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Immortalized in this nursery rhyme, the Gunpowder Plot is introduced early into the young minds of children throughout the United Kingdom.
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.
By god's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
What is Guy Fawkes Night?
In 1605 Guy Fawkes, a Roman Catholic, who had learned about gunpower serving in the Spanish army, and his fellow conspirators attempted to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament, as they disagreed with the King's Protestant policies, as an attempt to put a Catholic on the throne.
They (are said to have) succeeded in storing some 30 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar they had rented under the Houses of Parliament (sic!), but before Parliament opened on November 5th, the "gunpowder plot", as it has to be known, was discovered as Lord Monteagle showed a letter inviting him to join the plotters.
Some people believe the plot was a fake one as it was instigated by the king's secretary of state, Robert Cecil, to influence puplic opinion.
Guy Fawkes was tortured for six days until he confessed. He and his colleagues ( among whom listed Thomas Percy) were executed for treason. They were hung, drawn and quartered ( sic!!!)
Since then, the 5th of November has been celebrated in England by the burning on bonfires of stuffed figures of Guy Fawkes, usually accompanied by fireworks displays. These may be large organised events open to members of the public, or smaller, private gatherings of family and friends held in people's gardens.
"Guy Fawkes Night" is also known as "Bonfire Night" or "Fireworks Night". In the days leading up to the 5th of November children traditionally take their home-made Guys out onto the streets of their town or village and ask passers-by for "a penny for the Guy". This money is supposedly used as a contribution towards their fireworks.