GUNPOWDER TREASON AND PLOT!
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on 5th November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James’s nine year old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.
Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters included Guy Fawkes (also known as Guido Fawkes), who had 10 years of military experience and was given charge of the explosives.
The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter on the 26th October 1605. During a second search of the House of Lords at about midnight on 4th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was discovered, posing as a servant and guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder – enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble and subsequently arrested.
Most of his fellow conspirators fled London as they learned of the plot’s discovery. Several made a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcester and his men at Holbeche House; in the ensuing battle Robert Catesby was shot and killed.
On the following evening of the 5th November 1605 Londoners were encouraged to light fires to celebrate the King escaping the dastardly assassination attempt and this tradition continues today.
At the trial on the 27th January 1606, eight of the conspirators including Guy Fawkes were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
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