I should have written this yesterday but didn’t get around to it. Saturday was Bonfire Night in the UK, commemorating a plot by Guy Fawkes and a group of fellow conspirators to blow up the government and James I during the state opening of Parliament in 1605. The plot failed and the tradition of Bonfire Night began – heck, at one point it was compulsory. Further along the line people started burning Fawkes in effigy; even further down the line they started using fireworks. And, because I’m turning into a grumpy old man, I’m going to point out that nowadays people are using fireworks all the time.
But anyway, that’s November 5th. November 8th is something else, something that has connections to my local area. See, after the Plot was exposed, the conspirators understandably did a runner, ending up at Himley, just a few miles from where I live. Holed up at Holbeach House, they were surrounded and prepared to make a fight of it – unfortunately their gunpowder had got wet during their escape and they’d attempted to dry it out by putting it near the fire. Do the maths.
So after nearly blowing themselves up, the Plotters made their final stand – apparently you can still see bullet holes in the walls. The Plotters were killed and Guy Fawkes (who had been caught in London red handed) was hung, drawn and quarted in January 1606 – it doesn’t really end well for any of them, even more so considering they become bogeymen all over again once a year.
But hey, I just think it’s cool that the last stand was so close to my home. That’s Britain for you – can’t swing a cat without hitting some history…