Posted by Jeff Keen on November 03, 2015
Since it's still technically the Halloween season, the only hunting you might be doing is of the ghost variety, but that doesn't mean you can’t join in with the festivities. When it comes to Bonfire night, as a responsible owner of a firearm it might fall to you to look after a bonfire or even the fireworks, since you have already proven you can handle dangerous weapons with care.
But later on in the evening, when the fire is dwindling, it's also customary to tell stories around the bonfire. But what interesting tale could you share with your family and friends, we hear you ask? Why, the only story worth sharing of course; where Bonfire Night first originated from.
But worry not, if you’re forgetting some of those key details from the legend, Keen’s Tackle & Guns is here to refresh your memory. Read on to discover where Bonfire Night came from, including what that Fawkes chap really did and why he got in so much trouble as to have effigies burned of him every November 5th.
The traditions that we now hold dear to us every November, such as building bonfires, setting off fireworks and making straw filled effigies of Guy Fawkes all started with the man himself, who was born in York, in 1570. After converting to Catholicism, he left England to fight for the Spanish in the Eighty Years War under the name Guido Fawkes, but eventually returned home with a man called Thomas Wintour, who involved him in a devilish plot to kill the king.
Wintour introduced Guy Fawkes to a man called Robert Catesby, who wanted to kill James I so that he could put a Catholic monarch in his place. In order to do so, they arranged for Guy Fawkes to be put in charge of 36 barrels of gunpowder that were held below the House of Lords, on the day of the State Opening of England’s Parliament, on the 5th November 1605. The plan was to detonate it at the same time as the opening address, demolishing the building and killing the king.
However, after an anonymous letter was sent to William Parker, who was the 4th Baron of Monteagle, Fawkes was discovered at midnight on the 4th November and subsequently arrested before he had the chance to ignite the gunpowder. The foiling of this plot led to Guy Fawkes’ execution, and the shooting of Robert Catesby at Holbeche House as the conspirators fled London. But even more significant, were that people lit bonfires to signify the thwarted assassination of their king.
Over the centuries the meaning of the night has evolved, sprouting various ways to celebrate the 5th of November. These included lighting bonfires, ringing church bells and creating effigies of Guy Fawkes, with children asking for a ‘penny for the guy’. To this day the traditions continue, with the addition of fireworks being lit along with the bonfire, but people will forever know the name of Guy Fawkes and his great gunpowder plot.
Remember, Remember the 5th of November
But most importantly, try and remember all the details so you can recount them to your loved ones. Whatever your plans for the night, whether you are telling stories round the bonfire, going for a shoot or taking the opportunity to enjoy the fireworks from your fishing spot, make sure you stay safe and have a great Bonfire Night.