Though the particulars connected with the Gunpowder Treason may be perused in the general histories of the period, yet I am not aware, that any modern narrative of that dark design is to be found in a separate form. Many brief sketches have, indeed, been published in various modern works: but no full and complete history of the Treason has ever been set forth. In compiling the present volume, I have collected, from various quarters, all the information which I could discover on the subject. Guy Fawkes also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Fawkes was born and educated in York. His father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic. Fawkes converted to Catholicism and left for the continent, where he fought in the Eighty Years' War on the side of Catholic Spain against Protestant Dutch reformers in the Low Countries. He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England without success. He later met Thomas Wintour, with whom he returned to England. Wintour introduced Fawkes to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters leased an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, and Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder they stockpiled there. Prompted by the receipt of an anonymous letter, the authorities searched Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November and found Fawkes guarding the explosives. Over the next few days, he was questioned and tortured and eventually confessed. Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of the mutilation that followed. Fawkes became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in Britain since 5 November 1605. His effigy is traditionally burned on a bonfire, commonly accompanied by a fireworks display. In 1604 Fawkes became involved with a small group of English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with his daughter, third in the line of succession, Princess Elizabeth. Fawkes was described by the Jesuit priest and former school friend Oswald Tesimond as "pleasant of approach and cheerful of manner, opposed to quarrels and strife ... loyal to his friends." Tesimond also claimed Fawkes was "a man highly skilled in matters of war," and that it was this mixture of piety and professionalism that endeared him to his fellow conspirators. The author Antonia Fraser describes Fawkes as "a tall, powerfully built man, with thick reddish-brown hair, a flowing moustache in the tradition of the time, and a bushy reddish-brown beard," and that he was "a man of action ... capable of intelligent argument as well as physical endurance, somewhat to the surprise of his enemies." The first meeting of the five central conspirators in the gunpowder plot took place on Sunday 20 May 1604, at an inn called the Duck and Drake, in the fashionable Strand district of London. Catesby had already proposed at an earlier meeting with Thomas Wintour and John Wright to kill the King and his government by blowing up "the Parliament House with gunpowder." Wintour, who at first objected to the plan, was convinced by Catesby to travel to the continent to seek help. Wintour met with the Constable of Castile, the exiled Welsh spy Hugh Owen,  and Sir William Stanley, who said that Catesby would receive no support from Spain. Owen did, however, introduce Wintour to Fawkes, who had by then been away from England for many years, and thus was largely unknown in the country. Wintour and Fawkes were contemporaries; each was militant, and had first-hand experience of the unwillingness of the Spaniards to help.
- Paperback | 104 pages
- 152.4 x 228.6 x 6.1mm | 213.19g
- 22 Feb 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- Illustrations, black and white