From the Lewes Bonfire Council's website.
What is the Lewes tradition all about? Several things are remembered, all of which were originally undeniably sectarian:
- the burning of 17 Protestant martyrs in Lewes High Street from 1555 to 1557, under the reign of Mary Tudor;
- the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when conspirators led by Robert Catesby planned to blow up King James I as he opened Parliament, the plot being foiled by the discovery of Guy Fawkes about to ignite the barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament;
- the landing of William of Orange (William III, half of William and Mary) on 5th November 1688 to restore a Protestant monarchy.