‘Remember Remember the Fifth of November' ~ Guy Fawkes and Gunpowder Plot (And Bonfire and Fireworks!)
Gunpowder Treason and Plot
On the 5th of November, every year, throughout the length and breadth of England, soon after the sun sets, bonfires are set ablaze and scintillating fireworks light up the skies!
It is a night of fireworks displays, both private and organised, where ‘Bonfire Night’ party food is a must ~ jacket potatoes, hot dogs, and other goodies. Fun fairs can be found at the organised displays
Everyone wraps up against the autumn chill, so that they can go outside and join the celebrations. They hope that it will be dry! Since this is November, it is often misty ~ and the smoke of the fire may turn it to smog!
Safety films are televised and pets are kept in. Everywhere one looks, the sky is sparkling with multi-coloured stars ~ and crackles of minor explosions fill the air as rockets shoot to the heavens.
What are we celebrating with such enthusiasm and joy?
Let me take you back to my childhood.
'Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower, and the Gunpowder Plot' by Fiona Bengtsen - Book Cover
Guy Fawkes effigy - by William Warby, 5 November 2010
Pity for The Guy
John Paul Davis. 2010.
Guy Fawkes Burned in Effigy
I remember childhood Bonfire Nights well.
Until I was almost ten, we used to have a family party in our large garden and, every year, for weeks beforehand we collected logs, twigs, papers, etc, to make the biggest bonfire we could. Nearer to the date, my Dad secretly bought fireworks, which had to be stored very carefully. And special, warming, party food was planned.
After our move, we lived in a house with a huge field at the bottom of the garden. There was plenty of room for a bonfire there, and Bonfire Night parties were well established in the neighbourhood. We would add twigs and wood offcuts to the huge pile of branches that had been constructed.
There was another preparation that used to go on for weeks beforehand ~ the making of ‘The Guy’. Every Saturday, for about a month, my Mum and my Grandmother ~ with help from my Dad, my Grandfather, my uncles, and us children, of course ~ would work on sewing together an effigy of a man. Old clothes were formed into a body and stuffed with straw. His face was a Guy Fawkes mask. This was an English tradition.
I understand that, originally, it was 'The Pope' who was burned in effigy! According to Wikipedia, 'it became the custom to burn an effigy ~ usually the Pope ~ after 1673'. This was because of the announcement by James, Duke of York ~ later James II ~ that he was converting to Catholicism.
(For a hub that concerns James II, see: Origins of the Names 'New York' and 'Albany' - United States Place Names History)
Another tradition was for children to sit outside shops, with a ‘Guy’ on a trolley and ask passers-by for ‘a penny for the Guy’. Their earnings would usually go towards paying for fireworks ~ or toffee apples.
On 5th November, once the traditional inferno was burning well, the Guy would be tossed on top and everyone would cheer, as he quickly disintegrated in the flames.
As I grew older, I began to dislike the idea of burning a man ~ any man ~ in effigy. Others probably felt the same, because I have noticed that housewives are rarely found sewing straw men, these days, in the autumn. It does still happen, but I am not at all sure that it is now considered politically correct.
But why was a ‘Guy’ burned atop a raging blaze every autumn?
Who was this ‘Guy’?
A 'Guy' - 'Procession of a Guy' - 1864
Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) are situated on the north bank of the River Thames, in the City of Westminster, London.
At first, in the 11th century, this site housed a royal palace, which mostly burned down in 1512.
Parliament, which had used the site since the 13th century, continued to meet here, but it was no longer a royal residence.
The medieval 'Old Palace' was, again, mostly destroyed by fire in 1834.
The current 'New Palace' was designed by Charles Barry. It incorporated any remaining parts of the Old Palace.
Thwarting of a Terrorist Attempt on Parliament in 1605
‘Bonfire Night’ was, and is, a celebration of the thwarting of, what might be termed, a terrorist attempt on Parliament, in 1605 ~ while the king was sitting!
Because of the type of explosive being used, this scheme has come to be known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, or 'powder plot' ~ and one of the plotters was named ‘Guy’ ~ Guy Fawkes.
The king who was the intended victim was James I.
But why would Guy Fawkes, and his co-conspirators, want to destroy the Houses of Parliament and / or King James?
What was behind the Gunpowder Plot of 1605?
The Gunpowder Plot was connected to the religio-political climate of the time.
NB: This was a previous building ~ not the current Houses of Parliament
The 'New' Houses of Parliament - Mgimelfarb, 2008
Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn
Gunpowder Plot - Books from Amazon
James I came to the throne of England in 1605, on the death of Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII (Tudor). At the time, he was already a monarch ~ King James VI of Scotland. Elizabeth had died unmarried and without issue. Her (half-)siblings had pre-deceased her, having already ruled England as Edward VI and Mary I.
Until the reign of Henry VIII, England, like the rest of Western Europe, had been a Roman Catholic country for centuries ~ and it was assumed that things would stay that way. In those days, it was impossible to separate religion and politics.
However, at this time ~ during the 16th century ~ Europe was plunged into religious crisis. Revolutionary changes were taking place. Activists, like Martin Luther, were making a stand ~ protesting against corruption within the Roman Catholic Church. These were revolutionary times. This was the beginning of ‘The Reformation’ and the beginning of Protestantism.
Henry VIII was married to the daughter of two of the most well-known Catholics in Europe ~ Ferdinand and Isabella ~ the ‘Catholic Kings’ of Spain. This wife, Katherine of Aragon, who had formerly been betrothed to Henry’s elder brother, Prince Arthur, had not provided the son and heir, whom Henry craved so much. Her only surviving child was a daughter named Mary.
Their marriage had seemed successful enough ~ in spite of Henry’s dallying with other women ~ until the lack of a son, coupled with a strong attraction to Anne Bullen, or Boleyn, one of Katherine’s ladies in waiting, drove Henry to request an annulment. He wanted to marry Anne; he wanted the son, whom, he was convinced, Anne Boleyn could bear him. He needed a divorce.
Since Katherine had been betrothed to his brother, he was sure that a divorce could be avoided, because the marriage could be annulled on the grounds of incest ~ provided the Pope agreed.
The Pope did not agree. And neither did Katherine and her many supporters.
Henry was a Christian monarch and believed himself to be a good Catholic, but he was ruler of England and resolved not to allow the Pope to make this important final decision, regarding his marriage and potential heirs. He made himself head of the church in England; he dissolved the monasteries, confiscating much-needed funds for the royal coffers; he had the Archbishop of Canterbury annul his marriage to Katherine; he married Anne Boleyn.
Like her parents, Katherine of Aragon was a devout Catholic. Anne’s family, on the other hand, had Protestant tendencies, and Anne introduced Henry to some of these ideas.
The second marriage was doomed. Before being beheaded for adultery, Queen Anne did provide Henry with another child ~ but it was another daughter. She was named Elizabeth.
Henry’s third wife, Catholic Jane Seymour, finally gave Henry the son he needed ~ but Jane soon succumbed to poor health, and died.
Henry had three more wives ~ Anne of Cleves (divorced), Katherine Howard (beheaded), Katherine Parr (survived). None of them bore him any children.
Although Henry may have considered himself to be a Catholic until death, the Church felt otherwise and excommunicated him. Whatever his personal religious beliefs, England had rebelled against the church in Rome. It had become a Protestant country.
Henry died in 1547. His throne was inherited by his son, the boy king, Edward VI. Edward was a Protestant and he continued what his father had started with the monasteries ~ dissolving Catholic chantries, schools, etc. Edward died in 1553.
Next in line, was Edward’s elder half-sister, the daughter of
Katherine of Aragon ~ Mary Tudor. Mary, like her mother, was a devout Catholic. She returned England to the Faith, and she had many
Protestant ‘heretics’ burned at the stake ~ earning her the name ‘Bloody
After some years of terror for Protestants, Mary died, in 1558, and her younger half-sister, Elizabeth, became queen of England. Elizabeth might be described, at first, as a Protestant with some Catholic sympathies. She became officially the Protestant head of a Protestant church of England. But it does not seem to have been her intention to make Catholics suffer in the way that Mary had made Protestants suffer.
However, a monarch ~ and a female monarch at that ~ cannot be seen to be weak. As already mentioned, religion and politics could not be separated ~ and many of Elizabeth’s people were refusing to worship in her church and were listening to a foreign power ~ the Pope. Meanwhile, that Pope was exhorting Catholics to betray their wicked, heretical queen. When plots on her life were discovered, and Jesuits started openly working to convert her people, Elizabeth’s tolerance came to an end.
Roman Catholics, who appeared to be indulging in treasonable behaviour, might be arrested and, if proven traitors, could be hanged, drawn and quartered. Many 'Papists' now felt as persecuted under Elizabeth as Protestants has felt under Mary.
When Elizabeth died, in 1603, and the crown went to James ~ the son of Mary Queen of Scots, Catholics believed that their time of suffering would soon be over.
Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley - Parents of James I + VI
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland, who was the son of James IV of Scotland and his wife, Margaret Tudor ~ sister of King Henry VIII of England.
Mary married three times:
Her first husband was the dauphin Francois, who became, briefly, Francois II, King of France.
Her second husband was Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley ~ her first cousin
Her third husband was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Her son, James ~ who became James VI of Scotland and James I of England ~ was fathered by Lord Darnley.
In 1561, when her husband, King Francois, died, Mary returned to a Scotland, which had been governed by regents since 1542 ~ including her mother, Catholic Mary de Guise, who has been ousted by 1560.
Queen Mary was Catholic and Scotland was fast becoming a Protestant country. However, she acknowledged Protestantism and had protestant courtiers.
In 1565, Mary married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Two years and a son later, Darney was dead and Mary went on to marry the man who was believed to have been his murderer ~ Lord Bothwell.
This resulted in a coup d’etat, with Mary being imprisoned in Lochleven Castle.
Within weeks, radical Protestants had insisted that she abdicate in favour of baby James. There followed half a dozen years of civil war in Scotland, at the end of which time, Mary fled the country and sought refuge with her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.
Mary spent her English exile, until her death, in prison.
Since Mary was a Catholic, she was, consequently, a possible leader for Catholics who might decide to rise up against Elizabeth. She was, therefore, potentially very dangerous for her cousin.
Elizabeth did not want to sign her cousin's death warrant, but, as her advisors warned: ''so long as there is life in her, there is hope; so as they live in hope, we live in fear''. She was executed, in 1587 ~ beheaded for treason.
James VI + I
James I of England (VI of Scotland) - by Daniël Mijtens (1590–1647)
James the Sixth and First
Was James I of England (James VI of Scotland) going to be a champion for English Catholics?
After all, his mother had been a Catholic ~ and this had been behind the machinations which had led to her death at the hands of her cousin Protestant Elizabeth I. Furthermore, his wife was Catholic.
Catholic Thomas Tresham confidently pronounced James king of England at Northampton cross. Other Catholics were keen to show the new monarch their support. Indeed, they celebrated.
However, James did not behave as the Catholics had hoped that he might. Unlike his mother, he was a Protestant.
At first, James appeared to be relatively tolerant ~ he stopped recusancy fines, for example ~ but, as noticeable Catholic numbers increased, and Catholic plots in 1603 were discovered, James became ever more suspicious of the potential for treason.
By February 1604 King James had proclaimed his 'utter detestation' of Catholicism. Recusancy fines were back and Catholic priests and Jesuits were evicted from the country.
James was a disappointment to Catholics, who had had such high hopes of him. Another Catholic plot was hatched!
Princess Elizabeth - Daughter of King James
The Plotters and the Plot
The leader of the 'Gunpowder Plotters' was Robert Catesby ~ a Catholic, from a Catholic family, which had suffered anti-Catholic persecution.
Because Robert had refused to take the 'Protestant Oath of Supremacy' he had been expelled from his university, minus his degree. Also, his father had suffered imprisonment for 'harbouring a priest'.
Calendar of Events;
20th May 1604 ~ First meeting of the conspirators.
Venue: Catesby's lodgings at the 'Duck and Drake', Strand, London.
Plotters present: Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, Jack Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes.
The first four are friends and Fawkes is a recruit.
Guy Fawkes ~ under the name 'John Johnson' ~ is housed in a Westminster property, rented by the plotters.
In the following months;
More plotters are recruited: Robert Keyes, Robert Wintour, John Grant, Kit Wright, Thomas Bates.
The first four are related to the original group, the latter is Catesby's loyal servant.
The date originally planned for the 'Opening of Parliament' (it is postponed to 5th November)
The group of plotters rent a cellar directly under the House of Lords.
Guy Fawkes goes to Flanders to lay low ~ and to involve Hugh Owen in the plot.
Thirty six barrels of gunpowder are placed in the cellar.
During the next months;
Catesby is able to recruit further conspirators: His cousin-by-marriage, Francis Tresham, plus two wealthy men who could provide for their needs ~ Ambrose Rookwood and Sir Everard Digby. (The Catholic Lords, Stourton and Monteagle, were brothers-in-law to Tresham.)
Final plans are laid.
On the date of the Opening of Parliament ~ 5th November, Guy Fawkes would set light to the barrels of gunpowder set under the House of Lords, in London, and then he would flee the country.
Meanwhile, in the Midlands, Everard Digby would lead a rebellion with the aim of kidnapping the young Princess Elizabeth, with a view to making her queen, on the assassination of her father.
26th October 1605;
Lord Monteagle receives an anonymous letter, warning him not to attend the opening of Parliament. (Presumably Tresham has sent this.) Monteagle shows this secret missive to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, James's most senior minister.
Although the plotters are warned by a Monteagle servant that the contents of the letter are known, they continue with their plans. However, Salisbury has the cellars searched ~ finding gunpowder, firewood and Guido (Guy) Fawkes, who is arrested and questioned ~ eventually under torture.
The other men, who have been waiting in London, escape to the Midlands, but, as their names become known, they are being actively sought.
Bonfires of Thanksgiving
Bonfires of thanksgiving ~ that the plot had been discovered in time ~ were lit in celebration!
Thomas Winter fled to Huddington Court (his brother's home).
Robert Catesby, Ambrose Rookwood, Jack and Christopher Wright, Thomas Percy and Thomas Bates - rode on towards Warwickshire, to Warwick Castle, where they stole horses, to take them on to Holbeche House in Staffordshire. Bates, though, was not with the others at Holbeche for the confrontation ~ he was arrested in Staffordshire
At Holbeche, they decided to lay their sodden gunpowder out to dry in front of the fire. This was a dangerous thing to do with gunpowder! Their co-conspirator, John Grant, was blinded by the inevitable explosion which ensued.
He was of little use when the kings men arrived to confront the traitors, in the form of the High Sheriff of Worcestershire and his men. By the end of the short battle, Robert Catesby, the Wright brothers and Thomas Percy were dead, or dying, of their injuries and Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood and Thomas Grant had been arrested.
Some of the conspirators ~ five in number ~ were still being sought.
By the final month of the year, all but one of the plotters ~ Robert Wintour ~ had been killed or captured. Francis Tresham died, while imprisoned in the Tower of London. Wintour's freedom would be short-lived.
The prisoners continued to be interrogated ~ who else knew about the plot?
Thomas Bates had, apparently, told a Jesuit priest during 'Confession'. The Jesuits were, thus, implicated in the crime and this gave the government the reason they wanted to ransack the homes of many other Catholics. Some were even put in the Tower.
Robert Wintour was arrested at Hagley, Worcestershire.
27th January 1606: the beginning of the plotters' trials at Westminster Hall.
Robert Wintour was tried.
Salisbury had ordered that the event should begin with blame being placed on the Jesuits, followed by a description of the punishment for treason: the horrifying spectacle of being hanged, drawn and quartered.
Digby's trial was the last. All of the men were found guilty of high treason.
30 January 1606;
Execution of Digby, Robert Wintour, Bates and Grant ~ St Paul's Churchyard.
31st January 1606;
Execution of Thomas Wintour, Rookwood, Keyes and Guy Fawkes.
Those conspirators who survived to be tried in January 1606 were hanged, drawn and quartered.
Cellar under the House of Lords - by William Capon - 1799
Guy Fawkes Confession
The Gunpowder Plotters
Leader of the plotters.
Born in the county of Warwickshire, circa 1572.
His mother was a Throckmorton of Coughton Court.
He was already seen as a potential threat as early as 1603, when he was arrested, having been involved the Earl of Essex's rebellion of 1601 and implicated in a 1602 Spanish plot.
Guy Fawkes / Guido Faukes
He attended St Peters School in York ~ the same school as the Wrights.
Though his father had been strongly Protestant, he had died, and, when his mother had married again, it was into a devoutly Catholic family. He became a Catholic convert.
Fawkes had fought in the Spanish army and had even approached the Spanish to discuss an invasion of England. It appears that he was introduced to Catesby by Hugh Owen and that Thomas Wintour recruited Fawkes to the gunpowder plot.
He was settled in the house neighbouring the house of Lords, under the guise of being a Percy servant ~ John Johnson. His job was two-fold ~ to obtain gunpowder and to dig a tunnel through to the basement under the House of Lords.
Robert and Thomas Wintour / Winter
Thomas Winter was born in around 1571 in Worcestershire. His family was devoutly Catholic. Indeed, one of his uncles, a Catholic priest, was executed in 1586. Like his relatives, Robert Catesby, Francis Tresham and Lord Monteagle he had sought Spanish help and support for English Catholics.
Wintour went to Flanders (Spanish Netherlands) again seeking Spanish help ~ this time with the gunpowder plot. That was when he brought Guy Fawkes on board.
Thomas Percy was a member of the well-known aristocratic Percy family of the North of England ~ the family of the Earls of Northumberland.
He was a friend of Robert Catesby.
He was married to a Catholic and had converted to Catholicism. His wife, Martha Wright, was the sister of co-conspirators, Christopher and John Wright.
Percy had been one of King James's bodyguards.
It was Percy who rented, first, the house next to the House of Lords and, later, the cellar under the House of Lords. (The house was leased to Percy by Henry Ferrers, of Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire.)
Because it was Percy who had rented the property, where the gunpowder was found, his guilt became evident as soon as the plot was discovered.
He was killed, alongside Catesby, at Holbeche House. Both men were then decapitated and their heads publicly displayed on the House of Commons roof!
Christopher and John Wright
John Wright was born in 1568; his brother Christopher (Kit) Wright was 2 years younger.
Previous links to other plotters:
They had attended the same school as Guy Fawkes ~ St Peter's, York.
Their sister was the wife of Thomas Percy.
They ~ especially John ~ were good friends of Catesby.
Both brothers had already come under suspicion, and had been imprisoned, after being implicated in a conspiracy against Queen Elizabeth in 1596; both had been involved in the 1601 Essex revolt; and both died together at Holbeche.
Born circa 1567.
Francis Tresham was the son of devout Catholic, Sir Thomas Tresham, who had designed the Triangular Lodge, replete with catholic symbolism, in the grounds of his home ~ Rushton Hall, in Northamptonshire. Sir Thomas had been the ward of Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court ~ and he had married Throckmorton's daughter, Muriel. Sir Thomas had been fined and imprisoned for recusancy.
Francis Tresham was Robert Catesby's cousin and a friend of the Wrights. Like Catesby, he had been involved in Essex's rebellion of 1601 ~ following which he had been fined and put in prison. His father, Sir Thomas Tresham, had had to pay for his son's behaviouir ~ and he had contributed to his nephew Catesby's fine, as well.
Francis Tresham had also been implicated in the 1602/3 Spanish plot. However, he does not appear to have been strongly in favour of this revolutionary plan.
Sir Everard Digby was born circa 1578.
His was a Roman Catholic family, but he does not seem to have become serious about the religion until he was older.
When he married, he came intp property in Buckinghamshire ~ an estate at Gayhurst.
Born circa 1578.
His was a Catholic family from Suffolk, but his home, at the time, was in Stratford Upon avon, Warwickshire.
He was educated by Catholics; his brother became a Franciscan friar; he married a Catholic ~ a member of the Lincolnshire Tyrwhitts. He was wealthy and he had connections with some of the Catholic families of the Midlands.
He had a family relationship with Keyes
Bates was Catesby's servant.
He is the plotter who is supposed to have confessed to Oswald Tesimond, a Jesuit priest.
Ironically, Robert Keyes' father was a Protestant cleric. However, his mother was a member of the Catholic Lincolnshire Tyrwhitts and his wife was connected to Ambrose Rookwood.
John Grant was the owner of 'Norbrook', a house near Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwickshire.
His wife was the sister of the Winter brothers.
He had been involved in Essex's 1601 rebellion.
Others who appear to have known about, and possibly played lesser parts in, the plot were: Hugh Owen and Robert Stanley and Father Garnet.
The Earl of Northumberland was suspected of being a plotter, but, with no proof, he was not convicted. However, he was kept in the Tower of London for several years for lesser crimes.
Stephen and Humphrey Littleton and Henry Morgan were executed.
The Gunpowder Plotters
A number of the plotters were related in one way or another ~ by bonds of blood, marriage, friendship, education, etc:
Robert Catesby, Frances Tresham, John Grant, Robert Wintour and Thomas Wintour belonged to the same family. Thomas Bates was Catesby's faithful servant.
John (Jack) Wright. Christopher (Kit) Wright and Thomas Percy belonged to the same family. Guy Fawkes attended the same school as the Wright brothers.
Robert Keyes and Ambrose Rookwood belonged to the same family.
Was Salisbury the Biggest Plotter of Them All??
"To this day, there are historians who believe that sufficient evidence exists to show that Cecil orchestrated the whole plot - unknown to the plotters - to convince James I that Catholics were not to be trusted and that they should once and for all be thrown out of the country."
Warnings and Secrecy
Various conspirators had reasons for wanting to warn ~ and so save ~ certain people, who would be in the House of Lords, when it was due to be blown to pieces.
For Francis Tresham, it was his two brothers-in-law: Lord Monteagle and Lord Stourton.
For Thomas Percy it was his relative, the Earl of Northumberland.
Other plotters were concerned for Lord Vaux, Lord Montague and Lord Mordaunt.
However, Robert Catesby assured them that any warnings would be far too risky and he ordered that none should be given.
And, of course, Catesby was correct ~ for warnings were given and that seems to have been their major undoing.
Warning Letter sent to Monteagle
Celebratory bonfires were lit almost immediately the plot was discovered and thwarted.
They have been lit on (or near) 5th November, ever since.
At one stage, effigies of the pope were thrown onto the fire, but later this was replaced with effigies of Guy Fawkes.
Buildings Associated with the Plotters
* * * * * * * * *
The Coughton Court Connection
The plotters were divided into two main groups on 5th November ~ those in London and those in the Midlands.
The ones in London were responsible for blowing up the Houses of Parliament and all within ~ including King James.
The ones in the Midlands were planning to kidnap James's daughter Elizabeth, intending to make her a puppet Catholic queen, in her father's stead.
But the plot was discovered and the London conspirators were fled to the Midlands.
Thomas Bates, loyal servant to Robert Catesby, rode to Coughton Court in Warwickshire. There he found gathered a group of Catholics ~ and he had terrifying news for them.
Coughton Court, with its double priest-hole to protect mass-celebrants, was a centre where Catholic recusants gathered during the 16th-17th centuries, when it was dangerous and illegal to be openly Catholic.
According to the 'Gunpowder Plot Site', there were gathered: Father Henry Garnet, Father Oswald Tesimond, Sir Everard Digby's family, Nicholas Owen, (builder of the priest holes) and the Vaux sisters ~ related to the Throckmortons, who owned Coughton Court.
Lady Digby heard that her husband was now fleeing for his life ~ wanted for treason ~ and the Vaux women learned that the same was true for their relatives Robert Catesby and the Wintours. Guy Fawkes had already been arrested.
When Thomas Bates left to join his co-conspirators, Father Tesimond went too. He fled to the continent.
Both Father Garnet and Nicholas Owen were implicated in the plot ~ and they did not escape. Garnet was executed. Owen died in the Tower of London, while being interrogated.
Garnet had, in fact, attempted to dissuade the plotters from going ahead with their scheme, believing that it would bring additional hardship to Catholics.
The women were arrested and questioned, but nothing more.
* * * *
Robert Catesby met up with the other 'outlaws' near his mother's home ~ where she was caring for his son. However, he would not allow his family to know that he was there, and he went off ~ to Dunchurch, to Holbeche and to his death ~ without seeing them, or saying a final farewell.
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Ashby St. Ledgers, Northamptonshire
Robert Catesby used a room above the gatehouse at his mother's home ~ Ashby St. Ledgers ~ as a central command centre while organising the plot.
His own home was at Chastleton, Oxfordshire. He also had property at Lapworth.
Clopton House, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire
In 1605, the years of the plot, Clopton was the home of In 1605 Ambrose Rookwood, one of the conspirators.
Bushwood Hall, Lapworth
This was the family home of the Catesbys, and was where Robert Catesby was born and raised.
John Grant's house at Snitterfield ~ near Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire
Huddington Court, near Droitwich, Worcestershire
Home of the Wintour family
Holbeche / Holbeach, Staffordshire
Home of Stephen Littleton. He and his relative, Humphrey, joined the conspirators after the event and probably knew very little about it, beforehand. They were with them at the Bull Inn Coventry and the Red Lion Dunchurch, but that is where Humphrey Littleton left them. Stephen Littleton and Robert Wintour then set off for Holbeche, but they were not at the house when the gunpowder accidentally exploded. They fled and wandered around seeking refuge, which they found at Hagley House, before being captured.
The home of a deceased relative of Stephen Littleton, where Stephen and his friend (possibly relative) Robert Wintour, were sheltered by Humphrey Littleton, before they were all betrayed by a servant.
Red Lion Inn, Dunchurch, Warwickshire
This is where Digby lodged at the time of the plot and where certain conspiators awaited news of its outcome. 'The Red Lion' later became 'Guy Fawkes House'.
Bull Inn Coventry, Warwickshire
A meeting place for the conspirators, after the failed plot and before moving on to Dunchurch.
Rushton Triangular Lodge, Northamptonshire
I have heard a suggestion that this out-of-the-way lodge may have been secretly used by the plotters ~ but only a suggestion. It belonged to Francis Tresham, after the death of his father, Sir Thomas, who had designed it.
The first verse of an anti-Catholic ballad, about 'The Gunpowder Plot', from the 17th or 18th century:
True Protestants I pray you do draw near
Unto this ditty lend attentive ear,
The lines are new although the subject's old
Likewise it is as true as e'er was told.
Gunpowder Plot Anti-Catholic Ditty
Antonia Fraser. 1997.
Consequences of the Plot
Anti-Catholic laws were passed:
Catholics could no longer;
~ vote in elections (not repealed until 1829)
~ practise law
~ serve as an army officer
~ serve as a naval officer
Furthermore, thenceforth, Catholics tended to be blamed for society's ills.
Guy Fawkes Night - Windsor Castle - 1776
Guy Fawkes Night - Windsor Castle - 1776 - Detail
State Opening of Parliament
Every year, in November, there is a State Opening of Parliament ~ a royal opening of parliament by the monarch.
Before the queen delivers her speech, however, there are a number of traditional and ceremonial duties that her Bodyguard ~ the Yeomen of the Guard ~ have to go through.
In single file, carrying lanterns and swords, they search the vaults underneath the Palace of Westminster, to check that 'all is secure'.
This ritual is in remembrance of the gunpowder plot.
Fireworks Display - by KSDigital, 5th November 2010
Another result of the plot is that every year, on November 5th, there have been celebrations ~ including bonfires!
Although there are records of bonfires being lit immediately after the plot was discovered, official observance began with the 'Observance of 5th November Act', of 1605/6 ~ the 'Thanksgiving Act'.
Wikipedia quotes Edward Montagu:
"Forasmuch as almighty God hath in all ages showed his power and mercy in the miraculous and gracious deliverance of his church, and in the protection of religious kings and states, and that no nation of the earth hath been blessed with greater benefit than this kingdom now enjoyeth, having the same true and free profession of the gospel under our most gracious sovereign lord King James, the most great learned and religious king that ever reigned therein, ...: the which many malignant and devilish papists, Jesuits, and seminary priests much envying and fearing, conspired most horribly, when the king's most excellent majesty, the queen, the prince, and the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, should have been assembled in the upper house of Parliament upon the fifth day of November in the year of our lord 1605 suddenly to have blown up the said house with gunpowder .."
At one time, the country celebrated 'Gunpowder Treason Day'.
Nowadays, on 5th November, or the nearest Saturday, England's skies are filled with sparkling colourful fireworks, as revellers keep warm beside huge bonfires, throughout the land.
Bonfire - 6 November 2010 - Sam Roberts
Another 'Bonfire Night' Hub:
- November 5th in the 1950s
By Dim Flaxenwick
More 'History' Articles from Trish_M
- Sir Thomas Treshams Intriguing Tudor Triangular Lodge - Rushton (Northants. UK)
Thomas Tresham's 16th century 'Triangular Lodge' is intriguing ~ quite simply because it is, indeed, triangular. There are not too many three-sided buildings around! But there is more to it than that. Triangles permeate the building!
- Origins of the Names New York and Albany - United States Place Names History
How did 'New York City' and 'New York State' - in the United States of America - get their names? Can we assume that the city and the state names originate in the same place? Was that York, in England? If so, why? And what about 'Albany'?
- Shakespeare's Presentation of Colonisation in The Tempest
William Shakespeare wrote 'The Tempest' in around 1610. I interpret this play as a metaphor on colonisation. The story, which tells of a usurped duke and the shipwreck he arranges in order to to exact retribution, includes a number of themes.
- Carousels and Kings
The carousel, as we know it today, is a rotating (fairground) attraction, consisting of horses, carriages and perhaps other animals. The artwork is usually very attractive and highly decorative. The carousel played an important part in history.
- Now Its All Quiet on the Western Front
During 'The Great War' ~ World War One ~ it certainly was not 'all quiet on the western front'. War poetry bears witness to this! But it is peaceful there now. Where once there was death and horror, there is now agriculture once again.
- Spains Story: From the 9th Century to the 16th Century - a Historical Timeline
Spain's story ~ Some historic background