10 Facts About Guy Fawkes
1. Guy Fawkes was born 13th April 1570. His father died when he was eight and his mother, a former secret Catholic, remarried into a Catholic family. The regime of Elizabeth I of England was hostile towards Catholics, who were regarded as a security threat.
2. Guy was raised Anglican but converted to Catholicism aged about 16.
3. As a young man, he left England to go and fight for the Spanish against Protestant rebels in the Netherlands. Here, he took the name Guido.
4. Appalled by the accession of a Protestant Scottish king to the English throne (James I & VI), he joined a plot in 1604 to kill the King at the opening of the Parliament and put a Catholic monarch on the throne.
5. The conspirators first met in a pub on the Strand named the Duck and Drake and swore an oath sanctified by a Jesuit priest.Guy Fawkes was chosen to light the match when the explosives were secretly placed in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament..
6. An anonymous letter to the Government exposed the plot. It is widely believed that one of the plotters had lost their nerve.
7. King James was informed of the plot and ordered that on the night of 5 November 1604, the Houses of Parliament cellars be searched. Guy was found on the spot, apparently trying to flee.
8. Guy was interrogated and tortured. After two days of physical agony, he began unintentionally to give away information. He was only one of two conspirators to have their confessions made public. His signature on the confession is very shaky, suggesting extreme physical tortures such as the slowly-bone-breaking rack.
9. The execution was designed to be as horrific as possible. Guy was forced to watch his co-conspirators being hanged, drawn and quartered. Having seen their appalling deaths, Guy apparently jumped from the scaffold and broke his neck.
10. The next year, on 15th November 1605, King James ordered that the people should light bonfires to celebrate the foiling of the plot. For centuries, Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night was a night of anti-Catholic celebration and many British Catholics lived in fear of the occasion.
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