It will soon be Bonfire Night. Despite popular belief, Guy Fawkes was not burned alive but was instead tortured then dragged backwards to the place of execution by a horse, his head bouncing off the ground.
The plan was to cut off and burn his genitals before his eyes, then to remove his bowels and heart.
Decapitation was to follow, his body quartered and the parts sent to the four corners of the kingdom, to be displayed as a warning to other would-be plotters against the Crown.
Although weakened from his days of torture, Fawkes managed to jump from the scaffold, breaking his neck in the fall.
Bonfires were lit to celebrate the failure of the plot and the survival of the king.
The annual public day of thanksgiving was enforced by the Observance of 5th November Act, which was only repealed in 1859.
High Treason still exists today in the UK as the crime of disloyalty to the Crown although since 1998, the punishment is imprisonment for life rather than execution.
This is taken from a letter written by a BNP supporter and printed in a newspaper.
The writer continues:
What sentence, if any, do you think appropriate for British-born Muslims travelling to Afghanistan via Pakistan, joining the Taliban and hoping to slay Prince Harry and other service personnel, as recently reported by newspapers and members of the British Army?
On the day the newspaper printed the letter, further news was reported, which shows how timely this question is.
We ask the question: what sentence, if any, do you think appropriate for British citizen Hassan Butt from Manchester, who was arrested on Monday and claims to have helped recruit more than 200 Taliban volunteer fighters in Britain?
Butt is a member of the radical London-based al Muhajiroun group and its former spokesman in Pakistan.
He has preached that many of the fighters he has recruited have been killed in Afghanistan but that he would encourage survivors to take action against the country of his birth, returning to Britain to launch "attacks on military and political leaders at home."
Answers on a postcard...
Or better yet by polite letter to your own local paper.