THERE ARE special celebrations at Ashby St Ledgers, in Peterborough
diocese, this year. It was once the home of the arch-conspirator
Robert Catesby, and what is being commemorated is the 400th anniversary of the
“There is no evidence that Guy Fawkes himself ever came to Ashby,” says Jill
O’Grady, a primary-school teacher, and one of the organisers.
Nevertheless, every year around 5 November the Church of the Blessed Virgin
and St Leodegarius runs workshops for schoolchildren aged seven to 11 (“one lot
were almost entirely Hindu”). Having shown the children round the church (“so
many have never been in a church before”), the churchwarden dresses up as Guy
Fawkes and tells them the story of the Plot.
That will happen again in November; but this weekend they are also having a
festival day, during which the village will become Jacobean once more.
There will be the ancient crafts of bow-and-arrow- making, blacksmithing,
and musical-instrument making; together with Jacobean singing and dancing, and
a children’s play about Guy Fawkes. In the evening there will be an open-air
All this, it is hoped, will help raise money towards the £140,000 needed to
restore of the church. And, yes, they do have bonfires on Bonfire Night, and
Guido Fawkes does get burned.