17th Century Treason: Guy Fawkes Day

17th Century Treason: Guy Fawkes Day

Gunpowder, treason and plot

Friday 4th November 2016

'Remember, remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ‘twas his intent

To blow up the King and Parliament

Three score barrels of powder below

Poor old England to overthrow

By God’s providence he was catched

With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys

God save the King!’


As this traditional poem indicates, bonfire night is much more than the spectacular fireworks displays we have come to know and love. The roots of this British pastime began in the early 17th century when England was facing turbulent times. King James I of England was new to the English throne and at the beginning of his reign in 1603 had relaxed some of the harsh religious laws which had been imposed on Catholics.

The religious toleration did not last, and by 1605 a band of conspirators hatched a revengeful plot to blow up the parliament and the King. Over thirty barrels of gunpowder was collected by the group and was placed directly beneath the Palace of Westminster. The ‘Gunpowder Plot’ never came into fruition as on the night of the 4th November Guy Fawkes was discovered guarding the barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was set to be executed in January 1606 under the charge of High Treason for his participation in the plot. He died moments before his execution, falling to his death from the scaffolding.

Intrigued by the 17th century? At Berganza we have a few rare pieces from this extraordinary time period. Visit our website and purchase your very own piece of history.

Stuart love knot ring, circa 17th century berganza hatton garden
Stuart rock crystal love knot ring, circa 17th century.
Ref: 27524
Tudor table cut diamond ring, circa 1485 1603. Hatton Garden
Tudor table cut diamond ring, circa 1485-1603.
Ref: 27576
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Updated 31/03/2023 at 4:17PM

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