Category Archives: Guy Fawkes

Bonfire Night Is Coming

So it has come to our attention that BBC 1 has revealed that it will be showing a three part drama called ‘Gunpowder’ and it has to be said we are all very excited about. The series is to be set around the early 17th century and is all about the evolution of the plot that could have seen King James I assassinated when Robert Catesby came up with his plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Guy Fawkes Mask box, Bar at the End of the World, Paris, France

The mini drama will not be based around Guy Fawkes but more around the mastermind behind the plot, Robert Catesby. Catesby who will be played by ‘Game of Thrones’ very own Kit Harrington will narrate his story in the lead up to the gunpowder plot. What pushed him to come up with such a daring plan and how he managed to get as far as he did without detection. Harrington has also revealed that Catesby is actually a direct ancestor on his mother’s side and that is what led him to play such a role and tell the story not many people know.

Liv Tyler, Tom Cullen and Shaun Dooley will also star in this 3 part drama as Catesby’s cousin Anne Vaux, Guy Fawkes and Sir William Wade respectively. This all-star drama really has us all in anticipation as it shines a new light on the plot and tells the story from the plotters point of view rather the widely known facts that we relate to 5th November. It also shows us how Catesby managed to get Fawkes, the man you think of as soon as Bonfire night is mentioned to join such a plot as well as showing the roles of the other conspirators that did their part to blow up the King in 1605. The caption for the series is ‘Behind every plot, Is a mastermind’ and we hope that this series will show us why we today celebrate November 5th as Bonfire night!

Guy Fawkes, "Next Time, I'm Using Epic Fireworks"

Who Was Guy Fawkes

On the eve of May 20th 1604 five men met at the ‘Duck and Drake Inn’ this was to be the first of many meetings to plan what some consider could have been the biggest terror attack England has ever seen, The Gunpowder Plot. John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guido (Guy) Fawkes and their leader Robert Catesby were the five main conspirators of the gunpowder plot, although later on in a confession made by Thomas Wintour it was found that a total of thirteen men had conspired to blow up the House of Lords, these five men were at the heart of the plot.

Come Back Guy Fawkes

So why did they plan to blow up the King and how did Catesby get a group of men to follow such a traitorous plan? Well, in February 1604 Protestant King James I ordered all Catholic priests to leave the country.  Catesby, his cousin Thomas Wintour and John Wright were not happy with this and plotted to kill the King and replace him with his daughter, Princess Elizabeth. However, they did not have enough support to take down the King so Catesby sent his cousin Wintour to Spain to ask for their help. Although Spain and England had been bitter enemies, Spain wanted peace with England and refused to help but while out in Spain Wintour was introduced to Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes was at this point fighting for the Spanish army in Flanders. Fawkes was a British national but hated the Scottish and detested King James’s plan to unify the countries. Wintour was interested in Fawkes because of his knowledge and expertise in explosives so explained his plan to assassinate the King. Fawkes was onboard and the two sailed back to England to continue their plotting. This takes us to the meeting at the Duck and Drake Inn on Sunday 20th May 1604.

guy fawkes inn...

Through family connections Thomas Percy managed to secure a position in the Royal Bodyguard, this meant the men now had an insider as well as a house not far from Parliament. Guy Fawkes then posed as Percy’s servant so he could move freely through Parliament. While Fawkes and Percy were mapping out Parliament the other 3 men started storing Gunpowder in the house and in December 1604 had started construction of a tunnel towards Parliament. By February 1605 the plotters had reached the foundations of the House of Lords. However, on the 25th March 1605 in a stroke of luck, Thomas Percy managed to secure a Vault right under the House of Lords and the tunnel was no longer necessary. So Fawkes started loading up the Vault with the barrels of gunpowder and kindling which he concealed by placing firewood around it.

Gunpowder Treason and PLot Fireworks Barrage by Standard Fireworks

They had originally planned to put their plot into play on October 1605 but due to concerns with the plague, the opening of Parliament was delayed until November 5th. In a bizarre twist, Lord Monteagle receives an unsigned letter telling him not to attend the opening of Parliament. Lord Monteagle did show the letter to the King’s Chief minister but was not aware that one of his own servants got word to the plotters that their plot may be in peril. This did not deter the plotters and Guy Fawkes was sent to ensure that everything in the vault was still in place, it was and the plan was still in motion.

On the 2nd November, the letter sent to Monteagle was presented to the King and he immediately orders a covert search of Parliament. While the vault hiding the Gunpowder was noted straight away during the search Guy Fawkes told the guards it was a large amount of firewood being stored by his master, the Royal Bodyguard Thomas Percy and the search team considered this to be true. However, just after midnight on the 5th November 1605 the King ordered another search of Parliament and Fawkes is found dressed for a crossing over the Thames. He was also found in possession of fuses and matches so was quickly arrested. Further searches of the vault revealed 36 barrels of gunpowder and Fawkes was dragged before King James for questioning.

Over the next following months, the plotters were rounded up and put on trial for treason. On the 27th January 1606 eight of the men including Fawkes was found guilty of treason at Westminster Hall. The punishment for such an attempt on the Kings life was a most unpleasant death and on the 31st of January 1606, Fawkes was hung in a public execution.

After this, on the 5th November 1606 Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the escape their King had made from the assassination attempt and instructed big bonfires to be lit as part of the celebrations. Parliament decided to make the 5th November a day of thanksgiving, this remained in place until 1859. However, by the 1650’s people had started to combine fireworks shipped in from China with their bonfires to create a celebration like no other. Although Parliament does not officially recognise the 5th November as a day of celebration or holiday it is still very widely accepted as one of the biggest celebration nights of the year.

#1605 #5november #guyfawkes #guyfawkesnight

A post shared by Epic Fireworks (@epicfireworks) on

SQUIBBING

Although I appreciate that November 5th is a couple of months away as yet, in our world it is never too early to start thinking about Bonfire Night.

Immediately following the assassination attempt on King James I on 5th November 1605, he decreed that everyone should henceforth ‘celebrate deliverance from the conspiracy by lighting a bonfire each year on the date of Guy Fawkes treachery … lest we should forget’.

Epic Fireworks - Standard Fireworks Guy Fawkes

There are a number of Bonfire societies who can trace their origins back to the early 17th century but none more so than the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival. The region was believed to be staunchly protestant (Church of England) which is probably the rational behind their dedication to ensuring that the practice of Bonfire lighting has continued. ‘Squibs’ were traditional, simple and straightforward to produce and looked like a candle but had a gerb/fountain effect but without the ‘shoots flaming balls’ effects. The squib was attached to a stout pole (like a brush stale) which is referred to as a Cosh and held aloft alongside other ‘squibbers’.

Old Standard Fireworks No Smoking Poster

The carnival is preceded at the beginning of October with a series of Carnival Concerts raising funds for the event and in support of local and national charities. There are processions and parades, street entertainment and food and drink concessions available and a huge ‘GUY’ is built and it is drawn through the town before being sat atop the Bonfire.

Today’s ‘Bridgwater Squibs’ are made today to a special formula by a leading manufacturer exclusively for the Bridgwater Carnival. Once they are all loaded into their respective ‘cosh’, at the end of the parade, the ‘squibbing display’ will take place on the High Street. Usually there are two rows of 150 people holding their squib’s aloft which once lit create a spectacular sight … which has been going on here for hundreds of years.

Old Benwell Firework Poster

The event aims to raise much needed funding for both local and national charitable organizations.

Entering its 410th year, long may the tradition continue, thanks to the dedicated support of the people of Bridgwater.

Standard Firework Posters

Blog Widget by LinkWithin