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Are you plotting to buy a new home? homes & living.

Byline: Ann Evans

THE house where Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators plotted their attack on the Houses of Parliament is up for sale.

The current owners have lovingly restored the former inn in Dunchurch. But now they are moving on.

ANN EVANS takes a peek behind closed doors at the house with secrets hidden into its walls.

REMEMBER, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot.

Gabrielle and Janus Cooper certainly have good reason to remember the date, as November three years ago, they bought Guy Fawkes's House.

It was originally the Old Lion Inn, the notorious place were Guy Fawkes and his conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

The couple with their children - three-year-old James and three-month-old Rebecca - bought the Grade-II listed building in The Square, Dunchurch, and over the last few years have completely renovated it.

They have given it the facelift it badly needed - without losing any of its historic features such as the stables and barn with its manger, a pump well, a dairy room where meat would have been hung and which still has the old meat hooks.

There's a Victorian loo and even a pane of glass in one window which a workman called S Neville scratched his name into in June 1898.

"When I first set foot in the house, I felt that it had such a lovely feel to it," said Gabrielle who is originally from Essex.

"But nothing had been done to it for 50 years. I just sort of felt sorry for it, you just wanted to make it better really.

"It has these lovely big old timber beams but they'd been covered in wallpaper, and we stripped off 12 layers of paper before we reached the beams."

For the past 400 years the beautiful old building has had many uses from being a coaching inn to a farmhouse and farm shop.

"It's lovely and fascinating to live in a house that's been here so long, it has such character," continued Gabrielle whose husband Janus is a local man and attended Rugby School as a boy.

"Other places have been destroyed by wars but this house is still standing. Even the earthquake a few years ago didn't shake it."

And with so many people having lived in the house, it's not really surprising that a ghost or two may still be around.

Gabrielle said: "Personally, I'm not sensitive to things like ghosts although my son saw somebody out the back when there wasn't anyone there, and my sister won't sleep in a particular bedroom.

"But my daughter sleeps in the haunted bedroom and she's quite happy. I'm sure she'd let me know if she wasn't!"

The room where the conspirators are thought to have met is now the family's shower room, but down in the cellars there's the bricked-up entrances to two underground tunnels - one which led to the Green Man pub and another to the church.

For Guy Fawkes however, there was no escape.

He was captured, the plot to blow up Parliament was foiled, and Fawkes met a grisly end on the gallows after being found guilty of treason to the King.

As for Gabrielle and Janus, they have the house up for sale for pounds 850,000 since another property which interests them has come on the market.

However, Gabrielle says she has pangs about leaving Guy Fawkes's house.

"It's a lovely, warm home and it will be really sad to go."

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

On November 5, 1605, soldiers discovered a man called Guy Fawkes in cellars under the Houses of Parliament.

With him were between 20 and 36 barrels of gunpowder.

He was arrested and tortured.

Finally Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were executed as traitors.

The following year it became custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event.

This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot... ensures that the crime would never be forgotten.

Experts have since estimated that had Guy Fawkes' plan worked, with the amount of gunpowder he had would have caused chaos and devastation over a 490-metre radius.

It would have destroyed Westminster Hall and the Abbey with streets as far away as Whitehall suffering damage.


HISTORIC FEATURES: Gabrielle Cooper and her three-year-old son James at their home, the Grade-II listed building in Dunchurch, known as the house where Guy Fawkes and his conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, Picture: MARK RADFORD HIDDEN PASSAGES: The Coopers have lovingly restored the house without losing any of its historic features such as the stables and barn with its manger, a pump well, a dairy room where meat would have been hung and which still has the old meat hooks. Pictured (above) is one of the house's hidden passages, the living room with its original beams, one of the huge hallways and (left) the bathroom, thought to be the room the gunpowder plotters used ARRESTED: Guy Fawkes
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 17, 2005
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