It may be 400 years since the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in the Midlands but the events bear a startling parallel to today's terrorist activities, as Sarah Probert discovers...
It was an audacious plot. A few fundamentalists scheming to bring down a government for the sake of their religion.
Armed with explosives and little consideration for others, their plan instead brought misery on the religion for which they were fighting.
It is a familiar story which could easily relate to today's climate, but this was a plot hatched 400 years ago which not only failed but brought Catholicism to its knees for generations to come.
"I think there is a parallel to be drawn between the violent act of terrorism that the Gunpowder Plot would have been and modern day fundamentalist terrorist activities.
"Fanaticism leads to violent means if not kept in check," Clare Throckmorton, whose ancestors were involved in the plot, explained.
It is believed the treasonous plan was hatched at Mrs Throckmorton's home, Coughton Court, near Alcester in Warwickshire in 1605.
Although commemorated every year by the Bonfire Night celebrations, most people are unaware it was not the first plot led by the family to reinstate Catholicism throughout England, or that Robert Catesby was the main protagonist while Guy Fawkes was the 'fall guy' - a 'hitman' explosives' expert who was a mercenary.
Its historical significance is about to be brought to life at Coughton Court with a series of events throughout the year.
"I think the idea that a few young men could have brought government to its knees and the sheer audaciousness of the attempt has attracted historians and it is something the children have latched onto and it stays with them.
"We are proud of our history which is why we are commemorating this historical event, especially as it was one that almost changed English history for ever," Mrs Throckmorton said.
"I suppose the main theme is that fanaticism is never desirable and taken to absurd lengths, like the Gunpowder Plot did, ends in disaster for the cause they tried to serve.
"It was a terrible and bloody time for sectarian violence and it is easy for one to draw modern parallels with what has happened in the world today."
Her ancestor Thomas Throckmorton, one of England's leading Catholics, wisely chose to be abroad when the Gunpowder Plot took place but his home played a central role in events.
The leader of the plot, Robert Catesby, and fellow conspirator Francis Tresham, were his nephews and Sir Everard Digby, the man handed the vital task of commanding the Midland uprising through a hunting party at Dunchurch Heath near Rugby, was given Coughton Court as his base.
However, the conspirators fled after hearing the bad news from London.
Upstairs in the 16th Century mansion is the drawing room where Lady Digby and the Jesuit priests reputedly awaited the news of the outcome of the plot and heard they were "all undone".
It is also believed Nicholas Owen, a man famous for constructing hiding places for Catholic priests, was also in the house at the time.
Mrs Throckmorton said the plot was condemned by Catholics, who saw their religion harmed as a result.
"It has had a lasting effect on the faith. The right for Catholics to become soldiers, doctors, lawyers and MPs was severely restricted for a long time," she explained.