The Significance of the Gunpowder Plot for Catholics During 1605 - 4620

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WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GUNPOWDER PLOT FOR CATHOLICS 1605 THROUGH TO 1620?

This essay will discuss the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of catholic noblemen plotted to blow up the English House of Parliament; the target of the plot was King James VI of Scotland and I of England. This essay will focus on how the event impacted Catholics and their treatment in society and law after the event. Primary sources including letters, Parliamentary documents and their insight into how the event impacted Catholics in the years after the event will be used to provide evidence and Secondary sources to provide different historians views on the treatment of Catholics.

The gunpowder plot had a significant effect on the catholic community due to the new laws and oaths put in place by the strongly protestant parliament and House of Lords. An example of this would be the Oath of Obedience, a law put in place by James I on June 22nd 1606, this meant all Catholics had to swear their allegiance to the king as head of church instead of the pope; this followed the Popish recusant’s act of 1605 which increased the watch on Catholics by government and the education of their children in the true religion, this being Protestantism. The impact on Catholics because of this oath was great as they had to swear against their faith causing them in God’s eyes to be heretics. An effect of the plot was that previous laws against their religion where brought back into parliament and strengthened due to James protestant upbringing and the reaction of society after the plot, To keep Protestants satisfied parliament where under pressure to victimise all Catholics and not just those who were connected to the plot; the protestants where scared that Catholicism could retain its hold in Britain. Catholic priests where under scrutiny for the writing’s, beliefs and connections (to the plotters) they had in the years before and after the Gunpowder plot, These where classed as “heretical,



Bibliography: http://www.show.me.uk/gunpowderplot/adults_plot.htm Parliamentary Copyright House of Lords, 2005 & 2006. A. Hart- Davies, What the Tudors and Stuarts did for us, 2002, Boxtree, 0752215086. A D. Jardine, Criminal Trials volume 2 part 1, first edition 2010, Nabu Press, 9781145785243. D. Murphy, I. Carrier and E. Spary, Britain 1558 – 1689, 2002, Collins educational, 9780007138500. (http://www.show.me.uk/gunpowderplot/adults_plot.htm Parliamentary Copyright House of Lords, 2005 & 2006.) Figure 2: an extract from a speech made by James I after the plot occurred

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