Robert and Thomas Wintour

Robert and Thomas Wintour

Contemporary engravings of the brothers

(Robert is on the left), from a larger

image by Crispijn van de Passe

Parents George Wintour, Jane Ingleby
Born 1568 (RW)
1571–72 (TW)
Spouse(s) Gertrude Talbot (RW)
Role Non-specific
Enlisted Early 1604 (TW)
Early 1605 (RW)
Died 30 January 1606 (aged 37–38) (RW)
31 January 1606 (TW)
St Pauls (RW)
Westminster (TW)
Cause Hanged, drawn and quartered

Robert Wintour (1568 – 30 January 1606) and Thomas Wintour (1571 or 1572 – 31 January 1606), also spelt Winter, were members of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed conspiracy to assassinate King James I. Both were related to other conspirators, such as their cousin,Robert Catesby, and a half-brother, John Wintour, also joined them following the plot’s failure. Thomas was an intelligent and educated man, fluent in several languages and trained as a lawyer, but chose instead to become a soldier, fighting for England in the Low Countries, France, and possibly in Central Europe. By 1600, however, he changed his mind and became a fervent Catholic. On several occasions he travelled to the continent and entreated Spain on behalf of England’s oppressed Catholics, and suggested that with Spanish support a Catholic rebellion was likely.

As a momentum was building behind a peace settlement between the two countries, Thomas’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Instead, in 1604 he decided to join with Catesby, who planned to restore England to Catholicism by killing the king, and inciting a popular revolt in theMidlands, during which James’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, would be installed as titular queen. Thomas returned to the continent and again failed to elicit Spanish support, but instead met Guy Fawkes, with whom he returned to England. Robert, a devout Catholic who inherited Huddington Court near Worcester, joined the conspiracy the following year.

The plot began to unravel following the delivery of an anonymous letter to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, warning him to stay away from Parliament. Thomas and Catesby confronted Monteagle’s brother-in-law, the recently recruited Francis Tresham, threatening to kill him, but Tresham managed to convince them of his innocence. At that stage Thomas reportedly asked Catesby to abandon the scheme, to no avail. When Fawkes was captured at about midnight on 4 November 1605, Thomas fled to Robert’s house at Huddington. Catesby and most of the others spent two days travelling across the Midlands attempting to incite a rebellion, but with an ever-diminishing group of supporters they eventually settled at Holbeche House in Staffordshire, and waited for government forces to arrive. Thomas, by then reintegrated into the group, chose to remain with them, and in the ensuing firefight was shot in the shoulder, and captured. Robert, who had left before the battle, evaded capture until January 1606.

Much of what is written about the plot is based on Thomas’s confessions, given in the Tower of London in November 1605. The brothers were tried on 27 January 1606, and hanged, drawn and quartered several days later in London.

Robert Wintour, the son of George Wintour, was born in 1565. His father had hop yards and 25 salt-evaporating pans at Droitwich. Robert inherited these estates when his father died in 1594.

Wintour married Gertrude Talbot, daughter of Sir John Talbot, one of the richest men in Worcestershire. Talbot was a Roman Catholic and had spent over 20 years in prison for his beliefs.

Thomas Wintour, the son of George Wintour, was born in 1572. His father had hop yards and 25 salt-evaporating pans at Droitwich. His brother, Robert Wintour, inherited these estates when his father died in 1594.

In 1603 Wintour travelled to Spain with Christopher Wright in an attempt to persuade Phillip III to provide aid to support a Catholic uprising.

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