On the 31st of January 1606, Guy Fawkes was taken from the Tower of London to the Garden of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, where he was hung, drawn and quartered.
Guy Fawxe was born on the 13th of April 1570 and baptised on the 16th of April that years at Saint Michael-le-Belfrey, York. He was the only son of Edward Fawkes and Edith Blake. Edward was proctor of the ecclesiastical courts and advocate of the consistory court of the Archbishop of York. Guy’s paternal grandmother was the daughter of a merchant, one time mayor of York. When she died in 1575 she left Guy her ‘best whistle and an angel of Gold’.
Guy went to St Peter’s School in York, where possibly John and Christopher Wright, both conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, were also educated. At St Peter’s, Guy was taught by John Pulleyn, who was a suspected Catholic. How much influence he may have had on Guy cannot be determined at this stage, but it is clear that Guy’s parents were staunch Protestants and brought their son up in that faith.
Edward Fawkes died intestate in 1579 and his property went to Guy.
Some time after 1585, Edith Fawkes married Dionis Baynbridge of Scotton, Yorkshire. Dionis was related to many great Catholic families and was a known recusant. and it would seem that Guy renounced his earlier faith and became a Catholic at this time.
As soon as he came of age and took possession of his inheritance, Guy made arrangements to lease the property and in 1593 left England for Flanders where he enlisted in the Spanish Army. In 1595, Guy was in the Spanish army that captured Calais and he was, according to one source, ‘sought by all the most distinguished in the archduke’s camp for nobility and virtue’.
The story of the Gunpowder Plot is too well known to be recounted here. Guy Fawkes was arrested at the proposed scene of the crime, and refused to divulge his co-conspirators until tortured on the rack.
Recently some historians have argued that the conspiracy was really devised by Robert Cecil,who, it is claimed, blackmailed one of the conspirators into organising the plot. The idea was to make Catholics so hated that Cecil would have no problem in passing further laws restricting and passing Catholics. Certainly such laws were passed immediately following the plot.
James I adapted the existing custom of celebrating the accession of a monarch with nationwide bonfires by passing a law making the festivities an annual event on November the 5th.
It may be that in 1605 Guy Fawkes was seen as the ‘ultimate’ villain, however, times change and according to to Wiki, Guy Fawkes was ranked 30th in the 2002 list of the 100 Greatest Britons, sponsored by the BBC.