Chapter 6

Written by: Suraya Dewing

The undercroft in which the men decided to store the 35 barrels of gun powder was accessed via a chamber under Westminster Abbey.  They built a hidden door in the wall dividing the two buildings underground using a mix of lime, straw and stones.

Once built, they began the dangerous job of delivering each barrel over several nights.Fear of being caught hung like a pall over them.

They enlisted four trusted servants to help and these men worked through the night, their lives in danger if they breathed a word to anyone. They used a carriage from King James’ well stocked livery stable to transport the barrels. 

On the last night the choir was practising for the State Opening for King James. Their voices raised in beautiful harmony; A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

‘His truth to triumph through him…’

The glorious sound rang out over the Thames. It was early evening and the streets were deserted. The men whispered instructions as they entered the tunnel leading to the undercroft of Westminster Abbey.

Lord Meredith stood out of sight underneath the Abbey and Lord Drury just happened to be taking a night stroll as the cart carrying the barrels of gun powder rumbled by. As he passed, Lord Drury gave a curt nod to the four servants labouring to get the final barrels in place. 


On such a night Queen Katherine and Lord Castleroy met in the garden and took a stroll.

“My Lord,” she said, “How safe is my King?"

She knew her husband had stirred up a lot of anger when he ordered his scholars to the task of translating the Catholic Bible into one that bore his name.

“He is safe,” Lord Castleroy assured her. “He has many enemies…some of them Catholics but many more who are angry with what he has done with Scotland." He took a deep breath and looked away. "But I assure you he is safe.”

Queen Katherine gave a bow. Her eyes met Castleroy’s and she said, “That reassures me greatly. My children need a father even if they see him rarely.” She reached up and touched his cheek with her long fingers. “And my King trusts you as my guard. We can keep taking the air.” 

Lord Castleroy’s smile broadened. “Yes, most definitely my lady.” He took a deep breath. He put a finger to his chin, apparently deep in thought. “The State Opening will be a grand occasion. I will protect you.” He took a deep bow, “My Lord and King will rest easy knowing you are safe.”


As evening fell Robert Gatesby and Thomas Percy began making their way under cover of night to where the gunpowder was stored. Never were they seen together. Guy Fawkes slipped into the undercroft and smiled. The choir were again singing.  This time they sang Now the Silence. The heavy air was dank and musty.


This chapter is Intriguing in the way it continues on with the relationship Castleroy and Katherine without giving it away. Are they having an affair or is he merely her guard? Am I dense?