8 facts about Guy Fawkes

editorial image

Most people know that celebrations on November 5 commemorate the events of November 1605, when Guy Fawkes was arrested for his part in the Gunpowder Plot.

It's a great excuse to set off some spectacular fireworks - but how much do we know about Guy Fawkes, the man whose effigy is still burned atop bonfires across the country each year?

8 facts about Guy Fawkes

► He was born a Protestant but raised a Catholic from the age of eight following his father's death;

► At the age of 21, Fawkes sold his estate and travelled to Europe to fight for Catholic Spain against the Protestant Dutch;

► While in Europe, he changed his name to Guido - the Italian variant of Guy;

► Fawkes was drawn into the Gunpowder plot, which would prove his undoing, thanks to his expertise with gunpowder - gained during his adventures fighting abroad;

► The Gunpowder Plot was a conspiracy by English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant king and replace him with a Catholic head of state;

► Fawkes was caught red-handed with 36 barrels of gunpowder, stacked directly below the chair King James I would have been sitting in at the opening of Parliament;

► He withstood two days of torture - including the notorious 'rack' - before confessing to his crimes;

► Fawkes was sentenced to the traditional 'traitors' death' and was hanged, drawn and quartered - although he jumped from the gallows and broke his own neck.