When Guy Fawkes was climbing the scaffold preparing to be hanged, drawn and quartered, I wonder if he thought: ‘They’ll put up a plaque to this one day’?

Exactly 414 years after his plot to blow up Parliament was uncovered, York’s first black plaque was unveiled to mark the grisly demise of Fawkes, one of York’s most infamous sons.

Unlike the blue plaques which commemorate a great person’s life, the York Dungeon’s black plaques are there to celebrate death.


And the Dungeon brought along its very own Fawkes to the plaque unveiling, alongside historian Prof Jim Sharpe and York town crier Ben Fry.

This took place – where else? – at the Guy Fawkes Inn on High Petergate. Fawkes is said to have been born in the cottage behind the inn in 1570.

Hero or villain?

Plaque attack
Fawkes and his fellow plotters wanted to destroy King James I and the protestant ruling class on 5 November 1605.

But after a tip-off, the cellars of the Houses of Parliament were searched and Guido was discovered with the odd 36 barrels of gunpowder.

He failed to come up with a convincing excuse and was tortured until he confessed. He was executed at Westminster on 31 January 1606.

University of York historian and Fawkes expert Prof Jim Sharpe said:

  • Guy Fawkes is an incredibly divisive figure; hero to some, villain to others.

    Whatever your view is, it cannot be doubted that he was a brave man who died for his ideals. He has become part of our national history.


The York Dungeon is running 10 Days of Torture from 5th-14th November, an experience inspired by Fawkes. Guests will learn gruesome details and grim facts about the time York’s most notorious son spent in the Tower Of London.

“This is a unique story with some really gory twists,” said the dungeon’s performance manager Rachael Garwood.

“We have a wonderful Guy Fawkes show, so it’s great to be able to expand upon this proper Yorkshire rogue.”