Stick it to the man- why we celebrate Guy Fawkes

Words: Leanne Hall | Subbed: Brenda Zini

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. On the same day, over 400-years-ago, Guy Fawkes intended to blow up parliament.

He is one of England’s most infamous villains, so much so that he has an island named after him. But why did Fawkes want to blow up parliament?

Contrary to belief, Guy Fawkes was not the mastermind behind the plot, it was led by Robert Catesby. The plot was prepared by a group of Roman Catholics, hiding in alleys, trenching through the sewers in order to kill Protestant King James I. when King James I acceded the throne, Catholics hoped that they would be granted the freedom to openly practice their religion.

When this did not ensue, the group decided the next best thing to do was to assassinate King James I and his minister’s by blowing up the Palace of Westminster during the opening of parliament. The group loaded barrels of gunpowder into the cellars awaiting the day.


Palace of Westminster

After the plan was fully put into action, some conspirators were concerned about the Catholic Lords that would enter Parliament on the day. Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter warning him to stay away, and to “retyre youre self into yowre contee whence yow maye expect the event in safti for… they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament”. Although news of a letter sent spread around, the gang still went ahead with the plan, but Monteagle had already grown suspicious, and the letter was shown to King James I. He ordered his men to search the cellar during the early hours of November 5th, Fawkes was found. He was arrested and taken to be interrogated and tortured. When asked why Fawkes had so much gunpowder on him he replied “to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains.”

Thanks to his resistance on answering their questions, Fawkes was sentenced to death by watching his guts be taken from his stomach and having his testicles cut off. But Fawkes being the lone wolf he was, decided to throw himself off the tower and die from a broken neck.

So there we go, we celebrate November 5th by letting off fireworks for the next three months, burning a hay man in a bonfire on a freezing night, with everyone from the town shivering because IT’S TRADITION, for the original Stick it to the man, man.



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