: MAKING LAWS IN PARLIAMENT
What happened after Guy Fawkes was caught?
As we’ve seen many members of the group were caught in early November once the King had found out about the plot. Four were killed in a shoot-out. There was a trial in Westminster Hall in January 1606 and eight men were convicted of treason, which meant a crime against their own country.
After being questioned for three months in the gruesome Tower of London, they were all killed except for one Francis Tresham who died in the Tower.
Two of the men who had been killed in the shoot-out had their heads put on spikes for everyone to see. This was to try and stop anymore plots like this one.
What happened to Guy Fawkes?
Guy Fawkes was one of the eight men who were taken to the Tower of London. He would not name the people in the group. On 6 November, the King said that he should be tortured to get him to talk about it. Fawkes signed a confession on 8 November and a detailed one on 9 November. He was killed outside Westminster Hall on 30 January 1606.
What did this mean for Catholics in England?
In England, Guy Fawkes’ failure is recognised on Bonfire Night on 5th November.
At the time, the Gunpowder Plot had a big effect on how Catholics were treated. This is not what Guy Fawkes and his group had wanted to happen. People in parliament were very angry.
King James I said that most of the Catholics were loyal and supported him. But he did support new laws which meant that all catholics had to swear an oath of loyalty to the King and say that the Pope had no power. Protestants who they’d tried to hurt stayed suspicious. This led to an English Civil War in 1642 when James I’s son King Charles I was thought to be too much on the side of Catholics.
From the late 1660s, during King Charles II’s time, many people thought that Catholics were planning to take over again. This was not helped by Charles’ brother James becoming a Catholic.
From 1678 to 1681 the ‘The Popish Plot’ – which turned out to not exist – was very important the country. The plot was supposed to be killing Charles and to make James King.
His brother did become King, he was called James II. Parliament got rid of James II in something called the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They worked to get a new King and Queen. They chose King William III and Queen Mary II. They were seen as helping Protestants in England from the Catholics.
With the final defeat of James’ family and heirs in the Rebellion of 1745, politicians no longer saw Catholicism as a danger. The laws that said Catholics could not practice their religion were rarely enforced and some punishments were gotten rid of.
Although being Catholic could still cause a lot of emotion, Roman Catholics became more accepted in English politics and ways of life.
In 1829 most of the remaining laws that went against Catholics were removed by Parliament in a new law called The Catholic Emancipation Act.
Remembering the Gunpowder Plot
Parliament met in January 1606 and passed a new law called The Thanksgiving Act. This made services and sermons commemorating the gunpowder plot a regular annual feature each 5 November.
This happened over the next two centuries and they started ringing of church bells, having bonfires and lighting fireworks. If there were tensions at the time the events would be bigger to make people remember even more. Burning things made to look like people, known as effigies, started when Charles II was King. It started that they would be made to look like the Pope or the devil but in later times they were made to look like Guy Fawkes. Perhaps this was a sign that it was not about them being Catholic but trying to blow up the King and Parliament.
‘Remember, Remember the Fifth of November; Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’ are words that began to be used during the 19th century on Bonfire Night.
Read more about the causes of the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes plan and how he got caught