Appendix 2: The Gunpowder Plot Timeline

The Tudor Dynasty and the Break from Rome


Prince Henry Tudor, the second son of Henry VII, is born


Henry’s older brother and heir to the throne dies. The line of succession passes to Henry


Prince Henry, now heir apparent, marries Catherine of Aragon, his brother’s widow

Prince Henry, ascending to the throne after the death of his father, becomes King Henry VIII


Mary Tudor, Henry and Catherine’s only surviving child is born

1530 - 1533

Henry VIII breaks from Rome in order to divorce Catherine, in favour of Anne Boleyn


Henry’s second daughter, Elizabeth, is born to Henry’s second wife, Anne


Anne Boleyn is executed at the behest of her husband. Henry marries his third wife, Jane Seymour


Henry’s only son, Edward, is born. The child becomes Henry’s heir apparent


King Henry VIII dies, and his nine-year-old son Edward succeeds to the throne of England as Edward VI


Edward VI dies childless and his half-sister Mary becomes queen of England as Mary I


Mary I dies, childless. Her half-sister Elizabeth ascends to the throne as Elizabeth I


Pope Pius V issues Regnans in Excelsis, ex-communicating Elizabeth from the Catholic Church


Elizabeth signs the Treaty of Berwick with James VI of Scotland. This treaty bestowed a large annual pension on James, thought to indicate Elizabeth’s intention to pass the Crown to him should she die childless


24 March: Elizabeth I dies, without having produced any children. Her death signals the end of the Tudor dynasty

The Gunpowder Plot


24 March: Hours after Elizabeth’s death, a proclamation is read in Whitehall declaring James VI of Scotland to be her successor

25 July: Coronation Day. The new King is crowned James I of England. His ascension to power is relatively smooth and trouble-free


19 February: James declares his ‘utter detestation’ of the Catholic faith, denouncing it as ‘superstitious’. It becomes clear that the new King is not inclined to improve conditions for the Catholic minority in his realm

25 April: Guido Fawkes arrives in England, fresh from fighting in the religious wars on the Continent

20 May: Meeting at the Duck and Drake Inn on London’s Strand. Catesby unveils his plans to blow up the Houses of Parliament to Guido Fawkes, Jack Wright, Thomas Percy, and Tom Wintour

October: Robert Keyes is drafted into the conspiracy. Ambrose Rookwood unwittingly becomes embroiled in the scheme by supplying the plotters with gunpowder

December: Thomas Bates, Catesby’s loyal servant, joins the growing number of plotters


March: John Grant, Christopher Wright and Robert Wintour are drafted into the scheme

Thomas Percy rents a dwelling in the precincts of Whitehall whose cellar is used to store the plotter’s gunpowder September: Francis Tresham becomes aware of the Plot. Ambrose Rookwood finally learns how his stash of gunpowder is to be used

October: Sir Everard Digby joins the ranks of conspirators

26 October: A letter is delivered to Lord Monteagle warning him that plans are afoot to deliver ‘a terrible blow to Parliament’

Monteagle passes the warning on to some of his colleagues in the House of Lords

1 November: James returns from a hunting trip and learns of the letter and its warning; he decides to bide his time

4 November: James orders a night time search of all the vaults and basements in the buildings surrounding the Palace of Westminster; an unusually large stockpile of firewood is discovered, leading to orders for a second search and the subsequent arrest of Guido Fawkes

5 November: Fawkes is hauled before the King in the early hours and questioned; he shows no fear or remorse; Warrant issued for Thomas Percy’s arrest; Tom Wintour, Christopher Wright, Thomas Percy, and Ambrose Rookwood flee on horseback after learning of Fawke’s arrest; Francis Tresham remains in London; Rookwood informs the remaining plotters; all conspirators, except Tresham, flee to the Midlands

7 November: Fawkes finally succumbs under torture and gradually reveals all

Robert Keyes abandons the group.

Catesby and the others reach Holbeach House in Staffordshire at night

A gunpowder explosion blinds Grant and injures Rookwood

Digby, Bates and Robert Wintour abscond

08 November: The Sheriff’s men descend on Holbeach House. Catesby, Percy and the Wright brothers are killed in a shoot-out; surviving plotters are arrested and Bates, Digby and Keyes are captured soon after

12 November: Francis Tresham is arrested in London

23 December: Tresham dies in prison


9 January: Robert Wintour is captured

27 January: The eight surviving plotters go on trial

30 January: Grant, Bates, Digby, and Robert Wintour are executed in St Paul’s Churchyard

31 January: Fawkes, Rookwood, Keyes, and Thomas Wintour are executed in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster

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