Cruikshanks bobbing headded guyThe Guys!

Why Effigies? Its not voodoo!

1680-Anon.:‘Tis plainly seen, Heav'n has a careful eye,
And guards his Church from Romish vanity.

He has forbid, nor will he'er allow
That man should to a graven Image bow,
Ill grounded sure the Faith of Man must be,
That courts Salvation by offending thee,
And Christ forgets---Unless he's put in mind by Effigie.

 -From: “Emblem Books, Epigrams and Formal Satires, 1500-1850,”  In:  The Protestnts Vade Mecum (1680).  
See the Guys!-and Learn about the Effigy Tradition- Click Here!

All about the Mask Click here

To learn more about the other Guy Fawkes Day Rituals Click here
Midi Music Thomas Campion, 1567-1620, "Follow Thy Fair Sunne," 2k Lyrics

Explore Our Guy Fawkes  Pages Click here

1827-From Hone, William The Every-Day Book







  Historic Guys

bristow celebration
Bristow 1787-1876

Cruikshank's  1849 Squib Guy- Realistic but not at all serious!


Greens Plays: Green's Tabletop Theatre version of Harlequin
Guy Fawkes 1808

Cruikshank A clown like slumping 19th century 1862 
 Guy.From Chambers,Book of Days.,Vo.2, 


The Fifth of November
, L.A.G. Strong
Illustrated by, Jack Matthew, Temple Press, 1940
For more from this source
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Guys are most often seen carted in boxes with wheels as here or in baby prams. It was not uncommon to see around 100 Guys in prams entered in competitions throughout Britain offered by local Cinemas with the prizes being fireworks.

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To find your Guy!

What is an Effigy? click here

For A history of Guys in London Click here
       Tumbridge Wells 1746 Click here

Historic Guys Click here
For a gallery of  modern Guys click here

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What is an Effigy? 

Often when people think of Effigies they think of Vodoo and the use of effigies to inflict pain and suffering upon the individual.

While one can not for certain, rule this out from the thoughts of all participants in the ritual -everywhere it is safe to say that general the Guy Fawkes ritual employs effigies not to harm but to remind and remember.  We think upon those who have created evil so that it is not repeated in our own time. With this in mind the effigies of the Guy can be great teaching tools.

building a guy
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Tunbridge Wells, West Kent  1746


On March 10, 1746, with the result of the Uprising of ’45 still in doubt, the

Boston Evening Post reprinted an account of the observation of the Fifth of November in

Tunbridge Wells, West Kent, in 1745. Just days before the rebel army invaded England,

the young men of this town assembled at night, sporting painted paper caps and

shouldering guns and other, unnamed, military supplies. They made an effigy of the

Pretender, “dress’d in a Coat of Paper, a silver laced Hat, a Bag-Wig, a Cross on his

Breast, Beads in his Hands, a Halter round his Neck,” and a horse for this dummy. This

troupe addressed this town, asking that it mark the deliverance of the country from

arbitrariness, popery, and slavery - from “that execrable, inhuman and unnatural Powder-

Plot” – and join the assembly in letting the Jacobites “know” that the people of Tunbridge

Wells took satisfaction in the constitution and the government of England. Firing the

guns “with Huzzas, &c.,” the band then processed “round Mount-Sion and Ephraim, with

Colours flying, Drums beating, and Trumpets sounding,” leading the effigy of the prince

on horseback, gaining the approval of the gentry, and collecting a tribute. Chanting “God

save brave George our King/Long live our Noble King,” the men re-fired, beheaded and

torched this figure of the Pretender in a bonfire, drank healths, and, then issuing “other

Demonstrations of Loyalty,” concluded this occasion of remembrance.

-“Tunbridge Wells, Nov. 6,” Boston Evening Post, March 10, 1746. Discussed in: Doyle, Kevin Q. “Rage and Fury Which Only Hell Could Inspire”: The Rhetoric and the Ritual of Gunpowder Treason in Early America A Dissertation Presented to The Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Diss. Brandeis University, 2013, p. 212.


The History of the Use of Guy Effigies in London

William Hone, The Every-Day Book, London 1827 click here

Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor: Volume 3  1851  Click here

An Acount of Guy Fawkes Day in london 1867 click here

William Hone, The Every-Day Book, London 1827
"There cannot be a better representation of "Guy Fawkes," as he is borne about the metropolis, "in effigy," on the fifth  of November, every year, than the drawing to this article by Mr. Cruikshank. (ed. note: see above) It is not to be expected that the poor boys should be well informed as to Guy's history, or be particular about his costume.  With them "Guy Fawkes-day,) or, as they as often call it, "Pope-day." is a holiday, and as they reckon their year by their holidays, this, on account of its festivous enjoyment, is the greatest holiday of the season.....Then comes the making of  "the Guy,"which is easily done with straw, after the materials of dress are obtained: these are an old coat, waistcoat, breeches, and stockings, which usually as ill accord in their proportions and fitness, as the parts in some of the new churches.  His hose and coat are frequently "a world too wide;" in such cases his legs are infinitely too big, and the coat is "hung like a loose sack about him" A barber's block for the head is "the very thing itself;" chalk and charcoal make capital eyes and brows, which are the main features, inasmuch as the chin commonly drops uon the breast, and all deficiencies are hid by "buttoning up:" a large wig is a capital achievement. Formerly an old cocked hat was the reigning fashion for a "Guy" though the more strictly informed "dresser of the character" preferred a mock-mitre; now, however, both hat and mitre have disappeared, and a stiff paper cap painted, and knotted with paper strips, in imitation of ribbon is its substitute; a frill and ruffles of writing paper so far completes the figure.  Yet this neither was not, nor is, a Guy, without a dark lantern in one hand, and a spread bunch of matches in the other.  The figure thus furnished, and fastened in a chair, is carried about the streets in the manner represented in the engraving; the boys shouting forth the words of the motto with loud huzzas, and running up to passengers hat in hand, with "pray remember Guy! please to remember Guy. Scuffles seldom happen now, but "in my youthful days," "when Guy met Guy--then came the tug of war!" The partisans fought, and a decided victory ended in the capture of the "Guy" belonging to the vanquished.  Sometimes desperate bands , who omitted, or were destitute of the means to make "Guys" went forth like Froissart's knights "upon adventures". An enterprise of this sort was called "going to smug a Guy," that is, to steal one by" force of arms," fists and sticks, from its rightful owners.  These partisans were always successful, for they always attacked the weak.
In such times, the burning of a "good Guy" was a scene of uproar unknown to the present day.  The bonfire in Lincoln's Inn Fields was this superior order of disorder.  It was made at the Great Queen-street corner, immediately opposite Newcastle-house.  Fuel came all day long in carts properly guarded against surprise: old people have remembered when upwards of two hundred cart-loads were brought to make and feed this bonfire, and more than thirty "Guys were burnt upon gibbets between eight and twelve o' clock at night.....This firey zeal has gradually decreased.  Men no longer take part or interest  in such an observance of the day, and boys carry about their "Guys"  with no other sentiment or knowledge respecting him, than body-snatchers have of a newly-raised corpse, or the method of dissecting it; their only question is how much they shall get by the operation to make merry with.  They sometimes confound their confused notion of the principle with the mawkin, and for "the Guy" they say, "The Pope." Their difference is not by the way of distinction, but ignorance. "no popery," no longer ferments; the spirit is of the lees."1433
"On the fifth of November, a year or two ago, an outrageous sparkle of humour broke forth.  A poor hard-working man, while at breakfast in his garret, was enticed from it by a message that some one who knew him wished to speak to him at the street door.  When he got there he was shaken hands with, and invited to a chair.  He had scarcely said "nay" before "the ayes had him," and clapping him in the vacant seat, tied him there. They then painted his face to their liking, put a wig and paper cap on his head, fastened a dark lantern, in one of his hands, and a bundle of matches in the other, and carried him about all day, with shouts of laughter and huzzas, begging for their "Guy". When he was released at night he went home, and having slept upon his wrongs, he carried them the next morning at a police office, whither his offenders were presently brought by warrant, before the magistrates, who ordered them to find bail or stand committed.  It is illegal to smug a man for "a Guy".

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Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor: Volume 3  1851

(Editors Note Mayhew provides a great history of Guys in London. He then goes on to interview two boys from the streets of london who had particapated in the rituals.)

Our Street Folk: I.Street Exhibitors.: Guy Fawkeses. UNTIL within the last ten or twelve years, the exhibition of guys in the public thoroughfares every 5th of November, was a privilege enjoyed exclusively by boys of from 10 to 15 years of age, and the money arising therefrom was supposed to be invested at night in a small pyrotechnic display of squibs, crackers, and Catherine-wheels. At schools, and at many young gentlemen‘s houses, for at least a week before the 5th arrived, the bonfires were prepared and guys built up. At night one might see rockets ascending in the air from many of the suburbs of London, and the little back-gardens in such places as the Hampstead-road and Kennington, and, after dusk, suddenly illuminated with the blaze of the tar-barrel, and one might hear in the streets even banging of crackers mingled with the laughter and shouts of boys enjoying the sport. In those days the street guys were of a very humble character, the grandest of them generally consisting of old clothes stuffed up with straw, and carried in state upon a kitchen-chair. The arrival of the guy before a window was announced by a juvenile chorus of "Please to remember the 5th of November." So diminutive, too, were some of these guys, that I have even seen dolls carried about as the representatives of the late Mr. Fawkes. In fact, none of these effigies were hardly ever made of larger proportions than Tom Thumb, or than would admit of being carried through the garden-gates of any suburban villa. Of late years, however, the character of Guy Fawkes-day has entirely changed. It seems now to partake rather of the nature of a London May-day. The figures have grown to be of gigantic stature, and whilst clowns, musicians, and dancers have got to accompany them in their travels through the streets, the traitor Fawkes seems to have been almost laid aside, and the festive occasion taken advantage of for the expression of any political feeling, the guy being made to represent any celebrity of the day who has for the moment offended against the opinions of the people. The kitchen-chair has been changed to the costermongers’ donkey-truck, or even vans drawn by pairs of horses. The bonfires and fireworks are seldom indulged in; the money given to the exhibitors being shared among the projectors at night, the same as if the day‘s work had been occupied with acrobating or nigger singing. The first guy of any celebrity that made its appearance in the London streets was about the year 1844, when an enormous figure was paraded about on horseback. This had a tall extinguisher-hat, with a broad red brim, and a pointed vandyked collar, that hung down over a smock frock, which was stuffed out with straw to the dimensions of a waterbutt. The figure was attended by a body of some half-dozen costermongers, mounting many coloured cockades, and armed with formidable bludgeons. The novelty of the exhibition ensured its success, and the "coppers" poured in in such quantities that on the following year gigantic guys were to be found in every quarter of the metropolis. But the gigantic movement did not attain its zenith till the "No Popery" cry was raised, upon the division of England into papal bishoprics. Then it was no longer Fawkes, but Cardinal Wiseman and the Pope of Rome who were paraded as guys through the London thoroughfares. The figures were built up of enormous proportions, the red hat of the cardinal having a brim as large as a loo-table, and his scarlet cape being as long as a tent. Guy Fawkes seated upon a barrel marked "Gunpowder" usually accompanied His Holiness and the Cardinal, but his diminutive size showed that Guy now played but a secondary part in the exhibition, although the lantern and the matches were tied as usual to his radishy and gouty fingers. According to the newspapers, one of these shows was paraded on the Royal Exchange, the merchants approving of the exhibition to such an extent that sixpences, shillings, and half-crowns were showered in to the hats of the lucky costers who had made the speculation. So excited was the public mind, that at night, after business was over, processions were formed by tradespeople and respectable mechanics, who, with bands of music playing, and banners flying, on which were inscribed anti-papal mottoes and devices, marched through the streets with flaming torches, and after parading their monster Popes and Cardinals until about nine o‘clock at night, eventually adjourned to some open space—like Peckham-rye or Blackheath—where the guy was burned amid the most boisterous applauses. Cardinal Wiseman and the Pope reappeared  for several years in succession, till at length the Russian war breaking out, the Guy-Fawkes constructors had a fresh model to work upon. The Emperor of Russia accordingly "came out" in the streets, in all forms and shapes; sometimes as the veritable Nicholas, in jackboots and leather breeches, with his unmistakable moustache; and often as Old Nick, with a pair of horns and a lengthy appendage in the form of a tail, with an arrow-headed termination; and not unfrequently he was represented as a huge bear crouching beneath some rude symbol of the English and French alliance. On the 5th of November (1856) the guys were more of a political than a religious character. The unfortunate Pope of Rome had in some instances been changed for Bomba, though the Czar, His Holiness, and his British representative the Cardinal, were not altogether neglected. The want of any political agitation was the cause why the guys were of so uninteresting a character. I must not, however, forget to mention a singular innovation that was then made in the recognized fashion of guy building—one of the groups of figures exhibited being (strange to say) of a complimentary nature. It consisted of Miss Nightingale, standing between an English Grenadier and a French footsoldier, while at her feet lay the guy between two barrels marked "Gunpowder," and so equivocally attired that he might be taken for either the Emperor of Russia or the Pope of Rome. At Billingsgate, a guy was promenaded round the market as early as five o‘clock in the morning, by a party of charity-boys, who appeared by their looks to have been sitting up all night. It is well known to the boys in the neighbourhood of the great fish-market, that the guy which is first in the field reaps the richest harvest of halfpence from the salesmen; and indeed, till within the last three or four years, one fish-factor was in the habit of giving the bearers of the first effigy he saw a half-crown piece. Hence there were usually two or three different guy parties in attendance soon after four o‘clock, awaiting his coming into the market. For manufacturing a cheap guy, such as that seen at Billingsgate, a pair of old trousers and Wellington boots form the most expensive item. The shoulders of the guys are generally decorated with a paper cape, adorned with different coloured rosettes and gilt stars. A fourpenny mask makes the face, and a proper cocked hat, embellished in the same style as the cape, surrounds the rag head. The general characteristics of all guys consists in a limpness and roundness of limb, which give the form a puddingy appearance. All the extremities have a kind of paralytic feebleness, so that the head leans on one side like that of a dead bird, and the feet have an unnatural propensity for placing themselves in every position but the right one; sometimes turning their toes in, as if their legs had been put on the wrong way, or keeping their toes turned out, as if they had been "struck so" while taking their first dancing-lesson. Their fingers radiate like a bunch of carrots, and the arms are as shapeless and bowed as the monster sausage in a cook-shop window. The face is always composed of a mask painted in the state of the most florid health, and singularly disagreeing with the frightful debility of the body. Through the holes for the eyes bits of rag and straw generally protrude, as though birds had built in the sockets. A pipe is mostly forced into the mouth, where it remains with the bowl downwards; and in the hands it is customary to tie a lantern and matches. Whilst the guy is carried along, you can hear the straw in his interior rustling and crackling, like moving a workhouse mattress. As a general rule, it may be added, that guys have a helpless, drunken look. When, however, the monster Guy Fawkeses came into fashion, considerably greater expense was gone to in "getting up" the figures. Then the feet were always fastened in their proper position, and although the arrangement of the hands was never perfectly mastered, yet the fingers were brought a little more closely together, and approached the digital dexterity of the dummies at the cheap clothes marts. For carrying the guys about, chairs, wheelbarrows, trucks, carts, and vans are employed. Chairs and wheelbarrows are patronised by the juvenile population, but the other vehicles belong to the gigantic speculations. On the Surrey side a guy was exhibited in 1856 whose straw body was encased in a coachman‘s old great coat, covered with different colours, as various as the waistcoat patterns on a tailor‘s show-book. He was wheeled about on a truck by three or four young men, whose hoarse voices, when shouting "Please to remember the Guy," showed their regular occupation to be street-selling, for they had the same husky sound as the "Eight a-groat fresh herrens," in the Saturday night streetmarkets. In the neighbourhood of Walworth, men dressed up as guys were dragged about on trucks. One of them was seated upon a barrel marked "Gunpowder," his face being painted green, and ornamented with an immense false nose of a bright scarlet colour. I could not understand what this guy was meant to represent, for he wore a sugarloaf hat with an ostrich feather in it, and had on a soldier‘s red coat, decorated with paper rosettes as big as cabbages. His legs, too, were covered with his own corduroy trousers, but adorned with paper streamers and bows. In front of him marched a couple of men carrying broomsticks, and musicians playing upon a tambourine and a penny tin whistle. The most remarkable of the stuffed figures of 1856 was one dressed in a sheet, intended  to represent the Rev. Mr. Spurgeon in a surplice! It was carried about on a wooden stage by boys, and took very well with the mob, for no sooner did the lads cry out,-- 

"Remember, remember, The fifth of November, 

Old Spurgeon‘s treason and plot! "

 than a shout of laughter burst from the crowd, and the halfpence began to pour in. Without this alteration in the November rhyme, nobody would have been able to have traced the slightest resemblance between the guy and the reverend gentleman whose effigy it was stated to be. Further, it should be added, that the guy exhibitors have of late introduced a new system, of composing special rhymes for the occasion, which are delivered after the well-known "Remember, remember." Those with the figures of the Pope, for instance, sing,-- A penn‘orth of cheese to feed the pope, A twopenny loaf to choke him, A pint of beer to wash it down, And a good large fagot to smoke him! I heard a party of costermongers, who had the image of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias wabbling on their truck, sing in chorus this home-manufactured verse,-- 

Poke an ingun in his eye—

A squib shove up his nose, sirs; 

Then roast him till he‘s done quite brown,

 And Nick to old Nick goes, sirs. 

With the larger guys little is usually said or done beyond exhibiting them. In the crowded thoroughfares, the proprietors mostly occupy themselves only with collecting the money, and never let the procession stop for a moment. On coming to the squares, however, a different course is pursued, for then they stop before every window where a head is visible and sing the usual "Remember, remember," winding up with a vociferous hurrah! as they hold out their hats for the halfpence. At the West-end, one of the largest guys of 1856 was drawn by a horse in a cart. This could not have been less than fourteen feet high. Its face, which was as big as a shield, was so flat and good-humoured in expression that I at once recognized it as a pantomime mask, or one used to hang outside some masquerade costumier‘s shop door. The coat was of the Charles the Second‘s cut, and composed of a lightish coloured paper, ornamented with a profusion of Dutch metal. There was a sash across the right shoulder, and the legs were almost as long as the funnel to a penny steamer, and ended in brown paper cavalier boots. As the costermongers led it along, it shook like a load of straw. If it had not been for the bull‘s-eye lantern and lath matches, nobody would have recognized in the dandy figure the effigy of the wretched Fawkes. By far the handsomest turn-out of the day, at this time, was a group of three figures, which promenaded Whitechapel and Bethnalgreen. They stood erect in a van drawn by a blind horse, and accompanied by a "band" of one performer on the drum and pandean pipes. Four clowns in full costume made faces while they jumped about among the spectators, and collected donations. All the guys were about ten feet high. The centre one, intended for Fawkes himself, was attired in a flowing cloak of crimson glazed calico, and his black hat was a broad-brimmed sugarloaf, the pointed crown of which was like a model of Langham-place church steeple, and it had a profusion of black hair streaming about the face. The figures on either side of this were intended for Lords Suffolk and Monteagle, in the act of arresting the traitor, and accordingly appeared to be gently tapping Mr. Fawkes on either shoulder. The bodies of their lordships were encased in gold scale armour, and their legs in silver ditto, whilst their heads were covered with three-cornered cocked hats, surmounted by white feathers. In the front of the van were two white banners, with the following inscriptions in letters of gold:-- "APPREHENSION OF GUY FAWKES ON THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER, IN THE YEAR 1605." And,-- "THE DISCOVERY OF THE GUNPOWDER PLOT ON THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER, 1605." At the back of the van flaunted two flags of all nations. In addition to the four clowns, there were several other attendants; one in particular had the appearance of half a man and half a beast, his body being clad in a green frock-coat, whilst his legs and feet were shaggy, and made to imitate a bear‘s. The most remarkable part of this exhibition was the expression upon the countenances of the figures. They were ordinary masks, and consequently greatly out of proportion for the height of the figures. There was a strong family resemblance between the traitor and his arrestors; neither did Fawkes‘s countenance exhibit any look of rage, astonishment, or disappointment at finding his designs frustrated. Nor did their lordships appear to be angry, disgusted, or thunderstruck at the conspirator‘s bold attempt. In the neighbourhood of Bond-street the guys partook of a political character, as if to please the various Members of Parliament who might be strolling to their Clubs. In one barrow was the effigy of the Emperor of the French, holding in his hands, instead of the lantern and matches, a copy of the Times newspaper, torn in half. I was informed that another figure I saw was intended to represent the form of Bomba. In the neighbourhood of Lambeth Palace the guys were of an ecclesiastical kind, and  such as it was imagined would be likely to flatter the Archbishop of Canterbury into giving at least a half-crown. One of these was drawn by two donkeys, and accompanied by drums and pipes. It represented Cardinal Wiseman in the company of four members of "the Holy Inquisition." The Cardinal was dressed in the usual scarlet costume, while the Inquisitors were robed in black with green veils over their faces. In front of the cart was a bottle, labelled "Holy Water," which was continually turned round, so that the people might discover that on the other side was printed "Whisky." The practice of burning guys, and lighting bonfires, and letting off fireworks, is now generally discontinued, and particularly as regards the public exhibitions at Blackheath and Peckham Rye. The greatest display of fireworks, we are inclined to believe, took place in the public streets of the metropolis, for up to twelve o‘clock at night, one might occasionally hear reports of penny cannons, and the jerky explosions of crackers. 

 Guy Fawkes (Man). "I‘M in the crock‘ry line, going about with a basket and changing jugs, and glass, and things, for clothes and that; but for the last eight years I have, every Fifth of November, gone out with a guy. It‘s a good job for the time, for what little we lay out on the guy we don‘t miss, and the money comes in all of a lump at the last. While it lasts there‘s money to be made by it. I used always to take the guy about for two days; but this last year I took him about for three. I was nineteen year old when I first went out with a guy. It was seeing others about with ‘em, and being out of work at the time, and having nothing to sell, I and another chap we knocked up one between us, and we found it go on pretty well, so we kept on at it. The first one I took out was a very firstrater, for we‘d got it up as well as we could to draw people‘s attention. I said, ‘It ain‘t no good doing as the others do, we must have a tip-topper.’ It represented Guy Fawkes in black velvet. It was about nine feet high, and he was standing upright, with matches in one hand and lantern in the other. I show‘d this one round Clerkenwell and Islington. It was the first big ‘un as was ever brought out. There had been paper ones as big, but ne‘er a one dressed up in the style mine was. I had a donkey and cart, and we placed it against some cross-rails and some bits of wood to keep him steady. He stood firm because he had two poles up his legs, and being lashed round the body holding him firm to the posts—like a rock. We done better the first time we went out than we do lately. The guy must have cost a sovereign. He had a trunk-hose and white legs, which we made out of a pair of white drawers, for fleshings and yellow boots, which I bought in Petticoat-lane. We took over 3l. with him, which was pretty fair, and just put us on again, for November is a bad time for most street trades, and getting a few shillings all at once makes it all right till Christmas. A pal of mine, of the name of Smith, was the first as ever brought out a big one. His wasn‘t a regular dressed—up one, but only with a paper apron to hang down the front and bows, and such-like. He put it on a chair, and had four boys to carry it on their shoulders. He was the first, too, as introduced clowns to dance about. I see him do well, and that‘s why I took mine in hand. The year they was chalking ‘No Popery’ all about the walls I had one, dressed up in a long black garment, with a red cross on his bosom. I‘m sure I don‘t know what it meant, but they told me it would be popular. I had only one figure, with nine bows, and that tidiwated all about him. As we went along everybody shouted out ‘No Popery!’ Everybody did. He had a large brimmed hat with a low crown in, and a wax mask. I always had wax ones. I‘ve got one at home now I‘ve had for five year. It cost two and-six- pence. It‘s a very good-looking face but rather sly, with a great horse-hair beard. Most of the boys make their‘n devils, and as ugly as they can, but that wouldn‘t do for Christians like as I represent mine to be. One year I had Nicholas and his adviser. That was the Emperor of Russia in big top boots and white breeches, and a green coat on. I gave him a good bit of mustachios—a little extra. He had a Russian helmet hat on, with a pair of eagles on the top. It was one I bought. I bought it cheap, for I only gave a shilling for it. I was offered five or six for it afterwards, but I found it answer my purpose to keep. I had it dressed up this year. The other figure was the devil. I made him of green tinsel paper cut out like scale armour, and pasted on to his legs to make it stick tight. He had a devil‘s mask on, and I made him a pair of horns out of his head. Over them was a banner. I was told what to do to make the banner, for I had the letters writ out first, and then I cut ‘em out of tinsel paper and stuck them on to glazed calico. On this banner was these words:-- What shall I do next?’ ‘Why, blow your brains out! That took immensely, for the people said ‘That is very well.’ It was the time the war was on. I dare say I took between 3l. and 4l. that time. There was three of us rowed in with it, so we got a few shillings a-piece. "The best one I ever had was the trial of Guy Fawkes. There was four figures, and they was drawn about in a horse and cart. There was Guy Fawkes, and two soldiers had hold of him, and there was the king sitting in a chair in front. The king was in a scarlet  velvet cloak, sitting in an old arm-chair, papered over to make it look decent. There was green and blue paper hanging over the arms to hide the ragged parts of it. The king‘s cloak cost sevenpence a-yard, and there was seven of these yards. He had a gilt paper crown and a long black wig made out of some rope. His trunks was black and crimson, and he had blue stockings and red boots. I made him up out of my own head, and not from pictures. It was just as I thought would be the best way to get it up, out of my own head. I‘ve seed the picture of Guy Fawkes, because I‘ve got a book of it at home. I never was no scholar, not in the least. The soldiers had a breastplate of white steel paper, and baggy kneebreeches, and top boots. They had a big pipe each, with a top cut out of tin. Their helmets was the same as in the pictures, of steel paper, and a kind of a dish-cover shape, with a peak in front and behind. Guy was dressed the same kind as he was this year, with a black velvet dress and red cloak, and red boots turning over at top, with lace sewed on. I never made any of my figures frightful. I get ‘em as near as I can to the life like. I reckon that show was the best as I ever had about. I done very well with it. They said it was a very good sight, and well got up. I dare say it cost me, with one thing and another, pretty nigh 4l. to get up. There was two of us to shove, me and my brother. I know I had a sovereign to myself when it was over, besides a little bit of merrymaking. This year I had the apprehension of Guy Fawkes by Lord Suffolk and Monteagle. I‘ve followed up the hist‘ry as close as I can. Next year I shall have him being burnt, with a lot of faggits and things about him. This year the figures cost about 3l. getting up. Fawkes was dressed in his old costume of black velvet and red boots. I bought some black velvet breeches in Petticoat-lane, and I gave 1s. 9d. for the two pair. They was old theatrical breeches. Their lordships was dressed in gold scale-armour like, of cut-out paper pasted on, and their legs imitated steel. They had three-corner cock‘d hats, with white feathers in. I always buy fierce-looking masks with frowns, but one of them this year was a smiling—Lord Monteagle, I think. I took the figures as near as I can form from a picture I saw of Guy Fawkes being apprehended. I placed them figures in a horse and cart, and piled them up on apple-chests to the level of the cart, so they showed all, their feet and all. I bind the chests with a piece of tablecover cloth. The first day we went out we took 2l. 7s., and the second we took 1l. 17s., and the last day we took 2l. 1s. We did so well the third day because we went into the country, about Tottenham and Edmonton. They never witnessed such a thing down them parts. The drummer what I had with me was a blind man, and well known down there. They call him Friday, because he goes there every Friday, so what they usually gave him we had. Our horse was blind, so we was obliged to have one to lead him in front and another to lead the blind drummer behind. We paid the drummer 16s. for the three days. We paid for two days 10s., and the third one most of it came in, and we all went shares. It was a pony more than a horse. I think we got about a 1l. a-piece clear, when we was done on the Friday night. It took me six weeks getting up in my leisure time. There was the Russian bear in front. He wore a monkey dress, the same as in the pantomimes, and that did just as well for a bear. I painted his face as near as I could get it, to make it look frightful. When I‘m building up a guy we first gits some bags and things, and cut ‘em out to the shape of the legs and things, and then sew it up. We sew the body and arms and all round together in one. We puts two poles down for the legs and then a cross-piece at the belly and another cross-piece at the shoulder, and that holds ‘em firm. We fill the legs with sawdust, and stuff it down with our hands to make it tight. It takes two sacks of sawdust for three figures, but I generally have it give to me, for I know a young feller as works at the wood-chopping. We stand ‘em up in the room against the wall, whilst we are dressing them. We have lots of chaps come to see us working at the guys. Some will sit there for many hours looking at us. We stuff the body with shavings and paper and any sort of rubbish. I sew whatever is wanted myself, and in fact my fingers is sore now with the thimble, for I don‘t know how to use a thimble, and I feel awkward with it. I design everything and cut out all the clothes and the painting and all. They allow me 5s. for the building. This last group took me six weeks, --not constant, you know, but only lazy time of a night. I lost one or two days over it, that‘s all. I think there was more Guy Fawkeses out this year than ever was out before. There was one had Guy Fawkes and Punch and a Clown in a cart, and another was Miss Nightingale and two soldiers. It was meant to be complimentary to that lady, but for myself I think it insulting to bring out a lady like that as a guy, when she‘s done good to all. They always reckon me to be about the first hand in London at building a guy. I never see none like them, nor no one else I don ‘t think. It took us two quire of gold paper and one quire of silver paper to do the armour and the banner and other things. The gold paper is 6d. a-sheet, and the silver is 1d. a sheet. It wouldn‘t look so noble if we didn‘t use the gold paper. This year we had three clowns with us, and we paid them 3s. a-day each. I was dressed up as a clown, too. We had to dance p. 69] about, and joke, and say what we thought would be funny to the people. I had a child in my arms made of a doll stuffed with shavings, and made to represent a little boy. It was just to make a laugh. Every one I went up to I told the doll to ask their uncle or their aunt for a copper. I had another move, too, of calling for ‘Bill Bowers’ in the crowd, and if I got into any row, or anything, I used to call to him to protect me. We had no time to say much, for we kept on moving, and it loses time to talk. We took the guy round Goswell-road and Pentonville the first day, and on the second we was round Bethnal-green way, among the weavers. We went that way for safety the second day, for the police won‘t interrupt you there. The private houses give the most. They very seldom give more than a penny. I don‘t suppose we got more than 3s. or 4s. in silver all the three days. Sometimes we have rough work with the Irish going about with guys. The ‘No Popery’ year there was several rows. I was up at Islington-gate, there, in the Lower-road, and there‘s loads of Irish live up there, and a rough lot they are. They came out with sticks and bricks, and cut after us. We bolted with the guy. If our guy hadn‘t been very firm, it would have been jolted to bits. We always nailed straps round the feet, and support it on rails at the waist, and lashed to the sides. We bolted from this Irish mob over Islington green, and down John-street into Clerkenwell. My mate got a nick with a stone just on the head. It just give him a slight hurt, and drawed the blood from him. We jumped up in the donkey-cart and drove off. There was one guy was pulled out of the cart this year, down by Old Gravel-lane, in the Ratcliff-highway. They pulled Miss Nightingale out of the cart and ran away with her, and regular destroyed the two soldiers that was on each side of her. Sometimes the cabmen lash at the guys with their whips. We never say anything to them, for fear we might get stopped by the police for making a row. You stand a chance of having a feather knocked off, or such-like, as is attached to them. There‘s a lot of boys goes about on the 5th with sticks, and make a regular business of knocking guys to pieces. They‘re called guysmashers. They don‘t come to us, we‘re too strong for that, but they only manage the little ones, as they can take advantage of. They do this some of them to take the money the boys have collected. I have had regular prigs following my show, to pick the pockets of those looking on, but as sure as I see them I start them off by putting a policeman on to them. When we‘re showing, I don‘t take no trouble to invent new rhymes, but stick to the old poetry. There‘s some do new songs. I usually sing out,--

 Gentlefolks, pray Remember this day;

 ‘Tis with kind notice we bring The figure of sly And villanous Guy,

 Who wanted to murder the king. By powder and store, He bitterly swore,

 As he skulk‘d in the walls to repair, 

The parliament, too, By him and his crew, 

Should all be blowed up in the air. 

But James, very wise,

 Did the Papists surprise,

 As they plotted the cruelty great; 

He know‘d their intent, So Suffolk he sent To save both kingdom and state, 

Guy Fawkes he was found 

With a lantern underground, 

And soon was the traitor bound fast:

And they swore he should die,

So they hung him up high, 

And burnt him to ashes at last.

 So we, once a-year, Come round without fear, 

To keep up remembrance of this day; 

While assistance from you

May bring a review Of Guy Fawkes a-blazing away. 

So hollo, boys! hollo, boys! 

Shout and huzza; 

So hollo, boys! hollo, boys! 

Keep up this day! 

So hollo, boys! hollo, boys! 

And make the bells ring! 

Down with the Pope, and God save the Queen!

 It used to be King, but we say Queen now, and though it don‘t rhyme, it‘s more correct. It‘s very seldom that the police say anything to us, so long as we don‘t stop too long in the gangway not to create any mob. They join in the fun and laugh like the rest. Wherever we go there is a great crowd from morning to night. We have dinner on Guy Fawkes’ days between one and two. We go to any place where it‘s convenient for us to stop at, generally at some public-house. We go inside, and leave some of the lads to look after the guy outside. We always keep near the window, where we can look out into the street, and we keep ourselves ready to pop out in a minute if anybody should attack the guy. We generally go into some by-way, where there ain‘t much traffic. We never was interrupted much whilst we was at dinner, only by boys chucking stones and flinging things at it; and they run off as soon as we come out. There‘s one party that goes out with a guy that sells it afterwards. .They stop in London for the first two days, and then they work their way into the country as far as Sheerness, and then they sells the guy to form part of the procession on Lord-mayor‘s day. It‘s the watermen and ferrymen mostly buy it, and they carry it about in a kind of merriment among themselves, and at night they burn it and let off fireworks. They don‘t make no charge for coming to see it burnt, but it‘s open to the air and free to the public. None of the good guys taken about on  the 5th are burnt at night, unless some gentlemen buy them. I used to sell mine at one time to the Albert Saloon. Sometimes they‘d give me 15s. for it, and sometimes less, according to what kind of a one I had. Three years, I think, I sold it to them. They used to burn it at first in the gardens at the back, but after they found the gardens fill very well without it, so they wouldn‘t have any more. I always take the sawdust and shavings out of my guys, and save the clothes for another year. The clothes are left in my possession to be taken care of. I make a kind of private bonfire in our yard with the sawdust and shavings, and the neighbours come there and have a kind of a spree, and shove one another into the fire, and kick it about the yard, and one thing and another. When I am building the guy, I begin about six weeks before 5th of November comes, and then we subscribe a shilling or two each and buy such things as we wants. Then, when we wants more, I goes to my pals, who live close by, and we subscribe another shilling or sixpence each, according to how we gets on in the day. Nearly all those that take out guys are mostly street traders. The heaviest expense for any guy I‘ve built was 4l. for one of four figures. 

 Guy Fawkes (Boy). "I ALWAYS go out with a Guy Fawkes every year. I‘m seventeen years old, and I‘ve been out with a guy ever since I can remember, except last year; I didn‘t then, because I was in Middlesex Hospital with an abscess, brought on by the rheumatic fever. I was in the hospital a month. My father was an undertaker; he‘s been dead four months: mother carries on the trade. He didn‘t like my going out with guys, but I always would. He didn‘t like it at all, he used to say it was a disgrace. Mother didn‘t much fancy my doing it this year. When I was a very little un, I was carried about for a guy. I couldn‘t a been more than seven years old when I first begun. They put paper-hangings round my legs—they got it from Baldwin‘s, in the Tottenham Court-road; sometimes they bought, and sometimes got it give ‘em; but they give a rare lot for a penny or twopence. After that they put me on a apron made of the same sort of paper—showy, you know—then they put a lot of tinsel bows, and at the corners they cut a sort of tail like there is to farriers’ aprons, and it look stunnin’; then they put on my chest a tinsel heart and rosettes; they was green and red, because it shows off. All up my arms I had bows and things to make a show-off. Then I put on a black mask with a little red on the cheek, to make me look like a devil: it had horns, too. Always pick out a devil‘s mask with horns: it looks fine, and frightens the people a‘most. The boy that dressed me was a very clever chap, and made a guy to rights. Why, he made me a little guy about a foot high, to carry in my lap—it was piecings of quilting like, a sort of patch-work all sewn together,-- and then he filled it with saw-dust, and made a head of shavings. He picked the shavings small, and then sewed ‘em up in a little bag; and then he painted a face, and it looked wery well; and he made it a little tinsel bob-tail coat, and a tinsel cap with two feathers on the top. It was made to sit in a chair; and there was a piece of string tied to each of the legs and the arms, and a string come behind; and I used to pull it, and the legs and arms jumped up. I was put in a chair, and two old broom-handles was put through the rails, and then a boy got in front, and another behind, and carried me off round Holborn way in the streets and squares. Every now and then they put me down before a window; then one of ‘em used to say the speech, and I used all the time to keep pulling the string of my little guy, and it amused the children at the winders. After they‘d said the speech we all shouted hurrah! and then some of them went and knocked at the door and asked ‘Please to remember the guy;’ and the little children brought us ha‘pence and pence; and sometimes the ladies and gentlemen chucked us some money out of the winder. At last they carried me into Russell-square. They put me down before a gentleman‘s house and begun saying the speech: while they was saying it, up comes a lot o’ boys with sticks in their hands. One of our chaps knowed what they was after, and took the little guy out of my hand, and went on saying the speech. I kept all on sitting still. After a bit one of these ‘ere boys says, ‘Oh, it‘s a dead guy; let‘s have a lark with it!’ and then one of ‘em gives me a punch in the eye with his fist, and then snatched the mask off my face, and when he‘d pulled it off he says, ‘Oh, Bill, it‘s a live un!’ We was afraid we should get the worst of it, so we run away round the square. The biggest one of our lot carried the chair. After we‘d run a little way they caught us again, and says, ‘Now then, give us all your money;’ with that, some ladies and gentlemen that see it all came up to ‘em and says, ‘If you don‘t go we‘ll lock you up;’ and so they let us go away. And so we went to another place where they sold masks; and we bought another. Then they asked me to be guy again, but I wouldn‘t, for I‘d got a black-eye through it already. So they got another to finish out the day. When we got home at night we shared 2s. apiece. There was five of us altogether; but I think they chisselled me. I know they got a deal more than that, for they‘d had a good many sixpences and shillings. People usen‘t to think much of a shilling that time a-day, because there wasn‘t any but little guys about then; but I don‘t know but what the people now encourage little guys most, because they say that the chaps with the big ones ought to go to work. Next year I was out with a stuffed guy. They wanted me to be guy again, because I wasn‘t frightened easy, and I was lightish; but I told ‘em ‘No, I‘ve had enough of being guy; I don‘t be guy any more: besides, I had such fine money for getting a whack in the eye!’ We got on pretty well that year; but it gets wus and wus every year. We got hardly anything this year; and next I don‘t suppose we shall get anything at all. These chaps that go about pitchin’ into guys we call ‘guy smashers;’ but they don‘t do it only for the lark of smashing the guys: they do it for the purpose of taking the boys’ money away, and sometimes the clothes. If one of ‘em has a hole in his boots, and he sees a guy with a good pair on, he pretty soon pulls ‘em of the guy and hooks it off with ‘em. After I‘d been out with guys for three or four years, I got big enough to go to work, and I used to go along with my brother and help him at a coal-shed, carrying out coals. I was there ten months, and then one night—a bitter cold night, it was freezing hard—we had a naphtha lamp to light in the shop; and as me and my brother was doing it, either a piece of the match dropped in or else he poured it over, I can‘t say which, but all at once it exploded and blowed me across the road and knocked him in the shop all a-fire; and I was all a-fire, too—see how it‘s burnt my face and the hand I held the lucifer in. A woman run out of the next shop with some wet sacks, and throw‘d ‘em upon me, but it flared up higher then: water don‘t put it out, unless it‘s a mass of water like a engine. Then a milkman run up and pulled off his cape and throwed it over me, and that put it out; then he set me up, and I run home, though I don‘t know how I got there, and for two days after I didn‘t know anybody. Another man ran into the shop and pulled out my brother, and we was both taken to the University Hospital. Two or three people touched me, and the skin came off on their hands, and at nine o‘clock the next morning my brother died. When they took me to the hospital they had no bed for me, and so they sent me home again, and I was seven months before I got well. But I‘ve never been to say well since, and I shall never be fit for hard work any more. The next year I went out with a guy again, and I got on pretty well; and so I‘ve done every year since, except last. I‘ve had several little places since I got burnt, but they haven‘t lasted long. ‘This year I made a stunning guy. First of all I got a pair of my own breeches—black uns—and stuffed ‘em full of shavings. I tied the bottoms with a bit of string. Then I got a black coat—that belonged to another boy—and sewed it all round to the trousers; then we filled that with shavings, and give him a good corporation. Then we got a block, sich as the milliners have, and shoved that right in the neck of the coat, and then we shoved some more shavings all round, to make it stick in tight; and when that was done it looked just like a dead man. I know something about dead men, because my father was always in that line. Then we got some horsehair and some glue, and plastered the head all round with glue, and stuck the horse-hair on to imitate the hair of a man; then we put the mask on: it was a twopenny one—they‘re a great deal cheaper than they used to be, you can get a very good one now for a penny—it had a great big nose, and it had two red horns, black eyebrows, and red cheeks. I like devils, they‘re so ugly. I bought a good-looking un two or three years ago, and we didn‘t get hardly anything, the people said, ‘Ah! it‘s too good looking; it don‘t frighten us at all.’ Well, then, after we put on his mask we got two gloves, one was a woolen un, and the other a kid un, and stuffed them full of shavings, and tied ‘em down to the chair. We didn‘t have no lantern, ‘cos it keeps on falling out of his hands. After that we put on an old pair of lace-up boots. We tied ‘em on to the legs of the breeches. The feet mostly twists round, but we stopped that; we shoved a stick up the leg of his breeches, and the other end into the boot, and tied it, and then it couldn ‘t twist round very easy. After that we put a paper hanging cap on his head; it was silk-velvet kind of paper, and decorated all over with tinsel bows. His coat we pasted all over with blue and green tinsel bows and pictures. They was painted theatrical characters, what we buy at the shop a ha‘penny a sheet plain, and penny a sheet coloured: we bought ‘em plain, and coloured them ourselves. A-top of his hat we put a ornament. We got some red paper, and cut it into narrow strips, and curled it with the blade of the scissors, and stuck it on like a feather. We made him a fine apron of hanging-paper, and cut that in slips up to his knees, and curled it with the scissors, the same as his feather, and decorated it with stars, and bows, and things, made out of paper, all manner of colours, and pieces of tinsel. After we‘d finished the guy we made ourselves cock‘d hats, all alike, and then we tied him in a chair, and wrote on his breast, ‘Villanous Guy.’ Then we put two broomsticks under the chair and carried him out. There was four of us, and the two that wasn‘t carrying, they had a large bough of a tree each, with a knob at the top to protect the guy. We started off at once, and got into the squares, and put him in front of the gentlemen‘s houses, and said this speech:--

 Pray, gentlefolks, pray Remember this day, 

At which kind notice we bring 

This figure of sly, Old, villanous Guy, 

He wanted to murder the king. 

With powder in store, He bitterly swore By him in the vaults to compare, 

By him and his crew, 

And parliament, too, 

Should all be blow‘d up in the air. 

  So please to remember The fifth of November,

 The gunpowder treason and plot,

I see no reason

 Why gunpowder treason 

Should ever be forgot. 

So hollo, boys! hollo, boys!

Shout out the day! 

Hollo, boys! hollo, boys!

 Hollo, Hurrah!

 After we‘d finished our speech in one of the squares, and hollowed Hurrah! the beadle come out, and said he‘d give us the stick about our backs, and the guy too, if we didn‘t go away. So we went away, and got into Russell-square and Bedford-square; but there was such a lot of small guys out, that we did worse than ever we‘d done before. When we was in Southampton-street, Holborn, I finished the speech with ‘Down with the Pope, and God save the Queen;’ so four shoe-black boys come up, and says, says they, ‘What do you say, Down with the Pope and God save the Queen for?’ And I says, ‘I didn‘t mean no harm of it.’ With that they makes use of some bad language, and told me they‘d smash my head and the guy‘s too; and they was going to do it, when up comes a boy that I knew, and I says to him, ‘They‘re going to knock me about;’ so he says, ‘No they won‘t;’ so then the boys made their reply, and said they would. So I told ‘em they was very fast about fighting, I ‘d fight one of them; so with that they all got ready to pitch upon me: but when they see this other boy stuck to me, they went off, and never struck a blow. When we got home I opened the money-box and shared the money; one had 5d., and two had 4 1/2d. each, and I had 7d. because I said the speech. At night we pulled him all to pieces, and burnt his stuffing, and let off some squibs and crackers. I always used to spend the money I got guying on myself. I used to buy sometimes fowls, because I could sell the eggs. There is some boys that take out guys as do it for the sake of getting a bit of bread and butter, but not many as I knows of. It don‘t cost much to make a guy. The clothes we never burns—they‘re generally too good: they‘re our own clothes, what we wears at other times; and when people burn a guy they always pull off any of the things that‘s of use fust; but mostly the guy gets pulled all to pieces, and only the shavings gets burnt. 

Source:  Henry Mayhew. London Labour and the London Poor Volume 3. London. Griffen, Bohn and Company, Stationer’s Hall Court. 1851. 

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About...Nicholas Patrick Wiseman

Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster; b. at Seville, 2 Aug., 1802; d. in London, 15 Feb., 1865..... In the spring of 1850, just after the Gorham decision of the Privy Council, declaring the doctrine of baptismal regeneration to be an open question in the Church of England, had resulted in a new influx of distinguished converts to Catholicism, Wiseman received the news of his impending elevation to the cardinalate, carrying with it, as he supposed, the obligation of permanent residence in Rome. Deeply as he regretted the prospect of a lifelong severance from his work in England, he loyally submitted to the pope's behest, and left England, as he thought for ever, on 16 Aug. Meanwhile strong representations were being made at Rome with the view of retaining his services at home; and he was able to write, immediately after his first audience of Pius IX, that it was decided that the English hierarchy was to be proclaimed without delay, and that he was to return to England as its chief. At a consistory held on 30 Sept. Nicholas Wiseman was named a cardinal priest, with the title of St. Pudentiana. The papal Brief re- establishing the hierarchy had been issued on the previous day; and on 7 Oct. the newly-created cardinal Archbishop of Westminster announced the event to English Catholics in his famous pastoral "from outside the Flaminian Gate"."

-Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

He left Rome a few days later, travelling by Florence, Venice, and Vienna, where he was the emperor's guest; and it was here that he first learned from a leading article in the "Times", worded in the most hostile terms, something of the sudden storm of bitter feeling aroused in England, not by his own elevation of the Sacred College, but by the creation of an English Catholic hierarchy with territorial titles. Wiseman instantly wrote to the Premier, Lord John Russell, to deprecate the misconception in the public mind of the papal act; but by the time he reached England, in Nov., 1850, the fanatical fury of the agitation caused by the so-called "Papal aggression"; was at its height. Every article printed by the "Times" on the subject was more bitter than its predecessor: the premier's famous letter to the Bishop of Durham, inveighing against the pope's action as "insolent and insidious", fanned the flame: Queen Victoria showed her sympathy with the agitation in her reply to an address form the Anglican bishops; riotous public meetings, and the burning in effigy of pope, cardinals, and prelates, kept the whole country in a state of ferment for several weeks; and Wiseman in his progress through London was frequently hooted, and stones were thrown at the windows of his carriage. Nothing daunted, he instantly set about the composition of his masterly "Appeal to the Reason and Good Feeling of the English people on the subject of the Catholic Hierarchy", a pamphlet of some thirty pages, addressed to the people themselves rather than to the educated minority who in the writer's view had so grossly and inexcusably misled them. The cogency and ability of the appeal was frankly recognized by the English Press, and the political enemies of the government were not slow to point out the inconsistency of its dealings with the Catholics of England and Ireland. The cardinal followed up the publication of his treatise by delivering a course of lectures on the same lines in St. George's Cathedral, and the note struck by him was taken up by Gladstone in the House of Commons. The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, making the assumption by Catholics of episcopal titles in the United Kingdom a penal offence, was introduced into Parliament early in 1851, and became law on 1 Aug.; but it was a dead letter from the first, as Gladstone had the courage and prescience to declare that it would be. Its provisions were never enforced, and it was repealed during Gladstone's first premiership twenty years later. By the end of 1851 the No-popery agitation, as short-lived as it was violent, was dead and buried, the last nail having been knocked into its coffin by the unrivalled irony and brilliant rhetoric of the lectures on "The Present Position of Catholics", delivered by Newman in Birmingham in the summer of this year. 

"The Guys
These were not always important items in the 5th of November celebrations; it was not customary to have guys at Randwick, Chippenham, Wakefield, Bosham, near Chischester, Liphook, Alvechurch, Redditch, and parts of Swaledale." "At a few localities, e.g. Southampton, Bedford, Bristol, and Tunbridge Wells" Bonfire was second in importance to the guy. At  Newport, Monmouth-shire tar barrels were most important.

"Masks, presumably of the brightly coloured type, were used at Liphook. At Bedford and Southampton, guys were very popular.Most of the guys, especially those carried about by boys, were made by taking an old pair of trousers, an old coat, and sometimes an old waistcoat, respectively grey, blue, and brown, or any other combination of three colours.   These old garments were buttoned or sewn up and stuffed out with pieces of wood, paper, or straw, to form a clumsy-looking human figures. Any suitable materials were used for forming something that would serve as a head, with a villainous-looking, brightly coloured mask and surmounted by a tall, conical, brimmed hat, if procurable, to represent a hat of the seventeenth century.  At Exeter a century ago, a large guy specially intended to represent Guy Fawkes, carried a lantern suspended from one arm and a bundle of brimstone-tipped matches from the other arm, in allusion to his detection.  In Hereford straw guys were sometimes made and burnt.  In Worcester, the Corporation financed the proceedings and "Guy Fawkes" was paraded and burnt with great enthusiasm."- Source: 

A.R. Wright,Te.E.Lones, British Calendar Customs Vol. III, 1940, Folk-Lore Society, London. P. 147.

"Exeter Guy Fawkes Celebrations- Devonshire....celebrations of he custom in the Cathedral yard, Exeter. "On many evenings before the 5th of November, hundreds of youngsters used to assemble, letting off squibs and crackers. At about 4 a.m.. on the 5th, the inhabitants were reminded of the evening's amusements by the firing of canons from various parts of the city. After breakfast, guys of various kinds, large and small, were carried  about in order to obtain money.  Youngsters had small guys, about the size of dolls; the large guys sometimes had a lantern suspended from one arm and a bundle of brimstone matches from the other arm...."-(Reminiscences of Exeter Fifty Years Since, James Cossins, and edition, Exeter, 1878,pp.70-2) cited in: 

British Calendar Customs, Vol III A.R. Wright, T.E. Lones, The Folk-Lore Society, London 1940.

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"At Hastings, I saw placards, annoncing the grand procession which would pass through the town on the occasion, carrying effigies (If I remember rightly), and winding up with a bonfire.

At Rye I saw similar placards, acnnouncing the intended doings of the "Borough Bonfire Boys," the route to be taken bhy the procession, and the place determined for the bonfire, in which the effigies would be consumed, and warning all persons against giving anything towards the funds for the bonfires if not solicited by the authorised "Bonfire Boys."

At Folkestone I saw the procession itself, on Monday the 6th inst.  It consisted of carts or waggons (cars they were styled), decoraged, and containing tableaux vivants  contributed by the different Friendly and other Societies in the town.  Thus, the Ancient Order of Druids sent a party of Ancient Britons; the car provided by the Rev. E. Husband's Working Boys' Club represented "Algeria", where Mr. Husband is at present staying; the Mutal Benefit Society's car represented "Labour", as exemplified by a blacksmith at his forge shoeing a live pony.  The butcher's Trade Car (sent, I fear, by one firm only, not by the trade) conveyed a live bullock, with a man with a pole axe standing by his head.  The Fire Brigades also took par in the procession and so did no less than four fief-and-drum bands.  The whole was lighted by torches and Chinese lanterns, and followed a prescribed route through the town, stopping at intervals to collect money, which was given to the Victoria Hospital.  I did not get a very good view of it, but I afterwards obtained a printed programme..."- The 5th November was formerly kept in Folkestone with a great deal of rowdyism, squibbing in the streets, breaking windows, and mischief of all kinds, accompanying the usual carrying of effigies, and burning them in a bonfire on the outskirts of the town.  Especially was this the case in the older streets as High Street and Tontine Street. But I could not learn that the fishing population took any special part, or that there was any feud between them and the landsmen on that occasion. Some five or six years ago an attempt was made by the Friendly Societies of the town to remedy the disorder by organizing a joint procession on the lines of the celebrations at Eastbourne.....-Miss Burke,"  Folk-Lore, Vol V.-1894. pp. 38-40. "Guy Fawkes on the South Coast"

1881 London Illustrated News

By 1881 these Guys from an exhibition at Alexandra Palace in London have become political images. (click on the picture for a larger one)

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"Thje Fifth of November and Guy Fawkes"

(Vol. Xviii, p. 450.)

My attention has been drawn to your editorial note above referred to, asking for my belief there were neither November bonfires nor Guy Fawkes celebrations in Guernsey until the beginning of hte nineteenth century. What customs may have prevailde over here in the days before the introduction of the Reformation and the Puritanical spirit, I do not know.  But after that date, in 1565, 1567,1581,1582, and 1611, "Ordonnance" after "Ordonance" was passed by the Royal Court forbidding songs, dances, and all "jeux inlicyte," under penalty of the culprits having to do penance in church on the following Sunday, with bare heads, legs, and feet, wrapped in a winding sheet and holding a lighted torch.

These restrictions, which were framed to put an end to aught that savoured of "la superstition" as well as of "le viel levain de la Papaulté," effectually put a stop to all our primitive festival customs.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, on New Year's Eve, boys still dressed up a grotesque figure, which they called the "vieux bout de l'an," and buried or burnt with mock ceremonies in some retired spot.  But that practice also fell into abeyance until, some time in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, an English family of small farmers started a Guy Fawkes Celebration in the island.

To the country people the name "Guy Fawkes" meant nothing while they had a confused  recollection of the earlier "bout de l'an" celebrations; so to them the "Guy" was invariably known as "bout de l'an" or "budloe" (as they spelt it,"  though without any real idea of what the name conveyed.  Therefore, I think that it was the veritable "bout de l'an," and that any November fires-if any there were-had been abolished far too long to be remembered.

I sent an illustration (Pl. II. ) of our Guy Fawkes procession as it appeared in 1903, and of the accompanying appeal.  The grotesque garments of the riders as the horses wended their way by torchlight were exceedingly picturesque.  But the squibs and crackers thrown about by the rank and file of the procession were considered a menace to traffic, and I am sorry to say the Royal Court have recently abolished the whole ceremony.

Edith H. Cary

(Editor"Gurnsey Folklore").

Copy of Handbill;

Kind Friends

We now take he liberty of calling your attention to our annual Guy Fawkes  Demonstration, which takes place this evening.  We need scarcely repeat the particulars of the origin of Gun Powder Plot, or the part played by the traitor Guy Fawkes, who was captured whilst attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament, together with the King, Lords and Members.  Although this event took place some years ago, we consider it a mark of loyalty as well as amusement to thus exhibit our hatred of traitors.  Trusting, kind friends, to your liberality to assist us in this demonstration,-We remain, yours faithfully, The St. Martin's Torchlight Procession,

God Save the King"-Folklore,Vol. XIX, 1908.pp.104-105.

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Guy Fawkes Day in London.
The Youth's Companion, Feb. 14, 1867,40,7;pg.28

.From a Correspondent in London

I want to say a word or two about "Guy Fakes Day" in London.
It was once, I am told, kept up with great circumstance and splendor, but the custom has fallen into disuse, though enough remains to make a very tolerable show.
Occasionally, during the morning of the 5th of November, the shouting of boys attracted my attention, and I saw fearful-looking groups in the distance, but could not quite make out their meaning.
Fortunately, it was a clear day for the season, for you know November is styled the suicides' month, the gloomy weather being thought to affect the health of the more sensitive or diseased part of the community so much that it deranges their intellects, and causes them to end their lives by violence.
I was destined, however, to learn something of the old sports of the Guys, for while at breakfast, a procession halted directly in front of our windows. And such a looking Guy!
The rabble was composed of forlorn and ragged little English boys, who carried in a small cart, rigged for the purpose, an uncouth stuffed image, adorned with all the colors of the rainbow, and rejoicing in a nose the like of which I never saw before.
On his head this poor Guy wore a tinsel foolscap a yard or more in height, with tassels of paper and cord hanging in every direction.  A more shapeless or ludicrous object cannot well be imagined, and the renegade Guy, if he could see himself in such a guise, would surely regret his foolhardy exploit, if for no other reason.
Suddenly one of the raggedest of this laughing crew stepped out and recited as follows:

"O, don't you remember
The fifth of November-
The gunpowder treason and plot?
I don't know the reason why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Up stepped another urchin, with his brief address, which he delivered, cap in hand, with many a contortion:

"Hallo, boys ! hallo, boys, keep up the day!
Hallo, boys, hallo, boys, let the bells ring!
Bless the good queen! all good Protestants pray:
And Down with the pope! all good Protestants sing.

Then came another frowsler, dirtier and more ragged, his homely face beaming with suppressed fun while he delivered the following:

"A penny loaf to feed the pope;
A piece of cheese to choke him;
A pot o' beer to wash it down,
And twopence for sticks to burn him."

It is needles to say that the pennies were forthcoming.  The queer crowd gave a deafening cheer, up went the Guy, in his nondescript carriage, and off went the rabble, to offer the pope their benevolent wishes before the next house where the people were willing to listen.
Such a day as this is the harvest of St. Giles boys, and I very much fear that the money thu obtained is spent in some form of vicious indulgence.  It is a fact that boys of the ages of ten to fifteen are confirmed beer tipplers; and many much younger drink as often as they can get the vile stuff.
Such crowds as this were promenading the streets all day, and I, happening to go out in the afternoon-or, rather as they would say here, in the morning, somewhere about five-met a really grand Guy.  He would have been standing upwards of seven feet high, and he had the shoulders of a Hercules, the rotundity of a Daniel Lambert.
This Guy was perched in a furniture van, on a seat decked with colored cloths, banners streaming above him from all sides,  His dress was of Lincoln green, adorned with badges and buttons; his hat was immense, with a wide rim and conical crown, ornamented with red fringe and gold lace.
How he was propped up in such seemly dignity I cannot tell; but the effect was most ludicrous when one looked from the fat mud giant Guy to the diminutive, meek-faced, sleepy-eyed little donkey who trotted mechanically along under all this burden, and drew roars of laughter from the crowds that followed him.
I have no doubt the man made quite a handsome sum by his show.

Sometimes they are quite the bugbear of timid people, who, on hearing their second story windows tapped at, throw aside the curtains, to be startled by a nondescript monstrosity, staring at them with lack-lustre eyes.  Nor is the nuisance withdrawn till the penny is dropped out, often, I am ashamed to say, heated at a white heat, for the purpose of retaliation.

The Guys have it all their own way one day in the year, and the householders are particularly glad when it is over.
Nor are private families without their Guys.  The gas was lighted, and I seated quite comfortably, book in hand, when I heard a sound as of a smothered laughter, somewhere near.  I had forgotten the peculiar significance of the day, and was not, therefore, prepared to have my solitude broken in upon by four little figures that looked indeed, like Pucks and satyrs, with their masks, foolscaps and parti-colored costumes.  One, in particular, our Lewis, a bright, handsome boy, had lost his face in the semblance of a hound, and pretty little Miss. Lou shook her frilled cap over the dusky face of a very decided African.  How they frolicked, and shrieked, and jumped at my surprise! and how cunningly the little hands were thrust under their somewhat contracted garments for "a penny for the Guy!" The house usually so still, rang with the shrill sport, and every blessed little Guy tried which should out-rival the others in his comicalities-down to blue-eyed Percy, the west of the four, who capered till his little legs could hardly support the great mask he bore.
So Guy Fawkes, though he left a legacy of infamy behind him, unconsciously gave to old London one day that, above all others, may be called the "children's day".

At night comes the very same of the ragged sport. Each Guy, in some part  of his corporation, has stowed away a portion of gunpowder, and the favorite fun of London youths is to assemble their Guys together (precious little semblance to humanity is there about them at that time) in some open place, outside the city proper, and there, simultaneously, blow up Guy.

One can imagine the commotion in rags, and hay, and sawdust at such a moment; the various dilapidated coat-sleeves, and trousers-legs, and old shoes, in every stage of goneness, that fly about in the atmosphere; while the red blaze beneath and the blackness beyond; the begrimed and vagabond faces, made crimson and almost satanic by the flame; the hurly-burly mob, yelling, shouting, dancing, as with every fresh detonation rises a yell that might well be believed to issue from regions infernal make up a pandemonium easer to imagine than describe. - M.A.D.

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Gallery of Guys: 

The Guy of the Center for Fawkesian Pursuits 1997 


18th Century style "Chaired" Fawkes from Center for Fawkesian Pursuits 2002

Mid 19th centur "pantomime" style Fawkes. Center for Fawkesian Pursuits 2002.

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 How do you celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? Send us pictures of your Guys and Bonfires- before and after!

Send us information concerning your bonfire society! Let us know!


Political Rollercoaster-literary politics

Gunpowder Plot 1605

The Great Civil War
Charles I (Stuart; Anglican) captured. Queen Henrietta Maria and Charles, Prince of Wales, escape to France.
Charles I beheaded.
The Interregnum; the Commonwealth established.
Oliver Cromwell (Puritan) becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.
Oliver Cromwell dies; his son Richard attempts to succeed him.
The Restoration. Charles (II—Anglican) returns from France and takes the throne. 

James Duke of York marries Maria of Modena Catholic, Apprentices add Whore of Babylon and burn him in the Poultry- start of pope burning and Nov. 5 celebrations. Letters indicate widespread popularity of pope burning throughout the country. No mention of Guy.
Green Ribbon Club, (Pepys secretary)  whig, organized political processions. focus on queen Elizabeth I Day (accession) November 17 No mention of Guys. The holiday is re designed to threaten rather than support the monarchy.  (perhaps the same mood permeated the mentality of the street mob in its fifth activities-threatening elites, extorting money, bonfires….) 
Titus Oates Popish Plot revealed adds energy fifth of November abandoned by Whigs. The fifth is not politicized until William and Mary. Fifth of November celebrants loose political support for their bonfires and activities. Perhaps causing them to turn more toward sanctioned ritualized begging and extortion….
Exclusionary crisis to prevent James II (Catholic) from succeeding Charles II (Protestant)
Parliament does not meet. Court holds power. Problem not only succession but Lawless King Charles who dissolved parliament.

With dissolving of last exclusionary parliament and revelation of Whig plot against king pope burnings/processions  end in 1682 no more pope burnings until William arrives in 1688

Charles dies; his brother James (II; Roman Catholic) succeeds him. Threat of "popery." Anti Protestant campaigns and abuses…..

1688-William and Mary 

1688-1788  Threat of Young Pretender (Jacobite Risings of 1715&1745)

James II dies in France. Act of Settlement directs succession, should Anne die childless, to the (Protestant) House of Hanover--unless "the Old Pretender," James (son of James II) or, later, Bonnie Prince Charlie, "the Young Pretender," would ! abjure Roman Catholicism 
William dies; Anne (Mary's Anglican sister) succeeds.
Anne dies; Dynastic crisis; George I (of Hanover) succeeds unopposed.

Charles Edward Stuart (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) born in France to James (the Old Pretender).

South Sea Bubble

Period of worries over lasting status of Hanoverian succession…..Bucks, Mug Clubs

James "the Old Pretender" dies in France. 

Boston: Pope Day Broadside from 1768

South end forever [cut] North end forever. Extraordinary verses on Pope-night. or, A commemoration the fifth of November, giving a history of the attempt, made by the papishes, to blow up king and Parliament, A. D. 1588. Together with some account of the Pope himself, and his wife Joan: with several other things worthy of notice, too tedious to mention. Sold by the printers boys in Boston [1768]. 

American Revolution begins. 

Watt's first efficient steam engine. 
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

American colonies declare their independence. 

Possible concern of Popes day leading to radicalism in Britain


Lord North resigns due to defeat in america; full Parliamentary government restored. 
Peace treaty signed in Paris between Great Britain and the United States.

Charles James Fox (1749-1806) and Lord north Coalition removed by George III  as a result of satire and comics (James Gillray (1756-1823) James Sayers (1748-1823)

Fox is out March
Bonnie Prince Charlie Young Pretender dies in France.
Bastille falls; French Revolution begins. 

Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals  -Utilitarianism. 

Concern of French invasion, instability, spread of radicalism

1793- Guy Fawkes Or The Fifth of November a Prelude 
in One Act 1793, Theater Royal,


Invasion of England threatened. 

1808-Green's Tabletop Theatre version of Harlequin 
Guy Fawkes 1808

Prince of Wales named Regent to act for George III, now insane. 



Luddite riots in the North and the Midlands. Laborers attack factories and break up the machines which they fear 

Height of satire according to Palmeri 1815-25

George III dies; succeeded by Prince Regent as George IV. Cato Street Conspiracy 

Transition from verse satire to comedy according to Palmeri begins after 1825

1827- William Hone, The Every-Day Book, London 1827
p.1429- Writes about fully developed customs of Guys,lack of proper realistic guy noted smugging for guy….

Catholic Emancipation Act

Peel establishes the Metropolitan Police. 
George IV dies; his brother William IV succeeds. 

Manchester - Liverpool Railway (first in England). 

With 1830 watch for shift to more comic less critical

First Reform Bill: adds £10/year householders to the voting rolls and reapportions Parliamentary representation much more fairly, doing away with most "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs. Adds 217,000 voters to an electorate of 435,000. 

Four four years stamp act resisted as tax on knowledge according to palmeri

Jerold (Q)Edits Punch Q essays support radical democrat positions opposed to hierarchies of wealth and power in church and state according to palmeri

Does not endorse Chartism but understands disappointment of reform bill these continue till 1844 when they decline.  Then thackery begins…does not attach church as much as aristocracy and state anti snobs that is worship of rank every rank above unpropertied workers

Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. 

Factory Act. 
New Poor Law

Houses of Parliament burn down. 

1835-53 Comic Almanack

1835-  Cruikshank rhyme of the vagabond boys…teach 'em to hate all those of a different creed etc….
Chartist movement

1836-Lowering of stamp costs changes orientation from moderate, mediating positions in extreme radical positions out of sphere of respectable public discussion. (1836 cruikshanks comic alphabet e=equality with skeptical darkened poor and light colorful wealthy….)

1836-Dickens reviews Harelequin Guy Fawkes in Sketces by Boz, The Pantomime of life

William IV dies; succeeded by his niece, Victoria
January 1840-November 1841
Ainsworth begins serial publication of Guy Fawkes his stated aim to enforce the  doctrine of toleration financial success-insists on Cruickshank illustrations


1841-2002  Punch

Chartist Riots.

Copyright Act. 

1843-Cruikshank goes away from radical sympathy to attack Chartists and Owenite socialists.

Mayhew mentions first Monster Guy
Potato Failure in Europe; starvation in Ireland. Corn Laws (which had kept up the price of grain) repealed.
Satiric criticism of hypocrisy and corruption in church cease in punch Jerold looses to Thackery
My Wife is a woman of mind in Comic Almanac under Cruikshank and Mayhew punch  shifts from radical and democratic to liberal and Whiggish takes middle ground less radical more comfortable comic paper for middle class as opposed to satirical scourage of rich and powerful.
Revolutions in Europe. 

Queen's College (for women) founded in London. 
Cruikshank's Guy Fawkes Squib written with Mayhew Guy Fawkes as a comic figure in comic situations. 
Social Satire has replaced political in Cruikshank and almanac thackery moves toward decency and respectability kinder and more loving characters

Dicken's novels become more dark toned social criticism but satire not critique-plots not concerned with changing, overcoming, or alternatives but relations between members of society and personal fates…

Dickens writes Child's History of England with Fawkes and plotters in more positive dramatic/heroic light than "sowship"  James.

Cardinal Weiseman and Papal aggression energizes the celebration

Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor: Volume 3  1851 Detailed description of ritual with interviews. Notes that custom was well developed for 10-12 years. The trend of large organized almost corporate guys mentioned raising money to support merchants in slack periods.
Second Reform Bill: enfranchises many workingmen; adds 938,000 to an electorate of 1,057,000 in England and Wales. (Disraeli's legislation)

South African diamond fields discovered. 
Fenian rising in Ireland. 
University Tests Act removes religious tests at Oxford and Cambridge. 

Trade unions legalized. 
Newcastle engineers strike for a nine-hour day. 
Germany unified. 
Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy, and Austria). 

Married Women's Property Act enables women to buy, own, and sell property, and to keep their own earnings. 
Third Reform Act and Redistribution Act extend vote to agricultural workers; electorate tripled. 
London dock workers and match girls strike for 6d./hour. 
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