The Gunpowder Plot – A History Masterclass with Jessie Childs

The Gunpowder Plot – A History Masterclass with Jessie Childs

16th Sep, Stowe School, Stowe.

This Masterclass was one of our most memorable so far. With the forthcoming new BBC1 show Gunpowder on its way the session gave our privileged few a unique insight into the convoluted and fascinating history of the plot that changed British history forever. The Masterclass was led by Jessie Childs, author of God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England, the most recent book to take a broad and also detailed view of the subject, and was introduced and curated by Sam Willis. The Masterclass ranged widely across subjects and themes. The acquisition of gunpowder…secret codes…the role of religion…politics…guilt…torture…monarchy. No fiery, intriguey, conniving stone was unturned. Our Masterclassers learned to write in secret ink (and did it themselves with oranges and fire), they transcribed the letter that revealed the plot and voted for who they believed was responsible for its writing, they raised questions that challenged their own views on the plot, they wondered at the survival of an eyeball of one of the plotters. Held in the extraordinary historical surroundings of Stowe House, our Masterclassers were also led on a tour to the Temple of British Worthies in the grounds, where they learned that history can take uncertain and unpredictable roads…especially if someone is plotting to kill the king.

3 thoughts on “The Gunpowder Plot – A History Masterclass with Jessie Childs

  1. Living in the Rectory Wing, Withyham, which is next to St Mary and All Angels and the Sackville Chapel has led me to Jessie Childs book “God’s Traitors” which is both compelling and fascinating.
    Various 19th century stories link this building via tunnels to Old Buckhurst Park which was demolished in 1604. Lord Sackville and his household moved to Knole Park.
    History of Old Buckhurst from https://broom2.revolvy.com/topic/Buckhurst%20Park,%20Sussex&item_type=topic
    Buckhurst Place, the original manor house, was a grand, partly-moated courtyard house in Buckhurst Park.[6] It was the home of the Sackville family until it was vacated in the early 1600s by Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset.[6] [7] Thomas Sackville was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I through the family of her mother, Anne Boleyn.[6] [8] His court connections resulted in a considerable fortune, enabling him to keep a household staff of at least 220,[9] and to draw up plans for a new and more elaborate mansion on the Buckhurst estate, even prior to his elevation to the titles of Lord Buckhurst and Earl of Dorset.[6]
    Was Thomas Sackville a Catholic. Did old Buckhurst have it’s own private chapel and priest?
    My mother Kathleen Putnam is directly related to George Putenham author of the Arte of English Poesie.
    My brother James lives in the rectory at Hartfield ( The Grange). and my mother and 2nd brother also live in Hartfield.

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