||30 January 1606 - St Pauls Churchyard, London
John Grant was the lord of the manor of Norbrook, located a few miles north of Stratford-upon-Avon in the
county of Warwickshire. Norbrook formed part of the belt of Catholic houses in the Midlands region of England
which were to form a base for the rebellion which was to follow the blowing up of the Houses of Parliament.
It was close to Lapworth, the house where Robert Catesby had been born and raised, and also to other houses
such as Coughton Court, Huddington Court and Clopton, a house near Stratford-on-Avon which was rented by
Ambrose Rookwood .
John Grant was the son of Thomas Grant of Norbrook and Alice Ruding. The Grants and Rudinges were old,
established families in the county. The main seat of the Grant family had been at Snitterfield, but in 1545
they came into possession of the nearby estate of Norbrook . John had married Dorothy Wintour, a
sister (or more probably, a half-sister) of Robert and Thomas Wintour of Huddington Court .
Commentators on the history of the Gunpowder Plot seem to have varying opinions on Grant's personality.
He is described by Parkinson as "melancholy" and "taciturn", and possibly even "stupid" . However,
Fraser explicitly calls Grant an "intellectual", and says that he "... studied Latin and other foreign
languages for pleasure" . Although Edwards claims that Grant was originally a Protestant
, others assert that he was a devout Roman Catholic , and that his sympathies fell
squarely with the Catholic cause.
Grant was one of the participants in the Essex Rebellion, along with other Gunpowder Plotters such as
Robert Catesby, Francis Tresham and John Wright, although his punishment was inconsequential compared to the
Behind the air of melancholy and "scholarly withdrawal" seems to have hidden a man who could show plenty
of spirit when required. John Gerard describes him as being "... as fierce as a lion, of a very undaunted
courage as could be found in a country" . Norbrook became a noted refuge for priests, and as a
result it was often visited by the pursuivants, the government agents whose job it was to search for possible
hidden priests. Grant was particularly active in resisting the pursuivants when they visited Norbrook, and
the firmness and force of his resistance even started to discourage the pursuivants from searching Norbrook
altogether . Gerard says that Grant was fond of "... paying pursuivants so well for their
labour, not with crowns of gold, but with cracked crowns sometimes, and with dry bones instead of drink and
other good cheer, that they durst not visit him any more unless they brought store of help with them."
He seems to have been sworn in as a member of the inner circle of plotters in February 1605, when he and
his brother-in-law Robert Wintour were summoned to a meeting with Robert Catesby and Thomas Percy at an inn
called the Catherine Wheel in Oxford. Grant and Robert Wintour were made to take an oath binding them to
secrecy before Catesby revealed the details of the plot .
Grant was part of the "Midland contingent". His role in the plot seems to have been twofold: he and Robert
Wintour were responsible for amassing a stockpile of weapons and preparing stables of horses for use during
the anticipated rebellion . In addition, Grant was to be responsible for the abduction of the
young Princess Elizabeth from Coombe Abbey, near Rugby in Warwickshire, in order to set the Princess up as
the new monarch once her father (and possibly her brothers) had perished in the blowing-up of Parliament .
These preparations presumably occupied Grant for most of the intervening time between his induction into
the plot in February and the discovery of the plot in October and early November. He joined the "hunting
party" at Dunchurch together with his brother-in-law John Wintour and his friend Henry Morgan .
During the flight from Dunchurch to Holbeach House, Grant and other members of the party broke into the
stables at Warwick Castle to obtain fresh horses , and they also stopped at the houses of Norbrook
and Huddington Court to rest and collect weaponry .
Once at Holbeche House, the conspirators prepared themselves for a siege. Some gunpowder which had become
wet during the journey was--rather foolishly--laid out in front of the fire to dry, and it caught fire from
an ember and severely injured some of those present. Grant was among those most seriously injured in this
accident  Father Gerard writes that "... [the powder] blowing up, hurt divers of them,
especially Mr. Catesby, Mr. Rookewood, but most of all Mr. Grant, whose face was much disfigured, and his
eyes almost burnt out" .
Grant was among those who survived and were captured at Holbeche House. He was taken to Worcester and from
there to London, where he was held together with others of the conspirators who had survived the siege or who
were arrested in the aftermath .
During the conspirators' trial, Grant showed his taciturn nature by saying very little, but he "... showed
great courage and self-assurance" .
Grant was executed on 30 January 1606 at St Paul's Churchyard, together with Sir Everard Digby, Robert
Wintour and Thomas Bates. Grant was led to the scaffold, as his injuries sustained in the accident at
Holbeche House had left him virtually blinded. He showed "great zeal" as he mounted the scaffold
; he was asked if he was sorry for his mistake, but his reply was that "... it was not the time or
the place to discuss cases of conscience. He had come there to die, not to dispute matters of that
kind" . He also expressed himself "convinced that our project was far from being sinful" as to
afford an "expiation for all sins committed by me"  and crossed himself before he fell .
His estates were forfeited after his execution, but they were reclaimed in 1623 by his son Wyntour Grant,
who promptly sold them to Sir Thomas Pickering .
 Fraser, Antonia, "Faith & Treason - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot", 1996
 Salzman, L.F. ed., "The Victorian History of the Counties of England: A History of Warwick Vol. III", 1945
 "Stonyhurst Magazine No. 96", March 1898
 Parkinson, C. Northcote, "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot", 1977
 Edwards, Francis, S.J., "Guy Fawkes: the real story of the Gunpowder Plot?", 1969
 Sidney, Philip, "A History of the Gunpowder Plot",
 Jardine, David, "A Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot", 1857
 Morris, John, "Condition of Catholics Under James I: Narrative of John Gerard",
 Haynes, Alan, "The Gunpowder Plot", 1994
 Edwards, Francis, S.J., "The Gunpowder Plot: the narrative of Oswald Tesimond alias Greenway, trans. from the Italian of the Stonyhurst Manuscript, edited and
 Nicholls, Mark, "Investigating Gunpowder Plot"