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… A night to remember: Witchcraft, Treason & Plot against the King

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The year was 1605 and some English Catholics were angry with the King of England, James I. A group of men devised a plan to blow up the House of Parliament in London. An enormous explosion was planned for the night of 5th November, as this was the day the king was to open the Parliament. The leader of the group was a man called Guy Fawkes, and this story is now aptly known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’. The men set 36 barrels of gunpowder under the House of Parliament and they waited for the King’s arrival, but their plan was not to succeed. Their main downfall was that some of the men involved in the plot couldn’t keep such a secret, while trying to protect the loved ones that could have been at the grand opening. It wasn’t long before word got out, and the police found the gunpowder and the men involved in the plot. The King saw it right that all the men were tortured and killed and the 5th of November was made a day of national celebration.

But this was not was not the first attempt on the King’s life, as history recalls several other occasions…

It all started in 1590, 15 years before the Gunpowder plot, when a series of trials for treason started in England. Three hundred witches were accused of plotting to drown the king by calling up a storm while he was at sea with his new wife, the Princess of Denmark. Of course it was very difficult to attain any solid evidence of the witches’ crimes but in the “Witches of North Berwick” trial, one of the witches confessed that the devil himself came to her. When, under torture, she was asked who he was she gave the name of ‘Francis Stewart’, a political enemy of the King at the time. In this case, all but one of the witches accused were killed.

But enough of the past! It was the 5th of November 2015, and we all gathered for the ‘Witchcraft, Treason & Plot’ event, and what a night it was! As the fireworks start going up, we sat in our seats and listened carefully.

And so the night started with the telling of old stories of trials and witches that were killed in and around Newcastle. Our storyteller shared some old tails and told us stories long forgotten by many. Did you know that Wellington street (the road outside the business school) is the same the road the witches that were found guilty would walk down to be executed!? In one trial, 27 out of 30 witches were found guilty, and were executed for treason!

So this was our Bonfire night, and I can promise you if you weren’t there, you missed out. So keep an eye on the events the Student Experience is putting on. We promise you won’t regret coming along!

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