Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, (15637-1612) was the second son and political heir of Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I's chief advisor. Cecil became Principal Secretary of State late in Elizabeth's reign, 1596, and continued to hold office even after James I succeeded to the throne in 1603. Since the Principal Secretary's responsibilities included the Elizabethan equivalents of the Foreign Office, the Home Office, and the War Office, he was thus in a position of power and prominence in 1605, the year of the "Damnable Plot of the Powder Treason." His exact role in the affair is, however, still a matter for supposition.
Yaple, Robert L.
"Sir Robert Cecil and the Gunpowder Plot,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 5:
3, Article 2.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol5/iss3/2