Within a few weeks of the Hampton Court conference which saw harsher penalties imposed on English Catholics, the five core members of the Gunpowder Plot
Robert Catesby - Thomas Percy - Thomas Wintour - John Wright - Guy Fawkes
met together and swore an oath on the Holy Sacrament to blow up James I and the Houses of Parliament when next the Parliament sat. The conspirators first hired lodgings which were close to Parliament House, and began digging a tunnel that they hoped would take them under their target. The exercise was becoming costly and more hands were required, so Catesby drew more accomplices into the inner circle of the plot. In the ensuing months, Parliament’s sitting was continually delayed, allowing Fawkes to return to Flanders to get more powder to replace the powder which had begun to spoil.
On the 26th of October 1605, ten days before Parliament was due to it, an unknown messenger delivered a letter to William Parker Lord Monteagle at his house in Hoxton, outside London. Monteagle had been a staunch Catholic whose ardour had cooled after he had obtained favour under the new regime.
The "Monteagle Letter"
was an attempt to warn Monteagle not to attend the
opening of Parliament because
of a great calamity that would consume it. Monteagle at once delivered the
letter to Robert Cecil. On the night of the 4th November
1605, the day before Parliament was scheduled to open, Fawkes
was caught in the cellar beneath the parliament buildings with the powder.
On his person were found the tools necessary to fire the powder train. He
was immediately arrested and brought before the King. Over the next few
days, Fawkes was tortured, until gradually he began to reveal details of the plot.
first he maintained the façade of John Jonhson, servant to Thomas Percy,
but in time he revealed his true identity and the names of his fellow