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Was Mary Bloody or Misunderstood Essay

Mary became Queen of England in 1553, after she executed Lady Jane Grey. Source A, in the textbook, says that “There were bonfires and tables in every street and wine and beer and ale”, this is an account from the diary of a Londoner at the time Mary became Queen, and so it is quite reliable. Mary mistook this celebration to mean that the people of England were glad they had a Catholic Queen on the throne. So she set about trying to turn the country into a Catholic country. This did not settle well with the public and caused many Protestants to take an immediate disliking towards her. As Mary realised this she took to giving the death penalty to as many heretics as she could. Source A, on the sheet, say that “Women at their marketing, men at their daily trade… all learned to know the sweet smell of burning flesh.” This was written by a historian in 1940 so it is not very reliable, however it does show that a lot of burnings took place.

Source D, on the sheet, is written by D. Loades, a historian, in 1991 said that “Mary personally bears the responsibility for the death of nearly 300 heretics, but she also executed traitors more ruthlessly than either her father or her sister”A famous writer at the time, John Foxe, wrote about Mary I. He said that neither man, woman or child was spared from the cruel burnings at Mary’s hand. A section of his writing, including this information, is quoted in Source B; it was written in 1559, a year after Mary’s death, so it is more reliable than other sources. However even though it was written around Mary’s time, John Foxe was a Protestant so the information could be bias.

Source E, on the sheet, written by a historian in 1990, says “The Bishop of Winchester had urged Mary to burn the heretics, but it was Mary who insisted on continuing even when it was obvious the cruel punishments were leading people to support the Protestants rather than turn to the Catholic religion.” If people weren’t listening and actually going against her, the Queen, then it would probably have annoyed her even more because she wouldn’t have had the control over the country she wanted. Therefore she might have increased the executions. Source F says that when Mary died “All the churches in London rang their bells and that night bonfires were lit and tables placed in the street and people ate drank andmade merry.” This was written by a Londoner at the time Mary died so it is a reliable source, however he might have been Protestant which could have made the account bias. Many people thought Mary deserved the name ‘Bloody Mary’ but there was also people who thought she was just misunderstood.

Source A is Mary speaking to her council in 1555, so it is very reliable, when she began the public executions “Concerning punishments of heretics, we think I ought to be done without rashness. The people must see that any condemned are treated fairly, so that they understand the truth.” I think she was saying that when they want to arrest somebody, or execute them, they should make sure they have the right facts and make sure it is the right person. This might make people think that she is being fair about who she arrests and why.

When Mary married Philip of Spain, who was Catholic, England helped Spain in the war against France. The result of the war was the loss of the last place England owned on France-Calais. Now, historians agree that it was probably unavoidable, so that shows us that it was not Mary’s fault. This is a good example of how she was misunderstood because she was only trying to help her husband’s country. Source D is about this and was written in 1994 so the time is not near, however by then people will have had more information about the events following the situation. So it is quite a useful source. At the time of Mary’s death a poem was written about her:

Her perfect life in all extremes
Her patient heart did show
For in this world she never found
But doleful days and woe

The poem is saying that Mary tried to be kind and patient but she was only repaid with unhappy days full of sorrow. It was written by an anonymous poet so it could be bias but it is written when she died so it is quite a useful source but not completely trustworthy. Source C points out that Mary benefited the country greatly by reforming the tax system, the Army and the Navy. This shows that Mary cared about the country and it’s welfare/condition so she wasn’t a horrible person to her people.

Source E says “Lady Jane Grey and her husband were sentenced to death but Mary saved them and they were only executed after they were thought to be involved in Wyatt’s rebellion against Mary.” This source was written in 1964 by a historian so it is not useful for the time it was written but useful because the historian would have had all the facts, however the person could have been bias. The source shows that Mary was a kind person and she wanted to help a friend who was in trouble. Source B says that it wasn’t only Mary that killed people, in Essex “between 17 and 24 people were hanged each year for common theft.” This was written by a historian in 1976 so it is quite a reliable source however the historian could be bias on the subject of Mary and whether she was bloody or misunderstood. Looking at equal evidence for both sides of the argument, I think that Mary is bloody. I think this because she has killed so, so many people just because they had a different opinion to her! Any person can take a dislike to somebody if they have a completely different view to them.

However it takes a horrible person to go so far as to kill nearly 300 people just to try and get everybody to agree with you. Even when she knew it wasn’t working, and she was just turning people against her, she carried on. She does have some good points – for instance reforming the tax system, the Army and the Navy – however she should be doing things like that because she was the queen and she had to have responsibilities. But taking it so far was just evil. When she realised that she was just turning people away from Catholicism and towards Protestantism she should have held back and tried to turn the country toward Catholicism in a different and less murderous way. Overall I think that Mary I deserves the name Bloody Mary and that she was a terrible queen.

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