Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: Titus Otes Was From Rutland

Titus Oates, possibly one of the most unpleasant personages in English history, was a native of Rutland.

Born in 1649 in a house on the edge of the Market Place in Oakham, he was the son of a chaplain in Cromwell’s New Model Army.

He was expelled from his school and expelled from college. Taking holy orders, he left one village after being accused of drunken blasphemy. Facing a perjury charge after, presumably falsely, accusing a local landowner of sodomy, he joined a ship as chaplain. Being accused of sodomy himself, he was swiftly dismissed.

In 1677 Oates joined the Catholic Church, but at a Jesuit boarding school his blasphemy and general bawdiness prompted his expulsion.

But all this was merely a foretaste of the life’s work of Titus Oates.

Realising that the Catholic Church was at this time much feared in England, and widely blamed for the Great Fire of London, he uncovered a fiendish Jesuit plot to assassinate the King and his ministers, and to raise armed rebellion in England, Scotland and Wales, and set about making sure that the details were well publicised.

There followed trials of prominent Catholics, some of whom were executed for their part in what had come to be known as the Popish Plot.

Eventually, however, Titus Oates admitted that he had made the whole thing up. He just didn’t like Catholics.

Unbelievably, he was granted a free pardon and died in obscurity in 1705.