How bloody was Queen Mary I, 1553 - 1558?
This outstanding lesson has been featured at various history teacher conferences across Europe and featured on several well known websites as an example of outstanding practice. It has also been used as a training resource on how to teach the difficult topic of historical interpretation to students.

The aim of this exciting lesson is to help students assess just how bloody Queen Mary I was by evaluating the views of both eye witnesses from the time and historians. It is suitable for a range of abilities, but mainly core and advanced.

When you download this lesson you will have a PowerPoint as well as word document with 12 primary and secondary sources about the reign of Queen Mary I 1553 - 1558.

The PowerPoint includes a snowballing and pair and share starters, slides on why Mary I executed the protestants and why she is such a controversial historical figure. This is followed up with links to carefully selected video clips which can be used with your students.

Afterwards, you then have the luxury of deciding whether to do the card sort exercise either a continuum, pro and con organiser or as a simple sort. I would recommend printing off the appropriate slides on A3 to go along with these activities. Sometimes, I allow my more able students to decide individually which organiser they wish to use, but you could always decide for different groups as part of your differentiation.

Once this has been complete, students can then have a go at answering the assessment question in activity 4: Does Mary I deserve the title, ‘Bloody Mary’? This slide also includes a suggested structure for answering the question, along with possible connectives. I've also thrown in my award winning literacy and persuasive literacy mats to help sweeten the deal. The final plenary slides looking at how history is written will help your students draw their own conclusions about just how bloody was Queen Mary I.

The Aims & Objectives are:

Theme: Consequences of the break with Rome?
Know: Why did Queen Mary I burn protestant heretics?
Understand: How has Mary been viewed by both contemporaries and historians?
Evaluate: Does Mary I deserve the title 'Bloody Mary'?

WILF - What Am I Looking For?
Identify and describe: Which sources support / disagree with the 'Bloody Mary' interpretation?
Explain: Why do people disagree about how 'Bloody' Mary I was?
Analyse: How far does Queen Mary deserve the title 'Bloody Mary?'

If you like this resource then why not check out my other resources on this topic in my TES shop. You can also follow 'The History Academy' on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and Facebook for the latest updates. We aim to produce cheap and affordable resources for either the price of a good cup of coffee or a happy meal so that you can spend more time doing the things that you want.
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  • How-bloody-was-Queen-Mary.pptx
  • Card-Sort---How-bloody-was-Mary-I.docx
  • Humanities-Literacy-mat.docx
  • Persuasive-speech-or-writing-mat.doc

About this resource


Created: Oct 20, 2016

Updated: Feb 18, 2019


pptx, 937 KB



docx, 710 KB



docx, 122 KB


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