The Gunpowder Plot
5 th of November: Bonfire Night Bonfire night is held on the 5 th of November each year. The celebration started in 1605 when Londoners lit bonfires after hearing the news that the King, James I had been saved from a plot to blow up him and the houses of Parliament.
400 years ago in England, people from the Protestant and Catholic religions didn't get along. The Catholics felt they weren't treated fairly. When King James I took power of England in 1603 The Catholics hoped things would change and he would be tolerant of their religion. This didn't happen and Catholics were treated harsher than ever. A group decided to do something about it.
A small group was formed by a man called Robert Catesby. They decided they had to use violence to get people's attention. Their idea was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The group hoped there would be lots of important people there, like the King and the Members of Parliament.
The group planned for months. They rented a house next to the houses of Parliament and carefully starting moving barrels of gunpowder into the cellars. When they had finished there were 36 barrels in the cellar. More than 200 times the amount needed to destroy the building.
On the 4 th of November one of the group, called Guy Fawkes sneaked into the cellar and waited for the King and Parliament to arrive the next day.
Luckily, someone had sent a letter warning their friend called Lord Mounteagle. It said to stay away from the opening of Parliament on the 5 th of November. Nobody knows who sent the letter. But some think it was one of the group who planned the conspiracy. A man called Thomas Percy.
The warning reached the King and he stopped the plotters. Guy Fawkes was caught red handed in the cellars of parliament. He was quickly arrested and taken to the Tower of London where he gave up the names of the others involved.
We'll never know if the group could have blown up Parliament if they hadn't been betrayed. Some say the gunpowder they had was useless anyway. The government captured and executed the group involved. Most of them have now been forgotten, but we still remember Guy Fawkes. Now, November the 5 th is a celebration of the story and a chance to commemorate what happened with noisy fireworks, big bonfires and models of Guy Fawkes.