Sussex Bonfire Tradition.......

Bonfire night is an annual event held on the 5th November in England. History has it that in 1605 Guy Fawkes a member of the Gunpowder plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the house of lords. so celebrating King James I  survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.

Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong Protestant religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment. Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations common folk burnt Effigies of popular hate -figures, such as the pope. Towards the end of the 18th century children were begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes and so the 5th November became known as Guy Fawkes day.   In the 19th century towns such as Lewes and Guildford  there were scenes of increasingly violent class-based confrontations, fostering traditions those towns celebrate still. Lower class rioting continued in Lewes reports say  intimidation of ''respectable householders'' and the rolling through the streets of lit tar barrels. In the 1850's changing attitudes resulted in the toning down of the Observance of 5th November Act was repealed in 1859. the violence was dealt with, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a bonfire and extravagant firework displays.

Bonfire Chant

Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent To blow up king and parliament. Three score barrels were laid below To prove old England's overthrow.

By god's mercy he was catch'd With a darken lantern and burning, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bell rings.Holler boys, holler boys, god save the king.

Hip Hip Hoorah!Hip Hip Hoorah!Hip Hip Hoorah!

What shall be do with him?BURN HIM !