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Fr Edward Oldcorne’s crucifix on display at the Bar Convent, York (Crux/Bar Convent)

A crucifix that once belonged to a priest executed after England’s notorious Gunpowder Plot is on display in the country’s oldest operating convent, in the northern city of York. Source: Crux.

Fr Edward Oldcorne was friends with Robert Catesby, the instigator of the 1605 plot hatched by a group of Catholics to blow up the House of Lords. Other conspirators included John and Christopher Wright, Robert and Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham.

Fawkes was in charge of the explosives and is the figure most associated with the plot.

Even though he wasn’t involved in the plot, Fr Oldcorne was executed by being hanged, drawn, and quartered the next day, convicted of the crime of being a Catholic priest.

Of the thousands of objects seized during raids on Catholic houses following the discovery of the plot, Fr Oldcorne’s crucifix is the only known item to survive.

Hannah Thomas, the special collections manager at the Bar Convent, told the BBC that “we are now confident in believing that this is the only item surviving from the raids” following the incident.

“In the aftermath of the plot, Catholic houses were raided across the country and priests went into hiding; hide-and-seek became a matter of life or death,” Dr Thomase said.

The BBC said Fr Oldcorne was captured along with his servant Ralph Ashley, Fr Henry Garnet and lay-brother Nicholas Owen. All were put to death, but researchers say Fr Garnet was the only one to have any knowledge of the plot, which he had opposed.

What is now the Bar Convent was founded in 1686, when it was still illegal to be Catholic and is the oldest convent still in use in the UK.


Crucifix of priest executed after Gunpowder Plot now on display in UK convent (By Charles Collins, Crux)