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Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night. Bonfire Night. In England on November 5 th there are firework displays and bonfires across the country. This night is called Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night. The reason this night is celebrated is because of a plot which happened over 400 years ago. England in the 1600s.
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Bonfire Night • In England on November 5th there are firework displays and bonfires across the country. • This night is called Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night. • The reason this night is celebrated is because of a plot which happened over 400 years ago.
England in the 1600s • In England the Christian Church had split in to two groups; the Catholics and the Protestants. • The Catholics regarded the Pope (in Rome) as the head of their church whilst the Protestants said the head of the church was the King of England. • There was a lot of fighting between Catholics and Protestants. • King James I was a Protestant and unpopular with the Catholics.
Guy Fawkes • A Catholic man called Robert Catesby made a plot to kill the King and asked other men to help him. • One of the men was called Guy Fawkes. • Guy Fawkes was born in York, England in 1570 but was also known as Guido Fawkes because he fought for Catholic Spain in the 80 years’ war against the Protestant Dutch.
The Gunpowder Plot • Catesby wanted to get rid of the King and his Parliament. He decided to blow them up with gunpowder! • In early November, the members of Parliament and the King were going to meet at the Houses of Parliament. • Catesby and the other men decided that this would be a good opportunity. They rented a house next door to the Parliament buildings, and started to dig a tunnel underneath to get to the cellars. • This took a very long time and was very hard work so later they found a cellar underneath the Houses of Parliament which they could rent. They moved the gunpowder into the cellar.
More Catholics joined the plotters, but as more men heard about the plot, it became harder to keep it secret. • Eventually, someone sent a warning letter to one of the Members of Parliament and they told the police. • Early in the morning on 5th November 1605, the day the King would be going to the Houses of Parliament, the police searched the buildings.
They found Guy Fawkes in the cellar with the gunpowder and some matches ready to light it. • If he had lit the gunpowder he would have blown up the Houses of Parliament and killed the King. • Guy Fawkes was arrested and tortured so he would tell the police who else was involved with the plot. • All the plotters were found guilty of treason and executed.
After the failed plot people in London were told to light bonfires to celebrate that the King was still alive. • It became a law that on November 5th every year bonfires would be lit in England to celebrate. This law remained in place until 1859. • It also became custom to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the bonfire. • From about 1650 onwards people also set off fireworks in celebration.
The day was commemorated to serve as a warning to others not to plot treason against the King. • After 1859 although it was no longer a law people still celebrated by lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks. • On November 5th every year the failed Gunpowder Plot is still celebrated with bonfires, effigies of Guy Fawkes and fireworks across England.
Remember, Remember • Guy Fawkes is England’s most famous traitor, the following rhyme was made up so this is always remembered. • Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.