The Sealed Knot was a secret Royalist association which plotted for the Restoration of the Monarchy during the English Interregnum. The group was commissioned by King Charles II between November 1653 and February 1654 from his exile in Paris for the purpose of coordinating underground Royalist activity in England and preparing for a general uprising against the Protectorate.
Its original founder members were:
- John Belasyse, 1st Baron Belasyse (1614-1689)
- Sir William Compton (1625-1663; third son of Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton)
- Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough (1610-1666)
- Col. John Russell
- Col. Sir Edward Villiers (1620-1689; father of Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey)
- Sir Richard Willis (sometimes spelt 'Willys') (1613/14-1690)
The biggest revolt was staged in 1655 and is known as the Penruddock uprising, named after one of the leaders of the revolt, John Penruddock. The revolt was easily put down by forces loyal to the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, and for his part in the rebellion Penruddock was beheaded in May 1655.
The conspiracy was ultimately ineffective, partly because of an abundance of caution, but not least due to the treachery of Willis, who was feeding information to Cromwell's spymaster John Thurloe from at least 1656, for reasons which remain unknown.
- Roberts, Stephen K (2004). "Sealed Knot (act. 1653-1659)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
- Plant, David (25 August 2008). "The Sealed Knot". BCWProject. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- Carlton, Charles (2011). This Seat of Mars: War and the British Isles, 1485-1746. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300180888.