Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire, and the adoption of the V for Vendetta mask as a multipurpose icon by the emerging global protest movements is no exception.
Back at the crack of the 17th century, Rushton Triangular Lodge was a strange architectural folly constructed to represent the Holy Trinity by an increasingly eccentric Sir Thomas Tresham while he endured decades of house-arrest for his outspoken Catholicism.
It was also one of the two locations, both owned by Tresham and both in Northamptonshire, at which the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was formulated by a group of dissident Catholics that included Tresham’s son Francis.
It would seem likely that the treatment afforded to the elder Tresham played some part in the general mix of grievances from which the reckless scheme ignited.
By the early sixteen-hundreds, the bonfires traditionally lit around the start of November had been co-opted as trappings for a sort of national anti-Catholic day at which effigies of the Pope would be incinerated.
As mastermind behind the terrorist outrage du jour, however, the plot’s nominal leader Guido Fawkes rapidly replaced the pontiff as hate-mascot of choice on these occasions.
Jump forward 300 years, though, to the battered post-war England of the 1950s, and the saturnine insurrectionary had taken on more ambiguous connotations…
[continues at BBC News]