Gunpowder, Treason and Plot…Coombe Abbey’s Bonfire Tale

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The time has come to remember the 5th of November…and the Gunpowder Plot. This was the night when gunpowder, treason and plot swirled through, not only the streets of London, but Coombe Abbey, right here in Coventry and Warwickshire, too.

The story of Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night is well known, but there was also a Gunpowder Plot that involved Coombe Abbey. There were many anti-establishment co-conspirators who supported Fawkes, including Robert Catesby of Lapworth. He had an elaborate plan – known as the Gunpowder Plot – to kidnap Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King James 1, who had been sent to Coombe Abbey to be under the supervision of John Harrington, the king’s close friend. As well as the kidnap plan, Catesby planned to kill the king and any male heirs, force the princess to act as a puppet queen and reintroduce the Catholic faith to England.

On the night of November 4, the conspirators headed for Dunsmore Heath for a mock hunt – a cover for the capture of Princess Elizabeth. But, unbeknown to them, authorities in London had been warned about the treasonous plan thanks to an anonymous letter. The plot was foiled with the princess being moved from Coombe Abbey into the walls of Coventry until the conspirators were captured and arrested following Fawkes’ own foiled plan to blow up parliament.

The fact that the conspirators had also stored arms, ammunition and horses at Coughton Court in Coventry, ready for an uprising following Fawkes’ plans shows just how far this group of anti-establishment rouges were ready to go.

And now, you can witness this treacherous tale come to life with our Gunpowder Gala Banquet that takes place this coming weekend on both November 2 and November 3. Sit back and enjoy a freshly prepared four course feast with wine and mead as our talented actors recreate the story of the Gunpowder Plot and the danger to Coombe Abbey in a full and fascinating stage show. You’ll also enjoy a stunning firework display over the lake, and more merriment with music and dance.

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to stay with so much rich history, Coombe Abbey is perfect. Why not book a room and explore more!

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