Gun­pow­der plot on the BBC was a damp squib

Stockport Express - - History - BY STEVE CLIFFE Edi­tor of Stock­port Her­itage Mag­a­zine

BON­FIRE night brought a crop of supporting TV docu-dra­mas, some quite good and Gun­pow­der BBC1, quite bad.

A drama se­rial for those who like their ac­tors in the lat­est beards and hair­styles rather than those of the 1600s and a sim­ple plot­line, in which the good­ies are heroic and the bad­dies too evil to seem real.

Didn’t all these earnest young gen­tle­men with their horses, hounds and coun­try man­sions have any­thing bet­ter to do than blow up the King and Par­lia­ment?

Al­right he was a Scot, that’s un­der­stand­able, but they could have paid their fines and gone to church, it’s a lot easier than hav­ing your bow­els cut out in pub­lic.

One thing I learned dur­ing my brief foray into pol­i­tics was that there is no such thing as the ‘right’ view on an is­sue.

In a room­ful of elected ego­centrics (I was one) there can be as many bonkers points of view as there are coun­cil­lors present.

No-one ever put up a statue to Guy Fawkes be­cause he was a ‘traitor’ - his re­volt was a fail­ure.

They put up a statue to Oliver Cromwell near Par­lia­ment, which he had dis­solved by force – his revo­lu­tion was a suc­cess.

Cromwell made sure he got some­one else to kill the King, with an axe not gun­pow­der.

This was John Brad­shawe, Stock­port’s most in­fa­mous son.

I had some dif­fi­culty putting a blue plaque on a petrol sta­tion in Marple to com­mem­o­rate Brad­shawe’s birth­place and no-one would hear of a statue to this man who ju­di­cially rid us of a ‘tyrant’ - Charles I, the son of James I (whom Guy Fawkes was try­ing to kill).

Cromwell got the ben­e­fit and Brad­shawe got the odium.

I give you John Brad­shawe – hero and tyran­ni­cide, (al­though some­one wrote ‘traitor’ be­side his bap­tismal en­try in St Mary’s Church par­ish records, in the safety of the vestry), he be­strode the pages of 17th cen­tury his­tory like a colos­sus, and com­ing from an en­tirely dif­fer­ent re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal viewpoint sadly achieved what Guy Fawkes failed to do. »»Don’t miss your last chance to buy the fi­nal sou­venir is­sue of Stock­port Her­itage Mag­a­zine still sell­ing in newsagents around Stock­port un­til the end of the month. Af­ter that you can get back copies and binders from St Mary’s Her­itage Cen­tre, and Book Ex­change, Cov­ered Mar­ket, or on­line from me www.stock­porther­

●»A con­tem­po­rary por­trait of Guy Fawkes and friends in 1605

●»‘Sus­pi­cious char­ac­ters guard­ing bar­rels on Stock­port Mar­ket Place!’

●»John Brad­shawe, who partly suc­ceeded where Guy Fawkes failed

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