William Parker, 1st or 5th Baron Monteagle and 11th Baron
William Parker, Baron Mounteagle, c.
), was the eldest son of Edward Parker, 10th Baron
(died 1618), and of Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of
3rd Baron Monteagle
When quite a youth he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham
, and was styled Lord
Monteagle in right of his mother. He was allied with many Roman Catholic
families, and during the reign
of Elizabeth I
sympathy with their cause. He received knighthood when with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of
Essex in Ireland in 1599, and
in 1601 took part in the latter's rebellion in London, when he was
punished by imprisonment and a fine of £8000.
He subsequently in 1602 joined in sending the mission to Spain
inviting Philip III
England. He was intimate with Robert
and others, and according to Father Garnet
expressed an opinion some few
months before the Gunpowder Plot
the Romanists had a good opportunity of making good their claims by
taking up arms against the king. It is certain that he was one of those who
acquiesced in James I's accession
and assisted Henry Wriothesley,
3rd Earl of Southampton in securing the Tower of London for the king.
He was taken into favour, and received a summons to attend the
parliament of the 5th of November 1605 as Lord Monteagle.
26 October 1605,
while sitting at supper at Hoxton, he received
the celebrated letter giving warning of the gunpowder plot,
probably written by Sir Francis
Tresham. After having caused it to be read aloud by
Ward, a gentleman in his service and an intimate friend of Robert Wintour, one of the chief
conspirators, he took it to Whitehall and showed it to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of
Salisbury and other ministers.
It is believed by some
historians (such as Lady Antonia
), however, that he authored the letter himself in order
to win acclaim and favour with the King.
On 4 November
he accompanied Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of
, the Lord Chamberlain
in his visit to the vault under the parliament house, where
was found. Monteagle received
£700 a year for his services in averting the disaster. In 1609 he
was chosen a member of the council of the Virginia Company
and subscribed to its
same year disorders in his house are reported, probably referring
to his harbouring of Roman Catholic students from St Omer (Cal. of
St Pap. Dom.
1603-1610, p. 533).
In 1618, on the death of his father, he was summoned to parliament
as Baron Morley and Monteagle. He died on the 1st of July 1622 at
, Essex, where he
By his marriage with Elizabeth Tresham he had, besides daughters,
three sons, the eldest of whom, Henry, (d. 1655) succeeded him as
12th Baron Morley and 5th Baron Monteagle. These baronies fell into
abeyance when Henry's son Thomas died about 1686.