History of Guy Fawkes Night: How Gunpowder mixed with Parliament.
For our friends across the Pond
November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night,” and all over Britain people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder. He was caught, imprisoned, tortured on the rack, and finally executed.
Over 400 years ago, Guy Fawkes was a co-conspirator in the “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605 in England. He and his cohorts decided to blow up both of the Houses of Parliament in London and kill King James I (of the King James Bible fame) upon the inaugural opening of the Parliament during what we now call “The King’s Speech” and succeeded in smuggling several barrels of gunpowder into the basement of the Parliament.
Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot
This “Gunpowder Plot” occurred two years after King James I ascended to the throne. A group of English Catholics, of which Guido Fawkes was a member, decided to kill the King because it was felt he had reneged on his promises to stop the persecution of Catholics.
To this day, it is the law in Britain that a Roman Catholic cannot hold the office of monarch. And the Queen is still Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Legacy of Guy Fawkes
The plot was foiled at the eleventh hour; some of the plotters escaped, some turned King’s Evidence and reported on the rest. The unlucky Fawkes was taken in chains to the Tower of London. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered. After Guy was hanged, he was torn asunder and dragged through the streets of London behind a horse cart.
The charge was treason, though some people in England prefer to remember Guy as
“the only man ever to enter Parliament with honourable intentions.“