Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Death of Cranmer

The execution of Lady Jane Grey, and of those who were suspected of having sided with her, did not incline the people to love either Mary or Philip. The English disliked Philip because his manners were very bad, because he was so rude as to treat his wife with contempt, and because he urged her to persecute the reformers and make every one practise the Catholic religion.

The pope had consented to forgive the English, at Mary's entreaty, and had sent his legate, Cardinal Pole, to England. This man was very good and gentle, and he advised Mary and Philip not to ill-treat the Protestants; but they would not listen to him.

In those days it was still the custom for those in power to persecute all who held opinions different from their own. When the Protestants were in power they had persecuted all who did not believe as they did. So now the Catholics began to persecute the Protestants. All who upheld the Protestant religion were very unkindly treated, and about three hundred were burned at the stake as heretics.

Among these were two good old preachers, Latimer and Ridley. They were hated by Mary's principal adviser, Gardiner, who was so anxious to have them die that he said, on the day of their execution, that he would not dine until he knew they were burned. As the two friends walked together to the place of torture, encouraging one another, Latimer said: "Be of good cheer, Brother Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Latimer and Ridley were fastened to the stake, and some of their friends charitably tied packages of gunpowder around their waists, so that their tortures should not be too prolonged. But in spite of these precautions, the fire burned so slowly that the poor men suffered untold agonies. The cruel Gardiner was forced to delay his dinner four hours. But it is said he could not eat it then, for he was suddenly stricken by an illness from which be died.

Another who suffered death was the aged Cranmer, whom Mary hated, partly because it was he who had divorced her mother and had witnessed Edward's will. He was accused of high treason and of heresy, and on the latter charge was sentenced to be burned alive. Cranmer was, on the whole, a good man, but he shrank from bodily suffering. So, when told he would be forgiven if he would sign a paper recognizing the pope and giving up the Protestant religion, he had not the courage to refuse.

But Mary had no real intention of letting him go unpunished; and when Cranmer learned this, he became defiant and refused to read this paper at the stake. The queen's officers vainly tried to prevent his speaking to the assembled people; he cried aloud that he regretted his momentary weakness, and said that, as his right hand had offended by signing a lie, it should be burned first.

Saying these words, Cranmer thrust his hand into the fire, and firmly held it there until it was burned off. His courageous behaviour in the midst of awful torture greatly impressed the people. In fact, all these cruel punishments, which earned for the queen among her enemies the harsh title of "Bloody Mary," had, as the pope's wise legate had foreseen, an effect just contrary to that which she had hoped. Yet Mary thought she was doing right, for Philip urged her to be even more severe. She was always a very unhappy woman, for few people ever loved her. Her husband soon left her and went over to Flanders, where he did not even take the trouble to read the long letters she sent him. He was making war there, and needed a great deal of money; so Mary, hoping to win his affections, sent him all she could.

To supply him with funds, she loaded her people with taxes, and by his order she declared war against France. Parliament would not at first consent to this war; but Mary, it is said, got down on her knees to beseech the members to do as her husband wished. Then a force of ten thousand men was sent over to Philip, who won a victory at St. Quentin.

This success was soon offset by a great loss. The French, beaten at St. Quentin, but knowing that Calais was poorly defended, surprised two of the forts that protected it, and forced the city to surrender after a week's siege. It was thus that Calais, which had been taken by Edward III. after a ten months' siege, and had been in the hands of the English about two hundred years, became once more, in 1558, the property of the French.

The news reached England on New Year's day, and filled the country with dismay. Mary bewailed the loss of "the brightest jewel in her crown," and said that "Calais" would be found graven upon her heart after she was dead.

This loss, added to her other sorrows, so weakened her health that she died the same year. Few regretted her, and as she left no children, the crown passed on to her Elizabeth, the only living child of Henry VIII.