266 Mary – Bloody or Otherwise

Queen Mary I


After her brave and audacious rebellion, Mary became Queen in 1553. Historians have not been kind to Mary for many centuries. What have they been saying? What are they saying now?


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Hello everyone and welcome to the History of England episode 266 Mary, Bloody or Otherwise. And welcome also to episode 6.1; because this is the start of a new series – Series 6, the late Tudors, covering the period 1554 to 1603 – the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth really.

For the first 14 episodes we are into the counter reformation, and the story of bloody Mary, the Tudor who usurped the throne from Queen Jane. Mary is a complicated figure – bloody Mary to many a martyr to others one of those whose reputation many have sought to rescue from the fires that she lit – as I discuss in episode 279 when we review the tumultuous 6 years of her reign.

Then we take a pause in 7 episodes from 280 to 286 before moving on to Elizabeth, and take a long hard look at Tudor England – from the bottom up rather than top down. The hundred years after Mary are a period of continuous population growth which leads to profound economic and social changes, and are arguably the anteroom of capitalism. We talk about the politics of the Republic of the Parish, and the Reformation of manners

Only then are we into Good Queen Bess and episode 287. She also like her father and Grandfather, is well served by peerless first ministers – in her case, Burghley, Robert Cecil and Walsingham. Her first task is to establish the national church on a firm basis, to see off the last of the Tudor rebellions and take control of her parliament and court. All of which she does with consummate skill and finesse, and not a little judicious grumpiness. We’ve got most of that sorted by episode 300 when he can look a little wider; at the very early start of England’s empire, a short abortive foray into slave trading – and an eddy into the story of Black Tudors. There’s all the shenanigans about her marriage, or lack of it, and the Reformation in Scotland leading to that dreadful dilemna of what are we going to do about Maria; that story gets woven in along the way, but the axe falls in episode 312

One of the features of history from here on is the importance of the developing story of Ireland – England, and then Britain’s first colony as it has been called. So we must cover the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland – which I cover in 203. 304 and 318.

And of course we’ve got all the good stuff – Drake’s circumnavigate, the war with Spain Armada and all that, until Bess comes to an end in episode 321. What a great story. As per normal, the series ends with a review of European history to set up for the next series, which is four episodes worth, until Series 6 and the arrival of the Stuarts comes to pass at episode 325.


Enough already, we have arrived, gentle listeners all at a thoroughly fascinating reign, that of Mary Tudor, Mary I, the very first Queen of England. Before I go on, here’s the plan. We are going to bash on with the political and religious story of the turbulent and terrible trials of the Tudor century until the end of Mary’s reign; and then we are going to pause a little, and we are going to talk less of cabbages and kings and more of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of the ordinary lives and traditions of the English in the 16th century. Because I am rather conscious that we’ve gone very political, and while it’s true to say that the century is turbulent politically it’s no bowl of cherries in a social and economic sense either, no sir. So, something to look forward to then.  However, there will be further abuse of the simple timeline before that, so sorry. Because on 21st March falls the anniversary of a very significant event, which plot I shall not spoil, so I will want to make sure we get to that on the nearest Sunday which is 17th March, and then on the day itself I have an interview with a special guest with which to delight you so I shall release the next week’s episode early.

Now then, Mary Tudor. The Tudors are fun are they not ladies and gentlemen? I mean I know that some of you in England who did the Blessed Tudors at school for Key stage 2 or 3 GCSE and then maybe A level, and are forced to watch innumerable dramas and stuff on TV, maybe you are feeling just a little jaded right now about the Tudors. But not me I am afraid to say, as far as I am concerned it is as much fun as a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, although I am worried the hangover maybe just as bad. The reason they are so fun is that there is so much controversy, so much revisionism. And as far as Mary is concerned, everyone knew what they thought for centuries, all the cards were once firmly settled in the hand, but now everyone is delightedly playing 52 card pick up as though England’s life depended on it.  So as I sit at my desk, like Thomas Hardy in front of the good natured Bank Holiday Crowd in Dorchester, body straight shoulders relaxed, pen held lightly but firmly in the right hand, I am ready.

Let me start by giving you two quotes. Let’s start with John Foxe, since that’s a very fine place to start.

‘We shall never find any reign of any prince in this land or any other, which did ever show in it (for the proportion of time) so many great arguments of God’s wrath and displeasure, as were to be seen in the reign of this queen Mary, whether we behold the shortness of her time, or the unfortunate event of all her purpose’

John Foxe did not stop there, going on to describe in gruesome detail what he described as ‘the horrible and bloody time of Queen Mary’, and so was handed to later school teachers and children’s stories the gem that is the nick name Bloody Mary. Although Sellars and Yeatman’s schoolchild struggles with name of course and called her Broody Mary instead.

Ok, so we’ll come back to the image making of Foxy and his Chumps in a moment, what about this then, also a contemporary opinion:

‘A bleak childhood, a persecuted adolescence, a harassed and suffering maturity, produced the woman who was to go down to posterity unwept, unhonoured and unsung. Her many admirable qualities, her absolute sincerity, her fine integrity, her high courage, lofty and abiding- qualities of leadership, princely qualities – were deadened by a fatal lack of that subtle appeal that awakens popular sympathy’

These are the words of a Venetian Ambassador called Giovanni Michieli, and it is interesting to me that the second is very much more likely to have people nodding their heads these days than the first – or I suspect so anyway. And I’ll explain why later, although part of it of course is probably that we are these days a much more secular society and therefore see her through such a different lens.

Anyway, back in the day, immediately after Mary’s death, there was no time for nuance. I may be falling prey to melodrama when I say that a new breed of English patriotism was forged in the fires of Mary’s religious persecutions, but there is enough truth in the statement for me to get away with it. As Elizabeth came to the throne, there was a job to be done as far as the Protestant reformers were concerned – and we are going to pick the splinters from our collective cheeks and come down from the fence of terminology now and use the word Protestant, since the more common use of the word is made common currency through Mary’s reign, so I can stop pussyfooting around with you  know, evangelicals and reformists and all that malarky. The protestants had received a nasty shock. All through Edward’s reign it had been a beautiful morning and things had been going their way; now suddenly things had been violently reversed, and not only had they been violently reversed, they had seen that a very fair proportion of the English had welcomed the return to the old religion with some enthusiasm, though maybe not the return to Rome. It was time to use the courage and sacrifice of the Protestant martyrs to form the vanguard of a Protestant army that would create a better world. And circumstances were all in their favour, for not only did Elizabeth choose a protestant direction and therefore allow their publicity plenty of oxygen, but England began to look increasingly isolated in the European world, and increasingly vulnerable to enemies who were very public and unequivocal their desire to bring England back to the control of Rome even if it meant taking a potshot at her anointed monarch. Pope, I’m looking at you.

Now, it is important not to misrepresent John Foxe here – it’s very easy with modern sensibilities to write him off as a kind of mad preacher figure. He was not – he was motivated by a genuine admiration for his subjects, an entirely shared desire to protect his fellow English from God’s wrath, and was a better and more honest historian than his opponents would like to admit, although always to be treated with care. In addition, unlike most of his Protestant friends and Catholic opponents, he found the whole burning thing abhorrent. So his arguments against Mary were not some crude act of revenge; as he wrote:

‘by her may be advertised and learned what a dangerous thing it is for men and women in authority, upon blind zeal and opinion, to stir up persecution in Christ’s Church, to the shedding of Christian blood’

For a man seen very often as some weird, archaic and incomprehensible figure of an alien world, it is a remarkably modern statement and opinion. Snaps to old Foxy.

However, Foxe did indeed in 1563 produce the third leg that supported English Protestantism for the next 3 or 4 hundred years in the Actes and Monuments, or the Book of Martyrs as it is often called, joining the English Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. History is written by the winners it is said, though I am not sure that is always true, discuss, but it is certainly true to say that as Protestantism became one of the fundamental pillars of the English nation, Foxe’s hatchet job on Mary’s reputation was complete, unchallengeable, and irreversible, or so it seemed. The Whig view of history to which we keep referring saw Protestantism as an essential component of the march to progress and enlightenment and Messers Sellar and Yeatman summed it up in just brilliantly in the phrase

Broody Mary’s reign was, however, a Bad Thing, since England is bound to be C of E, so all the executions were wasted

Jane Austin’s little bit of fun history was equally damning in a slightly different way. Jane, by the way seems to have been a BIG fan of Mary Queen of Scots, and I mean big with a capital B capital F, and so by comparison with her everyone was a loser

Nor can I pity the kingdom the misfortunes they experienced during her reign, since they fully deserved them for having allowed her to succeed her brother

Which is, you know, a little harsh I would say, but then the judgement of the young often is. When I was that age there were no bands worthy of the name when stood in comparison to the mighty Zep. Though of course that is a statement that remains largely accurate even with the wisdom of age.

The Protestant story then, was not a fair, careful and judicious assessment of the rights and wrongs, as is often the way of things in times of crisis. And if you would like confirmation of that fact sign up to Twitter and access the debate by typing in #Brexit. But make sure before you do that you have a pair of earplugs, a nice cup of tea and if at all possible, a warm buttered crumpet or two, because it is by and large quite impossible for the world to be threatening while wrapping your tonsils round a warm buttered crumpet. The problems start when the crumpets are finished, but that’s another story. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that the Protestant story threw the book at Mary, and I mean the book, the whole book, and considerably more than the book. It is not just that Mary was an evil, brutal and sadistic burner of innocent people who all of them, to a man and woman, also loved puppies and were kind to children, she was also wildly incompetent and practically a traitor if a Queen could be a traitor. Her administration was blundering and lacked innovation. She was in cahoots with the Spaniards and the Pope, and although neither of those people wore jackboots, if they had, the English would have been under them. The word cahoot, by the way is a most attractive one I am sure you will agree so I looked it up in the OED. It is apparently the American side of the family who introduced it into the global and shared language that is English, and there is a dispute, gentle listeners, about its origin. It is indisputably French, but the big enders figure it comes from Cohorte – which makes sense, you know, in a group sort of thing – or cahute, a word for a type of cabinet. I’m going for the latter; In Cahoots has a slightly sinister meaning doesn’t it, so I am thinking of Foxe shivering with horror as he visualises Mary stuffed bent necked into a small stuffy cabinet with the Pope and Phillip plotting the downfall of all good protestants.

Now if you cast your minds back to the days of Anne Boleyn, in what I believe is probably called the dim and distant, you might remember the survival of two traditions, defined by religion. In one she was a protestant saviour, in the other she had a sticky-outty tooth, an unattractive wart and a 6th finger. Well, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being very, how surprised would you be to learn that there was a very different tradition about Mary maintained by Catholic commentators? I am guessing that we are down around the minus 3s or 4s. Although our quote from Giovanni earlier mentioned a certain lack of charisma in Mary, she was well able to inspire personal loyalty. So let me take you to Bishop, installed by Mary as the Bishop of Winchester after Stephen Gardiner croaked, who after his mistress’s death and the accession of the new Queen Elizabeth remarked with a broad vein of snark that the new queen was

A lady of great virtue whom we are bound to obey, for you know a living dog is better than a dead lion

Which I think gives the phrase damning with faint praise a new lease of life. Elizabeth had a sense of humour failure over this one by the way.

And then back to the very originator of the sticky outy tooth and wart thing, Nicholas Sander. As you might expect he spoke out for his people. Gone was Mary the persecuter, and in her place was Mary the pious, gentle and noble and slightly sad victim, who simply did the very best she could, but whose virtues were unfortunately wasted on an ungrateful nation of heretics.

So the battle lines were draw, but it was not, sadly, a very even battle. For a series of Protestant commentators the story was a simple one. They had suffered persecution and unjust oppression. They had freed themselves from it. Catholicism and that oppression were therefore one and the same thing. Since freeing themselves from oppression, they had come together as a nation, defeated their enemies, notably Spain, and won their right to survive, and had thrived. So, not only was Catholicism the symbol of oppression it was also the symbol of foreign domination to the point of existential threat. There is a weird parallel with Ireland, just the other way round, in that Protestantism became in Ireland the symbol of foreign oppression and Catholicism that of freedom. At the same time, since England appeared to flourish, from a political and economic perspective at least, Protestantism also became the symbol of progress – and so, rather helpfully, the whig tradition of unending progress towards the shining light of the British Empire could be combined with Protestantism – it was the will of God effectively. Here is J A Froude, a Victorian Anglican Historian. Those of you with a queasy disposition might like to look away now:

The catholics, therefore, were permitted to continue their cruelties until the cup of iniquity was full; till they had taught the educated laity of England to regard them with horror; and till the Romanist superstition had died, amid the execrations of the people of its own excess

Golly. Unfortunately, the Catholic side of the argument was much less clear. And before we go on, let’s be clear, this argument about Mary for most of its history broke down along that denominational faultline. The problem for the Catholic historians was that very English and then British success – they could hardly claim the will of God unless God was moving in quite exceptionally mysterious ways. An they couldn’t bring themselves to condemn Mary for alienating her people by burning an unprecedented number of them for heresy against Catholicism; no, her failure was a tragedy, and the reason for the tragedy was the Spanish marriage; Mary’s downfall was her devotion to Philip. Now that’s all very well, and conveniently removes the need to look the small matter of the fires of Smithfield in the face. So as late as the 1950s Father Philip Hughes would lament that she had

sacrificed to Spain either herself or the prospects of restoring the catholicism still latent in the souls of her people

The trouble with this is that it presents a picture of Mary that while it is maybe less of the Evil persecutor, is not much better than a misguided and besotted loser who made a rubbish choice based on personal impulse. Personally, if I were Mary I think I’d rather be hung for a wolf than this rather pathetic lamb. By the 20th century the battle ground was religion generally not Mary, no one was really interested in her. Like Edward, actually, Mary’s reign also suffers from the problems of the wedgie, of being wedged between the monstrous buttocks that are the reigns of Henry and Elizabeth, if you will pardon the slightly indelicate metaphor. Not sure I want to hold Henry’s buttocks in my mind’s eye actually, and did Gloriana, mother of her people actually have buttocks? I am wandering into Jonathan Swift and the beautiful Celia territory, for which I refer you to Swift’s poem The Lady’s Dressing Room and Strephon’s appalled discovery about the object of his desire.







Anyway, where was I. Um. So, yes, Mary has really very few defenders – to Protestants she’s an evil oppressor, and to Catholics she’s an incompetent loser – I imagine I exaggerate of course, I am sure there was more than one opinion on each side, but you know, history is all about selecting the truth you tell is it not. That’s the general thrust of the arguments.

Until 1901 when a convert to Catholicism called Jean Stone wrote ‘The History of Mary I, Queen of England’ which has been described by David Loades as hagiography, but brought a few elements into play; a focus on Mary herself, a sympathetic approach, and the issue of Gender. It’s impossible to consider Mary’s history without including Gender and the trail she blazed for the role of Queens in English history. Mary was England’s first sovereign queen, the likes of Seaxburgha and Matilda don’t count, and the way she approached and established her authority had a significant impact on her sister’s succession. Although that wasn’t really Jean Stone’s story to be fair; her story was of the woman beleaguered and alone betrayed by greedy and unscrupulous men around her, the sort of story being written about MQoS at the moment. Jean’s biography didn’t really achieve the ascent in the bestseller lists she might have liked, but she was at least a voice crying alone and preparing the way and all that, if I can use a suitably biblical metaphor, until others followed with more effective attempts; which in 1940 was what happened with Helen Prescott’s book, Spanish Tudor. Mary in this biography, which became a standard work, was back to being a Renaissance Princess with all the politics and decision making that implies, but who in the end could not prevail against the disadvantages of her Gender in the patriarchical world.

We are now in the 1950s and beyond, and the nature of historical writing and research has changed, with much more reliance on sources, and research into the documentation and evidence and all that good stuff; but sadly, the conclusions of scholars weren’t changing very much; Mary was still something of a loser who made some disastrous decisions, particularly in the Spanish marriage.  From here though, the historical debate was definitely broadening and deepening. Generally, the histories of some key people were being revised – Cardinal Reginald Pole the ABC of the intray, and Thomas Cranmer, the ABC of the outtry, and of Stephen Gardiner; religious enquiry was focussing more on the people and their attitudes, with the work of the great A G Dickens. It began to seem as though Mary and her Councillors were rather more in control of the Church of England than Mary’s policy of obedience to Rome would indicate, but also rather more successful. And David Loades made the point that Mary’s pursuit of two really unpopular policies, while also facing the disadvantages of being a female monarch, rather demonstrated the great strength of the English Crown, and he built a picture that religion was rather less important in politics than we had assumed.

Although there’s therefore more nuance in the debate, I would refer you to the film Elizabeth in 1998, and the depiction of Mary which Kathy Burke delivered. Mary is bigoted, stupid, desperate and at best a pitiful victim. And there is much still of this picture of Mary, added to which the feminist angle if I can call it that, was now rather holding her responsible for failing to break the patriarchal mould, which is a little mean.

However, chip chip chip, chip away at the wall. David Loades began to show that her financial policy was rather effective in the early years of the reign – only blown away by involvement in the French war later. In the noughties a whole array of books about Mary and her reign came out – David Loades, Linda Porter, the Catholic polemicist Eamon Duffy, Judith Richards. In terms of religion, it came to be more widely recognised that there was more to the Catholic revival than simply stern re-imposition of the old rules from above, with the winds of the Counter Reformation blowing across England through the pipe that was Reginald Pole, and through an effective group of new catholic bishops that had replaced team Cranmer.

Andrew Pettegree argued that under Mary

‘English Protestantism was reduced once again to a persecuted remnant; many of its ablest figures taking refuge abroad, to avoid martyrdom – the fate of those whom remained behind.’

The only real resistance to the establishment of Catholicism seemed to be when it came close to the thing the aristocracy really cared about, namely their purses, and the danger of having to return all that confiscated crown land.

Judith Richards also tackled a number of the central planks upon which Mary’s bad reputation stood. Principal among these was the gender one. Actually, she argued that the impediments and obstacles to a female becoming the monarch and attitudes generally toward women in positions of authority was overstated. She did this by starting with the pronouncement by John Knox which is repeated constantly, and why not because it is something of a classic, the sort of quote that pulls you up short and makes you realise just how far the past is a foreign country. This comes from his shall we say, provocatively entitled paper, ‘First blast of the trumpet Against the Monstrous regiment of women’. I shall not try to read in the style of David Tenant, who by the way did an excellent job of playing Knox in the 2018 MQoS film

To promote a woman to beare rule, superioritie, dominion or empire above any realme, nation, or citie, is repugnant to nature, contumelie to God, a thing most contrarious to his reveled will and approved ordinance, and finalie it is the subversion of good order, of all equitie and justice

Golly. Actually though Richards demonstrated that even then this was a most extreme view; that society was provided with examples of women in positions of authority in commerce and the landed nobility as well as influence at court; and that anyway birth trumped gender. But none of this was to belittle Mary’s role, very much the opposite, it was just to clear away some of the myth and detritus lying about the floors of the barn of history. She came to praise Mary not to bury her. Because more important was Mary being active, assiduous and intelligent in making sure that as Queen she exercised royal power in no way diminished from that she’d have had were she a bloke. She touched for the kin’s evil, Scrofula, although that was supposed to be a male talent; she dressed with all the magnificence her male predecessors had proved was so important, she had an impeccable personal reputation. And critically, the deal she imposed on Phillip of Spain made it crystal clear that she, not he, exercised royal power in England, a level of hard headedness that belied the idea of a hopelessly besotted loser, and of which Mary QoS might have taken note. Thus, Richards concludes that

The clarity with which Mary enacted and embodied female monarchy from the start of her reign as being fully as powerful as male has been too easily dismissed.

She points out that Elizabeth would be able to walk into a role where all the spade work about what a Queen should been dug, all the battles about wielding full sovereignty had all be fought, and allowed Elizabeth to slide her feet easily into the slippers of Tudor power.

Other studies then pointed out that Mary had to deal with the double whammy of harvest failure and plague, and must be assessed against the background of that encouragement to rebellion. And then folks took on the stuff about all the burnings. Here’s John Guy from as far back as 1984

We should beware of the bias of John Foxe and other Protestant writers writing in Elizabeth’s reign.   It is true that Mary burned a minimum of 287 persons.   But the leading protestant martyrs, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, were as much the victims of straightforward political revenge.   Secondly, we should appreciate that many of the Marian ‘martyrs’ would have been burned by Henry VIII.   by 16th century standards, there was nothing exceptional about Mary’s reign of terror.   Even the scale of Mary’s persecution may have been exaggerated, for the figures come from the biased Foxe, who reported the same examples twice wherever possible.

So good golly miss molly, north has become south and we have a queen of unparalleled goodness and competence, and anyway the Marian persecutions are just an accepted by product of being part of the Tudor world. From zero to hero, job done, wham bang, thank you Sam, now who shall we have a go at next?

Well, not quite. In fact, none of the arguments never manage to get round a few inconvenient facts that keep pulling everyone back from the excesses of revisionism. Hate or loathe it, the Marian persecutions were a fact. We’ve noted before that England does a poor job of murdering its own citizens judged by continental standards of the day, but none the less this was, as I have said the greatest of religious persecutions in English history. John Guy’s argument was a little weak – dismissing the likes of Latimer and Cranmer as political revenge doesn’t really paint Mary in any better light, even if you accepted the argument. The relationship between Mary and the Hapsburgs was surely quite remarkable; one line of revisionism bigs up the significance that the Imperial Ambassador did not come to sit on her council; a remarkable argument since that would have been quite bizarre. However firm a treaty Mary imposed on Philip the fact remains that it was an extraordinarily unpopular move, and she had fair warning, and it did indeed drag England into a war.

Where we seem to sit now seems to be with a recognition that the old bigoted and stupid Mary is confined to popular legend, and give another 150 years of hard work and ceaseless promotion maybe the historians will even have an impact on the popular reputation, who knows. We have a hardworking, dedicated, brave and conscientious queen, firmly hewn from the Tudor mould of regality, with whom it is possible to have a lot of sympathy.  But even Anna Whitelocke’s recent biography which is super positive again, ends up with the story essentially of tragic failure.

So, there, gentle listeners, is our situation, and we of course, assuming you accept the challenge, will be spending some time going through her reign and you can make up your own minds. I shall summarise some of the discussion points you might carefully note down for further study and review in a quiet moment when you have your feet up, glass of Newkie Brown or Pinot Grigiot held reflectively in one hand.

Was Mary the renaissance queen, the learned humanist, tolerant to all who conformed outwardly; or was she, while not the dullard of legend nonetheless critically mentally inflexible and stubborn?

Was the Spanish marriage a mistake, to which anything would have been preferable, whether marriage to the available English chinless wonder – or was it a brilliant and possibly unavoidable policy of alliance that only went wrong due to Harold MacMillans’ dictum ‘Events, dear boy, events’?

Was Mary’s part in the extended Okey cokey that was the English Reformation a rip roaring success only ruined by her regrettable failure to murder her sister and to live for more than 6 years? Or was there no end in sight to the persecutions and growing evidence of their unpopularity?

Was Mary the incompetent queen of legend, sublimating everything to keeping the home fires of religion burning, allowing a council to be at war with itself and undue influence of a foreign power, or was she actually well served by ministers who would prove their success by continuing to serve into Elizabeth’s reign?

Essentially do we go for Whiggish Winnie,

The tragic interlude of her reign was over. It had sealed the conversion of the English people to the reformed faith

Or do we prefer Anna Whitelocke

Mary was the Tudor Trailblazer, a political pioneer whose reign redefined the English monarchy


You might have other questions, and if you do, answers on a postcard and all that. Meanwhile I will see you next week when we’ll greet Mary onto the throne.

Next week then we start Mary’s reign and she get’s stuck into the heretics with due despatch. Until then, thank you so much for listening everyone, grateful thanks to my beloved Members for your support, to all of who you have written in to the website, FB. And email. Good luck everyone, and have a great week.



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The Whitechapel Bell Foundry site was acquired in 2017 for development as a commercial hotel and hospitality venue. UKHBPT and Factum Foundation have produced ‘Saved By The Bell’ a comprehensive report which demonstrates that continuation of foundry work is possible and commercially robust.

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5 thoughts on “266 Mary – Bloody or Otherwise

  1. Hi David,

    Lovely to have you back on my commute! I’ve enjoyed the members’ stuff, but there’s nothing like getting back into the narrative again.

    With very best wishes,


    1. Hi Anthony, and yes it is of course true! It’s goo to have finally found a bit of time, though to be honest until June comes around time won’t be much easier! Enjoy the commute

  2. Hi David,

    I use an app called podcast player to listen to the show, but it hasn’t updated since the episode gold, praise and glory. Just to let you know in case of a problem but keep up the good work.
    Thanks 🙂

  3. Hi David
    Great work as always. I particularly enjoy the episodes where you give an outline of how historians hostile and praiseworthy both have described the particular monarch being examined. It really does help us to chart a course through history, particularly with a monarch so maligned as Bloody Mary (Slightly off topic, is she the only monarch with a drink named after her?) While I see her as a repugnant character, I look forward to gaining a more complete picture of her and those around her.

    Kind regards


    1. Ha! No i can’t think of any other drinks names after monarchs – does suggest a new cocktail bar opportunity! Glad you enjoyed the episode; like so many her reputation has been very much re-evaluated over the last 20 years

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