Some of the burning at the stake was done vindictively by his mother, Louise of Savoy, as regent for Francis 1 while he was in captivity. She gave the Catholic clergy and nobles free reign to persecute the Protestants.
Francis continued the persecution on his release, to appease the Catholic clergy who lent him money to ransom his two sons who were taken into captivity when he was released.
Persecution intensified when a statue of the virgin and child was vandalized and Francis saw the need to lead a procession in protest of the vandalism.
Next came the ‘Placard Affair’. Flyers (called placards) printed in Geneva were distributed all over Paris and was even mounted on the door of Francis’ bedchamber.
Francis became incensed by the affront and disrespect of his position as king rescinding his support for the Protestants and escalating their persecution.