Jacqueline In ‘The Burning Girls,’ Explained: Who Had Killed Merrie and Joy?

The role of Reverend Jacqueline in The Burning Girls has been played fantastically by Samantha Morton. The character has efficiently played her role as the new vicar at Chapel Croft. She is full of confidence, which makes her reveal several mysteries surrounding the village. She prioritizes her role as a mother in protecting her daughter Florence through her instincts in distinguishing good from bad. The director, Charles Martin, has efficiently designed the character of Reverend Jacqueline, making it a well-rounded one! Will the Reverend be able to unveil the secrets of Chapel Croft? Why did she return to the village? Let us find out!

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Spoilers Ahead


What Role Did Jack Play In Unveiling The Secrets?

The new vicar at the Chapel Croft, Jacqueline, unveils many secrets in the village. She was very keen on finding out the truth behind the death of the previous vicar, Reverend Fletcher, despite constantly being threatened by the Harper family. She had envisioned the spirits of two burning girls in the chapel who were trying to convey something to her. On accidentally stumbling upon the dent in the chapel floor, she decides to dig it up and unveils new secrets. Other than the bodies of the so-called martyrs belonging to the Harper family, she comes across new skeletons. The skeletons of two girls were found to be Abigail and Maggie’s, two little girls who were burned to death after being accused of witchcraft. Jack had found documents of monetary exchanges between one of the forefathers of the Harper family and the royal family in exchange for information regarding the hiding place of the little girls. The Harpers had bought the land, helping them to attain great fortune. Jack had helped in revealing the true face of the Harper family to the villagers.  

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She had also warned her daughter, Florence, of the intentions of Wrigley, as she could sense something was off about him. She would get into trouble whenever Wrigley was around. Jack had also warned Wrigley that if something bad befell her daughter because of him, she would not spare him, despite being a vicar. When Wrigley showed his true self to Jack and Florence and revealed himself to be on the side of Rosie Harper, Jack somehow managed to save her daughter and did just as she said. She did not save the injured Wrigley from the burning chapel and let him die there. Despite being a vicar, Jack was not selfless; she prioritized her family over her duties.


Who Was Reverend Jack, Actually?

Jack also sheds light on the missing curate, Benjamin Grady, as she also helped the police find his body inside the chapel vault. The story is said to take place around 30 years in the past, when two rebellious and outrageous girls, Merrie and Joy, were living in the village. Benjamin Grady was supposedly involved in a lot of romantic relationships. He had gotten Joy pregnant, and when she disclosed that to Merrie, they decided to run away from the village to save Joy from her parents and villagers. While waiting for Merrie, Joy was killed by Clara, another love interest of Grady. Merrie, on the other hand, was confined in her room by her overly religious mother. Her outrageous attitude was thought to be because of the shadow of some evil spirit on her, and Grady was called by the mother. Making full use of the chance, Grady was raping Merrie behind closed doors. Later, Merrie and her brother Jacob end up killing Grady. To save the reputation of the church the body is hidden in the chapel vault by Marsh, the vicar then, and Clara. Merrie escapes her home and is thought to be dead by the villagers, until the time when Jack exposes herself as Merrie. She had come back to the village to resolve many unsolved mysteries and to find out what had happened to Joy.

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What Role Did Jacob Play In Jack’s Life?

The real identity of Jacob is not revealed to us all at once. Initially, he is shown to be wandering about in Nottingham as a vagrant in search of Jack. Desperate to find her, Jacob travels to Chapel Croft and finds Jack and her daughter. He keeps an eye on them from a distance and saves them in times of need, signifying a close bond between the vagrant and the mother-daughter duo. He jumps in to rescue Florence when she is attacked by Rosie Harper once and later again risks his life to save Jack and Florence when they are captured by Rosie and Wrigley. Later, he is seen resting in Merrie’s old house, where he is visited by Jack. She offers him sandwiches and water and tells him that she has missed him over the years. We see her hugging the vagrant and regretting her decision to leave him with their mother. After the murder of Grady, Merrie fled her house, leaving behind her brother and their strict and religious mother. The childhood traumas could have been a factor contributing to Jacob’s bad mental health as a grown man.


What Happens In The End?

In the end, Jack is seen revealing her secret identity to all the people that she thought were guilty of hiding several murders in the village. She confronts the old vicar, Marsh, who was on his deathbed. She asks him if he had been the one who had shifted Grady’s body along with Clara to save the reputation of the church. As he confesses to it, Jack reveals her true identity and leaves. She also confronts Clara regarding the death of her best friend Joy, and she states that her soft corner for Grady had made her commit such an act. Jack reveals all the secrets of Harper daily to the police and the villagers. She gets Rosie arrested for plotting to murder her and her daughter. She also brings out that Rosie and Wrigley had been responsible for the murder of Reverend Fletcher and that he had not committed suicide. The reputation of the Harper family is also put into question when the martyrdom of the family’s ancestors is questioned. She shows everyone how the Harper family’s fame and wealth came at the cost of the lives of the two little girls, Maggie and Abigail.

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Final Words

Jack has been able to fulfill her duties of sticking to the righteous path of being a vicar, and at the same time, she has also been able to expose the people who have wronged her and her friend, Joy. She is seen removing the collar of the vicar at the end, signifying her putting an end to her career after all the truths had been revealed at the village. It is possible that she had stepped into that profession so that she could one day go back to Chapel Croft and pull out all the skeletons from the closet. Despite having a hidden motive for exposing all the dirty secrets of the village, she kept Florence away from all of the problems, signifying her strong role as a mother, guarding her daughter from all perils. The character of Jack is very strong and leaves a long-lasting impression on the minds of the audience. Her determination to unveil secrets by sticking to the righteous path is admirable!


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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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