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WI Meeting October 2021

Remember, Remember the fifth of November

Fairwarp WI met again in the village hall for their October meeting where our speaker, Andy Thomas, gave us a fascinating insight into the history of Lewes and their bonfire night tradition. He explained that it all started with the Lewes Martyrs – a group of 17 Protestants who were burned at the stake between 1555 and 1557 as part of the persecution of Protestants during the reign of Mary 1. Consequently, Lewes bonfire night is a night based on a long tradition of remembering those martyrs and rejecting the pope from that time Pope – hence the ‘No Popery’ banners hoisted for 5 November.

In fact, there are seven bonfire societies representing different parts of the town and they all converge on the High Street which is why there seem to be so many passing by with a number of them carrying 17 burning crosses to represent the martyrs. Each bonfire society has its own bonfire to light (which are all guarded before the night) and there are six firework displays going off across the town so the sky is alive with lights. It is a huge, loud and fire-filled spectacle (not for the faint-hearted) that attracts 40-50k people and raises massive amounts for charity. Mainly ticketed these days the best way to find out how to witness this amazing event to contact Lewes Tourist Information…if you dare!

Tracy Atchison

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