Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed by burning on a bonfire. 

Everyone knows about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, and how Fawkes and other conspirators planted 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath Parliament, and the plot was foiled at the last minute on November 5th and how Fawkes was burnt on a bonfire and that we have bonfires every year to celebrate.  

What is perhaps not as well known is that Fawkes was not the major conspirator. That dishonour belonged to Robert Catesby who enlisted Fawkes as all the other conspirators were known to the authorities, and if seen would arouse immediate suspicion. Fawkes planted the gunpowder on the instructions of Catesby, without knowing the full details of the plot.  

Fawkes was the only person to be captured when the plot was uncovered, hence his name is given to Guy Fawkes Night and his effigy is ceremonially burnt. It was only when he was subjected to torture, that he revealed Catesby’s name. 

Fawkes was an old boy of St Peter’s School of York, an ancient and venerable college, who celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with a bonfire, but burn no guy in deference to their former student.

Previous day       Next day      

©2006 Ward’s Book of Days