Fawkes, Guy

Fawkes, Guy
born 1570, York, Eng.
died Jan. 31, 1606, London

British conspirator.

A convert to Roman Catholicism and a religious zealot, Fawkes joined the Spanish army in the Netherlands in 1593 and became noted for his military skill. In 1604 he returned to England and joined a group of Catholic zealots intent on blowing up the Parliament building. When details of this Gunpowder Plot were discovered
Fawkes had planted and camouflaged at least 20 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the Parliament building
Fawkes was arrested on Nov. 4, 1605. After being tortured to reveal the names of his accomplices, he was tried and executed opposite the Parliament building. England celebrates Guy Fawkes Day on November 5 with fireworks, masked children begging "a penny for the guy," and the burning of Fawkes in effigy.

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▪ English conspirator
born 1570, York, Eng.
died Jan. 31, 1606, London
 British soldier and best-known participant in the Gunpowder Plot. Its object was to blow up the palace at Westminster during the state opening of Parliament, while James I and his chief ministers met within, in reprisal for increasing oppression of Roman Catholics in England.

      Fawkes was a member of a prominent Yorkshire family and a convert to Roman Catholicism. His adventurous spirit, as well as his religious zeal, led him to leave Protestant England (1593) and enlist in the Spanish army in the Netherlands. There he won a reputation for great courage and cool determination. Meanwhile, the instigator of the plot, Robert Catesby (Catesby, Robert), and his small band of Catholics agreed that they needed the help of a military man who would not be as readily recognizable as they were. They dispatched a man to the Netherlands in April 1604 to enlist Fawkes, who, without knowledge of the precise details of the plot, returned to England and joined them.

      The plotters rented a cellar extending under the palace, and Fawkes planted at least 20 barrels of gunpowder there and camouflaged them with coals and fagots. But the plot was discovered, and Fawkes was arrested (Nov. 4, 1605). Only after being tortured on the rack did he reveal the names of his accomplices. Tried and found guilty before a special commission (Jan. 27, 1606), he was executed opposite the Parliament building.

      England's celebration of Guy Fawkes day (November 5) includes fireworks, masked children begging “a penny for the guy,” and the burning of little effigies of the conspirator.

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Universalium. 2010.

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