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The Hundred Years’ Grudge?

William Catesby, a Northamptonshire lawyer, was one of only three people executed in the aftermath of Bosworth, the others being a West Country father and son. From this and other circumstantial evidence, we are inexorably drawn to the conclusion that this happened because he was the only surviving layman who knew the details of Edward IV’s bigamy. In this respect at least, by not executing members of the clergy, Henry VII conducted himself as had his Yorkist and Plantagenet predecessors but not as his descendents were to act.

A hundred and twenty years later, his descendant Robert (Robin) Catesby was one of the ringleaders of the “Gunpowder Plot” and was shot dead, resisting arrest, at Holbeche House in Staffordshire, just three days after the Plot had been discovered. An ardent Catholic recusant, he had already survived participating in the Essex Rebellion of 1601.

As you can see here (Catesbys2), the family’s ancestors can be traced back to another William, who died in 1383. From 1375 until 1605, with a short interruption, they lived at the Manor House, Ashby St. Ledgers.

To what extent were the actions of the younger Catesby influenced by his ancestor’s fate?

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6 thoughts on “The Hundred Years’ Grudge?

  1. Jasmine on said:

    We don’t even know if Robert Cateseby even knew anything about his ancestor, let alone make assumptions about how much that knowledge might or might not have influenced him.

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    • It was one of those families with knighthoods in every other generation so it is a reasonable deduction that they would probably take some pride in their recent ancestors. Far from making assumptions, we are asking a question.

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      • Jasmine on said:

        True, unless poor William was regarded as a black sheep.

        In posing your question, you are asking people to make assumptions in order to formulate their answers, surely?

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  2. They were his lineal descendants and it is not as if they were from his uncle or a different branch. William would surely have followed his father and uncle in being knighted had the battle resolved itself differently. The Earl of Lincoln served “Tudor” for a year and a half but this option wasn’t open to Catesby.

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    • Jasmine on said:

      I do find it odd that William was singled out for execution. His remarks in his will about the Stanleys is also very interesting.

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  3. Pingback: Coming up this year: | murreyandblue

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