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Treason's Reward: The Punishment of Conspirators in the Bye Plot of 1603

Mark Nicholls
The Historical Journal
Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 821-842
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640091
Page Count: 22
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Treason's Reward: The Punishment of Conspirators in the Bye Plot of 1603
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Abstract

The so-called Bye plot of 1603 is one of the best documented in that procession of treasons which confronted late-Elizabethan and early-Jacobean governments. For more than a century, it has also been almost entirely neglected by historians. Through an examination of the cases made against seven suspects - William Clark, George Brooke, Sir Griffin Markham, Anthony Copley, Bartholomew Brookesby, Sir Edward Parham, and John Scudamore - the methods by which the state acquired and deployed evidence in advancing the prosecution are here detailed and analysed. Comparison of each man's fate also reveals how, although the crime of high treason carried but one penalty, the punishments handed down, ranging as they did from execution to discharge before trial, reflected both the prisoners' own conduct and the current political imperatives in a year of dynastic change.

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