Matthew James Follows
Member, The British Monarchist League
The plan was that the attack, which would take place during His Majesty’s State Opening of Parliament, would act as the first stage of a large scale takeover. It was to involve a popular revolt emanating from the Midlands, with the ultimate goal of kidnapping the nine year old daughter of the King, Princess Elizabeth, and establishing her as a Catholic Head of State, eventually seeking support from the European powers to maintain a new regime.
The role of the infamous Guy Fawkes himself was to take charge of the gunpowder. Thirty five barrels of gunpowder were stored in an undercroft beneath the Palace of Westminster by Fawkes and his associate. Fawkes was to be the one to commit the act itself – to light the explosives beneath the House of Lords, and flee across the Thames.
The circumstances of the discovery of the plot revolve around a letter allegedly written by one of the conspirators to his brother-in-law who was a member of the Lords and thus a potential victim. He warned his relative not to attend Parliament on the 5th because; “they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament”.
The cryptic details of the letter were eventually shown to King James who ordered a search of Parliament ‘both above and below’. The first of two searches took place on the 4th November. Yet they merely discovered a large amount of firewood in the undercroft beneath the Lords and a man presumed to be a servant. Thankfully the King, intent on discovering the threat, ordered a further search. Late that night the investigators returned to the undercroft and found the ‘servant’ Fawkes dressed in his now infamous cloak and hat - carrying a lantern and matches. The hidden barrels of gunpowder were unearthed from beneath their camouflage, and the plot was foiled.
To this day it is tradition during every State Opening of Parliament to search the Palace of Westminster ‘both above and below’ before the arrival of the monarch. This honour is carried out by the Yeoman of the Guard – which are the ceremonial bodyguard of Her Majesty the Queen.
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.
By god's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?