We all know how Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605 was foiled at the last minute, sentencing him to a brutal death, and the creation of the annual event of Bonfire Night. However, the actual practicality and possibility of his gunpowder to destroy the building and kill the assembled King and Lords has been much debated since as, when inspected post discovery, the gunpowder was found to be of poor quality and the wooden barrels were damp. Luckily, we now have are own demolition specialist Richard Hammond to recreate the famous plot, albeit with more optimal conditions. Check out this explosive video.
Interestingly, despite the historical clear-cut nature of the plot, many academics and historians believe that not all was as it is now chronicled, with Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and spymaster to King James 1st, often been cited as instrumental to the plot’s progression. Indeed, many commentators argue that Cecil (a devout Protestant) was made aware of the plot early on its formation and let it develop in order to foil it later, with much publicity, allowing him to usher in a wave of new anti-Catholic laws. Cecil’s ability to undertake such a scheme, note academics, is supported by the fact that he was trained by the famous spymaster of Queen Elizabeth 1st, Sir Francis Walsingham, who had excelled in foiling numerous Catholic plots against her, as well as penetrating the upper echelons of Spanish society, who were at war with England at the time.