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24 September 2014

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Montacute House

Montacute is linked to Bonfire Night

Somerset's fascinating fireworks facts

We all know about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot when he attempted to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament. But did you know that there are quite a few compelling connections between Bonfire Night and Somerset?

Nor did we, until we happened to stumble across one particular link between the two which got us wondering if there were any more.

We decided to dig a little deeper and as a result, we've put together this list of Somerset's fascinating fireworks facts. If you know of any more, let us know by using the form at the bottom of this page.

Did you know?

- Bridgwater Carnival is one of the largest Bonfire Night celebrations in the country and dates back to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

Fireworks celebrations

Fireworks celebrations

- Franciscan monk Roger Bacon, born in Ilminster in 1214, is the earliest recorded user of gunpowder in England.

His gunpowder was different from today's formula, being very low in saltpeter because there was no natural source available. But it contained the other two essential ingredients: charcoal and sulphur.

In 1242 he wrote: "If you light it you will get thunder and lightning if you know the trick."

- Robert Parsons, born in Nether Stowey, was a Jesuit priest who was reputed to be behind the Guy Fawkes plot to blow up Parliament

- Sir John Popham, born in Huntworth in 1533, was a Lord Chief Justice of England who took part in the trial of Guy Fawkes.

He built a mansion in Wellington which was destroyed during the Civil War and stood where there are now playing fields, south-east of The Court. His monument stands in Wellington Parish Church.

Sir John Popham was also the probable first Popham owner of the Hunstrete Estate, near Bath.

He's also buried in Wellington.

- Sir Edward Phelips, the lawyer who opened for the prosecution in the trial of Guy Fawkes, commissioned Montacute House to be built for him at the end of the 16th century.

The mansion stayed with the Phelips family until the beginning of the 20th century.

last updated: 05/11/07

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