Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Gunpowder Plot

Thursday 4th November 2010

For history and culture in homeschooling we are learning about Guy Fawkes Night.  A tradition still undertaken in New Zealand where fireworks are let off. Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration held on the evening of 5 November, marking the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605. Originally made a public holiday by the Thanksgiving Act of 1605, the occasion is celebrated primarily in Great Britain, although some former British colonies also mark the occasion. Guy Fawkes Night was celebrated in Australia until the 1970s, when the sale and public use of fireworks was made illegal, effectively abolishing the celebration. Festivities are centred on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.(wikipedia)

Again youtube is a wonderful resource to use in conjunction with our resources.

It is a fascinating story of terrorism on English soil.  Had that happened in this age, it would have equalled the twin towers attack.  Some little known facts about Guy Fawkes...

There is no doubt that Fawkes, though remembered wrongely as the principal conspirator, was in fact a minor cog in the wheel. He was executed for high treason along with the other co-conspirators.

Born in 1570 at York, he was by upbringing a Protestant.  In 1593 he enlisted as a mercenary in the Spanish Army in the Netherlands, having become a Cathholic shortly before that date.  He may have been chosen for his skill in seigecraft, and it was an advantage that, having been abroad for some time, he was not known in London.  During the plot, and for the first time part of his interrogation, he used the alias of Johnson.  Fawkes declared he would have fired the gunpowder when Knyvett discovered it, had he been present, but he was outside the house at the time the discovery was made.
The cellar in which Fawkes watched over his gunpowder (36 barrels) was damaged in the 1834 fire and destroyed in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the 19th century.
(House of Commons information Office Factsheet)

The Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeoman of the Guard before the State Opening.

Interestingly, in our research about high treason in the Tudor period, we discovered the ghastly process of execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered.  Mmmmmm...Alex who at 14 and a half found this grisly topic fascinating.  Here is a link if you are interested. execution style...however, not for the faint hearted.

On that yukky and gross note, I bid you goodbye, until next time, Lee-Anne

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