The Untold Story of Bubba Fawkes

Peel Monument

Fireworks. Toffee apples. A man named Guy Fawkes, who tried (and failed) to blow up the Houses of Parliament. These are the things that immediately spring to mind upon hearing the words ‘bonfire night’. But there’s another man’s story, interwoven with that of Guy’s, which has been ignored for centuries…

Bubba Fawkes was a simple man. Three years Guy’s senior but with an intellect half the size, Bubba never strived for any of the political, religious or social reformation that his little brother was so famous for. Instead, whilst Guy was off fighting Protestants in Spain, Bubba moved to a little town in Derbyshire, Dronefield, where he spent his days farming cattle at the Bowshaw farm. He enjoyed a quiet life; he felt at home with conversations spoken in moos and he longed only for a wench with whom he could settle down and start a family.

But in June, 1605, Bubba’s peaceful life was thrown into disarray with a surprise visit from a distraught Guy. Bubba didn’t understand anything that Guy was rambling on about, and decided to calm him down the only way he knew how. A trip to the alehouse. When mead a-plenty had been imbibed by both, Guy began asking Bubba how he might use cow fertiliser as an explosive. Bubba, bless him, hadn’t a clue, but he did know of a new Chinese Fireworks Emporium situated on London Road (known then as Londinium Dirt Track), and with an alcohol-fuelled enthusiasm, the Fawkes brothers drunkenly navigated their horse-drawn cart to the Emporium. Unfortunately, at 02.16 in the morning, the place was shut, but Guy encouraged Bubba to use his farmer’s strength to ‘kick the door in, mate’. Adding breaking and entering and theft to the night’s list of misdemeanours, they left the Emporium with armfuls of Catherine Wheels, Landmines and Bubba’s favourite, Sparklers.

Deciding that an immediate test-run was imperative, Bubba led the pair back to the heart of Dronefield, The Peel Monument. They encircled the monument with their pyrotechnic loot and lit the suckers up. In a pertinent foreshadowing of Guy’s later attempt, blowing up the landmark proved unequivocally unsuccessful. Instead, all Bubba and Guy achieved was a magnificent display of firework magic, the likes of which our small town has never managed to replicate, though they keep on trying…

Anyway, Bubba passed out, Sparkler in hand and woke up in the morning with minor burns and a banging headache. Guy headed back to London, head filled with the promise of Gunpowder. Well, we all know how that ended… As for Bubba? When news of Guy’s failed attempt finally made seventh page news in the local rag of the time, Optical Dronefield, Bubba vowed to continue his brother’s lifelong work of anarchy and uprising. There weren’t many ways to rebel on the farm, but Bubba did his best. He fed the cows their own milk. He hid much-needed needles in haystacks. And he fit the horses with inappropriate, six-inch tall horseshoes. Then he found a wife, had a couple of kids and faded completely into obscurity. That is, after all, the Dronfield way.

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