Not everybody knows that my ancestors, Bob and Tom Winter were members of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed conspiracy to assassinate King James I. They had a half brother, John Winter, who was also involved. This is a flight of fancy of course, but makes a great start to my blog post.
What Exactly was the Gunpowder Plot?
The Gunpowder Plot is the name given to the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th of November 1605, the day the King was to open Parliament. The origins of the plot remain unclear and it is doubtful that the truth will ever be known, but it’s probably because the men were angry because James had treated them badly and they didn’t like it.
Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed with the gunpowder and arrested, but most of the other conspirators fled. Guy Fawkes Night is held annually in the UK on November 5. It’s also known as Bonfire Night and marks the anniversary of the discovery of the plot. Alas, it isn’t a public holiday!
Traditional Death for Traitors
The traditional death for traitors in 17th-century England was to be hanged from the gallows, then drawn and quartered in public. But, despite his role in the Gunpowder Plot this proved not to be the 35-year-old Fawkes’s fate.
As he awaited his punishment on the gallows, Fawkes leapt off the platform to avoid having his testicles cut off, his stomach opened and his guts spilled out before his eyes. Mercifully for him, he died from a broken neck. His body was subsequently quartered, and his remains were sent to “the four corners of the kingdom” as a warning to others. The Telegraph