Pressing Saint Margaret to death in the Shambles

This is Margaret Clitherow, a Catholic woman who lived in the north English town of York from 1571 to 1586:

And this is The Shambles – today really nothing more than a narrow street in York, but very famous back in the day as York’s slaughterhouse:

But this is where it gets interesting. Because today Margaret is something of a folk hero for the residents of York. She was executed by “being pressed to death” by the English church at the age of 15 years old (that was her age, not the age of the church). Her crime: hiding Catholic people who were being persecuted by the church. Here is the plaque at the Shambles that commemorates her execution and, much later, he recognition by the Catholic church as a saint:

And here is a house, not too far away, where apparently many Catholics were hidden:

At least in my case, it really goes to show me that I don’t understand very much. Today the differences between religions such as the English Church and the Catholic Church hardly seem grounds for executing people. Back in the day, did the religion itself play a role – or what it more of a power grab? Or perhaps some general prejudice and discriminations that people felt then but also still feel today?