PENNY for the Guy
Derbyshire Life|November 2020
We take a look at Derbyshire’s bonfire tradtions through history
Richard Bradley

Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, is still widely celebrated across the UK, with some degree of regional variation. Up in York, they aren’t keen on burning effigies of Guy Fawkes, what with him having been a local boy. Down in Sussex, they really go to town, with several Bonfire Societies organizing costumed parades through their home towns involving pyrotechnics and flaming torches, climaxing in huge fires, throughout ‘Bonfire Season’, lasting from September to November. In Derbyshire, whilst we don’t have anything quite so spectacular, my research into local folklore has revealed interesting local quirks.

Whilst Guy Fawkes’ failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament did indeed take place on November 5, 1605, bonfires have been burning at this time of year for far longer. The Pagan Celtic festival of Samhein, marking the end of the harvest season and the onset of the long dark nights of winter, was held between October 31 and November 1. November 2 was All Souls Day and it was thought by our ancestors this was the time of the year people had the closest contact with their dead relatives (a belief that can also be seen in Mexico’s Day of the Dead, also held on this day).

The antiquarian journal The Reliquary records that on All Souls Night in Derbyshire, children constructed fires known as ‘Tindle's’, and in the 1944 volume of the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, William Holden notes the boys and girls of the South Derbyshire village of Findern lit their Tindle fires amongst the gorse of the local common on this night. Christina Hole in English Traditional Customs relates that Derbyshire farmers also held their own small ceremonial Tindle fires at Hallowtide, taking a clutch of flaming straw on the end of their pitchfork which they carried to the highest point of their land and flung far and wide. The purpose of this ritual was ‘to purify the soil and guard it against evil, and to make the crops grow in due course’.

‘Whilst Guy Fawkes’ failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament did indeed take place on November 5, 1605, bonfires have been burning at this time of year for far longer’

The archaeologist Dr. Anne Ross presented evidence of people in the remoter areas of the High Peak and Longdendale Valley who still practiced elements of pre-Christian religions and marked the important Pagan calendar festivals with ceremonial bonfires in a 1977 BBC Chronicle documentary Twilight of the English Celts, noting outsiders were strictly forbidden at these events.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM DERBYSHIRE LIFEView All

Peak National Park and Ride

Andrew Griffihs asks what the future holds for transport in the Peak National Park and talks to Julian Glover about his Landscapes Review

8 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Doubly thankful

Mike Smith explores the village of Bradbourne, which has a particularly poignant tale to tell

5 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

What lies beneath

Exploring the hidden depths of Ladybower Reservoir, which conceals secrets of a fascinating past

9 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Battle for our birds

Paul Hobson analyses our complex relationship with birds of prey and how these fascinating birds are fairing in Derbyshire

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Explore the Peak Forest

A walk through autumn fields and forests with far reaching views enriched by snippets of mystery, romance and the area’s industrial past

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Pictures to transport you

Chesterfield photographer David Keep continues his photographic journey, this time recalling his favourite landscape images from around the world

6 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

The magic of Christmas

Ideas for days out, gifts and where to find local produce in Derbyshire this festive season

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

PENNY for the Guy

We take a look at Derbyshire’s bonfire tradtions through history

7 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

From hardship came happiness

Pat Ashworth speaks with Chesterfield based retired Colonel John Doody about his inspiring life, from a diffiult childhood to overcoming diversity and finding happiness

7 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

A place to call home

Lady Edward explains to Derbyshire Life why Haddon Hall is so much more than 900 years of history

10 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020
RELATED STORIES

THE CREATIVE PROCESS STARTS WITH PROCESS

My business barely survived its first few years, and I nearly crumbled under the stress.Then I learned the greatest lesson of my career, which transformed our company into the go-to apron brand for restaurants everywhere: Without process, we are nothing.

10 mins read
Entrepreneur
April - May 2021

MARIAH POURS $5M ON WEDDING TO DROWN OUT SIBS!

DIVA Mariah Carey plans to drop $5 million on a fairy-tale wedding with boy toy Bryan Tanaka — but the bridal brouhaha is actually a smokescreen to deflect attention from her bitter siblings’ lawsuits, sources dished.

1 min read
National Enquirer
March 29, 2021

Keep Singapore's Books Clean

The city-state wants to prove it’s safe not just for wealthy tycoons but for investors, too

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 15, 2021

SANDRA'S GUY GETTING ALL ‘FIGHT CLUB' OVER BRAD!

SANDRA BULLOCK is working with Brad Pitt on a new film — and sources claimed her live-in love, Bryan Randall, is terrified he’ll lose her to the Hollywood hunk!

1 min read
National Enquirer
March 08, 2021

MOVIES / BILGE EBIRI - Anatomy of a Murder

Unwinding Jamal Khashoggi’s history with the regime that killed him.

5 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

PANINI ANNOUNCES KOBE REDEMPTION PLANS

KOBE BRYANT’S SUDDEN PASSING IN JANUARY CREATED A LOT OF HOLES. WHILE MOST ARE EMOTIONAL, THERE ARE SOME MORE PRACTICAL THINGS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. TO THAT END, PANINI HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR THE REMAINING KOBE BRYANT AUTOGRAPH REDEMPTIONS.

1 min read
Sports Card Monthly
January 2021

ROOKIE REVIEW

Given the success the Raiders had with their 2019 draft class, expectations coming into 2020 were that general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden would be able to come at least reasonably close with their new batch of draftees.

3 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
December 2020

MARIAH'S BEAU HAS A BELLYFUL!

Toy boy Tanaka treated like dirt

1 min read
Globe
December 07, 2020

TRUST THE TOOLS

The minor league season was lost, but dynasty players should keep the faith for these nine prospects

5 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

Introducing

New, cool, and otherwise attention-grabbing bassists whose playing you need to hear, in their own words.

1 min read
Bass Player
December 2020