Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot

The conspirators :

The ConspiratorsThomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour

  • Remember, remember,
  • The fifth of November
  • Gunpowder, treason and plot.
  • I see no reason,
  • Why gunpowder and treason,
  • Should ever be forgot . . .

The words of “Remember Remember” refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder intending to blow up King James 1st  (below) and Parliament.

Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire.

Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason. The following year, in 1606, it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten.

In England, the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes.

The ‘Guys’ are made by children who fill old clothes with crumpled newspapers’ and materials to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their ‘guys’ to passers-by and ask for “A penny for the guy”.

Foods served on the night also tend to be child oriented, such as toffee apples, Parkin, Gingerbread and baked potatoes in their jackets that fill the hand with warmth and the belly with goodness.

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