Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Recently, pupils learnt that there was so much more to the Gunpowder Plot, than Guy Fawkes being caught in the cellars of Parliamentwith a match and a substantial amount of gunpowder on November the 5th. Mr Pyemont, a former Headmaster, and his wife came to school to give an intriguing presentationabout the history behind the Gunpowder Plot and the events that led to the eventual arrest and execution of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators: John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham.

Pupils learnt that religion, James’ poor leadership and frivolous attitude were the main reasons behind the plan to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of
England’s Parliament on 5thNovember 1605. They heard how Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury ran a group of informers to listen in coffee shops, ale houses and at parties for gossip about treacherous plots. This is exactly how Robert Cecil discovered one of the conspirators had recently purchased 36 barrels of gun powder,enough toreduce Parliament to rubble, including some of the conspirators’ friends, who would be in parliament that day.It was thisconcern for their fellow Catholics that led one of the conspirators to make a fatal error – writing to a catholic friend, William Parker, 4thBaron Monteagle, warning him of the
imminent explosion in parliament, this letter was somehow discovered.

Pupilsalso learnt how Guy Fawkes was captured and mercilessly tortured until the signature on his confession was barely legible. After 3 days of torture he eventually gave upthe other group memberswho had fled to Holbeche House, were they were later killed.

The talk ended with a reminder, that even today, when the reigning monarch enters Parliament once a year, on what is called “the State Opening of Parliament”, prior to the opening, the Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster.