Today, November 5th is known in England as ‘Bonfire Night’.
Across the land, large fires are lit and firework displays take place
to commemorate an event in ol’ London town from the year 1605.
Guy Fawkes is also known as
“the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions“
– many today would still say this is very true !
As the English say – “remember, remember, the 5th of November – a gunpowder treason and plot; there is no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot”.
Why ? – to celebrate the ‘Gunpowder plot’ –
or ‘Guy Fawkes night’.
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.
Guy Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives.
The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, on 26 October 1605. During a search of the House of Lords at about midnight on 4 November 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder—enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble—and arrested. Most of the conspirators fled from London as they learned of the plot’s discovery, trying to enlist support along the way. Several made a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcester and his men at Holbeche House; in the ensuing battle Catesby was one of those shot and killed. At their trial on 27 January 1606, eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
A gruesome death
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III (1216–1272) and his successor, Edward I (1272–1307).
Convicts were fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where they were hanged (almost to the point of death),emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered (chopped into four pieces). Their remains were often displayed in prominent places across the country, such asLondon Bridge. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.
SAV Comment – many people were behind the views of Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators – he was an explosives expert for his time. His actions were betrayed by a letter sent in secret.
There is a saying in England today – “Come back Guy Fawkes; all is forgiven !”. With the political system as it is now, many feel the need for a major overhaul of the system.
See the BBC video and more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/the_gunpowder_plot
Enjoy this track from Siouxsie – not related to 5th November but great anyway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsPvWA9i4WM
Link – the Gunpowder plot society – http://www.gunpowder-plot.org/fawkes.asp – lots on Guy Fawkes and more.
HAVE A GOOD BONFIRE NIGHT ! – SAV.
Filed under: GENERAL NEWS - International / National / Regional, VIDEOS |