Guy Fawkes's Biography
Guy Fawkes was a conspirator in the gunpowder plot which led to November the Fifth being known as Guy Fawkes night in the UK.
Guy Fawkes night traditionally sees English homes having bonfires, letting off fireworks and children asking for a 'penny for the Guy'.
In reality, Guy Fawkes was not the most important of the plotters, but he was the perpetrator caught near the scene.
Guy Fawkes was born in 1570 at York.
His parents Edward and Edith were Protestants and his father was a notary of the ecclesiastical courts and an advocate of the court of the Archbishop of York.
Somewhere along the line Guy Fawkes converted to Catholicism. Some influences may have been John Pulleyn, a teacher at St Peter's School, and schoolmates John and Christopher Wright, who were also part of the Gunpowder Plot. Also, Guy Fawkes's father died when he was a youngster and when his mother remarried it was to a Catholic, Dennis Bainbridge, who may have influenced him.
In the 1590s Guy Fawkes joined the Spanish Army and fought against the Dutch in the Netherlands, where Guy became known as Guido.
He was also present at the capture of Calais in 1595, and was reputed to be a skilled soldier.
In 1603 he tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Spanish king to raise an army against England.
1603 was also the year that Elizabeth I died and James VI of Scotland became King James I of England.
James I failed to significantly improve the lot of Catholics in England and so Robert Catesby of Lapworth and others planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening on 5 November 1605, which became known as the Gunpowder plot.
Guy Fawkes was involved in digging a tunnel under the House of Lords and getting the gunpowder. However, the English authorities had become aware of the plot and were able to thwart it.
He was taken to prison and tortured.
On 31 January 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed in Old Palace Yard, Westminster.
Back to Top