Even though I live in Spain now, a country that obviously doesn't mark the day in any way, I always think about the Gunpowder Plot because I grew up just two miles from Coughton Court, the seat of the Throckmorton family who were very much involved in the Gunpowder Plot. Robert Catesby and Francis Tresham were grandsons of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court and nephews of Thomas Throckmorton, and Robert and Thomas Wintour were also Throckmorton relations. Here are links to read more about Coughton Court and its links to the plot:
It's well worth a visit if you're going to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon.
Back to the Gunpowder Plot...
On the night of 4th/5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught with thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in the cellars beneath Westminster. The idea was to blow up the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November, and to assassinate King James I.
Although the plot happened in the Stuart period, in the reign of King James I, it actually had its origins in Elizabeth’s reign. Elizabeth had continued the work of Henry VIII, and Edward VI and made England a Protestant country. By the end of her reign, England was a dangerous place for Catholics, with the threat of persecution and even death hanging over them. As Elizabeth’s health deteriorated, the Catholics pinned their hopes on James VI of Scotland, who was married to a Catholic, and who was the son of the late Catholic queen, Mary, Queen of Scots. Although he himself was a Protestant, the Catholics felt sure that he would be sympathetic to their cause.
Did you watch the BBC 3-part series "Gunpowder", starring Kit Harington? I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it wasn't exactly true to history, I loved the way that it focused on Robert Catesby, who has tended to be forgotten by history. What did you think of the series?
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