- For the jazz musician and broadcaster see Humphrey Lyttelton.
|Died||7 April 1606
Red Hill, Worcester
|Cause of death||Executed|
|Children||one son (at least)|
|Parents||Sir John Lyttelton|
Humphrey Littleton died on 7 April 1606 at Red Hill outside Worcester. He was executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder plot. Robert Wintour and Stephen Littleton who had escaped from the fight at Holbeche House were captured at Hagley Park on 9 January 1606 despite Littleton's protests that he was not harbouring anyone. It was Littleton who told the authorities that Edward Oldcorne was hiding at Hindlip Hall after he had given him mass. Wintour, Oldcome, and both Littletons were all executed.
Littleton was one of the eight sons of Sir John Lyttelton. He was also the brother or cousin of another John Littleton who had been a member of parliament and had died in gaol for his part in the Essex rebellion. John had lost his estates at Hagley, Frankley, Upper Arley and Halesowen. Humphrey came from Frankley. This John left a widow called Muriel or Meriel who lived at Hagley Park, her husband's estates having been restored to her by James I in 1603.
Before the gunpowder plot was revealed Littleton had little knowledge of the true nature of the plot to kill the King and Parliament. He understood that Robert Catesby (the leader of the plot) was just raising a regiment to fight in Flanders. Catesby had offered to take one of Littletons illegitimate sons as his page. Humphrey had been summoned to Dunchurch by Robert Catesby, but following the plot's failure he did not go to his nephew Stephen's Holbeche House with Stephen and the rest of the main plotters. (Stephen was the son of his elder brother George). Later, Stephen came to him with Robert Wintour. The two men had escaped arrest at Holbeche house and were on the run.
Littleton arranged for a tenant farmer to harbour the two fugitives, swearing his own servants to secrecy. The fugitives were captured at Hagley Park on 9 January 1606 because the authorities had been informed of their presence by Littleton's cook - John Fynwood. Despite Littleton's protests that he was not harbouring anyone, a search was made and another servant, David Bate, showed where the two plotters were escaping from a courtyard into the countryside. All three of them were to be tried and executed.
Littleton had visited and taken mass with Father Oldcorne and he let it be known that the priest was at Hindlip Hall. This information was to lead to four more people being caught there in priest holes ; Father Oldcorne, Ralph Ashley, Henry Garnet and Nicholas Owen. Ironically Nicholas Owen had constructed the hideaways. Moreover it was Muriel Littleton's brother who conducted the search of Hindlip Hall.
At Oldcorne's trial Littleton publicly asked for forgiveness and believed that he deserved to die for betraying his friends. Humphrey Littleton died on 7 April 1606; he was hanged, drawn and quartered together with Father Oldcorne, John Wintour, Ralph Ashley and the tenant farmer (called Perkes) at Red Hill, just outside the city of Worcester. Owen had died under torture. Garnet was hanged in London. Stephen Littleton was executed at Stafford.
- Humphrey had a son who could be a page to Catesby to he is probably over 30.
- Humphrey Littleton, gunpowder-plot.org, accessed 7 July 2008
- Pedigree from Burkes Peerage (1939 edition), s.v. Cobham, Viscount,
- 'Parishes: Hagley', Victoria County History, Worcestershire: volume 3 (1913), pp. 130-136. manor. Date accessed: 9 July 2008.
- The Patrician, John Burke, Bernard Burke, p. 207, 1847
- Robert Wintour at Britannia.com, accessed 8 June 2008
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language