About Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes is one of the most infamous characters in British history. Now, Guy Fawkes returns in a thrilling new immersive experience in Tower Vaults at the Tower of London. But who was the man behind the mask?
Guy Fawkes, born in York in 1570, is one of the most infamous faces behind the plot to assassinate King James I on 5 November 1605. But who was the real Guy and why did he take part in one of the most daring plots in British history?
Come face to face with Guy Fawkes at The Gunpowder Plot
Born into a Protestant family, Guy converted to Catholicism when his mother remarried into a Catholic family. In 1591, with a passion for his new religion and a taste for adventure, Guy Fawkes headed to Spain to fight against Protestant Dutch Reformers in the Eight Years War.
In Spain, Guy (now known as Guido Fawkes) met Thomas Winter, an Englishman scouting Spain for Catholic conspirators to bring back to England with him. Brave, skilful and military trained, Guy was the perfect fit for Thomas and the two men travelled back to England together in 1604.
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Back in England, the conspirators met for the first time. Led by Robert Catesby, a plot to assassinate Protestant King James I began to take shape. With the practice of Catholicism a crime in England - priests caught giving mass were tortured and executed - the Catholic conspirators wanted the King gone and his daughter Princess Elizabeth on the throne.
On the night of 5 November 1605 Guy Fawkes, trained in explosives from his days in the Spanish army, headed to the cellars under the Houses of Parliament. Thanks to an anonymous letter the King was warned to not attend Parliament that day, and the cellars were searched. Guy was discovered with a lamp, matches, a 36 barrels of poorly concealed gunpowder.
The plot was foiled and Guy was arrested on the spot. Transported to the Tower of London, his gruelling interrogation began. Over five separate interrogations, Guy gave up the names of his fellow conspirators and they were all captured.
On January 27th 1606, the conspirators were taken by barge from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall, where they sat trial for high treason.
Although sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, on 31st January 1606, Guy Fawkes fell from the hangman's scaffold, breaking his neck and dying instantly - some say he jumped to avoid the agony of further torture.
According to a contemporary account, "He made no speech, but with his crosses and idle ceremonies made his end upon the gallows and the block, to the great joy of all the beholders that the land was ended of so wicked a villainy."