Queen Mary I, Bloody Mary

Composed by D. A. Sharpe




Mary, of the House of Tudor, was born February 18, 1516 at the Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England.  She was known as Bloody Mary.  Mary is the daughter of English King Henry VIII and the first of his six wives, Catarina de Aragon.  


She is my 20th cousin, 13 times removed.  The ancestors in common with us are Eystein Glumra Ivarsson and his wife, Aseda Rognvaldsdatter. Eystein and Aseda were 9th Century Vikings of Norway, being Elizabeth's 19th great grandparents and my 32nd great grandparents. Described in a closer manner, Mary is the 4th cousin, four times removed from Edward Carleton, the husband of Ellen Newton, the stepdaughter of Danette Abney, my 6th great grand uncle. 


"Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was born in 1516, and suffered through a terrible childhood of neglect, intolerance, and ill-health.  She was a staunch Roman Catholic from birth, constantly resisting pressure from others to renounce her faith, a request she steadfastly refused.  She married Philip II of Spain in1555, but that marriage did not produce a child.


"Mary began her tumultuous reign at 37 years of age, arriving in London amid a scene of great rejoicing. Following the disarray created by passing of the succession to Lady Jane Grey (Jane lasted only nine days), Mary's first act was to repeal the Protestant legislation of her brother, Edward VI, hurling England into a phase of severe religious persecution. Her major goal was the re-establishment of Catholicism in England, a goal to which she was strongly committed.  Persecution came more from a desire for purity in faith than from vengeance, yet the fact remains that over 500 people (including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer and many of the most prominent members of society) were burned at the stake for heresy, earning Mary the nickname, 'Bloody Mary.'




̉Mary's marriage to the militant Catholic Philip was designed to enforce Roman Catholicism on the realm.  Unfortunately for Mary, two factors compelled opposition to her plans:  the English people hated foreigners - especially the Spanish - and twenty years of Protestantism had soured the English on Popery.  She met with resistance at every level of society, and, unlike her father and brother, failed to conform society into one ideological Pattern. Philip II, cold and indifferent both to Mary and her realm, remained in England for only a short time.  He coerced Mary to go to war with France, resulting in defeat and the loss of the last English continental possession, Calais.  With the retirement of his father, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, Philip returned to Spain; Mary died a mere ten months later, on November 17, 1558, at age 42.  She died at St. James Palace in London, and was buried December 14, 1558 in Westminster Abbey, London, England.  


"England suffered during the reign of Mary I:  the economy was in ruin, religious dissent reached a zenith and England lost her last continental territory.  Jane Austen wrote this rather scathing commentary about Mary:  'This woman had the good luck of being advanced to the throne of England, in spite of the superior pretensions, merit and beauty of her cousins, Mary Queen of Scotland and Jane Grey.  Nor can I pity the Kingdom for the misfortunes they experienced during her reign, since they fully deserved them...' "




On Mary's 30th birthday, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died.




On May 21,1554, Queen Mary I by a Royal Charter, and in return for a payment of £260 13s 4d, granted the Corporation of Derby School in the English Midlands, several properties and endowments which had belonged to Darley Abbey, the College of All Saints, St Michael's Church, and some other suppressed chantries and gilds, for the foundation of "a Free Grammar School, for the instruction and education of boys and youths in the said town of Derby for ever to be maintained by the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the same town."


The Derby School originally began in 1160.  This re-founding by Royal Charter of the new Free Grammar School was established in a purpose-built building, now called the Old Grammar School, next to St Peter's Church. The school remained at this site until around 1860 it moved temporarily to a property occupied by the then Headmaster, Dr. Thomas Humphreys Leary, in Friargate. Research is being undertaken in December 2016 to determine the property concerned. Due to the generosity of Edward Strutt, then the owner who had his property up for sale the school was allowed to move into St Helen's House in King Street, Derby in 1861 for a period of two years rent free. In the late 20th century, this building was for some time part of the Derby Heritage Centre and is now a ladies' hairdresser's.






"In March of 1558, Mary made her will, but did not name Elizabeth as her heir.  Elizabeth was her sister, a daughter as well out of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn. She did consider marriage for Elizabeth, by Philip's suggestion, to Emmanuel Philibert, the Prince of Savoy, but nothing definite was ever developed.  Mary now admitted that she was mistaken in her second pregnancy.  She fell into depression and would not leave her room.  All the hopes of her life were unfulfilled and it seemed the child of the woman who had so injured her mother was to succeed her.  She suffered a fever through the summer, but insisted on returning to London from the country.  Philip was sent many update reports of her condition, but he did not return.  She was at St. James Palace when, in October, she made a codicil to her will in which she stated that her husband should have no further government or rule within England.  She also instructed him to be a father, brother and friend to the next sovereign. Because Mary had not specifically named Elizabeth heir, Elizabeth was preparing, in case she had to fight for the throne.  On November 6, the Counselors visited Mary in her bed chamber, and urged her to name Elizabeth as heir.  She did give in, with the hopes that Elizabeth would continue to uphold the Catholic religion.


"By November 14, Mary was near the end. She was fading in and out of consciousness and awoke to find her ladies weeping.  She told them not to fret, because she had dreams of many little children, like angles, play before her, singing pleasing notes, giving her comfort.  When she was conscious she spent much time crying and when asked if it was because her husband was away, she answered that was one reason, but most of all that "when I am dead, you will find Calais lying in my heart."  On November 16, the will was read aloud in Mary's bed chamber.  By dawn the next morning Mary knew her time had come and ordered mass celebrated in her room.   At the end of the service, her ladies thought she had fallen asleep, but she had died peacefully.  The betrothal ring was removed from her finger and carried to Hatfield.  Mary was 42 years old.  She was buried in Westminster Abbey in a grave that laid unadorned throughout Elizabeth's reign.  Elizabeth was interred in the same grave, and a lavish monument was built for her.  On the side of the monument, it states that the two sisters are buried together."





Compiled by:


Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712






Here I am with our first grandson,

John (Jack) David Westmoreland (born summer 2000)