Gunpowder Plot Book
SP14/216/6 - Examination of John Johnson, 5 November 1605
This document is a copy of the original confession which resides at Hatfield House. Highlighted
text has been added post authorship.
"The confession of John Johnson servant to Thomas Percy Esqr one of his Majestys pensioners. Taken
the fifth of November 1605 before the Lord Chief Justice of England and Sir Edward Lake knight, his
Majestys Attorney General.
A. Being demanded when he went beyond the seas and if he did, to what porte he went ; Answereth
that he went beyond the seas about Easter last, and toke shipping at Dover, but remembereth not
in whose shippe he went, and from there to Callice, and from Callice he went to St. Omers, and was
in the colledge there, and from there did go to Brusels, and staied there about three weeks, and
from there went to Spinolaes Campe in Flaunders, and was there about three weeks, and recieved no
paie there, and in his waye went to Dowa to the colledge thence, and from there returned to
Brusells and remayned there about a moneth, and saw Sir Wm Stanley, Hugh Owen, Sigor Greneway,
and some other Englishmen , And from there he went of pilgrimage to the Lady of Montague in Brabant,
where he was wise on pilgrimage all along, And confesseth that about the ending of August, or
the beggining of September, he returned by Callice and so to London, and from there he went to
an gent without Aldgate, hard by a taverne, and the next daie caim to the lodging neere the upper
house of Parliament. And there this examinate lay, and saith, that his master Thomas Percy hired
the house of Whyneyard for 12 li rent, about a yeare and a half agoe, And saith that before his
going over, his master lay in that house about 3 or 4 tymes, and that he hath lyen there ever since
his coming over, He denieth that ever he was beyond the seas but once.
B. He confesseth that about Xmas last, he brought in the night time to the cellar under the upper
house of Parliament gunpowder, some by water, and some by land, some which was putt in
hoggesheade, some in barrells, and some in firkins, And saith that the last that was brought
hither was about five or sixe barrells about a moneth past, And saith that the crowes and other
barrells of Iron, were putt into the topp of [__] of the [__] before he went into the Lowe
Countreye, and the reason that they were putt there was together made the breach the greater,
And saith that the stones were layd there about a moneth past since his return, And being demanded
howe he could have gotten fier to the same without danger to himself, Saith that he ment to have
fired the same by a match, And saith that he hadd touchwood and match also about eight of nine
inches long about him, and when they came to apprehend him, he threwe the touchwood and match out
of the window in his chamber neare the parliament house towards the water stair.
C. And confesseth that when the king hadd come to the parliament house this present day, and the
upper house hadd bene sitting, he meant to have fored the match and have fledd for his owin safety
before the Powder had taken fier, And confesseth that if he had not ben apprehended this last
night, he hadd blowen upp the upper house, when the King, Lords, Bishops and others hadd ben
there, And saith that he spake for and provided* those barrels and crowes of Iron, some in one
place some in another in London, least would be suspected, And saith that he hadd some of them
in or about Gracious Street ;
D. He saith, that he knows not but by generall report and by making ready of the kings barge,
that the king was coming thither the first day of this parliament, But confesseth that his purpose
was to have blowne upp the upper house whensoever the king was there.
E. And being demanded if his purpose had taken effect, what would have ben done with the Queenes
Majesty and her royall issue, saith that if they hadd ben there he wuld not have helped them,
F. And being demanded if the king and his royall issue had ben all taken away whom would have
ben published or elected king, Saith Percie never entered into that consultation.
G. And being demanded when the king, his royal issue, the [__ ] Bishops, Judge, and of the
principall of the Comons, were all destroyed what government would have ben, Answereth we were
not growne to any determination therein, and beeing but a fewe of them the could not enter into
such conforsation, but that the people of themselves would have [__] to a head,
H. He confesseth that he hath knowne Mr Percy two or three years but served him not, but about
three moneths before the house was hired as is aforesaid,
J. Being demanded what noble men were warned, that they would not be there at that time,
Answereth, wuld durst not forewarn them for feare wich should be discovered , And being asked
why he would be a partie to any acte that might destroy any that was of his owne relligion,
Answereth, we meant principally to have resported somme safely, and would have prayed for them.
K. And confesseth that when this act hadd ben donne they ment to have satisfied the Catholiques
that it was donne for restitution of relligion, And would have drawne others by publishing that it
was donne to prevent the Union that was sought to be published at this parliament.
L. Being demanded whether he wayved not the sacrament that he could not reveale this conspiracy,
confesseth that about a yeare and a half ago he promised he would not reveal yt, but saith that
he took not the sacrament thereupon. And saith, this promise he made in England, but the
particular place he saith he remembereth not, M. Being further demanded to whom he made such
a promise, or who were party or privie to this conspiracy, Answereth that he cannott resolve
to answer any. N. He saith that he hath ben but in or about London since this last coming from
beyond the seas as is aforesaid, O. He saith that he provided the powder and difrayed the charge
of his journey beyond sea, all at his owne charge and since his returne he hadd of his master
some 3 or 4 li,
P. Being demanded what was the main intent and purpose of his going beyond sea as is aforesaid,
Answereth that his purpose was to see the countrey and to pass away the time,
Q. Being asked who hadd charge of the powder in the meane times, saith that he corked it up and
toke away the keye with him, And one Gibbons wife who dwells thereby hadd the charge of the
residue of the house.