Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot explained and why we mark Bonfire Night
Tonight’s Bonfire Night celebrations have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But that won’t stop people putting on firework displays in their own gardens, and marking the occasion.
On November 5 each year people usually celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, or Bonfire Night, by attending spectacular displays.
Usually it’s a great opportunity to get together and have some fun – when you’re not in national lockdown.
We remember the day by saying “Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”
So why do we need to remember that particular date? Here we take a closer look.
The reason we mark Guy Fawkes Night is to remember an important event in history – an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
The Gunpowder plot took place in 1605, and was planned by a gang of Roman Catholic activists – led by Robert Catesby.
The other plotters were Guy Fawkes, Thomas Bates, Robert and Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy, Christopher and John Wright, Francis Tresham, Everard Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, Hugh Owen and John Grant.
Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, English Catholics had been persecuted, and they hoped her sublessor, James I would be more tolerant of their faith.
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However, he wasn’t, which was why the group came together to form a violent plan.
Together they hoped they could kill the king and his ministers by blowing up the Palace of Westminster.
In order to execute the Gunpowder Plot, the plotters smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them under the House of Lords.
But the plot was uncovered after an anonymous letter was sent to Lord Monteagle to warn him about the plot.
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Guy “Guido” Fawkes was caught by the guards by the Gunpowder barrels.
He was an explosives expert, and was tortured so he would give up the names of his co-conspirators.
All his fellow plotters died while resisting capture, were put to trial, convicted or executed.
After being tried on January 27, 1606, he was executed in Old Palace Yard, Westminster on January 31.
On the night the plot to kill the king was foiled, November 1605, bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of parliament.
Since then the plot has been commemorated by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes.
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