”Remember, remember the 5th of November.” With some friends we gathered at Southwark Park to watch the fireworks in remembrance of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
Bonfire night celebrates the failed attempt to kill King James I on night of the fifth of November 1605. During her reign Queen Elisabeth had made some laws against the Roman Catholics. Which meant that they had to practice their religion in secret. One could even get a fine for not attending Protestant Mass on Sunday. The Catholics hoped that the successor King James I would undo those laws, after all, he had had a Catholic mother. He didn’t. It even got worse.
A group of thirteen young men, led by Robert Catesby, plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The conspirators bought the house next to the parliament building. They stacked 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar that extended underneath the House of Lords. Guy Fawkes was to watch over the barrels as they were going to lit them the next time the Parliament was openend by King James I.
However, the morning of the fifth of November Guy Fawkes was found by soldiers and arrested. He was taken to the Tower of London where he was tortured and questioned. To celebrate his survival King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on that day.