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The four major Catholic plots

Babington, Bye, Gunpowder & Main;

Not many people are aware, but the Gunpowder plot itself was only one of FOUR major plots that had been hatched. For over 26 years, major plots and contrived schemes by government officials increased the Protestant hold on the country. Senior government members and reigning monarchs knew about the plots well in advance.

Between 1584 to 1610 there were four large scale plots to remove Queen Elizabeth I or James I, with similar motives and objectives...

Queen Elizabeth I.

Babington Plot

Reason: A plot contrived by Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State - chief of espionage.
It unfairly implicated Mary Queen of Scots in a plot to kill Elizabeth I.

Date: 1585 - Feb 1587

Place: Chartley Hall - London

Involved persons: Anthony Babington, charged with treason and executed; Francis Ingiby a Jesuit priest, tried & executed at York; Father Henry Ballard, names friends under torture & executed; Sir Thomas Gerald, charged with treason and released; Chideock Tichbourne, Robert Barnewell, John Savage, Henry Donn - all tried & executed; Edward Habington, Charles Tilney, Edward Jones, John Charnock, John Travers, Jerome Bellamy & Robert Gage - all charged with complicity.

Outcome: 'Act against Sectaries', requiring all to attend church; 'Act against Papists', outlawing all Catholic practices.

King James I of England. (James VI of Scotland.)

Bye Plot or 'Treason of the Priests'

Reason or aim: Designed to kidnap the King and hold him to ransom, whilst imprisoning the Privy Council.

Date: 1603

Place: London, Greenwich - Westminster Palace - Parliament.

Involved persons: Catholics priest William Watson, tried & hanged; William Clarke; Lord Grey de Wilton; Fathers Henry Garnet and John Gerald - had knowledge of the plot, Garnet informed the government fearing retribution against Catholics; George Brooke, tried & executed (brother of Lord Cobham, see Main plot); Sir Griffin Markham and Anthony Copely; Anne Vaux; Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham - only implicated; William Udall, Government spy?

Outcome: Parliament's Act 'Statutes against Catholics', all priests ordered out of England.

Main Plot or the 'Treason at Maine'

Reason or aim: Deposing of King James I and replacing him with his cousin Lady Arabella Stuart, the daughter of Charles Stuart (Earl of Lennox) and Elizabeth Cavendish.

Date: 1603 (July)

Place: London

Involved persons: Henry Brooke (Lord Cobham, brother of George Brooke - see Bye plot) Lord Grey of Wilton, a confirmed Puritan; Sir Edward Parham; Sir Walter Raleigh, imprisoned in the Tower for 13 years; William Udall, a Government spy?

Outcome: Enforcement of the Acts of Parliament.

Gunpowder Plot

Reason or aim: To kill the King and Parliament, and putting Princess Elizabeth Stuart as Queen, who would marry a Catholic.

Date: 1603 - 1606

Place: London - Parliament / Coombe Abbey, Coventry.

Involved persons: Guy Fawkes (aka John Johnson); Thomas Percy; Sir Robert Catsby; Thomas Winter; John Wright; Christopher Wright; Robert Winter; Stephen Littleton; John Grant; Father Henry Grant; Father Oswald Tesimond; Thomas Bates; Nicholas Owen; Robert Keyes; Everard Digby; Ambrose Rookewood; Francis Tresham.
Some twenty un-named persons, who attended the 'Dunchurch Hunt'.

Associated with the plot: Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury Spymaster; Mr Whinniard, Yeoman Kings Wardrobe & Beds rented house to Fawkes.

Outcome: Put the freedom to practice Catholicism in England back another 200 years.

Fred Whitehead's painting of Dunchurch.
An early 1900s painting of Dunchurch by Fred Whitehead.


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