Collection online

A True Narrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish-Plot. To the tune of Packington's Pound. The first part

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • A True Narrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish-Plot. To the tune of Packington's Pound. The first part
  • Description

    A broadside on the Popish Plot; with an engraving in twelve small scenes mocking the account given by Titus Oates and his associates of the death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. Two men pretend to fight coutside Somerset House as three others approach; one of them, the magistrate Edmund Berry Godfrey, is about to intervene. Godfrey is strangled from behind with his neckcloth by Green while Berry keeps watch; the façade of Somerset House to right and the Thames in the background with two men hailing a waterman's boat, "Next oares". An interior where Godfrey's partly covered body lies on the floor and a group of men examine his face by the light of a lantern held by a Jesuit; William Bedloe identifies Godfrey and a monk stands to the right holding a candle and rosary; others, including Jesuits, stand behind; a group of ladies dancing are approached by a woman, identified in the text as a sprite, who is holding a chamber pot. Two men, accompanied by two others, carry a sedan chair past a sentry; the foremost giving the supposed password, "Hem, hem"; a large devil overhead extends a claw to obstruct the sentry's view. The body of Godfrey is removed the sedan chair at Primrose Hill; two men straighten his legs while another watches from horseback; in the background, Godfrey's corpse lies face down with a sword protruding from his back. The Great Fire of London with men throwing fireballs into houses; in the middle ground Sir William Waller calls "Stop Thief" at three looters running off to the right; in the foreground, two Jesuits disguised as chimney sweeps exchange the password "Trap" while another man looks on. A large group of Jesuits hand Titus Oates an indenture adorned with many seals commissioning him to kill the king. A military scene with General Belasyse seated to left holding a crutch, his leg supported by a gout stool and speaking to Lord Petre on horseback. Lord Strafford sits at a table and is approached by a group of plotters asking for payment; he holds up an empty purse and points them towards Lord Powis who sits beside a group of chests holding "Dispensations", "Pardons", "Bulls", and labelled "The Pope's Treasure", which he offers instead of money. Sir Francis Radcliffe, dressed as a General, accompanied by two other gentlemen, asks for commissions from Lord Arundell who is dressed as Lord Chancellor, but with papal insignia on his purse; Arundell replies that Bedloe had seen commissions on Richard Langhorne's table. A group of Spanish pilgrims, led by a monk with a large cross, set out from Santiago da Compostella intending to cross the seas on foot. Irish troops armed with bill-hooks and carrying papal banners are assembled; a gentleman asks one of them "Where were those bills made?" and he replies, "At Bilboe [sic] and Salamanca". Inscriptions engraved in scrolls emerging from the figures' mouths, lettering A-H referring to notes on the right hand side, and letterpress witty verses satirising the unlikelihood of Oates's story in three columns with further notes [London, Turner: May 1682]


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1682
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 536 millimetres
    • Width: 415 millimetres (sheet)
    • Height: 299 millimetres
    • Width: 405 millimetres (plate)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Annotated by Luttrell at the top 'A burlesque on the Popish Plott. 5 May 1682' and '1s'
  • Curator's comments

    For another impression, see BM 1843-5-13-146. For impressions of the second part, see 1849-3-15-80 and 1843-5-13-147.

    The couplet beneath the last scene reads, "And Irish Tory with black bill/Would kill us all if we sit still". This is an early use of the term Tory to describe the supporters of the Duke of York and is appropriate in the Whig context of this broadside.

    (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.201)
    Luttrell has noted on the print that it is 'A burlesque on the Popish Plott' and gives the date of publication as 15 May 1682 and the price as 1 shilling. The twelve scenes on this broadsheet do indeed mock the account of the death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey and the Jesuit plot as testified by the perjured witnesses of 1678. The concluding couplet of the letterpress ironically points the moral, alluding to the pension that Oates was paid:
    My witnesses I bring, and produce the record,
    D'ye think th'are perjur'd? Tis false and absurd,
    Wou'd th' Godly hang Papists for interest or pique?
    Wou'd a doctor swear false for ten pound a week?
    The second part of the True Narrative came out (according to Luttrell's annotation) two weeks later, on 1 June, and is in exactly the same vein (BMSat 1093). The pair of prints remained in print and were advertised in the Term catalogue for May 1685, 'both printed for M.Turner at the Lamb in High Holborn.'
    There is no indication who designed, engraved or published this print (the attribution to William Faithorne given in BMSat can be disregarded). It was obviously put out by the Tories, and may well have been written by L'Estrange. In his annotations on the continuation of the catalogue of the Popish Plot, Luttrell commented on a pamphlet by L'Estrange, 'It pretends to be a further discovery etc. but is rather a great abuse and affront to the Dr [Oates]'.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 1092 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIc Mounted Imp)

  • Exhibition history

    2000 Jan-Mar, Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
    2000 May-Jul, Bristol, City Mus and AG, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
    2000 Oct-Dec, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
    2000/1 Dec-Feb, Banff, Duff House, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
    2001 Feb-May, Cardiff, National Mus, Printmaking in Stuart Britain

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Great Fire of London
    • Associated Event: Popish Plot
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased through Mr. Evans at the Stowe sale, 5 March 1849, lot 1249

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Engraved broadside on the Popish Plot, with an engraving mocking in twelve small scenes the Whig account of the death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, with letterpress text below with three columns of verse with commentary alongside (np, nd).  May 1682 Engrav

Detail: Other

Engraved broadside on the Popish Plot, with an engraving mocking in twelve small scenes the Whig account of the death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, with letterpress text below with three columns of verse with commentary alongside (np, nd). May 1682 Engrav

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA102846

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help