“Remember, remember the fifth of November”
In May 1604 Robert Catesby rented rooms adjacent to the House of Lords as the beginning of a plot to kill King James I of England and install Elizabeth. his nine-year-old daughter, on the throne. His conspirators included Thomas Winter, Robert Winter, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Sir Thomas Percy, Lord John Grant. Sir Ambrose Rokewood, Sir Everard Digby, Sir Francis Tresham, Thomas Bates (Catesby’s servant) and Guido Fawkes, an explosives expert.
Robert Catesby confessed the plot to his priest Oswald Tesimond who told his colleague, the principal Jesuit of England, Father Henry Garnet. The plot had to be delayed because the Black Plague arrived in London in the summer of 1604 and the opening of Parliament was put off until 3 October 1605. The conspirators learned that the lease on a cellar under the House of Lords was up and Thomas Percy took it on. By March 1605 barrels of gunpowder had been put into the cellar. In May the conspirators left London for the country or to travel abroad, arranging to return in September. However, the opening of Parliament was postponed again.
Sir Francis Tresham was recruited to help finance the plot but he wrote to his brother-in-law Lord Monteagle to warn him not to attend the opening of Parliament: “I would advise you as you tender your life to devise some excuse to shift of your attendance at this parliament for god and man hath concurred to punish the wickedness of this time… retire youre self into youre control where you may expect the event in saftey for though there be no appearance of any stir yet i say they shall receive a terrible blow this parliament and yet they shall not see who hurts them.” Monteagle gave the note to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, the Secretary of State. At midnight on 5 November a party of armed men discovered Fawkes guarding 20 barrels of gunpowder.
Houses of Parliament, London, England
Midnight Tuesday 5 November 1605
Fawkes was arrested, taken to the Tower of London and tortured. The conspirators were arrested, apart from Catesby who was shot evading capture. On 27 January 1606 at Westminster Hall the conspirators were tried. All pleaded guilty apart from Sir Everard Digby. The plotters were hanged, drawn and quartered on 30 and 31 January. Henry Garnet, the priest who had heard confession from several of the conspirators, was executed on 3 May 1606 at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeomen of the Guard before the State Opening every year.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Guy Fawkes escaped being drawn and quartered alive by jumping from the gallows and breaking his neck.