On his return to London England was in the throes of the popish terror.
The Viscount Stafford was one of the "five Popish lords" committed to the Tower in 1678 as a result of the slanders of Titus Oates and he died by the axe in 1680 upon testimony which, as the diarist Evelyn protested, "should not be taken against the life of a dog."
Only six days after this we find him moving for a committee to draw up a bill to secure religion and property in case of a popish successor.
Anti-Catholic feeling ran so high that, after the discovery of the Popish Plot, he found it wiser to retire to Brussels (1679), while Shaftesbury and the Whigs planned to exclude him from the succession.
He was also charged with Popish practices, but on frivolous grounds, and with aspersing the members of parliament for the city.