Guido Fawkes: Enemy of the state

Guy Fawkes was born on 13th April 1570, at Stonegate, Yorkshire.  His father Edward Fawkes was a notary proctor of the ecclesiastical courts and an advocate of the consistory court of the Archbishop of York.  His mother Edith Blake was a descendant of the Harrington family of prominent merchants from York.

His father Edward Fawkes died and was buried at St.Michael-le-Belfry on 17th January 1578, and left him a sizeable inheritance when he attained the age of twenty one.

His mother Edith Blake re-married Dionysius Bainbridge, and between them they made use of Guy’s inheritance, before he came of age.

Guy came of age in 1591, and proceeded to dispose of part of his inheritance; the Clifton estate that he had inherited from his father.

Guy Fawkes left his homeland in the early 1590’s, with one of the Harrington cousins, who later became a priest.  He enlisted in the Spanish Army under the command of Archduke Albert of Austria, who went on to be Governor of the Netherlands.  Fawkes rose to the position of a Commander when the Spaniards took Calais under the orders of King Philip II of Spain in 1596.

Guy’s appearance was one of presence.  A tall powerfully built man, with reddish brown hair, flowing moustache and a bushy beard.  During the battle of Nieuport in 1600, he came to the attention of Sir William Stanley, Hugh Owen and Father William Baldwin, when he was wounded during the battle.

Guy went to Spain on behalf of Sir William Stanley in February 1603, and with the assistance of Christopher Wright seeked out Spanish support for an invasion of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth.  Upon his return Sir William Stanley presented him to Thomas Wintour.

In late spring, Guy was invited by Robert Catesby to accompany Thomas Wintour to Bergen in order to meet with the Constable of Castille; Juan De Velasco, who was due at the court of King James I to discuss the treaty between Spain and England.

In May 1604, Guy Fawkes met with Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, John Wright and Thomas Wintour at the Duck and Drake Inn, in what then was considered a fashionable part of London.  It was here under oath, the gunpowder conspiracy was formed.

March 1605, saw the members of the conspiracy fill the cellar beneath the Houses of Parliament, with barrels of gunpowder, iron bars and faggots.

The scheduled opening of Parliament on 28th July 1605 was delayed to 5th November due to the ever present threat of the plague.

May 1605, Guy travelled overseas, and informed Hugh Owen of the plotters plan.  Somehow his name reached the ears of Robert Cecil; First Earl of Salisbury, for he was a well known Flemish Mercenary, but the information did not reach him until late November, well after the plot had been discovered.

Guy returned to England, and he and Wintour discovered in August 1605, that the gunpowder had decayed, and ordered more gunpowder was brought in.

Guy Fawkes final role in the plot was to light the fuse, and escape across the Thames.

A few conspiritators were concerned for the safety of fellow Catholic’s who would be present at the opening of Parliament.  Lord Monteagle received a letter, warning him to stay away, and showed the letter to King James.  The King ordered a search of the cellars under Parliament in the early hours of 5th November.  Sir Thomas Knyvet, caught Guy Fawkes leaving the cellar shortly after midnight… they discovered the hoard of gunpowder, and averted the blowing up of Parliament.

Under interrogation, Fawkes said it was his intention “to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains, and place Princess Elizabeth on the Throne.”

The eight plotters; (Guido Fawkes – Thomas Wintour – Robert Wintour – Ambrose Rookwood – Robert Keyes – Thomas Bates John Grant – Robert Catesby) were found guilty of treason, and condemned to be drawn backwards to their deaths, by a horse.  They were to be put to death halfway between heaven and earth.  Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes and their bowels and hearts removed.  They would then be decapitated so they might become prey for the fowls of the air, by order of The Attorney General; Sir Edward Coke.

Guy Fawkes body parts were distributed to the four corners of the Kingdom, as a warning to other would be traitors.

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