Mary Irvine’s Blog: Guy Fawkes – what if he had succeeded?

guy fawkes

What if Guy Fawkes had succeeded…

Mary Irvine’s take on what may have happened

The whole country was in turmoil. King James was dead. Prince Henry, heir to the throne was dead. Prince Charles had disappeared. The Princess Elizabeth was said to be in Catholic hands. Thousands had died during and following the devastating destruction of the House of Parliament.

Catholics had risen all over the country, murdering Protestants, regardless of gender or age. Many were fleeing to the ports, in an attempt to find a friendly ship to the safety of the Low Countries, hoping to escape the carnage. Catholic priests, who had been forced to say mass in secret,  came out of hiding to preach the gospel of the true faith. Icons, statues and rituals were being returned to the Churches. Thanks were given, again in Latin, to God for helping his true followers to rid the country of the heretics.

The man who lit the fuse, fearing imminent discovery, had died in the premature explosion but not so premature it hadn’t achieved its aim. Now he was being proclaimed a martyr. It was only a matter of time before the Holy Father would be petitioned to declare him a saint.

Catesby was happy Fawkes had died. After all, Fawkes, a Catholic by conversion, was not really one of them. But he had been needed for his knowledge of explosives. His death also produced that by which the

Faith became strengthened – a martyr to the cause.

In a house outside the chaos that was now London the plotters met to discuss the progress of their great enterprise. The Establishment was gone. The four-year old Prince Charles would never be found. That was confirmed. Princess Elizabeth was safe at Coombe, protected by heavily armed guards. She would be proclaimed Queen and instructed in the Catholic faith.

   ‘And until she comes of age, we shall rule as regents. There is, of course, the matter of her husband,’ Robert Catesby drank heavily from his goblet.

   ‘A Catholic, naturally.’ 

   ‘Naturally, Thomas.’

   ‘There is Philip of Spain. We could ask him to be King.’

   ‘Although I see an end to the war with Spain I am not in favour. We didn’t kill one foreign king to replace him with another.’

   ‘There are good Catholics of English Royal lineage, the

Percy family…’

   ‘Speaking of foreigners, Robin, what about the hangers-on who came with James, the ones not in the explosion?’

   ‘They shall be given time to leave – as they came, with nothing. Anyone who refuses will be killed.’

   ‘And what of Charles? He could be a rallying point for a restoration of Stuart rule.’

   ‘I am reliably informed, Kit, that he will pose no threat.’

   ‘You mean…’

   ‘I mean, Kit, there will be no pretender to rally to.’

   ‘But he’s only a child, Robin.’

   ‘And children grow up, John. I repeat, I have ensured he will never be a threat. Come. There is much to discuss…’

On a lonely windswept beach two men knelt on the damp sand before a young boy. They each kissed the bewildered boy’s hand. One of the men removed his own cloak and wrapped it round the boy who was received gently into the waiting long boat. The two men watched as the boy was hoisted aboard the waiting ketch. The anchor was slipped and the ship disappeared over the horizon.

The wind blew the words, ‘Go with God’ after the ship.

The men shook hands.

‘Now it begins.’

They mounted their horses and rode away…

Mary Irvine, November, 2020

‘In celebration of his survival, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on 5th November.” (History of the Gunpowder Plot)

Mary Irvine's Blog: Something for Hallowe'en

This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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