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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
 

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Posted in History

Guy Fawkes Night: The First Full 5th November Etymology

Oct. 31, 2015 9:32 pm
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November 5th in the UK is Firework Night

The BigData-ID research Method is going to Revolutionize Historical "Knowledge"

November 5th it is what we in the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland now call Bonfire Night, or else Guy Fawkes' Night or else Firework Night. But, whatever individuals call it now, the day was first celebrated as Gunpowder Treason Day.

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Public Domain

Guy Fawkes and Fellow November 5th Conspirators

November 5th public celebrations of Guy Fawkes effigy burning followed the discovery on 5th November 1605 of the plot to blow up the Protestant Houses of Parliament. Guido - "Guy" - Fawkes and fellow Roman Catholic conspirators were horribly tortured and then horrifically executed by being hung drawn and quartered.

Names for the nightly celebrations of the capture and demise of Guy Fawkes and Co and the saving of Parliament have evolved for over three hundred years.

Just like Wikipedia, my "Cassell's Dictionary of Word and phrase Origins' by Nigel Rees (1992) sums up - with unsatisfactorily vague decade only dates regarding word and phrase origins of these various names. The same criticism goes for Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (19th Edition 2012) and Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (2012).

BigDataID versus the OED

Whereas the ID method gets us back as far as 1811 (see my timeline, below and Appendix 1), The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) can get back only as far as 1826 for the first published use of "Guy Fawkes Day:

"1825 W. Hone Every-day Bk. (1826) I. 1430/2 ‘Guy Fawkes-day’, or, as they as often call it, ‘Pope-day’, is a holiday, and.., on account of its festivous enjoyment, is the greatest holiday of the season."

Worse, the OED can get back no further than 1936 for the term 'Bonfire Night', whereas the ID method takes us back to 1705 (See my timeline below and evidence in Appendix 1).

From the OED:

"1936 N. Smith 52 Yrs. at Labrador Fishery 114 We opened the Club on Bonfire Night, November 5th."

However, I never realised that Guy Fawkes was the origin of the now commonplace word 'guy'. Cassell's (1992, p. 113):

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Public Domain

'Guy: an effigy of Guy Fawkes burned on a bonfire every 5th November to commemorate his part in the gunpowder plot, an attempt to blow up King James 1st and parliament in 1605. Fawkes was executed and the name 'guy' was being applied to such an effigy by the early 19th century at least. From thence, the word was applied to any disreputable person, and thence - particularly in the US from the 1890's - to any man, good as well as bad.'

Timeline (in date order) of the 'at the time of writing' earliest discoverable use of Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th, names:

Using my original Big Data ID research method (Sutton 2014), today (1st November 2015) I conducted the first ever fully dated November 5th etymology of the origins of different names for Guy Fawkes Day.

The dates listed in the timeline in this blog post represent the first usage of these names that can be found today amongst the 35+ million books in Google's Library project. No doubt, as more books are scanned, these dates may one day be superseded by new discoveries of earlier usage. For now, however, these dates give us the first ever precise pinpointing of first known useage of various names for Guy Fawkes Day:

  • Gunpowder Treason Day - 1630
  • Gun-powder Treason Day - 1691
  • Pope Day - 1693 ( OED has earliest use of "Pope Day" at only 1826)
  • Bonfire Night - 1705
  • Pope's Day (1741)
  • Gunpowder Day - 1768
  • Firework Night - 1801
  • Guy Fawkes Day - 1811
  • Guy Fawkes Night 1832
  • Gunpowder Night - 1854
  • Gunpowder Treason Night - 1860
  • Pope's Night (USA ) - 1860
  • Fireworks Night - 1865
Further original discoveries made with the ID method can be found in my A-Z of newly busted myths in Nullius in Verba: Darwin's Greatest Secret (that chapter is free for you to to view at Amazon books at absolutely no cost whatsoever).

The ID facilitated Etymology of the Easter Bunny (here)

The ID facilitated Etymology of Halloween (here)

APPENDIX 1

Published evidence for the Full Etymology of Guy Fawkes Night (in no particular order)

Pope Day: 1693

Pope's Day: 1741

The Tripod or New satirist 1811 Guy Fawkes Day

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of "Guy Fawkes Day"?

The Catholic Magazine and Review (1832) first use Guy Fawkes Night?

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of "Guy Fawkes'Night"?

Timeline of 'at the time of writing' earliest discoverable use of November 5th idioms, words and phrases:

Gunpowder Treason Day Lohn Boys (1630)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of "Gunpowder Treason Day" and "Treason Day"?

Gun-Powder Treason Day Guy Miège (1691)

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Public Domain

Is this the first use of Gun-powder treason Day?

Gunpowder Treason Night: Samuel Greene Arnold (1860)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of Gunpowder Treason Night?

Gunpowder Day - 1768 Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 38

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of "Gunpowder day"?

Gunpowder Night (E. Monro 1854)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of Gunpowder Night?

Pope's Night (USA) Ripley and Dana (1860)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of Pope's Night?

Bonfire Night (1705) The Earl of Rochester

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Public Domain

Is this the first publication of the term Bonfire night?

Fireworks Night - Betham-Edwards (1865)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of Fireworks night?

Firework Night - Strutt (1801)

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Public Domain

Is this the first published use of "Firework night"?

 
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