A brief history of Guy Fawkes Night

Autumn lovers all over the UK are in their element – crisp leaves are sprinkled on pavements and mornings are becoming gloomy. It’s this time of year when fireplaces come into their own – roaring flames in the evening make us all feel a bit cosier. With Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas all incoming, it’s time to get the festivities well and truly underway. Read on for a brief history of Guy Fawkes Night, and why we should always remember remember the 5th of November.

  • Guy Fawkes Night originates from the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605.
  • This plot was led by Robert Catesby, and was in response to King James I, who had refused to be tolerant to religions such as Catholicism.
  • The Gunpowder Plot was a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament, clearing the path for Catholics to gain control.
  • The participants of the plot were Roman Catholics, and their aim was to assassinate King James I (protestant) and replace him with a Catholic head of state.
  • Before the plot could be carried out on 5th November 1605, the state opening of Parliament, the group was betrayed…
  • On 4th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar of the House of Lords guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough to turn the building into rubble!
  • Guy Fawkes was arrested straight away and sentenced to execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered.
  • The other participants in the plot were either killed after resisting arrest, or were sentenced to the same fate as Guy Fawkes himself.
  • After the event, Parliament made 5th November a National Day of Celebration in the United Kingdom, remembering the failed plot and the lives that were spared, with the first celebration in 1606.

Traditionally, children would burn effigies (figures) of Fawkes on bonfires. They would often parade the streets ahead of the day, asking people for a ‘penny for the guy’ in exchange for an effigy. Nowadays, many of us celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with fireworks and bonfires, extending into fairgrounds with rides and games. We set off fireworks to represent the explosives that would have been catastrophic, had the attack not been stopped.

The festivities are particularly strong in Sussex, Lewes especially. There are large processions with bonfires built up high with palettes, ensuring that the fires can be seen from far and wide. All over London, there are fireworks displays that you can buy tickets for. Each year, the fireworks get more creative than the last!

If this year you don’t fancy baring the cold weather and celebrating with others, why not have a relaxing bonfire night at home? Curl up by your fireplace with a steaming hot drink in your hands and watch the flames flicker in front of you.

If this appeals to you, Fiveways Fires & Stoves have a selection of fireplaces that will suit your home perfectly. Allow us to transform your property! Call us on 0208 127 4747 or email . Next time you look at your fire on 5th November, remember the history of the celebration!