“Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.”
Penny for the Guy.”
Bonfires, the guy, firework displays, sparklers, toffee apples and hot-dogs…
Watch an episode of This is Britain to find out about Bonfire night.
Fawkes may have been the man charged with lighting the fuse to the gunpowder in the Parlieament (i.e. Palace of Westminster), however, he was no boss at all. The number of plotters was 13, probably led by Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour (they were cousins), who had supported Catholic rebellions before.
Because of this, Catesby was under suspicion and unable to gain entry to the Palace of Westminster so he needed help. Fawkes, one of the 13 conspirators, was probably the one who put the 36 barrels of gunpowder on a cart and carried it underground in order to explode the building with King James inside.
The Palace of Westminster was a completely different building (or a set of buildings) back in 1605 since commoners (i.e. the public) were allowed to enter without any security check. They went to the pubs (restaurants) there as well as attended the courts of King’s Bench and Common Pleas. The plotters rented a coal cellar right underneath the Lord’s Chamber and no one noticed the growing number of barrels and amount of wood there.
The plot was investigated when a baron had received an anonymus letter which also landed in the king’s hands. James I ordered for another serch in the cellars where the gunpowder was found.
The plotters tried to flee, Fawkes’s comrades fled from London to Warwickshire and broke into the fortress while it was undergoing repairs. There, the fugitives stole a wealth of supplies, including horses from the stables which they used to escape, however, they were captured not far from Warwick on 6 November.
After being captured, the plotters were hanged, drawned and quartered. The body parts were displayed all over the country.
Why Bonfire Night?
It was King James I who encouraged Londoners to build and light huge bonfires to celebrate the survival of the monarchy and Protestantism.
How about the tradition of Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night in the 21st century?
The traditions are changing, moreover – and sadly -, disappearing. Halloween’s big business on 31 October seems to win (i.e. trick-o-treating over Penny for the Guy), and as a result of really strict regulations on bonfires, fireworks and fireworks safety, neither towns nor individuals can afford firework displays…