Redbridge: a centre of the Elizabethan court?

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth, who visited Redbridge and the surrounding area on a number of occasio

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth, who visited Redbridge and the surrounding area on a number of occasions - Credit: Archant

May Day, 8am, Thursday 1st May 1578 started badly for courtier Gilbert Talbot.

As he sauntered across Greenwich Palace’s courtyard he looked up to see Queen Elizabeth in a state of undress.

He noticed her shocked embarrassment and quickly walked on.

Later, she regal, coiffured, and powdered, the courtiers and he in their finest silken clothes and nervous as to what would happen, she tapped him on the head with her fan and passed by.

Phew- fortunately it was nothing sharper! It was a busy year for her courtiers for in 1578 the Queen and they went on a summer Progress so that the people could see her and Norwich was the main destination.

Plague was a constant fear and any town found with it was immediately struck off the list.

But places around Redbridge were visited, particularly Copped Hall at Epping and Wanstead House owned by royal favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

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Wanstead was important for in 1553 Princess Elizabeth visited Queen Mary Tudor there after the plot to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne failed.

Mary was the guest of Lord Richard Rich, Lord Chancellor of England- the man who lied on oath to get Thomas More executed.

Mary had been sent to live there by her father King Henry VIII and it was popular because of its nearness to London.

And so in 1578 Wanstead House was again the last stop when the Court returned from their Progress, July-September.

Wardrobe Officer Charles Smythe was present and noted that the progress, whilst tiring, was “all knit up, the good cheere revived” though the Queen only stayed for dinner.

Other houses the Queen could have visited were in Ilford.

There’s a story that the Queen rode a horse up the main staircase of the house that became town’s main boarding school- The Academy.

And just as surprising we know that Sir Horatio Palavicino housed captured Spanish Dons held for ransom at Cranbrook Hall in 1588 after the Spanish Armada was destroyed.

Redbridge: a centre of the Elizabethan court?