Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dudgeon over The London Dungeon

The Catholic Herald highlights a clear case of Anti-Catholicism in the now-banned advertisement of the London Dungeon's "Bloody Mary" exhibit. The advert was removed from screens in the Underground because it was disturbing to young children--a portrait of Mary, Queen of England and Ireland transformed into a hideously scarred zombie.

Fortunately, an English historian is standing up for Mary:

But Leanda de Lisle, author of The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, said the portrayal of Mary Tudor as a monster was historically inaccurate.

She said: “It really is an example of England’s knee-jerk anti-Catholicism and how our history of the Tudor period has been distorted by post-Reformation propaganda.

“What about Elizabeth? People may be aware of the executions of Catholics, but there were many more people. After the 1569 northern rebellion, Elizabeth ordered that a man was to be hung in every village associated with the rebellions. It was on a similar scale to her father."

The exhibit itself sounds historically inaccurate (from the website):

"Bloody Mary, the deadliest daughter of Henry VIII is ruthlessly ridding the country of heretics.
"In her eyes there is only one faith and all those who believe otherwise must be punished. No one is safe from persecution – men, women and children are all suspect in the eyes of Bloody Mary.
"Feel the force of her wrath, the heat of the flames and the intensity of Mary’s obsession!
"Watch as Bloody Mary punishes non believers
"Frightening fire
"Punishment and persecution
"Horrid smells
"Hair raising silence"

According to Mary Tudor, Renaissance Queen, earlier promotion of the exhibit was even more historically inaccurate and "inflammatory"--

“Enter Bloody Mary’s private chapel and witness the fanatically Catholic Queen pass judgment on petrified heretics.”

“Experience the horrifying sights, screams, smells of the most painful method of execution known to man – being slowly burnt alive.”

I don't think the London Dungeon would be on my itinerary for a visit.


  1. Thanks for the tip, Stephanie. Not that I was ever inclined to visit that particular "attraction" in London. Now I KNOW it will NEVER be on my itinerary.

    By the way, recently purchased and read your book. I hope to loan it out as a succinct summary of how the English Church went astray.

  2. In my previous email, I said:
    "... a succinct summary of how the ENGLISH CHURCH went astray."

    I should have said "the CHURCH OF ENGLAND".

  3. Thank you, Heide, for your comments about my book and on my blog. I visited your blog also (like the title!). I would like to learn more about the Anglican Use and hope to connect with a community in the Kansas City area soon.