Guy Fawkes Day: The Gunpowder Plot

Posted November 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November. The Gunpowder, treason and plot.”

Today is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK! Many people have heard the classic nursery rhyme of the gunpowder plot, but do you know what it is about?

Guy Fawkes Day

Arrest of Guy Fawkes, cigarette card illustration / New York Public Library

Celebrated each year on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the failed plot to assassinate King James I. On that day in 1605, Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellars of the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He had intended to ignite the explosives to blow up Parliament and kill the King and all the dignitaries present.

Guy Fawkes Day

Letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle

The plot was revealed just days before on October 26 when an anonymous letter was sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle warning him to avoid the opening of Parliament. No one knows with certainty who wrote the note. The letter led to a search beneath the House of Lords, where Fawkes was discovered.

Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators / Wikimedia Commons

After he was arrested, the King ordered Fawkes to be taken to the Tower of London and tortured. He and his co-conspirators would be tried and executed for treason.

Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Day fireworks display / Wikimedia Commons

In the years following the attempt on the King’s life, the people of Great Britain lit bonfires and burned effigies of Guy Fawkes in celebration. Over 400 years later, this day is still celebrated with elaborate firework displays, parities and bonfires all over the U.K.

Have you traced your family history back to this historical event? Check out the Gunpowder Plot project on Geni!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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