A Yorkshire Bonfire Night


“Remember, remember the fifth of November”

You’ll probably have heard this rhyme time and time again if you went to primary school in the UK, these days we celebrate the 5th November by wrapping up warm and going to a bonfire and watching the fireworks. In this blog we’ll look at the story of bonfire night and why we celebrate it, plus the best bonfires in Yorkshire you have to attend… and one we’ll be at with our pork pies!

Bonfire night is celebrated in the UK because of a foiled plot against the Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605. It was in an effort to destroy the Houses of Parliament during state opening and kill all inside – including the King. Due to the explosives involved, it became known as the Gunpowder Plot. This is common knowledge, however do you know the rest of the story?

Guy Fawkes was only 35 when he died. Born April 13th 1570 in York, he was born Protestant however when his father died and his mother remarried when Guy was 12, he converted to Catholic under the influence of his new stepfather. This wasn’t to be taken lightly in these days – converting to Catholic was a big deal in a country with the ruling religion of  the Church of England – one which would not tolerate Roman Catholicism. Persecution of those practicing the Catholic faith during the 1580s and priests were being sentenced to painful deaths. We think it’s important to acknowledge this aspect of it as it’s due to this oppression that Guy held such anger and resentment for the crown and parliament. He even left Protestant England to fight with the Catholic Spanish army in Holland in the Eighty Years War. During his time in the Army, he developed an understanding of how explosives worked and began to call himself Guido Fawkes, the Italian variant of his name, to sound more Continental – making him sound more serious about his faith.

Fawkes wasn’t the only one involved in the plot – there was actually 13 conspirators, masterminded by Robert Catesby who had a history of speaking out against the crown. Fawkes has been remembered through history however due to the fact his role was to sneak into the cellar below the House of Lords and set off the explosives. He was, of course, caught red handed with 36 barrels of gun powder, for an entire two days he was the only one of the 13 men that was caught. After capture, he was tortured in an attempt to extract a confession for the plot. King James I was strangely impressed by Fawkes, saying he possessed, “a Roman resolution,” as he remained defiant for two whole days of torture before he confessed. His confession? That his intention was, “to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains.”

Today, due to tradition, the Houses of Parliament are searched once a year to make sure there’s no conspirators hiding with explosives – it’s tradition these days rather than a serious threat. To celebrate over 400 years later, we light bonfires, fireworks and festivities. It was in 1910 that firework manufacturers began to call the night ‘fireworks night’ to cash in on the night, children carried round a Guy Fawkes effigy and asked ‘penny for the Guy’ to finance their fireworks.


So which event in Yorkshire are you going to attend this Bonfire Night?

Rudding Park, Harrogate

4th November

The bonfire will be lit at 6:30pm and there’ll be fireworks at 6:50pm with pie and peas and a disco. We love the events at Rudding Park and we bet this one will be amazing!


Elland Community Bonfire, Elland

4th November

This bonfire in Elland is in air of charity and will be £5 for adults and £2.50 for under 12 and promises to be a great night with 2 firework displays, bonfire, fire dances, food stalls and fairground rides and stalls. Gates open at 5:30 so make sure you get there with plenty of time to enjoy all the fun before the main fireworks at 7:15pm. (Times subject to change)


Roundhay Park Bonfire, Roundhay

3rd November

The Roundhay bonfire is the biggest bonfire in Leeds with a huge bonfire and incredible display starting at 8pm. Note this year it’s being held on Friday 3rd November so the most people can attend as possible.


Bedale Bonfire, Bedale Park

4th November

The Bedale bonfire and fireworks night is a spectacular event which is free to attend will begin at 6:30pm with the lighting of the bonfire and the fireworks will begin at 7pm. We’re excited for this one as we’ll be attending it this year with our delicious Yorkshire pork pies! So get your wellies, hat and gloves on and come stand round the bonfire and watch the fireworks with us and our pies! It’s a great night that we love to go to and are so excited for this years event!


Are you excited for bonfire night? Don’t remember to eat the traditional Yorkshire bonfire night delicacy; pie ‘n’ peas!

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