We were wandering around York a couple of years ago when we came across this handsome house and noticing a blue plaque I went to investigate and found that this was where Guy Fawkes was born on April 13th 1570. I thought he had been born as Guido Fawkes and was commonly known as guy, but in fact it was the other way round. His widowed mother had married a Catholic and Guy left England when he was 21 to fight on the side of the Spanish against the Dutch republic; it was at that time that he changed his name to Guido.

He was a successful soldier and in 1603 he actually went to Spain to try and gain support from the king for a rebellion against the newly crowned king of England, James 1, who was also King of Scotland, James VI.  King Philip refused to help and Guy himself was then approached by a group who were planning the terrorist campaign against the Protestant king of England, and parliament. As a successful soldier, Guy was just the man to know about explosives.

Photo0390The plot failed; it had taken nearly two years to plan and it was all but ready to take place on November 4th 1605, when Guy was captured and the gunpowder discovered, directly below where the king would have been sitting in Parliament. Although Guy was not the leader of the conspirators (Robert Catesby who died while trying to escape and was never tried) he was dreadfully and horrifically tortured for several days before giving in and signing a confession. He was sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering, but in effect he took his own life by jumping from the scaffold so the noose around his neck hanged him. This saved him from the most ghastly  end which I won’t go into detail about…

From the pictures I’ve seen of him when I was a child, which were woodcuts, I always imagined him as small and thin and dark, but apparently he was tall, a big man with red hair and a big bushy beard. He was a brave and principled man and was born here in York:

Photo0389

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