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ELIZABETH I (1533-1603), Queen of England and Ireland. Document signed ('Elizabeth R'), instructions on the county militias addressed to Lord North [Edward, 1st Baron North (c.1496-1564)] as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, n.p., n.d. [?1559]
ELIZABETH I (1533-1603), Queen of England and Ireland. Document signed ('Elizabeth R'), instructions on the county militias addressed to Lord North [Edward, 1st Baron North (c.1496-1564)] as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, n.p., n.d. [?1559]

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ELIZABETH I (1533-1603), Queen of England and Ireland. Document signed ('Elizabeth R'), instructions on the county militias addressed to Lord North [Edward, 1st Baron North (c.1496-1564)] as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, n.p., n.d. [?1559]

6 pages, 312 x 209mm, on two bifolia, three contemporary marginal markings and underlinings, docketed 'Cambridge' on last blank.

In view of threats of invasion from France, the Queen sends detailed instructions for strengthening the county militia of Cambridgeshire and Ely. The Queen writes to North as the newly-appointed lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Ely: in view of the 'doubtfull procedings of the Frenche' and the threats of invasion particularly in coastal parts, he is immediately to place the militia in a state of readiness, including their arms and equipment; he is to verify the compliance of their equipment ('horse, gelding, corslet, bowe bill handgone or such like') with the the muster books, including a reassessment of the worth and financial contributions of individuals in the county -- additional contributors are to be found for 'horses or geldings', 'armo[u]r or corseletts and weapons and artillery' and he is to find more 'horsemen as fotemen then was uppon the last musters', paying particular attention to 'the meaner sorte of fermors, & such like that be of secret welthe and never charged with service as the gentlemen be'; similarly he is to improve the training of the militia 'ether to weare their armor to use their weapon to marche in ordre or to do such other things as be requisite', using 'certain honest chosen captaynes' directed by the Queen, who will train the musters 'uppon ev[e]ry hollyday in the after none' over two or three months; North is further to attend a conference with the lieutenants of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex in order to plan the assistance he may provide to these coastal counties. Any captains directing training are to pay special attention that 'no mann[e]r of hable p[er]son be p[er]mitted to be absent from the muster', and that armour should be worn, and equipment checked: if any is lacking, it may be obtained from the Queen's stores -- the prices are listed on the last page, beginning with 'The Armo[u]r of a Demilaunce', and including 'Harquebute complete', 'A bowe of yewghe', 'A northern staff' and 'A Halbard'.

In the initial years of Elizabeth's reign, France was still perceived as England's main foreign enemy. The reference to Lord North's recent appointment as lord lieutenant, as well as the restrained size of Elizabeth's signature, point to a date early in her reign.





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