Wednesday 21 August 2019

Here’s an oral history of the Gunpowder Plot to celebrate Bonfire Night

The Tower of London, Parliament and sites significant to the plot all around the country have been telling the story.

A Guy Fawkes mask
A Guy Fawkes mask

By Kameron Virk

November 5 has been celebrated in England each year since Guy Fawkes failed to blow up parliament on that day in 1605.

Everybody knows the story of Guy Fawkes, but it’s been longer for some than for others since they learned about it.

Luckily, the Tower of London, along with the official Parliament Twitter account and other key sites with roles in the plot, has spent this November 5 retelling the story.

The story starts over a year before November 4 1605, the night Guy Fawkes was found under parliament – in a pub. Like all good stories.

So far, so interesting.

But all this was taking place in 1604, quite a while before the plot was discovered. It turns out their plan had been significantly delayed.

Next is where Lord Monteagle, who’s famed for his role in helping discover the plot, comes in.

The English peer received a letter, presumably from a fellow Catholic fearing Monteagle would be blown up, and naturally it raised suspicion.

The letter survives in the National Archives, but its sender still remains a mystery.

This is where we learn that Percy really was cutthroat.

A large pile of firewood under a building was, inexplicably, deemed not suspicious.

But something about the name Percy was off…

Okay buckle up – things are about get real.

While all of Fawkes’ co-conspirators were fleeing in panic, things were about to get a lot worse for the most famous of the bunch.

But it wasn’t Fawkes’ admission under torture that brought down the Earl (who, remember, Percy believed had no idea about the plot) down.

Meanwhile, the big dogs of the plot were still out there…

Ambrose Rookwood, who its believed was recruited by the conspirators in September 1605 because he as wealthy and had many good horses, was also involved in the incident at Holbeach.

He and Digby carved their names into their cells at the Tower.

The King wanted to warn any potential would-be traitors, so even the already dead weren’t left alone.

An Act was passed to mark the failed plot – signifying that our story is nearly at its end.

All that’s left is… well. You know what happened.

Who knew Twitter could be such a good educational source?

PA Media

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