Heritage and Culture
A Night of Fire and Cheer
Halloween has passed and, as we tidy our costumes away for another year, we settle into November. Bonfire night is just around the corner, and what better time to dig out our winter wardrobe and get the chunky knits at the ready. As the autumn months begin to wane and we see the first signs of winter, it's the perfect time to don a chunky knit woollen jumper and hat and gather around the fire to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.
Remember remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot
The fifth of November is a special day in Scotland, where families gather around bonfires and firework displays. For those who are unfamiliar with the significance of this, very British tradition, it all began in 1605. Guy Fawkes, a member of a group of provincial English Catholics, plotted in secret to overthrow the King of England. A small group of 13 men made a plan to blow up the houses of parliament, and in turn kill the King and other members of parliament who were making life extremely difficult for Catholics at the time. 36 barrels of gunpowder were stored in the cellar, just under the house of lords. As the group began to prepare their plot it became evident that many innocent people would also be harmed in the explosion. As some of the 13 plotters began to have second thoughts, one of them sent an anonymous letter to his friend, Lord Monteagle, telling him to stay away from the House of Lords on the 5th of November.
The letter reached the King and the King's forces made plans to stop the explosion. As they stormed the cellar they found the 36 barrels of gunpowder, set up and ready to go. Ensuring the explosion would occur, and waiting in the cellar, was Guy Fawkes. He was taken from the cellar and tortured and executed for his crimes.
Had they not been betrayed, it is still unclear whether or not the 13 conspirators would have managed to pull off their plan. Suggestions that the gunpowder was years too old to be active deems it useless and the plot incapable of success. Only if the gunpowder had been lit, would we know for sure.
In a time of unrest and instability, the gunpowder plot had a profound effect on the people of England. To this day the reigning monarch only enters the parliament once a year on the state opening of parliament. Before this ceremony takes place, it is customary that the yeomen of the guard search the cellars of the palace of Westminster. These days the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.
On the fifth of November, the very night that the gunpowder plot was foiled, bonfires and fireworks were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since this tradition began, the 5th of November has become known as Bonfire Night. Every year the event is commemorated with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on bonfires.
In a tongue-and-cheek sense, some wonder whether it is the foiling of the plan that is being celebrated, or the honoring of Guy Fawkes' attempt to do away with the government. Either way, in Scotland, we never let a good excuse for a celebration pass us by. As we gather around the fire with our families and friends, we bond over the warm crackles of burning wood. Ooh and Aah at the glorious firework displays around the country, and paint masterpieces in the pitch black with our sparklers.
Get yourself ready for the winter in our gorgeous range of chunky woolen knitwear. Most of our collection is hand-knitted by our dedicated team of ladies who live in the highlands of Scotland. The passion that goes into creating these wonderful winter garments means that you are getting something truly authentic, as every one is subtly unique.
Take a look at our selection and get ready for winter