On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".
Mum didn’t like Bonfire Night. It reminded her too much of the War. She had watched and heard too many bombs dropping on Liverpool to enjoy the bangs or seeing the clouds light up with flashes like anti-aircraft fire. Nowadays one is constantly reminded in advance to keep one’s pets in on November 5th but our cats – one lying by the radiator in the lounge and the other on my bed – seem totally oblivious to the sudden noises. Me, I jump every few minutes as another bang scares the daylights out of me.
Everyone in the UK knows the first verse of the rhyme:- Remember, remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason Should ever be forgot...
But how many know the second and third verses... Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent To blow up the King and Parli'ment. Three-score barrels of powder below To prove old England's overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd With a dark lantern and burning match. Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring. Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King! And what should we do with him? Burn him!
I was fascinated to see on a programme last night that the very dark lantern which Fawkes held was in the Ashmolean Museum – having been donated to Oxford’s museum by the son of the man who caught Guy Fawkes ‘red-handed’.
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I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)