Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Question from Alice - "Bloody Mary"

I am in year 8 and need to do an essay on whether or not Mary the first deserves her nickname 'Bloody Mary'. I am supposed to give an argument (for and against) but can't think of any reasons or sources for against? Can you help? Do you know any good sources/reasons/websites that disagree with the nickname? It will help at lot becuase I am going to be graded. Thanks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 26, 2007 11:50 AM  
Anonymous GarethR said...

You can read more sympathetic arguments concerning Mary's life and political policy in Jasper Ridley's biography "The Life and Times of Mary Tudor." I think he balances the opinions about her nicely. Extremely sympathetic accounts of her are given in Alison Weir's "Children of England" and Carolly Erickson's "Bloody Mary." They both attempt to build sympathy for Mary as a woman (victim of a traumatic divorce between her parents, outshone by her manipulative half-sister, abandoned by her husband and demonised by her Protestant opponents, etc.) This version of Mary is carried on in yet another of Philippa Gregory's excruciating novels - 'The Queen's Fool.'

The only serious pro-arguments you can make concerning Mary's introduction of the Inquisiton to England are not personal, but political. Clearly, Mary's reign was ultimately a political failure and the brutality of her government as a very large factor in explaining that. However, that doesn't mean that she knew it would be a failure when she started.

Mary came to the throne in 1553 only after crushing a plot by the leaders of the Protestant elite to place her cousin, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne, instead of her. She had promised mercy to many of the rebellion's leaders, but in 1554 there were two more disturbances against her rule. They were orchestrated by Jane Grey's father, the marquis of Dorset, and Sir Thomas Wyatt, son of a family with strong emotional ties to the Boleyns (and, thus, Elizabeth, Mary's Protestant half-sister.) This showed that there was strong Protestant sympathies against Mary and that leniency would not prevent them from rising up against her again. Thus, political brutality was called for. It was also certainly expected by Mary's chief foreign ally, Spain, who made it clear that the Jane Grey threat had to be dealt with if the Spanish-English alliance was to be maintained. So, Mary's domestic peace and foreign policy all depended on her taking a harsh line with Protestant political opponents.

Also, in the 16th century, it was a monarch's duty to care for their subjects' spiritual souls. So, for an especially devout Roman Catholic - like Mary - it seemed only appropriate that she continue in the tradition of the Middle Ages and savagely punish those whose lives were setting a dangerous religious example (i.e. Protestants.)

For, what it's worth, I think the arguments I've just given you are valid. But I still don't think that they excuse Mary from what she did. Politically, it made her far more enemies and destroyed her reputation. Morally, even by the standards of the 16th century, what she did was deluded and cruel. It's why I just don't buy the Weir/Erickson/Gregory school of thoughts on Mary. They just don't explain in enough detail a very important point about her - a tragic, lonely woman can still be a cruel, ineffective and bloody ruler.

October 29, 2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous asher said...

The only real defense of Mary is to play up the emotionally unstable angle. Certainly her persecution of a great number of her subjects was far from politically expedient, and she did a rather poor job of implementing catholicism (her archbishop of canterbury was excommunicated because the Pope was feuding Philip).

October 29, 2007 2:03 PM  
Anonymous HolsW said...

Hi lara - its HOLLY!!!
i didnt no u used dis syt 2!!!!
i sed she was trying 2 help them. She believed that they were going to go to hell, and that if she didn't either change their minds, or kill them, they would make the whole of England sinners. She was also emotionally unstable!

November 08, 2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary didn't execute many people. in fact she only executed a few. BUT she burned loads and loads even babiesw. she burned them if they wouldnt be catholic.

December 02, 2007 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hav to do this too! i cant think of such to say concerning whether she doesnt deserve her nickname because i think she does. So, all i say is what other people say she was emotionally unstable.
frm ???????????

December 05, 2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Ailsa said...

I am in year 8 and I have to do this, and i was searching for something like this! this is mine...Does Mary I deserve the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’?

When Mary was born, her mother thought the princess would be the next monarch of England. But in 1527, her father, Henry VIII, had found a new woman, Anne Boleyn. Now, Mary was out of favour for the throne, as well as her mother Catherine. If her mother and Henry were to be divorced, Mary would be claimed illegitimate. A few years later in 1536 Mary’s mother died, in Kimbloton. A few months later Mary thought everything would go back to normal as Anne Boleyn was executed at the Tower of London. But she was very badly wrong, as Henry VIII made her sign documents that said that he and Catherine of Aragon had never been married. Mary signed the documents, pretending that she was always illegitimate. When Henry VIII died, Mary was welcomed back, but not long after that her brother, Edward VI came to the throne in 1547. Mary thought that Edward was not old enough to decide for himself about his own religion, so she made her Catholic beliefs very clear. As Edward got older he made his own Protestant rules, and he didn’t want to give the throne to his sister, Mary. After a while, Edward wrote Mary out of succession and the throne was given to their cousin, Lady Jane Grey, a protestant. When Mary was finally crowned queen, she was very popular with her people. This was why Lady Jane Grey got taken off the throne. Because of Mary’s religious beliefs, her popularity did no longer exist. Mary did the opposite of what Edward did with the church. Because everyone was so used to Edwards rules, they didn’t agree with Mary and all wanted to remain being Protestants. The Tudor family was still respected; they just didn’t accept the rules. If anyone refused to follow these rules, they would be burned at the stake. Mary burned more than 300 people. This is why people started to call her ‘Bloody Mary’.
In many ways, Mary does deserve the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’. For instance, between 1553 and 1558 Mary burned 284 people as punishment for the minor crime of heresy. That’s double the number of people burned by all the other monarchs who have ruled Britain put together; by comparison, Edward VI only burned 2 between 1547 and 1553. These burnings began in 1555. It was mostly men that were burned on Mary’s bonfire, 220 to be precise. Mary burned 60 women. Mary Tudor was the only Tudor monarch who punished heresy harshly, because some other monarchs were more tolerant. Henry VIII executed many people during his reign, although he didn’t burn heretics that often, about 2 in his whole reign. During the Tudor reign, about 16 people were hung for theft each year. Mary is remembered as the cruellest of the monarchs. The queen’s husband, Philip was alarmed when he found out that his wife had been killing all the people, her people. Philip predicted that Mary’s ways would alienate the crown. Many of the martyrs that Mary burned were quite young members of the new generation. They were simple people; cloth workers, chandlers, and cutlers. One old blind lady, Joan Waist of Derby, saved up for quite a while and when she finally had enough money to buy a New Testament, she paid people to read it to her. Another illiterate person that wanted to read the Bible was Rawlings White, a poor fisherman who saved up for his child to go to school, so he could learn to read and then come home and read it to his father after dinner. These martyrs might have made Mary feel threatened, and a threat to her position on the throne. This shows that many people were not going to let Mary change their beliefs, whatever Mary did. This also proves that Mary burned illiterate people, old people and poor people, this does not support Mary’s nickname, ‘Bloody Mary’. Mary thought that burning people would show other Protestants what would happen if they disobeyed her. To get themselves burnt, heretics had to refuse that the Pope was the head of the church, reading the English bible. Also if you refused that the bread and wine was Jesus’ body and blood then you were in danger of being executed. A few years after she started her reign she married Philip II of Spain. At this time many people feared Spain, because it was so powerful. Mary only married Philip II because she wanted the two powerful countries to join together. Many saw Spain as an archenemy of England. Mary’s reign was awful, her foreign affairs were failing. Philip encouraged Mary to help Spain in a war against France. In the result of this Mary lost Calais, which was the only land that England ruled in France. Philip II was also a very strong Catholic, so Mary hoped that marrying him would help make her country more Catholic. Because Mary was a Catholic and was very supportive of the Pope and the Church, so her people weren’t that kind to her, and so she didn’t have their support. When she got married to Philip II of Spain many people were very suspicious of her, because before this England hated Spain. All of this lead to Mary being very unpopular with her own people. Mary’s plan was not a good one, as the couple barely saw each other, as Philip spent much of his time in Spain and they had no children. Philip deserted Mary in 1558. Mary had no heir to the throne as she had had no children. She was forced to accept her sister, Elizabeth, a protestant as the next Queen. Mary attempted to make her sister turn to Catholicism, but failed, as Elizabeth turned in to Queen Elizabeth I. Soon after in November Mary died, childless and depressed. In Spain at this time, burning people who disobeyed there monarchs was very popular, in fact, this method was used throughout Europe. In this time burning was thought to cleanse the soul, which was very important for people who had done wrong. Other forms of torture would take place at the Tower of London. One form was called ‘The Rack’. This meant that heretic’s hands and feet were tied in ropes on to beds of wood, and stretched by treadmill devices.
On the other hand, in some ways Mary didn’t deserve the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.

And thats how far i have gotten!

January 03, 2008 9:49 AM  
Anonymous charleyy,.. big bilton said...

i dont think she did deserve it cus her dad dun wayyyyy morr ;),.. ive got to do an essay on " bloody mary did she deserve her reputation" mt gordons hw,.. bilton highh :) xx ly

February 19, 2008 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also doing a paper on this exact subject- I have decided that my angle is going to be that she did not deserve the nickname "Bloody Mary". I am claiming that we cannot judge with a 21st century mind - the actions of people in the 1500's. Religion was the driving force in peoples lives in those times and this cannot be overstated. Many people went calmly to their (horrible) death rather than renounce their religion. Comparatively, for the times, the 274-300 people she had executed, was a relatively small number of people. Especially if you look at some of the other monarchs of the time. Some sources claim as many as 72,000 executions under Henry VIII - not to mention his wives.
Check some of the others. One of Henry VIII's nicknames is "Great Harry", not bloody Harry. So my final conclusion is going to be
that it would be justified to call Mary Tudor "bloody" - only AFTER "Bloody Henry VIII, and the other examples I'll use.
(Queen Mary I of England)

February 29, 2008 5:29 PM  
Anonymous rpj said...

Anonymous says that Henry VIII executed a lot more than 300 people (during his much longer reign). But this isn't to compare like with like. 300 is not the number of people that Mary executed. Rather, it is a conservative estimate of the number of people that her regime *burned*. Burning is one specific form of execution and was used for heretics. Other forms of execution existed and were used under all monarchs, possibly for heretics but also of course for traitors, for common criminals, and so on.

Another Anonymous says that we can't judge mary by 21st century standards. But we don't need to: in the 16th century she was already regarded as cruel and bloody. This is not a uniquely modern perspective. Foxe's Book of Martyrs was published in 1563.

March 29, 2008 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that your thing is really cool and i go on this all of the time!!!
ime doing the same thing, basically this is what i think of her having the nickname "Bloody Mary"

she killed (executed and burned) alot of people even if they were babies, she would only kill them if they wasn't going to grow up as Christians because she wanted everyone to follow her rules even if some people didn't want to follow them.
she was actually trying to help some of the people because she thought that is they wasn't Chritians then they was going to go to hell so she either made them change there mind or she would kill them, she thought that if they didn't become Chritians then they will turn the wole of England into Sinners!!!

I hope this helps you alot
From Jessica Massey oxoxox

October 10, 2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just finished this assignment. Just to say - don't even consider comparing Mary to Hitler, everyone who did got an immediate fail as History teachers are very hot on things like that. You could suggest that Hitler deserves the nickname "Bloody Adolph" but thats as far as you can take it. Even though she was pressurised into her decisions, that is no excuse for the damage she caused.

October 27, 2008 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, i have to do this too, i am also in year 8, i have too write page and a half !!
i have searched and found out ___
that she did kind of deserve it as she killed people just coz they didnt want to follow the catholic religion, which i personaly think is stupid

also i have found out they some historians have said that she didnt deserve to be called bloody mary because she had a traumatic childhood and she lost her love of her life

hope i can help

November 09, 2008 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to do this exact essay too! A lot of the evidence for her being bloody is from Foxe's book of Martyrs, which was heavily biaed seing as he was a protestant priest. So we cannot really trust that as evidence. She really did think that by burning peopl she was saving them. Tudor society was very violent, so we cannot judge her properly.

November 23, 2008 5:46 AM  
Anonymous xxx said...

i am doing this to!!!!!!!!!!!
I have found all posts very useful, thanks!

December 13, 2008 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey! i have to do an essay too! i think john foxe (google hime or the book of martyrs) who was a protestant was really mean to mary cos she didnt deserve it, the other tudors killed way more people than mary EVER did! GO MARY!

January 08, 2009 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Diya said...

I am doing this essay now but i have to write in both view. like.. In some ways she did deserve her nickname and in some ways she did'nt I need help!

February 09, 2009 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im doin the same subject at school
btw... she dosent deserve da nickname caus her sister killed more people than she did and she didnt get a nickname
Anonymous ... lol

May 11, 2009 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im also doing the same subject and i think in some ways she does deserve her nickname bloody Mary because she burnt 283 Protestant and she burned the most compared to other Kings and Queens!

October 09, 2009 1:05 PM  
Blogger Kaity said...

I would have to say that I found so much of your information useful!
I think that the view that we can't judge her on 21st century grounds is great and I totally agree. Someone said that Elizabeth Killed more people than her but I would have to disagree. Elizabeth executed 4 people in a 45 year reign and mary close to 300 in five years.

Thanks for all your useful ifo!

October 09, 2009 11:00 PM  
Anonymous pms studentxxx said...

i had 2 do this 2, and i wanna say that these comments were very help full!!thanks

December 06, 2009 11:52 AM  
Anonymous ...MICKEYMOUSE... said...

i think that she deserved it coz she burnt more people in the shortest reign, only in 5 years
in comparison, edward VI only burnt 2 people in 7 years

December 06, 2009 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing an essay as well. We had to do 750 words!

February 06, 2010 3:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think every one has do it.....including mee!

February 22, 2010 12:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home