vincent • Link
shocker 05 November 2003
"...Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot would have wrecked buildings in Whitehall up to a third of a mile away as well as destroying the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, scientists have calculated.
By working out the explosive power of the 2,500kg of gunpowder he secreted under the old Westminster Hall in November 1605, physicists at the Centre for Explosion Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, forecast there would have been "severe structural damage" from the blast.
The calculation is the first time anyone has worked out what could have happened if Fawkes' plot to blow up King James I, as he addressed Parliament in the House of Lords on 5 November, had not been discovered the previous night...."
Just as well it was a damp squib!
Apparently the gunpowder wouldn't have caused so much damage because it was well past its sell-be date. Guido was had by Paynes, the supplier.
I have little concern for James 1 but Westminster Abbey is a beautiful building. (The current Palace of Westminster is 19th century, so the houses of parliament don't count)
If it had succeeded, would Britain have become Catholic (the intention) or would there have been a backlash that would have put back ecumenism centuries?
Glyn • Link
According to today's London Times, there were more than two tons of gunpowder.
With regard to Grahamt's question above: I would vote for the second outcome, i.e. that you can't bomb people into submission and that there would have been a very strong, fanatical Protestant pogrom against all Catholics, guilty or innocent (just an opinion, of course).
(Did anyone see the Michael Wood TV programmes speculation that Shakespeare - who was distantly related to some of the conspirators - was a secret Catholic. And was one of the few playwrights never to have anti-Catholic pieces in his plays?)
vincent • Link
5th of ... and the warning letter
and more of the dastardly deed
"...My Lord out of the love I beare to some of youere friends, have a caer of your preservation. Therefore I would advice yowe as yowe tender youer lyfe to devyse some excuse to shift off youer attendance to this parleament, for God and man hath concurred to punish the wickedness of this tyme and thinke not slightlye of this advertisement but retyre youer selfe into youer contri wher yowe maye expect the event in safti. Yet I saye they shall receyve a terrible blow this parleament and yet they shall not sei who hurts them. This cowncel is not to be condemned because it may do yowe good and can do yowe no harme for when the danger is passed, will give yowe the grace to make good use of it. To whose holy protection I comend youe - to the right honourable the Lord Mow'teagle....."
PHE • Link
Is the gunpoweder plot the most consistently celebrated event in England? The City of Bristol echoed for hours, non-stop last night (5/11/03), with the constant boom of fireworks all over the city - providing a very similar experience to that of Pepys 343 years ago. While Pepys did celebrate Chirstmas and Easter, they wer much lower key than celebrations of today.
Peter • Link
Interesting point PHE, but aren't Christmas and Easter christian continuations of pagan festivals of Yule and Eoster...? As such they are really much older fesivals than the Gunpowder Plot celebrations...(Rowdy here too in Staines!)
JWB • Link
1647 Details of Firework Display -London
5 November 1647-
Firework display: "before the Lords and Commons of Parliament and the militia of london in commemoration of God's great mercy in delivering this kingdom from the hellish plots of papists, acted in the damnable Gunpowder Treason"
Gunner George Brown designed the display with a printed programme which explained what each
"1. Fire-balls burning in the water, and rising out of the water burning, showing the papist's conjuration and consultation with infernal spirits, for the destruction of England's king and parliament.
2.Fire-boxes like meteors, sending forth many dozen rockets out of the water, intimating the popish spirits coming from below to act their treasonous plots against England's king and parliament.
3. Fawkes with his dark lantern, and many fire-boxes, lights, and lamps, ushering the pope into England, intimating the plot to destroy England's true king and parliament.
4. Pluto with his fiery club. Presenting himself maliciously bent to destroy all that have hindered the pope from destroying England's king and parliament.
6. Runners on a line, intimating the papists sending to all parts of the world, for subtle cunning and malicious plotters of mischief against England's king and parliament.
7. A fire-wheel, intimating the display of a flag of victory over the enemies that would have destroyed
England's King and parliament.
8. Rockets in the air, showing the thankfulness of all well-willers to true religion, for the deliverance of England's king and parliament.
9. Balloons breaking in the air, with many streams of fire, showing God's large and bounteous goodness towards England's king and parliament.
10. Chambers of lights, showing England's willingness to cherish the light of the glorious gospel therin to be continued.
11. A great bumber -ball br eaking in pieces, and discharging itself of other its lights, holding forth the cruelty of the papists to England's king and parliament.
12. Fire-boxes among the spectators, to warn them to take heed forthe future that they cherish none that are enemies to England's king and parliament.
-A Modell of the Fire-Works to be presented in Lincolnes-Inne Fields on the 5th of Novemb. 1647. (London 1647) A good source for contemporary fireworks: Francis Malthus, "A treatise of Artifician Fire-Works, both for Warres and Recreation"(London, 1629) and John White. "A rich Cabinet, with Variety of Inventions...Whereunto is added avariety of Recreative Fire-works, both for Land, Aire, and water." (London, 1651)
There were also bonfires and bells."
From the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the following link is for "A Form of Prayer with Thanksgiving; to be used yearly upon the Fifth Day of November for the happy Deliverance of the King, and the Three Estates of the Realm, from the most Traiterous and Bloudy intended Massacre by Gun-Powder."
Interesting is this: "After the Creed, if there be no Sermon, shall be read one of the six Homilies against Rebellion."
Phil insists that anecdotes go here, and not on the diary pages --
"As a lad, on Guy Fawke's night, I tossed a banger from the leads which chanced to burst 30 cm above the center of the bonnet and 30 cm in front of the windscreen of a car that had swerved into Somer's Crescent to avoid the rowdiness occurring in Hyde Park Crescent --- Translating that into my native tongue:
As a boy, on Guy Fawke's night, I tossed a firecracker from a roof which chanced to burst a foot above the center of the hood and a foot in front of the windshield of a car that had swerved into Somer's Crescent to avoid the rowdiness occurring in Hyde Park Crescent.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.