The Gunpowder Plot to kill King James

November 5th is commemorated by some in Britain as the date of the so-called Gunpowder Plot. Traditionally it is the date when bonfires, with an effigy of Guy Fawkes on top, are lit and this is accompanied by fireworks.  Guy Fawkes (April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes, was a member of a group of English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. They planned to assassinate King James I, (James VI of Scotland) and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and had been King of Scotland since 1567 and in 1603 he succeeded to the throne of England after the death of Elizabeth I, who died without issue.

James was baptised on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony, the faith of his mother, at Stirling Castle in Scotland. However, he was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland. It was as a Protestant that he was crowned King of Scotland and later King of England in 1603. James I was less tolerant of Catholicism than those of that faith hoped he would be. So the plot to kill him was hatched, which the plotters hoped would encourage popular rebellion leading to a Catholic being crowned monarch. The plotters stored barrels of gunpowder in a cellar beneath the House of Lords, which was the upper house of the Parliament of England at the time. Guy Fawkes was in charge of the gunpowder and was found in the cellar after an anonymous letter prompted a search on November 5th 1605 by forces of the King. He was subsequently questioned, tortured, confessed and along with other co-conspirators sentenced to death. 

King James reigned as King James VI of Scotland from 24 July 1567 and as James I of England from 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. 

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