Like all good conspiracy stories, the tale of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is one that combines elements of mystery, intrigue, suspense and of course, deception. It is the story of a small band of disaffected Catholics who, unhappy with the constraints placed on their religion by Protestant monarchs, undertake to challenge the religious status quo by committing the ultimate act of terrorism – the destruction of both King and Parliament. Back history
The malcontent felt by this group of would-be terrorists did not spring up overnight. In fact, the seeds had been sown some seventy years earlier during the reign of Henry VIII. During the 1530s Henry, in his desperation to divorce Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn, incurred the wrath of Rome by declaring that he, and not the Pope, was the Supreme Head of the Church in England. This act of defiance on Henry’s part culminated in England’s break from Rome and gave the new Protestant religion, which had been sweeping the Continent, a foothold in England. Thanks to the legitimacy afforded to it by Henry VIII and subsequent Tudor monarchs (apart from a brief interlude during the reign of the staunchly Catholic Mary I), Protestantism became England’s official religion. Catholics were forced to abandon their allegiance to the Pope and instead accept the reigning monarch as leader of the Church. Anyone who refused to do this was viewed as a potential traitor to the Crown and was subjected to heavy fines, imprisonment or even death. In the face of such persecution, many Catholics were forced to practice their faith in secret. Tensions simmered and an insidious atmosphere of mistrust, suspicion and fear prevailed. It was against this sinister backdrop that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched. James I After the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, the throne passed to James VI of Scotland, marking the end of the long Tudor dynasty. Catholics were hopeful that the new king (now known as James I of England) would be sympathetic to their plight. Their optimism was based on the fact that, although he was raised as a Calvinist (a strict form of Protestantism), James’ mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been a devout Catholic. When James proved himself unwilling to lift the onerous restrictions placed on the old religion, tensions bubbled to the surface. For that reason that’s why the Gunpowder plot was started. The Plot
On May 20th, 1604, a small group of friends and cousins assembled for a meeting at an inn called the Duck and Drake in London. The group’s ringleader was a nobleman called Robert Catesby. Also in attendance were Tom Wintour, Thomas Percy, Jack Wright and the now-infamous Guy Fawkes (Guido Fawkes was his real name. the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the lower countries .He fight the Eighty Years war in Netherlands when the Protestant rebel where uprising the Catholics he went to help the Spanish, after the war he went to Spain to seek for back up with his rebellion but no one toke notice expect for one… Robert Catesby) all five men present were from wealthy Catholic families and were vehemently opposed to the new religion. It was during this meeting that Catesby proposed a plan to ‘strike at the root’ of the Catholic oppressors. His plan was as audacious as it was simple – to use gunpowder to blow up the Houses of Parliament, thereby killing the new king, other members of the royal family and the sitting government in one fell swoop. In the inevitably chaotic aftermath, Catesby envisaged an up-rising by the subjugated Catholic nobility, which he hoped would eventually lead to the re-establishment of Catholicism in England. Robert Catesby
Despite the fact that Guy Fawkes is the name which has subsequently become synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, it was actually Robert Catesby who was the chief architect and mastermind of the deadly scheme. Guy was, in fact, an...
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