Extracts from memoirs and diaries on 5th November, chosen by Ian Irvineby Ian Irvine / October 19, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
Lewes, East Sussex: the town is renowned for burning an effigy of the Pope on bonfire night
English lawyer Roger Wilbraham notes in his diary, 5th November 1605
The Lords and the Commons awaited the King’s coming to open the parliament. A week before, the Lord Monteagle imparted to the King and Council, a letter sent to his hands by one unknown & fled wherein he was advised to be absent from the parliament, for undoubtedly some great calamity would happen suddenly by unknown accident. Whereupon the King after one search about Parliament House grew so jealous he caused a secret watch & discovered one Johnson practising about midnight to make a train to fire 34 barrels of powder, hidden in a vault just under the Upper House. Johnson confessed to have been preparing eight months to blow up the King, his Queen, children, nobles, bishops, judges and all the commons assembled, if it had not been so happily discovered.
Writer and gardener John Evelyn observes in his diary, 5th November 1685
It being an extraordinary wet morning, and I indisposed by a very great rheum, I could not go to church this day, to my great sorrow, it being the first Gunpowder Conspiracy anniversary, that has been kept now 80 years, under a Prince of the Roman Religion [the Catholic James II]. Bonfires forbidden etc. What does this portend?