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Sir Everard Digby
Born 16 May 1578
Stoke Dry, Rutland
Died 30 January 1606 (age 28)
Occupation Knight
Spouse(s) Mary Mulsho
Parents Sir Everard Digby Senior, Father; Maria Neale, Mother

Sir Everard Digby (16 May 1578 – 30 January 1606) was one of those involved in the abortive 1605 Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland and Members of the Parliament of England.

Early life and plot

A son of Sir Everard Digby Senior of Stoke Dry, Rutland and Maria Neale of Keythorpe, Leicestershire, he came from a Protestant family. In 1596, he married Mary Mulsho, who also was from a strongly Protestant family. Together they had two sons, Kenelm Digby and John Digby.[1] However, about 1599, he was introduced to a Jesuit priest, Fr. John Gerard. His friendship with Fr. Gerard was such that they were accustomed to speak of each other as brothers.[2] Digby's wife later expressed the desire to convert to Catholicism. However, Digby's own Catholic sympathies seemed to begin only while suffering a sickness in London.[3] Owing to his friendship with Fr. Gerard, both he and his wife were converted to the Catholic Faith on separate occasions.

Digby was one of those who welcomed the new King James to Belvoir Castle and was knighted by him on 23 April 1603. Digby apparently became involved in the Gunpowder Plot only in its later stages. His involvement was of a fiscal nature, however he was also placed in charge of the Midlands operation. The goal of this plan being to kidnapped Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King James. Digby was the only surviving plotter to plead guilty.[4] After making his plea, Digby told of his motives, which included, “his friendship and affection for Catesby, whose influence over him was so profound that he was bound to risk his inheritance and his life at the other’s bidding. The second motive was the cause of religion, and for his faith he was glad to risk estate, life, name, memory, posterity, ‘and all worldly and earthly felicity whatsoever.’ His third motive was prompted by the broken promises to Catholics, and had as its object the prevention of tougher laws such as they had reason to fear.”[5] Being found guilty and unremorseful, Digby was executed with all the unpleasantness of the traitor's death of those times.

John Aubrey (1626-1697) relates the following tale of his execution (from Brief Lives, ed. Oliver Lawson Dick):

'Twas his fate to suffer in the Powder-plott. When his heart was pluct out by the Executioner (who, secundam formam, cryed, "Here is the heart of a Traytor!") it is credibly reported he replied, "Thou liest!"


  1. ^ Antonia Fraser, "Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot," New York, 1996, pg. 230. ISBN 0385471904
  2. ^ "Sir Everard Digby". Gunpowder Plot Society. Retrieved 17 February 2007. 
  3. ^ "Sir Everard Digby". Gunpowder Plot Society. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "Sir Everard Digby". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 February 2007. 
  5. ^ Alan Haynes "The Gunpowder Plot: Faith in Rebellion", London, pg. 104, ISBN 0750912464

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