Those bishops who had been foremost in the changes of course were the first to be tried for their teaching. The punishment was the dreadful one of being burnt alive, chained to a stake. Bishop Hooper died in this way at Gloucester, and Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer were both burnt at the same time at Oxford, encouraging one another to die bravely as martyrs for the truth, as they held it. Cranmer was in prison already for supporting Jane Grey, and he was condemned to death; but he was led to expect that he would be spared the fire if he would allow that the old faith, as Rome held it, was the right one. Paper after paper was brought, such as would please the queen and his judges, and he signed them all; but after all, it turned out that none would do, and that he was to be burnt in spite of them. The he felt what a base part he had acted, and was ashamed when he thought how bravely his brethren had died on the same spot: and when he was chained to the stake and the fire lighted, he held his right hand over the flame to be burnt first, because it had signed what he did not really believe, and he cried out, “This unworthy hand!”
Altogether, about three hundred people were burnt in Queen Mary’s reign for denying one or other of the doctrines that the Pope thought the right ones. It was a terrible time; and the queen, who had only longed to do right and restore her country to the Church, found herself hated and disliked by everyone. Even the Pope, who had a quarrel with her husband, did not treat her warmly; and the nobles, who had taken possession of the abbey lands, were determined never to let her restore them. Her husband did not love her, or like England. However, he persuaded her to help him in a war with the French, with which England out to have had nothing to do, and the consequence was that a brave French duke took the city of Calais, the very last possession of the English in France. Mary was so exceedingly grieved, that she said that when she died the name of Calais would be found written on her heart.
She was already ill, and there was a bad fever at the time, of which many of those she most loved and trusted had fallen sick. She died, in 1558, a melancholy and sorrowful woman, after reigning only five years.
Elizabeth. A.D. 1558—1587.
All through Queen Mary’s time, her sister Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn’s daughter, had been in trouble. Those who held by Queen Mary, and maintained Henry’s first marriage, said that his wedding with Anne was no real one, and so that Elizabeth ought not to reign; but then there was no one else to take in her stead, except the young Queen Mary of Scotland, wife to the French dauphin. All who wished for the Reformation, and dreaded Mary’s persecutions had hoped to see Elizabeth queen, and this had made Mary much afraid of her; and she was so closely watched and guarded that once she even said she wished she was a milkmaid, to be left in peace. While she had been in the Tower she had made friends with another prisoner, Robert Dudley, brother to the husband of Lady Jane Grey, and she continued to like him better than any other person as long as he lived.