to supply the public with a general principle, which, precisely on account of its universality, might be made to cover with some show of reason, many an unwarrantable jeu de mots. There are many exceedingly useful drugs which it would be unwise to throw into the open market. Hence, I quite recognise the partial validity of the objection to the doctrine in question. But since the doctrine is so often thrust in the public face, it is as well it should appear in its true colours.

This leads me to a point which I think ought to be insisted upon, namely, that those features, which are288 most objectionable to Englishmen in the scholastic doctrine were devised by their authors with the intention of limiting the realm of Equivocation and of safeguarding the truth more closely.

All rational men are agreed that there are circumstances in which words must be used that are primâ facie contrary to truth — in war, in diplomacy, in the custody of certain professional secrets. In such instances the non-Catholic rule seems to be: Tell a lie, and have done with it. The basis of such a principle is Utilitarian Morality, which estimates Right and Wrong merely by the consequences of an action. The peripatetic philosopher, on the other hand, who maintains the intrinsic moral character of certain actions, and who holds mordicus to the love of truth for its own sake, is not content to rest in a lie, however excusable, but endeavours, for the honour of humanity, to demonstrate that such apparent deviations from truth are not such in reality. For he perceives in them two meanings — whence the name Equivocation — one of which may be true, while the other is false. The speaker utters the words in their true meaning, and that the hearer should construe them in the other sense is the latter’s own affair.

Not at home” may mean “out of the house” or “not inclined to receive visitors.” It is the visitor’s own fault if he attaches the first meaning to the phrase rather than the second, or vice versâ.

No sensible man would consider a prisoner to be “lying” in his plea of “Not Guilty,” because a certain juryman, in his ignorant simplicity, should carry off the impression of the prisoner’s absolute, and not merely of his legal, innocence. Yet the plea may mean either both or only the latter.

Similarly, an impertinent ferretter-out of an important289 secret needs blame none but himself if he conceives the answer “No” to intimate anything else than that he should mind his own business.

As to such facts there is, I should say, an overwhelming agreement of opinion. That they differ from what we all recognise as a sheer “lie” is pretty evident. It is, therefore, convenient and scientific to label them with some other name, and the Scholastic hit upon the not inapt one of Equivocation.

The malice of lying consists, according to Utilitarian Philosophy, in the destruction of that mutual confidence which is so absolutely necessary for the proper maintenance and development of civilized life. But the Scholastic, while fully admitting this ground, looks for a still deeper root, and finds it in the very fact of the discrepancy between the speaker’s internal thought and its outward expression. The difference between the two positions may be more clearly apprehended in the following formula: — The first would define a lie as “speaking with intent to deceive;” whereas the second defines it “speaking contrary to one’s thought” (locutio contra mentem), even where there is no hope (and therefore no intent) of actual deception. The latter is clearly the stricter view, yet very closely allied with, and supplementing, the former. For we may perhaps say with Cardinal de Lugo — and à la Kant — that the malice of the discrepancy mentioned above lies in the self-contradiction which results in the liar, between his inborn desire for the trust of his fellow-men and his conviction that he has rendered himself unworthy of it — that he has, in other words, degraded his nature.

Now, where there do not exist relations of mutual confidence, such malice cannot exist. An enemy, a burglar, a lunatic, an impudent questioner, etc., are, in290 their distinguishing character, beyond the pale of mutual confidence — i.e., when acting professionally as enemies, burglars, etc.

In regard to such outlaws from society, some moralists would accordingly maintain that the duty of veracity is non-existent, and that here we may “answer a fool according to his folly.” If a burglar asks where is your plate, you may reply at random “In the Bank,” or “At Timbuctoo,” or “I haven’t any.” If a lunatic declares himself Emperor of China, you may humour him, and give him any information you may imagine about his dominions, etc.

Such is the teaching of,, Professor Paulsen, of Berlin, in his “System of Ethics,” in which he is at one with Scholasticism, though, I daresay, we should not follow him in all his applications of the principle. He prefers to call such instances “necessary lies,” whereas we should say they were not lies at all, because they would not be rightly considered to imply speaking strictly understood, that is, the communication of one’s mind to another. There is no real speech where there are no relations of mutual confidence. Practically, however, it is so far a question of name rather than of reality, of theory rather than of fact.

The doctrine of Mental Reservation seems to me to differ from that of Equivocation only in this, that Equivocation implies the use of words which have a two-fold meaning in themselves, apart from special circumstances, and are therefore logical equivoques. Thus to the question: “What do people think of me?” one might diplomatically reply: “Oh! they think a great deal!” which leaves it undetermined whether the thinking be of a favourable or unfavourable character.

But more commonly words, apart from special circumstances, have one definite meaning,, “Yes” or291No.” When Sir Walter Scott denied, as he himself tells us, the authorship of “Waverley” with a plain simple “No,” he was guilty of no logical Equivocation: but the circumstance that it was generally known that the author intended to preserve anonymity gave his answer the signification, “Mind your own business.” This is what I should call a moral equivoque. The Scholastics call it broad mental reservation (restrictio late mentalis). The origin of this terminology seems to me to lie in a bit of purism. Some moralists were not content with merely moral equivoques: they appear to insist on the junction with them of logical Equivocation; and so they would have directed the equivocator to restrict (and so double) the meaning of a word in his own mind. Thus to Sir Walter they would have said: “Don’t say ‘No’ simply, but add in your own head, ‘as far as the public is concerned,’” or something similar.

When this addition could not be conjectured by the hearer, it received the name of pure mental reservation (restrictio pure [or stricte] mentalis): as when one might say “John is not here” (meaning in his mind “not on the exact spot where the speaker stood”), though John was a yard off all the time. Such a position has not found favour in the body of Catholic moralists. They regard it as not only a useless proceeding, but as one which, although intended out of respect for truth, is liable, from its purely subjective character, to easy abuse.

But when objective circumstances (as in the case of Sir Walter) enable the hearer to guess at the double meaning and to suspend his judgment, then we have a case of broad mental reservation: for it is writ large in social convention that, where a momentous secret exists, a negative answer carries with it the limitation (restriction, reservation), “secrets apart.”


I trust I have made it sufficiently clear that the doctrine of Equivocation, properly understood, has been devised in the interests of Veracity. That we may find in some writers, whether St. Alphonsus de Liguori or Professor Paulsen, particular applications in which we do not concur, surely does not affect the validity of the principle.

I may add that all Catholic theologians with whom I am acquainted limit its use by requiring many external conditions:, that the secret to be preserved should be of importance; that the questioner should have no right to its knowledge, etc. In one word, that the possible damage to mutual confidence resulting from the hearer’s self-deception should be less than that which would certainly accrue from the revelation of a legitimate secret.

No one feels more keenly than we do that to have resort to Equivocation is an evil rendered tolerable only in presence of a greater evil of the same nature; and I venture to say, from an intimate knowledge of my brother “religious,” that no one is less likely to recur to it, where only his own skin is concerned, than a Jesuit.

Believe me, Yours very sincerely,
       George Canning, S.J.[A]

[A] The above lucid explanation of the much and (me judice) stupidly maligned doctrine of Equivocation will place readers of this work, as well as the writer, under an obligation of gratitude to the Rev. George Canning, who is the Professor of Ethics at St. Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, so I am informed by the Rev. Bernard Boëdder, S.J., Professor of Natural Theology, at that seat of learning, whom I have had the honour of meeting in York on more than one occasion. “Wisdom builds her house for all weathers.” But England, relying too much on a long course of prosperity in her ruling classes, and in the protected classes immediately beneath her ruling classes, has neglected the Truth and Justice contained in this eminently rational doctrine of Equivocation. The democracy must, and will, however, insist on amiable, self-contenting, self-pleasing delusions being speedily swept away. Reason and self-interest alike will compel and compass this.

The question of Equivocation is not a question of Protestant versus Catholic, but of Wise Noddle versus Foolish Noddle. This is a distinct gain.



Appendix A.

Circumstantial Evidence Defined and Described.

Circumstantial Evidence is indirect, as distinct from direct evidence. It is likewise mediate, as distinct from immediate.

Direct evidence is testimony that is a statement of what the witness himself has seen, heard, or perceived by the evidence of any one of his own five senses,[A] which testimony is directly given by a witness, to lead to the facts in issue, that is, the facts required to be proved in order to make out or to constitute the criminal case, or the civil cause of action, sought to be established, according to some rule of Law.

[A] By sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch.

Indirect or mediate evidence is inferred from a relatively minor fact or relatively minor facts already directly proved.

This inference is drawn by a valid process of reasoning from a relatively minor fact or minor facts already directly deposed to by a witness, who may be a party interested in the case or cause, or a stranger-witness, either friendly or hostile.

Hence, Circumstantial Evidence is specially inferential and cumulative in its nature. It denotes the resultant of a method of knowledge, which has carried the Inquirer forward by successive stages of advancement.


It implies the inferring of the unknown from the known; but from a known which has been itself transmuted from the unknown, at some point of time anterior to the making of the successive stage of advancement in the knowledge of the facts sought to be proved, and vindicated by some rule of Law.

The following interesting account of Evidence generally is from the pen of Mr. Frank Pick, of Burton Lodge, York, a student of the Law: —

Evidence is the collective term used to denote the facts whereby some proposition, statement, or conclusion is sought to be established or confirmed.

While, as thus defined, the term Evidence primarily denotes the actual known facts themselves which form the basis or point of departure, it connotes also a method or process in the development of those known facts to a resultant fact or opinion: and the resultant fact or opinion so obtained. The former is often styled Testimony.

This will be illustrated in Circumstantial Evidence, and in what is commonly styled “Expert Evidence,” though better, “Evidence of Opinion,” where a person from a consideration of certain facts not necessarily expressed (being likewise one specially competent to form an opinion where such certain facts are involved) gives an opinion which may be used as, and for similar purposes with, evidence as above defined.

The value of evidence, i.e., the completeness and efficiency with which it serves these ends, varies with, and the weight accorded to it in judgment is determined from, a review of the character or quality of the source whence these facts proceed; and the nature or proximity of the relation which they bear to the proposition, statement, or conclusion to be supported.


As regards the character or quality of its source, evidence is distinguished into primary and secondary.

Primary Evidence is the witness or testimony of personal experience, whether shown in the spoken or written word or by conduct. Or it may be described as, on its positive side, the avowal or confession of fact of a person present knowingly, at the manifestation, in consciousness of the phenomenon to which the fact corresponds: on its negative side, as the denial or negation of fact similarly conditioned.

Secondary Evidence comprises all the manifold degrees of nearness or remoteness to primary evidence.

As all degrees are here included, it is sometimes said that there are no degrees of secondary evidence. This must not be misunderstood to mean that all secondary evidence is entitled to be received as of the same degree of credibility. For a further, and in some respects parallel, distinction to that lastly taken, arises as the speech is or is not deliberate, the writing authenticated, the conduct reasoned. And in every case partiality, bias, and prejudice are grounds not to be neglected in the ascertainment of accuracy and trustworthiness.

So far as regards the nature or proximity of the relation, evidence is either direct and immediate, or indirect and mediate, called circumstantial; as concerned rather with the surrounding circumstances leading to the proof of the presumed truth of a fact than with the fact itself.

Direct Evidence comprises those facts from which, if proved, the truth of the proposition, statement, or conclusion necessarily follows.

Circumstantial Evidence comprises those facts from which again may be inferred facts, whence the truth of the proposition, statement, or conclusion must necessarily follow.


This inferential method is especially involved in Circumstantial Evidence. In all evidence there is a presumption open more or less to rebuttal, and evidence on this account is qualified as, e.g., primâ facie, conclusive. In Direct Evidence there is the presumption of the truth of the proposition, statement, or conclusion from the proven facts. In Circumstantial Evidence there is first an inference of directly connected facts, otherwise unknown or unevidenced from remotely connected facts, known or given in evidence; then there is further a presumption of the truth of the proposition, statement, or conclusion from these mediately established facts.


Appendix B.

Discrepancy as to Date when not Material to Issue,
no Disproof of Truth of the rest of the Assertion.

The above doctrine of the law of Evidence applies, of course, to whatever may be the nature or purpose of the Inquiry, whether conducted in a Court of Law, in the library of the historical scholar, or elsewhere.

The principle was soundly stated at the trial of “the Venerable” Martyrs, Fathers Whitbread, Harcourt, Fenwick, Gavan, and Turner, at the Old Bailey, by Sir William Scroggs, Knt., the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, on the occasion of the Popish Plot Trials, in the year 1679.

“If it should be a mistake only in point of time, it destroys not the evidence, unless you think it necessary to the substance of the thing.

“If you charge one in the month of August to have done such a fact, if he deny that he was in that place at that time, and proves it by witnesses, it may go to invalidate the credibility of the man’s testimony, but it does not invalidate the truth of the thing itself, which may be true in substance, though the circumstance of time differ; and the question is, whether the thing be true?” Quoted in Morris’s “Troubles: The Southcote Family,” first series, p. 378 (Burns & Oates). (The italics are mine.)


Appendix C.

Part I.

British Museum — Add. MS. 5847, Fo. 322.

List of such as were apprehended for the Gun-Powder
The names of such as were taken in Warwicke and
Worcestershire, & brought to London.
Sr Everard Digby, Knight
Robt Winter
John Winter
John Grant
Tho: Percy
Tho: Winter
Robt Acton
Henry Morgan
Christopher Litleton
Lodwicke Grant, who was taken the 9 of Novemb: & confessed there was lodged in Holbage House to the number of 60 Persons.
Tho: Grant
Willm Cooke
Robt Higgins
Christopher Wright
Robt Rookwood
Mr Henry Hurleston, Sonne & Heire of Sir Edward Hurleston[A]301
Tho: Anderton[B]
John Clifton[C]
Mathy Batty, late Servant to the Lord Monteagle
Willm Thornberry} Servants to Mr. Hurleston
Henry Sergeant }
Stephne Bonne}
Richard Daye } Servants to Sr Everard Digby
Willm Eadale }
James Garvey }
Robt Abram
Robt Osborne
Christopher Archer
Ambrose Fuller
Willm Howson
Francis Grant
Richard Westberry
Tho: Richardson
Edward Bickerstaffe
Will Snow
John Facklins
Francis Prior
Tho: Darler, Servant to Mr Robt Monson
Reginald Miles, Servant to Sir Willm Engleston
Tho: Rookwood, of Claxton, in Warwickshire
Richard Yorke } Suspected Persons usually resorting
Marmaduke Ward} to Mr Winter, Mr
Robt Key } Grant & Mr Rookwoods
Robt Townsend, of St. Edmund Berry
The Lord Mountacute} Are all comitted to the
The Lord Mordant } Tower
Mr Francis Tressam}

[A] Sir Henry Huddleston, as he afterwards became, the son and heir to Sir Edmund Huddleston, of Sawston Hall, Cambridge, not Edward as in Text. Sir Henry Huddleston married the Honourable Dorothy Dormer. He was reconciled to the Church of Rome by Father Gerard, S.J.

[B] This was Father Thomas Strange, S.J., a cousin to Thomas Abington, of Hindlip.

[C] This was Father Singleton.


The Earle of North: is in the Custody still of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.

This was Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland, W.C.

My Lady Mordant
Mris Dorothy Grant
Mris Helyn Cooke
Mris Mary Morgayne
Mris Anne Higgins
Mris Martha Percy
Mris Dorothy Wright
Mris Margaret Wright
Mris Rookwood

See Mr. Dod’s “History of Catholick Church,” vol. ii., p. 331, W.C.

[N.B. — This MS. consists of extracts from the Collections of the Rev. Mr. Rand, Rector of Leverington and Newton, in the Isle of Ely.]

Part II.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 12.

[Frequenters of Clopton (or Clapton), Stratford-on-Avon.]
Ther hath bine at Clapton[A] wth Mr Ambrous Rucwod
303Mr. Jhon Grant ther is with mes Rucwood Mes Ceo (?) mes munson and others and to of his britherin
mr Wintor
mr Bosse
mr Townesend
mr Ceo (?) wth on mr Thomas a Cynesman of Mr Rucwoode
mr Ryght
Allso mye pepeoll hath seene ther
Ser Edward bushell
mr Robeart Catesbee
with diuers others which I can not nam unto youer honer.

(Endorsed) Clopton.

[A] Clopton Hall, Stratford-on-Avon, was likewise styled Clapton Hall. Lady Carew, afterwards the Countess of Totnes, was (with her sister, Anne Clapton, the wife of Cuthbert Clapton, Esquire, of Sledwick, County Durham) the co-heiress of the Claptons (or Cloptons), of Warwickshire. Lady Carew was a Protestant, but her sister and brother-in-law were Catholics. A son of the Catholic Cloptons (or Claptons) was made the “heir” of the Countess of Totnes. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. vi., pp. 326, 327.


Appendix D.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 25.
The Examination of Richard Browne taken the 5th of
Novembr 1605.

This Examinat sayith that xpofer Wright cam to St Gilis in the ffeild to the Maydenhead there vpon Weddnesday laste & sent Wilt Kiddle (that cam vp wt him as his man) to Westm the same night for this Examinat to come & speek wth him, which this Examinat did com thither vpon Thursday morning, when Wrights request was to him to fetch his child which he had at nurss some 13 myles off. And Kiddle & this Examinat went vpon ffriday brought the child vpon Satterday to St. Giles & carryed it away agen vpon Sonday which night this Examinat returned back to Westm and lay there at his owne lodging, the next morning being monday this Examinat went to St Gyles to speak wt Mr Wright only vpon Kiddle’s intreaty & not fynding Mr Wright there he retorned towards London & mett Mr Wright in St Clemt ffeilds, at which tyme Wright sent this Examinat to Sr ffrancis Manners wth a message concerninge a kinsman of Mr Wrights that serveth Mr Manners after which tyme this Examinat did not see the sayd Wright.

This Examinat sayeth that he saw the sayd Wright onely 4 tymes since Wright last coming to London, viz., vpon Thursday morning when he came first vnto him upon Satterday night when he brought his child, vpon Sonday morning when he carryed the child away, and305 vpon monday at noone when he mett of the back syd of St Clemts

Richard Browne
(Endorsed) Examination of Richard Browne
6 Nov. 1605 Concerning Wright.


Appendix E.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 15.
The Examynacon of Willum Grantham servaunt to Josephe Hewett taken before Sr John Popham Knighte L: Cheife Justyce of England the 5 of November 1605.

He sayeth that yesterdaye aboute three of the Clocke in the afternoone one mr wryght was at this Ex masters howse And there boughte three beaver hatts and payde xj£[A] for them This Ex went wth the sayde wryght and caryed the hatts to wrighte lodgyng at the Mayden heade in St Gyles where mr wryght & this Ex went into the howse And then wryght went to the Stable and dyd aske yf his man were come the hosteler sayde that he came longe synce, then wryght dyd aske for his horse whether he were readye or no and the hosteler sayde he was Then the sayde wryght went into his Chamber and wryghte man dyd will this Ex to go in And the sayde wryghte man went downe the Stayres And this Ex went into Mr Wryghte Chamber and delyvered the hatts to him And wryght dyd looke uppon the hatts and gave this Ex vjd for his paynes and then he depted.

[A] Unmistakably £11 (E.M.W.).

William Grantham.
(Endorsed) 5 November 1605. William Grantham Ex.


Appendix F.

State Papers Domestic — Jas. I., Vol. xvi., No. 11.
The Examon of Robert Rookes taken the 5th of November 1605.

He saieth that his Master Mr Ambrose Rookewood whoe dwelleth at Coldhame Halle in Suff came from thence uppon Wensday last and noe more wth him but this exaite and Thomas Symons another of his servaunte.

He saieth his Master hath layen en sithence Thursday last at one Mores howse wthout Temple Barre and thear lay wth him the last night and the night before a talle gent having a reddish beard.[A]

[A] This was Keyes. — See “Elizabeth More’s Evidence.”

He saieth his Masters horsses stood in drewery Lane at the grey hound.

He saieth his Master & the other gent went forth this morning about 8 of the clock and his Master stayed not forth above an hower before he came in againe and then going in & out some time about x of the clock went alone to his horsse to ryde away in to Suff. and willed this exaite and his fellowe to come after him to morowe.

He saieth his Mrs as he hath hard lyeth in warwick shere whear he knoweth not for he hath not benn wth his Mr that nowe is aboue a senight.

(Endorsed) 5o No. 1605.
The Ex of Robte Rokes Mr Rookwoode boy.


Appendix G.

State Papers Domestic — Jas. I., Vol. xvi., No. 16.
The declarn of John Cradock cutler the vjth of
November 1605.

He sayeth that Mr Rockwood whos father marryed Mr Tirwhyte mother about the Begynyng of the last Som vacac dyd bespeke the puttyng of a Spanyshe Blade off hys into a Sword hilte and appoynted the hylth to have the Story of the passyon of Christ Richly Ingraved, and now wthn these Syxe dayes cawsed that hylth being enamlled and Rychly sett forth to be taken of and the handle to be new wrought of clere gold and the former hylth wth hys story to be putt on agayne and delyvered yt unto mr Rockewood upon Monday last at xj of the Clocke at nyght at his Chamber at mr Mores and mr Wynter a pp Gentylman of about xxx yeares or vpward who lyeth at the Syng of the Docke an Drake beyond putrycke in the Strand and ys a great Companyon wth mr Catesby mr Tyrwhyt and mr Rockwood hadd a Sword wth the lyke Story and was delyvered hym on Sunday last at nyght but not so Rychly sett forth as the form for wch he payed in all xij£ xs pt about a quarter of a yeare past at the bespeken thereof and the Rest on Sonday last and this term an other Gentylman of that Cupany being a Blacke man of about xl yeares old bespake a lyke Sword for the story & shuld pay vijti for yt gave hym xs in Ernest he ys yet out of Towne and the 309Sword remayneth wth thys Exam Christopher Wryght was often wth thys Mr Rockwood at thys Exam shoppe and he hadd the said Wryghte jugmet for the worcke and Syse of the Blade.

Jo Cradock
Ex p
J. Popham

(Endorsed) Cradocke.


Appendix H.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 10.

I have sent vnto yor L. herin Inclosed the Copye off the declarac off Mr Tatnall, off two that passed the fylde thys mornyg wherof some Suspycyon may be gathered off confederacy he observed them so as he hopeth he may mete wth them and therfore I have gevin hym a warrant to attach them a lyke note yor L shall receave herin off an expectacn that Mrs Vaux hadd off some thyng to be done and I know yt by such a means as I assured my selff the matter is trewe and both Gerrard and Walley the Jesuyte make that the chefest place of their accesse and therfore lyke she may knowe Some what both Mr Wenman hym selff & the lady Tasbard do knowe of this wherfore howe farre forth thys shalbe fytt to be dealt in I humbly leave to yor L consyderacn Chrystoffer Wright and Mr Ambrose Rokewood were both together yesternyght at x of the Clocke and vpon ffryday last at nyght they were together at Mr Rokwoode lodgyng and this forenoon Rokwood Rode away into Suffolke about xj of the clocke alone leavyng both hys men behynd hym one Keyes a Gentylma that lay these two last nyghte wth mr Rokewood and gave hym hys lodgyng went away also about eight off the clocke for wch Keyes I have layed weyet This Rokwood ys of Coldham hall in Suffoke one of the most dangerous houses in Suffolke he marryed mr Tyrwhytte Syster & she ys now in Warwykshere Chrystoffer Wright as I thyncke lay this last nyght in St. Gyles and yf he be gone yt ys Lyke he ys gone into Warwykesher where I hyer John Wryght311 Brother unto Chrystoffer ys marryed ther were thre hatts bought yesterday in the afternoone by Chrystoffer Wryght the ar for his Brother and two others for two Gentylwomen they cost xj£ and after that about ix of the Clocke at nyght Chrystoffer Wryght cam again to that haverdasshers and Boughte two hatts more for two Servante unto a Gentylman that was wth hym he thyncks that Gentylman was called Wynter but I dowbt that mans name ys mystaken Ther cam a yong Gentylman wth this wryght wthin these fewe dayes that gave to Cutler here by xix£ xvs for a Sword whom I am in some hoep to dyscover by the Sword and other cyrcumstance and even so I humbly take my leave of yor L at Serienty Inn the vth of november 1605.

yor L very humbly

Jo Popham.[A]

[A] The Lord Chief Justice of England.

(P.S.) I have this mornyg the vith noveber dyscovered where Wynter [is] wth the matter which I have delyverd to mr Attrney wherof happely yor L may make good vse I wyll see yf I can mete wth mr Wynter Walley the jesuyt and Strang as I am Informed are now at ffrance Brownes pcke about Surrey as I take yt and Sundry letters lately sent over are yet Remaynyng at fortescues house by the Wadropp but yt wylbe hard to fynd any thyng in that house.

(Endorsed) 5 Novembr
                     L Ch. Justice

(Addressed) To the Ryght
                       honorable and my
                       very good L the
                       Earle of Sarysbury.

(Declaration enclosed — short.)


Appendix I.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part I., No. 75.

Or humble dutyes remembred. We have this day apprehended & deliwed to his Maty messenger Berrye the bodie of Mris Graunt, from whom we gathered that Percyes wief was not farre of, whervppon wee made search in the most lykely place and have even since night apprehended her in the house of Mr John Wright, and have thought fitt to take this opportunitie to send vpp to yor honors’ wth the said Mris Graunt aswell the said Mres Percye as alsoe the wives of other the principall offenders in this last insurrection as appeth by the Kallender heerinclosed by whos exaiacons we thinke some necessary matters wilbe knowne.

Mr Sherief taketh care & charge of these woomens children vntill yor honors pleasures be further knowne.

ffrom Warr this xijth of November 1605

yor honors most humbly at comaundment
in all service.
Richard Verney
Jo: fferrers
Wm Combe
Bar: Hales
(Endorsed) 12 9bre 1605
            Sr Rych: Verney and other Justices to me

(Addressed) To the right honorable my especyall good
              Lord the Earle of Salisbury & the rest of
              his Maty most honorable privie Counsayle
                  wth all speed.


Appendix J.

Gunpowder Plot Books — Part II., No. 130.

This Last Vacatio Guy faux als Jhonson did hier a barke of Barkin the owners name Called paris wherein was Caried over to Gravelinge a ma[A] supposed of great import he went disguised and wold not suffer any one ma to goe wth him but this Vaux[B] nor to returne wth him This paris did Attend for him back at Gravelyng[C] sixe weekes yf Cause quier there are severall proffs of this matter.

[A] Contraction for “man.”

[B] I.e., Faux.

[C] Gravelyng would be Gravelines in France. Most probably “the man supposed of great import,” who “went disguised,” accompanied by Fawkes, was one of the principal conspirators, perhaps Thomas Winter or John Wright. I suspect their errand was to buy fresh gunpowder through Captain Hugh Owen. Notice “Vacation,” 1605.

(Endorsed) Concerninge one Paris that caried faukes to
                     Gravelyng and others.


Appendix K.

45, Bernard St.,
   Russell Square,
       London, W.C.,
           30th October, 1901.
Dear Sir,

The Gunpowder Plot and Lord Mounteagle’s Letter.

I well remember accompanying you to the Record Office, Chancery Lane, London, W.C., on Friday, the 5th of October, 1900, when we saw the original Letter to Lord Mounteagle and the Declaration of Edward Oldcorne of the 12th March, 1605-6.

As soon as I began to compare the two documents I noticed a general similarity in the handwritings; although the handwriting of the Letter to Lord Mounteagle was evidently intended to be disguised. The letters were not uniform in their slant, and seemed, as it were, to be “staggering about.” There was also, certainly, a particular similarity in the case of certain of the letters.

I have for the last seventeen years had great experience in transcribing documents of the period of Queen Elizabeth and James I.; and, in my opinion, it is at least probable that the Letter to Lord Mounteagle and the Declaration of the 12th March, 1605-6, signed by Edward Oldcorne, were by one and the same hand.

Yours truly,
Emma M. Walford.
To H. H. Spink, Jun., Esq., Solicitor, York.


Appendix L.

Having recently learnt that Professor Windle, M.D., F.R.S., Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Birmingham, had written two books descriptive of the Midland Counties, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, with part of Herefordshire, “Shakespeare’s Country,” and “The Malvern Country” (Methuen & Co.), I ventured to write to him respecting the roads from Lapworth to Hindlip (traversed on horseback, I conjecture, by Christopher Wright, about the 11th October, 1605); and from Hindlip to Gothurst, three miles from Newport Pagnell (traversed on horseback, I conjecture, by Ralph Ashley, between the 11th October and the 21st of October); and from Coughton to Huddington, and thence to Hindlip (traversed on horseback, as we know with certitude, by Father Oswald Tesimond, on Wednesday, the 6th November, 1605).

I append Dr. Windle’s most kind and courteous reply for the benefit of my readers. I may say that his opinion is largely corroborative of former opinions as to distances given to me independently by the Rev. Fr. Kiernan, S.J., of Worcester; and the Rev. Fr. Cardwell, O.S.B., of Coughton; as well as of those given by the gentlemen whose names occur in the Notes to the Text — the Rev. Fr. Atherton, O.S.B., of Stratford-on-Avon; Charles Avery, Esq., of Headless Cross; and George Davis, Esq., of York. (I understand that Mr. Avery wrote to the Vicar of Coughton, the parish wherein Coughton Hall, or Coughton Court, is situated, respecting my inquiry. I desire, therefore, to express my thanks to that reverend gentleman, as well as to the reverend the316 Vicar of Great Harrowden, Northamptonshire, for certain information which the latter likewise most readily vouchsafed to me a few months ago.)

“The University,
       Dec. 22, 1901.
“My dear Sir,


“With respect to the distances which you wish to know, I have taken them out as well as I can, and I think they will be exact enough; but, of course, I have had to work from modern maps, and I cannot be certain that all the roads now in existence were there in the time of James I. You will observe that most of our great roads, near the parts you mention, run approximately North and South, so that you want cross-roads.

“I expect from what I hear of that part of the county that the roads I have taken are fairly old, or at least represent bridle tracks. I think they may fairly be taken as representing the way by which a horseman would travel. With this preface I now give the figures: —

“1. Lapworth to Hindlip — as the crow flies, nineteen — via Tutnal and Bromsgrove I make it twenty-two miles, and I think this is the most likely route. There were Catholic houses at both Tutnal and Bromsgrove.

“2. Coughton to Hindlip — twelve as the crow flies — about fourteen I make it by road — but I am not sure that the first piece I have used is an old road. But fifteen miles would do it, if the more devious path had to be taken.


“3. Huddington is four from Hindlip as the crow flies; going by road by Oddingley I should make it five.

“4. By the route I should go, if I were cycling, I should take

Worcester to Stratford-on-Avon23miles.
Stratford-on-Avon to Warwick8
Warwick to Daventry19
Daventry to Northampton12
Northampton to Newport Pagnell12

“It would be about the same distance from Hindlip; for from that place you can get into the Worcester and Stratford-on-Avon road by a bye-road.

“I hope this information may be of service to you, and if I can help you any further, pray apply to me.

“I am,
   Yours very truly,
       Bertram C. A. Windle.”


Appendix M.

Since hearing from Professor Windle, M.D., of Birmingham, I have received the following letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Carmichael, the Chief Constable of Worcestershire, which my readers will be glad to see, I am sure. The difference in Professor Windle’s statement of distances and that of Colonel Carmichael is probably to be accounted for by the turns in the road, as well as other differences in the basis of calculation.

“County Chief Constable’s Office,
       27th December, 1901.

“Gunpowder Plot and Lord Mounteagle’s Letter.

“Adverting to your letter of the 14th inst., re the above, I am forwarding you, as under, the required distances (by road), which are as accurate as I can possibly ascertain, viz.: —

Hindlip distant from Huddington, near Droitwich314miles.
Do. from Coughton, near Alcester, Warwickshire1712
Do. from Lapworth, Warwickshire30
Worcester from Northampton64
“Yours faithfully,

   George Carmichael,
   Lieut.-Col., and Chief Constable
   of Worcestershire.”
“H. H. Spink, Jun., Esq., Solicitor,
       Coney Street, York.”


Appendix N.

Extract from York Corporation House Book — Vol.
xxviii., f. 82.
4 Jany vicesimo
       quinto Elizth.

Assembled in the Counsell Chamber upon Ousebridg the day and year abovesaid when and where the Queen’s Maties Comission to my Lord Maior and Aldermen directed was openly redd to these present the tenor wherof hereafter enseweth word by word: —

By the Queene

Right trustie and welbeloved we greet you well wheras the great care and zeale we have had ever since our first coming to the crowne for the planting and establishing of God’s holie Word & trew religon wthin this or Realme and other our dominions haith ben notoriouslie knowen unto all or Subjects aswell by sundry lawes & ordinances maid and published for the true serving of god and adminstracon of the Sacraments As by divers Commissions and other directions gyven out from us for that purpose to th’end that therby our Subjects being trayned up in the feare and true knowledge of god might the better learne ther dutie and obedience towards us; and yet neverthelesse sondry lewde and evill affected psons to our present estate by nature or Subjects borne, but by disloyaltie yelding ther obedience to other forraine potentats have of lait yeares entred into certayne societies in the partyes beyond the Seas, as in the Cyttie of Reimes and other places carreyinge the names of Semynaries & Jesuits where being trayned upp and as it were full fraught with all erronious and detestable320 doctrine they have and do dailie repare over disguised and in most secreet manner into this or Realme and especiallie into this or County of the Cyttie of Yorke where they are in sondry places well entertained and harbored, by meanes whereof they have not onelie malitiously gone about to seduce and pervert the simple sort of our good subjects in matters of religion but also have practised most unnaturailie trayterouslye to wthdraw them frome their naturall dewties and allegiance towards us Sowing even according to the name they have receved abroad the vere sede of all sedicon and conspiracye amongst or people. And all be it we conceved that ther Rebellious harts and practises being thoroughlie discovered as well by the lait trayterous attempts of some of them in or Realme of Irland as by the treasonable actions of others wthin this our Realme And ther obstinate and sedicious manner of dyeing when being justlie condempned by our lawes they have suffered death for the same Yow wold most carefullie and diligentlie have loked into the seeking owt and apphending of such wicked psons, being a matter of so great consequence to our service and tending princepallie to the publique quiet of or wholl State and to the p’ticuler saftie of every of our good subjects: and the rather for that our pleasure on that behalf haith often and sundry wayes ben signified unto yow And for the execucion wherof yow have not wanted sufficient authoritie. Yet notwithstanding, smale care or none at all haith ben had to annswere or expectacon and trust reposed in yow so as we might juslie be drawen to thinke hardlie of yow if we were not pswaded that yow have rather neglected yor duties for some other respect than for want of good affection to our service. We have thought good therfor 321oftsons to renew unto yow the remembrance of yor duties, and do hereby straightlie charge and command yow and ev’ye of yow to have a greater care & moare continewall circumspection on that behalf and by all the good and discreet meanes yow may to make diligent enquirie and searche wthin yor severall wardes and devisions for all manner of popish preasts, Jesuits Semynaries and such like psons as yow shall have vehement cause to suspect to be malitious and obstinate mistakers of the religeon by us established and of our present estate and the same to apprehend and send under safe custodie unto our right trustie and welbeloved cosine E. of Huntington President of our Counsell in these partes and in his absence to our Counsell here. And further we will yow to have a speciall regard that such persons as shall ether willinglie absent themselves from the church or shall any way deprave the order of comen praer & of the holie sacraments now established wthin this realme or shall malitiously abuse the ministers of the same or shall by anie other meanes show themselves obstinate & contemptous in matters concerning religeon may be throughlie p’ceded wth according to or Lawes wherein or meaning is that yow should especiallie deale with principall persons who (we assure our selves) do by ther evill example drawe and encouradg the Inferior sort to continew in ther blindnes and disobedience and so requiring yow to procede and continew in the execution hereof in such diligent manner as we may have cause to think yow desier thereby to repare the falts of your former negligence and to dischardge yourselves in your duties according to our expectacon and the trust we comitt to yow. We recomend the due accomplishment of all the p’misses unto your discreet and diligent proceding herein. Whereof yow may not fayle as yow tender or favor. 322Geven under or Signet at or Cyttie of Yorke the last of December 1582 the 25th yeare of or reigne.

And by hir Counsell.

(Addressed to) To our right trustie and welbeloved the Maior of our Cittie of Yorke and to the Aldermen his bretheren. (On the back.)

Mr Harbart Mr Robinson Maister Maltby Mr Appleyard Mr Trew & Mr May, Aldermen, are appoynted by these presents to view the Chambers upon Ousebridge & Monckbarr tomorrow at after none & to see whether of the same be most mete for the pson for Churche persons as will fullie resist to come to Church to the intent the same may be forthwith repared for that purpose.[A]

[A] Leave was given me to print the aforesaid Order of Queen Elizabeth in Council by the authorities of the York Corporation, on the 3rd day of June, 1901; the Lord Mayor for that year being Alderman the Right Honourable E. W. Purnell; and John Close, Esquire, J.P., Sheriff; J. G. Butcher, Esquire, K.C., and George Denison Faber, Esquire, Representatives in Parliament — the first Parliament of His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII.


Note as to authenticity of “Thomas Winter’s Confession,” at Hatfield.

Whilst greatly admiring the erudition and dialectical skill displayed by the Rev. John Gerard, S.J., in his recent Gunpowder Treason Works, mentioned in the Prelude to this Book, I am of opinion that the Confession attributed to the conspirator, Thomas Winter, is authentic. The internal evidence for the genuineness of this document is too strong (me judice) to be upset.

It is true that the change in the form of signature is undoubtedly a suspicious circumstance; but such change was probably due to a desire, on the prisoner’s part, to let “a great gulf be fixed” between “Thos. Wintour,” the free-born gentleman, and “Thomas Winter,” the inchoately attainted traitor.

Moreover, the name Winter, or Wynter, was, at that time, certainly spelt with the “er” as well as with the “our,” just as the name “Ward” was spelt either with the final “e” or without the same. For instance, in Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire,” Edited by Norcliffe (Harleian Soc., London), Jane Ingleby is stated to be the “Wyff to George Wynter son and heyr of Robert Winter of Cawdwell in Worceshyre.”

One would like to see from the pen of the Rev. John Gerard a translation of Father Oswald Tesimond’s Italian Narrative, known as “Greenway’s Manuscript.” Tesimond, it is almost certain, knew the bulk of the plotters more intimately than did the seventeenth century Father Gerard. Therefore, Tesimond’s Narrative, pro tanto, must surpass in value even the work of the Father Gerard of three hundred years ago.



[1] — The following quotation is from the “Calendar of State Papers Domestic, 1603-1610,” p. 254: — “Nov. 13 (1605) Declaration of Fras. Tresham — Catesby revealed the Plot to him on October 14th: he opposed it: urged at least its postponement, and offered him money to leave the kingdom with his companions: thought they were gone, and intended to reveal the Treason; has been guilty of concealment, but, as he had no hand in the Plot, he throws himself on the King’s mercy.”

Now surely it stands to reason that if Tresham had penned the Letter — Litteræ Felicissimæ — he would have never addressed his Sovereign thus. He would have triumphantly gloried in the effort of his pen, and “worked” (as the phrase goes) “his beneficent action for all that it was worth.” Tresham was held back by the omnipotence of the impossible; anybody can see that who reads his evidence.

Besides Mounteagle, Tresham (who died of a painful disease, strangurion, in the Tower 23rd December, 1605) probably would have had a powerful (if bribed) friend in the Earl of Suffolk. Hence his friends saying that had he lived they feared not the course of Justice. The Earl of Suffolk was a son of Thomas fourth Duke of Norfolk, by his second wife, Margaret Audley, the heiress of Sir Thomas Audley, of Walden, Essex. The Duke was beheaded in 1572 for aspiring to the hand of James the First’s mother, Mary Queen of Scots. It is to James’s credit that he seems to have treated the Howard family, in its various branches, with marked consideration, after ascending the English Throne. Thomas fourth Duke of Norfolk’s first wife was the heiress of the then last Earl of Arundel, Lady Mary Fitzalan. She left one son, Philip, who became the well-known Philip Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey.

[2] — In 1568 a Commission was appointed which sat at York to hear the causes of the differences which had arisen between the Scottish Queen and her subjects. Thomas fourth Duke of Norfolk presided over this Commission, and the late lamented Bishop Creighton, in his fascinating biography of328 Queen Elizabeth, thinks that the proposal that Mary Stuart should be married to Norfolk came from the Scottish side at York on this occasion. Whatever may be the true history and character of Mary Queen of Scots, in clearness of mind she excelled her Royal cousin of England, that wonderful child of the Renaissance, poor, pathetic, lonely, yet marvellous, “Bess,” who for 342 years, even from the grave, has ruled one aspect of English ecclesiastical life.[A] Moreover, I am of opinion that the Scots’ Queen showed a singular tolerance of spirit towards the holders of theological opinions the contradictory of her own, whilst at the same time continuing constantly established in her own tenure of what she believed to be the Truth: indeed a tolerance of spirit, combined with a personal steadfastness, reached only by the very choicest spirits of that or any succeeding age.

Tolerance is not a simple but a compound product; and its attainment is especially difficult to women by reason of the essential intensity of their nature. Tolerance is a habit born of a consciousness of intellectual strength and moral power. It is a manifestation of that princely gift and grace which “becomes a monarch better than his crown.” It ought to be the birthright and peculiar characteristic of all that know (and therefore believe) they have a living possession of the Absolute and Everlasting Truth. In the interests of our common Humanity, all who think that their strength is as the “strength of ten,” because their “faith” (whatever may be the case with their “works”) is “pure,” should seek to place on an intellectual foundation, sure and steadfast, the principle, the grand principle, considered in so many of its concrete results, of religious toleration: a principle which England has exhibited in its practical working to the world: but rather as the conclusion of the unconscious logic of events than the conscious logic of the mind of man. Now this latter kind of logic alone, because it is idealistic, can give permanency; the former kind, being primarily materialistic, will inevitably sooner or later go “the way of all flesh;” and we know what that is.

The ideas of Truth and Right imply a oneness or unity. Now unity is the opposite of multiplicity, and, therefore, the contrary of division and distinction. One must rule men by virtue of the prerogatives of Truth and Right when these are ascertained. The problem at the root of the terrible conflict on the veldt of South Africa since 11th October, 1899, to the present time, 26th October, 1901, involves this question of the unity that is implied in the ideas of Truth and Right. For those ideas are the329 originating causes, the moving springs, the ultimate justification, and the final vindication of all true and just claims to paramountcy and sovereignty everywhere. But who is to determine which side has Truth and Right, and, therefore, the true and the just claim to paramountcy and sovereignty in South Africa?

Surely the answer is that people who have shown that they can rule Humanity because first they have themselves obeyed princely ideals of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. Nothing short of this can satisfy the universal conscience of mankind.

What have our men of light and leading been about that they have not explained clearly and straight from the shoulder these truths to the world long, long ago? Had they done so, how much innocent blood might have been never spilt! How many bitter tears might have been never shed!

[A] See “Life of Mary Queen of Scots,” by Samuel Cowan (Sampson, Low, 1901); also “The Mystery of Mary Stuart,” by Andrew Lang (Longmans, 1901).

[3] — Lord Mounteagle had been a party to the sending of Thomas Winter and Father Oswald Tesimond into Spain in 1601 to negotiate with King Philip III. of Spain an invasion of England with an army on Elizabeth’s death. In 1601 he seems to have been a prisoner in the house of Mr. Newport, of Bethnal Green. But in 1602 he was with Catesby at White Webbs, by Enfield Chase, near London; so he was then at liberty. On the accession of James I., Mounteagle — along with the Earl of Southampton (Shakespeare’s patron and friend), and Francis and Lewis Tresham — held the Tower of London for the King, who seems to have welcomed Mounteagle at Court from the first. After James’s accession Christopher Wright and Guy Fawkes were sent on a mission to Spain to urge upon the Spanish King to invade the realm. This mission seems to have been a continuation of the mission in 1601 of Winter and Tesimond. Mounteagle, however, took no part or lot in despatching the second mission. (It is important to notice the fact that as far back as 1601 and 1603 Thomas Winter and Tesimond, Christopher Wright and Fawkes, were co-workers in revolutionary designs against the Government of the day.)

Mounteagle’s father, Lord Morley, was living in 1605. He did not die till 1618, when his son and heir succeeded him as eleventh Baron Morley. Mounteagle was called to the House of Lords in the autumn of 1605, under the title of Baron Mounteagle, in right of his mother. “Mounteagle,” says Father Oswald Tesimond, alias Greenway, “was either actually a Catholic in opinion and in the interior of his heart, or was very well-disposed towards the Catholics, being a friend of several of the conspirators and related to some of them.” After the Plot, Mounteagle evidently left330 the religion of his ancestors, though his wife (née Tresham) continued constant herein, and brought up her children Catholics; but Mounteagle “died a Catholic.”

Jardine thinks that Mounteagle held some ceremonial office at Court, probably in the Household of Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James I., who was at heart a Roman Catholic, though most probably never received into that Church. — See “Carmel in England” (Burns & Oates, 1899), p. 30. We hear of Mounteagle about ten days before the 5th November, 1605, calling at the Palace at Richmond to kiss the Prince’s hands (i.e., Henry Prince of Wales). Thomas Winter told Catesby that Mounteagle, at that time, gathered from what he heard at the Royal Household that the Prince would not be present at the opening of Parliament. Somerset House was Queen Anne’s Palace. It would be the centre for all the most brilliant wits, ambassadors, and diplomatists of the day.

[4] — The Earl of Arundel and Lord William Howard were half-brothers. (Lord William Howard was “the Belted Will Howard,” renowned in Border story as the scourge of the lawless moss-trooper. For a description of this remarkable man see Sir Walter Scott’s “Lay of the Last Minstrel.”) The half-brothers were both the sons of that unfortunate nobleman, Thomas fourth Duke of Norfolk, who in 1572 was beheaded for aspiring to the hand of Mary Queen of Scots. Lord Arundel died in the Tower of London in 1595, “a Martyr-in-will for the Ancient Faith.” Though their father was a strong Protestant (being a pupil of John Fox, the author of Fox’s “Book of Martyrs”) both his sons, Philip and William, became strong Roman Catholics, as did his daughter, Margaret Lady Sackville. Philip Howard Earl of Arundel, losing his father when only fifteen years old, was, at an early age, drawn within the vortex of the gaieties of the Court of his kinswoman Queen Elizabeth. However, in the year 1581, while still a mere courtier and votary of pleasure, it happened he was present, we are told, at “the disputation in the Tower of London in 1581, concerning divers points of religion betwixt Fr. Edmond Campion of the Society of Jesus and some other Priests of the one part; Charke, Fulk, Whitaker, and some other Protestant Ministers of the other.” We are further told by his biographer, an unknown Jesuit writer of the seventeenth century, “By that he saw and heard there, he easily perceived on which side the Truth and true Religion was, tho’ at that time, nor untill a year or two after, he neither did nor intended to embrace and follow it: and after he did intend it a good while passed before he did execute it. For, as himself signify’d in a letter which he afterwards writ in the time of331 his imprisonment in the Tower to Fr. Southwell, he resolved to become Catholic long before he could resolve to live as a Catholic, and thereupon he defer’d the former until he had an intent and resolute purpose to perform the latter. The which (being aided by a special grace of God) he made walking one day alone in the Gallery of his Castle at Arundel, where after a long and great conflict within himself, lifting up his eies and hands to Heaven, he firmly resolved to become a member of God’s Church, and to frame his life accordingly.”

Sir Robert Howard, in the reign of Henry VI., married the Lady Margaret Mowbray, daughter of Thomas De Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, and grand-daughter, maternally, of Richard Fitzalan Earl of Arundel (“Law Times,” 9th November, 1901). The motto of the Howards Dukes of Norfolk is, “Virtus sola invicta” — “Virtue alone unconquered.” The motto of the Howards Earls of Carlisle is, “Volo sed non valeo” — “I am willing, but I am not able.”

The Earl of Arundel was “reconciled” by Fr. Wm. Weston, of the Society of Jesus, in 1584. In the next year he was imprisoned, and after an incarceration of ten years died in 1595. Fr. Robert Southwell, the poet, wrote for the Earl’s consolation, when the latter was in the Tower of London, that ravishing work, the “Epistle of Comfort.” (The illustrious House of the Norfolk Howards has been indeed highly favoured in being able to call “Friend” and “Father” two such exquisite geniuses as Robert Southwell and Frederic William Faber.) The two half-brothers, Philip and William, married two sisters, the daughters and co-heiresses of Thomas Lord Dacres of the North, “a person of great estate, power, and authority in those parts (as possessing no less than nine baronies) and one of the most ancient for nobility in the whole kingdom.” These ladies were among the most amiable and delightful women of their time. From Philip Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey and Anne Dacres is descended the present Duke of Norfolk; and from his half-brother Lord William Howard and Elizabeth Dacres the present Earl of Carlisle: both of which Englishmen are indeed worthy of their “noble ancestors,” and fulfil the great Florentine poet’s ideal of “the truly noble,” in that they confer nobility upon their race.

For further facts concerning those mentioned in this note — who so appeal to the historic imagination and so touch the historic sympathies — see the “Lives of Philip Howard Earl of Arundel and Anne Dacres his wife” (Hurst & Blackett), and the “Household Books of Lord William Howard” (Surtees Society).


[5] — Lord Mounteagle would be also akin to Lord Lumley (who had estates at or about Pickering, I believe), through the great House of Neville. Lord Lumley’s portrait, from a painting in the possession of the Right Hon. the Earl of Scarbrough, Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire, is to be found in Edward Hailstone’s “Yorkshire Worthies,” vol. i. Edward Hailstone, Esquire, of Walton Hall, Wakefield, was a rich benefactor to the York Minster Library, and his memory should be ever had in grateful remembrance by all who “love Yorkshire because they know her.” — See Jackson’s “Guide to Yorkshire” (Leeds).

[6] — It should be remembered that (i.) the page’s evidence goes to show that the man who delivered the Letter was a “tall man.” (ii.) That the Letter was given in the street to the page who was already in the street when the “tall man” came up to him with the document.

Hoxton is about four miles from Whitehall. I opine that Mounteagle proceeded from Bath to Hoxton, and that the supper had been pre-arranged to take place at Hoxton on the evening of the 26th of October, 1605, by Thomas Ward, the gentleman-servant of Lord Mounteagle, who indeed read the Letter after Mounteagle had broken the seal and just glanced at its contents. Anybody gifted with ordinary common sense can see that this scene must have been all planned beforehand.

[7] — The letters “wghe” are not, at this date (5th October, 1900), clearly discernible.

[8] — See letter dated November, 1605 — Sir Edward Hoby to Sir Thomas Edmonds. Add. MSS. in British Museum, No. 4176, where name “Thomas Ward” is given.

[9] — Stowe’s “Chronicle,” continued by Howes, p. 880. Ed. 1631.

From the evidence of William Kydall, it was physically impossible for Thomas Winter to confer with Christopher Wright, Wright being nearly 100 miles away from London “the next day after the delivery of the Letter,” for the next day would be Sunday, October the 27th. Wright reached London in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 30th.

See Appendix respecting discrepancy as to date not affecting allegation of fact when the former is not of the essence of the statement, per Lord Chief Justice Scroggs, temp. Charles II.

[10] — Fawkes was apprehended at “midnight without the House,” according to “A Discourse of this late intended Treason.” Knevet having333 given notice that he had secured Fawkes, thereupon Suffolk, Salisbury, and the Council went to the King’s chamber at the Palace in Whitehall, and Fawkes was brought into the Royal Presence. This was at about four o’clock in the morning of Tuesday, the 5th of November.

Fawkes showed the calmest behaviour conceivable in the Royal Presence. To those whom he regarded as being of authority he was respectful, yet very firm; but towards those whom he deemed as of no account, he was humorously scornful. The man’s self control was astounding. He told his auditory that “a dangerous disease requires a desperate remedy!” (See “King’s Book.”)

Whitehall Palace had been a Royal Palace since the reign of Henry VIII.; it was burned down in the time of William and Mary. It was formerly what St. James’s Palace is now in relation to royal functions.

It was at St. James’s Palace that His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII. deigned to receive the respectful address of condolence on the death of His late beloved Imperial Mother, and of loyal assurance of devoted attachment to His Throne and Person from Cardinal Vaughan, together with several Bishops, the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquis of Ripon, the Lord Mowbray and Stourton, and the Lord Herries, including other peers and representatives of the English Roman Catholic laity.

By a singular coincidence the day happened to be the 295th anniversary of the execution of Father Henry Garnet, S.J., in St. Paul’s Churchyard, London (3rd May, 1606): a coincidence of happy augury, let us devoutly hope, that old things are about to pass away, and that all things are about to become new!

[11] — Essex House was between the Strand and the River Thames.

Somerset House was a favourite Palace of Queen Anne of Denmark, the Consort of James I. Here the Spanish Ambassador Extraordinary, Juan Fernandez de Velasco, Duke de Frias, and Constable of Castile, sojourned a fortnight, when in 1604 he came to ratify the treaty of peace between England and Spain.

[12] — By Poulson in his “History of Holderness,” Yorks. (1841), vol. ii., pp. 5, 7, in an account of the Wright family, where there is a pedigree showing the names of Christopher Wright and his elder brother John. Poulson may have been recording a local tradition, though he mentions no kind of authority. — See also Foster’s Ed. of Glover’s “Visitation of Yorkshire,” Also Norcliffe’s Ed. of Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire” (Harleian Society).

See Supplementum for account of my visit to Plowland (or Plewland) Hall, in the Parish of Welwick, Holderness, on the 6th of May, 1901.


[13] — See “Guy Fawkes,” by Rev. Thomas Lathbury, M.A. (J. W. Parker, 1839), p. 21. Lathbury does not give his authority for this interesting statement respecting this conspirator, Christopher Wright. It is presumed, however, that he had some ground for the statement; for it is antecedently improbable that his “imagination” should have provided so circumstantial an assertion. Then, whence did he derive it?

Query: — Does Greenway’s Narrative make any such statement? Apparently Jardine had a sight of the whole of this invaluable MS., and possibly Lathbury (who appears to have been a clergyman of the Established Church) may have seen it likewise through Canon Tierney, the Editor of “Dodd’s Church History.”

[14] — I am afraid that when the Acts of the High Commission Court that sat in the King’s Manor, in York, under the Presidency of Queen Elizabeth’s kinsman, the Earl of Huntingdon, come to be published, we shall find that “the lads and lassies” of Yorkshire and Lancashire especially were very “backward in coming forward” to greet the rising of the Elizabethan ecclesiastical aurora which it was their special privilege to behold.

Mr. Thomas Graves Law knows about these invaluable historical documents, and I hope that he will undertake their editorship. He is just the man for this grand piece of work. To the people of “New England,” as well as of “Old England,” these records of the York Court of High Commission are of extraordinary interest, because they relate to “Puritan Sectaries” as well as to “Popish Recusants,” Scrooby, so well known in the history of the Pilgrim Fathers, being in the Archdiocese of York.

[15] — So that bad as they were, they were not hoary-headed criminals, if we except Percy who seems to have been prematurely “grey.”

The name of Thomas Percy’s mother appears under “Beverley” as “Elizabeth Percye the widowe of Edward Percye deceased,” in Peacock’s “List of Roman Catholics of Yorkshire in 1604.”

The Percy Arms are in Welwick Church. (Communicated by Miss Burnham, of Plowland, Welwick.)

[16] — I have seen the statement in a letter of the Earl (who was one of the most scientific men of his age) which he wrote after the discovery of the Plot. The letter is in Collins’ “Peerage.” The Earl of Salisbury was Northumberland’s enemy, as Northumberland was looked up to by the popish recusants as a sort of natural leader, though the Earl, on his own335 avowal, was no papist. Salisbury’s native perspicacity, however, told him that Northumberland, from every point of view, was alike to the Royal House of Stuart and to the noble house of Salisbury dangerous. For had the oppressed papists “thrown off” the yoke of James in course of time, Salisbury’s life would have been not worth the price of a farthing candle; and the philosophic, nonchalant Northumberland would have thought that the papists’ support was well “worth a Mass,” just as did King Harry of Navarre, the father of Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I., a few years previously. (An ancient portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria is in the possession of the York Merchant Adventurers, York.) Then again, Salisbury had a personal grudge against the proud Percy. For the latter evidently in his heart scorned and rejected Salisbury, not only as a novus homo — a new man — but as belonging to that band of statesmen who had controlled Elizabeth’s policy, and told her not what she ought to do, but what she could do; and whom the great Northern Earl would have been taught from his cradle to spurn at and despise, because they were nothing other than “a low bad lot,” who “were for themselves;” very different indeed from the Earls of Essex, Walter and Robert, and such men as Sir Henry Sidney and his still greater son, Sir Philip Sidney, the darling of the England of his day. Percy indeed once declared that if Percy blood and Cecil blood were both poured into a bowl, the former would refuse to mix with the latter. So, human nature being what it is, no wonder the shrewd and able Salisbury had no love for the “high and mighty” Northumberland, and that carpe diem — seize your opportunity — was Salisbury’s motto as soon as he got the chance. (I know of no stronger proof that, during the past 300 years, in spite of back-waters, the world has made true moral progress than the contrast presented by the present Prime Minister and the present First Lord of the Treasury and their ancestors of “Great Eliza’s golden time” and the days of James Stuart.)

[17] — Robert Catesby held his Chastleton estate in possession from his grandmother. He sold it to pay his ransom after the Essex rebellion. (Dr. Jessopp in Article on “Catesby,” “National Dictionary of Biography.”)

Had Catesby an estate at Armcote, in Worcestershire, not far from Chipping Norton?

[18] — This Father Gerard of the seventeenth century was the second son of Sir Thomas Gerard, of Byrn, Lancashire. He was an acquaintance of the Wards, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, most probably, for he was the early and life-long friend of Mary Ward. — See the “Life of Mary Ward,” by Mary Catherine Elizabeth Chambers (Burns & Oates).


[19] — Sir Thomas Leigh settled considerable property to the uses of the marriage. Jardine says that only Chastleton actually came into Catesby’s possession.

[20] — S. T. Coleridge, speaking of the age of Elizabeth, says that, notwithstanding its marvellous physical and intellectual prosperity, “it was an age when, for a time, the intellect stood superior to the moral sense.” “Lectures on Shakespeare,” Collier’s Ed. (1856), p. 34.

[21] — What a lesson to us all, of every creed and philosophy, is the just, yet terrible fate of these personally charming men, “to hug the shore” of plain Natural Ethics, of solid Moral Virtue, which indeed is “fairer than the morning or the evening star.” The establishment of Ethical Societies by such men as the late Sir John Seeley and Professor Henry Sidgwick for the diffusion of true Moral Ideas is a fact pregnant with happy augury for the twentieth century.

[22] — Jardine’s “Narrative,” pp. 31, 32.

[23] — Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 56.

[24] — Knaresborough, Knaresbrough or Knaresburgh, is thus pleasantly celebrated in Drayton’s “Polyolbion”: —

“From Whernside Hill not far outflows the nimble Nyde,
Through Nytherside, along as sweetly she doth glide
Tow’rds Knaresburgh on her way —
Where that brave forest stands
Entitled by the town[A] who, with upreared hands,
Makes signs to her of joy, and doth with garlands crown
The river passing by.”

[A] The allusion is to the ancient Forest of Knaresbrough belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster. (As to the extent and history of the Forest, see Grainge’s “Forest of Knaresbrough.”)

[25] — “The Venerable” Francis Ingleby’s portrait is still to be seen at Ripley Castle, an ideal English home, hard-by the winding Nidd.

[26] — For the facts of Francis Ingleby’s life, see Challoner’s “Missionary Priests,” edited by Thomas G. Law; and “Acts of the English Martyrs” (Burns & Oates), by the Rev. J. H. Pollen, S.J.


[27] — From Father Gerard’s “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 59.

[28] — See the admirably written life of Sir Everard Digby, under the title “The Life of a Conspirator,” by “One of his descendants” (Kegan Paul & Co., 1895). The learned descendant of Sir Everard Digby, however, evidently knows very much more concerning his gallant ancestor than he knows about Guy Fawkes, who (excepting that “accident of an accident” — fortune) was as honourable a character as the high-minded spouse of Mary Mulsho himself — honourable, of course, I mean after their kind. — Jardine’s “Narrative of Gunpowder Plot,” p. 67.

[29] — Sir William Catesby and Sir Thomas Tresham were excellent types of the English gentry of their day. Each was “a fine old English gentleman, one of the olden time.” They had both become “reconciled” Roman Catholics — along with so many of the nobility, gentry, and yeomanry in the Midlands — in 1580-81, through the famous missionary journey of the Jesuit, Robert Parsons, probably forming with Edmund Campion two of the most powerful extempore preachers that ever gave utterance to the English tongue.

We may readily picture to ourselves “the coming of age” of the son and heir of each of these gallant knights and stately dames. And we may easily conceive of the bright hopes that either of the gentlewomen (especially the two sisters), in their close-fitting caps, laced ruffs, and gowns falling in pleated folds, must have cherished in their maternal hearts for an honourable career for the child — the treasured child — of their bosom. Alas! through the evil will of man, for the pathetic vanity of human wishes.

[30] — Jardine, in his “Narrative,” p. 51, says that John Grant’s ancestors are described in several pedigrees as of Saltmarsh, in Worcestershire, and of Snitterfield, in Warwickshire; that Norbrook adjoined Snitterfield, though it is not now considered locally situate therein. Students of Shakespeare will be interested to learn that in the Parish of Snitterfield, near Grant’s ancestral home, the poet’s mother, Mary Arden — herself connected with the Throckmorton family — owned property. Moreover, through his mother, Shakespeare was distantly connected with several of the plotters. For Catesby and Tresham, as well as Lady Wigmore, of Lucton, Herefordshire, were all first cousins to Lady Mounteagle, who was a daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (the father of Francis Throckmorton, who was executed in338 the reign of Elizabeth) having three daughters whom he married to Sir William Catesby, Sir Thomas Tresham, and Sir William Wigmore. — See Jardine’s “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 11; also Foley’s “Records of the Jesuits in England” (Burns & Oates), vol. iv., p. 290.

Probably Shakespeare knew Grant personally, and not only Grant, but Catesby, Percy, the Winters (Robert and Thomas Winter were likewise akin to the Throckmortons), and Tresham. That the bard of Avon knew Lord Mounteagle, the associate of his friend and patron the Earl of Southampton, is even still more probable.

How is it that Shakespeare never in his writings sought to make political capital (as the sinister phrase goes) out of the Gunpowder Plot? For several reasons: first, his heart (if not his head) was with the ancient faith he had learned in the old Warwickshire home; secondly, his large humanity prompted him to sympathise with all that were oppressed. I hold that in this studied silence, this dignified reserve of Shakespeare, we may discern additional proof of the nobleness of the man, supposing that he knew personally any of the plotters. He would not kick friends that were down, when those friends were even traitors. He could not approve their action — far from it. He might have condemned with justice, and with the world’s applause. But upon himself a self-denying ordinance he laid, tempting as it must have been to him to perform the contrary, especially when we recollect the course then followed by his brother-poet — Jonson. But Shakespeare would not “take sword in hand” with the pretence of restoring “equality” between these wrong-doers and their country. He deemed that the ends of justice — exact, strict Justice — were met in “the hangman’s bloody hands” — “Macbeth,” 1606 — and that sufficed for him.

Since writing the above note I find it stated in “The Religion of Shakespeare,” by Henry Sebastian Bowden (Burns & Oates, 1899) — chiefly from the writings of that great Elizabethan scholar, the late Richard Simpson — that “among the chief actors in the so-called Gunpowder Plot were Catesby; the two Bates; John Grant, of Norbrook, near Stratford; Thomas Winter, Grant’s brother-in-law; all Shakespeare’s friends and benefactors” (p. 103); so that my conjecture is, belike, warranted that the poet knew Catesby, Winter, and Grant. Moreover, from the same work, it appears that Shakespeare, through the Ardens and Throckmortons, was connected by family marriages, not only with Catesby, the Winters, and Tresham, but distantly with the Earl of Southampton himself, who was a relative of Lord Mounteagle. Hence it is still more probable that Shakespeare knew Mounteagle personally.


Again, Shakespeare probably was present as one of the King’s players in 1604 at Somerset House, on the occasion of the Constable of Castile’s visit. — See Sidney Lee’s “Life of Shakespeare” (Smith & Elder), p. 233. — If this were so, then it is well-nigh certain that the poet must have there beheld Mounteagle, who would be one of the Lords then present, most probably in attendance on the Queen Consort. The festivities in honour of the Spanish Ambassador Extraordinary wound up with a magnificent banquet at the Palace of Whitehall, when the Earl of Southampton “danced a correnta” with the Queen. This was August 19th, 1604. — Cf. Churton Collins’s “Ephemera Critica” (Constable) as to religion of Shakespeare.

[31] — The name is also spelt Tirwhitt. Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, Lady Ursula Babthorpe’s grandfather, had entertained Henry VIII. at the old Hall at Kettleby. A new Hall was built in the time of James I., but this was pulled down about 1691, I believe. The Tyrwhitts, of Kettleby, were allied to such as the Tailboys, Boroughes, Wymbishes, Monsons, Tournays, Thimbelbies, Thorolds, and other Lincolnshire houses. They were rigidly Roman Catholic. The marriage between Sir William Babthorpe and Ursula Tyrwhitt was one of those marriages “that are made in heaven.” The lovely pathos of the lives of this ideal Yorkshire family is indescribable; beginning with Sir William Babthorpe, who harboured Campion in 1581. It was continued through Sir Ralph Babthorpe, who married that “valiant woman” (the only daughter and heiress of William Birnand, the Recorder of York), Grace Birnand by name, of Brimham, Knaresbrough, and York. Lady Grace Babthorpe’s active and contemplative life was one long singing of Gloria in excelsis. Sir William Babthorpe and Lady Ursula his wife, like their noble parents, Sir Ralph Babthorpe and Lady Grace, “for conscience sake” became voluntary exiles “and with strangers made their home.” Sir William died a captain in the Spanish Army fighting against France. Lady Ursula, his wife, died of the plague at Bruges. They had many children, some of whom were remarkably gifted. Mary Anna Barbara Babthorpe, the grand-daughter of Sir William Babthorpe, and great-great-grand-daughter of the Sir William Babthorpe who harboured Campion, was the Mother-General of the Nuns of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin, one of whose oldest convents, St. Mary’s, is still situated near Micklegate Bar, York, on land given by Sir Thomas Gascoigne, Bart., of Barnbow Hall, near Aberford, in the time of James II. In Ireland the nuns of this order are styled the Loretto Nuns. The story of the Babthorpes is a veritable English “Un Récit d’une sœur.” — See “Life of Mary Ward.” — The Wards340 — like the Inglebies, of Ripley; the Constables, of Everingham;[A] the Dawnays, of Sessay; and the Palmes, of Naburn — were related to this “family of saints.” — See also “The Babthorpes, of Babthorpe” (one of whose ancestors carried the sword before King Edward III. on entering Calais in 1347), in the late Rev. John Morris’s “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,” first series (Burns & Oates).

For “the Kayes,” of Woodsome, see Canon Hulbert’s “Annals of Almondbury” (Longmans).

“The Venerable” Richard Langley, of Owsthorpe and Grimthorpe, near Pocklington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, who suffered at the York Tyburn on the 1st December, 1586, for harbouring priests, was great-grandson of one of the Kayes, of Woodsome. (Communicated by Mr. Oswald C. B. Brown, Solicitor, of York.)

[32] — “Greenway’s MS.,” quoted by Jardine, “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 151.

[33] — Hawarde, “Reportes of Star Chamber.”

See “The Fawkeses, of York,” by Robert Davies, sometime Town Clerk of York (Nichols, Westminster, 1850); and the “Life of Guy Fawkes,” by William Camidge (Burdekin, York). Davies was a learned York antiquary.

William Harrington, the elder, first cousin to Edward Fawkes (Guy’s father), and Thomas Grimstone, of Grimston, were both “bound over” by the Privy Council, on the 6th of December, 1581, to appear before the Lord President of the North and the Justices of Assize at the next Assizes at York, for harbouring Edmund Campion. — See “Acts of Privy Council, 1581” (Eyre & Spottiswoode), p. 282. — What was the upshot I do not know.

Their Indictments are probably still to be found at York Castle. And it is a great desideratum that the old York Castle Indictments should be catalogued, and a catalogue published. I believe such never has been done.341 Since August, 1900, York Castle has been used as a Military Prison. All the old Indictments that are in existence, whether at York, Worcester, or other Assize towns, would be of interest and value re the Gunpowder Plot if the affair is to be thoroughly bottomed.

The York Quarter Sessions’ Indictments appear to be irretrievably lost, which is a great pity, as many of those of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries must have referred to Popish recusants, and those of the seventeenth century probably to Puritan sectaries, and, later, to Quakers as well — the latter being punished under the Popish Acts of Supremacy and Allegiance. Indeed, the barrister, William Prynne (seventeenth century), a Calvinistic English Presbyterian, wrote a book to prove that Quakerism was only a sort of indirect and derivative Popery. The learned gentleman entitled his work: “The Quakers unmasked and clearly detected to be but the spawn of Romish Frogs, Jesuites, and Franciscan Fryers.” Now, Prynne was not far wrong either, the erudite historical philosopher knows very well, who has studied the genesis of the remarkable system developed by Fox, Barclay, and Penn.

Was there a Grimston near Mount St. John, Feliskirk, near Thirsk? Or was it Grimston Garth, Holderness? or was it North Grimston, between Malton and Driffield, that Thomas Grimstone came from; or Grimston, three miles east of York?

Since writing the preceding note I have come to the conclusion that the Grimston was, most likely, the Grimstone some twelve miles from Mount St. John, in the Parish of Gilling East, near Hovingham and Ampleforth, in the Vale of Mowbray, and near Gilling Castle, once the seat of the Catholic branch of the Fairfaxes, now the seat of George Wilson, Esquire, J.P. This Grimstone would be a spot very suitable for harbouring Campion after he had been at Babthorpe, near Selby; Thixendale, near Leavening, east of Malton; and Fryton, west of Malton, near Hovingham.

(How wonderful to think that the probabilities are in favour of the supposal that these tranquil, sequestered nooks, each with its own fair summer beauty, once rang with the golden eloquence of Edmund Campion, “one of the diamonds of England,” in the days of Shakespeare.)

Guy Fawkes was also connected with another Roman Catholic martyr, “the Venerable” William Knight, yeoman, of South Duffield, Hemingbrough, Selby, East Yorkshire, who suffered death at the York Tyburn in 1596, for “explaining to a man the Catholic faith.” — See Challoner and Foster’s “Pedigrees of Yorkshire Families” (“Fawkes, of Farnley”).

[A] The Constables, of Everingham, are one of those old English Roman Catholic families who so appealed to the historic imagination and so touched the historic sympathies of the first Earl of Beaconsfield. The present Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lord Herries, is the owner of this grand old home of the Constables, one of whom was executed for his share in the first Pilgrimage of Grace under Robert Aske, of Aughton on the Derwent, in the time of Henry VIII. (1536). The pilgrims captured York, Pontefract, and Hull, and laid siege to Skipton Castle. Aske was hanged as a traitor from one of the towers of York, either Clifford’s Tower or possibly the tower of All Saints’ Church, The Pavement, York. After the movement had been quelled, Henry VIII. came with dread majesty to York and established the Council of the North. Lady Lumley, the wife of Sir John Lumley, of Lumley Castle, was burned alive at Smithfield. — See Burke’s “Tudor Portraits.”

[34] — Father Morris, S.J., in “The Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers” (York volume), says that Father Tesimond was a Yorkshireman; though in342 Foley’s “Records,” in one place, he is said to have been born in Northumberland, perhaps a translation of the Latin “Northumbria,” intended to represent the name “Yorkshire.” There were, at least, three families of Tesimond in York in the reign of Elizabeth, namely, Robert Tesimond, a butcher, of Christ’s Parish; Anthony Tesimond, a cordyner; and William Tesimond, a saddler, both of St. Michael-le-Belfrey’s Parish. I incline to think that Father Oswald Tesimond was the son of William Tesimond, who lived in the Parish of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, York. Oswald Tesimond was born in 1563; but as the Register books of St. Michael’s Church, unfortunately, begin in 1565, two years afterwards, there are no means of verifying my supposal. William Tesimond was, for a great part of his life, a rigid Catholic, suffering imprisonment for his faith, although eventually he appears to have yielded. Margaret Tesimond, the wife of William Tesimond, also bore a more than lip testimony to the ancient religion by suffering imprisonment for it. Whether William Tesimond died “reconciled” or not, I cannot say. Perhaps further researches will clear the matter up as to this and the exact parentage of Father Tesimond. In the very learned and deeply lamented Dr. James Raine’s admirable book on the City of York (Longmans, 1893), on p. 110, is the following: — “Whilst the Earl of Northumberland’s head was lying in the Tolbooth on Ouse Bridge, William Tessimond cut off some hair from the beard. He wrapped it in paper, and wrote on the outside, ‘This the heire of the good Erle of Northumberland, Lord Perecy.’ For this he got into great trouble.” This must have been about the 22nd August, 1572, as Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland was beheaded on that day, at three o’clock in the afternoon, in The Pavement, York, for his share in the Rising of the North. The Church Register of St. Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, contains an entry of the death of the Earl of Northumberland. The Percy family had property in Walmgate at that time. The Earl is now “the Blessed Thomas Percy,” one of “the York martyrs.” The Lady Mary Percy, of Ghent, a well-known Benedictine Abbess, was his daughter. She would be probably named after her aunt Mary, the wife of Francis Slingsby, of Scriven Hall, near Scotton. There is a fine monument in the Parish Church of Knaresbrough to the memory of Francis Slingsby and Mary Percy, his wife. The Slingsbies were Roman Catholics till many years after the reign of Elizabeth; in fact, Sir Henry Slingsby, who was beheaded during the Commonwealth, was himself a Roman Catholic.

The Half Moon Hotel, in Blake Street, York, perhaps derives its name from the well-known device of the Percy family.

[35] — Quoted from Father Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 278.


[36] — So that the Plot was first hatched about Easter, 1604. — See Dr. S. R. Gardiner’s “What Gunpowder Plot was,” as to the decisive causes of the Plot. — Jardine, in his “Narrative” (pp. 45 and 46), thinks that the Star-Chambering of that aged but charming Roman Catholic gentleman, Thomas Pounde, Esquire, of Belmont, Hampshire, contributed to the causes of the Plot. This is very probable. Pounde was first cousin to the father of the Earl of Southampton, the patron and friend of Shakespeare. Pounde was a devoted friend of Campion, and himself a Jesuit lay-brother. He spent a large part of his life in prison. He was attired in prison as became his rank and fortune, and was, besides being a “mystical” Catholic, a most accomplished Elizabethan gentleman. — See “Jesuits in Conflict” (Burns & Oates).

[37] — I.e., according to Winter, about two months after.

[38] — See pp. 269 and 271 of the Rev. John Gerard’s, S.J., work, “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” (Osgood, McIlvaine, & Co., 1897).

[39] — I.e., a Prayer Book. Sir Everard Digby appears to have been sworn in by Robert Catesby on the cross formed by the hilt of a poniard. — See “Life of Sir Everard Digby.”

[40] — It is also said that Catesby “peremptorily demanded of his associates a promise that they would not mention the project, even in Confession, lest their ghostly fathers should discountenance and hinder it.” — See “The Month,” No. 369, pp. 353, 4. — This would be to make assurance double sure. But, happily, the “best laid schemes o’ men gang aft agley.” “For there is on earth a yet auguster thing, veiled though it be, than Parliament or King” — the human conscience, which is “prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathenas” (John Henry Newman). Also, “Conscience is the knowledge with oneself of the better and the worse” (James Martineau).

[41] — See Jardine’s “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 41.

[42] — The Most Hon. the Marquess of Ripon, K.G., Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire, and the Marchioness of Ripon, C.I., of Studley Royal, near Ripon, are descended from this leile-hearted and chivalrous Yorkshire race, in whom so many idealistic, stately souls, of a long buried Past, claim kindred.


Of what manner of men these Mallories were, the puissant owners of Studley Royal, is evident from what we are told concerning that Sir William Mallory, “who was so zealous and constant a Catholic, that when heresy first came into England, and Catholic service commanded to be put down on such a day, he came to the church, and stood there at the door with his sword drawn to defend, that none should come in to abolish religion, saying that he would defend it with his life, and continued for some days keeping out the officers so long as he could possibly do it.” — From the “Babthorpes, of Babthorpe,” Morris’s “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,” first series, p. 227. — The Church referred to must have been the old Chapel at Aldfield, near Studley Royal. Aldfield was one of the Chapelries of the ancient Parish of Ripon. The old Chapel at Aldfield is now represented by the noble new Church which is seen in the distance, at the end of the long avenue, by all who have the rare happiness of visiting Studley Royal and the tall grey ruins of the Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary, Fountains, laved by the musical little River Skell. (Studley Church is twin-sister to Skelton Church, the Vyner Memorial in the Park of Newby. Skelton was likewise one of the old Ripon Chapelries.) This phrase “to abolish religion,” I opine, refers to the time of Edward VI., when the Mass was first put down, and a communion substituted therefor. — See Tennyson’s “Mary Tudor.” — There is a curious old traditional prophecy extant in Yorkshire, as well as other parts of England, that as the Mass was abolished in the reign of the Sixth Edward, so it will be restored in the reign of the Seventh!

[43] — The promoters of the Rising of the North wished: —

(1) To restore to her kingdom Mary Queen of Scots, who simply fascinated Francis Norton, and every other imaginative, romantic, Yorkshire heart that she came in contact with.

(2) To depose Elizabeth, whom they regarded as morally no true claimant for the throne, until dispensed from her illegitimacy by the Pope.

(3) To place Mary Stuart on the throne of England.

(4) Above all, to restore “the ancient faith,” which they did in Durham, Staindrop, Darlington, Richmond, Ripon, and some of the churches in Cleveland, for a very brief season.

It is to be remembered that the Rising of the North in 1569 was not joined in by all the Catholics of Yorkshire, nor by any of the Catholics of Lancashire. This latter fact, together with the influence of Cardinal Allen, of Rossall, partly accounts for the circumstance that Lancashire (especially the neighbourhood of “Wigan and Ashton-on-Makerfield,345 and, above all, the Fylde, that region between Lancaster and Preston, whence “the great Allen” sprang) is “the Rome of England” to this day. It is said that the Parish Church of Bispham (near which the well-known sea-side resort, Blackpool, is situated) was the parish church where last the parochial Latin Mass was said publicly in Lancashire, the priest being Jerome Allen, uncle to the Cardinal. In the white-washed yeoman dwellings of the Fylde have been reared many of the sturdiest and most solidly pious of the post-Reformation English Catholic Priests. William Allen’s plain, honest, finely-touched spirit seems to have brooded over this fruitful, western, wind-swept land which is well worthy of exploration by all philosophic historians that visit Blackpool.

Also, all who travel in Yorkshire, either by road or rail, from Knaresbrough and Harrogate to Ripon, and thence to Topcliffe, Thirsk, Darlington, Durham, and Alnwick, pass through a part of the North of England whose very air is laden with historic memories of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. And how often, when visiting Bishop Thornton (an idyllic hamlet betwixt Harrogate, Pateley Bridge, and Ripon, that is still a stronghold of “the ancient faith,” which, as in a last Yorkshire retreat, has there never died out), has the writer recalled the following lines from the old “Ballad of the Rising of the North”: —

“Lord Westmoreland his ancyent [i.e., ensign] raisde,
The Dun Bull he rais’d on hye;
Three dogs with golden collars brave,
Were there set out most royallye.
Earl Percy there his ancyent spred,
The half moon shining all so fair;
The Nortons ancyent had the Cross
And the Five Wounds Our Lord did beare.”

Norton Conyers, in the Parish of Wath, near Ripon, was forfeited by the Nortons after the Rebellion of 1569. It is now, I believe, the property of Sir Reginald Graham, Bart. If the Grantley estate belonged to the Nortons in 1569, it was not forfeited, or else it was recovered to the Norton family. Grantley, however, may have possibly belonged to the Markenfields, and, being forfeited by them, granted to Francis Norton, the eldest son of old Richard Norton. — See “Sir Ralph Sadlers Papers,” Ed. by Sir Walter Scott. — The present Lord Grantley is descended from Thomas Norton, who was sixth in descent from old Richard Norton, and fifth in descent from Francis, the eldest of the famous “eight good sons.” The Grantley property belonged to Lord Grantley until it was recently disposed of to Sir Christopher Furness, M.P. Lord Grantley’s ancestor, Sir Fletcher Norton, was created Lord Grantley and Baron Markenfield in 1782. Sir Fletcher346 Norton’s mother was a Fletcher, of Little Strickland, in the County of Westmoreland. The present Sir Henry Fletcher, Bart., M.P., belongs to a branch of the Fletcher family, who originally came from Cockermouth, in Cumberland. There is a tradition that when Mary Queen of Scots had been defeated at the Battle of Langside, after her romantic escape from Lochleven Castle, Henry Fletcher, of Cockermouth Hall, waited on the Scots’ Queen when she first landed at Workington. Henry Fletcher “entertained” the Queen at Cockermouth Hall (17th May, 1568), “most magnificently, presenting her with robes of velvet.” It is further said that when James I. came to the English Throne he treated Henry Fletcher’s son, Thomas Fletcher, with great distinction, and offered to bestow upon him a knighthood. — See Nicholson & Burns’ “History of Cumberland and Westmoreland.”

As to the Nortons and Markenfields, see Wordsworth’s “White Doe of Rylstone”; “Memorials of the Rebellion of 1569” (1840); Froude’s “History of England”; “Memorials of Cardinal Allen[A] (Ed. by Dr. Knox, published by Nutt, London); and J. S. Fletcher’s “Picturesque Yorkshire” (Dent & Co.). In Hailstone’s “Portraits of Yorkshire Worthies” (two magnificent volumes published by Cundall & Fleming) are photographs of old Richard Norton and of his brother Thomas, and of the former’s seventh son, Christopher. The photographs are taken from paintings in the possession of Lord Grantley, now, I believe, at Markenfield Hall.

The same valuable work also contains a photograph of a portrait of “the Blessed” Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland, from a painting belonging to the Slingsbies, of Scriven.

From the Ripon Minster Registers of Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, it is plain that, between the years 1589 and 1601, a “Norton,” described as “generosus,” lived at Sawley, close to Bishop Thornton and Grantley, near Ripon.

[44] — In 1569 the Norton Conyers estate seems to have been vested in a Nicholas Norton, probably as a trustee. — See “Sir Ralph Sadler’s Papers,” and see ante, Supplementum III.


The Winters were also related to the Markenfields, their aunt, Isabel Ingleby, having married Thomas Markenfield, of Markenfield.

The Wrights and Winters were also, through the Inglebies, connected with the Yorkes, of Gowthwaite, in Nidderdale, of which family, most probably, sprang Captain Roland Yorke (who introduced the use of the rapier into England — see Camden’s “Elizabeth”), the friend of Sir Philip Sidney, in the Netherlands. — See Foster’s Edition of “Glover’s Visitation of Yorkshire”; “The Earl of Leicester’s Correspondence” (Camden Soc.); also “Cardinal Allen’s Defence of Sir William Stanley’s Surrender of Deventer, 29th January, 1586-87” (Chetham Soc.).

The Wards, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, were related to the Nortons, old Richard Norton’s grandmother being Margaret, daughter of Roger Ward, of Givendale. Richard Norton’s mother was Ann, daughter and heiress of Miles Ratcliffe, of Rylstone. Through her came to the Nortons the Rylstone estates. Hence the title of the immortal poem of the Lake poet.

Rylstone and Barden (or Norton) Tower are both near Skipton-in-Craven. Skipton Castle was the seat of the Cliffords Earls of Cumberland. The Craven estates of the Nortons, it is said, were granted by James I. to Francis Earl of Cumberland. (I visited Norton Tower in company with my friend, Mr. William Whitwell, F.L.S., now of Balham, a gentleman of varied literary and scientific acquirements, in the year 1883. Norton Tower, built on Rylstone Fell, between the valleys which separate the Rivers Aire and Wharfe, commands a magnificent prospect “without bound, of plain and dell, dark moor and gleam of pool and stream.” — See Dr. Whitaker’s “Craven.”)

[A] Cardinal Allen, though a Lancashireman by his father, was a Yorkshireman by his mother, who was Jane Lister, of the County of York. — See Fitzherbert’s Life of Allen, in “Memorials of Cardinal Allen.” — Lord Ribblesdale, of Gisburn Park, in the West Riding of the County of York, is the representative of this ancient Yorkshire family of Lister. Lord Masham is a representative of a younger branch of the same family.

By a remarkable coincidence, on the 16th day of October, 1900, there were presented to Pope Leo XIII., at Rome, on the occasion of the English Pilgrimage, the Rev. Philip Fletcher, M.A., and Lister Drummond, Esq., barrister-at-law, representatives respectively of the families of both Fletcher and Lister.

[45] — That Thomas Percy (of the Percies, of Beverley, not of Scotton, I feel certain), the eldest of the conspirators, must have been a Roman Catholic as a young man is plain from the fact that Marmaduke Ward, brother-in-law to John Wright and Christopher Wright, had a designment “to match” his gifted and beautiful eldest daughter, Mary, with Thomas Percy who, however, singularly enough married Martha Wright, Mary Ward’s aunt. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” by Mary Catherine Elizabeth Chambers (Burns & Oates, 1882), vol. i., pp. 12 and 13. — Percy, being agent for his kinsman, the Earl of Northumberland, would frequently reside at the Percy palace at Topcliffe, which was only distant twelve miles or so of pleasant riding across a breezy, charming country to Mulwith and Newby. Sampson Ingleby, uncle to the Winters, succeeded Thomas Percy as the Earl’s agent in Yorkshire. Sampson Ingleby was a348 very trusty man. A photograph of a painting of him is in Hailstone’s “Yorkshire Worthies,” taken from a painting at Ripley Castle.

Edmund Neville Earl of Westmoreland, de jure, was afterwards one of the many unsuccessful suitors for the hand of Mary Ward. — See her “Life,” vol. i. — The Government would have liked to implicate Neville in the Gunpowder Plot, but utterly failed to do so. He eventually became a Priest of the Society of Jesus. He petitioned James to restore to him the Neville estates, but without avail; so that historic Middleham and Kirbymoorside (in Yorkshire), and Raby and Brancepeth (in Durham), finally passed from the once proud house of Neville, one of whom was the well-known Warwick, the King-maker, owing to the chivalrous, ill-fated Rising of 1569. This Rising first broke out at Topcliffe, between Ripon and Thirsk, where the Earl of Northumberland was then sojourning at his palace, the site of which is pointed out to this day. Topcliffe is situated on the waters of the River Swale, which (like the East Riding river, the Derwent) is sacred to St. Paulinus, the disciple of St. Augustine, the disciple of St. Gregory the Great, the most unselfish, disinterested friend the English and Yorkshire people ever had.

The first Pilgrimage of Grace, under Robert Aske, of Aughton, broke out on the banks of the Derwent. Hence, each of “the holy rivers” of Yorkshire inspired a crusade — a thing worth memory.

Mr. Thomas P. Cooper, of York (author of “York: the History of its Walls and Castles”), kindly refers me to “Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII., 1537,” p. 87, for evidence tending to prove that Robert Aske was executed “on the height of the castle dungeon,” where the High Sheriff of Yorkshire had jurisdiction, and not the Sheriffs of the City of York.

This would be Clifford’s Tower, not The Pavement, where Aske is sometimes said to have met his fate. I think Mr. Cooper has, most probably, settled the point by his discovery of this important letter of “the old Duke of Norfolk” to Thomas Cromwell.

[46] — Father Gerard’s “Narrative of Gunpowder Plot” in “Conditions of Catholics under James I.” Edited by Father Morris, S.J. (Longmans, 1872).

[47] — The “very imperfect proof” to which I refer is contained in a certain marriage entry in the Registers at Ripon Minster. The date is “10th July, 1588” (the year and month of the Spanish Armada), and seems to me to be as follows: “Xpofer Wayde et Margaret Wayrde.” Now, “Margaret” was a family name of the Wardes, of Givendale, Newby, and Mulwith, and349 the clergyman making the entry may have written “Wayde” instead of Wright. We cannot tell. Therefore, alone, it is a mere scintilla of evidence to show that Christopher Wright married a Warde, of Mulwith.

Further research among those of the Ward (or Warde) papers that are yet extant may clear the question as to whom Christopher Wright married. The mysterious silence which broods over the life and career of Marmaduke Ward, subsequent to the year 1605, suggests to my mind many far-reaching supposals. Marmaduke Ward seems to have died before the year 1614, but the “burials” of the Ripon Registers are lost for this period apparently.

[48] — Born 1563. Father Oswald Tesimond was for six years at Hindlip Hall, along with Father Oldcorne. Ralph Ashley, a Jesuit lay-brother, was Oldcorne’s servant.

[49] — John Wright was born about 1568. Christopher Wright was born about 1570. Had they a brother Francis, living at Newbie (or Newby), who had a son Robert? — See Ripon Registers, which records the baptism of a Robert Wright, 25th March, 1601, the son of Francis Wright, of Newbie; also of a Francis Wright, son of Francis Wright, of Newby, under date 2nd February, 1592.

The Welwick Church Registers for this period are lost apparently, though the burial is recorded, under date 13th October, 1654, of ffrauncis Wright, Esquire, and of another ffrauncis Wright, under date 2nd May, 1664, both at Welwick. (Communicated to me by the Rev. D. V. Stoddart, M.A., Vicar of Welwick.) Probably the Francis Wrights, of Newby (or Newbie), are those buried at Welwick, being father and son respectively. Certainly the coincidence is remarkable. — See ante.

[50] — Foley’s “Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus,” vol. iv., pp. 203-5 (Burns & Oates, 1878).

[51] — Quoted in Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 213.

[52] — It is noteworthy, as illustrative of Father Oldcorne’s character, that Robert Winter says in his letter to the Lords Commissioners, 21st January, 1605-6: “After our departure from Holbeach, about some ten days, we [i.e., himself and Stephen Littleton, the Master of Holbeach] met Humphrey Littleton, cousin to Stephen Littleton, and we then entreated him to seek out one Mr. Hall [an alias of Oldcorne] for us,350 and desire him to help us to some resting place.” — See Jardine’s “Criminal Trials, Gunpowder Plot,” vol. ii., p. 146.

[53] — Schismatic Catholics were those Catholics that went to Mass in private houses, and then, more or less, frequented their parish church afterwards to escape the fines. They were further divided into Communicants and Non-communicants. Very often the men of a family were Catholics of this sort, and the womenkind strict Catholics. Indeed, it was mainly the women and the priests that have kept “the Pope’s religion” alive in England: although, of course, many men of great mental and physical powers were papists of the most rigid class. The practice of “going to the Protestant church,” as English Roman Catholics term the practice to this day, was deliberately condemned by the Council of Trent.

The cause of the historic controversy between the Jesuits and the Secular Priests in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. lies in a nut-shell. It was this: the Jesuits, and especially their extraordinarily able leader, Father Parsons, thought that the Secular Priests required watching. And so they did; and so do all other human creatures. But the mistake that Parsons made was this: his prejudices and prepossessions blinded him to the fact that the proper watchers of Secular Priests are Bishops and the Pope, and not a society of Presbyters, however grave, however gifted, or however pious.

[54] — “Collecti Cardwelli,” Public Record Office, Brussels Vitæ Mart, p. 147.

In Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., there is a beautiful picture of Father Edward Oldcorne, S.J., now “the Venerable Edward Oldcorne,” one of York’s most remarkable sons. In the left-hand corner of the portrait is a representation of a portion of Old Ouse Bridge, with St. William’s Chapel (at present the site of which is occupied by Messrs. Varvills’ establishment). St. Sampson’s Church, the ancient church which gave the name of the parish where Oldcorne first saw the light of the sun, is still standing. It is near Holy Trinity, King’s Court, or Christ’s Parish, where “the Venerable,” Margaret Clitherow lived. Oldcorne must have known that great York citizen well. She was born in Davygate, and was the second wife of a butcher, named John Clitherow, of the Parish of Christ, in the City of York. She was married in the Church of St. Martin, Coney Street, in 1571. She was one of Nature’s gentlewomen, by birth: and the Church of Rome, ever mindful of her own, declared in 1886 (just three hundred years after the martyr’s death in the Tolbooth, on Old Ouse Bridge)351 that Margaret Clitherow, a shrewd, honest, devout York tradeswoman, is one of the Church’s “Venerable Servants of God,” by grace. — See J. B. Milburn’s Life of this extraordinary Elizabethan Yorkshire-woman, entitled, “A Martyr of Old York” (Burns & Oates, London).

[55] — This crossing-out of the word “yowe” is noticed in Nash’s “History of Worcestershire.”

[56] — The word “good” is omitted in the copy of the Letter given in the “Authorised Discourse,” which is remarkable. I think it was done designedly, in order to minimize the merit of the revealing plotter.

[57] — King James’s interpretation of these enigmatical words was simply fantastical. It may be read in Gerard’s “Narrative,” and in most contemporary relations of the Plot.

[58] — I am of opinion that one of Father Oldcorne’s servants, Ralph Ashley by name, a Jesuit lay-brother, was the person that actually conveyed the Letter to the page who was in the street adjoining Lord Mounteagle’s Hoxton residence, on the evening of Saturday, the 26th of October, 1605. My reason for being of the opinion that Ralph Ashley conveyed the Letter will be seen hereafter, in due course of this Inquiry.

The page’s evidence went to show that the deliverer of the Letter was a tall man, or a reasonably tall man. There is nothing inconsistent in this account of the height of the Letter-carrier with what we know of the size of Ashley, which is negative knowledge merely. I mean we are not told anywhere that he was of short stature, as we are told in the case (1) of the Jesuit lay-brother, Brother Ralph Emerson, a native of the County of Durham, and the servant of Edmund Campion — see Simpson’s “Life of Campion” — whom the genial orator playfully called “his little man” — “homulus”; and in the case (2) of the Jesuit lay-brother, Brother Nicholas Owen, the servant of Garnet, who was affectionately termed “little John” by the Catholics in whose castles, manor-houses, and halls, up and down the country, he constructed most ingenious secret places for the hiding of priests.

Ralph Ashley had acted in some humble capacity at the English Catholic College of Valladolid, which had been founded in Spain from Rheims, through the generosity of noble-hearted Spanish Catholics, among whom was that majestic soul, Dona Luisa de Carvajal. — See her “Life,” by the late Lady Georgiana Fullerton (Burns & Oates). — See also352The Life of the Venerable John Roberts, O.S.B.,” by the Rev. Bede Camm, O.S.B. (Sands & Co.) — Father Roberts founded the Benedictine College at Douay, still in existence. Cardinal Allen’s secular priests’ College is now used as a French Barracks. Ushaw College, Durham, and St. Edmund’s College, Ware, are the lineal successors of Cardinal Allen’s College at Douay.

(By the way, when are the letters of the late Dr. Lingard likely to be published? Lingard, after Wiseman, was the greatest man Ushaw has produced, and his letters would be interesting reading; for Lingard must have known many of the most considerable personages of his day. Lingard died at Hornby, near Lancaster, not far from Hornby Castle, the seat of the once famous Lord Mounteagle.)

Brother Raphael (or Ralph) Ashley, was possibly akin to the Ashleys, of Goule Hall, in the Township of Cliffe, in the Parish of Hemingbrough, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, or to the Ashleys, of Todwick, near Sheffield, in the south-east of Yorkshire. He came to England along with Father Oswald Tesimond, in 1597. — See “Father Tesimond’s landing in England,” in Morris’s “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,” first series (Burns & Oates). — If Ashley were a Yorkshireman, one can easily understand his being the chosen companion of the two Yorkshire Jesuits, Oldcorne and Tesimond.

This Jesuit lay-brother was acquainted with London; and as, Qui facit per alium facit per se, it was pre-eminently likely that Oldcorne would employ his confidential servant to perform so weighty a mission as the one I have attributed unto him.

Again, since “he who acts through another acts through himself,” it is unnecessary for me to treat at large in the Text concerning my supposal respecting the part that Brother Ralph Ashley played in the great drama of the Gunpowder Plot. Ashley being identified with his master, Father Oldcorne, shares, in his degree, his master’s merits and praise.

Professor J. A. Froude thought that Ralph Waldo Emerson was of the same stock as Brother Ralph Emerson. It is quite possible. For after the Gunpowder Plot, I opine that the younger Catholics in many cases became Puritans, and in some cases, later on, Quakers.

[59] — Notwithstanding the endless chain of the causation of human acts and human events, man’s strongest and clearest knowledge tells him that he is “master of his fate,” nay, that “he is fated to be free,” inasmuch as at any moment man can open the flood-gates that are betwixt him and an Infinite Ocean of Pure Unconditioned Freedom:353 can open those flood-gates, and in that Ocean can lave at will, and so render himself a truly emancipated creature.

The antinomies of Thought and Life do not destroy nor make void the Facts of Thought and Life. Antinomies surround man on every side, and one of the great ends of life is to know the same, and to act regardful of that knowledge.

[60] — The copy in the “Authorised Discourse” gives “shift off,” not “shift of” as in the original. Doubtless “shift off” was the expression intended. It is still occasionally used in the country districts about York. The word “tender,” in the sense of “take care of” or “have a care of,” is to-day quite common in that neighbourhood (1901).

[61] — “Gunpowder Plot Books,” vol. ii., p. 202.

[62] — It is impossible to describe the emotions that welled up in the heart of the writer as he gazed on this small, faded, and fading document: emotions of awe and gratitude, blended with veneration and reverence, for the maker of this lever — this sheet-anchor — of the temporal salvation of so many human creatures, who had been barbarously appointed to die by those that had forgotten what spirit they were of.

The writer was favoured by the sight of the original Letter on Friday, the 5th day of October, 1900, at about half-past two o’clock in the afternoon. He desires to place on record his sense of obligation for the courteous civility with which he was treated by the authorities at the Record Office, London, on this occasion.

[63] — Oldcorne, being a Jesuit, would from time to time go to White Webbs, Morecrofts (near Uxbridge), Erith-on-the-Thames, Stoke Pogis, Thames Street (London), and other places of Jesuit resort where Mounteagle and Ward had the entrée. Again, he must have known well the Vaux family of Harrowden, and all the circle that Mounteagle and Ward would move in. Again, if Ward were married in York, in 1579, he may have met Oldcorne as a Catholic medical student of promise in the ancient city.

Along with a dear brother, a young Yorkshireman, in London, I visited White Webbs, by Enfield Chase, on Saturday, the 6th October, 1900. The old house known as Dr. Hewick’s House, where the conspirators met, is now no longer standing; but the spacious park, with its umbrageous oak trees, meandering streams, tangled thickets, and pleasant354 paths, is almost unchanged, I should fancy, since it was the rendezvous of the Gunpowder traitors, concerning whom the utmost one can say is that they were not for themselves; and that Nemesis in this life justly punished them, and drove them to make meet expiation and atonement, before the face of all men, for their infamous offences. Thereby Destiny enabled the men to restore equality between the State they had so wronged, in act and in desire, and themselves; and a happy thing for the men, as well as for others, that Destiny did so enable them whilst there was yet time.

(In October, 1900, I was informed that the present mansion, known as White Webbs, belongs to the Lady Meúx.)

[64] — Known by Edmund Church, Esq., his confidant.

[65] — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 1.

[66] — M’rgery Slater most probably belonged to a Ripon family, as I find the same Christian name and surname among entries of the “Christenings” in the Ripon Minster Register, a few years after the year 1579. Possibly the child was a niece of “Mistress M’rgery Ward.” “Mistress Warde” may have been a relative of Mr. Cotterell, as I find in the St. Michael-le-Belfrey Register the entry of the burial (1583) of Anne —— who is described as “s’vaunt and cozine to Mr. Cotterell, being about twenty-six years of age.” Now, Mr. Cotterell was probably Mr. James Cotterell, of the Parish of (Old) St. Wilfred, York, a demolished church, whose site is to-day (1901) occupied by the official lodgings of the King’s Judges of Assize when on circuit. For the “subsidy” of 1581, a Mr. James Cotterell of that parish was assessed in “Lande” at £6 13s. 4d. (among the highest of the York assessments). There was a Mr. Cotterell “an Examiner” for the Council of the North in the time of Elizabeth, and I have no doubt that “Mistress Warde’s” late master was this very gentleman. Whether the young woman whom “Thomas Ward, of Mulwaith,” made his wife (evidently direct from the house of her master), on the 29th day of May, 1579, was the equal by birth and by descent of her husband, I do not know. Let us hope, however, that alike in gifts of personal attractiveness and graces of character she was not unworthy of one who came from so truly “gentle” a people as the Wardes, of Mulwith, Givendale, and Newby. If M’gery Slater did hail from Ripon, this “faithful following” of her to York, and from the house of her master, publicly making her, in the face of all the world, his “true and honourable wife, as dear to him as were the ruddy drops that355 visited his own heart,” bears early witness to an idealism of mind in this Yorkshire gentleman that was thoroughly in keeping with the chivalrous race whence he sprang. I cannot give any personal description of Thomas Warde; but I can of Marmaduke Warde, who was also of Mulwith, or Mulwaith, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and from this picture we may imagine that.

[67] — Speaking of Marmaduke Warde (or Ward) — for the name was spelt either way — his kinswoman Winefrid Wigmore, a lady of high family from Herefordshire, in after years said: — “His name is to this day famous in that country [i.e. Yorkshire] for his exceeding comeliness of person, sweetness and beauty of face, agility and activeness, the knightly exercises in which he excelled, and above all for his constancy and courage in Catholic religion, admirable charity to the poor, so as in extreme dearth never was poor denied at his gate; commonly sixty, eighty, and sometimes a hundred in a day, to whom he gave great alms: and yet is also famous his valour and fidelity to his friend, and myself have heard it spoken by several, but particularly and with much feeling by Mr. William Mallery, the eldest and best of that name, who were near of kin to our ‘Mother,’ both by father and mother.”

The William Mallery, here spoken of, was one of “the Mallories,” of Studley Royal, near Ripon, the present seat of their descendants, the Most Hon. the Marquess and Marchioness of Ripon.

The above quotation is taken from the “Life” of Marmaduke Ward’s eldest daughter, Mary, who was one of the most beautiful and heroic women of her age. — See M. C. E. Chambers’ “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 6 (Burns & Oates). — Mary Ward died at the Old Manor House, Heworth, near York, on the 20th January, 1645-6. She was related to Father Edward Thwing, of Heworth Hall, who suffered at Lancaster for his priesthood, 26th July, 1600. I think the Old Heworth Hall was built behind the present Old Manor House, which seems to be an erection of about the end of the seventeenth century. The Thwing family, of Gate Helmsley, then owned Old Heworth Hall, where Father Antony Page was apprehended, who suffered at the York Tyburn in 1593 for the like offence, which, by statute, was high treason (27 Eliz.). Thomas Percy, John Wright, and Christopher Wright, as well as Guy Fawkes, may have often visited Old Heworth Hall. In fact there is still a tradition that the Gunpowder plotters “were at Old Heworth Hall” (communicated to me in 1890 by the owner, W. Surtees Hornby, Esq., J.P., of York), and also a tradition that Father Page was apprehended there. Mr. T. Atkinson, for the tenant, his brother-in-law, Mr. Moorfoot, showed the writer, on the 9th August,356 1901, the outhouse or hay chamber (of brick and old timber) where this priest was taken on Candlemas Day morning in the year 1593. — See Morris’s “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,” third series, p. 139. — This holy martyr was a connection of the Bellamy family, of Uxendon, with whom the great and gifted Father Southwell was captured. Father Page was a native of Harrow-on-the-Hill. The last of the English martyrs was Father Thomas Thwing, of Heworth, who was executed at the York Tyburn, 1680. His vestments belong to the Herbert family, of Gate Helmsley. I have seen them about three times at St. Mary’s Convent, York, where they have been lent by the kindness of the owner. What a hallowed and affecting link with the past are those beautiful, but fading, priestly garments.

The following letter of Mr. Bannister Dent will be read with interest, as helping the concatenation of the evidence. It is from a York solicitor who for many years was Guardian for the old Parish of St. Wilfred, in the City of York: —

       21st March, 1901.”
Old Parish of St. Wilfred.

“In reply to your letter of to-day’s date, the streets comprised in the above parish were Duncombe Place, Blake Street, Museum Street, Lendal Hill, and Lendal. I have made enquiries, and am informed that St. Michael-le-Belfrey’s Church would be the church at which a resident in this parish would be married.”

[68] — Margery Warde (born Slater) was probably the sister of one Hugo Slater, of Ripon, who, subsequently to 1579, had a daughter, Margery, and a son, Thomas. — See Ripon Registers.

John Whitham, Esq., of the City of Ripon, has been so kind as to place at my disposal the Index, which is the result of his researches into the Ripon Registers. There seems to be no entry of the baptism of Mary (or Joan or Jane) Ward in 1585-86, nor of John Ward, William Ward, nor Teresa Ward. George Warde’s baptism is recorded: “18th May, 1595 [not 1594], George Waryde filius M’maduci de Mulwith.” Then under date 3rd September, 1598, occurs, three years afterwards, this significant entry: “Thomas Warde filius M’maduci de Nubie.” This naming of his son “Thomas” by Marmaduke Warde, I submit, almost suffices to clench the proof that Marmaduke and Thomas Warde were akin to each other as brothers.

If proof be required that the name “Ward” was spelt both Ward and Warde, it is contained in the following entries in the Ripon Minster357 Registers of the baptism of Marmaduke Ward’s daughters, Eliza and Barbara[A]: “30 April 1591 — Eliza, daughter of Marmaduke Warde of Mulwith;” “21 November 1592 — Barbara, daughter of Marmaduke Warde of Mulwith.” The entries are in Latin. In some subsequent entries Marmaduke Warde is described as of Newbie, e.g.: “5 Nov. 1594 — Ellyn, daughter of Marmaduke Warde of Newbie.”

[A] Eliza was probably Elizabeth Warde, and Ellyn — Teresa Warde.

[69] — Newby was spelt “Newbie” at that time. Newby adjoins the village of Skelton. Mulwith is about a mile from Newby.

[70] — See vol. v., p. 681.

[71] — Henry Parker Lord Morley, the grandfather of Mounteagle, married Lady Elizabeth Stanley, daughter of Edward Earl of Derby. He was one of the peers who recorded his vote against Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity, and became “an exile for the faith” in the Netherlands after the year 1569. His son, Edward Parker Lord Morley, Mounteagle’s father, was born in 1555; he too lived abroad for some years, but eventually seems to have conformed wholly, or in part, to the established religion; although his son, Lord Mounteagle, was, on the latter’s own testimony, brought up a Roman Catholic, and, in fact, died in that belief. From an undated letter of Mounteagle, ably written, addressed to the King, and given in Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” p. 256, it is evident that (after the Plot, most likely) Mounteagle intended to conform to the Establishment. The Morley barony was created in 1299. — See Burke’s “Extinct Peerages,” and Horace Round’s “Studies in Peerage and Family History,” p. 23 (Constable, Westminster, 1901). — From Camden’s “Britannia,” the Morleys evidently owned, at various times, estates in the Counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, in addition to Essex, Lincolnshire, and Lancashire.

That the conformity to the Established Church of Edward Parker Lord Morley (the father of William Parker Lord Mounteagle) was in part only is, to some extent, evidenced by the fact that Mr. Edward Yelverton (one of the well-known Yelvertons, of Norfolk) is described at the end of the reign of Elizabeth as “a Catholic, domiciled in the household of Lord Morley.” — See Dr. Jessopp’s “One Generation of a Norfolk House,” being chiefly the biography of the celebrated Jesuit, Henry Walpole, who suffered358 for his priesthood at the York Tyburn, 7th April, 1595, in the thirty-sixth year of his age. Rome, in 1886, declared Henry Walpole to be “a Venerable Servant of God.”

[72] — See vol. i., p. 244.

[73] — See vol. i., p. 244.

[74] — See vol. i., p. 238.

[75] — See vol. i., p. 237.

[76] — Edward Poyntz, Esquire, was a relative, lineal or collateral, of the celebrated James Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whose mother was a daughter of Sir John Poyntz. — See that valuable work, “The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland,” p. 254, by John P. Prendergast (McGlashan & Gill, Dublin, 1875).

I have found much information about the Poyntz family in the “Visitation of Essex” (Harleian Soc). I think that Edward Poyntz was uncle to the Viscountess Thurles. If so, he would be great-uncle to the Duke of Ormonde. From this it would follow that the Viscountess Thurles (who was a strict Roman Catholic) would be a first cousin to Mary Poyntz, the friend and companion, as well as relative, of Mary Warde, the daughter of Marmaduke Warde, and niece of Thomas Warde. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i.

Winefrid Wigmore, already mentioned, was cousin, once removed, to Lady Mounteagle, who was a daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham, Sir William Wigmore, Winefrid’s father, having married her aunt, Anne Throckmorton, a daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Lady Catesby was another daughter. — See Note 30 supra.

[77] — As slightly supporting the contention that Lord Morley, the father of Mounteagle, was related to, or at least connected with, the Wards, it is to be observed that John Wright, the elder brother by the whole blood of Ursula Ward, at the time when the Plot was concocted, had his “permanent residence at Twigmore,” in the Parish of Manton, near Brigg, in Lincolnshire. — Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 32. — Now, in Foley’s “Records,” vol. i., p. 627, it is stated that Twigmore, or Twigmoor, and Holme “were ancient possessions of the Morley family.” The brothers359 John and Christopher Wright were evidently called after two uncles who bore these two names respectively. — See Norcliffe’s Ed. of Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire” (Harleian Soc).

[78] — To-day (April, 1901) Newby-cum-Mulwith forms one township. Givendale is a township by itself. Along with Skelton they form a separate ecclesiastical parish. Skelton Church, in Newby Park, is one of the most beautiful in the county, having been erected by the late Lady Mary Vyner, of Newby Hall. The Church is dedicated under the touching title of “Christ, the Consoler.”

Formerly the Parish of Ripon included no less than thirty villages. At Skelton, Aldfield, Sawley, Bishop Thornton, Monckton, and Winksley there were Chapels. Pateley Bridge also had a Chapel, but this was parochial. — See Gent’s “Ripon.” — At Sawley, I find from the Ripon Register of Baptisms, there was a William Norton living (described as “generosus”) in 1589. He would be the great-grandson of old Richard Norton, who by his first wife, Susanna, daughter of Neville Lord Latimer, had eleven sons and seven daughters. They were (according to an old writer), these Nortons, “a trybe of wicked people universally papists.” It is reported to this day (Easter Day, 1901), at Bishop Thornton, by Mr. Henry Wheelhouse, of Markington, aged 84, that the Nortons, of Sawley, continued constant in their adherence to the ancient faith till well on into the nineteenth century.

Mr. Wheelhouse’s recollection to this effect may be well founded; because not only has there been a remnant of English Roman Catholics always in the adjoining hamlet of Bishop Thornton, but there was at Fountains, in 1725, a Father Englefield, S.J., stationed there — see Foley’s “Records,” vol. v., p. 722 — and if the Nortons, of Sawley (or some of them) remained Papists, one can understand how it might come to pass that there was a Jesuit Priest maintained at Fountains and a Secular Priest at Bishop Thornton, only a few miles off. The Roman Catholic religion was also long maintained by the Messenger family, of Cayton Hall, South Stainley, and by the Trapps family, of Nydd Hall, both only within walking distance of Bishop Thornton: maintained until the nineteenth century. I think the Messengers, too, owned Fountains in 1725. Viscount Mountgarret now owns Nydd Hall. His Lordship’s family, the Butlers, are allied to the Lords Vaux of Harrowden.

Mass also was said (before the present Roman Catholic Chapel was built at Bishop Thornton) at Raventoftes Hall, in the Ripon Chapelry of Bishop Thornton, once the home of the stanch old Catholic family of360 Walworth. Then Mass was said in the top chamber, running the whole length of the priest’s present house. Afterwards (about 1778) followed the present stone Chapel. Clare Lady Howard, of Glossop, built the Schools at Bishop Thornton a few years ago.

F. Reynard, Esquire, J.P., of Hob Green, Markington and Sunderlandwick, Driffield, now owns Raventoftes Hall, which has a splendid view towards Sawley, How Hill, and Ripon. It is rented by a Roman Catholic, named Mr. F. Stubbs, who is akin to the Hawkesworths, the Shanns, the Darnbroughs, and other old Bishop Thornton and Ripon families.

Peacock, in his “List,” speaks of William Norton as a grandson of Richard Norton, but, according to Burke’s “Peerage,” he must have been a great-grandson. The Nortons may have saved the Sawley estate from forfeiture, somehow or another, or perchance they bought it in afterwards from some Crown nominee. Francis Norton, the eldest son and heir of old Richard Norton, fled with his father to the continent. His son was Edmund, and his son was William Norton, of Sawley, whose descendant was the first Lord Grantley.

Gabetis Norton, Esquire, owned Dole Bank, between Markington and Bishop Thornton, where Miss Lascelles, Miss Butcher, and others of Mary Ward’s followers, lived a semi-conventual life during the reign of Charles II., previously to their taking up their abode near Micklegate Bar, York. — See “Annals of St. Mary’s Convent, York,” Edited by H. J. Coleridge, S.J. (Burns & Oates). — Sir Thomas Gascoigne, of Barnbow, Aberford, was the benefactor of these ladies, both at Dole Bank and York; Dole Bank probably at that time belonging to this “fine old English gentleman,” who died a very aged man at the Benedictine Abbey of Lambspring, in Germany, a voluntary exile for his faith. Dole Bank came to Gabetis Norton, Esquire, in the eighteenth century, from his sister, who was the wife of Colonel Thornton, of Thornville Royal (now Stourton Castle, near Knaresbrough, the seat of the Lord Mowbray and Stourton) and of Old Thornville, Little Cattal, now the property of William Machin, Esq. (Derived from old title-deeds and writings in the possession of representatives of William Hawkes, yeoman, of Great Cattal.) Dole Bank, I believe, now belongs to Captain Greenwood, of Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, Nidderdale. During the early part of the nineteenth century the Darnbroughs rented Dole Bank, the present tenant being Mr. Atkinson.

[79] — I think that Thomas Warde may have been born about the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign; for if he were married in 1579, and was, say, twenty-one years of age at the time of his marriage, this would fix361 his birth about the year 1558. Early marriages were characteristic of the period. Mounteagle, for example, was married before he was eighteen. The Ripon Registers begin in fairly regular course in 1587, though there are fragments from 1574, but not earlier. If Christopher Wright, the plotter, lived in Bondgate, Ripon, and had a child born to him in 1589 (the year after the Spanish Armada), he must, like Mounteagle, have been married when about eighteen years of age. These instances should be carefully noted by students of Shakespeare, inasmuch as they render the poet’s marriage with Anne Hathaway in 1582, when he was little more than eighteen and a-half years old, less startling. — See Sidney Lee’s “Life of Shakespeare,” p. 18 (Smith & Elder, 1898).

I should like also to add that I think there is a great deal in Halliwell-Phillips’ contention as to Shakespeare having made the “troth-plight.” — Concerning the “troth-plight” see Lawrence Vaux’s “Catechism,” Edited by T. G. Law, with a valuable historical preface (Chetham Soc). — Shakespeare’s “mentor” in the days of his youth was, most probably, some old Marian Priest, like Vaux, who was a former Warden of the Collegiate Church at Manchester, and with “the great Allen” and men like Vivian Haydock — see Gillow’s “Haydock Papers” (Burns & Oates) — retained Lancashire in its allegiance to Rome — so that “the jannock” Lancashire Catholics style their county, “God’s County” even unto this day.

[80] — The strong and, within due limits, admirable spirit of “clannishness” that still animates the natives of Yorkshire — a valiant, adventurous, jovial race, fresh from Dame Nature’s hand — is evidenced by the fact that within a very recent date the Yorkshiremen who have gone up to the great metropolis, like many another before them, to seek their livelihood, and maybe their fortune, have formed an association of their own. This excellent institution for promoting good fellowship among those hailing from the county of broad acres has for Patron during the present year, 1901, the Duke of Cornwall and York (now H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, December, 1901), and that typical Yorkshireman, Viscount Halifax, for President. The Earl of Crewe, Lord Grantley, Sir Albert K. Rollit, Knt., M.P., cum multis aliis, are members. May it flourish ad multos annos!

[81] — In the Record Office, Chancery Lane, London.

[82] — The Earl of Northumberland was fined by the Star Chamber £30,000, ordered to forfeit all offices he held under the Crown, and to be imprisoned in the Tower for life. He paid £11,000 of the fine; and was362 released in 1621. He was the son of Henry Percy eighth Earl of Northumberland, and nephew of “the Blessed” Thomas Percy seventh Earl of Northumberland, and of Mary Slingsby, the wife of Francis Slingsby, of Scriven, near Knaresbrough. Although the Earl of Northumberland that was Star-Chambered was by his own declaration no papist, he was looked up to by the English Roman Catholics as their natural leader. His kinship with the conspirator, Thomas Percy, alone is usually thought to have involved the Earl in this trouble; but probably the inner circle of the Government knew more than they thought it policy to publish. “Simple truth,” moreover, was not this Government’s “utmost skill.”

Lord Montague compounded for a fine of £4,000. Guy Fawkes, for a time, was a member of this peer’s household. — See “Calendar of State Papers, James I.

Lord Stourton compounded for £1,000.

Lord Mordaunt’s fine was remitted after his death, which took place in 1608. Robert Keyes and his wife were members of this peer’s household. — See “Calendar of State Papers, James I.

These three noblemen were absent from Parliament on the 5th of November, no doubt having received a hint so to do from the conspirators. This fact of absence the Government construed into a charge of Concealment of Treason and Contempt in not obeying the King’s Summons to Parliament. — See Jardine’s “Narrative,” pp. 159-164.

The Gascoignes, through whom the Earl of Northumberland and the Wardes were connected, belonged to the same family as the famous Chief Justice of Henry IV., who committed to prison Henry V., when “Harry Prince of Wales.” — See Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV.” and “King Henry V.”

The Gascoignes were a celebrated Yorkshire family, their seats being Gawthorpe, Barnbow, and Parlington, in the West Riding. They were strongly attached to their hereditary faith, and suffered much for it, from the infliction of heavy fines. Like Lord William Howard, the Inglebies, of Lawkland, near Bentham, the Plumptons, of Plumpton, near Knaresbrough, and the Fairfaxes, of Gilling, near Ampleforth, the Gascoignes were greatly attached to the ancient Benedictine Order, which took such remarkable root in England through St. Gregory the Great, St. Augustine, and his forty missionaries, all of whom were Benedictines. — See Taunton’s “The English Black Monks of St. Benedict” (Methuen & Co.); also Dr. Gasquet’s standard work on “English Monasteries” (John Hodges).

It may be, perhaps, gratifying to the historic feeling of my readers to learn that the influence of these old Yorkshire Roman Catholic families,363 the Gascoignes, the Inglebies, and the Plumptons, is still felt at Bentham and in the old Benedictine Missions of Aberford, near Barnbow, and of Knaresbrough, near picturesque Plumpton, notwithstanding that the places which once so well knew the Gascoignes and the Plumptons now know them no more. The present gallant Colonel Gascoigne, of Parlington, I believe, is not himself descended from the Roman Catholic Gascoignes in the direct male line of descent; the Inglebies, of Lawkland, recently died out; and the Plumptons to-day are not even represented in name.

The stately Benedictine Abbey of St. Lawrence, Ampleforth, in the Vale of Mowbray, will long perpetuate the memory of the Fairfaxes, of Gilling; H. C. Fairfax-Cholmeley, Esquire, J.P., of Brandsby Hall, now represents this ancient family.

[83] — See “Condition of Catholics under James I.,” by the Rev. John Morris, S.J., pp. 256, 257 (Longmans). The charge of complicity was based on an alleged reception of Father John Gerard, S.J. (the friend of Sir Everard Digby, and author of the contemporary Narrative of the Plot), by Sir John Yorke at Gowthwaite Hall, after the Gunpowder Treason. Gerard left England in 1606, and there is no evidence whatever that he had anything to do with the Plot. I do not know, for certain, how Sir John Yorke fared as to the upshot of his prosecution. But I strongly suspect that the tradition that obtains among the dalesmen of Nidderdale to the effect that the Yorkes, of Gowthwaite (or Goulthwaite, as it is styled in the Valley), were once heavily fined by the Star Chamber for acting in the great Chamber of Gowthwaite a political play, wherein the Protestant actors were worsted by the Catholic actors, sprang from these proceedings against Sir John Yorke anent the Gunpowder Plot. For long years after the reign of James I., the Yorkes, like the Inglebies their relatives, were rigid Catholics. This ancient and honourable family of Yorke is still in existence, being represented by T. E. Yorke, Esquire, J.P., of Bewerley Hall, Pateley Bridge. The old home of the Yorkes, Gowthwaite Hall, where doubtless many priests were harboured “in the days of persecution,” is about to be pulled down to make way for the Bradford Reservoir. I visited, about 1890, the charming old Hall built of grey stone, with mullioned windows. A description of this historic memorial of the days of Queen Elizabeth and James I. is to be seen in “Nidderdale,” by H. Speight, p. 468 (Elliot Stock); also in Fletcher’s “Picturesque Yorkshire” (Dent & Co.), which latter work contains a picture of the place, a structure “rich with the spoils of time,” but, alas! destined soon to be “now no more.”


Ripley Castle, the home of the Inglebies, at the entrance to Nidderdale (truly the Switzerland of England), still rears its ancient towers, and still is the roof-tree of those who worthily bear an honoured historic name for ever “to historic memory dear.”

From Eden Vale to the Plains of York,” by Edmund Bogg, contains sketches of both Ripley Castle and Gowthwaite Hall. Lucas’s “Nidderdale” (Elliot Stock) is also well worth consulting for its account of the dialect of this part of Yorkshire which, like the West Riding generally, retains strong Cymric traces. There are also British characteristics in the build and personal appearance of the people, as also in their marvellous gift of song. The Leeds Musical Festival and its Chorus, for example, are renowned throughout the whole musical world.

[84] — It is, moreover, possible that Mounteagle may have met his connection, and probably kinsman, Thomas Warde, at White Webbs, about the year 1602. Mounteagle, at that time, like the Earl of Southampton and the Earl of Rutland, was not allowed to attend Elizabeth’s Court on account of his share in the Essex tumult. He was, in fact, then mixed up with the schemes of Father Robert Parsons’ then-expiring Spanish faction among the English Catholics. If a certain Thomas Grey, to whom Garnet at White Webbs showed the papal breves (which the latter burnt in 1603, on James I. being proclaimed King by applause), were the same person as Sir Thomas Gray, he would be, most probably, a relative of Thomas Warde. For the Wardes, of Mulwith, certainly were related to a Sir Thomas Gray. — See “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 221, where it is said that, “through the Nevilles and Gascoignes,” the Wards were related to the families of Sir Ralph and Sir Thomas Gray.[A]365

As to father Garnet showing the breves to Thomas Grey, see Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 159, where it says: — Garnet “confesseth that in the Queen’s lifetyme he received two Breefs (one was addressed by the Pope to the English clergy, the other to the laity) concerning the succession, and immediately upon the receipt thereof, be shewed them to Mr. Catesby and Thomas Winter, then being at White Webbs; whereof they seemed to be very glad and showed it (sic) also unto Thomas Grey at White Webbs before one of his journies into Scotland in the late Queen’s tyme.”

It will be remembered that Thomas Percy, who married Martha Wright, Ursula Warde’s sister, was one of those who waited upon James VI. of Scotland before Elizabeth’s death, in order to obtain from him a promise of toleration for the unhappy Catholics. James, the English Catholics declared, did then promise toleration, and they considered that they had been tricked by the “weasel Scot.” Fonblanque, in his “Annals of the House of Percy,” vol. ii., p. 254 (Clay & Sons), thinks that Percy was a man of action rather than of words, and that the reason he entered into the Plot was that he was stung by the reproaches of the disappointed Catholics, whom he had given to understand James intended to tolerate, and that his vanity (or rather, I should say, self-love) was likewise wounded at the recollection of the proved fruitlessness of his mission or missions into Scotland. I think this is a very likely explanation. For, according to “Winter’s Confession” — see Gardiner’s “Gunpowder Plot” (Longmans), and Gerard’s three recent works (Osgood & Co. and Harper Bros.) — Thomas Percy seems to have shown a stupendous determination “to see the Plot through,” a fact which I have always been very much struck with. But if, in addition to other motives, Percy had the incentive of “injured pride,” we have an explanation of his extraordinarily ferocious anger and spirit of revenge. For well does the Latin poet of “the tale of Troy divine” insist with emphasis on the fact that it was “the despised beauty” — “spretæque injuria formæ” — of Juno, the goddess, that spurred her to such deathless hatred against the ill-starred house of Priam. What a knowledge of the springs of human action does not this portray!

[A] Were Sir Ralph and Sir Thomas Gray of the Grays (or Greys), of Chillingham, Northumberland? It may be remarked that, about the year 1597-98, Marmaduke Ward and his wife and some of his family went to live in Northumberland, maybe at Alnwick; and as Thomas Percy was connected with Marmaduke Ward, it is at least possible that Marmaduke Ward went himself into Scotland on the mission to King James VI. in the company of his brother-in-law, Thomas Percy.

But the Wards may have gone to Chillingham about 1597-9, and not to Alnwick. Sir Thomas Gray, of Chillingham, married Lady Catherine Neville, one of the four daughters of Charles Neville sixth Earl of Westmoreland, whose wife was Lady Jane Howard, daughter of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey. Lady Margaret Neville was married to Sir Nicholas Pudsey, of Bolton-in-Bowland, Yorkshire, I think. Lady Anne Neville was married to David Ingleby, of Ripley, a cousin of Marmaduke Ward and of Ursula Wright. Lady Margaret Neville conformed to the Establishment, but afterwards, I believe, the lady relapsed to popery. — See the “Hutton Correspondence” (Surtees Soc.), and “Sir Ralph Sadler’s Papers,” Edited by Sir Walter Scott.

[85] — Interesting evidence of the connection of Mounteagle with not only these great northern families of Preston and Leybourne (whose places that once so well knew them now know them no more), but also with the Lords Dacres of the North and with the Earls of Arundel, is contained in Stockdale’s book on the beautiful and historic Parish of Cartmel, on the west coast of Lancashire, “North of the Sands.” — See Stockdale’s “Annales Caermoelenses,” p. 410, a work, I believe, now out366 of print. — Stockdale says that in the old Holker Hall (which seems to have been built by George Preston, in the reign of James I.), in the Parish of Cartmel, there was over the mantel-piece in the entrance-hall an elaborately ornamented oak-wood carving, on which were displayed, in alto-relievo, twelve coats-of-arms, namely: — Those of (1) King James I., with the lion and unicorn as supporters. (2) The Preston family, younger branch; from whom, through an heiress, the Dukes of Devonshire to-day own the Holker estates. The younger branch of the Prestons, viz., those of Holker, were probably Schismatic Catholics, or “Church-papists,” for some time, but gradually they conformed entirely to the Established Church. The elder branch of the Prestons, namely, the Prestons, of the Manor Furness, were strict Roman Catholics. Margaret Preston was married to Sir Francis Howard, of Corby, third son of Lord William Howard, of Naworth. The last of the Prestons, of the Manor, was Sir Thomas Preston, Bart., who, in 1674, became a Jesuit at the age of thirty-two. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 534, and vol. v., p. 358. — Sir Thomas Preston, S.J., had been twice married, but had him surviving only two daughters, whom he amply provided for, and then gave his Furness estates to the Society he had joined. A subsequent Act of Parliament, however, defeated his intention almost entirely. (3) Arundel impaling Dacre; Philip Howard Earl of Arundel having married Anne Dacre, or Dacres, daughter of Thomas Lord Dacres of the North. (4) Howard impaling Dacre; Lord William Howard having married Elizabeth Dacre, or Dacres, sister to Anne Dacres Countess of Arundel and Surrey. Through Elizabeth Howard, the Earls of Carlisle have the Naworth Castle and Hinderskelfe (or Castle Howard) estates. (5) Morley impaling Stanley; Edward Parker Lord Morley having married, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth Stanley, only daughter of Lord Mounteagle, of Hornby Castle, Lancashire (these were the parents of Lord Mounteagle, who married Elizabeth Tresham). (6) Dacre impaling Leybourne, of Cunswick, near Kendal; Thomas Lord Dacre having married Elizabeth Leybourne, daughter of Sir James Leybourne, of Cunswick. (7) Stanley impaling Leybourne; William Stanley third Lord Mounteagle, of Hornby Castle, having married Anne Leybourne, sister to Elizabeth Lady Dacre. (8) Leybourne impaling Preston; Ellen (Stockdale by mistake says Eleanor), daughter of Sir Thomas Preston, of Westmoreland and Lancashire, having married Sir James Leybourne, of Cunswick; this lady afterwards married Thomas Stanley second Lord Mounteagle, the father of her son-in-law, William Stanley third Lord Mounteagle, who married her daughter, Anne Leybourne, and who was the grandfather of Lord Mounteagle, who367 married Elizabeth Tresham. (9) Cavendish impaling Keighley; William Cavendish first Earl of Devonshire having married Anne Keighley, daughter of Sir Henry Keighley, of Keighley, Yorks. (10) Keighley impaling Carus; Henry Keighley, of Keighley, having married Mary Carus, daughter of Sir Thomas Carus, of Kirkby Lonsdale. (11) Carus impaling Preston; Sir Thomas Carus, of Kirkby Lonsdale, having married Catherine Preston, daughter of Sir Thomas Preston, about the reign of Philip and Mary. (12) Middleton impaling Carus; Edward Middleton, of Middleton Hall (who died in 1599), having married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Carus, of Kirkby Lonsdale.[A]

Fittingly does that great master of English, Frederic Harrison, quote approvingly, in his charming book, “Annals of an Old Manor House” (i.e., Sutton Place, Guildford, the home of the Westons, and the dwelling, for a time, of the above-mentioned Anne Dacres Countess of Arundel and Surrey — that queenly Elizabethan woman), the words of a historian-friend of his: “Sink a shaft, as it were, in some chosen spot in the annals of England, and you will come upon much that is never found in the books of general history.” The late Robert Steggall, of Lewes, wrote a fine poem in blank verse on “the Venerable” Philip Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey, the husband of Anne Dacres. It appeared in “The Month” some years ago.

[A] The arms of Lord Mounteagle were az., between two bars, sa., charged with three bezants, a lion passant, gu., in chief three bucks’ heads caboshed of the second.

The title Morley and Mounteagle is now in abeyance — see Burke’s “Extinct Peerages” — since the year 1686, the reign of James II.

The last Lord Morley and Mounteagle died without issue. The issue of two aunts of the deceased baron were his representatives. One aunt was Katherine, who married John Savage second Earl of Rivers, and had issue; the other aunt was Elizabeth, who married Edward Cranfield.

The present Earl of Morley, Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords, though a Parker, is of the Parkers of Devonshire, a different family from the Parkers of Essex.

[86] — The beautiful and pathetic “Lament,” so well known to Scotsmen under the title of “The Flowers of the Forest,” was penned to express “the lamentation, mourning, and woe” that filled the historic land of “mountain and of flood,” on the tidings reaching “brave, bonnie Scotland” of the “woeful fight” of Flodden Field. At the funeral of that gallant soldier and fine Scotsman, the late General Wauchope, of the Regiment known as the Black Watch, the pipers played this plaintive air, “The Flowers of the Forest.” Who does not hope that those funereal368 strains may be prophetic that, through the power of far-sighted wisdom, human sympathy, and the healing hand of Time, there may be a reconciliation as real and deep and true betwixt England’s kinsman-foe of to-day and herself as there is betwixt herself and her kinsman-foe of the year 1513 — the year of Flodden Field!

See also Professor Aytoun’s “Edinburgh after Flodden,” in his “Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers” (Routledge & Sons); also, of course, Sir Walter Scott’s well-known “Marmion.”

[87] — It should be remembered that Baines says that Nichols, in his “Progresses of James I.,” describes Hornby Castle in Yorkshire, by mistake, for the one in Lancashire.

The sunny, balmy, health-giving watering-place of Grange-over-Sands, built at the foot of Yewbarrow, a pine-clad, hazel-loving fell, “by Kent sand-side,” is in the ancient Parish of Cartmel; and, in connection with the family of Lord Mounteagle, the following will be read with interest by those who are privileged to know that golden land of the westering sun, the paradise of the weak of chest.

About three miles from the Grange — so called because here was formerly a Grange, or House, for the storing of grain by the Friars, or black Canons, of the Augustinian Priory at Cartmel — is the square Peel Tower known as Wraysholme Tower. In the windows of the old tower were formerly arms and crests of the Harrington and Stanley families. A few miles to the west of Cartmel were Adlingham and Gleaston, ancient possessions of the Harringtons, which likewise became a portion of the Mounteagles’ Hornby Castle estates. All this portion of the north of England abounded in adherents of the ancient faith up to about the time of the Gunpowder Plot. The Duke of Guise had planned that the Spanish Armada should disembark at the large and commodious port of the Pile of Fouldrey, in the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, “North of the Sands.” This rock of the Pile of Fouldrey, from which the port took its name, was not only near Adlingham and Gleaston, but also near the Manor Furness, the seat of the elder branch of the Prestons, from whom Mounteagle, on his mother’s side, was descended.[A]


[A] William Parker fourth Lord Mounteagle’s great-great-uncle, James Leybourne (or Labourn), of Cunswick and Skelsmergh, in the County of Westmoreland, was hanged, drawn, and quartered by Queen Elizabeth, in the year 1583. — See “The Acts of the English Martyrs,” by the Rev. J. H. Pollen, S.J. (Burns & Oates). — James Leybourne is not reckoned “a Catholic martyr” by Challoner, because he denied that Elizabeth was “his lawful Queen.” There has been a doubt as to where this gentleman suffered “a traitor’s death.” Baines says that he was executed at Lancaster, that his head was exposed on Manchester Church steeple, and that prior to his execution Leybourne was imprisoned in the New Fleet, Manchester. This is probably a correct statement of the case. Burke, however, in his “Tudor Portraits” (Hodges, London), says that Leybourne was executed at Preston. Though a minute point, it would be interesting to know what the truth of the matter is.

There is a marble tablet on the north wall of the east end of the fine old Parish Church of Kendal, to the memory of John Leybourne, Esquire, the last of his race, and formerly owners of Cunswick, Skelsmergh, and Witherslack Halls. The tablet bears the arms of the Leybournes, and shows that the last male representative of this ancient Westmoreland family died on the 9th December, 1737, aged sixty-nine years, evidently reconciled to the faith of his ancestors.

[88] — The exact relationship of Marmaduke Ward and Thomas Warde to Sir Christopher Ward has been not yet traced out. Sir Christopher Ward was the last of the Wards in the direct line. He died in the year 1521, but left no male heir. His eldest daughter, Anne, married Francis Neville, of Thornton Bridge, in the Parish of Brafferton, near Boroughbridge; his second daughter, Johanna, married Edward Musgrave, of Westmoreland; and his third daughter, Margaret, married John Lawrence, of Barley Court (probably near St. Dennis’ Church), York. A grand-daughter married a Francis Neville, of Holt, in Leicestershire. — But see the “Plumpton Correspondence” (Camden Soc.).

I find that, along with Thomas Hallat, one Edmund Ward was Wakeman (or Mayor) of Ripon, in 1524. He is described as “Gentleman.” He may have been the grandfather, or even possibly the father, of Marmaduke and Thomas Ward. — Concerning the Ward family down to Sir Christopher Ward, see Slater’s “Guiseley,” Yorks. (Hamilton Adams), and the “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 102. — There is still to be found the name Edmund Ward at Thornton Bridge (June, 1901); possibly of the same family as the Wards of the sixteenth century; for Christian names run in families for generations.

It is, however, possible that the name of the father of Marmaduke and Thomas Ward may have been Marmaduke. For I find an entry in the Ripon Registers, under date the 16th December, 1594, of the burial of “Susannay wife of Marmaduke Wayrde of Newby.” (At least, so I read the entry.) When this Marmaduke died I do not know. Nor, indeed, have I been able to ascertain when Marmaduke, the father of Mary Ward, died. It is probable that Marmaduke Ward, the younger, sold the Newby estate prior to 1614. At what date the Mulwith and Givendale estates were sold, I cannot say. Possibly R. C. De Grey Vyner, Esquire, of Newby Hall, their present owner, may know. In vol. iii. of the “Memorials of Ripon” (Surtees Soc.) occur the names of370 Edmund Ward and Ralph Ward, both as paying dues for lands in Skelton (p. 333). Also the “Fabric Roll for 1542” (in the same work) has the name Marmaduke Ward. This would be the husband of Susannay, who died in 1594, probably. So that, most likely, Marmaduke and Susannay Ward were the parents of Marmaduke Ward and Thomas Ward, if the latter were brothers, as it is practically certain they were.

I am inclined, on the whole, to think that Edmund Ward cannot have been the father to Marmaduke and Thomas Ward, though he may have been their grandfather. There is a curious reference to, most probably, this Edmund Ward, in the “Plumpton Correspondence,” pp. 185, 186 (Camden Soc.); but it sheds no light on this question of the parentage of any of the Wards. From Slater’s “History of Guiseley” it is evident that a branch of the Wards settled at Scotton, near Knaresbrough.

Miss Pullein, of Rotherfield Manor, Sussex, a relative of the Pulleins, of Scotton, tells me that in the “Subsidy Roll for 1379” the names occur: — “Johannes Warde et ux ej. ijs. Tho. Warde et ux ej. vjd Johannes fil. Thomae Warde iiij d.” So that the names John and Thomas were evidently hereditary in the various branches of the Wardes, of Givendale and Esholt. (18th April, 1901.)

[89] — From the “Authorised Discourse,” or “King’s Book,” we learn that the King returned from Royston on Thursday, the 31st day of October; that on Friday, All Hallows Day, Salisbury showed James the Letter in the “gallerie” of the palace at Whitehall. On the following day, Saturday, the 2nd of November, Salisbury and the Earl of Suffolk, the Lord Chamberlain, saw the King in the same “gallerie,” when it was arranged that the Chamberlain should view all the Parliament Houses both above and below. This “viewing” or “perusing” of the vault or cellar under the House of Lords took place on the following Monday afternoon by Suffolk and Mounteagle, when they saw Fawkes, who styled himself “John Johnson,” servant to Thomas Percy, who had hired the house adjoining the Parliament House and the aforesaid cellar also.

Now, Mounteagle, almost certainly, must have known that there would be this second conference with the King, on this Saturday, and from what Mounteagle (ex hypothesi) had said to Tresham about “the mine,” Tresham would have concluded that what Mounteagle knew, Salisbury would be soon made to know, and, through Salisbury’s speeches, the King. My opinion is that Mounteagle saw and spoke to Tresham between the conference of the King, Suffolk, and Salisbury (Mounteagle being made acquainted with, by either Suffolk or Salisbury, if he were371 not actually an auditor of, all that had passed), and the meeting with Winter in Lincoln’s Inn Walks, on the night of that same Saturday, November the 2nd.

[90] — See “Winter’s Confession,” Gardiner, pp. 67 and 68.

This meeting on the Saturday was behind St. Clement’s. At this meeting Christopher Wright was present. Query — What did he say? And in whose Declaration or Confession is it contained? If in one of Fawkes’, then which? Possibly it may have been at this meeting that Christopher Wright recommended the conspirators to take flight in different directions. It is observable that, so far as I am aware, Christopher Wright and John Wright do not appear to have expressed a wish that any particular nobleman should be warned, except Arundel. Whereas Fawkes wished Montague; Percy, Northumberland; Keyes, Mordaunt; Tresham was “exceeding earnest” for Stourton and Mounteagle; whilst all wished Lord Arundel to be advertised. Arundel was created Earl of Norfolk by Charles I. in 1644.

(Since writing the above, I have ascertained that there is no report in any of Guy Fawkes’ Confessions of this statement of Christopher Wright, nor in his written “Confessions” does Fawkes refer to his own mother.)

[91] — “Labile tempus” — the motto inscribed over the entrance of the fine old Elizabethan mansion-house situate at Heslington, near York, the seat of the Lord Deramore, formerly belonging to a member of the great Lancashire family of Hesketh, of Mains Hall, Poulton-in-the-Fylde, and Rufford. Edmund Neville, one of the suitors of Mary Ward, was brought up with the Heskeths, of Rufford. In 1581 the Mains Hall branch of the Heskeths harboured Campion.

[92] — As a fact, the Government did not know of the mine, according to Dr. Gardiner, even on Thursday, the 7th of November, but certainly they did know, says Gardiner, by Saturday, the 9th. — See Gardiner’s “Gunpowder Plot,” p. 31. — Probably the entrance to the mine was sealed up. No useful purpose would be served by either Mounteagle or Ward telling the Government about the mine, which then was an “extinct volcano.”

[93] — The exact words of Lingard are these: — “Winter sought a second interview with Tresham at his house in Lincoln’s Inn Walks, and372 returned to Catesby with the following answer: That the existence of the mine had been communicated to the Ministers. This Tresham said he knew: but by whom the discovery had been made he knew not.”

Lingard does not give his authority, but probably he got the material for this important passage from “Greenway’s (vere Tesimond’s) MS.” It is an historical desideratum that this MS. should be published. Mounteagle, conceivably, may have falsely told Tresham that the Government already knew of the mine, in order to alarm him the more effectually; but, most probably, it was an inference that Tresham himself erroneously drew from Mounteagle’s words, whatever may have been their precise nature. Mounteagle possibly said something about “the mine,” and that the Parliament Houses would be with minuteness searched far and near. This would be quite sufficient to inflame the already heated imagination of Tresham, and he would readily enough leap forth to the conclusion that the “mine” must be for certain known to the Government.

One can almost feel the heart-beats of the distraught Tresham as one reads the relation of his second interview with Winter. Then from the pulsations of one human heart, O, Earth’s governors and ye governed, learn all. For the study of true History is big with mighty lessons and “he that hath ears let him hear.” Let him hear that Truth and Right, although each is, in its essential nature, a simple unity, and therefore imperially exclusive in its claims, and therefore intolerant of plurality, of multiplicity, of diversity, yet that each of these high attributes of the eternal and the ideal is the mistress not only of man’s god-like intellect, but also of his heart and will. And these two faculties are likewise of divine original and have severally a voice which perpetually bids man, poor wounded man, “be pitiful, be courteous” to his fellows. For human life at best is “hard,” is “brief,” and “piercing are its sorrows.”

[94] — The meeting between Catesby, Winter, and Tresham, at Barnet, on the road to White Webbs, was on Friday, the 1st of November, the day the Letter was shown to the King.

[95] — Or, Mounteagle may have thought that, as it would be meritorious in Percy supposing he had sent the Letter, he (Mounteagle) would expressly, in the hearing of Suffolk, give Percy the benefit of the doubt; since it might stand his old friend in good stead hereafter if Percy were involved in the meshes of the law for the part that, I hold, Mounteagle by Christopher Wright through Thomas Warde then knew for a fact, Percy, and indeed all his confederates, had taken in the nefarious enterprise. Such a373 train of thought may have flashed through Mounteagle’s brain well-nigh instantaneously; for what is quicker than thought? I suspect, moreover, that Mounteagle conjectured that the Letter was from one of Warde’s and his own connections: for Percy, as well as the Wrights, would be a connection of Mounteagle, through the Stanleys, Percies, Gascoignes, Nortons, Nevilles, and Wardes, who were all more or less allied by marriages entered into within the last few generations. Percy would be about Thomas Warde’s own age (forty-six).

I do not, however, think that Mounteagle knew for certain who was the revealing conspirator; and his lordship would not want to know either. Besides, I hold that Warde would be too good a diplomatist and too faithful a servant to suffer his master to know, even if he had wanted. “Say ‘little’ is a bonnie word,” would be a portion of the diplomatic wisdom that Warde would carry with him up to the great metropolis from his “native heather” of Yorkshire.

[96] — Ben Jonson was “reconciled” to the Church of Rome either in 1593 or 1594. After, and probably on account of, the Plot he left the Church, whose “exacting claims” he had “on trust” accepted. Possibly it was under the influence of Jonson’s example that Mounteagle wrote the letter to the King, given in the Rev. John Gerard’s “What was the Gunpowder Plot?” p. 256. Mounteagle, however, died in the Church of Rome, and the Article in the “National Dictionary of Biography” says that he had a daughter a nun. Belike, she was a member of the Institute of “The English Virgins,” for the name “Parker” is mentioned in Chambers’ “Life of Mary Ward.”[A] There has been recently (1900) published a smaller “Life of Mary Ward,” by M. Mary Salome (Burns & Oates), with a Preface by Bishop Hedley, O.S.B., which should be read by those not desirous of possessing the more costly work by Mary Catharine Elizabeth Chambers, in 2 vols. (Burns & Oates), with a Preface by the late Henry James Coleridge, S.J. (brother to the late Lord Coleridge). May I express374 the hope that these two learned authoresses will cause the Ward Papers, at Nymphenburg, near Munich, in Germany (that are extant), to be carefully examined afresh to see if they contain anything about Thomas Warde, Mary’s uncle, and anything further about her connection, through the Throckmortons and Nevilles, the Lord Mounteagle? By so doing, they will cause to be obliged to them all serious students of the Gunpowder Plot, which is of perennial interest and value to human beings, whether governors or governed, by reason of the intellectual, moral, and political lessons that with the truest eloquence — the eloquence of Fact — it teaches mankind for all time.

[A] Whilst it is possible that the “Parker” mentioned in the “Life of Mary Ward” was one of Lord Mounteagle’s daughters, I find, from a statement in Foley’s “Records,” vol. v. (by a contemporary hand, I think), that “Lord Morley and Mounteagle,” as he is styled, had a daughter who was “crooked,” and who was an Augustinian nun. Her name was Sister Frances Parker. Her father is said to have given his consent to this daughter becoming a nun “after much ado.” Lady Morley and Mounteagle, a strict papist, brought up the children Roman Catholics. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. v., p. 973. — The same writer is of opinion that Mounteagle was not a Roman Catholic. Evidently he was a very lax one, and between the Plot and the time of his death he probably conformed to the Establishment.

[97] — Born Lord Thomas Howard, brother to Lord William Howard, of Naworth, near Carlisle. — For an interesting account of the Tudor Howards, see Burke’s “Tudor Portraits” (Hodges); also Lodge’s “Portraits,” and “Memorials of the House of Howard.”

[98] — Did Mounteagle likewise behold Fawkes? If so, his self-command apparently was extraordinary; for, almost certainly, Mounteagle must have met Fawkes at White Webbs, if not at the Lord Montague’s and elsewhere. Fawkes was so strict and regular in his habits and deportment that he was thought to be a priest or a Jesuit (I suppose, a Jesuit lay-brother). That Tesimond should think that part of the “King’s Book” fabulous which describes this “perusing of the vault” and finding of Fawkes, is just what I should expect Tesimond, erroneously, would think; inasmuch as this particular Jesuit would naturally enough consider it to be simply incredible that Mounteagle should not have displayed some outward token, however slight, of recognising Fawkes, who would be sure to carry with him his characteristic air of calm and high distinction, even amid “the wood and coale” of his “master” Thomas Percy. But Tesimond did not know what a perfect tutoring Mounteagle had received from his mentor to qualify him to play so well his part in life at this supreme juncture. Thomas Ward was evidently a consummate diplomatist. If he had been trained under Walsingham he would certainly “know a thing or two.”

[99] — It is to be remembered that, for the first time, the powder was found by Knevet and his men about midnight of Monday, the 4th of November. Previous to, possibly, late in the day of the 4th of November, I do not think that Salisbury and Suffolk knew any more about the existence of this powder than “the man in the moon.” Such ignorance on their part redounded to their great discredit, and would be, doubtless,375 duly noted by the small and timid, yet sharp, mind of James. But the Country’s confidence in the Government had to be maintained at all costs; hence the comical, side-glance, slantingdicular, ninny-pinny way in which the “King’s Book,” for the most part, is drawn up. A re-publication of the “King’s Book,” and of “The Fawkeses, of York,” by R. Davies, sometime Town Clerk of York (Nichols, 1850), are desiderata to the historical student of the Gunpowder Plot.

I readily allow that it is difficult to believe that neither Salisbury, nor Suffolk, nor anybody (not even a bird-like-eyed Dame Quickly of busy-bodying propensities residing in the neighbourhood) knew of this powder, which had been (at least some of it) in Percy’s house and an outhouse adjoining the Parliament House. Still, even if they did know (whether statesmen or housewife) of the Gunpowder, it does not follow, either in fact or in logic, that they knew of the Gunpowder Plot. For they might reasonably enough conclude that the ammunition was to carry out “the practice for some stir” which Salisbury admits that he knew the recusants had in hand at that Parliament. — See “Winwood’s Memorials,” Ed. 1725, vol. ii., p. 72. — Moreover, for such a purpose, in the natural order of things, I take it, the powder would be brought in first, then the shot, muskets, armour, swords, daggers, pikes, crossbows, arrows, and other ordnance. (The barrels, empty or nearly so, would be carried in first.)

Sir Thomas Knevet, of Norfolk, was created Baron Knevett, of Escrick, near York, in 1607. He died without male issue. He went to the Parliament House on the night of November 4th, 1605, as a Justice of the Peace for Westminster. — See Nichols’ “Progresses of James I.,” vol. i., p. 582. — Escrick is now the seat of the Lord Wenlock.

[100] — “Hatfield MS.,” 110, 30. Quoted in “the Rev. J. H. Pollen’s S.J., thoughtful and learned booklet, entitled “Father Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot” (Catholic Truth Society’s publication, London).

[101] — See Jardine’s Letter to Sir Henry Ellis, K.H., F.R.S., Feb., 1841, in “Archæologia,” vol. xxix., p. 100. This letter should be carefully read by every serious student of the Plot.

[102] — Sir William Stanley, of Hooton (in that strip of Cheshire between the Mersey and the Dee), was not seen by Fawkes between Easter and the end of August, 1605, when Fawkes went over to Flanders for the last time in his career so adventurous and so pathetic. Sir376 William knew nothing of the Gunpowder Plot. It was said that he surrendered Deventer in pursuance of the counsel of Captain Roland Yorke, who to the Spaniards had himself surrendered Zutphen Sconce. These surrenders to the Spaniards on the part of two English gentlemen were strange pieces of business, and one would like the whole question to be thoroughly and severely searched into again. As to Roland Yorke, see Camden’s “Queen Elizabeth.”

Captain Roland Yorke, like his patron Sir William Stanley, was an able soldier. He held a position of command in the Battle of Zutphen, in which the Bayard of English chivalry, Sir Philip Sidney, received his death wound. — See the “Earl of Leicester’s Correspondence” (Camden Soc.). — Sidney’s widow (the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham) afterwards married Robert second Earl of Essex. She became a Roman Catholic, like her kinsman, the gifted and engaging Father Walsingham, S.J. Frances Walsingham, the only child of Sir Francis Walsingham, became a Catholic, I think, through her third marriage with Richard De Burgh fourth Earl of Clanricarde, afterwards Earl of St. Albans. He was also known as Richard of Kinsale and Lord Dunkellin. He was an intimate friend of the Earl of Essex and of Father Gerard, S.J., the friend of Mary Ward.

It would be interesting if Major Hume, or some other authority on the reign of Queen Elizabeth, could ascertain whether or not there was a Thomas Warde in the diplomatic service during the “Eighties” of her reign. Certainly there was a Thomas Warde in the service of the Government then. I am almost sure that the “Mr. Warde” mentioned by Walsingham, in his letter to the Earl of Leicester, must have been this Thomas Warde, and one and the same man with Thomas Warde, of Mulwaith (or Mulwith). It is to be remembered, too, that the Gunpowder conspirator, Thomas Winter, had served in the Queen’s forces against the Spanish King for a time. The names Rowland Yorke, Thomas Vavasour, Sir Thomas Heneage, and Thomas Winter are very suggestive of the circle in which a Warde, of Mulwith, Newby, and Givendale, would move. Besides, there was a family connection between the Parkers, Poyntzes, and Heneages. — See “Visitation of Essex, 1612” (Harleian Soc.), under “Poyntz.”

Moreover, it must be continually borne in mind that Father Tesimond (alias Greenway), in his hitherto unprinted MS., declares that Mounteagle was related to some of the plotters. “Greenway’s MS.,” according to Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 92, also says that Thomas Ward was an intimate friend of several of the conspirators, and suspected to377 have been an accomplice in the treason. That would imply that Ward was suspected to have had at least a knowledge of the treason.

[103] — Mary Ward, the daughter of Marmaduke Ward and Ursula Wright, lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Ursula Wright (née Rudston, of Hayton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire), between the years 1589-94 at Plowland (or Plewland) Hall, Holderness, Yorkshire; and between the years 1597-1600 at Harewell Hall, in the township of Dacre, Nidderdale, with her kinswoman, Mrs. Katerine Ardington (née Ingleby). Mrs. Ardington, as well as Mrs. Ursula Wright, had suffered imprisonment for her profession of the ancient faith. We have a relation by Mary Ward herself of her grandmother’s incarceration, which is as follows: — Mrs. Wright “had in her younger years suffered imprisonment for the space of fourteen years together, in which time she several times made profession of her faith before the President of York (the Earl of Huntingdon) and other officers. She was once, for her speeches to the said Huntingdon, tending to the exaltation of the Catholic religion and contempt of heresy, thrust into a common prison or dungeon, amongst thieves, where she stayed not long because, being much spoken of, it came to the hearing of her kindred, who procured her speedy removal to the Castle prison where she was before.” — See Chambers’ “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 13.

This common prison or dungeon would be, it is all but certain, the Kidcote, the common prison for the City of York and that portion of Yorkshire between the Rivers Wharfe and Ouse known as the Ainsty of the City of York. This dungeon was, according to Gent’s “History of York,” under the York City Council Chamber on Old Ouse Bridge, to the westward of St. William’s Chapel. — See also J. B. Milburn’s “A Martyr of Old York” (Burns & Oates). — The Old Ouse Bridge was pulled down in 1810. — See Allen’s “History of Yorkshire” — After the Kidcote was demolished, the York City prison called the Gaol, likewise now demolished (1901), was built on Bishophill, near the Old Bailie Hill. The prison for the County of Yorkshire was the Castle built by William the Conqueror, the tower of which, called Clifford’s Tower, on an artificial mound, is still standing. There was, moreover, in York, a third prison into which the unhappy popish recusants, as appears from Morris’s “Troubles” were sometimes consigned. This was the Bishop’s prison, commonly called Peter Prison. The writer is told by Mr. William Camidge, a York antiquary of note, that Peter Prison stood at the corner of Precentor’s Court, Petergate, near to the west front of the Minster. Mr. Camidge remembers Peter Prison being used as a City378 lock-up prison about the year 1836, soon after which year it was pulled down. The late Mr. Richard Haughton, of York, showed the writer, about Easter, 1899, a sketch of this interesting old prison, a sketch which Mr. Haughton had himself made. The building was a plain square erection, the door of which was reached by a flight of stone steps.

Again, we are told — “Life of Mary Ward,” vol. i., p. 17 — that one day Mary came to her grandmother, “who was singing some hymns,” and the child asked the old lady whether she would not send “something again to the prisoners,” a question, we are told, which “pleased” Mrs. Wright “very much.”

Lastly, the gifted daughter of Marmaduke Ward, and the niece of Thomas Ward, bears this striking testimony concerning one aspect of her aged relative’s gracious life, that “so great a prayer was she” that during the whole five years that the child lived with her grandmother, the most of which time she lodged in the same chamber, she “did not remember in that whole five years she ever saw her grandmother sleep, nor did she ever awake when she perceived her not at prayer” (p. 15).

[104] — Maybe Christopher Wright, from his earliest school-days, had with reverence looked up to Edward Oldcorne, for the latter was the senior of the former by no less than ten years, so that when Oldcorne was a clever youth of fifteen years Christopher would be a little fellow of five, “with his satchel and shining morning-face,” though we may be permitted to hope that little Kit Wright did not “creep like snail unwillingly to school.” For it was at a school second to none in England that the future ill-fated Yorkshireman learned to con his “hic, hæc, hoc.” It was a school originally founded by Egbert, Archbishop of York, in the eighth century, and which, as the Cathedral Grammar School, had been rendered famous by Alcuin himself, the tutor of Charlemagne. It was a school re-founded and re-endowed in the Horse Fayre, now Union Terrace, on the left-hand side going down Gillygate, outside Bootham Bar, by King Philip and Queen Mary, especially for the training of priests for the northern parts. — See in Leach’s “Endowed Schools of Yorkshire” for an account concerning St. Peter’s School, Clifton, York, but no register of scholars of this ancient seat of learning now exists prior to the year 1828. (Title deeds and writings lent by Mrs. Martha Lancaster, of York, have enabled me to identify the site of the old school.)

It is, I take it, furthermore possible that Edward Oldcorne may have taught Christopher Wright; and if the relation of pedagogue and scholar ever subsisted between them, a bond of mutual regard would be created which the lapse of long years would not weaken. For an account of the379 kind of education given in a Grammar School in “the spacious days of Good Queen Bess,” see Dr. Elzé’s “Life of Shakespeare” (Bell & Sons), also H. W. Mabie’s very recent and able American “Life of Shakespeare” (Macmillan).

[105] — “Surgam, et ibo ad patrem meum, et dicam ei: Pater, peccavi in cælum et coram te!” “I will arise.”

[106] — Possibly the Earl of Northumberland. He was (it will be remembered) the son of Henry the eighth Earl, and nephew to “the Blessed” Thomas Percy the seventh Earl, and likewise nephew to Mary Slingsby, of Scriven, Knaresbrough. Sir Kenelin Digby, the eldest son of Sir Everard Digby, married the beautiful Venetia Stanley, who was descended from “the Blessed” Thomas Percy. The helmet and gauntlets of this nobleman were kept at the handsome old Church of St. Crux, in The Pavement, York, which was pulled down a few years ago. Thomas Longueville, Esquire, of Llanforda Hall, Oswestry, Salop, through the Lady Venetia Digby, is descended from “the Blessed” Thomas Percy, as are several other families, including the Peacocks, of Bottesford Manor, Lincolnshire, I believe. Mr. Longueville is the learned author of the “Lives” of his ancestors, Sir Everard and Sir Kenelm Digby.

[107] — We know that on the 5th day of October, two days after the prorogation of Parliament, Christopher Wright quitted his lodging, in Spur Alley, where he had been for eighteen days prior to the 5th October. — See “Evidence of Dorathie Robinson,” p. 128 ante.

[108] — John Wright was acknowledged to be one of the most expert swordsmen of his time. He was commonly known as “Jack Wright,” and his brother as “Kit Wright.” Father Garnet says, in a voluntary statement that he made in the Tower — Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 157 — “‘These are not God’s knights, but the devil’s knights.’ And related how Jack Wright had sent a challenge by Thomas Winter to a gentleman.” The duel, however, did not come off, though Winter measured swords. Winter appears to have fulfilled the happy office of peace-maker on the occasion. (What “strange mixtures” these English and Yorkshire papist gentlemen were, to be sure!)

[109] — See Article in “National Dictionary of Biography” on “John Wright” (citing Camden in “Birch Original Letters”) second series, vol. iii., p. 179.


[110] — Afterwards the great Viscount Verulam, commonly known as Lord Bacon. Bacon’s particular friend and familiar was Sir Toby Matthews, the eldest son of Dr. Tobias Matthews, in 1606 created Archbishop of York. Sir Toby translated Bacon’s “Essays” into Italian. — See Spedding’s “Life of Bacon,” and Alban Butler’s “Life of Matthews.” — Sir Toby Matthews (in the February of 1605-6, just after the Plot) was converted to popery by Father Robert Parsons, who was then at the English College, Rome; and Matthews’ was, without doubt, the most remarkable and interesting of all the conversions effected by that strong-minded and most able Jesuit. Parsons’ intellect was one of marvellous range, reach, versatility, and power. He was a spiritual or mystical man in his way, too; but his spirituality or mysticism not seldom failed to control his action in daily life. It was shut up, as it were, in a watertight compartment. This (me judice) sums up, approximately, the truth about Parsons. Of all the men in Europe, Parsons was the man Burleigh, Walsingham, and Salisbury most feared. He died in 1610. A really impartial Life of Parsons, if possible, by a learned lawyer and politician, is a desideratum. In some of his political ideas this Jesuit was a progressive born prematurely — “a man before his time.” For he believed thoroughly in the sovereignty of the People, and in the desirableness of universal education. In this latter respect he resembled “that good lady, Mary Ward,” the daughter of Marmaduke Ward, and niece of Thomas Ward (ex hypothesi). Campion, the Jesuit, who died a martyr in 1581, was much the more amiable and attractive character. But Campion was no politician. Oldcorne, I maintain, was the greatest of all the three, because of his extraordinary mental equipoise and balance.

The History of the Jesuits in England, 1580-1773,” by the Rev. Ethelred L. Taunton, with twelve illustrations (Methuen & Co., 1901), in some sort supplies a Life of Robert Parsons. But evidently the Jesuit Society is an enigma to Father Taunton, as to so many papists. A man must be a jurist and a statesman to understand the Jesuits. For their aim (me judice), their noble aim, ever has been to make the “Kingdoms of the world the Kingdoms of God and of His Christ.”

If a delusion, surely a delusion merely, not a crime, the most puissant spirit among us must allow.

James Robert Hope-Scott, Q.C., thought that the Jesuits were the backbone of the Church of his adoption. And Dr. Christopher Wordsworth (no mean judge) thought that Hope-Scott might have become a more popular Prime Minister than even W. E. Gladstone, had he chosen a political career. Wordsworth was Hope-Scott’s tutor at Oxford. — See381 Dr. Christopher Wordsworth’s “Autobiography.” — He was Bishop of St. Andrews, N.B., and as a classical scholar almost without a peer.

[111] — See Jardine’s “Criminal Trials,” vol. ii., p. 166.

[112] — “Narrative” p. 57. As appears from the Lives of Mary Ward, Father Gerard had known Mary Ward when a child in Yorkshire. Hence he probably knew her uncles, John and Christopher Wright, and also Thomas Percy.

Mary Ward was one of the greatest women-educationists and, in a sense, women’s rights advocates England has ever seen. She ought to figure in the Supplement to the “National Dictionary of Biography.” The following word-portrait of Mary Warde we owe to the skilful hand of her kinswoman, the gifted Winefrid Wigmore, a cousin once removed to Lady Mounteagle. It is as Mary Ward, that wonderful Yorkshire-woman, appeared in the year which witnessed the death of Shakespeare (1616). Perhaps the poet knew her; if so, no wonder he knew how to describe queenly souls. “She was rather tall (was Mary), but her figure was symmetrical. Her complexion was delicately beautiful, her countenance and aspect most agreeable, mingled with I know not what which was attractive.... Her presence and conversation were most winning, her manners courteous. It was a general saying ‘She became whatsoever she wore or did.’ Her voice in speaking was very grateful, and in song melodious. In her demeanour and carriage, an angelic modesty was united to a refined ease and dignity of manner, that made even princes[A] find great satisfaction, yea, profit, in conversing with her. Yet, these were withal without the least affectation, and were accompanied with such meekness and humility as gave confidence to the poorest and most miserable. There was nothing she did seem to have more horror of than there should be anything in herself or hers that might put a bar to the free access of any who should be in need of ought in their power to bestow.”

No wonder that — with a brother to the right of him like Marmaduke Ward, and with a niece to the left o£ him like Mary Ward, “that great soul,” who in after years, “in a plenitude of vision planned high deeds as382 immortal as the sun”[B] — Thomas Warde, the husband for eleven brief years (lacking nine days) of Margery Warde (born Slater), was instrumental, under Heaven, in giving effect to the all but too late repentance of the penitent, Christopher Wright!

[A] Mary Ward was the friend or acquaintance of some of the greatest men and women in Europe. She was a friend of Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I. and daughter of Henry Bourbon, better known as “King Harry of Navarre.” — See Macaulay’s poem, “Ivry.”

[B] Line borrowed from Lord Bowen. — See his magnificent poem, entitled, “Shadowland,” p. 214 of his “Life,” by Sir Henry Stewart Cunningham, K.C.I.E. (Murray).

[113] — The second Edition is dated 1681. The Pamphlet was by a Dr. Williams, afterwards Bishop of Chichester. — See “National Dictionary of Biography.”

[114] — The report would be at least second-hand, and it might be much more. For example, if Mr. Abington saw his wife write the Letter and told the worthy person what he (Abington) had by the evidence of his own eyes ascertained, then the worthy person would have the evidence at first-hand. Any person to whom the worthy person conveyed the intelligence would have it at second-hand, and so on. But if Mr. Abington had not seen his wife write the Letter, but had only been told by his wife that she had writ the Letter, then, although Abington would be a witness at first-hand as to the bare fact of such a report having been made, he would be only a witness at second-hand as to the truth of the report; for Mrs. Abington, in herself reporting, might have spoken falsely either wilfully or through mental defect.

[115] — Vol. i., p. 585.

[116] — Jardine’s “Narrative,” p. 83.

[117] — Jardine’s “Narrative” p. 84.

[118] — William Abington’s chief poem was “Castara,” sung in praise of his wife, the Honourable Lucia Powys. In the recent “Oxford Book of English Verse,” selected by Quiller-Couch (Clarendon Press), there is a fine philosophic poem of the younger Abington (or Habington), entitled “Nox nocti indicat scientiam.” John Amphlett, Esq., has edited the elder Abington’s (or Habington’s) “Survey of Worcestershire,” with a valuable introduction, for the Worcestershire Historical Society.


[119] — It is, moreover, possible that, through her brother’s good offices with the Government, Mrs. Abington had a sight of the Letter itself. If so, she would have been almost sure to detect the general similarity of the handwriting, notwithstanding the disguise, with the handwriting of Father Oldcorne, handwriting she must have known familiarly enough, to say nothing of the particular similarity in the case of certain of the letters.

As showing that, when at Hindlip, Father Oldcorne came into Mrs. Abington’s company, the following quotation may be given from one of Father Oldcorne’s Declarations, dated 6th March, 1605-6: — “Both Garnett and he when there were no straungers did ordinarilye dyne and supp with Mr. Abington and his wyfe in the dyninge chamber.”

[120] — Some idea of the feeling that Mrs. Abington and her husband must have had for this able and upright Jesuit, a true Jesuit in whom there was no guile, may be gathered from the following, which is taken from Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 213: — “Father Edward Oldcorne, S.J., came to Hindlip in the month of February or March, 1589, Mr. Richard Abington keeping house there at the time, who by the advice of other Catholics, then sojourning with him, sent into Warwickshire for the said Father to talk with Mrs. Dorothy Abington, his sister, about her religion, who, at the time living in the house with her brother Richard, was a very obstinate and perverse heretic, and had left the Court of Elizabeth, where she was brought up, to come and live with her brother principally.” We are told that Miss Abington desired to have speech on the subject of religion with some more than ordinarily learned Catholic. “Father Oldcorne being sent for to that end, and after some earnest discourses with her for the space of two days, and having yielded her full satisfaction in all points of religion, and showed such gravity, zeal, learning, and prudence in his proceeding with her that she was astonished thereat, and was unable to make any reply of contradiction to what he propounded to her.” — From a MS. at Stonyhurst, Anglia, vol. vi., attributed to Father Thomas Lister, S.J.

Another manuscript account of Father Oldcorne says that he fasted and prayed for three days for the sake of this lady’s conversion to the Catholic faith; after the third day he fell down from exhaustion, and yet a fourth day’s fasting followed. Then the lady was converted and “became a sharer and participant in the incredible fruit which he reaped in that county,” i.e., Worcestershire. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 213.

Father Gerard, in his “Narrative” of the Plot, says that the384 Government accused Father Oldcorne “of a sermon made in Christmas, wherein he should seem to excuse the conspirators, or to extenuate their act.” The Government had this report from a certain Humphrey Littleton, concerning whom we shall learn more hereafter.

Richard, Thomas, and Dorothy Abington were brothers and sister respectively to Edward Abington, who suffered, in 1587, as one of the fellow-conspirators of Anthony Babington, a distinguished and captivating gentleman from Dethick, a chapelry or hamlet in the Parish of Ashover, in the County of Derbyshire. In the Parish Church of Ashover may be still seen monuments to members of the Babington family. (Communicated to me by my partner, Mr. G. Laycock Brown, Solicitor, of York.)

The history of the romantic but ill-fated Babington conspiracy requires to be impartially re-written, and to this end diligent search should be made to find, if possible, the alleged contemporary history of that curious, ill-starred movement, which is said to have been written by the gifted Jesuit martyr, “the Venerable” Robert Southwell, S.J., the author of that exquisitely imaginative and tender poem, “The Burning Babe,” an Elizabethan gem of the highest genius. — See the “Oxford Book of English Verse;” also Dr. Grossart’s Edition of Southwell’s Poetical Works, and Turnbull’s Edition likewise. — A good Life of Southwell is a desideratum.

[121] — It is obviously unnecessary either in the former part or in the latter part of this Inquiry to assign separate logical divisions for the case of Thomas Ward. His evidence is common to both, and will appear in due course of this investigation.

[122] — Thomas Winter lodged apparently at an inn known by the sign of the “Duck and Drake,” in St. Clement’s Parish, in the Strand. This fact is proved by the testimony of John Cradock, a cutler, who deposed on the 6th of November, before the Lord Chief Justice Popham, that he had engraved the story of the Passion of Christ on two sword hilts for Mr. Rookwood and Mr. Winter, and on a third sword hilt for another gentleman, “a black man,” of that company, of about forty years of age. The Winter here referred to, no doubt, was Thomas, not Robert, the elder brother.

For Cradock’s evidence in extenso, see Appendix; also for evidence of Richard Browne, servant to Christopher Wright; also for letter of Popham, the Chief Justice to Salisbury, as to Christopher Wright; also385 for evidence of William Grantham as to purchase by Christopher Wright of beaver hats at the shop of a hatter, named Hewett.

[123] — This emphatic “surely all is lost,” of Christopher Wright, is worthy of notice, as indicating the certitude of his frame of mind. Now, “certitude” is the offspring of knowledge, and therefore of belief, and when it is not the life is the death of Hope, an emotion Wright had then clearly abandoned. Hence we may justly infer a special consciousness on Christopher Wright’s part as to the genesis of the fact that the game was indeed up, thanks to the infatuated behaviour of his brother-in-law, Thomas Percy: “up” to all and singular the plotters’ fatal undoing; yet, after all, traceable back indirectly to Christopher Wright’s own repentant act and deed! Truly the repentant wrong-doer suffers temporal punishment by the everlasting Law of Retribution, which lives for ever!

[124] — Was this said by Christopher Wright on Sunday, the 3rd of November, at the meeting behind St. Clement’s? There is none such statement recorded by Fawkes in any of his Declarations or Confessions in the Record Office, London.

[125] — See H. Speight’s “Nidderdale” (Elliot Stock), p. 344. The title of this interesting work is “Nidderdale and the Garden of the Nidd; A Yorkshire Rhineland”: being a complete account, historical, scientific, and descriptive, of the beautiful Valley of the Nidd. — See also “Connoisseur” for November, 1901.

[126] — Christopher Wright must have known well the great family of Hildyard, of Winestead, near Patrington. General Sir H. J. T. Hildyard, K.C.B., is a scion of this ancient house. The Hildyards are mentioned in the “Hatfield MSS.

[127] — This good woman’s evidence proves that on the 5th of October Wright left her lodgings. Now, my suggestion is that Christopher Wright, after quitting Spurr Alley, went down into Warwickshire, probably to Lapworth. That thence he repaired to Hindlip Hall, four miles from Worcester, to have his interview with Father Oldcorne. Rookwood went to Clopton, close to Stratford-on-Avon, and not far from both Lapworth and Hindlip, soon after Michaelmas, i.e., the 11th of October (old style). That about Michaelmas the diplomatic Thomas386 Warde came into Warwickshire and Worcestershire to interview Father Oldcorne, and give full assurance to the Jesuit that he, Warde, as diplomatic go-between, would vouch for the conveyance of the Letter, on receipt of the same, to the Government authorities. That the shrewd, diplomatic Warde, all eyes and ears, from what he was ear-witness and eye-witness of at Lapworth, sent post-haste for his brother, Marmaduke Ward, of Newbie. Most probably William Ward, Marmaduke Ward’s son, was at this time on a visit to his uncle Thomas in London. — See Kyddall’s evidence as to “William Ward, nephew to Mr. Wright.” — The boy was sent down to Lapworth on November the 5th, the fatal Tuesday, in the charge of Kyddall. It is possible that William Ward, however, came up into Warwickshire along with his father and half-sister Mary. If so, he must have gone up to London between Marmaduke Ward’s going to Lapworth and the flight of “uncle Christopher” on the 5th; for there is no evidence that William Ward accompanied Christopher Wright and Kyddall up to London on Monday, the 28th of October. Kyddall styles William Ward “nephew to Mr. Wright.” Now, this designation would be, by common usage, accurate if Christopher Wright married Margaret Ward; otherwise, supposing William Ward’s mother was Elizabeth Sympson, it would not be; for Ursula Wright would be naught akin to William Ward.

[128] — Mr. Jackson, “mine host” of “the Salutation,” probably meant between a week and a fortnight when he said “about a fortnight.” “Many things had happened since then,” so Mr. Jackson might easily fancy a longer time had elapsed than was really the case. For Kyddall’s evidence shows that Christopher Wright was at Lapworth on the 24th October, and that he did not reach London till the 30th (Wednesday). On Wednesday Wright may have again called for his quart of sack or for the foaming tankard of the nut-brown ale, partly with a view to ascertaining whether or not any tidings had “leaked out” as to the Letter received by Salisbury, though, as a fact, it was not shown to the King until Friday, the 1st of November. Christopher Wright’s last visit to “the Salutation” was, belike, what is styled nowadays “a pop visit.”

At Patrington, in Holderness, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, there is to-day (May, 1901) an ancient hostelry known by the sign of the “Dog and Duck.” At this house, I doubt not, both John and Christopher Wright full many a time and oft had quenched their thirst and heard and discussed the rural gossip of their day; for Plowland Hall was only about a mile distant from the “Dog and Duck” and its387 good cheer. The “Hildyard Arms” and the “Holderness” Inn, Patrington, may have been likewise, belike, favourite haunts of theirs, for human nature is pretty much the same generation after generation. And even our social habits bind us to the Past. What thoughts crowd into the mind when one makes a visit to the “Dog and Duck,” at Patrington, within a short walk of Plowland Hall!

It is possible that, between the reigns of Elizabeth and Victoria, Plowland Hall was reduced to smaller proportions than it had been in the days of John and Christopher Wright. This was the case with Ugthorpe Hall, the seat of the Catholic Ratcliffes, near Whitby, situate in a lovely little dingle or dell amid the Cleveland Moors; also it was the case with Grosmont House, the seat of the Catholic Hodgsons, near Whitby, situate near and almost laved by the rushing waters of the Yorkshire Esk.

[129] — Father Henry Garnet knew John Wright, but, according to Garnet’s testimony, he did not know Christopher Wright, a fact which alone tends to show that the younger Wright was essentially a subordinate conspirator; for certainly Father Garnet knew, more or less, all the principal plotters, namely, Catesby, Thomas Winter, John Wright, Percy, and even Fawkes, whom he once saw, and to whom he gave letters of introduction when Fawkes went to Flanders, in 1605, to see Stanley and Owen.

[130] — Father Hart was captured, along with Father John Percy (alias Fisher, afterwards famous for his controversy with Archbishop Laud, who could not “abide” the Jesuits), at the house of Lord Vaux of Harrowden. Hart was banished for a time, but died in England, in 1650, aged seventy-two.

Query — Did Hart make any communication to Bellarmine or Eudæmon-Joannes, I wonder?

[131] — See Jardine’s “Criminal Trials;” vol ii., p. 166.

[132] — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. i., p. 173, citing “Gunpowder Plot Book,” No. 177. Eudæmon-Joannes, in his “Apologia” for Henry Garnet, gives reasons why Father Hart, S.J., may have thus acted. Dr. Abbott, in his “Antilogia,” in reply to Eudæmon-Joannes, answers Joannes at great length.


[133] — Vol. ii., p. 120. It may be here stated that by the Common Law of England a confessor was obliged to reveal the fact to the Government in the case of his receiving from a penitent the confession of the heinous crime of High Treason.

Garnet said that “the priest is bound to find all lawful means to hinder and discover it, but that the seal of the Confessional must be saved, salvo sigillo confessionis.” — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 162. — It seems to me that this statement of Garnet is of the utmost importance.

[134] — Afterwards the well-known Lord Coke, the famous Editor of Judge Littleton’s work on “Tenures.” — For a diverting account of Coke and his domestic infelicities see Lord Macaulay’s Essay on “Lord Bacon.”

[135] — Catesby, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Thomas Percy were already dead; the two first were slain at Holbeach; Christopher Wright and Thomas Percy both were wounded unto death at the same place; but certainly Percy and possibly Christopher Wright actually breathed their last a day or two afterwards. Query — Where were the bodies of these four men interred? Were they first quartered as traitors according to law?

Tresham died in the Tower, but his body was quartered, and its members exposed at Northampton in the usual way.

[136] — Jardine’s “Criminal Trials,” vol. ii., p. 135. This of the learned Attorney-General reminds one of the late Lord Bowen’s witty saying: “Truth will out; even in an Affidavit!”

[137] — Father Henry Garnet, the chief of the Jesuits in England, said that he considered the authors of the Gunpowder Treason were not only deserving of the punishment that some of them had undergone, but even a more severe one, if possible. — See Foley’s “Records.”

[138] — Fonblanque, in his “Annals of the House of Percy,” in the chapter dealing with Thomas Percy, expresses the opinion that the Government’s behaviour was comparatively mild, regard being had to the atrocious nature of the designment against the King and Parliament. Such is candidly my own opinion, and this, although I remember that James’s Oath of Allegiance and very tyrannical anti-recusant legislation were the dire consequences of the Plot, which (me judice) — far more than the Marian burnings, the389 Elizabethan Acts of Supremacy, of Uniformity, Constructive Treason, and the Spanish Armada, all put together — led finally to England’s being “bereft” of what to a Roman Catholic is “the one true faith.”

In regard to James’s Oath of Allegiance (1609), it is to be recollected that while strict Roman Catholics, whether “Jesuitized” or not, refused to take the oath, some Catholics thought they might lawfully take it. Among such was the Arch-priest, Blackwell, who, however, was deposed from his office, as, in general terms, Rome condemned the oath. “The sting” of this famous oath was “in its tail;” inasmuch as it not only contained a disclaimer of the deposing power of the Pope, but declared that the doctrine of the deposing power was “impious, heretical, and damnable.” It is remarkable that all the Roman Catholic peers took the Oath of Allegiance, except Lord Teynham, a collateral descendant of William Roper, the husband of Margaret More.

“An apostate” Jesuit, named Sir Christopher Perkins, aided in framing this searching test, so the Government knew exactly how to get the unhappy papist recusants tightly within their grip. (Perkins, like Sir Edwin Sandys, a philosophic friend of Sir Toby Matthews, was an incipient rationalist. Shakespeare may have known Sir Toby Matthews.)

For valuable information (derived from an unpublished manuscript) as to the working of this Oath of Allegiance, see the late Richard Simpson’s Article, entitled, “A Glimpse of the Working of the Penal Laws,” in “The Rambler,” vol. vi., p. 401 (1856). If this Article has not been printed separately, it ought to be. In it occur the names Middleton, Gascoigne, Ingleby, Whitham, Cholmeley, Vavasour, Dolman, Mennell (or Meynell), and Catterick, of Yorkshire; Preston and Towneley, of Lancashire; Tichbourne, of Hampshire; Wiseman, of Essex; Gage, of Sussex; Vaux, of Northamptonshire; Throckmorton, of Warwickshire; Tregean, of Cornwall; Plowden, of Shropshire; Morgan, of Monmouthshire; Edwards, of Flintshire; together with other English and Welsh names, which can be only described as synonymous with honour, high-mindedness, heroism, and all goodness.

[139] — James Usher[A] (1581-1656), Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, was an Anglo-Irishman, who was “learned to a miracle,” so the great English390 Jurist, Seldon, said. — See “Usher,” “National Dictionary of Biography.” — Usher was, through his mother, who became a Roman Catholic, a grandson of James Stanihurst (Recorder of Dublin, and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons), whose family were the patrons of Edmund Campion, when in Ireland. The great orator wrote his history of that country after leaving Oxford, and before going to Douay. Usher crossed over to England in 1602. He held in the University of Dublin, in 1607, a divinity professorship, worth £8 a year, which was founded by Mr. James Cotterell, who died in York. Now, I find from the Register of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, York, that there is a record of the burial of a “Mr. James Cotterell — in the mynster — the 29th day of August, 1595.” This, I have no doubt, was the self-same gentleman as the “Mr. Cotterell,” from whose house, on the 29th day of May, 1579, Thomas Warde made M’gery Slater “his true and honourable wife;” and the same Mr. James Cotterell as founded the Dublin divinity professorship. Dr. Usher knew personally Lord Mordaunt, the son of the Lord Mordaunt who died in the Tower in 1608; and also, according to the “National Dictionary of Biography,” Father Oswald Tesimond. If so, it is possible that Usher knew personally Lord Mounteagle and Thomas Warde, and it may be it was from them that he gathered hints upon which he founded his oracular statement. (I desire here to express my sense of obligation to the Rev. E. S. Carter, M.A., the Vicar of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, York, who most kindly and generously gifted me with a copy of his singularly valuable “Parish Register” Part I., edited by Dr. Francis Collins, from which I have obtained that item of domestic information so valuable as a leading clue for the purposes of this Inquiry, namely, the marriage of Thomas Warde, of Mulwaith.)


[A]The Life of Archbishop Usher” by Barnard (1656), however, does not bear out the statement of the Author of the Article on “Usher” in the “National Dictionary of Biography.” For Barnard says that the Jesuit who debated at Drayton, in Northamptonshire, with Archbishop Usher, was called “Beaumond,” but that his real name was Rookwood, and that he was a brother of Ambrose Rookwood, the Gunpowder plotter. The debate was arranged by Lord Mordaunt (afterwards the Earl of Peterborough), to the end that his wife, the Lady Mordaunt, a daughter of the Earl of Nottingham, might become convinced of the soundness of the exacting claims of the Church of Rome. The upshot was that not only was the Lady Mordaunt not convinced, but that the Lord Mordaunt himself became a Protestant! The topics for discussion were: — Transubstantiation, Invocation of Saints, Images, and the Visibility of the Church. According to Barnard, Beaumond at the third day of meeting sent to excuse himself, saying, “That all the arguments he had framed within his own head, and thought he had them as perfect as his ‘Pater noster,’ he had forgotten and could not recover them again; that he believed it was the just judgment of God upon him thus to desert him in the defence of His cause for the undertaking of himself to dispute with a man of that eminency and learning without the licence of his superior.”

If it were a Rookwood, probably it was Robert (S.J.)

[140] — The “Oliver Cromwell,” by John Morley (Macmillan, 1900), contains a picture of Usher, taken from the original portrait by Sir Peter Lely, in the National Portrait Gallery. The face is one of great keenness and power.

[141] — “Style” in handwriting is its genius, its ethos, its air, its aroma, its active, its essential principle. “Style is the man.”

[142] — See the Rev. John Gerard’s published fac-simile.

[143] — “Shift off,” no doubt, is meant as “The Kings Book” gives it. (I should like to say that a gentleman, a member of Trinity College, Cambridge, the Rev. Edmond Nolan, B.A., suggested to me in August, 1900, when I had the pleasure of meeting him in York, that probably “shift of” was really “shift off.”)

[144] — This enigmatical sentence partook of the nature of a clever sleight of mental strategy or of a skilful manœuvre of mental tactics. In the case of a man of Oldcorne’s combination of the mystical and the practical, it is probable that there would be wheels within wheels, and depths below depths, which are beyond the reach of us ordinary mortals to detect or to fathom. But all this mystery would tend to grip hold of the attention of the reader by compelling him to peruse and weigh the document again and again, and so would tend to beat its warning message into his brains, and so impel beneficent action.

[145] — Gerard’s “Narrative” likewise omits the word “good,” which shows us that the Jesuit was indebted to the Royal Author for his copy of the document.

[146] — The Mounteagle Letter is a remarkably clever composition. Its liveliness, its pithiness, its directness, and its force, in spite of its designed obscurity, gain upon one more and more the oftener one ponders it. But Father Oldcorne was a very clever man. His combination of qualities, theoretical and practical, shows him to have been a man of distinct genius.

In Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., there is, as has been already remarked, a portrait of this great Yorkshire Jesuit, showing a portion of Old Ouse Bridge, York, and St. William’s Chapel in the left-hand corner. The face depicted betokens an intellect of great acumen, a heart of great benevolence, both controlled by a will strong with the strength of persistent discipline. The keenness of the countenance portrayed struck a392 distinguished Oxford friend of mine forcibly the moment he beheld the picture, for he remarked forthwith, “He has an acute look!” The countenance, moreover, as another Protestant friend in effect observed, has that look of infinite patience, of calm resignation, and of sweet melancholy, which was so characteristic of the best of the old English Roman Catholics during “troublesome times.”

This phrase, “troublesome times,” was used in my hearing about the year 1890 by an ancient lady, the late Mrs. Ann Matterson, widow, of High-field, Bishop Thornton, near Ripon. Mrs. Matterson was an interesting specimen of the solid, calm, old, Garden-of-the-Soul type of English Catholic, or as they proudly and touchingly put it, “Catholics that have never lost the Faith.” My informant said she was the daughter of one Francis Darnbrough — a family well known in that part of Yorkshire, a Darnbrough being Wakeman (or Mayor) of Ripon in 1542: that her father’s branch of the Darnbrough family had regained the Catholic Faith through marriages with the Bishop Thornton Hawkesworths, hereditary Catholics, who were formerly tenants under the Lords Grantley and Markenfield, of Markenfield Hall. Mrs. Matterson furthermore told me on that occasion that she was distantly connected (through the marriage of her aunt with a Mr. William Bickerdyke) with one of the York Catholic Martyrs, whose cause of canonization had been, in 1886, introduced at Rome, namely, with “the Venerable” Robert Bickerdyke, a gentleman born at Low Hall, near Scotton, in the Parish of Farnham, near Knaresbrough, and who suffered at the York Tyburn, in 1586, for being “reconciled to the Church of Rome.” The aged lady also said that her uncle, William Bickerdyke, had lived at Brampton Hall, on the River Ure, close to Mulwith: that Brampton Hall had belonged to the ancient and now extinct Yorkshire Catholic family of Tankard, or Tancred — one branch of which had their seat at Whixley: and that at Brampton Hall there had been a place to hide the priest in during “troublesome times.”

For an interesting work on priests’ hiding-places see “Secret Chambers and Hiding-places,” by Allen Fea (Bousfield, 1901).

[147] — The following letter (1599, probably), which ends with the words: “I comitte you to sweete Jesus his hole protection,” etc., will be read with interest. It was written by Richard Collinge, Coolinge, or Cowling, a Jesuit, who was a native of York, being the son of a certain Raulf Cowling (then pronounced Cooling), whose name appears in the York Elizabethan “Subsidy Roll for 1581” as of “St. Olave’s parish and Belfray’s393 without Bootham Bar,” and as being assessed in goods at the sum of £3, which shows him to have been a well-to-do citizen. Raulf Cowling died a captive in York Castle for his profession of the Catholic Faith.

This valuable letter (for which I am indebted to the great generosity of Dr. Collins, of Pateley Bridge) was written probably in 1599, and intercepted by the Government. From the document we learn that Father Richard Collinge, S.J., was not only a cousin to Guy Fawkes, but also to the Harringtons, of Mount St. John. William Harrington, the elder, who harboured “the Blessed” Edmund Campion for ten days in the spring of 1581 at that secluded, tranquil, and lovely spot, Mount St. John, near the Hambleton Hills, Thirsk, Yorkshire, would be not only father to “the Venerable” William Harrington, the martyr for his priesthood at the London Tyburn, but uncle to Father Richard Collinge, and cousin once removed to Guy Fawkes himself. Guy’s mother married for her second husband Denis Bainebridge, of Scotton, a Roman Catholic gentleman connected with the ancient and honourable Roman Catholic family of Pulleyn (Pullein, or Pulleine), of Killinghall and Scotton, by reason of the marriage of Denis Bainbridge’s mother to Walter Pulleyn, Esq., as her third husband. We learn also from Father Collinge’s letter that, belike, Mr. Denis Bainbridge, Guy Fawkes’ step-father, was one of those gentlemen that are “ornamental” rather than “useful.” He was, however, certainly a papist, and his name, together with that of his wife, occurs in Peacock’s “List for 1604,” under the Parish of “Farnham.” There is a blank left for the name of the wife of Denis Bainbridge, probably because Mr. Peacock could not decipher the name indicated. I think that Mrs. Denis Bainbridge must have sprung originally from Nidderdale or Wharfedale, and that she was akin to the Vavasours, of Weston and Newton Hall, near Ripley; to the Johnsons, of Leathley; and the Palmes, of Lindley; both of the two last in that part of the Forest of Knaresbrough which is near to the town of Otley. But further researches may solve the problem as to the maiden name of her who gave birth to Guy Fawkes.

Guy Fawkes called himself “John Johnson” when accosted by the Earl of Suffolk and Lord Mounteagle in the cellar under the House of Lords, on Monday, the 4th November. Possibly, therefore, his mother was a Johnson. Query — Does the Rev. Dr. Robert Collyer, of Chicago, U.S.A., know of any tradition hereon?

“Good Sir, — I pray you lette me intreate yr favoure and frendshippe for my Cosen Germane Mr Guydo Fawks who serves Sr William (Stanley) as I understande he is in greate wante and yr worde in394 his behalfe may stande him in greate steede. I have not deserved aine such curtesie at yr handes as for my sake to helpe my friendes but assure yrselfe that yf there be aine thinge I can doe for you, you may commande me for the respecte I beare to our ould friendshippe but also by this meanes you shalle bynde me more unto you. He hath lefte a prettie livinge here in his countre which his mother being married to an unthriftie husbande since his departure I think hath wastied awaye.[A] Yet she and the reste of our friends are in good health. I durste not as yet goe to them but this sommer I meane to see them all God willinge lette him tell my Cousin Martin Harrington that I was at his Brother Henries house at the mounte but he was not then at home he and his wyfe are well and have manie prettie children. Mr D. Worthington’s brother hath wrote a letter unto him desiringe a speedie answere he is a good honeste and devoute man I often mete with him for nowe I am residente at his Cozens house in that province which is fallen to my lotte they expecte therefor for some helpe nothinge is wanting but a beginner amonge them so they saye for the redemption of Israel. Remember I pray you my commendacons to my good and honourable godmother my L. Marie[B] (Percie) and the twoe devoute sisters in her companie. Mr Roberte Chambers[C] writte to395 me for his mother, the charge is geven to Mr Duckette[D] to inquire for her for she is in his vicinitie tho four Sirsbies of his companie as [? are] here very well. Within this week I have sene both Corn & Gould and Batte, to-morrowe I shall mete wth John Lassells. Thinges goe well forwarde here or enemies persecute us all more than ever and are in particulare feare or rather looke for some what more from or owne malcontents. Thus requesting yr favoure in my suite and remembrance in yr beste memories as you shall have myne I comitte you to sweete Jesus his hole protection this St John Bapst Eve. — Yours in Christe Richard Collinge.

“Lette D. Kellison know that his brother Valentine is in goode healthe and a well wisher but noe Catholike.”

Addressed thus:

“All Molto Magco Sigre il Signiore Guilio Piccioli a Venezia” [i.e., Venice].

(Endorsed) Fugitives.

Vol. cclxxi., No. 21.

Cf. also a letter of Father Richard Holtby, S.J., of Fryton, Hovingham, North Riding of Yorkshire, to Father Parsons, dated 6th May, 1609, ending: — “I commit you to our sweet Saviour His keeping.” — Foley’s “Records,” vol. iii., p. 9.


[A] Guy Fawkes’ little patrimony was situate in Gillygate and Clifton, then in the suburbs of the City of York. — See Robert Davies’ “Fawkeses, of York,” and William Camidge’s pamphlet, “Guy Fawkes” (Burdekin, York).

Miss Catharine Pullein, of Rotherfield, Sussex, and Edward Pulleyn, Esq., of York and Lastingham, I have reason to believe, likewise belong to this ancient family so long settled near Knaresbrough. — See Flower’s “Visitation of Yorkshire,” and Glover’s “Visitation,” for a pedigree of the family in the time of Elizabeth.

[B] The Lady Mary Percy was niece to Francis and Mary Slingsby (daughter of Sir Thomas Percy), of Scriven Hall, whose monuments are still to be seen in the Knaresbrough Parish Church. Dr. Collins tells me that “Sirsbie” was then “a Knaresbrough name,” and occurs in the Knaresbrough Parish Church Registers of that period. The name “Sizey,” which is given in Peacock’s “List,” under “Knaresbrough,” is probably the way “Sirsbie” was pronounced, just as “subtle” is pronounced “su(b)tle.”

[C] I incline to think that this Robert Chambers is the same as the Robert Chambers mentioned in the “Douay Diary,” edited by Dr. Knox (David Nutt); the name, Robert Chambers, appears as one of the students at the English College, Rome. Gould and Batte (or Bates) were probably also the names of priests who had been at this College. Corn may have been Father Oldcorne, S.J., who came to England as a missionary in 1588 with Father John Gerard; or he may have been Father Thomas Cornforth, S.J., a native of Durham, and a great friend of Edward fourth Lord Vaux of Harrowden, whose mother was Elizabeth Roper, a daughter of Sir John Roper first Lord Teynham. Father Cornforth became a Jesuit in 1600. He was at the English College at Rome, and came to England in April, 1599.

[D] The Duckette here mentioned was doubtless Father Richard Holtby, S.J., who succeeded Garnet as Superior of the English Jesuits. Holtby was born at Fryton — in the Parish of Hovingham, in the Vale of Mowbray — between Slingsby and Hovingham, where his brother, George Holtby, lived. — See Peacock’s “List of Roman Catholics in Yorkshire in 1604;” also Foster’s Edition of Glover’s “Visitation of Yorkshire.” — It was Richard Holtby, then a secular priest, who found for Campion secluded, lovely Mount St. John. I think it is probable that, after being harboured by Sir William Babthorpe, at Babthorpe Hall or Osgodby (or both), Campion would proceed through the Vale of Ouse and Derwent to Thixendale, in the Parish of Leavening, to the house of a Mrs. Bulmer; thence, I opine, to Fryton, in the Parish of Hovingham; thence to Grimston Manor, in the Parish of Gilling East; thence through the Vale of Mowbray, by Coxwold, to Mount St. John, the home of the Harringtons, who seem to have quitted the place soon after the year 1603, because the Gregory family are found recorded in the Parish Registers shortly after that date, and they certainly resided at Mount St. John. (Communicated to me by the Rev. Henry Clayforth, M.A., Vicar of Feliskirk, near Thirsk.) Near Mount St. John are Upsal Castle, magnificently situated, and Kirby Knowle Castle (commonly called New Building). These were ancient Catholic houses, formerly of a branch of the Constable family. In Kirby Knowle Castle, embosomed in trees, is still to be seen a priests’ hiding-place. During the early part of the nineteenth century a skeleton was found in this hiding-place — possibly that of a priest. (Communicated to me by the late Very Rev. Monsignor Edward Canon Goldie, of York, about the year 1889.) George S. Thompson, Esquire, now lives at Kirby Knowle Castle, or New Building. This gentleman married a Miss Elsley, of York, whose family, I believe, formerly owned Mount St. John, through their relatives, the Gregories, who seem to have succeeded the Harringtons, harbourers of the great Campion, whom Lord Burleigh himself styled “one of the diamonds of England.” Campion’s guides through Yorkshire were Mr. Tempest (probably of Broughton Hall, near Skipton-in-Craven), Mr. More (probably of Barnbrough Hall, near Doncaster, which came to the descendants of Sir Thomas More, through the Cresacre family), Mr. Smyth (brother-in-law of William Harrington, the elder), and Father Richard Holtby. — See Simpson’s “Life of Campion,” second Edition (Hodges, London). — In recent years the Walker family have owned Mount St. John, but I believe that to-day (1901) Sir Lowthian Bell is the owner. When I visited this historic and ravishing spot, the Honourable Mrs. Bosville was the lessee, and the writer has a pleasant recollection of that lady’s gracious courtesy (1898).

[148] — Jardine, in his “Narrative” p. 37, has the following exceptionally interesting paragraph: “Sir William Waad in a letter to Lord Salisbury, reporting a conversation with Fawkes, says, ‘Fawkes’s mother is alive and re-married, and he hath a brother in one of the Inns of Court. John and Christopher Wright were school-fellows of Fawkes and neighbours’ children. Tesimond, the Jesuit, was at that time schoolfellow also with them. So as this crew have been brought up together.’” — State Paper Office, Add. Papers No. 481, Jardine (now Record Office).

Probably what Fawkes said was that he (Fawkes) and Tesimond were neighbours’ children; for John and Christopher Wright’s parents were of Plowland Hall, in the Parish of Welwick, in Holderness, as we have seen. Two explanations, however, are possible, which will reconcile this statement that, after all, Fawkes may have said that he and the Wrights were neighbours’ children. One is that possibly the young Wrights boarded with some citizen dwelling in St. Michael-le-Belfrey’s Parish, York, whilst they were at the Royal School of St. Peter, then in the Horse Fayre, Gillygate (but now in Clifton), York; the other explanation is that possibly a portion of the fourteen years during which the mother of John and Christopher Wright was (as we have seen already ante) imprisoned for her resolute profession of the Catholic religion was spent in company with her husband, Robert Wright, in some private gentleman’s house in the Belfrey Parish, in the City of York — a thing then very common. For example, Dr. Thomas Vavasour, a physician, of Christ’s Parish, who — or whose wife, Mrs. Dorothy Vavasour — favoured Campion, and probably harboured him in 1581, was for a time imprisoned in the house of his brother. This was probably Mr. Edward Vavasour, a Protestant gentleman, who resided in “the Belfray” Parish, and was a freeman of York and one397 of its tradesmen, being, I find, a hatter. In the York “Subsidy Roll for 1581” Edward Vavasour’s name appears as being assessed in goods at £8. Dr. Thomas Vavasour’s name does not appear in the Subsidy Roll. I believe he was then in prison, at Hull, for his persistent refusal to conform to the Queen’s demands in matters of faith.

Query — Did Father Oldcorne learn his “medicine” from Dr. Vavasour, of the Parish of Christ? What was the system of medical training in the “golden days”?

[149] — As revealing the interior state (1) of Oldcorne’s mind in relation to the Gunpowder enterprise, and (2) of Tesimond’s mind, respectively, the former stands in sharp contrast with the latter, and must be pregnant with significance to the discerning and judicious reader.

[150] — Vol. ii., pp. 285, 286.

[151] — “Somers’ Tracts,” Edited by Sir Walter Scott, vol. ii., p. 106, says: “Tesimond severely censured Hall (alias Oldcorne) for his timidity on the occasion, calling him a phlegmatic fellow.”

Dr. Abbott’s “Antilogia” confirms Jardine’s report of Tesimond’s denunciation, although Foley most improperly omits it.

[152] — The diverse demeanour on this critical occasion of these two Jesuits (both natives of the same City, most probably, and fellow-scholars in the then recently re-founded Grammar School belonging to York Minster) is very striking, and reminds one of the following sagacious remark of that clear writer, Dr. James Martineau: “In human psychology, feeling when it transcends sensation is not without idea, but is a type of idea.” — “Essays and Addresses,” vol. iv., p. 202 (Longmans, 1891). — Such feeling then is mens cordis — the mind of the heart.

[153] — Hindlip Hall, about four miles from Worcester, was built on an eminence in 1572 and the following years of Elizabeth’s reign. It had a large prospect of the surrounding country, and contained many conveyances, secret chambers, and priests’ hiding-places, perhaps more than any house in England. The old Hall of the Abingtons was pulled down at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The present mansion was built by the Lord Hindlip’s family, I believe. This demesne is one of the most historic spots in the kingdom, owing to its memorable associations with Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne, Garnet having left Coughton at the request of Oldcorne, in December, 1605. The two Jesuits were nourished, after398 Salisbury instituted his search, during seven days, seven nights, and some odd hours, mainly by broth and other warm drinks, conveyed to them through a quill or reed passed “through a little hole in a chimney that backed another chimney into a gentlewoman’s chamber.” Doubtless Mrs. Abington and Miss Anne Vaux (the devoted friend of Father Garnet, who, along with Brother Nicholas Owen, accompanied him to Hindlip) had administered this food to the two famishing Jesuits detained in durance.

[154] — Father Garnet’s house in Thames Street, London, had been broken up, this place of Jesuit sojourning having become known to the Government. Consequently, Garnet, at the beginning of September, 1605, went down to Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire, the seat of Sir Everard and Lady Digby.

Christopher Wright, it will be remembered, quitted his lodging near Temple Bar, on October the 5th, and, I opine, then went down to Lapworth, or Clopton, near Stratford-on-Avon. Catesby was born at Lapworth.

It will be remembered that the Ardens, the relatives of Shakespeare’s mother, were allied to the Throckmortons, and therefore to Francis Throckmorton, the friend of Mary Queen of Scots. It is a remarkable coincidence that the great dramatist was, through both the Ardens and the Throckmortons, connected with those whose quartered remains he may have had in his mind’s eye (in addition to those of the Gunpowder conspirators) when in 1606, in “Macbeth,” he writ of “the hangman’s bloody hands.”

For an account of the Somerville-Arden and the Francis Throckmorton alleged conspiracies against the life of Queen Elizabeth, see Froude’s “History.” For an account of Shakespeare’s family, including the Ardens, see Mrs. C. C. Stope’s recent book (Elliot Stock, 1901).

[155] — In the “Life of Sir Everard Digby,” by “One of his descendants” (Kegan Paul), is to be found a vivid and historically accurate account of the proceedings of November the 5th and afterwards. The conspirators’ line of flight would be nearly parallel with the London and North Western Railway from Euston Station to Rugby.

[156] — The country crossed by these unhappy fugitives is undoubtedly the very “heart of England,” and in spring and summer is one of the gardens of England. As those then flying, on that gloomy November day, from the Avenger of blood, were probably almost all men of strong399 family affections, and certainly all ardent lovers of their country, how often must the feelings have welled up in their heart, as from some intermittent crystalline spring, so beautifully expressed by the old Latin poet: —

“Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens
Uxor: neque harum, quas colis, arborum
Te, praeter invisas cupressos,
Ulla brevem dominum sequetur.” — Horace.[A]

Alas! Like many another wrong-doer, before and since, they thought of this too late.

Well-nigh the final glimpse we get of Christopher Wright is from a letter the conspirator, Thomas Bates, wrote to a priest, which is given in Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 210. Christopher Wright, we are told by Bates, on the morning of the day when the powder exploded at Holbeach House, “flung to Bates, out of a window, £100, and desired him, as he was a Catholic, to give unto his wife, and his brother’s wife, £80, and take £20 himself:” — Wright owing Bates some money.


“Land must be left, and home, and charming wife,
And of these trees which you cultivate,
None will follow you, their short-lived owner and lord,
Save the detested cypress.”

[157] — Does Greenway’s “Narrative” clearly state how many of these conspirators received from Tesimond the sacraments? If so, what sacraments were they?

The Government would have had a clear case of inciting to open rebellion against Tesimond if they had caught him, but he escaped to Flanders. He was “a very deep dog,” was Master Tesimond, and no mistake. But he was wholly under the finger and thumb (me judice) of Catesby, which shows what a powerful man of genius Catesby must have been.

Father Henry Garnet, at his trial, allowed that Tesimond had acted “ill,” in seeking to rouse the country to open rebellion.

[158] — This lady was Muriel, the widow of John Littleton, who had been involved in the rebellion of Robert Devereux Earl of Essex. She was the daughter of Elizabeth’s Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Bromley. — See Aiken’s “Memoirs of the Reign of James I.

For a true estimate of the second Earl of Essex, see Dr. R. W. Church’s “Bacon” (Macmillan). — See also Major Hume’s “Courtships of Queen Elizabeth (Fisher Unwin) and his “Treason and Plot” (Nesbit).


[159] — How well-grounded Oldcorne’s suspicions of Littleton were, and how soundly he had discerned the man’s spirit, is proved from the fact that after Littleton had been condemned to death for harbouring his cousin, the Master of Holbeach, and Robert Winter, the Master of Huddington, Littleton sought to save his life by telling the Government that Oldcorne had “answered that the [Gunpowder] action was good, and that he seemed to approve of it.” Littleton also said that “since this last rebellion he heard Hall [i.e., Oldcorne] once preach in the house of the said Mr. Abington, at which time he seemed to confirm his hearers in the Catholic cause.” — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 219.

[160] — On the 5th of October, 1900, I saw this Declaration by the courtesy of the authorities at the Record Office, London, and compared it with the Letter to Lord Mounteagle. Miss Emma M. Walford was present the while. — See Appendix.

[161] — This luminous definition is by that great writer, Frederic Harrison.

[162] — It is not less dangerous to indulge in Irony. For an emphatic proof of this see the “Life of Lord Bowen,” p. 115 (Murray), by Sir H. S. Cunningham, K.C.I.E.

Cf. the great Stagyrite’s discountenancing the study by the inexperienced (the young in years or in character) of the fundamental grounds of those moral rules that each man must observe if he would faithfully do his duty from day to day, and “walk sure-footedly” in this life. — See “The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle,” book i. See also Professor Muirhead’s “Chapters from the Ethics” (Murray).

Hector, in “Troilus and Cressida,” act ii., scene 2, speaks of “Young men, whom Aristotle thought unfit to hear moral philosophy.”

[163] — Jardine thinks that Oldcorne manifests a disposition “to hesitate and argue about the moral complexion” of the Gunpowder Treason; and this disposition Jardine regards as exhibiting in Oldcorne, “apparently a man of humane and quiet character,” a “distorted perception of right and wrong.” — See “Criminal Trials,” pp. 232, 233.

But it is evident that, for the nonce, the London Magistrate’s judicial temper of mind had deserted him, when he sniffed too closely the moral401 air breathed by a Jesuit. For manifest is it that, e.g., all acts of insubordination against an established government are not treasons and rebellions when that government is hopelessly tyrannical, inhuman, and corrupt. Nor are all acts of slaughter of human beings acts of wilful murder. They may be acts of justifiable tyrannicide, as, possibly, in the case of “the man Charles Stuart, King of England;” and acts of justifiable homicide, as in the case of every just war, or of every legitimate slaying upon the gallows.

[164] — In this connection the following words of the conspirator John Grant should be remembered. After the Jury had found a verdict of “guilty” against the prisoners, at Westminster Hall, on being asked what he could say wherefore judgment of death should not be pronounced against him, Grant replied, “He was guilty of a conspiracy intended, but never effected.”

Cf. Wordsworth’s Sonnet on the Gunpowder Plot, which is very penetrating.

[165] — Let it be remembered by the gentle, though unreflecting, reader who is disposed to be unnerved at the sound of the word “Casuist,” as at the sound of something “uncanny,” that Casuistry is that great science, so indispensable to statesmen, warriors, and politicians, especially in these days of democratic self-government, whereby the electing, self-governing people are told by their own authorized expert representatives so much of public affairs as it is for the common good should be known by them, but no more. The late Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone once styled Casuistry “a great and noble science.” Now, the Marquis of Salisbury, K.G., the present Prime Minister of King Edward VII., denominated Mr. Gladstone in the House of Lords, when paying his tribute to the memory of that “king of men,” “a great Christian statesman.” And justly; for although Mr. Gladstone was himself a master in the science of Casuistry, the object that science has in view is to forge a palladium for Truth, and this at the cost of endless intellectual labour. Casuistry, properly understood, counts all mere intellectual toils as cheaply purchased, no matter at what cost, provided only that Truth herself — unsullied Truth — be saved. For, after its kind, in whatever sphere, Truth is infinitely more excellent than the diamond, neither is the ruby so lovely; while partial Truth, according to its degree, is not less true than the full orb of Truth.


[166] — This phrase, “sacrilegious murder,” is used by Shakespeare in “Macbeth,” and so precisely does it express the double crime of the Gunpowder plotters that I feel certain that from this allusion — as well as from the evident allusion to the well-known equivocations of Father Henry Garnet (alias Farmer) before the Privy Council — the great dramatist must have had the Gunpowder Plot in his mind the whole time he wrote this finest of his tragedies.

I suggest, too, that the words “The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan? for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell” are an allusion to the mysterious warning bell that the plotters thought they heard whilst working in the mine. — See Jardine’s “Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,” p. 54.

Compare also Mr. H. W. Mabie’s description of the tragedy of “Macbeth” in his very recent and valuable “Life of Shakespeare” (Macmillan & Co.). Mr. Mabie’s account sounds in one’s ears like a very echo of a recital of the facts and purposes of the Gunpowder Plot.

[167] — Now, as the conspirators were engaged in a joint-enterprise, it must be evident to every clear-minded thinker that the repentance of any one of the joint-plotters must have shed an imputed beneficent influence over and upon all the band. For just as no man liveth only to himself, and no man dieth only to himself, so, by a parity of reasoning, no man is morally resurrected only to himself. Therefore, the moment Christopher Wright was, in the pure eyes of Edward Oldcorne, freed from the leprosy of his sacrilegious-murderous crime — freed (1) by his owning to the same in word; (2) by his manifesting sorrow for the same in heart; and, above and beyond all, freed (3) by his making amends for the same in deed, through the earnest and part performance he had given and made of his unconquerable purpose of reversal, in assenting to the proposal of his listener to pen the revealing Letter — from that moment Christopher Wright, I say, and, through him (though in a secondary, subordinate, derivative sense), all the remaining twelve plotters, would rise up, as an army from the dead; would rise up and stand once more with head erect and in marching order — that noble posture and manly attitude which is ever the reward, sure and certain, of a recovered sense of justice, sincerity, truth.

[168] — The Government, it is said, appointed a special Commission to try Humphrey Littleton and some others at Worcester. The following quotation is taken from “the Relation of Humphrey Littleton, made January 26th, 1605-6,” written by one Sir Richard Lewkner to the Lords of the Privy Council. Lewkner was one of the Commissioners.


This sentence is to be specially noted in this “Relation”: — “The servant of the said Hall [i.e., Oldcorne] is now prisoner in Worcester Gaol, and can, as he thinks, go directly to the secret place where the said Hall lieth hid.”

Now, what was the name of this servant? It certainly was not Ralph Ashley (alias George Chambers), Jesuit lay-brother, for he and Nicholas Owen, the servant of Garnet, who died in the Tower, “in their hands,” whatever that may mean, were not captured at Hindlip until a few days before their masters. This treacherous servant of Oldcorne, whoever he was, was possibly the self-same person who told the Government that Ashley “had carried letters to and fro about this conspiracy.” — See Gerard’s “Narrative,” p. 271. — The man may have shrewdly suspected it from something in Ashley’s deportment or from his riding up and down the country in a way that portended that something unusual was afoot. He may have been a “weak or bad Catholic” servant of Mr. Abington, whom that gentleman placed at the special disposal of Oldcorne for a class of work which could be done by one who was not a Jesuit lay-brother. The Government had evidently got a clue to something from somebody, because I find Father Oldcorne making answer in the course of one of his examinations: — “He sayth he bought a black horse of Mr. Wynter at May next shall be three yeares, and sould him againe.” Examination, 5th March, 1606. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv., p. 224.

According to Foley’s “Records,” Oldcorne was indicted at Worcester for —

(1) Inviting Garnet, a denounced traitor, to Hindlip.

(2) Writing to Father Robert Jones, S.J., in Herefordshire, to aid in concealing Stephen Littleton and Robert Winter, thus making himself an accomplice.

(3) Of approving the Plot as a good action, though it failed of effect.

Father Jones had provided a place of concealment at Coombe, in the Parish of Welch Newton, on the borders of Herefordshire, which then abounded in Catholics. Stephen Littleton and Robert Winter, being captured at Hagley, in Worcestershire, were executed as traitors according to law. Hagley House is now the residence of Charles George Baron Lyttelton and Viscount Cobham.

[169] — A learned Cretan Jesuit, Father L’Henreux, who was appointed by Pope Urban VIII. Rector of the Greek College at Rome, wrote a powerful “Apologia” in behalf of Father Henry Garnet, which was404 published in 1610. In 1613 Dr. Robert Abbott, a Master of Balliol College, Oxford, and Regius Professor of Divinity at that University, wrote his “Antilogia” as a reply to Eudæmon-Joannes’ “Apologia.” It would be a boon to historical students if both the “Apologia” and the “Antilogia” were “Englished” by some competent hand. Abbott was made Bishop of Salisbury, partly on account of the learning he displayed in his “Antilogia.” He was a Calvinist, and a vigorous writer, being styled “the hammer of Popery and Arminianism.”

Dr. Lancelot Andrewes (in answer to Cardinal Bellarmine) and Isaac Casaubon also contributed to the literature of the controversies anent the Plot, and modern editions of their works with notes are desiderata. Casaubon is best known, at the present day, through his “Life,” by Mark Pattison; Andrewes, through the late Dr. R. W. Church’s “Lecture,” now in “The Pascal” volume (Macmillan) of that judicious and learned man.

[170] — See Jardine’s “Criminal Trials,” vol. ii., p. 120, quoting “Apologia,” p. 200.

Sir Everard Digby was the only conspirator who pleaded “guilty,” and he was arraigned by a different Indictment from that which charged the rest of the surviving conspirators.

[171] — My contention is that the conclusion is inevitable to the discerning mind that the sphinx-like nescience — the face set like a flint — with which Oldcorne met Littleton’s inquiry, displays indisputable evidence of a sub-consciousness on Oldcorne’s part, of what? Of a special, private, official knowledge (as distinct from a general, public, personal knowledge) of what had been intended to be the executed Gunpowder Plot, but which Oldcorne himself had thwarted, and so prevented everlastingly any one single human creature being able, even for the infinitesimal part of an instant, to contemplate “post factum” — after the fact — and in the concrete; which, indeed, judged “from the outside,” and as the bulk of mankind are entitled to judge it, was the only side or aspect of the baleful enterprise that was of practical and, therefore, to them, of paramount personal consequence. The conspirator John Grant expressed the state of the case exactly when he said in Westminster Hall, after being asked what he could say wherefore judgment of death should not be pronounced against him, “He was guilty of a conspiracy intended, but never effected.”


[172] — See Butler’s “Memoirs of English Catholics,” vol. ii., p. 260. See also Gerard’s “Narrative.” — It is possible (according to Gerard) that Oldcorne may have been even still more cruelly tortured, namely, as Dr. Lingard says, during five hours for each of five successive days; but to me, humanly speaking, this is incredible.

[173] — Father Edward Oldcorne and Brother Ralph Ashley are both, along with others, now styled by Rome, “Venerable Servants of God.” The Decree introducing the cause of these “English Martyrs,” dated 1886, and signed by the present Pope, Leo XIII., is kept in the English College at Rome, where Oldcorne had himself entered as a student a little more than three hundred and four years previously, namely, in 1582.

Through the truly kind courtesy of the Right Rev. Monsignor Giles, D.D., President of the English College, Rome, the writer was privileged to see, along with the Rev. Father Darby, O.S.B., and some other gentlemen, this Decree in the afternoon of Saturday, the 13th of October, 1900, the Feast of St. Edward the Confessor, King of England. In the forenoon of the same day the first great band of the English Pilgrims for the Holy Year, the Year of Jubilee, had received, in St. Peter’s, the Papal Blessing, amid great rejoicing, the apse or place of honour in this, the largest Church in Christendom, being graciously accorded to these fifteen hundred British Catholic subjects of Her late Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

[174] — As to the precise teaching of the theologians of Father Oldcorne’s Church respecting the famous dictum of St. Augustine of Hippo, “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus,” see the book of the once celebrated Douay theologian, Dr. Hawarden, entitled, “Charity and Truth; or Catholics not uncharitable in saying that none are saved out of the Catholic Communion, because the rule is not universal” (1728). And, again, that great Yorkshire son of St. Philip Neri, Dr. Frederic William Faber, an ultramontane papist of the ultramontane papists, has thus recorded his own potent testimony on this subject in his singularly able and beautiful work, entitled, “The Creator and the Creature,” first edition, p. 368.

Dr. Faber says: “We are speaking of Catholics. If our thoughts break their bounds and run out beyond the Church, nothing that has been said has been said with any view to those without. I have no profession of faith to make about them, except that God is infinitely merciful to every soul; that no one ever has been, or ever can be, lost by surprise or trapped in his ignorance; and as to those who may be lost, I confidently406 believe that our Heavenly Father threw His arms round each created spirit, and looked it full in the face with bright eyes of love in the darkness of its mortal life, and that of its own deliberate will it would not have Him.”

[175] — Either from the phonograph or even the shorthand scribe.

[176] — Are the Indictments in existence of Father Oldcorne and Ralph Ashley, who seem to have been tried in the Shire Hall, Worcester, at the Lent Assizes of 1606? If so, they and extracts from any Minute Books still extant bearing on the subject would be of great interest and value to the historical Inquirer, if published.

[177] — Oldcorne realized experimentally, in the final action of the great tragedy, what it means, as Goethe has it, for a man “to adjust his compass at the Cross.”

And than Oldcorne no human creature ever lived that had a better right to anticipate those magnificent words of triumph over death of one of Yorkshire’s supremest geniuses: “If my barque sink, ’tis to another sea.

[178] — In Morris’s “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,” third series, p. 325, we read: “In 1572 John Oldcorne is one of the four sworn men against the late rebels and other evil-disposed people suspected of papistry, for St. Sampson’s parish.”

Again, under date April 10th, 1577, we read: “And now also John Oldcorne, of St. Sampson’s parish, who cometh not to the church on Sundays and holidays, personally appeared before these presents, and sayeth he is content to suffer the churchwarden of the same parish to take his distresses for his offence.”

There is also for January, 1598, the following pathetic entry concerning the mother of Father Oldcorne: —

“Monckewarde Saint Sampson’s, Elizabeth Awdcorne, alias Oldcorne, old and lame a recusant.”

York is now divided into six wards for the purposes of municipal government, namely: Bootham, Monk, Micklegate, Walmgate, Guildhall, and Castlegate. Until the nineteenth century there were only the first four wards, which, indeed, corresponded to the four great Gates or chief Ways for entering the City.

The writer remembers with pleasure that, now some years ago, his fellow-citizens of Micklegate Ward, on the west side of York, did him the honour of electing him to occupy a seat, for the term of three years,407 in the Council Chamber of his native City, which, he is proud to remember, was the City wherein first drew the breath of life Edward Oldcorne; one, he has every reason to believe, whose keen, sane mind, and ready, skilful hand were instrumental, under Heaven, in penning that immortal document which saved the life, certainly, of King James I., of His Royal Consort Queen Anne of Denmark, of Henry Prince of Wales, and Charles Duke of York, afterwards King Charles I., as well as the life of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the Gentlemen of the House of Commons, and many Foreign Ambassadors, in the year of grace 1605, now well-nigh three centuries ago.

As some readers may be, perchance, interested in a few particulars concerning the ancient Parish of St. Sampson, which is in the heart of the City of York, close to the Market Place, I propose to mention a few. First of all, then, the ancient parish church which bears the name of the old British Saint, St. Sampson, is pre-eminently one of “the grey old churches of our native land,” whereof in the reign of King Henry V. (Shakespeare’s ideal English monarch) there were in the City of York and its suburbs no less than forty-one, though in the reigns of Edward VI. and Elizabeth the number was reduced. That forty-one was the number originally we know from a subsidy of Parliament which granted to King Harry, in 1413, two shillings in the pound leviable on all spirituals and temporals in the realm for carrying on the then war with France. — See Drake’s “Eboracum,” p. 234.

St. Sampson’s Church consists of a lower nave and chancel with north and south aisles to both, extending nearly to the west base of the tower. The architecture of the church is in the decorated and the perpendicular styles. King Richard III., in 1393, granted the advowson of this church to the Vicars Choral of York Minster. The present Vicar (1901) is the Rev. William Haworth, one of the Vicars Choral of the Minster, to whom I am indebted for information respecting the Registers of St. Sampson’s Church and the Church of Holy Trinity, King’s Court, or Christ’s.

Mr. Councillor John Earle Wilkinson, “mine host” of the “Garrick’s Head” Hotel, Low Petergate, York, who was the Guardian of the Poor for the old Parish of St. Sampson (as he is now the Guardian for Ward No. 2 of the United Parish of York), kindly informed me on the 10th July, 1901, that the following streets are in the Ecclesiastical Parish of St. Sampson. Hence we may conclude that it was in a house in one of these streets that were spent the earliest years of Edward Oldcorne, the son of John Oldcorne, Tiler, and of Elizabeth, his wife:408 —

(1) Church Street, a street between the Market Place (which Market Place is formed by St. Sampson’s Square and Parliament Street) and Goodramgate towards Monk Bar. Here is St. Sampson’s Church.

(2) Patrick Pool, to the east of St. Sampson’s Church.

(3) The right-hand side of Newgate, leading into High Jubbergate (formerly Jews-Gate).

(4) Little Shambles and Pump Yard.

(5) That part of Parliament Street on the south-west which includes the site of the York City and County Bank.

(6) That part of Parliament Street on the north-east which includes Mr. F. H. Vaughan’s “Clock” Hotel.

(7) Silver Street, to the west of St. Sampson’s Church, connecting Church Street with High Jubbergate.

(8) On the north side of Church Street, opposite St. Sampson’s Church, Swinegate.

Finkle Street.

(9) Back (or Little) Swinegate, between Swinegate and Finkle Street.

(10) That part of Little Stonegate which includes the back part of the premises of Messrs. Myers and Burnell, Coachbuilders, and the Model Lodging House opposite.

(11) Coffee Yard.

(12) The top part of Grape Lane (leading into Low Petergate), which adjoins Coffee Yard and the north end of Swinegate.

(13) St. Sampson’s Square (forming part of the Market Place).

Some of the old Elizabethan dwelling-houses and shops in these streets and yards, built of oak (doubtless from the famous Galtres Forest, northward of York), with their projecting stories of lath and plaster, happily, are still standing, “rich with the spoils of time,” and the eyes of Edward Oldcorne must have, many a time and oft, gazed upon them at that momentous period of life when “the child is father of the man.”

Besides these ancient dwelling-houses and shops, relics of the Past, the grey old Parish Church of St. Sampson must have been one of the sights which, from the earliest dawn of reason, entered into the historic “imagination” of the great Elizabethan Englishman, who was destined to become a learned student at Rheims and Rome and “to see much of many men and many cities” before he came to England, in the year 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada.

Another familiar object to the future honoured friend and trusted counsellor of Mr. and Mrs. Abington and the highest in the land would be also the old Market Cross, which stood in the middle of St. Sampson’s409 Square, then, and even still sometimes, called Thursday Market. — See Gent’s “York.”

The fact that during the month of December, 1901, the claim of the ancient City of York to be specially represented, through its Lord Mayor, on the occasion of the forthcoming Coronation of His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII., was considered by the Court of Claims next after the claim of the City of London, is interesting evidence to show that the City of Edward Oldcorne is still counted the second City of the British Empire, notwithstanding that such claim was disallowed.

[179] — Sir Edward Hoby was a man of parts, a learned diplomatist and able Protestant controversialist. — See “National Dictionary of Biography.”

[180] — Nichols’ “Progresses of James I.,” pp. 584-587. (The italics are mine.)


Sub-note to Note 178.

In 1572 John Oldcorne, we are told, was one of the four “sworn men against the late rebels and other evil-disposed people suspected of papistry, for St. Sampson’s parish.” This is very interesting; for on the 22nd day of August, 1572, at three o’clock in the afternoon, “the Blessed” Thomas Percy, “the good Erle of Northumberland,” was beheaded in The Pavement, at the east end of All Saints’ Church. He was buried in old St. Crux Church, adjoining The Pavement; and it is possible, I conjecture, that John Oldcorne may have been sworn in as a special constable to help to keep the peace on the occasion of the beheading of the Earl, who held the hearts of nine-tenths of the people of York and Yorkshire, as well as of “the North Countrie” generally, at the time of his long and deeply lamented death.

The York “Tyburn,” in the middle of the Tadcaster High-road, opposite Hob Moor Gate, Knavesmire, was abolished at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

John Oldcorne, the father of Father Edward Oldcorne, is described as a Bricklayer as well as a Tiler. I think he was a “Master,” in partnership, maybe, with his brother, Thomas Oldcorne, a great sufferer for the Catholic Faith, whose wife, Alice, died — a prisoner for her conscience — in the Kidcote, on Old Ouse Bridge, and whose body was buried on Toft Green, near to Micklegate Bar. — See Foley’s “Records,” vol. iv. — The name Oldcorne is not now found in the City of York.



A task at once pleasurable and laborious is at length accomplished, and the writer humbly sends forth into the world his modest contribution towards the literature of the Gunpowder Treason Plot.

Errors, whether in matters of Fact or in points of Reasoning and Argument, the author will be gratefully obliged by his readers at an early date pointing out to him.

Should his book be read by any of our kith and kin in His Most Gracious Majesty’s Dominions beyond the seas, whom “the stern behests of Duty” have bidden “with strangers make their home,” as well as by professed students of History and the general citizen reader in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, then will be the writer’s joy great indeed.

The author desires to tender his respectful and cordial thanks to the Authorities of the following Libraries for the use of their valuable, and not seldom invaluable, works: — (1) The Minster Library, York; (2) the Minster Library, Ripon; (3) the British Museum, London; (4) the Free Library, York; (5) the Free Library, Leeds; (6) the Free Library, Preston; (7) the Free Library, Wigan; and (8) the Albert Library, York.

Also the like thanks to the following persons of divers nationalities, creeds, and parties. Their aid and assistance have been of various kinds: sometimes the loan of rare and costly books for a twelve-month together;412 in certain cases, advice and counsel; in other cases, the revising of proof sheets, the translation from foreign tongues, and the transcription of Elizabethan and Jacobean documents: —

To the Rev. F. A. Russell, York, formerly of India; the Rev. Edmond Nolan, B.A., St. Edmund’s House, Cambridge; the Rev. Richard Sharp, S.J., Skipton-in-Craven, Yorks.; the Rev. George Machell, York; the Rev. Louis Tils, York, formerly of Germany; the Rev. H. Rawlings, M.A., York, formerly of South Africa; the Rev. T. Harrington, Brosna, Co. Kerry, Ireland; the Rev. H. A. Geurts, Bishop Thornton, Ripon, Yorks., formerly of Holland; the Rev. E. J. Hickey, Lartington, North Yorks.; A. E. Chapman, LL.D., York; A. Neave Brayshaw, B.A., LL.B., York; Oswald C. B. Brown, York, Solicitor (author of “The Life of the Venerable Richard Langley: a Martyr of the Yorkshire Wolds”); G. Laycock Brown, York, Solicitor; Miss Emma M. Walford, 45, Bernard St., Russell Square, London, W.C.; Miss Georgina Kirby, York House, Middlesbrough, Yorks.; Mr. Ralph Currie, York; and Mr. John Sampson, York.

Lastly, to all other kind friends who may have rendered assistance, but whose names do not occur either in the work itself or in the above-mentioned list, the writer begs to offer his sincere acknowledgments.

Printed by
The Yorkshire Herald Newspaper Company, Limited,


Transcriber’s Note: Blank pages have been deleted. Footnotes with alphabetic tags now generally follow the referencing paragraph. Footnotes with numeric tags are located near the end of the work. The publisher’s inadvertent omissions of important punctuation have been corrected. Duplicative book and chapter front matter has been removed. The book cover image possibly seen in the web pages that access this ebook is from

The following list indicates any additional changes made. The page number represents that of the original publication and applies in this etext except for footnotes and illustrations since they may have been moved.

Page          Change

  2  See Notes at End of Text, indicated by figures in ( )[[ ]]
  2  ['Local' footnotes are indicated with A-Z, not numerals.]
168  This lady was the the[Delete.] above-named Dowager
174  Anglo-Saxon compeers as belonging [to] a comparatively inferior
176  his aid for the rebellion.[Omitted footnote tag added here.]
192  the point of a needle?”[Omitted footnote tag added here.]
248  owned by the Rev. Charles Slingsby Slingsby[Delete.],
251  and from tyme to to[Delete.] tyme,
306  William Grauntham[Grantham].
387  Again; Fawkes, we are told by Endæmon[Eudæmon],
Start of text.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Gunpowder Plot and Lord
Mounteagle's Letter, by Henry Hawkes Spink Jr.


***** This file should be named 40029-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Robert Cicconetti, Henry Gardiner and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation information page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at 809
North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887.  Email
contact links and up to date contact information can be found at the
Foundation's web site and official page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For forty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.