We all know fireworks and bonfires are a big part of November 5th. The celebration often called the Guy Fawkes Night is a particularly British festival. While many may be familiar with Guy Fawkes, what about the actual plot? What was the Gunpowder Plot about, who was behind it and why did it fail?
In this two-part series, we’ll look at the Gunpowder Plot in detail. We’ll start by examining who the conspirators were behind the plot and what was the plan?
The English Catholics had been suffering from persecution under Queen Elizabeth I and when she died in 1603, many hoped James I would ease the tensions. However, James I didn’t turn out to be much better despite having had a Catholic mother and so groups of Catholics began plotting for rebellion.
The most prominent group led by Robert Catesby came up with the Gunpowder Plot. The idea was to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the King. After the King was dead, a new ruler would take place and be far better for Catholics – that was the aim.
There has been speculation whether the group tried digging a tunnel underneath the Parliament first, but they ultimately decided on storing 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the House of Lords.
The different members had meetings throughout 1601 to 1603, but the Gunpowder Plot started forming in January-February 1604. On March 1605, the plotters rent the cellar space underneath the Parliament with the aim of setting it all ablaze on the Opening of the Parliament on November 5th that year.
As mentioned, the leader of the group was Robert Catesby. He was a charismatic person who found it easy to get people follow his plans. To Catesby, the only solution to the problem was a violent one.
Catesby enlisted the help of his close friends: Thomas Wintour, Jack Wright and Thomas Percy. Soon after forming the group, Guy Fawkes joined the team. He wasn’t part of Catesby’s close circle but he had seen the battlefield, fighting in the Netherlands and Spain.
Indeed, the task of acquiring and storing the gunpowder barrels fell on Guy Fawkes. It was also his mission to set the fuse on the faithful night and escape along the Thames – but things didn’t quite go as planned.
Other people were also part of the Gunpowder Plot towards the end of it. The men involved in the plan include Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Francis Tresham and Everard Digby.In together, the plot had 13 conspirators, although the five original members are the most known.
So, what happened? You’ll find out what was the downfall of the plan in the next post. In the meantime, grab a few fireworks to entertain your guests during November 5th from our online store!