Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
Bloodthirsty mass-murderer responsible for torturing and burning countless innocent men, women and children for their faith? Or victim mistreated by her father and husband and demonised by later protestant propaganda?
Jan 2009
Irish Otherworld
It has been said that Mary I and Elizabeth I executed nearly the same amount of people, which is approximately 300 in their respective reigns. That is nothing compared to the figures of their father, Henry VIII, who executed both their mothers, or what it just Elizabeth's. His numbers are somewhere in the 70,000s. I don't thinks she was that bloody" as she was named. Probably by Protestant propagandists. Thousands of Catholics were killed by Henry VIII and others. The fact that Mary I is remembered as a bloody murderer has a lot to do with England being Protestant ever since Elizabeth I succeeded Mary in 1558. Also, Mary did execute the same number of people as Elizabeth did, though Mary did it in a time frame of only 5 years while Elizabeth did it in 45 years. Still, it was much easier for Elizabeth I to reign in England than it was for Mary due to her staunch Catholicism and through her marriage to the Spanish Philip, became even less popular in the eyes of her populace, not to mention her approval to help Spain in their war against France which England disapproved of.

Mary I was badly treated by her father, he was a jack wad in my opinion. She wasn't allowed to communicate with her mother, Catherine of Aragon nor to visit her until the both of them acknowledged Anne Boleyn as Queen, which neither ever did. She wasn't even allowed to mention her name in his presence. When she did, she was banished to another residence. What a fucktard he was.

I don't believe that Mary killed for the sake of killing. I think she was just trying to survive in the circumstances she found herself, which were mostly out of her control. She feared the Protestants and in order to secure her throne she got rid of them. That's what monarchies have always done. They kill their enemies. Nothing special or heartless about Mary's executions. It was the time she lived in.
Jul 2007
Mary was staunchly Catholic - and she had plenty of time to develop and harden her views. Having Henry VIII for a father didn't particularly help - he drove her mother to death; he removed her from the succession and branded her illegitimate; she was beloved and then abandoned - her religion was the only constant in her life. And when even that was threatened, she clung onto it even more closely, allowing herself to be drawn ever more deeply into its sphere.

Despite succeeding, albeit after Jane's throne-warming episode, England had been enjoying a Protestant ascendancy - and Mary's staunch, almost fanatical Catholicism, was not particularly welcome - even more so following her marriage to Philip of Spain. But that is not to say that those of the new Protestant faith were any less fanatical in their beliefs - they could be just so - witness Elizabeth's relentless pursuit of the Jesuits and Catholic Priests.

Mary must have felt her own position as a Catholic and a female monarch so threatened that she felt her executions to be justified - at the time and under the circumstances that prevailed at that time. We cannot judge her actions with hindsight except to say that both her grandfather, father and sister also used execution and torture to also justify their actions in the pursuit of their religious views.

So, Mary used the tools that were available to her at the time - like many other monarchs - whether we today agree with those methods or not. But unlike many other monarchs, she was given, after her death, the title "Bloody".

Bloody Mary and her sister, Good Queen Bess - Protestant titles.

How would Elizabeth have been viewed had Catholicism prevailed and Protestantism was the minority held view of the day?? Good Queen Mary and Bloody Bessie?


Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
"Bloody" is an accurate title. She killed as many people in 5 years as Elizabeth did in 45.


Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
Sodom and Begorrah
Elizabeth had hundreds of Palesmen and women executed mainly for religious reasons. As Catholics they were not to be trusted with the Desmond rebelion in full swing. These were meant to be her loyal subjects in Ireland. Not even counting the huge numbers of rebels killed, massacre at Smerwick, devastation and systematic starvation of the civilian population of Munster. Don't even mention the 9 years war etc.
Mary was a saint compared to Elizabeth the pirate queen.
Jul 2008
As with many historic themes it is how events where recorded or remembered and most importantly how these events were presented to the general populous. The greatest reason for Queen Mary receiving the soubriquet ’Bloody’ was the work of one Master John Foxe, (1518-15870 Priest, Puritan and author of the Book of Martyrs. A Book that first appeared in 1563 and reprinted four times before the end of the century. It had a profound effect on how Mary was to be perceived, and on English Protestantism in general.

In this enormously long history of the Church from the death of Christ to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, he is anxious to prove firstly the complete hatefulness, evil and corruption of the Catholic church, the papacy and the monastic orders, and secondly to assert the right of the monarch to appoint bishops and clergy, and to dispose of church property and income at will. Everything (and that means everything) which supports this view goes in; everything which does not is either left out, glossed over, or rejected as ipso facto untrue because asserted by his opponents.
When he gets closer to his own times, however, his accounts are in most cases taken from eye-witness evidence or official documents and must be accepted as basically factual. There is no doubt that Protestants were savagely persecuted by Henry VIII and especially by Mary I and that this contributed to the fear and hatred which animates the book. The gruesome and enormously detailed accounts of the martyrdoms of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and all the other victims of Bloody Mary's tyranny are sober fact.

Jeremy Paxman The English, makes the case that Foxe, more than anyone else, is responsible for the half-fearful, half-contemptuous attitude of many English people towards their fellow-Europeans:
‘This sense of being uniquely persecuted and uniquely guarded must, obviously, be connected with religious belief. But the relevant text is not in the Bible. It is John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, a lurid piece of propaganda detailing the suffering and death of Protestants executed during Queen Mary's attempt to turn England back to Rome. It ought to be taken as the third Testament of the English Church. The book first appeared in 1563. It had expanded by 1570, the year of Elizabeth's excommunication, to 2,300 pages of often gory descriptions of the oppression of English Protestants at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. Anglican authorities ordered it to be displayed in churches across the country, and the illiterate had it read to them. It stayed on show in many churches for centuries, a ready reference for anyone who doubted the willingness of English-men and -women to die for their beliefs. By the end of the seventeenth century, perhaps 10,000 copies were in circulation. Throughout much of the following hundred years, new editions were produced, often in the form of serializations: after the Bible, it was the most widely available book in the land’


Forum Staff
Jun 2006
Ok Belisarius you got me there. The 2 of them were bad then.
The only difference I can see is that in 1570 when Elizabeth found out about about the killings she at least tried to put a stop to it. The Irish wars of the Tudor age are far more complicated than a simple Catholic-Protestant 'spat'. I've read around the subject and it still defeats me! :eek:
Oct 2008
The Irish wars of the Tudor age are far more complicated than a simple Catholic-Protestant 'spat'.
yes, very true, but didn't the pope back the Irish with gold and troops and intend to place the Irish monarchy in the hands of the Philip of Spain of all people. that's still a pretty big catholic-protestant spat considering the very real threat that a 'foreign' ireland would present let alone papal one.