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Guy Fawkes
- Favourite Briton.

Born in York, North Yorkshire
Born on 13rd of April 1570
Died on 31st of January 1606

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Guy Fawkes has entered British folklore for his attempt to blow up King James I and his Parliament in 1605. Regarded as a terrible villain in his own day he has become something of a hero in more recent times, if only for the fun of November 5, which is intriguing given the close parallels between his story of religious terrorism and those of contemporary zealots prepared to use similar violent tactics.
Fawkes was born in York on April 13 1570, his parents reasonably well-to-do (his father a lawyer of some description), both Church of England adherents. Three years after his father died in 1579 his mother married a Catholic, Dennis Bainbridge, an influence in religious matters; his education at St Peter’s School in York, with one of his teachers the Catholic John Pulleyn, likewise moved him towards his eventual adoption of the Catholic faith in 1586.
In his youth lowly work for the noble Montagu family was unrewarding. When 21 he came into his inheritance, soon sold off. He had little stake in his homeland, and travelled abroad to fight for his Spanish co-religionists in the Netherlands under the command of Sir William Stanley, becoming an expert in explosives in the 10 years he spent soldiering.
It was possibly Stanley who arranged for Guy’s involvement with the fanatical gunpowder plotters headed by Robert Catesby. Their attack was delayed several times, until eventually the opening of Parliament on November 5 1605 was chosen. Cellars beneath Parliament had been hired and packed with gunpowder. Fawkes was ready to die in the attempt if necessary, an early suicide bomber, though his riding cloak and spurs ready for a quick getaway drew attention to him. He was grabbed only inches away from lighting the fuse when discovered.
Fawkes suffered horrific torture in the Tower after his capture, to force the names of other conspirators from him. He resisted for three days, and even then only gave names already known to his torturers. After his brief trial at Westminster on January 31 1606 he was to be hanged, drawn and quartered the same day in the Old Palace Yard, but Fawkes avoided disembowelment while alive by jumping from the gallows once his head was placed in the noose, snapping his neck cleanly.

Links: Educational site Bonfire Night

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Brit Quote:
Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay. - Robert Browning
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On this day:
Robert the Bruce Crowned King of Scotland - 1306, slave trade is abolished in the British empire - 1807, World’s first passenger train service begins - 1807, Cambridge Sink In Boat Race - 1978
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