Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Yes, it’s that time of year again, folks. Traditionally around now, people across the UK will huddle around roaring bonfires in the fierce November chill, keenly watching a thunderous display of fireworks light up the autumn sky, whilst devouring questionably priced beef/veggie burghers and tepid, muddy, instant coffee.
It is, an outsider might observe, quite an odd sort of tradition. Why on earth do we do it?
The celebration, as most of us Brits are aware, marks the anniversary of the infamous “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the Houses of Parliament back in 1605. It was, ultimately, a complete and utter failure, but it has become world renowned as one of the more fascinating close calls in all of British history.
Gut Fawkes, though not the sole conspirator in this plot, is by far the most famous of those involved. His very name now evokes, rightly or wrongly, the idea of wild eyed fun and itchy rebellion. It is, after all, called Guy Fawkes Night.
But do you really know all there is to know about this curious figure? We’re not so sure that you do. And so, here are 5 fascinating facts about Guy Fawkes that we think will completely blow your mind. Sparked your interest? Then let’s see this through. Go on. You’ll have a blast.
He Wasn’t The Mastermind: That’s right! Guy Fawkes may be the most famous of the “Gunpowder Plot” conspirators, but he was in no way the brains behind the whole operation. That particular title goes to Robert Catesby, who had something of a bee in his bonnet about the English crown. Guy Fawkes was left with the rather unenviable task of igniting the explosives beneath the House of Lords. He was caught red handed and, for a while, was the only person captured.
The Gunpowder Was Useless: 36 barrels of gunpowder were found beneath the Houses of Parliament, which would have been enough to blow the entire place sky high…if the gunpowder had been any good. Experts now believe that the gunpowder had decayed and simply would not have done any significant damage, even if it had been ignited. It appears that, whatever happened, this plot was pretty much doomed to fail.
He Has An Island Named After Him: Can you believe it? The guy attempts to blow up parliament and he has a whole island named after him? Well, it’s true! Just off Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands sits an uninhabited land called Isla Guy Fawkes….Sheesh! Maybe he planned to escape there after doing the do and become king of his own kingdom.
Parliament Is Still Searched: This is more of a tradition now than a serious precaution, but the cellars are still checked every year before the State Opening of Parliament. The cellar where the gunpowder was stored, however, no longer exists having been destroyed by a fire in 1854. Funny how things pan out.
His School Won’t Burn An Effigy: All across the country on 5th November an effigy is burned to mark the occasion. Everywhere, that is, apart from St Peter’s School in York. Celebrations are forbidden here in honour of their famous former pupil. Well, isn’t that sweet?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of little known facts about Mr Guy Fawkes. We’ve certainly learnt something putting all of this together and we hope, now that you’ve struck the bottom of the barrel, that you have learnt a little something too.
Take care of yourselves, particularly in these bizarre times. Keep safe and keep smiling.
And remember…don’t play with matches.