Today, 5 November, is the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, an abortive attempt to assassinate King James I of England and blow up the Houses of Parliament. Some of my forebears were English politicians of the time. I’ve been trying to find out if any were involved or implicated or put in danger.

Edward Mainwaring (1577 – 1647), one of my 10th great grandfathers, was elected to Parliament on 30 September 1601 for the borough of Newcastle Under Lyme. However, he was not re-elected in the next election, on 28 February 1604, so at the time of the plot in November 1605, he would not have been present in Parliament.


Mainwaring Edward 1577 - 1647

Edward Mainwaring, portrait from opposite page 63 of The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford. An account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent; with special reference to the Manor of Whitmore. J.G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, about 1935


Edward Mainwaring matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford,  on 8 November 1594. He entered Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court in 1595. In his history of the Mainwarings of Whitmore, Gordon Mainwaring says:

At this time there was considerable litigation concerning manorial dues, and lords of manors began to realise that a knowledge of law was essential in the management of their estates. Among the papers at Whitmore is an interesting correspondence between this Edward and his father concerning the refusal of Sir John Bowyer of Knipersly to recognise their right to a heriot [a tribute paid by the estate of a
deceased tenant].

In 1601 Edward Mainwaring married Sara Stone. In 1604 his father died and he succeeded to the Whitmore estate. Perhaps he decided to forgo a parliamentary career to concentrate on running the estate.

Edward Mainwaring was elected again to Parliament in 1625. There is a suggestion that the person elected was not Edward Mainwaring (1577 – 1647) but  his son, also named Edward (1603 – 1674).