Who’d have guessed that a young boy from Stirling would end up at the centre of one of the biggest and brightest events in the nation’s calendar? I am of course referring to Bonfire Night and the boy who grew up to be King James VI Scotland & I of England.
In 1566 Mary Queen of Scots orchestrated one of the biggest celebrations in Stirling Castle’s history to celebrate the baptism of her son, James. One of the highlights of the festivities was a spectacular fireworks display, one of Scotland’s first. Watching fireworks explode in the night sky and fall gloriously over the castle was an amazing and memorable sight in 16th Century Scotland as it still is today.
Fast forward some 40 years and James would find himself once again at the heart of a very different, but no less historic fireworks display.
In 1605 Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators filled an undercroft below the House of Lords with firewood, coal and gun powder which they planned to detonate during the state opening of parliament. The most high profile of their intended targets was King James.
Alas Fawkes was caught red handed and the plot foiled with James escaping the attempt on his life. Fawkes and the plotters unfortunately did not.
So this bonfire night as you look to the dark skies illuminated by magnificent fireworks remember, remember the boy from Stirling Castle at the centre of the story.