Tag Archives: 5th Nov

Sussex Bonfire Societies

The Sussex Bonfire Societies are responsible for a series of Bonfire Festivals around Central and Eastern Sussex along with Surrey and Kent between September and November.

The societies hold celebrations to mark both Bonfire Night for Guy Fawkes’ capture and in recognition of the deaths of the 17 protestant martyrs who were burned in front of the Star Inn between 1555 and 1557, some 48+ years before Guy and his co-conspirators tried to take the lives of King James and the whole of the British parliament and supporting advisors including Judges and any number of Lords. The original structure still stands to this day and is now used as the Town Hall. Sadly, this is not the first or last death in the name of religion or ‘faith’ but let’s hope that there are lessons learned.

The societies are dotted about the region but by far the biggest celebrations take part in Lewes where they have 7 separate Bonfire Societies including Cliffe, Commercial Square, Lewes Borough, South Street, Waterloo, Neville Juvenile and Southover. Most of the members of the Lewes Societies hold their events on the 5 th November as is tradition other than the Neville Juvenile Society who hold theirs the Saturday a couple of weeks before hand.

The Lewes Bonfire Societies origins can be traced back an act declared by the King, thankful for the foiling of the plot to take his life declared that from henceforth, an Act entitled ‘An Acte for a publique Thancksgiving to Almighty God everie yeere of the Fifte day of November’ was passed in January 1606 that proclaimed the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot should ‘be held in a perpetual emembrance’ which the societies continue to celebrate to this day.

Now don’t be under any illusion that the Bonfire Society events are anything less than spectacular but they are certainly not a family night out. They burn an effigy of the Pope rather controversially and of course, a Guy Fawkes who was an ardent follower of the Catholic faith as seen in his attempts to kill of the representative of the Church of England, King James. The celebrations include huge parades through the streets carrying all manner of things including torches, burning crosses, letters spelling out the initials of their particular organisation, skull and crossbones and the Cliffe society carries massive flags saying ‘no popery’ which incidentally ‘the establishment’ tried to prevent in the 1920’s and again in 1933 the Mayor of the town wrote a very nice letter asking the society to stop such practice. Needless to say the society wrote back declining the request and again in 1950’s the other societies attempted to stop them in continuing this practice and to this day, they march alone on the ‘fifth’.

For anyone with a taste for fireworks and excitement, based around the Gunpowder Plot and the history of the Sussex area, these societies offer a fascinating insight and a never before seen way of celebrating life and long may it continue.



Bonfire night this year falls on a Saturday for a change so the children can join in the fun making sweet treats for you, your family and friends to enjoy.

The first recipe involves a little bit of frying ..


1/2 pint milk

4 oz butter

2 lb flour

2 x 7gm sachets of fast acting dried yeast

4oz caster sugar (plus an extra couple of oz for dusting)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon (plus an additional half tsp for dusting)

2 large beaten eggs

2 large sweet apples grated

1 tin carnation caramel

Oil to fry Method:

Warm the milk and add that butter and set aside until all the butter has melted and the milk mixture is no more than hand hot. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the slightly warm milk mixture, grated apple and beaten eggs into the well of flour etc and mix to a SOFT dough.

Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface before putting into a greased bowl and sealed with cling film till the dough has proved (around 2 hours).

After the first prove, tip out the dough and re-knead and then pull off walnut sized balls of dough. Roll into small balls and place them onto a greased baking tray and keep going until all your mixture has been used up. Cover again and leave for a further 40 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the dusting sugar and cinnamon and place on a dry tray ready to roll your fried donuts in.

Lightly fry around 4 at a time until golden brown and pop onto some kitchen roll to drain. Whilst still warm, toss in the cinnamon sugar and leave to cool.

To fill the donuts, simply poke a hole with a skewer in each donut and pipe in the caramel mixture.

Keep a little of the caramel to swirl over the top of them – DELICIOUS


12 oz Butter

6 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz peanut butter

10 oz rolled oats

8 oz plain chocolate chips

2 tsp vanilla extract

Put the butter and demerara sugar in a pan to melt down until the sugar disolves. Add the rolled oats and stir until all the oats are covered and the butter and sugar are absorbed into the oats.

In the second pan, melt together the peanut butter and chocolate chips until smooth.

Divide the oat mixture roughly into four and put one quarter into each of the two greased trays you have ready. Press down to the edges keeping it flat. Then, pour over each half of the melted chocolate and peanut mixture and spread to the sides. Before it goes hard, sprinkle the remaining quarters of the oats over the top of the chocolate mixture on each tray. It will settle a little.

Once you have all the mixture in the baking trays, chill overnight before cutting into small even squares.



Which Day Is Your Bonfire Night?

Bonfire Night this year falls on a Tuesday so that begs the question of when to hold your fireworks display.

From past experience, the majority of ‘organised’ displays are held over the weekend, be that before or after the fifth to avoid impacting on work commitments. But, Joe Public certainly has a great deal more choice. Of course, staff at firework outlets are fully committed to making sure that stores remain available to customers for as long as possible, remaining open to the general public until very late evening (last year it was 9:20pm before the doors could eventually be closed and the previous season, we had a lady searching frantically for some additional sparklers at 10:00pm). However, as a result of this, we are unable to hold our family fireworks party until the weekend after Bonfire Night.

Already the phones are red-hot with orders, although at the moment we still have a couple of pieces arriving from China over the forthcoming couple of weeks which will bring out stock back up to capacity and we can still fulfil over 90% of orders with the goods from our current stocks.

As the brochure is about to be finalised, as many will already be aware, the prices of EVERYTHING connected to the firework business has gone up. From labels for the boxes to the pyro itself and the courier, the costs have increased so we sadly have found it necessary to pass on some of these costs to the consumer. That said, in fairness as all our range remains at half the RRP or less, our customers still continue to get quality fireworks at a bargain price. ‘Darn South’ (as we say in Yorkshire) for example, a ‘good quality’ barrage is likely to be 1.4g, so not quite as crisp, loud and bright as the 1.3g barrages from Epic and will set you back a pretty penny. In comparison, a 100 shot barrage will cost you around £110.00 inc VAT whereas the phenomenally brilliant Screaming Spiders, voted as one of the best in the Country is louder, brighter and costs just £44.95 including VAT. You would have to be completely mad not to pursue that one further. So basically, you could have one of each of our award-winning and most popular fireworks the Screaming Spiders and Thunderous Finale for less than the £110.00 price tag.

If you can’t get up the M1 to see us, why not discuss the matter with your friends, family and colleagues and see if you can get an order together for over £295.00 and we will arrange the free delivery of all the fireworks to you at work or home. It is easy to do, just click on epicfireworks.com and check out our fantastic range of DIY display fireworks and garden fireworks. With prices starting from a couple of pounds to our biggest single ignition barrages at around £90.00, we have everything to suit your budget and taste. If you are not sure, get in touch and one of our friendly staff will be happy to chat about your needs and see what will best meet your needs.