Remember, remember the 5th of November?
The residents of Yateley certainly do, with the anticipation of the annual Fireworks Fiesta at Westfield Junior School. What many do not recollect, is that the person responsible for revealing the gunpowder plot lived just yards from here, so let’s uncover the whole story…
It was the year 1605, when the gunpowder plot was unravelled, and fortunately, prevented. This monumental moment in British history preserved the iconic London landscape and the life of the ruling king, James I. On what has come to be known as Bonfire Night, we join together each year to commemorate the country’s victory over treason. What many are unaware of, is that the nobleman responsible for uncovering this dreaded plot, Lord Monteagle, was supposedly a resident of Yateley at the time.
Lord Monteagle was an affluent man with many titles, namely William Parker, 13th Baron Morley, 4th Baron Monteagle. He had a colourful life, with history sharing some interesting tales of misdemeanours along with cases of unfortunate misunderstanding. It is proclaimed Lord Monteagle was a devout Catholic under King Henry VIII and a member of the House of Lords, with the Lordship title hailed from a maternal peer who bravely fought the Battle of Bosworth. His marriage to Elizabeth Tresham, sister of the conspirator Francis Tresham, was significant in unravelling the Gunpowder plot. Francis’ growing concerns for his sister’s future, prompted him to send Monteagle a warning letter, advising him not to attend the House of Lords. On receipt, the quick thinking Lord Monteagle penned a letter to the King notifying him of the coming danger, causing the plot to unravel at the eleventh hour.
The prosperous Lord Monteagle had numerous assets and had acquired properties across the UK, including Hornby Castle, Monteagle House in Yateley and another in Southwark, London, with his main residence known to be in Great Hallingbury, Essex, where he later died.
Here is a glance over Lord Monteagle’s most documented properties:
Monteagle House, Yateley
Monteagle House is a Grade II listed building, set off Monteagle Lane and formerly listed as Little Monteagle House and Monteagle Farmhouse. Originally a farmhouse, this 16th century home was set amidst an expansive 69 acres of farmland, when it was said to have savoured extensive views over Finchampstead Ridges. Though the privately positioned home still has an enchanting presence, it has changed considerably since the days of Lord Monteagle’s residence. Over the years, the surrounding land has seen development, with the cul de sacs and streets honourably entitled after their historical associations, taking on the names of either the conspirators or the famed unraveller, Monteagle.
Though somewhat debated, it is said Monteagle resided at Monteagle House in Yateley at the time of the Gunpowder plot. There is much speculation about actual events, but it may well be true, as Lord Monteagle was involved in the Essex Rebellion in 1600, where he was convicted as a traitor. Following an apologetic confession, Monteagle was soon released with only a significant fine to pay. So in essence, Lord Monteagle had a viable reason not to return to Essex for the coming years and may well have chosen Monteagle House as his temporary home.
Hornby Castle, Lancashire
Hornby Castle is a private family home that occupies a prominent position with views over the curve of the River Wenning. Set on the edge of the Lake District, this Grade I listed building dates back to the medieval times and has been attentively preserved over the years.
The Monteagle’s inherited Hornby Castle through marriage and made further adjustments to the grand structure by adding the polygonal tower. In unfortunate events, the property was forfeited by Lord Monteagle’s son, Henry, a zealous Royalist, whose son Thomas was later forced by financial circumstances to sell the castle to Robert Brudenell, 2nd Earl of Cardigan in 1663.
The gardens are open to the public for special events during the year.
Monteagle House, London
Monteagle House was set in Southwark, near the River Thames and numerous city landmarks, with the iconic church seen in the backdrop of this illustration. This central borough of London is rich in history, with tourist landmarks including Shakespeare’s Globe, the Imperial War Museum and the Tate Modern.
The whole area is now utilised by warehouses, with the landscape retaining historical buildings including St. Thomas’s Hospital and St. Saviour Church.
Whether Lord Monteagle put Yateley on the map is still debatable, but his quick thinking saved many lives and certainly deterred what could have been.
Join in the Bonfire Night celebrations in Yateley at the annual Fireworks Fiesta on Saturday 4th November 2017 at Westfields Junior School. The event will raise money for Westfields Junior School and Yateley Lions charities, with the gates opening at 6pm.