It was a cold January night and a secret meeting was being held by a group of Catholic friends.
“I’ve had enough; King James cannot continue to treat us like this. The Pope is the head of the church; I will never be ruled by King James." Moaned Robin Catesby. Catesby was a very popular and trustworthy man, who was fed up with the harsh way that Catholics were being treated.
"But Robin, he is so powerful; there is nothing we can do." Said a very frustrated Tom Wintour, one of Catesby's oldest friends.
"Tom, you trust me don't you?"
"Of course Robin, we grew up together."
"Well then I want you all to listen. I have a plan that could solve this terrible situation that we and our families have to endure."
“What is it Robin, what could we possibly do to stop the King punishing us for the way we choose to pray?" Asked Thomas Percy, another of Robin Catesby's friends, who had been called to the meeting. Catesby had gathered five of his closest friends to reveal his secret plot.
"My plan is to blow up the Houses of Parliament using gunpowder" Whispered Catesby with a determined edge to his voice.
“Do you think that if the King is killed, Catholics will no longer be punished?" Thomas Bates spoke excitedly.
“That is exactly the result I had in mind." Robin Catesby's idea was to dig a tunnel under the Lord's chamber in the Houses of Parliament and fill it with gunpowder. Then when the lords, including the King were meeting there at the opening of Parliament on November 5th, they would blow it up.
"I know a man who is a general in the Spanish army; he has had a lot of experience using gunpowder. I'm sure I can get him on our side" said Tom Wintour.
“A brilliant idea Tom, you must go and see him immediately." This news gave Catesby even more hope that his plan would be successful.
“So Guy, are you willing to join us?" Asked Wintour.
"I have seen so much heart ache. Catholics fined, priests and bishops imprisoned or even put to death just because their religious belief is different to that of King James. I cannot stand back and watch this continue. Of course I am willing to join you and the other plotters Tom." Exclaimed Guy Fawkes with passion in his heart.
"Hooray! Welcome to our secret team." The two men set off to London to meet up with their fellow conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot.
"The house next door to the Lord's chamber has been rented; I have pretended to be the caretaker, calling myself John Johnson instead of Guy Fawkes, digging must start tonight." By now there were thirteen conspirators; all of them took it in turns to dig through to the Parliament building.
The work was very dangerous and also very noisy and they were all worried that they would be heard and found out. Sensing the problems, Guy decided to try to find an alternative for them,
"Would you believe, there is already a cellar under the Lord's Chamber, a coal merchant has been renting it, but has now moved out. There is no need for us to continue digging, we must rent the cellar."
The plotters hid thirty six barrels of gunpowder under a pile of firewood in the cellar, ready for the fateful day.
In the meantime, an unknown person had written a letter to Lord Monteagle, who himself was a Catholic man and a member of the King’s Government and due to attend the opening of parliament.
"I have received an anonymous letter my Lord warning me not to attend parliament on the 5th November as it will receive a terrible blow on that day." Lord Monteagle read the letter to King James with enormous concern.
"I know what this means, gunpowder is to be used to blow up parliament. Someone is plotting to kill me. Guards, I order you to search every inch of the Houses of Parliament." King James was seething!
It was the night of the 4th November; Guy had been chosen to light the fuse.
"Good luck my friend, we will be waiting for you on the outskirts of London" Said Catesby with gratitude. Guy was waiting in the cellar beside the barrels of gunpowder, ready to light the fuse.
‘There he is!" shouted one of the King's guards. Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder were found; he tried to fight them off.
"I am not sorry for what I planned to do." said Guy.
“Who are your fellow conspirators?" Spoke King James with aggression.
"I will never tell you"
"Take him to the underground cell and torture him till he speaks." Guy was put on the rack with his hands tied above his head and with ropes bound around his ankles. The ropes were pulled tighter and tighter until after two days of this terrible torture, he gave the names of the other conspirators.
Catesby and the other plotters were waiting for news on Guy’s success, unfortunately Tom Wintour gave Catesby news he did not want to hear.
“They will probably torture him until he gives our names. Get the horses ready, we must head for the North of England” The king’s soldiers caught up with the men, they had no chance to defend themselves, as they only had their swords to fight with and the soldiers were armed with large guns. Robin Catesby was killed in battle.
Guy Fawkes and the other plotters were taken to the tower of London. They were tried and found guilty of treason. Two months later they were dragged through the jeering crowds to the place of execution; there they were hung, drawn and quartered.
“Place their heads on spikes in the centre of London for all to see. I want the people of England to know that this is what happens to anyone who tries to plot against me.” King James wanted no one to forget the Gunpowder Plot, he exclaimed, “You must thank God every year on the 5th November that the plot to kill me failed.” On the night of the 5th November, the king’s supporters celebrated the failure of the gunpowder plot, by lighting bonfires and burning straw models of Guy Fawkes on top of the fire.