Nine things you never knew about Guy Fawkes

1. Guy Fawkes did not die from being hung, drawn and quartered

As he awaited his grisly punishment on the gallows, Fawkes leapt to his death. He actually died from a broken neck, although his body was subsequently quartered and his remains were sent to ‘the four corners of the kingdom’ as a warning to others.

2. Guy Fawkes was not the Gunpowder Plot’s ringleader

There were 13 conspirators in the plot, which was masterminded by Robert Catesby. But it was Fawkes who was caught red-handed with 36 barrels of gunpowder, and for two days he was the only conspirator who the King’s men had captured.

3. Guy Fawkes won the unlikely admiration of King James I

Even under torture, Guy Fawkes remained defiant. He withstood two full days of torture before he confessed to plotting to blow up Parliament. His steadfast manner earned him the praise of King James, who described Fawkes as possessing ‘a Roman resolution’.

4. Guy Fawkes was actually Protestant by birth

Despite becoming the greatest enemy of the Protestant establishment, Fawkes was, in fact, born into the faith. However, his maternal grandparents were recusant Catholics, who refused to attend Protestant services.

5. Guy Fawkes has an island named after him

To the north-west of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, a collection of two uninhabited, crescent-shaped islands is named Isla Guy Fawkes, or Guy Fawkes Island.

6. Guy Fawkes liked to be called by an Italian nickname

While he was abroad, he adopted the Italian variant of his name, becoming known as ‘Guido’. This was thought to be an attempt to sound more continental and therefore more serious about his Catholic faith.

7. The Houses of Parliament are still searched once a year to make sure there are no conspirators hiding with explosives

Before the annual State Opening of Parliament, the Yeomen of the Guard search the Houses of Parliament to make sure there are no would-be conspirators hiding in the cellars.

8. The cellar that Fawkes tried to blow up no longer exists

It was destroyed in a fire in 1834 that devastated the medieval Houses of Parliament.

9. The gunpowder would have done little damage to Parliament

Some experts now claim that the 36 barrels of gunpowder had ‘decayed’, and would not have properly exploded even if ignited.