In many schools I hear teachers tell the same story about Guido Fawkes. Guy Fawkes was angry at the King and the government for the way it treated Catholics. He then brought together a team of plotters intent on killing the king and his cronies on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament. Under the cover of darkness, they broke into the House of Lords and placed a large number of barrels of gunpowder in the cellar. The plot was then discovered thanks to a tip off. Fawkes was arrested, tortured and eventually gave the names of his side kicks. All were eventually captured and executed.

Great story, but wrong in almost every respect.

Fawkes was called Guido. He was always known as Guy. He was not the ringleader. It was Robert Catesby.

The plotters did not break into the Houses of parliament. They actually took out a lease on the undercroft and had legal access. The barrels were built up over a number of months.

Fawkes did receive the death penalty but not the hanging drawing and quartering of legend. Fawkes leapt from the gallows breaking his neck in the process.

Other plotters escaped execution. Catesby and others were killed in a gunfight, while another died from illness before he could stand trial.