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"Paul’s extensive knowledge of Spanish has been an invaluable asset to me recently. When my husband passed away suddenly, Paul made himself available at all times to guide me through the difficult process of Spanish protocol. I could not have wished for a more helpful and sensitive friend during this tragic time.”
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Lest we forget ... Guy Fawkes PDF
Friday, 05 November 2010 18:20

November 5th or Bonfire Night is a celebration of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Sir Robert Catesby. His fellow plotters were John Wright, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Grant, Sir Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham and a certain Guido Fawkes

The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James's nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.

Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting for the Spanish army in the Spanish Netherlands in suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives.

The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter and during a search of the House of Lords at about midnight on 4 November 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder – enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble – and arrested.

Although most of the other conspirators fled from London they were arrested after a battle in which Catesby was one of those shot and killed. At their trial eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years afterwards by special sermons and other public events such as the ringing of church bells, which have evolved into the Bonfire Night of modern times with its symbolic firework displays and traditional burning of the “Guy”.

I can’t say I shall miss Bonfire Night tonight.  I always thought it was an over-rated event in any case, although the kids enjoyed it when they were young.  It’s "Champagne, chips and chatter" for the ladies again tonight, so I might just have a quiet night in and watch a DVD!

©  Paul Whitelock

Related article:

Champagne, chips and chatter


Tags: November 5th, Bonfire Night, Gunpowder Plot, King James I of England and VI of Scotland, Sir Robert Catesby, Guido Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, House of Lords, State Opening of Parliament, champagne chips and chatter,



Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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