Fireworks over Parliament

Remember, Remember: Ghosts Of The Gunpowder Plot

Holbeche House, Dudley (formerly Staffordshire)

Holbeche House was the site of the Gunpowder Plotters bloody last stand.

The then brand-new house was owned by Stephen Littleton (sometimes spelled Lyttleton), one of the most prominent members of the Midlands Catholic community. His brother Humphrey was also involved in the scheme, though it appears that neither of them knew the full details of the plot, and may have believed they were helping finance a Catholic regiment fighting against the Protestant rebels against Spanish rule in the Netherlands.

Any pleadings for innocence can’t have been helped by the events of 7th – 8th November, when there was a shoot-out between the few remaining plotters and a posse led by Richard Walsh, the Sherriff of Worcestershire, at Stephen’s home.

It’s to this day that the local ghost can be traced rather than the public executions of both Stephen and Humphrey (at Stafford and Red Hill near Worcester respectively).

One of several explosions – the plotters left wet gunpowder out to dry in front of a fire – that killed and injured many of the house’s defenders sent a groom fleeing on his horse. That young man – relatively blameless in the affair – was pursued and shot down nearby. His headless ghost is said to ride the nearby fields.

Holbeche House is now a care home, but bullet marks in the wall date to the siege.

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