5 November – The discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and Mary Tudor was crowned Queen of France

Today is the anniversary of the discovery of Gunpowder Plot conspirator, Guy Fawkes, and 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar beneath the Palace of Westminster on the night of 4th/5th November 1605. The plotters were planning to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the opening of Parliament and assassinate the king, his government and leading bishops and nobles.

But why and what has this event in James I’s reign got to do with Tudor history?

Well, a lot, because the Gunpowder Plot had its roots in Elizabeth I’s reign.

Find out more about the Gunpowder Plot, and those involved, in this talk…

Also on this day in Tudor history, Sunday 5th November 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII and daughter of the late King Henry VII, was crowned Queen of France at Saint-Denis.

Mary had become Queen of France on her marriage to King Louis XII on 9th October 1514.

Find out more about Mary’s coronation in this video…

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8 thoughts on “5 November – The discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and Mary Tudor was crowned Queen of France”
  1. Guy Faulkes was frammed. Free Guy Faulkes. Guy Faulkes is innocent.

    Did you know that Fawkes was a body guard for a short time to Lord Percy and gained access to the Court of James I? He was awaiting the new date for Parliament and the plotters had postponed things. One day he was actually stood very close to James at a Reception. He could have killed him then and there, but that wasn’t the mission. The plot wasn’t just to get rid of James but to sweep the Government aside. The Princes Elizabeth would then be a puppet Queen and the new peers made and rebellion would put a Catholic regime in power and the population would do as they are told as usual. That was the wider idea, but it must have been terribly tempting just to shoot or kill James with his blade there and then. Unusually as a body guard he was cleared to be armed in the Royal presence. What an irony.

    1. I always thought he had a funny name, one of my uncles was born on 5th November and we always called him Guy.

      1. What about his alais? Mr John Johnson. They took two days of interrogation aka torture to get his real name. I think I would be giving that at the moment I saw the implements. Most people obviously did as torture was rare. 88 people where officially tortured during the Tudor and early Stuart period as it was used to get names. It wasn’t used as a normal interrogation process as it was in France and Spain. In France it might even be used as a punishment as part of an execution. The boot was a particularly nasty piece of equipment. The rack was used here in the more extreme cases, but a lot of things could be used as “implements of restraint” for general purposes. There are a lot of things they used, thumb skrews, the Little Ease, a cell in which you couldn’t stand or lie down, damp and cold, water torture, cramped irons, they might put you in the Scavenger Daughter, bent and cramped for several hours, even the shackles could be used as torture. The rack and one or two other nasty things were used after all the others. We know from James I himself that Fawkes was racked. We also know that he endured a whole range of things first because the warrant stated he should be given the “gentler tortures first, and then proceed by degrees to the ultimate conclusion”. The interrogation may even have included sleep deprivation first and other methods. I am guessing his physical torture started on day two. They didn’t torture people continually either, but gave them breaks, to live with the pain, also because people passed out. The torturers where always skilled because the aim wasn’t to kill the person. It was to obtain information. By the time they had finished with poor Guy he had revealed very little and couldn’t write his name. They had most of the others in custody and his confession is definitely a pre prepared one with a few inserted details. He probably didn’t even read it. He was so broken after four days of torture he would have confessed to everything. He must have been tough, mind you he was a soldier. He was certainly defiant when he faced James himself, refused to budge on his name and told him straight he intended to blow him and his cronies back to their Scottish mountains.

        James I enjoyed questioning suspects apparently and wrote down a list of questions for Fawkes. He also took personal charge of a number of witch interrogations and was especially involved in the Berwick cases and later exposed Alice Nutter not to be a witch but her father used her as a pawn and in another case he showed the accuser didn’t know what she was doing as she pointed out someone she had previously said was innocent. He of course wrote the famous and misused Demonology, a guide to identity real witches. He became a skeptic towards the end of his reign.

  2. Guy Fawkes was certainly brave and tough but without scruples, and he did not care that innocent children would also lose their lives, yes you are right his signature on the document shows after torture the effects done to his broken body, it is different from his earlier signature, Catesby chose his fellow conspirators well, there were several others all die hard catholic’s in the infamous plot, but many of their names are unknown these days, it is the luckless Guy Fawkes who is remembered every year, he also escaped the dreadful penalty of hanging drawing and quartering on the scaffold, by jumping high and thus severing his spinal cord, oblivion enfolded him and he therefore cheated the justice which was his lot, something which must have made the king and parliament and the executioners to grumble about. the dastardly plot became known when one of the conspirators warned his relation Lord Monteagle about it, warning him to stay away that day, he obviously underestimated his relation , Monteagle was horrified and told the authorities, it nearly succeeded but that one action exposed the plot and of course, we remember the saving of the king and parliament to this day, with bonfires lit a guy atop and fireworks, but sadly it is coming a thing of the past like a lot of traditions from the olden days, fireworks are still popular but children don’t bother dressing a guy up and go round the streets asking for a penny anymore, the over hyped American tradition of trick and treat has sadly eclipsed it.

  3. Robert Caresby was married to a Throckmorton and his brother in law was a Percy and someone was wedded to the Wintours and so on. You know the set up, a small close knit group of Warwickshire gentry families, all neighbours, all inter married, all related to each other. The entire group bound together by the old persecuted Catholic Faith. All living in a relatively remote and closed rural community. Warwickshire and Staffordshire have hardly changed, apart from the addition of a few fairly useless main roads, in centuries. They all have many villages and black and white old houses and names like The Pig and the Goat. Take away the modern roads and hey presto you have dark and rural and very mysterious areas of old England. Every family in these areas had something to do with the Gunpowder Plot. Even if they were not involved and many of them were innocent, they knew one of the wider conspirators, or so the government claimed. They most probably knew some of the more sketchy details because the Plot itself was a closed secret. They probably housed or met to plan in one of their homes. Its now thought weapons were hidden in most houses around the main families. A rebellion was planned after all. At the very least one or other family hid someone involved. The women were as deeply involved as the men. They acted as couriers, as spies and they kept government rats entertained while their husband was in London. Thomas Percy had his wife carry some of the letters and write to other members of the conspiracy just so as he wasn’t implicated. Of course the letters were in code and looked innocent enough.

    Without any involvement all of these families where under the eyes of the government anyway because they refused to attend the Anglican Church services, they practiced their faith in secret and a network of safe houses for travelling priests linked them as well. Henry Garret knew about the Plot and may or may not have given them absolution, but he heard it in confession. He maintained he didn’t know all of the details and he had refused absolution when he heard. He was a very old man but that didn’t save him from being hanged, drawn and quartered. Mary Ward whose reputation on the continent as an educator of young women and girl made her famous lived in York. She had a safe house. She also travelled with Father Garret and was with him when he was captured. She tried to get him to escape but he refused. She had a convent in York and it somehow continued afterwards to this day. There is a museum there as well. She was one of several women who hid priests and many of the more innocent people rounded up fled to their homes for shelter. Anne Line was one such lady who ran a network of safe houses but she herself was taken and pressed to death as she refused to be tried.

    What annoys me most about Robert Catesby is that he knew that the plot was about to go up like a lead balloon and persuaded the others to carry on anyway. Thomas Wintour had a brother who tried to get him to call it off but he was totally obsessed by now. The powder had not been discovered but the government knew something was up and had started to put pressure on the main households they suspected of being involved. Robert Cecil had taken the Monteagle Letter to the King by now and James had ordered the cellars searched. But Catesby was adamant. Even when he heard the first part of the plot had failed and Fawkes was taken he still tried to raise the others in the county to rebellion. Believe me this man was an utter nut job. He may look gorgeous played by Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones but he actually had a big scar down one side of his face from an earlier brush with the law.. backing the Earl of Essex in his rising in 1601. He was a true fanatic. Well he went out in the shoot out so he isn’t remembered as the villain, he is the hero.

    One might say Fawkes was scrupulous, they all were. They tried to make sure no Catholic Lord was hurt by warning them. That’s how Lord Monteagle heard of the plot, he received a warning letter from Francis Tresham. Its authentication is questioned but they all got one. It was only he who took it to Cecil, who was up to his own neck in the thing to begin with. James later thanked Monteagle but took the credit himself for decoding the letter and the discovery of the Gunpowder and the plot. Of course a grateful Parliament voted him money for his wars. He made peace with Spain and ended the wars in Ireland. One might say Fawkes was scrupulous because he believed in what he was doing, even if it was barbaric and would cost a lot of lives. There was an idea at the time and much written about bringing down tyranny. It was permitted to kill in righteousness in order to be rid of a tyrant and evil regime. The Declaration of Arbroath allows for the removal of any King who was tyrannical or aided the English. There are examples in the Bible of bringing down unrighteous and tyrannical Kings. The Romans abolished Kings and ancient writers wrote about bringing them down by force, even at the loss of innocent life. Even William Shakespeare wrote a thesis on tyranny and its end. These men were scrupulous in that they were single minded. They had one goal.. Kill King James, the persecutor of their people and restore the Catholic Faith. Time enough for mercy and the preservation of life afterwards. I agree that sounds backwards to us, but the word has several different meanings. I don’t understand how they reconciled the idea of killing innocent people, including two children with their clear and pure goals or with their faith, but somehow they did. They must have agonised at times over the loss of life, but as with all terrorists and freedom fighters and sometimes martyrs, they had a goal and the people killed where collateral damage. They aimed to blow up Parliament and with it King James and that’s how they justified it. The monster King James would be gone. The other 300 people were simply his accomplishes.

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