Can you uncover the plans of the plotters?
Around midnight on Monday 4th of November 1605, Sir Thomas Knyvett was ordered to carry out a search of the rooms below the hall in which Parliament, crammed with MPs and Lords, would be opened the following day by King James. There he met a man coming out of a room packed with firewood who gave his name as John Johnson. Knyvett arrested him and searched the wood to find hidden within it 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough to blow up the entire Palace of Westminster and everyone in it. Johnson carried fuses and a timer. He was taken straight to the Tower of London to be questioned.
King James' men had decided to search the Palace because of a letter that Lord Monteagle had received a few days before. Monteagle took the letter straight to the government.
Look at the letter and other documents below and see if you can unravel this Gunpowder plot.
- What two steps does the writer want Lord Monteagle to take?
- Why does the writer suggest that Lord Monteagle should follow this advice?
1. This is the letter sent to Lord Monteagle a few days before parliament.
- Who do you think John Johnson might be?
- What did Johnson plan to do to parliament?
- Name one of the other plotters whom Johnson mentions.
- Was Johnson worried about any Catholics who might have been there?
2. This is a copy of the examination of John Johnson.
- Why does the government want Thomas Percy to be captured alive?
- Who else has Thomas Percy tried to blow up apart from the King and Parliament?
- Why do you think the plotters might have wanted to kill these other people?
- Read the description of Thomas Percy. Do you think it is enough information for him to be found?
3. This is a proclamation (royal demand) made after the plot was discovered.
- Who were the plotters present at the house?
- What happened when the 'company beset' (soldiers attacked) the house?
4. Soldiers tracked Thomas Percy to Holbeach House in Staffordshire. This is a statement given by Thomas Wintour, another one of the plotters who was there:
- What was the plotters' plan for Princess Elizabeth?
- Does this support the evidence provided in Source 2?
- Why do you think Fawkes seems to have changed his story?
- Finally, look at all of the sources again and write a report on the plot including the following:
- Who was involved?
- What was the plan?
- Did it have any weaknesses?
- What was the outcome?