St. Johns Hill SW11 1SP London
Join us for the Guy Fawkes Night Celebrations in Lewes. For most people in the UK, Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night or November 5 tends to be a fairly miserable affair. A few sparklers, the Catherine Wheel that won’t turn and a modest bonfire.
This event is free of charge for our Club Members. A small deposit is required to reserve your place on this event, but this deposit will be refunded to you when you become a member.
In order to secure your entirely free place and get back your deposit you must sign up to become a Club Member before the event. If you are not a Club Member before the event takes place then you are very welcome to join us, but note that non-Club Members’ deposit will be retained to cover the event’s administration fees.
They do things differently in Lewes. Otherwise a fairly sleepy and well-to-do town, not far from Brighton and dominating the Ouse valley, come ‘the Fifth’ and the place changes from calm to a hive of pyromania and dressing up.
Meeting point: Clapham Junction Station
Please bring some drinks with you (we can get booze there, but there are long queues) and get your party hats on. And of course don’t forget to wrap up warm as it will be quite cold in the evening.
Of course, Guy Fawkes Night is a commemoration of the failed gunpowder plot of 1605. And that event is given added importance because of the 17 protestant martyrs burnt in Lewes during the 16th century.
And under all that is a spirit of subversiveness and independence that serves to show that the people of Lewes ‘wun’t be druv.’
It’s a serious spectacle and the people of Lewes, that make up the seven Bonfire Societies, get up to some serious antics.
Burn the Pope
The celebrations of Bonfire Night have a solid anti-Catholic heritage and in Lewes they take that seriously.
Cliffe Bonfire Society still march under the No Popery banner and they also burn the Pope. Not the current Pope though, the Pope in 1605 – Paul V.
March with flaming torches through town
It’s not a show or performance. For the Bonfire Societies it’s an important act of remembrance that’s been going on for centuries.
The centrepiece of the evening is the procession through town of all the Societies and the laying of wreathes at the war memorial.
Throw a burning tar barrel into the river
A burning tar barrel is dragged through town in the procession and when it arrives at the bridge crossing the River Ouse it’s pitched in with great ceremony.
Health and safety nightmare, yes. But also a pure symbol of independence and reflective of the Pagan rituals of Samhain.
As Vikings, Cavaliers, Smugglers or all sorts. The parade is a riot of elaborate costumes and clothing with many of the get-ups real works of art.
The tradition of dressing up has a serious history: in the past when the November 5th celebrations were suppressed, the Bonfire Boys continued regardless but in disguise.
DISCLAIMER and T&Cs:
By signing up to this event you confirm that you have read and consented to our terms and conditions (click to download) and waiver (click to download). You will also email signed copy of both to Sylwia on email@example.com within 3 days of making the payment for the event and no later than 3 days before the event. You also agree to a ‘no refund’ policy.
INSURANCE: You also confirm that you will be responsible for your own insurance and make sure that it is at an appropriate level for this trip and activities you will be participating in. In addition to your own Personal Civil liability insurance you will need an individual insurance for multi-risk and multi-activity holidays (expenses of cancellation, research – help, repatriation, medical expenses, theft of luggage, etc.) appropriate for the activities to be undertaken as part of the holiday. The general travel insurance is often minimal and rarely adapted to the active holidays. Please check the details with your insurance provider.
Please note that unless the trip is cancelled the payments are non-refundable as the costs need to be paid in advance. However you may be able to sell your place to your friends or other group members if you follow this procedure: