“REMEMBER, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”
But why should we remember, who was Guy Fawkes and why do we still celebrate the date by setting off fireworks?
Getty Images Bonfire Night is the celebration of foiling the plot to blow up the king in 1605
What is Bonfire Night?
Bonfire Night is the anniversary of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605.
The plot was centred around a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries furious at the persecution of their faith in England.
After 45 years of hounding under the reign of Elizabeth I the plotters had hoped their struggles would end but they failed to after the Protestant King James I ascended to the throne.
Warwickshire-born Catholic Robert Catesby and his friends planned to take matters into their own hands and kill the King and his ministers by blowing up the Palace of Westminster during the state opening of parliament.
PA:Press Association The Plotters planned to blow up the palace of Westminster and everyone in it
The plotters were: Guy Fawkes, Thomas Bates, Robert and Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Christopher and John Wright, Francis Tresham, Everard Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, Hugh Owen, John Grant and the man who organised the whole plot – Robert Catesby.
By renting a house near the palace Guy “Guido” Fawkes managed to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder under the palace ready to blow it sky high.
Physicists have calculated that the blast would have obliterated an area 1320ft wide.
Guy Fawkes was an explosives expert drafted in by the plotters to light the fuse
The scheme was only rumbled when an anonymous letter was sent to Lord Monteagle warning him not to go to the House of Lords.
As the explosives expert Fawkes was left in the cellars to light the fuse when he was caught by guards.
After his capture he was tortured till he gave up his fellow plotters – all of them died, either resisting capture or put to trial, convicted and executed.
A new three-part BBC drama in the run up to November 5 starring Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) begins this Saturday (October 21).
Kit has revealed he is a descendant of the mastermind Robert Catesby, and plays him in the show.
Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington is bringing his pout and facial hair to the role of Robert Catesby
Autumn is coming…
Kit Harington stars as Robert Catesby in our new 3-part drama #Gunpowder. Coming soon. pic.twitter.com/3tWHBwcZbs
— BBC One (@BBCOne) August 28, 2017
Who was Guy Fawkes?
Far from being the plot’s ringleader Guy “Guido” Fawkes was merely the trigger man drafted in to set the fuse.
Born in York he converted to Catholicism following the death of his father and left to become Mercenary fighting for the Spanish against the Protestant Dutch.
Given his expertise in explosives he was charged with setting and lighting the fuse of the gunpowder.
Caught red-handed by the King’s men beneath the palace he was tortured until he gave up his co conspirators.
The traditional death for traitors in 17th-century England was to be hanged, drawn and quartered in public – but this was not the 35-year-old Fawkes’ fate.
As he awaited his punishment on the gallows, he leapt from the platform to avoid having his testicles cut off, and broke his neck.
Getty Images The plotters were hung, drawn and quartered for high treason
Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night?
Bonfire Night is celebrated in the UK by lighting bonfires, burning of “Guys” and setting off fireworks.
The celebration was actually enshrined in law a few months after the attempt and remained on the statute books until 1859.
Fireworks are also set off throughout the land as they are powered by gunpowder, representing the explosives that were never used.
Barcroft Media Bonfires are lit across the country in celebration of foiling the plot
The only place in the UK that does not celebrate the day is Fawkes’ former school, St Peter’s in York. They refuse to burn a “Guy” out of respect for one of their own.
Yeoman of the guard search the cellars of the Houses of Parliament before the state opening in November.
However, it is a ceremonial gesture rather than an actual terrorist hunt – they even use old lanterns.
The actual cellar that Fawkes and his co-conspirators tried to blow up no longer exists, having been destroyed in a fire in 1834.
Alamy Fireworks are also set off to commemorate preventing the act of terror Who was Guy Fawkes, how did he die and why do we celebrate the gunpowder plot on Bonfire Night?