The lower ground floor vault of the House of Lords where the gunpowder was stored . Their first meeting was on 20 May 1604. Catesby was joined by his friends Thomas Wintour, Jack Wright and Thomas Percy at the Duck and Drake, in the Strand. The fifth person was Guy Fawkes. Originally from York, he had been recruited in Flanders, where he had been serving in the Spanish Army. They discussed their plan to blow up Parliament House, and shortly afterwards leased a small house in the heart of Westminster, installing Fawkes as caretaker, under the alias of John Johnson.
With Parliament successively postponed to 5 November 1605, over the following year the number of plotters gradually increased to ten. Robert Keyes, Robert Wintour, John Grant and Kit Wright were all relatives, by blood or marriage, to one or more of the original five conspirators. As one of Catesby's servants, Thomas Bates' loyalty was equally firm.
Fawkes was to light the fuse and escape to continental Europe.
In March 1605 the group took out a lease on a ground-floor cellar close by the house they had rented from John Whynniard. The cellar lay directly underneath the House of Lords, and over the following months 36 barrels of gunpowder were moved in, enough to blow everything and everyone in the vicinity sky high, if ignited.
Still hoping for foreign support, Fawkes travelled back to Flanders. Unsuccessful, he was also spotted by English spies. They reported back to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, James' first minister, and made the link between Fawkes and Catesby.
Over the next two months Catesby recruited Ambrose Rookwood, as well as Francis Tresham and Sir Everard Digby. Both Rookwood and Digby were wealthy and owned large numbers of horses, essential for the planned uprising. Tresham was Catesby's cousin through marriage, and was brother-in-law to two Catholic peers, Lords Stourton and Monteagle.
Back in London in October, with only weeks to go, the final details were planned....