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Author Topic: 'Burning the Bishops', 5th November, 1831  (Read 2855 times)

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'Burning the Bishops', 5th November, 1831
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 14:47:40 »
Guy Fawkes night, 1831, Canterbury, Sittingbourne, Crayford and Sheerness.

The Reform Act was passed in 1832, its aim being to make constituencies more representative.
In 1831 twenty-one of the twenty-two bishops in the House of Lords voted against the bill.

The Bishops
"We cull the following specimens from the country papers of the honours paid to the Bishops in the 5th of November:

 "Guy Fawkes" Day was celebrated in this city
(Canterbury) by the usual perambulation of countless urchins on Saturday last, "tricked out in motley," and chaunting a version of their doggrel chorus, in which the emblematical dispersion of the Bench of Bishops was merrily, if not wisely, treated. We have heard that some old ladies felt considerable alarm at the liberal innovation of engrafting modern allusions on the obsolete nonsense of the good old no-popery times! However, as might have been anticipated, no explosions but those of laughter took place, though we will not say that the popularity of the Bishops was augmented by the public commemoration of their offences. In one party, a strapping fellow "in full canonicals," worthy of an Archbishop at an installation, occasioned considerable mirth by stopping so frequently at the various public houses which he encountered in his visitation; and in the words of his song, too often "going to pot," that at last His Grace became "the worse for liquor," and most unepiscopally reeled into the dirt amid laughter, jeers and hootings, which his Grace invited as a compliment, due to his order making at last an inglorious retreat, all battered, dismantled and beplastered with mud.
The heavy rains dispersed the minor performers, and peace, even on the tremendous anniversary of the 5th of November, prevailed in the good City of Canterbury.
The Mayor, to prevent the possibility of disorder, had judiciously forbidden the display of fireworks or bonfires at night. The population of this city considering that sufficient honour had not been done to the Bishop on Saturday evening, had a grand Aut-da fe in the High-street last night, when an effigy of his Reverence was burnt in the presence of a large concourse of people, who honoured his departure with loud groans and execrations.
Kent Herald.   

Sittingbourne.- On Monday evening the effigy of a Bishop, holding in his hands several of the late numbers of The Kentish Gazette, was burnt in the Butts of this town, amid the execrations of the inhabitants.

Crayford.-The 5th of November was celebrated at this place on Saturday, in a manner somewhat more novel than gratifying to the Anti-Reformers. Instead of the effigy of Guy Fawkes, that of a Bishop was paraded round the town, and then carried to Dartford, where his Grace was met by a great number of the inhabitants, provided with torches, & who accompanied him through the streets, testifying their feelings by cheers at the houses of the Reformers, and tremendous groans at those of the Clergymen and others hostile to the bill. The party subsequently returned to Crayford, and his Reverence was then burnt on the Church-green, where nearly fifty faggots had been placed to form his funeral pile.
The following new chaunt was used on the occasion.

"Remember, remember,
That God is the sender,
Of every good gift unto man;
But the D----l, to spite us;
Sent fellows with Mitres,
Who rob us of all that they can.
Whilst thousands are starving,
These wretches are carving
rich slices from the state pie;
And so long as they revel in luxuries,
d---l, A bit do they care who may die,
Three groans with goodwill
give all Foes to the Bill of Reform-
and of Foes who so great As the Bishops have been-
Then three groans for the mean and contemptible Bishops of State."

At Sheerness, on Saturday, most of the urchins who have been accustomed to carry "Guy Fawkes", in the 5th of November, substituted the effigy of a Bishop, appropriately dressed with the Mitre, surplice, & and one or two parties obtained a rich harvest of pence, by constantly exclaiming, "Pray, remember the Archbishop."

The Sydney Monitor, 2nd May 1832.


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