The Gunpowder Conspiracy of 1605, as it was then known, (also known as The Powder Treason or The Gunpowder Plot) was a failed assassination attempt by a group of provincial English Catholics against King James I of England and VI of Scotland. The plot intended to kill the King and most of the Protestant aristocracy by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening on 5 November 1605.
The conspirators also planned to abduct the royal children, and lead a popular revolt in the Midlands.
The plot was overseen from May 1604 by Robert Catesby, with the conspirators coming from either wealthy Catholic or highly influential gentry families. Catesby may have decided on the plot when hopes of greater tolerance of Roman Catholicism under King James I faded, leaving many Catholics disappointed. However, it is likely that Catesby simply sought a future for Catholicism in England enabled by his drastic scheme: the plot was intended as the first step in a rebellion, during which James' nine-year-old daughter (Princess Elizabeth) could be installed as a Catholic head of state.
Other plotters included Thomas Winter (also spelled Wintour), Robert Winter, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Percy (also spelled Percye), John Grant, Ambrose Rokewood, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham and Thomas Bates (Catesby's servant). The explosives were prepared by Guy "Guido" Fawkes, a man with 10 years' military experience gained by fighting with the Spanish against the Dutch in the Spanish Netherlands.
The details of the plot were reputedly well-known to the principal Jesuit of England, Father Henry Garnet, as he had learned of the plot from Oswald Tesimond, a fellow Jesuit who, with the permission of his penitent Robert Catesby, had discussed the plot with him. Although he was convicted, there has since been some debate over how much Garnet really knew. As the details of the plot were known through confession, Garnet was bound against r...