The GPS Foundation
The Gunpowder Plot Society was formed in the middle of 1995 by three geographically removed individuals
who had diverse interests in the plot, and the various intriguing elements that surrounded it. Having met
on a news group, they pooled their respective resources and interests and created an entity that would
become a vehicle for greater public understanding of November 5th 1605, an entity called The Gunpowder
Intent on exploring new ideas, going back to original material, providing unbiased thought and opinion,
and access to the largest collection of plot related material online, the reputation of the group grew
within the historical community, and the GPS were soon being called upon by the media to provide assistance
in film, television, radio and print, particularly on an annual basis in the lead up to the celebrations.
This has opened many doors, and enabled us to become involved in some exciting and very rewarding projects,
such as the restoration of Ashby St. Ledgers, former home of the plot ringleader Robert Catesby, which
features so significantly in plot history.
Our list of achievements has extended far beyond what we considered possible in 1995, and now includes
consultation to the BBC, Thames Television, Carlton Television, Wall to Wall Television, Cromwell Films,
National Geographic, The Institute of Explosives Engineers, The House of Commons, The Guardian, The Institute
of Historical Research, and the University of Warwick. In 2004, the Gunpowder Plot Society and founder
members Jennifer O'Brien and Douglas Burbury were rewarded with citations in the Dictionary of National
In time, the Society has grown its unofficial circle of associates to over 500, which includes respected
authors, historians, academics, genealogy experts, and general enthusiasts.
The Gunpowder Plot Society Mission Statement
The aim of the Gunpowder Plot Society is to promote public awareness of the events that led to and
surrounded the failed gunpowder treason of 5th November 1605. Through our on-going research and
investigation, and the information provided by the Society in public forums, we would like to encourage
intelligent debate and discourse on one of the most intriguing, yet misunderstood events in history.
By providing a factual, unbiased repository of detail and comment and a forum within which to discuss it,
the Society hopes to provide the public with a greater understanding of the period, and why such an event
took place. We also aim to offer speculation, discuss theories, perceived conspiracies, and understand what
has led to the generalised misconceptions that many people still hold as tenets today.
"I find it consoling to know....there is a society like yours which may be trusted to pursue the
question in the proper spirit of objectivity.." - Francis Edwards SJ, F.S.A, F.R.Hist.S
Where to from here?
It may come as a surprise to many, but there remains much to be researched, and much to be reconciled
before we can safely say we have a true and accurate understanding of what happened in the lead up to, and
in the aftermath of, the gunpowder treason of 1605. This will only come about through many more years of
dedication by people prepared to look for missing pieces to a fascinating puzzle. Much has been overlooked,
either by accident, or through design, and we would like to think that in time we can go some way toward
Our thanks must go to....
Of course, running and maintaining a web presence such as this, and devoting what little free time you
have to research is at times frustrating. We have never sought to establish a formal recognition of
membership or reward those who have helped us. We have never taken the time to advertise or pursue an
active recruitment policy. To this end then we are still amazed on a regular basis at how far we have come,
and how our reputation has spread.
Such credibility could never have been achieved if it were not for the unselfish assistance provided by
a large number of people who have proved only too willing to devote their time and resources to helping us,
in no matter how small a way. Our sincerest thanks must first and foremost go to Douglas Burbury, without
whom this quite simply would never have happened. His planning and development of the original web site is
what gave us our name and put us where we are now. Without his constant attention to detail and drive, we
would still be buried in a book or catalog somewhere doing this for ourselves.
We must also thank Lord Wimbourne, Ivor Guest, the unofficial patron of the Society, and current owner
of Ashby St Ledgers. His enthusiasm and desire to see this great manor house restored to its former glory
inspired in us the conviction that what we were doing did indeed have merit and had a purpose, and that purpose
was important to history.
To Alan Fiddes at the Tower of London, the renowned author and historian Mark Nicholls, and the equally
renowned Francis Edwards we offer our deepest respect and thanks for their correspondence. To the countless
librarians, archivists and employees of historical societies like our own that we have harassed over the
years we can only offer our sincerest thanks.
Without just one of these people we would not be where we are today. Each has provided what we realised
early is the necessity to continue, to uncover the truth...