A different Thanksgiving Day

This day in London history: remember, remember, the 5th of November…

On the 5th of November 1605, following an anonymous warning, a Yorkshireman called Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar underneath the Parliament building. He and his Catholic co-conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, had hoped to assassinate the Protestant King James I.

Guy Fawkes was tortured until he finally revealed the identity of the others involved, and they were all executed. People lit bonfires to celebrate the king’s survival and the following year n Act of Parliament, known as the Thanksgiving Act, was passed, calling for a public annual thanksgiving for the failure of the plot.

Since then, the 5th of November, Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes Night, or Fireworks Night, has involved bonfires on which to burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, and fireworks displays.

The earliest recorded rhyme about the Gunpowder Plot was in 1742:

Don’t you Remember,
The Fifth of November,
‘Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
I let off my gun,
And made ’em all run.
And Stole all their Bonfire away.