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Crime and Punishment – The Gunpowder Plot, 1605

3. The Gunpowder Plot

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In this module, we explore the Plot itself. Robert Catesby was the mastermind of the plot and gradually increased the size of the group of poltters amongst his trusted associates. Catesby was clear that an assassination of the King was not enough and rather intended the attack to destroy the entire English Parliament. The plotters rented rooms alongside the House of Lords and built up gunpowder in the vaults of the House. Catesby widened the plot to include Francis Tresham who it is widely believed tipped off his brother in-law Lord Monteagle. James took the warning seriously and acted swiftly to discover the plot and the plotters.


In this course, Dr Clare Jackson (University of Cambridge) explores the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. We start by taking a look at the geopolitical and religious challenges that accompanied James I and VI's accession to the English throne. We'll then turn to explore the dilemmas and difficulties of being a Catholic in England at the turn of the 17th century. After this, we'll explore the plot itself - what did happen and crucially what did not happen. In the next two modules, we'll look at the aftermath of plot both domestically and internationally. In the final module, we'll explore the longer term impacts of the plot and the history of the annual commemoration.


Clare Jackson is Senior Tutor at Trinity Hall College, University of Cambridge. She specialises in Stuart Britain from 1603-1715, the politics of multiple monarchy in 17th century Britain, seventeenth-century Scottish legal history and the history of ideas in early modern Britain. She has recently published a book, Devil-Land: England under Siege 1588-1688, and has also presented a number of BBC documentaries on the Stuart period.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jackson, C. (2021, December 01). Crime and Punishment – The Gunpowder Plot, 1605 - The Gunpowder Plot [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jackson, C. "Crime and Punishment – The Gunpowder Plot, 1605 – The Gunpowder Plot." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021,

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