Gun Powder Plot

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Guy Fawkes 1

Tension between Catholics and Protestants – Protestant church because Henry VIII broke away from Catholic Church and set up C of E. Lots of reformation and confusion. Chaotic time. Catholics seen as bad people. Converting from Catholic to Protestant, than back again and then back again.

After a promising start, where James tried to juggle the different groups, keeping them happy, the Catholics soon came under attack again (possibly because two plots against the King were found). A group of Catholic men decided enough was enough and started a plot to kill the King. They planned to kill the King (and all of the important Protestant MPs) at the opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605.

Robert Catesby (who we believe was the leader) met with Thomas Wintour, Jack Wright, Thomas Percy and Guido (Guy) Fawkes in the Duck and Drake in London, on 20th May 1604. They planned to blow up parliament. As part of these they rented a small house close to parliament, where Guy would act as its ‘caretaker’.

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Soon the number of conspirators rose, to ten and the plot developed. The group now rented a cellar in March, which was close to the Houses of Parliament (and right under the House of Lords). In this cellar they placed 36 barrels of gunpowder. This would produce a HUGE explosion, killing everything and everyone in the area.

As the opening of parliament got closer, the final touches were made to the plan. Fawkes would light the fuse in the cellar.

An anonymous letter was delivered to Lord Monteagle, a Catholic due to be in Parliament when it was blown up, tipped him off that he shouldn’t be there that day. He took the letter to the Kind’s most senior advisor, Robert Cecil, who did nothing! No immediate action was taken, he claimed to be leaving it late to achieve the best results.

On the 4th November, with everything seeming fine to the plotters, the plan continued. Suddenly on that night, the cellars under the Houses of Parliament were searched. One cellar contained huge amounts of firewood, and soon Fawkes was discovered close to the huge amounts of gunpowder. Giving a false name, he was arrested; it seemed the authorities knew exactly what was happening.

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Cecil set him up???( HOWEVER)

  • How did Fawkes get so much gunpowder when you could only get it from the government.
  • How did he get so much gunpowder down there?
  • Why were they allowed to rent the cellar in the first place - a friend of CECILs
  • Cecil was incharge of the gunpowder stuff - which he wouldn't let anyone see, and when he did, they documents for that time were missing
  • Motive? Cecil hated catholics and wanted them gone- he did this, framed Catholics so James I would get rid of them permanently
  • Cecil had lots of spies - able to keep an eye on them
  • Guy Fawkes never actually confessed, he was forced to confess
  • One guy 'confessed' but Cecil got hold of it, and never gave the court the orginal copy
  • They seemed to know where all the plotters where? - Cecil told them
  • Someone wrote a letter to that Lord M - he read a private letter out - for witnesses maybe - he was in on it, his cousin was an ex-plotter could have helped.
  • Also, no plotter knew about this letter - surely they would use it to not get hanged.
  • The letter arrived on 24th October - nothing was done - Cecil told them to wait - otherwise no evidence would be found
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