Bloody Mary

Many changes occurred during the reign of Mary I Queen of England, unpleasantly known as "Bloody Mary". Mary was born at Greenwich on 18 February 1516, she was the only surviving child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (BBC History). Mary Tudor was baptized as a catholic shortly after her birth. The life of Mary Tudor, the first female ruler of England, was full of controversy, from her pampered childhood, her isolated and fearful teenage years, to her unhappy adulthood as Queen of England, her life was a product of her circumstances and beliefs. Mary was the first queen to rule England in she own right, she was known as "Bloody Mary" for the last four years of her reign where she burned almost 300 heretics at the stake (The Official Website of the British Monarchy). At the end all her effort to bring England back to the catholic religion was in vain.
In 1525, Henry sent his daughter to live on the border of Wales, while he continuously tried to negotiate a marriage for her. Mary's life was radically changed when her father Henry VIII divorced her mother, Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn; he claimed that the marriage was incestuous and illegal, because Catherine had been married to his dead brother, Arthur (BBC History). Once married to Henry, Anne Boleyn, successfully pressed for an act of parliament to declare Mary illegitimate, in fear of Mary being a challenge to the throne. Anne's inability to produce the son that Henry VIII wished for led to her downfall in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded facing charges of incest and treason (Laura McKeever). Later on, that same year, Henry married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who insisted that the king make amends with his daughter. In 1537 Queen Jane gave birth to Edward, Henry's longed for son, and Mary stood as the young prince's godmother at the christening.
When Henry VIII got ill, he declared that Edward would be his heir and Mary was to follow if the young prince were to die childless. Henry VIII died January 28, 1547, leaving his 9 year old son Edward VI as king. Young Edward was a supporter of the protestant faith, Mary hoped one day he would see the mistake he was making and return England to the church of Rome. Eventually, Edward began to show signs of illness. Men like John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk feared Mary's return. They all worked on convincing Edward to leave his crown to his cousin Jane Grey.
Edward VI died on July 6th, 1553, and it was announced to Lady Jane Grey that she was the new queen of England, she was only sixteen when the news came upon her. At first, Jane refused to claim the throne, but with time her father, Henry Grey, and her husband convinced her. The king's death was kept a secret for some days, but Jane was proclaimed Queen the 10th. The public did not like this announcement, everybody wanted Mary on the throne, the legitimate heir to the throne. Mary, however, had already received news about her brother's death, only thing she needed was proof, or something that confirmed that her brother was actually dead, and then she could claim her throne.
Mary realized soon enough that people were plotting against her to place Jane on the throne. Mary knew that she must have confirmation of her brother's death, otherwise it would be treason to declare herself queen. Once Mary got confirmation of her brother's death she went to Flamlihgham castle in Suffolk, which was safer for her, here she stirred up the local population who disliked the Duke of Northumberland for having suppressed a rebellion in Suffolk during Henry's time. Their help was offered on the understanding that she would not alter the religion that Edward VI had already established. The privy council in London realized their mistake and declared Mary Queen of England. Mary left Flamlihgham for London on July 24, to claim her throne. On October 1, 1553, it was Mary's coronation (History learning site).
Only a few of the conspirator that plotted against Mary to put Jane on the throne were initially executed. Jane and Guildford were found guilty of treason but Mary refused to execute them. Guildford's brothers, the other three sons of John Dudley, were kept in the tower, but not killed. The Duke of Suffolk, Henry Grey, Jane Grey's father, was released. However, Mary had Henry beheaded February 23, 1554, for his part in Sir Thomas Wyatt's attempt to overthrow her after she announced her marriage with Philip II of Spain. The Wyatt Rebellion of 1554, was to prevent Mary from marrying Philip II of Spain. The conspirators first met at the town house of the Duke of Suffolk, who had already tried to put his daughter on the throne after king Edward VI's death. Among the conspirators were the three brothers of Suffolk, Henry's sons. The object was to make Elizabeth queen and take Mary off the throne to keep her from bringing another catholic into England.
Mary was 37 at the time of her accession, she knew that if she remained childless, the throne would pass to her protestant half sister, Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn's daughter (Bio). She needed a catholic heir to accomplish this goal. Mary arranged to marry Philip II, King of Spain. Queen Mary I of England married Philip II of Spain in 1554. Although Philip was not very happy with the idea, he knew that it was a good match politically, and that Mary had connections to Spain through her mother, Catherine of Aragon. Mary was very excited about marrying Philip, for a woman who did not wed until she was 37, this was a big deal; unfortunately, the union was less than perfect for her.

Mary's marriage to Philip was very unpopular, the public response to the marriage was unsuccessful, the marriage produced no children and Philip spent little time in England once he realized that Mary was not able reproduce. Philip provided no part of his New World trade network to the British crown, instead the alliance with Spain dragged England into military conflict with France. The majority of Mary's council in England opposed to the match with Philip. This was mainly because of Philip's strong religion, merged with Mary's unbreakable catholic faith. Mary and Philip together were a threat to the protestant population in England. Mary's reign could have returned the church of Rome to a longer lasting dominance in England if she had not been so determinated to marry Philip son of Charles V, Emperor of Germany and king of Spain. This united the whole western Europe under one family and effectively destroyed England's indepence. England was dragged into French war, which was unpopular because it was an outcome of the Spanish union. In 1557, Calais was taken by the French and England was forced to surrender, the loss of Calais had humbled the nation in its own eyes, it was expected to be overrun by French armies the approaching summer; of Mary's many bitter grieves the bitterest was the loss of Calais (James Anthony Froude).
Mary's allegiance to Roman Catholism inspired her to institute social reforms, but these were extremely unpopular. Mary worked hard to bring England back into the Catholic world of her mother's family. Mary reunited England with the Vatican, she also executed her father's protestant archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, and appointed her friends the loyal catholic, Reginald Pole, to take his place. In January 1555, began the great persecution of protestant, which converted the people of England into passionate protestants. It has been said by historians that Mary Tudor, as a catholic, regarded the burning of heretics as a sort of "sacrifice to god". This idea of a human holocaust, which is only acceptable to the unorthodox Queen Mary, has never, of course been held by Catholics at any period in church history.
The victims burned at the stake for being protestants were called martyrs. First of the martyrs was Rogers, he was said to be the author of the great translation of the scriptures known as Matthew's Bible. He was followed by men renowned for their saintliness: Rowland Taylor of Hadlev, and Bradford. Then came the bishops Hoope and Ferrar, and in autumn Ridley and Latimer, and then man who for more than twenty years had been primate of all England, Archbishop Cranmer. The roll of the victims in the first twelve months numbered about seventy, there was no variation in the persistence of the persecution. After Cranmer's death no person of prominence was sent to the stake; they were all humble, harmless, with no widespread influence while they lived (Britain Express). Mary never shrunk from her terrible duty, as she thought she was saving the souls of her people from eternal flames.
Queen Mary I of England reigned as queen of England for five short years (1553-1558). She was the first reigning queen since the disputed Mathilda in the 12th century. Most historians consider her reign unfruitful since, she never had any children, and was never able to fulfill her dream of returning England to the Roman Catholic church. She also never spent too much time with her husband Philip II of Spain; once he realized Mary couldn't reproduce, he barely spent any time in England with his wife Mary, he also never shared part of his vast New World trade network with England, instead he dragged England into military conflict with France, one of the most powerful nations of Europe at the time.
Mary was the only child born from Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to survive childhood; she was the one many people didn't want on the throne because they feared what she was capable of doing. Many powerful people didn't want Mary on the throne, these people convinced king Edward VI to alter his will to name Jane Grey queen instead of his own sister. Eventually, Mary got her throne, of course, and the people that plotted against her were found guilty of treason and executed, some were locked in the tower. Mary burned innocent heretics trying to get England back to Roman Catholism; she grew up as a catholic, which was one of the major reasons why she burned all those innocent protestants.
In 1558, Mary fell ill, suffering from an illness that may have been uterine or ovarian cancer. She died at St. James palace in London on November 17, 1558, and she was buried at Westminster Abbey. Her half sister, daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, succeeded her throne as Elizabeth I; upon Elizabeth's death she was buried next to Mary. Of all the enemies that Queen Mary had, she was her own worst enemy. She lied to the people in Suffolk about not altering the religion that was once established by her brother, Edward VI. She destroyed one of the wealthiest nations in an obscene and misguided effort to bring England back to the Catholic religion.
Mary always rejected the break that her father had instituted, and his subsequent establishment of the Anglican church, she tried to return England to Roman Catholism; this effort was carried out by force, and hundreds of protestants were executed. Mary Tudor, was known as "Bloody Mary" for burning 300 heretics at the stake. At least, Mary lived long enough to feel, or fear, that the sacrifice was in vain. Instead of destroying what she called heresy, she had ensured the victory of Protestantism. A little less than two months after Mary's death, Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. The years of Elizabeth's reign are sometimes referred to as "The Golden Age" or "The Restoration".

Source: Essay UK -

Not what you're looking for?


About this resource

This History essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.


No ratings yet!

Word count:

This page has approximately words.



If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay UK, Bloody Mary. Available from: <> [22-01-19].

More information:

If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal:

Essay and dissertation help


Drawing Pencil Automatic Clutch Mechanical Pencil 2.0 mm + 12 Leads Pen Set | Sylvie Testud | └ DVDs & Movies