Gunpowder Plot

St Nicholas Owen was born in 1562 in Oxford into a devout recusant family, and trained as a carpenter and joiner.  As a Jesuit lay brother he became the servant of Henry Garnet SJ, the Superior of the English mission, in 1588 -  a time when the penalty for Catholic priests discovered in England was torture and death.  His carpentry skills were put to use in building priest holes or hiding places in the houses of Catholics all over the country.  Known as “Little John”, (...
Edward Oldcorne was born in York in 1561.  Among his school friends were John and Christopher Wright and Guy Fawkes. He attended the English College at Reims. After ordination in Rome in 1587, he became a Jesuit in 1588.  He returned to England with John Gerard, and carried out clandestine ministry in the West Midlands for 17 years. He often stayed at Hindlip Hall which was adapted by Nicholas Owen to include a number of priest holes.  In 1601 Oldcorne made a...
Henry Garnet was born in 1555 in Derbyshire. He travelled to Rome to become a Jesuit in 1575 and after studying and teaching for 11 years, returned as a missionary to England in 1586,a period of extreme danger for Catholics.  Garnet’s brethren were regularly betrayed and arrested, tortured and executed.  Victims included Robert Southwell, with whom Garnet had travelled to England, and William Weston, the only other Jesuit in England at the time of his return.  Garnet thus...
Aged 23, John Gerard became a Jesuit in Rome in August 1588. Having already studied at the Jesuit College in Clermont, he was sent almost immediately back to England. For six years he undertook a clandestine mission, bringing more than twenty influential families back to the Catholic faith and preaching the Spiritual Exercises. He worked closely with the Jesuit superior in England, Henry Garnet. He was captured in 1594 and sent to the Tower of London where he was tortured, fruitlessly, to...
 The Gunpowder Plot was a failed assassination attempt against King James 1 by a group of English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.  Many English Catholics had hoped that the death of Elizabeth 1 and the accession of James in 1603 would lead to a relenting of harsh penalties for recusancy.  Because Elizabeth had not formally named James as her successor, and to counter the efforts of influential Catholics like Robert Persons, James did some skilled political maneuvering with the...