Notes: Episode 11, The Gunpowder Plot (Part 1)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.

3:54 – Off to a wonderful start. The plot was slated to attack parliament in 1605, not 1604.


4:52 – Arthur Tudor, first son of Henry VII, was initially slated to be the next king until his death at the age of 15 from a mysterious disease known as the “English Sweating Sickness”. To this day we’re not 100% sure what the disease was, as it only had a few flare-ups in the 15th and 16th centuries, but by all accounts it was pretty nasty – fever, heart palpitations, and as can be inferred from the name, uncontrollable sweating. Not all cases were fatal, but it killed fairly often. The death of Arthur Tudor created something of a taboo around naming an heir to the throne “Arthur”; it was believed that part of the reason for his death was the arrogance of equating the next king with the one from legend.


7:12 Okay, let’s do this wife thing real quick:

1) Catherine of Aragon, mother of Mary – annulment from the newly formed Church of England

2) Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth – execution

3) Jane Seymour, mother of Edward – death during childbirth

4) Anne of Cleves – annulment

5) Catherine Howard – execution

6) Catherine Parr – survived Henry


25:12 – I couldn’t come up with a firm number on how many Catholics lived in Britain in 1600, but it was certainly a small minority – my estimate was quite high. It’s made more difficult by the fact that so many lived in secret, performing as though they were Anglican. Their influence was more tied up in the number of noble families who had retained a Catholic identity rather than meekly accepting Anglicanism as most commoners would have had done.


30:24 – I mention that Sir Walter Raleigh was notable, then never address why. He was a politician, spy, explorer, and all-around cool guy. He popularized tobacco in England, may have helped to introduce the potato to Ireland, and told everyone he had found the mythical city of El Dorado even though he definitely didn’t. He was extremely influential in Elizabeth’s court, but lost his influence when James took the throne. There are definitely too many cool stories to list off here, but he’s worth checking into.


33:48 – James was in fact 37 when he took the English throne.

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