English conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot to blow up King James I and the members of both Houses of Parliament. Fawkes, a Roman Catholic convert, was arrested in the cellar underneath the House of Lords on 4 November 1605, tortured, and executed. The event is still commemorated in Britain and elsewhere every 5 November with bonfires, fireworks, and the burning of the ‘guy’, an effigy.
Fawkes was born in York of Protestant parents. He became a Roman Catholic, and served in the Spanish army in the Netherlands from 1593 to 1604. The leader of the conspiracy, Robert Catesby, asked him to return to England to take part in the plot. Probably because of his experience as a soldier and his reputation for courage and coolness, he was entrusted with actually carrying out the plan. The plot was betrayed to the government, and, under torture, Fawkes revealed the names of his fellow conspirators, but, by then, they had already been captured at Holbeach.
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