Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Guy Fawkes and punishment

Made a Guy Fawkes with the kids on Sunday. I was telling them about Mr Fawkes and his plans to blow up parliament, and how they caught him, tortured him, and burned him as a punishment. Then I told them how we carry on burning him every year... erm, as more punishment.

Is there anyone in history who has been punished more than him, for so long? Isn't it time to forgive and forget? Doesn't he have family somewhere? Surely they get fed up with all the hatred? Maybe not? Maybe modern-day Fawkes family members burn him too? "Come on, son. Time to put great-great-great......great grandad on the fire again, the dirty treacherous old bastard."

Due to some strange quirk of fate, I was born in Worcester, which is historically a rampantly royalist city who have no time for revolutionary upstarts, harbouring the fugitive King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester, etc. The quirk of fate is that one of my ancestors is Oliver Cromwell, who... well, if you did history at school then you'll know about him. Let's just say he was the biggest revolutionary upstart England has ever seen, booting out the monarchy and turning England (for five years) into a republic. He was also the winner of the Battle of Worcester, and the feller who was after Charles II's blue blood.

Anyway, after Cromwell died, the monarchy was restored and everyone turned against him. They dug him up and did some bad things to his festering corpse in London. Back in Worcester, meanwhile, they put up an effigy of his head with huge exaggerated ears (which he didn't have - look here and you'll see that Cromwell was a very handsome man), and nails through them pinning him to the wall of the Guildhall. Charming. Either side of him are King Charles I and II, just to ram the point home that Worcester is a royalist town for royalist people, and there's nothing here for republicans. And it's all still there. Every time I walk past with the kids I can say: "Look, that's what you get for getting above your station."

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