Who was Guy Fawkes?


PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala


“Da, why’s it called a bonfire?”

“Well, Liam, ’twas called a bone fire  back in the old days, when the Celts burned animal bones for good luck.”

“Well, but we don’t believe in that now, do we, Da?”

“No. Now we do it as a tradition, you see. And our cousins in England use it to celebrate the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot.”

“The wha?”


“Two fellas named Catesby and Fawkes, wanted to blow up King James I and Parliament, for persecuting Catholics. way back in 1605.”

Image result for execution of Guy Fawkes

“Were they executed?

“Oh, aye. Except Fawkes. He jumped. Broke his neck.”

“Lucky.”

79 thoughts on “Who was Guy Fawkes?

  1. I grew up with Guy Fawkes Day on 5th November. The kids would make a dummy, a model with old clothes and stuffed with straw and a mask and wheel it around on the streets collecting money for their fireworks saying “Penny for the Guy”. There would be bonfires and firework celebrations leading up to 5th November-

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    1. When I first learned of it, I wasn’t sure if the celebrations were because he TRIED to do it, or because he got caught before it could be accomplished. The story about his jumping hard enough to break his own neck is questioned by many. I kind of hope it’s true. Terrible, gruesome way to die, otherwise.

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    1. The execution for treason was to be hung until ALMOST dead, at which point the victim was cut down, eviscerated nice and slow, then his genitals were whacked off, and THEN he was beheaded. And his body cut into four parts. Hung, drawn, and quartered. Horrendous..

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  2. michael1148humphris

    Slowly the tradition of bonfire night are changing. What happens now is a pale shadow of the past, I am so glad that you recalled old memories to mind for me. One day I will have to attempt to put those bonfire memories in order

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. Well … burning at the stake ain’t a good way to go, but the series you described isn’t at all better. So, yeah. Falling and breaking my neck would be high on the ‘escape-more-awful-stuff’ list.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve brought out some interesting facts, though gruesome, in your tale and comments. I’ve heard of Guy Fawkes, but only the basics. I think you and I, being more conciliatory by nature, would have chosen to stay out of the plot in the first place.

    What a horrible death! I have a friend who often says the world has become so much more violent and evil than ever before. She hasn’t studied much history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True on every point, Christine. And I forgot to mention that those men had been tortured before they arrived at the gallows, in an attempt to get information about others in the plot. You are so right. Any serious student of history knows that mankind has always found horrible and excruciating ways to torture and kill others. Nothing new under the sun.

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  4. It’s always been a puzzle to me that the Bonfire Night tradition has been upheld for so long But it was good to revisit it, and I didn’t know that he died that way, so thank you for that nugget of information.

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  5. I’ve been fascinated with Guy Fawkes since I saw V For Vendetta. I saw a miniseries about the Gunpowder Plot with Kit Harington as Catesby. I think in the miniseries everyone died in a shootout. I guess that’s more dramatic.

    I didn’t know about the bone fire. That’s cool. It makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I’ve been surprised at how many who live in the UK didn’t know much about the Gunpowder Plot, but also many who do, and have enlarged my own understanding. One of the things I love about FF.

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  6. I had learnt about Guy Fawkes when I was a kid but didn’t know he broke his neck on the day of his execution. I like my etymology so the origin of the word bonfire was an interesting addition to the trivia stored in my brain. Nice one.

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  7. You’re right, being hung drawn and quartered is one of the most horrific kinds of execution I’ve ever heard of too, but that was how seriously our government took treason I suppose. Surprising how many people still tried to overthrow various kings and queens, considering what they faced if caught. There are a lot of fireworks still here at Bonfire Night – A LOT! The smell and noise is pretty extraordinary. Thanks for sharing some British history

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To choose between being hung/eviscerated and breaking one’s own neck – what a horrible dilemma! I like the hint of dark humour at the end. Guy Fawkes was indeed “lucky” to have jumped and broken his neck.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Very entertaining! You write a good tale about ill-planned retribution for killing Catholics. Goodness Gosh, I would choose breaking a neck as the lesser of the horrible outcomes. Quartering is not only barbaric – it’s really OVERKILL! Creepy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They took a very serious view of treason in those days. And as for killing Catholics, it was abominable. The problem was that when the Catholics were back in power, they chased down the Protestant Puritans and returned the favor. It was a bloody era, in the literal sense.

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