Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Banner- Guido Fawkes [aka Guy Fawkes]

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Guido Fawkes, more commonly known as Guy Fawkes, is the only consiprator in the Gunpowder plot that most people know about.
He is the one burned in effigy on the bonfires in the UK on the fifth of November - Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night.
Guy Fawkes night wasn't hugely celebrated in Scotland when i was a child - though its become much more popular now. We used to get a packet of sparklers and that was the extent of our Guy Fawkes celebrations - though i have never stopped loving sparklers. However, down in England it was always much more widely celebrated than Halloween. With lots of bonfire parties and firework displays and children collecting "pennies for the Guy."

The 'Guy ' was a collection of old clothes stuffed with rags or paper in the shape of a man which would be burned on top of the bonfire on November the 5th in commemoration of the foiled Gunpowder Plot.

On 5th of November 1605, Guy Fawkes was found in the Houses of Parliament in London with barrels of gunpowder and the intention to blow up King James the First [aka James the Sixth of Scotland] when he attended the ceremonial opening of Parliament.

King James had refused to allow Catholics equal rights and brought in legislation to heavily fine people who did not attend Protestant church services. The conspirators hoped to make James' young daughter, queen of a Catholic country if the plot was successful.

Guy Fawkes was born in York in the North of England [his house is now a restaurant - we've eaten there a few times] Its known he went to school at St Peter’s in York so his family was not poor. Its said that St Peters school never has a guy on their bonfire on the 5th November since he was an ex pupil of the school.

This year is the 400th anniversary of the Gun Powder Plot so the city of York is going to be celebrating, if thats the right word, with a series of events including special illumination of York's historic buildings.

Guy Fawkes had been a soldier in the Spanish army - which is probably when he adopted the name Guido and became a Catholic. He served in Spanish Flanders - modern Netherlands and Belgium and acquired the skills in military demolitions that made him useful to the conspirators.

After being caught redhanded in the cellars of the houses of parliament he withstood torture on the rack for several days before finally giving up the names of his co-conspirators. The other conspirators were Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour.

Guy was executed on the 31st of January 1606 and was hung drawn and quartered - a particularly horrible death since he was convicted of treason.

This is the blog banner for this week- depicting Guy Fawkes and some barrels of gunpowder .

1 comment:

Andrew Donaldson said...

King James had rented out the basement of Parliament to try to raise some money to basically spend on his male mistress. It's not entirely clear Great Britain was well served by the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot.