Remember, remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot…

On the night of November 5, 1605, 36 kegs of gunpowder, guarded by Guy Fawkes, were discovered below the Houses of Parliament.  It was believed that Fawkes and his co conspirators were plotting to blow up the king and Parliament in order to reinstate a Catholic monarch.  Tradition states that Londoners celebrated that night with bonfires in the streets. Since then, Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night, has been celebrated in the UK every November 5th with fireworks and bonfires.

More info on Guy Fawkes Day from the British Embassy in Washington

You can see a written confession from Guy Fawkes on the web site of the National Archives of the UK. Several additional accounts of the trial are available online  from the Harvard Libraries via Making of Modern Law: Trials, Hein Online World Trials and Early English Books Online (Harvard ID and PIN required for these resources).For a modern account of the Gunpowder plot, try Antonia Fraser’s Faith and Treason the Story of the Gunpowder Plot

In colonial Boston, November 5th was celebrated as Pope’s Day. Some fascinating accounts of these boisterous and frequently violent celebrations can be found online via Boston 1775 the Massachusetts Historical Society ,  and  on the Bostonian Society’s 5th of November in Boston site.

Here in Cambridge, any celebrations will be a bit calmer than in colonial days. By local regulation,  fireworks and bonfires are not allowed.


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