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Robert Catesby
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    (circa 1572-November 8, 1605)
    Born in Henley-in-Arden, England, United Kingdom
    Leader of a group of English Catholics who planned the Gunpowder Plot
    Plan was to kill King James I by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament
    Assassination of King James was to be followed by a revolt to place a Catholic monarch on the throne
    Plot failed when Guy Fawkes was captured guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in a storage room beneath Parliament (November 4, 1605)
    Fatally shot while making a last stand with half a dozen followers against a company of 200 soldiers
    He took part in the Earl of Essex’s rebellion that attempted to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I (1601).
    He was imprisoned for trying to instigate a Spanish invasion of England (1603).
    His body was exhumed and decapitated, with his head placed on a spike outside the House of Parliament.
    His failed plot increased anti-Catholic repression in England.
    Despite being the instigator of the Gunpowder Plot, he ended up being overshadowed by Guy Fawkes.
    His father had been repeatedly imprisoned for his Catholic faith.
    He left Oxford without a degree to avoid swearing the Oath of Supremacy recognizing the monarch as head of the church.
    A contemporary wrote, ‘His countenance was exceedingly noble.’
    Actor Kit Harington is his direct descendent – and portrayed him in the HBO miniseries ‘Gunpowder.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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