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Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot

Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot
4 Oct 2016
 

Remember, Remember the 5th of November… The history of this old rhyme is set in Jacobean England in the 17th century.

In 1603 Queen Elizabeth I died. King James VI of Scotland was crowned as James I of England too. Elizabeth had been very hard on catholic people and they hoped James would be kinder but soon some Catholics started to think James was not helping enough and a group of men led by a man called Robert Catesby plotted to use gunpowder to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate the king at the State opening of Parliament. One of the plotters was a soldier called Guy, or Guildo, Fawkes.

The plotters dug a hole for the gunpowder in a wall under Parliament and they piled barrels in, hiding them behind planks of wood but the plot went wrong! One of the plotters wrote a letter and sent it to his friend Lord Monteagle. The letter warned him not to go to the opening and that ‘they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament’. Monteagle showed the letter to the King which led to a search of the cellars and the discovery of Guy Fawkes, hiding with the gunpowder and fuse. The other plotters fled from London to hide.

Guy Fawkes was questioned about the other members of the plot. At first he refused to give any information, but he was tortured in the Tower of London until he named his co-conspirators. The other plotters were caught and found guilty of high treason. They were condemned to death, to be hung drawn and quartered. Their heads were put on stakes on the city walls to warn other rebels.

Ever since, people have celebrated the 5th November with bonfires and fireworks to commemorate the failure of the plot. We celebrate because the King was not killed and the Parliament was not blown up.

Wildgoose related resources:

The Gunpowder Plot Poster & Photopack

Plot, Plague & Fire frieze

 

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