The Tudor Society

Elizabeth I’s Coronation Procession – Primary Source Accounts

Elizabeth_I_coronation_procession_bird_perspectiveI'm going to be talking about The Quenes Maiesties Passage through the Citie of London to Westminster the Day before her Coronacion in this week's Claire Chats video, but I just wanted to share with you the primary source accounts of the procession which took place on 14th January 1559.

Henry Machyn - The Diary of Henry Machyn Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563)

[The xiv day of January the Queen came in a chariot from] the Towre, with all the lordes and ladies [in crimson] velvet, and and ther horses trapyd with the sam, and [trumpeters in] red gownes blohyng, and all the haroldes in ther cottes armur, and all the strettes stroyd (strewed) with gravell; and at Grasyus strett a goodly pagantt of kyng [Henry] the viij and quen Ane ys wyff and of ther lenege, and in Cornelle (Cornhill) a-nodur goodly pagantt of kyng Henry and kyng Edward the vjth.; and be-syd Soper lane in [Cheap a]nodur goodly pagantt, and the condyth pentyd; [and] at the lytylle condutt a-nodur goodly pagant of a qwyke tre and a ded, and the quen had a boke gyffyn her ther; and ther the recorder of London and the chamburlayn delevered unto the quen a purse of gold fulle to the waluw of (blank); and so to the Flett strett to the condyt, and ther was a-nodur goodly pagantt of the ij chyrchys; and at Tempylle bare was ij grett gyanttes, the one name was Goott-magott (Gogmagog) a Albaon and the thodur Co(rineus).

Source: 'Diary: 1559 (Jan - Jun)', in The Diary of Henry Machyn Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563), ed. J G Nichols (London, 1848), pp. 184-201 [accessed 8 January 2015].

Il Schifanoya to the Castellan of Mantua, 23 January 1559

On the morning of Saturday the 14th, as in the afternoon her Majesty was to make her state entry into London, the whole Court so sparkled with jewels and gold collars that they cleared the air, though it snowed a little. During this assemblage the Queen dined. The houses on the way were all decorated; there being on both sides of the street, from Blackfriars to St. Paul's, wooden barricades, on which the merchants and artisans of every trade leant in long black gowns lined with hoods of red and black cloth, such as are usually worn by the rectors of universities in Italy, with all their ensigns, banners, and standards, which were innumerable, and made a very fine show. Owing to the deep mud caused by the foul weather and by the multitude of people and of horses, everyone had made preparation, by placing sand and gravel in front of their houses.

The number of horses was in all 1,000, and last of all came her Majesty in an open litter, trimmed down to the ground with gold brocade, with a raised pile, and carried by two very handsome mules covered with the same material, and surrounded by a multitude of footmen in crimson velvet jerkins, all studded with massive gilt silver, with the arms of a white and red rose on their breasts and backs, and laterally the letters E. R for Elizabetta Regina wrought in relief, the usual livery of this Crown, which makes a superb show. They were uncovered (scoperti), and without anything on their heads. The Gentlemen-Pensioners of the Axe walked at the sides, with hammers in hand, and clad in crimson damask, given them by the Queen for livery, all being on foot and bareheaded.
Her Majesty was dressed in a royal robe of very rich cloth of gold, with a double-raised stiff pile, and on her head over a coif of cloth of gold, beneath which was her hair, a plain gold crown without lace, as a princess, but covered with jewels, and nothing in her hands but gloves.

Behind the litter came Lord Robert Dudley, Master of the Horse, mounted on a very fine charger (corsiero), and leading a white hackney (acchinea) covered with cloth of gold. Then came the Lord Chamberlain and other Lords of her Majesty's Privy Chamber, who were followed by nine pages dressed in crimson satin on very handsome chargers richly caparisoned, with their Governor and Lieutenant.
After passing the Tower, her Majesty arrived at . . . . , (blank) where the Londoners had raised the first triumphal arch, which was very lofty, divided into three floors. In the first were King Henry the Seventh, of the House of Lancaster, with a large white rose in front of him, and his wife, the Queen Elizabeth, of the House of York, with another large red rose in front of her, both in royal robes.
On the second floor above there were seated King Henry VIII. with a white and red rose in front of him, with the pomegranate between them, and Queen Anne Boleyn, mother of the present one, with a white eagle and a gold crown on its head and a gilt sceptre in its right talon (nella destra griffa), the other resting on a hillock; and surrounded in front of her by small branches of little roses, the coat of arms and device (arma et impresa) of the said Queen.

On the third floor above a Queen was seen in majesty, to represent the present one, who is descended from the aforesaid.
Externally and above, as facade, there were the royal arms of England, trophies, festoons, &c.
The arch had three fronts and three entrances (porte), two small, and a great one, with columns, capitals, and bases, &c.
In the compartment on one side were written in English, and on the other side in Latin, the following verses:—
Hi, quos jungit idem (blank, possibly vinclum) quos annulus idem,
Hæc albente nitens, ille rubente rosa,
Septimus Henricus Rex, Regina Elizabetha,
Scilicet, hseredes gentis uterque suæ:
Hæc Eboracensis, Lancastrus ille, dederunt
Connubio, e geminis quæ foret una domus.
Excipit hos hseres Henricus copula regum
Octavus. Magni regis imago potens,
Regibus hinc succedis avis, regique parenti,
Patris juxta hæres, Elizabetha, tui!

On her Majesty approaching the aforesaid arch a boy, in a little chair above the centre door, briefly interpreted the whole subject, and her Majesty listened to him most attentively, evincing much satisfaction.

Then going on her way by Cornhill, having passed the first water conduit, which was painted with the royal arms and English and Latin mottoes, farther on she found the second arch, no less handsome than the first, but not so high, with a very extravagant inscription, purporting that hitherto religion had been misunderstood and misdirected, and that now it will proceed on a better footing, which was exemplified by a queen seated aloft on her throne, there being on one side many persons clad in various fashions, with labels inscribed Religio pura; Justicia gubernandi; Intelligentia; Sapientia; Prudentia; Timor Dei. On the other side, hinting I believe at the past, were Ignorance, Superstition, Hypocrisy, Vain Glory, Simulation, Rebellion, and Idolatry.

This arch had in like manner three doors, on the two smaller of which were written in capital letters in English and Latin the following verses:—
Quæ subnixa alto solio Regina superba est,
Effigie sanctæ Principis alma refert,
Quam civilis amor fulcit, sapientia rimat,
Justitia illustrat, religioque beat.
Vana superstitio et crassæ ignorantiæ fontes
Pressæ sub pura religione jacent.
Regis amor domat effrænos (effrænois) animosque rebelles
Cum regit imperium sapiens, si in (sine) luce sedebunt
Stultitia, atque hujus numen, inanis honor.

When passing under the arch an interpreter explained the whole to her Majesty, as at the first arch.
On entering Cheapside, near the church of St. Thomas, after passing the fountain, which had been newly repainted with arms, labels, and mottoes, in English and Latin, she found the third arch with the eight beatitudes described by the Evangelist Matthew, chapter V., verses 1 to 10, all of which they deem her Majesty to possess, as appears by the following verses on the sides in Latin and English; her Majesty being informed of the meaning of this inscription as she had been of the others.
Qui lugent, hilares fient. Qui mitia gestant
Pectora, multa soli jugera culta metent.
Justitiam exuriens, sitiensve replebitur ipse.
Fas homini puro corde videre Deum.
Quem alterius miseret, Dominus miserabitur hujus.
Pacificus quisquis fllius ille Dei est.
Propter justitiam quisquis patietur, habetque
Demissam mentem, cœlica regna capit.
Huic hominum generi Terram, Mare, Sidera vovit
Omnipotens: horum quisque beatus erit.

Further on she came to the little conduit, which is a small tower having eight fronts, called the Standard, and on it there were painted to the life all the kings and queens chronologically in their royal robes down to her present Majesty.

At a short distance thence she found the great cross, like a pyramid, completely gilt and somewhat renovated, with all the saints in relief, they being neither altered nor diminished; and at the end of that street she was presented by the aldermen with a purse containing 1,000 gold, marks; the Recorder of London making her a very short speech.

The fourth arch had on it two mounts, somewhat separated from each other; the one green, flourishing and fruitful, the other dry, sterile and uncultivated. On the summit of the green mount there sat a handsome youth well dressed, joyous, and jocund, under the shade of a green laurel. On the sterile mount there sat another youth dressed in black velvet, melancholy, pale, and wan, under a dry and arid tree, loaded with labels and mottoes indicating the cause of its dryness and sterility, whilst on the green mount conversely the cause of its greenness and fertility were demonstrated. Between the two mounts there was a grotto with a wicket, and when her Majesty arrived at it, an old man, scythe in hand, representing “Time,” came forth, accompanied by his daughter “Truth,” and expressed a wish to mow and reap the grass on the pleasant mount; an allusion to the money heretofore coined by her Majesty of holy memory. The whole implied in their tongue that the withered mount was the past state, and the green one the present, and that the time for gathering the fruits of truth was come; as by the following verses in.Latin and English on both sides of the arch:—
Ille videns falcem læva quam sustinet uncam,
Tempus is est, cui stat filia vera comes.
Hanc pater exesam, deducta rupe, reponit
In lucem, quam non viderat ante diu.
Qui sedet a læva cultu malo tristis inepto,
Quern duris crescens cautibus arbor obit,
Nos monet effigie qua sit respublica quando
Corruit; et contra, [quam] (blank) beata viget,
Ille docet juvenis, forma laudandus,
Festus, et æterna laurea fronde virens.

On the left side of the arch there was a little pulpit, from which a lad explained the whole meaning of the two mounts, presenting her Majesty with a book generally supposed to be the New Testament in English, which the Queen clasped in her arms and embraced passionately, returning thanks, &c.

Her Majesty then turned towards St. Paul's churchyard to enter Fleet Street, passing the City of London School, where the scholars made her the following oration.
“Philosophus ille divinus Plato, inter multa præclare ac sapienter dicta, hoc posteris proditum reliquit, Rempublicam illam fœlicissimam fore, cui Princeps sophise studiosa, virtutibusque ornata contigerit. Quern si vera dixisse (ut quidam), cur non Terra Britanica plauderet? cur non populus gaudium atque lætitiam agitaret? cur non hunc diem albo (quod aiunt) lapillo notaret? quo Princeps talis nobis adest, qualem priorem non viserunt, qualemque posteritas haud facile concernere poterit, dotibus quum animi, turn corporis undique fcelicissima. Casti quidem corporis dotes ita apertæ sunt, ut oratione non egeant; animi vero tot tantæque, ut ne verbis quidem exprimi possunt. Hæc nempe Regibus summis orta morum atque animi nobilitate genus exuperat. Hujus pectus Christi religionis amore flagrat. Hæc gentem Britanicam virtutibus illustrabit, clypeoque justitiæ teget. Hæc Uteris Græcis et Latinis exiinia, ingenioque præpollens est. Hac imperante, pietas vigebit, Anglia florebit, aurea sæcula redibunt. Vos igitur, Angli, tot commoda accepturi, Elizabetham Reginam vestram celeberrimam, ab ipso Christo hujus regni imperio destinatam, honore debito prosequimini. Hujus imperils animo libentissimo subditi estote, vosque tali Principe dignos præbete. Et quoniam pueri non viribus sed precibus officium præstare possunt, nos alumni hujus scholæ, ab ipso Coletto (John Colet) olim Templi Paulini Decano extructæ, teneras palmas ad cœlum tendentes, Christum Optimum Maximum precaturi sumus, ut tuam celsitudinem annos Nestoreos summo cum honore Anglis imperitare faciat, matremque pignoribus charis beatam reddat. Amen.
Anglia, nunc tandem plaudas, lætare, resulta!
Præsto jam vita est, presidiumque tibi.
En tua spes venit, tua gloria, lux, decus omne;
Venit jam solidam quæ tibi præstat opem,
Succurretque tuis rebus, quæ pessum abiere.
Perdita quæ fuerant hæc reparare volat.
Omnia florebunt; redeunt nunc aurea secla.
In melius surgent quæ cecidere bona.
Debes ergo illi totam te reddere fidam,
Cujus in accessu commoda tot capies.
Salve, igitur dicas, immo de pectore summo,
Elizabeth, Regni non dubitanda salus!
Virgo venit, veniuntque opes. Comitata deinceps
Pignoribus charis læta parens veniat.
Hoc Deus Omnipotens ex alto donet Olympo,
Qui cœlum et terram condidit atque regit.

'Venice: January 1559, 16-31', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, ed. Rawdon Brown and G Cavendish Bentinck (London, 1890), pp. 10-24 [accessed 14 January 2015].

The Passage Of Our Most Drad Soveraigne Lady Quene Elyzabeth Through The Citie Of London To Westminster The Daye Before Her Coronacion, Imprinted at London, in Flete-strete, within Temple-barre, at the signe of the Hande and Starre, by Richard Tottill, the xxiii day of January.

This is another version of The Quenes Maiesties Passage through the Citie of London to Westminster the Day before her Coronacion. It is too long to quote here (it's pages!) but can be read in The Progresses And Public Processions Of Queen Elizabeth, ed. John Nichols, Volume I - see

You can see a list of useful primary sources from the reign of Elizabeth I on our Elizabeth I Primary Sources page.

Leave a Reply

Elizabeth I’s Coronation Procession – Primary Source Accounts