Time and History 11:55 P.M. Guy Fawkes Arrested

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament at 11:55 in the evening.


11:55 in the Evening

Nov. 4, 1605. Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the English Houses of Parliament but was arrested in the cellars directly beneath the Lords' Chamber.

With other conspirators disguised as coal merchants. Fawkes had smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into the vaulted cellars and hidden them under bundles of wood, and empty bottles. One of the Catholic conspirators, however, decided to write to Lord Monteagle, a Catholic peer, warning him not to attend the opening of Parliament, which was set for Nov. 5. The anonymous letter read: "Retire to the country, for though there may be no appearance of any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament, yet shall they not see who hurt them."

Monteagel immediately informed the authorities. At first a search of Parliament revealed nothing, but Monteagle decided to make one final check. Just before midnight Fawkes was found in the cellar, claiming he was just a servant looking for his master. But Monteagle noticed that the woodpile seemed out of proportion. He also thought Fawkes to be "a very tall and desperate fellow." The explosives were found and Fawkes was arrested. King James I ordered particularly brutal tortures for Guy Fawkes: "The gentler tortours are to be first usid unto him, et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur [and by degrees into hell] and so God spede your goode worke." After suffering extreme agony on the rack, Fawkes signed a confession and named the other conspirators. The following January he was hanged and drawn and quartered in front of the Houses of Parliament.

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