What is the Story of Guy Fawkes? Who Celebrates Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes story

Guy Fawkes was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who was involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was part of the Catholic rebellion group who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. However, their plan failed when Fawkes was arrested while he was guarding the explosives kept under the House of Lords on 5 November. He became popular with the Gunpowder Plot and that day has been commemorated in the UK as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605.

Guy Fawkes Day

Source: @dailyrecord

Story of Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes presumed to be born on 13 April 1570. He was baptized in the church of St Michael le Belfrey, York on 16 April.  As the customary gap between birth and baptism was three days, he was probably born about 13 April. His birth place is in York in England and held English nationality. He was born and educated in York. He was born to a father, Edward Fawkes, and a mother, Edith. His father was a proctor and an advocate of the consistory court at York. His mother's family were recusant Catholics. His parents were regular communicants of the Church of England. He was the second child of four. His eldest sibling, Anne died aged about seven weeks. He had younger sisters, Anne and Elizabeth. His father died when he was only 8 years old. His mother later married a recusant Catholic, Dionis Baynbrigge. He converted to Catholicism while attended St. Peter's School in York. His Catholic education came from his Harrington relatives. 

He left school and entered the service of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu. He subsequently entered the service of Anthony-Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu. He sold the estate in Clifton in York in October 1951 that he inherited from his father. He then left for mainland Europe and fought for Catholic Spain in the Eighty Years' War against Protestant Dutch reformers in the Low Countries. 

Guy Fawkes Discovery

Source: @wikipedia

He traveled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England in 1603. He adopted the Italian version of his name, Guido. He met Thomas Wintour there and returned with him to England. Wintour introduced him to Robert Catesby. Catesby was leading a small group of English Catholics who had planned to assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with his daughter, third in the line of succession, Princess Elizabeth. He eventually joined the group.

The first meeting of the five central conspirators took place on 20 May 1604 at an inn called the Duck and Drake. They had already planned to assassinate the King and his government by blowing up "the Parliament Hosue with gunpowder". One of the conspirators, Thomas Percy was promoted in June 1604 which gave him access to a house in London that belonged to John Whynniard, Keeper of the King's Wardrobe. He was installed as a caretaker to Percy under the pseudonym John Johnson. It is claimed that the conspirators attempted to dig a tunnel from beneath Whynniard's house to Parliament. However, no evidence for the existence of a tunnel was presented by the prosecution. No traces of tunnel was found either. Fawkes later discovered that there was an undercroft directly beneath the House of Lords. The conspirators then purchased the lease to the room. They bought the gunpowder and stored it there. Fawkes traveled overseas to gain foreign support of their plan in May 1605. He returned to London by late August 1605. He was to light the fuse and then escape across the Thames. 

The Gunpowder Plot failed when the authorities discovered stockpiles of explosives beneath the House of Lords. Lord Monteagle had received an anonymous letter on the evening of 26 October warking him to stay away. Monteagle showed the letter to King James, who ordered to conduct a search of the cellars underneath Parliament in the early hours of 5 November. Fawkes was guarding the explosives and was waiting for his task to perform. The authorities found him leaving the cellar and eventually arrested.

Fawkes was first interrogated by members of the King's Privy chamber. He was extremely tortured by the authorities. The room where he was interrogated became known as the Guy Fawkes Room. He later revealed his true identity on 7 November. He revealed the name of other plotters on 8 November. 

Guy Fawkes consprators

Source: @wikipedia

The trial of the plotters began on 27 January 1606. The jury found all the defendants guilty and sentenced to death. Fawkes and three others, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes were dragged from the Tower on wattled hurdles to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster on 31 January 1606. His fellow plotters were then hanged and quartered. He managed to avoid the agony of the latter part of his execution by breaking his neck. His lifeless body was nevertheless quartered. His body parts were then distributed to "the four corners of the kingdom", to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.

Guy Fawkes Day

The day, 5 November 1605, when the authorities discovered a stockpile of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords has been commemorated in the UK as Guy Fawkes Night, Guy Fawkes Day, Plot Night, or Bonfire Night. The Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King's escape from assassination by lighting bonfires. Fireworks accompanied bonfires from the 1650s onwards. It became the custom after 1673 to burn an effigy when heir presumptive James, Duke of York, converted to Catholicism. Most of the effigies are created of Fawkes, it is accompanied to the bonfire.

Guy Fawkes Celebration

Source: @rootsandwater

Who Celebrates Guy Fawkes Day?

The Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James failed when the authorities found a stockpile of explosives underneath the House of Lords on 5 November 1605. To celebrate the King's escape from the assassination, Londoners were encouraged to celebrate by lighting bonfires. Today, Londoners celebrate Guy Fawkes Day on 5 November every year by lighting bonfires and fireworks. The effigies of Fawkes are created and burned in a bonfire.