The journeys undertook
by the Queen were more like expeditions, as the amount of men, horses,
carts and baggage was enormous.
On the Road Again
The logistics were daunting. A baggage
train of between 400 and 600 horse-drawn carts groaned beneath the
weight of everything the monarch and her entourage might require
on the trip: bedding, furniture, clothing, food, dishes and kitchen
equipment and even the documents and office supplies needed to conduct
the business of the realm.
Members of her court accompanied her, as did a full household complement
of grooms and pages, wardrobe ladies and maids, guards, chaplains,
cooks, and court musicians.
Travel was slow and difficult. Even on the main highways, the Queens
caravansary averaged only ten or twelve miles a day.
An advance team scouted
the destinations, arranging for the Queen and selected members of
her court and household to lodge with local nobles. Other officials
and servants were put up at inns or relegated to sleeping in the
tents carried to house the horses and their keepers. Once settled,
the retinue of people and horses occupied a considerable chunk of
land. Given the rudimentary nature of the sanitary facilities, the
surrounding air was doubtless also leavened by their presence.
Reference:- Summer 2007 issue of Folger Magazine.
Elizabeth undertook a mammoth 61 day excursion through Essex to
Ipswich, returning via Hedingham and Hertford.
On her return leg from Ipswich, she stayed at Smallbridge between
the 11th and 14th August 1561
One report from
a local book-"Wormingford Story, Winifred Beaumont"
describes the visit:-
Waldegrave entertained his Queen, Elizabeth I, for two days
in August. She came from Colchester and her progress was
indeed a royal one. She travelled with a dozen coaches and
300 wagons and horsemen rode before and behind her. The
local gentry came on horseback, or running on foot holding
onto a stirrup. They wore cockades and carried banners and
In 1900 a story was told in the village "how once there
came a great company to visit the squire. Men on hossback,
men arunning and blowing bugles and hollering and they all
had flags". They galloped over Lodge Hills and "wor
a wunnerful sight".
NOTE:-Unfortunately for Winifred,
it contained various errors:-
(a)She writes "Travelling
from Colchester in coaches" -but had the coach actually
The answer is "No"
drawn carriage was invented in Hungary in the Fifteenth Century,
it was built to carry a Princess to her wedding but this early design
had no steering as such and had to be dragged sideways by its team
of horse to turn a corner. Development was slow but eventually the
front axle was mounted on a turntable to provide steering and the
horse drawn waggon was a semi-practical, if not very comfortable
vehicle. Suspension systems evolved slowly but by the early nineteenth
century most of the problems had been solved and the improvements
in road construction and maintenance made the horse drawn carriage
a viable form of transport.
The number of coaches in England
in 1561 was exactly zero!
In 1564 Guilliam Boonen came from the Netherlands to be Queen Elizabeth's
first coach-builder - thus introducing the European invention of
the spring-suspension coach to England, as a replacement for litters
of John Moore, Colchester Archaeological Society for these corrections)
(b) The Queen did not arrive at Smallbridge
from Colchester, she was travelling on her return journey between
Ipswich and Castle Hedingham.
(c)In 1900 a story was told in
the village "how once there came a great company to visit the
squire. Men on hossback, men arunning and blowing bugles and hollering
and they all had flags". They galloped over Lodge Hills and
"wor a wunnerful sigh
This story is a classic example of village folk-lore, where
the name of the Queen and
her noble host were forgotten and only the turmoil and banners remembered.
The placing of the cavalcade
on Lodge Hills is interesting, for the Lodge, Road and Bridge had
disappeared long before the storyteller was born.
We know for certain the Queen visited Smallbridge, but the story
of the Hunting Lodge could possibly
be an example of an embellished village tale.
However, we know for certain the
visit did leave William Waldegrave £250 poorer, having to
entertain not only the Queen and her entourage, this was an enormous
sum of money.
We can also determine
that William Cecil, her Secretary of State was at Smallbridge during
On the 12th August of that year he wrote a letter from Smallbridge
to Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury
In that letter "He calls attention to the offensive indiscreet
behaviour of readers and ministers in Suffolk and Essex,
and to the Queen's disapproval of matrimony of the clergy"
held in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Winifred Beaumont also mentions a
second visit in her book:-
On her second visit to Suffolk, she avoided Colchester
where the small pox was "very bad" and probably
only came into Wormingford for a "divertisment"
staged in the deer park.
a member of the Royal household, travelled with the Queen
and kept a journal of her journeys. He described in detail
the grand houses visited and the wonderful entertainment's
they provided but only made a sparse report on her visits
to Smallbridge, over a sour footnote: Sir
Edward Waldegrave was eventually held in the Tower of London
Once again this contains errors:
(a) "she avoided Colchester where the small pox was "very
However Smallpox was not recorded in Colchester until 1579, a year
later than the 1578 visit
(b) she refers to Nichols as a
member of the Queens Household
Nichols in reality was
John Nichols , who published the book over 200 years later "
The Progresses and public processions of Queen Elizabeth" in
Thomas Weldon was the Queens Treasurer during her reign.
(c)Later Winifred quotes:
she visited Church Hall and partook of cold meat and drank a flagon
of ale, and was so pleased that she wrote her initials on the window
with a diamond ring.
There is no evidence to support this statement
This reference to 1568, appears to
be total fiction.
The Queens second visit is also mentioned
England in their description of Smallbridge Hall and in
Buildings of Suffolk by Nikolaus Pevsner
Where did this
reference to the Queen visiting for the second time in 1578 come
I can find no evidence of this visit
with the Queen ever coming anywhere near too Smallbridge.
|This is the documented
route the Queen took when she visited Norwich:-
The East Anglian Progress in
1578 involved 200-300 carts and 1,200-1,800 horses.
Leaving from Havering,
the Progress went to Latton, Standon, Audley End, Keddington,
Long Melford, Bury, Euston, Kenninghall, Bracon Ash, Norwich,
Leaving Norwich and returning via Kimberley, Wood Rising,
Thetford, Hengrave, Chippenham,
Kirtling, Horseheath, Ashdon, Thaxted, Little Hadham, Sawbridgeworth,
Abbess Roding, Theydon Bois and Chigwell.
This extract taken from http://caguk.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Queens-Elizabeths-Progress.pdf
I have been supported in my research
by Dr Matthew Woodcock, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia
Dr Woodcock has given lectures on the 1578 tour and fully supports
my conclusion, the visit to Smallbridge never took place.
Matthew Woodcock link
Mary Hill Cole published a book titled,
Portable Queen" which documents the journeys made out of
London by the Queen.
Again, there is no mention in any of her work, of any 1578 visit
John Nichols , published this book
Progresses and public processions of Queen Elizabeth" in
Once again in that publication, a
search for the words "Waldegrave and Smallbridge" found
Nichols was an antiquarian who amassed
over 250 manuscripts and over 850 early printed books relating to
the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, his work is a valuable source
Thomas Weldon, was the Treasurer to the Royal Household, meticulously
recorded the dates and places where the Queen stayed, how much was
spent from the Privy Purse and the items on which the money was
Golden Age, Elizabeth 1st in the East of England
Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I
Archaeological Bulletin No51 also states
there was no second visit to Smallbridge
Extracts from "The Wormingford
Story" by Winifred Beaumont: and "Wormingford, an English
Village" by Winifred Beaumont and Ann Taylor ,
Victoriana County History of Essex
My conclusion is that the
1578 visit never took place.
Published by Alan Beales 25/03/2018
updated 1562 entry:- 30/05/2018