Guy Fawkes

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(Taken July 4th, 2011)

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow; By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.

A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.

Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.

Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

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Guy Fawkes, also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

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. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters were John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Sir Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. 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 learnt 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.

Details of the assassination attempt were allegedly known by the principal Jesuit of England, Father Henry Garnet. Although Garnet was convicted and sentenced to death, doubt has been cast on how much he really knew of the plot. As its existence was revealed to him through confession, Garnet was prevented from informing the authorities by the absolute confidentiality of the confessional. Although anti-Catholic legislation was introduced soon after the plot’s discovery, many important and loyal Catholics retained high office during King James I’s reign. The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years afterwards by special sermons and other public events such as the ringing of church bells, which have evolved into the Bonfire Night of today.

Information: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot

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On 5 November 1605, Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination by lighting bonfires, “always provided that ‘this testemonye of joy be carefull done without any danger or disorder.'”

An Act of Parliament designated each 5 November as a day of thanksgiving for “the joyful day of deliverance,” and remained in force until 1859. Although he was only one of 13 conspirators, Fawkes is today the individual most associated with the failed Plot.

In Britain, 5 November has variously been called Guy Fawkes Night, Guy Fawkes Day, Plot Night and Bonfire Night; the latter can be traced directly back to the original celebration of 5 November 1605. Bonfires were accompanied by fireworks from the 1650s onwards, and it became the custom to burn an effigy (usually the pope) after 1673, when the heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, made his conversion to Catholicism public. Effigies of other notable figures who have become targets for the public’s ire, such as Paul Kruger and Margaret Thatcher, have also found their way onto the bonfires, although most modern effigies are of Fawkes.

The “guy” is normally created by children, from old clothes, newspapers, and a mask. During the 19th century, “guy” came to mean an oddly dressed person, but in American English it lost any pejorative connotation, and was used to refer to any male person.

William Harrison Ainsworth’s 1841 historical romance Guy Fawkes; or, The Gunpowder Treason portrays Fawkes in a generally sympathetic light, and transformed him in the public perception into an “acceptable fictional character.”

Fawkes subsequently appeared as “essentially an action hero” in children’s books and penny dreadfuls such as The Boyhood Days of Guy Fawkes; or, The Conspirators of Old London, published in about 1905. Fawkes’ reputation has, over the course of the years, undergone a rehabilitation and he is sometimes toasted as “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.”

Information from: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes#section_3

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have a great day!

Let’s hear your thoughts on this article. Was Guy Fawkes a terrorist or an idealist?

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2 comments on “Guy Fawkes

  1. In the time Guy Fawkes lived, plotting of this kind wasn’t unheard of. Especially since Elizabeth the 1st (Who James I followed) had left no official air. Also because the country had moved constantly with each change of monarch from Catholicism to Protestants, demonstrations of peoples unsatisfaction were quite common. The difference is he got further than most.

    • What’s more, the symbolism of Guy Fawkes has been adopted by the global movement of anti-capitalism protesters. Whilst on the other hand saying that Guy Fawkes has the reputation “as the only man to enter parliament with honest intentions.” No matter how twisted, it goes to show how Guy Fawkes has been adopted as the symbol of the average man, or the 99% against the elite institutions.

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