bonfire night


The Gun Powder Plot
in 1605 was originally decided by Robert Catesby when hopes of Catholic toleration under King James I faded away leaving many Catholics angry & disappointed. The Gun Powder Plot was intended to start a rebellion during which King James's 9 year old daughter Princess Elizabeth would be placed as a Catholic head of state in his place.

The gun powder plot was started from May 1604 by Robert Catesby, other gun powder plotters included Thomas Winter, Robert Winter, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Ambrose Rokewood, Everard Digby, Robert Keyes, Francis Tresham and Thomas Bates. The explosives were prepared by Guy Fawkes, an explosives expert with a lot of military experience.

In May 1604 Thomas Percy leased a room next to the House of Lords as the gun powder plotters idea was to tunnel their way under the House of Lords to lay the gunpowder and then blow it up. The main target was King James, but many other important people were to be killed. Guy Fawkes under the name 'John Johnson was put in charge of this building and he pretended to be Percy's servant while Catesby's home in Lambeth was to be used to store the gunpowder & picks for mining. They later learned that a coal merchant named Ellen Bright had vacated a cellar under the House of Lords and THomas Percy secured the new lease.

One of the extremists had a friend in the Houses of Parliament and sent him a letter trying to warn him to stay away on the 5th November, but this letter was found and given to King James I. By March 1605 Guy Fawkes had assisted in filling the undercroft underneath the House of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder hidden under a store of winter fuel. The barrels contained around 1800 pounds of gunpowder and had they been ignited, would of destroyed many of the buildings in the old Palace of Westminster complex including the Abbey.