A Brief History
On February 4, 1555, English clergyman John Rogers became the first martyr burned at the stake under the rule of Queen Mary I of England, known better as Bloody Mary.
Rogers was a Protestant cleric in an England that had turned away from the Catholic Church under King Henry VIII, but when Henry’s daughter, Mary, a Catholic, assumed the throne in 1553, she did all she could to reinstall the supremacy of the Catholic Church and reverse the Reformation in England.
During Mary’s 5 year reign, at least 280 religious dissenters were burned at the stake as heretics, earning Mary her sanguineous nickname. When Mary was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I, Elizabeth promptly established an English Protestant church that later became the Church of England, making Bloody Mary’s killing spree for naught.
Question for students (and subscribers): Should the UK or any country have an official religion? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Porter, Linda. The Myth of “Bloody Mary”: A Biography of Queen Mary I of England. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009.
Ridley, Jasper. Bloody Mary’s Martyrs: The Story of England’s Terror. Basic Books, 2001.
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