Remember, Remember: Ghosts Of The Gunpowder Plot

Ashby St Leger Manor, Northamptonshire

The Catesby estate was nearly lost to the debts the family ran up paying almost constant fines for worshipping as they believed they should.

In the threatened family home, Robert Catesby held the meetings that brought the Gunpowder Plot to within a hair’s breadth of success.

As the command centre of the plot it’s no surprise that Ashby St Leger has been associated with some persistent ghost stories in its long history.

A wonderfully colourful account in a Chicago Tribune article of 25/4/1907 asked: “Did a Ghost Drive Mrs Marshal Field Jr From Ashby St Legers?”

Mrs Field was a young widow, and her son (called the “richest boy in the world”) was receiving an English education at Eton.

The Tribune answered their question in the affirmative, because ghosts were persistently talking away in the same room where the plotters had planned to murder a king.

”Sometimes, they vow, the voice of old Sir Robert Catesby, gentleman and churchman, can be heard cursing King James for his persecutions, his heavy levies of taxes and penalties upon Catholics. Sometimes, it is said, the screams of the tortured ones can be heard in the great banqueting hall, and the laughs of soldiers who are striving to force them to reveal the hiding place of the Catesby jewels.”

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