The Gunpowder Plot


  • Intro

    In 1605, a group of Catholic conspirators, including the now infamous Guy Fawkes, devised a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Their aim was to overthrow the government, kill King James I, and make James’s daughter a Catholic head of state. This illustration shows Guy Fawkes being halted at the Houses of Parliament, before he was able to carry out the plot. The image was published in 'Mischeefes mysterie London' several years after the Gunpowder Plot in 1617.


    Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Catholics suffered terrible persecution, but they had high hopes for better treatment after James came to the throne in 1603. In reality, the situation failed to improve. In March 1605 the group rented a ground floor cellar directly beneath the House of Lords, filling it with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes, who had years of munitions experience after serving in the Spanish Army, was chosen to light the fuse. However, Westminster was searched and the gunpowder was discovered before it could be ignited by Fawkes. He was arrested and tortured, before he and seven other conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered for high treason. The rest fled to the Midlands, where they were either captured or died fighting. The repercussions for Catholics were felt for centuries, in a series of repressive laws introduced against them


    Shelfmark: G.11429

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