Remember Remember the 5th of November...
The Gunpowder Plot is well known in history as the failed attempt to assassinate King James I in 1605. The plot was meticulously planned to take place on the opening of parliament when the King, his Queen and heir would be in attendance. The conspirators were Catholics who had been subject to religious persecution for years. They thought the new reign of James I would herald a new era however it was not to be.
The plotters consisted of mostly wealthy men driven by their search for religious freedom. They had strong links to Northamptonshire and the plot itself was said to have been planned at Catesby’s Northants home. Catesby was cousin to the infamous Guy Fawkes, the other plotters included another cousin Wintour, his brother, brother-in-law, Catesby’s second cousin Tresham and childhood classmates.
Of the group, Guy Fawkes, was the only one with knowledge of gunpowder from his early military days. Famously, however, the plot failed after the famous ‘Monteagle Letter’, anonymously sent to warn Lord Monteagle who alerted the authorities.
The Boughton Link
Following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot against James I, the then Sir Edward of Boughton, was keen to prove his loyalty to the King and distance himself from the other Northamptonshire landowners implicated in the plot. The former MP for Northamptonshire established the celebration of Bonfire Night by personally sponsoring The Observance of 5th November Act 1605, which called for an annual thanksgiving for the failure of the plot to assassinate King James I of England. This set in motion a tradition which has spanned centuries and the globe.
Sir Edward was the 3rd Sir Edward Montagu (1562-1644) but in 1621 was created 1st Lord Montagu, a privilege gained for being ‘honest and faithful’ to the King.