The Gunpowder Plot In 1605 was an attempt by a group of 13 men, led by a man called Robert Catesby, to blow up the Lords and at the same time murder James. Below we set out the seed to why the gunpowder plot failed, and the Guy Fawkes Rhymes that has been memorised for hundreds of years.
The Plot happened because of who was in charge at the time, politics and more importantly religion.
Henry VIII Six Wives
We all know the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. The plot reaches far back to his first marriage. To Catherine of Aragon, the mother of Mary I of England.
Because she did not make a male son, and he was more intent with his second wife Anne Boleyn and wanted to marry her. In 1525 he wanted this marriage made legally invalid.
The Pope question the cancellation and refused. Henry disagreed, which led him to initiate the Reformation. This would separate the Church of England from papal authority and would make him Supreme Head of the Church of England.
In the 16th century (the 1500s), Christianity across most of Europe desired change in how the Catholic Church was organised. More importantly, the teachings and the authority of the Pope was questioned.
The Catholic Church tried to stop the motion of questioning, with the support of some Europe’s rulers. thus, other kings and princes were to brace Protestants.
Henry died, and his son to Jane Seymour (third wife), Edward VI, became king (1547-53). His faith had an even stronger hold in England.
Mary I, became Edward VI of England successor (1553-58), She tried to reverse her father’s act.
But when she died on 17 November 1558, Queen Elizabeth I took the throne (1558-1603) and became to be known as the greatest Protestant power in Europe.
The dramatic wrong side
With all the deaths and changes, we have explained above, England In the 16th century, was in a dramatic state, being either a Protestants or a Catholics at the wrong time.
You were often hunted down, imprisoned and tortured throughout England, and were called ‘heretics’ for your belief by people in charge.
Queen Elizabeth I’s government in England became very bold and nervous about what people who were Catholics, What they were doing (Let us recall her dad, Henry, she was just the same.) To make her feel more secure as Queen, 100 priests were killed with her rule, even some were hurt to get them to talk.
A crisis of war
The argument between Europe rulers and Queen Elizabeth I started to get much worse. The Pope said In 1570 she was ‘excommunicated’. This signalled a meaning, you had the Pope support if anyone tried to stop her being Queen of England, (even killing her).
In anger, Queen Elizabeth I offered military arms, money and soldiers to her fellow Protestants in the Netherlands and France.
The pressure between Catholic Spain and Protestant England was high, by 1585 both countries, England and Spain were at war.
All hail the new King James VI and I
Elizabeth died in 1603 with the news spread far and wide across England and Europe, people hoped this would cast the end of the faith war. With Elizabeth I not having any children, her heir was King of Scotland James, the son of her half-sister Mary I.
King James 1 of England thought of himself as someone who would bring peace and claimed to be a Protestant like his aunt Elizabeth.
Being the son of the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, the Catholics hoped he had a more fitting approach to their belief and let them worship in the open.
The Bye Plot
With the lords of the House being nervous towards the Catholics, James was under pressure. This fatten when a report claimed that someone design to take his crown and make him pay.
The Main Plot in July 1603, was to kidnap James and make him change all the laws that were against the Catholics, it was also a plan by the faith nobles to put his cousin Arabella Stuart as queen.
False hope of King James I Wife
Anne of Denmark, James’s wife, was a Protestant, she changed to become a Catholic. This gave false hope to some Catholics, thinking things would get better under James rule.
With both Queen Elizabeth I and King Philip II of Spain not on the throne, both strong countries wanted to end this religious 15 year of the war. In 1604, a peace treaty was signed at the Somerset House Conference in London.
The Catholic mass hoped the Spanish at this meeting would attract James to ease the strain towards them, But he didn’t.
The Crime of Robert
In 1601, a man called Robert Catesby, born in Warwickshire, England, helped Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, he was the leader of the failed, Essex’s rebellion. Robert was (taken prisoner by force) and fined heavily, for his part, in which led him to sell his estate at Chastleton.
Much can be heavily said to why he wanted to kill King James, one public reason was that James did not show favour to the Catholics or because he was under close attention for his part in the Rebellion.
He drew up plans, to kill the lords and James by destroying the commons on the State Opening of Parliament. The event hoped the Catholic national ruler would once again be restored to the (seat of power of a king or queen).
In 1604, he set out to enlist other participants at first it was only Thomas Wintour, John Wright, Thomas Percy, and Guy Fawkes. The months past over and others joined, these were, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham.
They all were told what the job involved, to store, 36 barrels of gunpowder under the commons and guy Fawkes would light them.
They lease a house right next to it, this was a perfect location, managing to get the barrels to the cellars.
The explosive expert
Born in 1570, York, Guy Fawkes was English and was very into his faith. He was a mysterious Catholic who had fought in a 10-year war with Spain against the Netherlands.
He called himself Guido during this time he became an explosives expert and was a very interested member of the group, he joined the company who came up with the plan to kill King James I.
The fall of the gunpowder plot
Lord Monteagle, was sent an unnamed warning letter, plainly stating, him to stay clear of the new session of Parliament, in November, this was the day James was due to open it.
He warned those in charge, they searched through places that had an activity they were unsure of. On the night before of the planned explosion, a search on the Parliament grounds was managed and, this included the cellars.
He was found near the 36 barrels, with seconds to light the trail, he was stopped and arrested for the crime (against those in charge) and on the king’s life. Without delay, he was ordered to the Tower, where torture was conducted on him.
The arrest causes panic among the other schemer’s and they ran to escaped London, to warn Catesby of his arrest.
Orders to use whatever means of torture he seemed fit, Sir William Wade, Lieutenant by the permission by the king, used many tools and methods, but he finally he managed to get the names of those who were the players of the plot from him.
Percy and Catesby and the others made a stand at Holbeche House in Staffordshire, they were finally defeated and sent to the Tower, in January 1606, they were hung, drawn and quartered, with Fawkes.
The Gunpowder plot facts
England at the time of the event was in a huge spiral of power and religion.
Starting with Henry wanting a divorce to starting a Reformation, The Catholics mass after at least 20 years of trouble under Elizabeth I felt (used in a very mean, unfair way) and frustrated with King.
Safety of the King was down to his loyal lord and his guards. For this reason, he commanded each year, everyone to build huge bonfire fires to celebrate his life, and what the perfect example to celebrate this will traditionally be cooked bonfire foods.
On the night of November 5th for over 400 years, it has become known to be called Bonfire Night.
Although, the event is honoured with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy, in modern times we use political or hated figures on bonfires.
However, people ponder if the gunpowder plot participants could manage to blow up the building if the anonymous letter was not sent. Most evidence, to why it could never work as planned because the gunpowder was old, as a result, rendering it useless. no proof of test lighting it before the schemer’s got caught, no one will never know for certain.
Certainly, the size of this job struck the entire country. The death toll calculated and the political change would have been to a degree of uncertainty. For this reason, a tradition carried out by the Yeomen of the Guards search the cellars of the Westminster.