10 Facts About Bonfire Night (You Probably Didn’t Know)

25th October 2016

Remember, remember the fifth of November… but not a lot else about Bonfire Night? These 10 facts will make sure your knowledge is up to scratch so that in between the whizzes, pops and bangs you can impress (or annoy) all your friends.

illustration of fireworks

1.The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was meant to kill the Protestant King, James I and replace him with a Catholic Queen.

illustration of crown

2. It was actually Warwickshire-born Robert Catesby who led the Gunpowder Plot, not Guy Fawkes. There were 13 other people involved.

3. The job Guy Fawkes had in the Gunpowder Plot was to guard the 36 barrels of gunpowder that had been placed in a basement underneath the House of Lords.

illustration of gun powder barrels

4. The alarm was raised was after an anonymous letter was sent to Lord Monteagle, warning him to stay away from the House of Lords.

5. Explosive expert Fawkes, who had been left in a cellar to set off the fuse, was subsequently caught when a group of guards discovered him at the last moment on 5th November. He was taken to the Tower of London.

6. As he awaited his grisly punishment on the gallows, Fawkes leapt to his death to avoid the horrors of torture that awaited him. He died from a broken neck.

illustration of calendar

7. King James I announced that 5th November should be the day that people always celebrate that the Gunpowder Plot didn’t happen.

8. The cellar that Fawkes and the gunpowder plotters used was damaged in 1834 by fire. When the Palace of Westminster was rebuilt in the 19th Century, the infamous cellar was destroyed.

illustration of a lantern

9. St. Peter’s School in York is the only place in England that does not celebrate bonfire night as a show of respect for their former pupil, Guy Fawkes.

10. The Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeoman of the Guard before the state opening (where the reigning Monarch visits parliament each year) held in November. It’s ceremonial rather than serious – and it’s still done with lanterns.

So now when you’re munching on toffee apple by the light and warmth of a bonfire, you’ll (hopefully) know a little more than you previously did about this historic day.

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