Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!

It’s been a long time since I celebrated Guy Fawkes Night as I’ve lived in Spain for thirteen years but tonight I enjoyed telling my son all about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. It’s a very exciting story where the conspirators make a deadly plan, a dramatic escape but come to a gruesome end. The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website makes an excellent resource for telling this historical story.

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is celebrated annually on 5th November. It commemorates the Gunpowder Plot, which was the conspiracy of English Roman Catholics to blow up Parliament and James I, king of England.

James I of England

Guy Fawkes a British soldier and his conspirators rented a cellar under the House of Lords and stored 36 barrels of gunpowder. But the plot was discovered and Fawkes was arrested. Tried and found guilt he was executed opposite the Parliament building. The conspirators

Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called “the Guy”. Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying “the Guy” and beg passersby for “a penny for the Guy.” On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and firework displays fill the sky. 

Penny for the guy

Bonfire Night is not only celebrated in Britain. The tradition crossed the oceans and established itself in the British colonies during the centuries. Today, November 5th bonfires still light up in far out places like New Zealand and Newfoundland in Canada. guy-fawkes-effigy1

The events of 1605 are also remembered in a nursery rhyme.


Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.


Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website from the Parliamentary Archives


This website is packed with archival material – documents, journals, engravings, paintings and more, making it the ideal basis for historical study. Researched and written by historical and educational experts, the material is trustworthy and authoritative. The website is structured around a set of playing cards from the late 1600s. Their beautiful illustrations tell the whole story, from the plotters’ huddle in an inn to the firework displays of the present day.

Download the playing cards to use as a basis for sequencing activities, storytelling, writing or artwork.




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