Guy Fawkes - English Catholic, Soldier and Conspirator
Guy Fawkes, born 13th April 1570 in York, converted to Catholicism at the age of 16. As a soldier he fought for the Catholic Habsburgs in the Netherlands and was involved in the conquest of Calais in 1596.
In 1602 he returned to England and in 1604 Fawkes became involved with a small group of English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with his daughter, third in the line of succession, Princess Elizabeth.
The plotters leased an undercroft beneath the House of Lords; Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder that they stockpiled there. The authorities were prompted by an anonymous letter to search Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and they found Fawkes guarding the explosives. He was questioned and tortured over the next few days and confessed to wanting to blow up the House of Lords.
After the failure of the “gunpowder plot” Fawkes and his co-conspirators were sentenced to death. Guy Fawkes was executed in London on 31st January 1606.
In memory of the failed assassination attempt, Britain celebrates “Bonfire Night” on the 5th November with bonfires, torchlight parades and fireworks. Every year at the opening of Parliament, the basement vault in Westminster is examined by Yeomen of the Guard for explosives.