Perjurer and fabricator of the ‘*Popish plot’. Despite his status as an Anglican priest, Oates's penchant was for lies and petty crime. Recognizing by the mid‐1670s that the surest way to advancement was to feed the public taste for catholic scare‐mongering, he wormed his way into catholic counsels, and became a member of the faith himself in 1677. In 1678, he unveiled to the government his highly wrought tale of a conspiracy to overturn the protestant establishment. A wave of hysteria swept the country, the political impact of which was the Exclusion crisis, and Oates's accusations resulted in the execution of 35, including nine Jesuit priests. Tried in 1685 for perjury and condemned to life imprisonment, he was pardoned in 1689.
Subjects: British History.