Guy Fawkes : Penny For The Guy : Gunpowder Treason And Plot
And Edith Fawkes, mother of the celebrated Guy Fawkes, shall pay but only 2d weekly to the poor. This meagre sum was demanded by the City of York from the mother of Guy Fawkes following the death of her husband in 1579.
The future conspirator was then only nine and no one could foresee the train of “gunpowder, treason and plot” which he failed to ignite 26 years later beneath the august portals of the House of Lords.
In contemporary idiom and history, Guy Fawkes, was an arch villain, a traitor, and a renegade, who began his life on 13th April 1570 in Stonegate, Yorkshire and was baptised in St Michael’s Church, York ,a Protestant, and ended his life on the scaffold in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, then a devout Catholic?
In Lewes during the bonfire night celebrations, his name will be bandied around, and his effigy burnt, but the real culprit was not Guy Fawkes but a Robert Catesby. For it was he who conceived the plot while Guy Fawkes provided the technical “know-how” as a soldier of fortune.
With the death of his father, Guy Fawkes family found themselves unable to live up to the standards to which they were accustomed, when Edith Fawkes married for the second time they moved house and Guy Fawkes became a boarder at St Peter’s School, York, where he completed his education.
The process developed along unexpected lines, it was at this ancient school, under the influence of its headmaster, John Pullen, that Guy Fawkes first acquired his catholic interests, a sensitive tolerant boy, he was easily impressed with the current stories of torture and persecution against the Catholic section of the population.
Very little is known of Guy Fawkes early manhood but some idea of the complexity of his character can be judged from the fact that he was willing to blow the King and their Lordships to high heaven, yet he fought for his country with valour and distinction.
Of the Gunpowder Plot itself, the highly coloured and imaginative illustrations are not true, Guy Fawkes was not caught match in hand at the safe end of a trail of gunpowder, he was, in fact, apprehended guarding the gunpowder some hours before the Lords were assembled. The time was midnight on 4th November 1605.
Earlier attempts to dig a tunnel from a nearby house to a cellar beneath the chambers of the House of Lords had proved abortive, it was by chance that Guy Fawkes learned of a cellar to let, an ideal cellar in fact. And it was here where Guy Fawkes stood guard, amongst a pile of wood and faggots, so normal in any respectable gentleman’s home, and also lay drums of gunpowder.
History does not record whether Guy Fawkes fully considered the consequence should his plan succeed. Had he done so, he must have realised that the very cause for which he laboured may well have been damaged incalculably, civil war was a distinct possibility and the whole course of history might well have been changed.
So, as you hand over a penny for the guy, set light to your bonfire, ignite your Chinese cracker or burn his effigy, spare a thought for this much maligned character, who even on the rack refused to disclose the names of his fellow conspirators.
Contemporary history could, were their names known, record those, who like Guy Fawkes gave their lives for their beliefs. The victim cares little about the venue of the execution be it Westminster or Dachau. Fawkes crime and the alleged firing of the Reichstag were not so dissimilar. And for the victims of Dachau there are no bonfires, nor fireworks and no annual festival. See Guy Fawkes Images Here
Damage Caused If Guy Fawkes Had Succeeded
Guy Fawkes could have made a very big noise in Whitehall, according to physicists, Had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded, the blast from more than two tons of explosive would have made a bonfire of the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and houses nearby, Severely damaged buildings in Whitehall and shattered windows more than half a mile away.
Execution By Hanging
In Guy Fawkes day an Execution would go along the lines of being drawn by a horse to the place of execution, usually on a hurdle, and your hands tied.
Once stripped of your clothing, you will be taken to the scaffold, have the rope placed around your neck, then dropped down gently and be left hanging for a short period, but only to cause strangulation and near-death.
Devil, Pope and Pretender
The following article is an old newspaper report on the old ritual of parading the The Devil The Pope and The Pretender, elements of which still exist in todays Bonfire Celebrations.
17-20 November 1711 On Saturday morning, about 2 of the clock, were seiz'd, by three messengers, and some of the Guards, in Drury-lane, the effigies of the Pope, Devil, and Pretender, in a box, with a canopy over it, 4 Jesuits, 4 Cardinals, and 4 Fryars, and carried to the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Dartmouth's Office.
Guy Fawkes poem
Tatty and torn the Guy Fawkes stands perfectly still
Wearing an old hat, jumper and trousers that were tatty and torn.
Rockets, Catherine wheels
And bangers hurt poor Guy's ears.
Guy looked up and saw everybody ignoring him and admiring the food and display, this brought tears to his bulging glazing eyes.