Torture, trial and execution
The conspirators were interrogated for three months in the
Tower of London. Evidence suggests that Fawkes, who had given
his name as John Johnson, was tortured.
The King sent orders to the Tower of London on 6 November
1605 authorising the use of torture on Fawkes, who had initially
refused to divulge the names of his co-conspirators. Although
it is not known whether any of the other main conspirators
were tortured, torture was authorised against some of the
more minor figures involved.
The National Archives (UK).
In the document above the King authorised that should Fawkes
not confess during his interrogation 'the gentler tortures'
were at first to be used on him. He added, 'God speed your
Fawkes' signature on his confession of 8 November. This confession
did not name all his accomplices. The National Archives (UK).The
effect of torture upon Guy Fawkes can be seen from his signatures
on these two confession documents, amongst the most powerful
surviving relics of the Gunpowder Plot.
Fawkes' signature is barely legible on the more detailed
confession of 9 November. It seems likely that the difference
in the two signatures is the result of torture.
On 9 November Fawkes signed a more detailed confession with
the names of others involved in the plot. The National Archives
(UK).Francis Tresham died of natural causes while in the Tower on 23
December 1605 and the eight surviving conspirators were tried
in Westminster Hall on 27 January 1606. All of them were condemned
to death for treason.
Four men - Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant and
Thomas Bates - were executed on 30 January 1606 in St Paul's Churchyard.
The other four - Guy Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rookwood
and Robert Keyes - were executed just outside Westminster
Hall, in Old Palace Yard, on the next day.
The heads of the two ringleaders, Percy and Catesby, who
had been killed at Holbeach, were set up on the ' Parliament
Executions in Old Palace Yard. By permission of the British
In January 1606 the government also turned its attention
to the Catholic priests whom it thought were involved in the
Plot. On 15 January a proclamation calling for the arrest
of three Jesuits,
Henry Garnett, John Gerard and Oswald Tesimond was issued.
Tesimond and Gerard managed to escape to the continent, but
Garnett was caught on 27 January, the day of the main trial
of the conspirators.
He was captured with another priest, Edward Oldcorne, at
Hindlip House close to Worcester, a well-known refuge for
Catholic priests. They were brought to London.
Garnett's trial took place on 28 March 1606 at London's Guildhall.
He was found guilty and condemned to death, though he was
not executed until 3 May, in St Paul's Churchyard. Many Catholics
regarded him as a martyr.
A few more minor figures, including Oldcorne, were tried
and executed outside London over the next few months. Some
Catholic Lords - relatives of or connected to the plotters
- were accused of having known something about the plot. They
suffered lesser penalties, though they included long stretches
of imprisonment. The most famous of them was the Earl of Northumberland.
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