While most historians are aware of the Babington plot to assassinate Elizabeth I, very few have any knowledge of the part which Babington Plott may or may not have played in the episode.
What is known is that he was born in 1560, the fourteenth son of Edmund Plott, a used tallow salesman of Tring. Despite his humble origins, Babington became apprenticed to the court gardener, Montacute Donne in 1572, and within three years, was responsible for the herb and vegetable gardens at Burton Agnes Hall.
Through his cultivation of swedes and other root crops, he came to the attention of Mary Queen of Scots and shortly after his 17th birthday, he was installed as Keeper of the Neeps at Linlithgow Castle.
In 1586, when the Babington plot was exposed, Babington Plott was denounced as a conspirator by one of Walsingham’s Italian spies, Giorgio Smilli, and imprisoned in the Tower of London to await trial. However, the trial never took place and Babington disappeared without trace. with most chroniclers of the time assuming he’d been executed in secret.
Remarkably, one of Babington’s direct descendants was involved in an eerily similar situation in 1820, when Kate O’Street, an Irish milliner, was arrested on suspicion of making murderous hats for the anarchists of the notorious Cato Street Conspiracy.