Avatar of admin

by

What Inspired Queen 'Bloody' Mary's Gruesome Nickname?

October 25, 2018 in History

By Una McIlvenna

She did burn hundreds of Protestants at the stake, but also history, as they say, is written by the victors.


Queen Mary I of England.

She was the first-ever Queen of England to rule in her own right, but to her critics, Mary I of England has long been known only as “Bloody Mary.”

This unfortunate nickname was thanks to her persecution of Protestant heretics, whom she burned at the stake in the hundreds. But is this a fair portrayal? Was she the bloodthirsty religious fanatic that posterity has bequeathed to us? While hundreds died under Mary’s reign, her dark legacy may have as much to do with the fact that she was a Catholic monarch succeeded by a Protestant Queen in a country that remained Protestant. History, as they say, is written by the victors.

During her five-year reign, Mary had over 300 religious dissenters burned at the stake in what are known as the Marian persecutions. It is a statistic which seems barbaric. But her own father, Henry VIII, executed 81 people for heresy. And her half-sister, Elizabeth I, also executed scores of people for their faith. So why is Mary’s name linked with religious persecution?


Protestants being burnt at the stake during the Reign of Queen Mary I.

Being burned at the stake was typical punishment for heresy.

First, it’s important to understand that heresy was considered by all of early modern Europe to be an infection of the body politic that had to be erased so as not to poison society at large. All over Europe, the punishment for heresy was not only death, but also the total destruction of the heretic’s corpse to prevent the use of their body parts for relics. Therefore, most heretics were burned and their ashes thrown into the river and Mary’s choice of burning was completely standard practice for the period.

Read more: 8 Things You Might Not Know about Mary I

Her sister, Elizabeth I, was a little more savvy: in her reign those convicted of practicing Catholicism by training as priests or sheltering them were convicted as traitors and punished accordingly, by being hanged and quartered. The idea behind the different crimes was that, while people could dispute religious belief, no one could ever possibly agree that treason was permissible.

If one person can be held responsible for Mary’s reputation, however, it …read more

Source: HISTORY

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.