Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night

Posted by Ruth Weston on

Remember, remember... the 5th of November...

And tomorrow, Nov. 5th, is Guy Fawkes Day, commemorating the day in 1607 when a plot, led by Guy Fawkes, was foiled as he attempted to blow up Parliament. The day has always been celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and the effigy of Guy Fawkes, lovingly called The Guy, tossed on the flames to much mirth and partying.  The kids get into the spirit of the thing by collecting money for weeks before with the cry "Penney for the Guy" which they use to buy fireworks.  Here are a few historic photos of kids and guys I found....




This first photo with a group of kids looks exactly like one my husband's family have of the neighborhood children and their guy beside the bonfire pile in the late 1940s where he grew up in Lady Wood just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.



This photo of 2 boys collecting "for the guy" is from the website and dates to the early 1950s



This photo is from the 1930s from



This is an illustration by the great Cruikshank from 1827 of the Guy being carried to the bonfire.


The traditional poem is:



Guy Fawkes Day Poem

Traditional British


Remember, remember, the 5th of November


The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;


I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason


Should ever be forgot.


Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,


'Twas his intent.


To blow up the King and the Parliament.


Three score barrels of powder below.


Poor old England to overthrow.


By God's providence he was catch'd,

With a dark lantern and burning match


Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring


Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!


Hip hip Hoorah !


Hip hip Hoorah !



The tradition that both my family and my Honey's liked best, was the passing around of the potatoes cooked in the coals of the bonfire. I think the older folks liked the cider or beer that was usually circulating, and we all loved the fireworks. The USA's 4th of July is the closest we come, but with a different flavor!

For a great website with some 1940s Guy Fawkes old movies, I found:

Burning Down The House: Dangerous Guy Fawkes Videos  which is quite fun!  PLEASE DO NOT TRY THESE THINGS AT HOME!!!

On a more elegant note, Downton Abbey Cooks... aka Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey... did a great post with great info on their local Guy Fawkes, and some great recipes.

The Yorkshire Parkin, is a favourite of my husband's family, as his father came from Yorkshire. Making it tonight. I even have my tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup at the ready...



Here is the recipe...




Prep Time

Cook Time






Servings: servings



  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix together flour and spices.  Stir in the rolled oats.  Gently melt treacle, golden syrup and applesauce over low heat. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in melted ingredients.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in warmed milk and add to mixture, And then add the egg.   Mix to a soft batter and pour into a greased square 9 x 9 pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Your parkin should be an even brown color and have shrunk away slightly from the sides of the pan when properly baked.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Although you can eat the cake right away, it gets stickier and more flavourful if you wrap and store it for several days. Stored in an airtight container and it will keep for weeks.
  7. Serve on its own as squares, or as a cake with your favorite whipped topping.  You know me, I love non fat greek yoghurt sweetened with honey.

Recipe Notes

Try using parkin to create an autumnal version of English trifle.

Here is a link to the newsletter:


Have a great time and stay safe celebrating bonfire night!


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