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You are in: Northamptonshire » A Sense Of Place

Monday, 20th October, 2003
The Gunpowder Plot banner
1: Plotting at Ashby St Ledgers

Ashby St Ledgers
A short guide on what to see at Ashby St Ledgers from our Places to Visit section.

BBC History: The Gunpowder Plot
The background to the Gunpowder Plot from BBC History.

What if the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded?
Professor Ronald Hutton asks the big question.

Gunpowder Plot game
Test yourself on a quiz about the Gunpowder Plot. If you answer the questions correctly, you will track down the fizzing kegs. If not ...

The Gunpowder Plot Society
Extensive history of the plot, with examples of original documents and plenty of links.

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Image of the gatehouse at Ashby St Ledgers. Picture courtesy of English Heritage
The 'plot room' at Ashby St Ledgers

Robert Catesby, who lived at Ashby St Ledgers, near Daventry, was a devout Catholic.

He was a popular, fashionable man, more than six-feel-tall, handsome, a courageous horseman and admired swordsman. He seems to have charisma by the bucket-load and was, perhaps, a born leader.

His father had been imprisoned for harbouring a Catholic priest, and he himself left university without a degree to avoid taking the Protestant Oath of Supremacy.

Robert Catesby
bullet point 1573 - born
bullet point 1586 - to university (Gloucester Hall, Oxford)
bullet point 1593 - married Catherine Leigh.
bullet point 1594 shelters two Catholic priests at his house
bullet point 1596 - arrested and held in the Tower of London whilst Queen Elizabeth I is unwell. As Catesby was a known Catholic, this was a precautionary measure until the Queen recovered.
bullet point 1601 - Catesby is involved in the unsuccessful Essex Rebellion which claimed to bring religious toleration to England. He is fined for his involvement.
bullet point 1603 - Thomas Percy visits Catesby at Ashby St Ledgers.
bullet point November 4th 1605 - the gunpowder plot is foiled.
bullet point November 8th 1605 - Catesby is shot dead at Holbeach House, Staffordshire.

Catesby became the leader of the small band of conspirators.

It started around June 1603, Thomas Percy, a disgruntled Catholic, came to Northamptonshire to visit Robert Catesby. It's thought that they met in the old half-timbered gatehouse to the manor at Ashby St Ledgers. The building still stands and the place they met is known as the 'plot room'.

Percy told Catesby he would kill the King with his own hands. Catesby urged him to hold back - he wanted to consult with others first.

Catesby was also joined by someone else from Northamptonshire...

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