Guy Fawkes is said to have been carrying this lantern on his arrest
in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament when the Gunpowder Plot
was discovered in 1605. An intriguing object, it is made of sheet
iron with a holder for a candle inside. It has a hinged door which
was once fitted with a window made of horn through which the light
would glow. The vent at the top would have let out the heat. This
vent is attached to an inner cylinder which could be rotated in
order to conceal the light, and therefore the user!
The lantern was originally given to the University of Oxford in
1641 by Robert Heywood of Brasenose College. He was son of the Justice
of the Peace who arrested Guy Fawkes. It has been in the Museum
since 1887 when a number of objects were transferred to the Ashmolean
from the Bodleian Librarys collection of curiosities. Now
much damaged, the lantern suffered years of handling by curious
visitors while in the Bodleian.