Tag Archives: Elizabeth I of England

Sir Martin Frobisher: The first gold rush

Sir Martin Frobisher: The first gold rush


Once those pioneering sailors had brought news of strange new lands, all sorts of others saw opportunities of exploiting them in various ways. Martin Frobisher, a Yorkshireman, wanted to find a better route to China than round the southern tip of Africa or South America. He knew that the huge American continent lay in the way of going west, but he wondered whether might be a short cut, a north-west passage over the shoulder of North America into the China Sea.

Mail-order queen

Mail-order queen

Well aware of this increase in realism, Henry VIII decided to choose his fourth wife from her portrait. Traditionally, dynastic marriages were arranged between (often teenage or even pre-teen) parties who may never even have seen one another before the ceremony – they were pawns in power plays, and personal preference did not have much to do with it. Henry, however, in middle age, felt free to be choosy; he sent an artist to paint pictures of Europe’s most eligible young ladies.

The slang in Elizabethan London

The slang in Elizabethan London

Pronunciation of words in Elizabethan English is a complicated matter, since linguistically it rests between the “say what you see” rules of Middle English and the more esoteric pronunciations of Modern English.  It is unreasonable to have the term ‘cider’ pronounced ‘zoiderr’, ‘farmer’ as ‘varmerr’; ‘house’ as ‘hoos’; ‘tea’ as ‘tay’; ‘grass’ as ‘grace’ or ‘graz’; ‘creek’ as ‘crik’.  Also there are regional things to keep in mind, for instance in the East and North counties.

Making the Virgin Queen

Making the Virgin Queen

Elizabeth I of England gained iconic status as the Virgin Queen. By refusing to bow to convention and take a husband who might rule for her, she carved out a role as one of the most formidable monarchs that England had ever seen. While this may have been a conscious political decision on Elizabeth’s part, she had been profoundly influenced by the experiences of her female relations and rivals.

Queen Elizabeth I’s Fashions

Queen Elizabeth I’s Fashions

In theory what one may wear is governed by “Acts of Apparel”, detailed regulations with the force of law. Thus only Knights of the garter and persons of the rank of Earl and above, for example, are supposed to wear cloth of gold or silver or purple silk. There are exemptions for gentlemen actually in attendance on the Queen or serving on a foreign embassy or having a disposable income of at least 200 pounds a year. In practice, outside a royal court, these rules are widely ignored.