Who betrayed Guy Fawkes? – Mystery Guides
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Who betrayed Guy Fawkes?

Thirteen Conspirators. One Letter. Who betrayed him?

Writing with quill and ink.

The time surrounding James I's reign was rather tumultuous with religions switching at the drop of a hat (or changing of the crown!). The new king was not at all tolerant of Catholics, who had grown comfortable being in favour of his mother Queen Mary. A group of 13 unhappy, Catholic conspirators started a plot that almost altered the course of history...

Led by Robert Catesby, the group of men allied to kill the king, his family and government by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. They hoped, that this would pave the way for the king's youngest daughter to be crowned.

Houses of Parliament, London.

Although they had an elaborate plan, none of the conspirators were experts in gunpowder... apart from one... Guy Fawkes (who was an explosives expert in the military). After the gunpowder was safely stored in the cellars of parliament, it left Guy Fawkes with one job to do... strike the match.


Member of Parliament, Baron Monteagle received an anonymous letter that was handed to one of his servants, warning of immediate danger if he was to attend court and pleaded with him to head to his home in the country where he would be safer. Unsure of what to do (as the letter was so clumsily written he thought it a hoax), Baron Monteagle showed the letter to government members and finally the king - who immediately ordered a searching of the Houses of Parliament.

During the search, who was discovered in the basement? Guy Fawkes, stalking around the explosives with a match in his pocket. When questioned in front of the king, Fawkes didn't attempt to hide his crime saying "I wish to blow the Scottish King and all of his Scottish Lords back to Scotland". His devout loyalty to the plan earned admiration from the king - not enough to be spared, however! Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London to be tortured for more information. He held out bravely for seven days before finally revealing the names of his co-conspirators and signing the confession agreement.

But who wrote the letter to Baron Monteagle?

The most likely culprit is thought to be Francis Tresham, who was Baron Monteagle's brother-in-law. Although other conspirators demanded the truth, Tresham never confessed to writing the letter that gave the plot away. It is also suggested that people may have discovered information about the plot from the plotter's meetings in London pubs or during recruitment for more members. 

There are many theories about who wrote the letter, but none have yet been confirmed...