Gunpowder, Treason and Plot: Lewes Bonfires

“Remember, remember the fifth of November:
Gunpowder, treason and plot”

Lewes has celebrated Bonfire Night in its own unique way for centuries; not only commemorating the uncovering of the 1605 ‘Gunpowder Plot’, wherein English Catholics tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up a secret cache of gunpowder kegs hidden in the cellars below the House of Lords; but also in memory of the seventeen Protestant martyrs of Lewes who were burned at the stake during the Marian Persecutions. 5th November is very serious business in Lewes, with the generations (quite literally) carrying the torches of their ancestors.

Nowadays effigies of Guy Fawkes and Pope Paul V are still paraded through the streets before being burned, along with several other topical effigies. Firecrackers and bangers are allowed to be fired indiscriminately in the streets – I am somewhat more deaf tonight than I was this morning after multiple bangers fired inches from my feet.

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