Did you know that 5th November, Bonfire Night, commemorates the failure of the 1605 gunpowder plot by a gang of Roman Catholic activists?
When King James I came to the thrown English Catholics had hoped for a better life after the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and that they could practise their religion freely. However, when this did not transpire the group, led by Robert Catesby, was formed and they hatched a plan to assassinate the King and his ministers by blowing up Westminster Palace during the state opening of Parliament.
Guy Fawkes (the most famous of the conspirators) and the group smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into the cellar under the House of Lords, hoping to destroy the building.
Luckily, an anonymous warning letter was sent to Lord Monteagle which quickly became public, leading to a search of Westminster in the early hours of 5th November. Explosive expert Guy Fawkes was discovered at the last moment, arrested and sent to the Tower of London to be tortured.
Bonfires were lit around London that night, and the tradition has carried on around the country ever since. You can even sometimes see a homemade Guy Fawkes being burnt on the fire! The fantastic fireworks we watch signify the gunpowder that could have gone off, it the plot had not been foiled. To this day, Westminster is always checked before the Queen enters for the opening of Parliament.
Will you be watching fireworks this weekend? Don’t forget if you have pets keep them safe indoors as sometimes the loud noises can be scary.