I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, January 31, 2020
Who Was Guy Fawkes?
Fawkes Day is celebrated every November 5th throughout the United
Kingdom to commemorate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
was a member of the “Gunpowder Plot” – a group of Roman Catholic conspirators
who plotted to blow up the House of Parliament in retaliation for Protestant King
James’ refusal to allow religious tolerance.
King James 1
men were in on the plot to kill King James and the attending members of
Parliament. They hoped to reestablish Catholic rule in England by replacing him
with his daughter Princess Elizabeth – third in line of succession.
The Eight Men Tried and Convicted
betrayed the men and Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellar with 36 barrels of
explosives, ready to light the fuses. Fawkes was arrested and tortured to give
up the names of his co-conspirators. He refused to name names but did confess
that he was in on the plot. Fawkes was tried along with the others.The jury found all guilty of
high treason. And the punishment was severe.
Execution Day - January 31, 1606
the sentencing, Attorney General Sir Edward Coke informed the court that each
condemned man would be drawn backwards by a horse to his death with his head
near the ground. Each would be hung slowly as their genitals were cut off and
burnt before their eyes before their bowels and hearts were removed. Each body would
then be decapitated and the dismembered parts displayed throughout the kingdom
as a lesson to others.
Fawkes was indeed executed on January 31, 1606, the last of the men
that were convicted, but not he did not die in the manner prescribed by Coke. It is unknown if Fawkes
jumped to his death or was aided by the hangman but he was decidedly dead
before his body was mutilated.
same year, Parliament declared November 5th a day of thanksgiving and celebration. Today,
celebrations still held in the United Kingdom with parades and feasts. Bonfires
are lit and effigies of Fawkes are thrown on to burn. Fireworks are also
incorporated in the celebration as a reminder of the gunpowder that was never
used by the potential arsonists.
rhyme from the 18th century encapsulates the Gunpowder Plot: