Pageantry, Politics, & Power: Elizabeth I in East Anglia, 1578.
with Dr Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 4th February, 2017.

In summer 1578 Elizabeth I made a spectacular eleven-week visit to East Anglia, staying in towns, villages, and the houses of local gentry. Drawing on the latest archival research and editorial scholarship, this study-day retraces Elizabeth’s journey, discusses entertainments and shows composed in celebration, examines the ongoing politics and intrigue behind the trip, and looks at contemporary documents and texts recording how Norfolk and Suffolk prepared for and entertained their queen.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          Elizabeth I takes to the road in summer 1578. In this first session we will trace the broad outline of Elizabeth I’s 1578 progress into East Anglia, and set this visit within the larger historical context of Elizabethan progresses, pageants, and entertainments. We will explore how royal progresses functioned, and examine the ways in which pageantry overlapped with politics in this period. We will also be introduced to some of the principal participants from the 1578 progress.

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          Have court, will travel: The mechanics and logistics of an Elizabethan progress. In session two we will examine in more detail the mechanics of how royal progresses worked using 1578 as our case-study. Who was involved? How were they planned? Who paid? And how did Elizabeth’s civic and aristocratic hosts prepare for their royal guest? We will look at some of the original documentation that preserves a record of preparations for the visit.

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Elizabeth in Suffolk: Friends, Foes, and Festivities. In this session we will look at the portions of the progress involving civic and aristocratic hosts in Suffolk. In particular, we will follow Elizabeth’s route as she visits Long Melford, Bury St Edmunds, Hawstead, Euston, and Hengrave. As we shall see, pageantry and festivity masked more serious political and religious intrigue as the queen made her way through the county.

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Session 4: Elizabeth in Norfolk: Fairies, Gods, and a Virgin Queen. Elizabeth had made her way into Norfolk by August 1578 and spent a week being hosted and entertained in Norwich. The final session brings to life this part of the queen’s journey, and shows how the 1578 progress established some of the more enduring and best-known commonplaces of Elizabethan myth-making.

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Dr Matthew Woodcock

Matthew Woodcock is Senior Lecturer in Literature at the University of East Anglia. He has published widely on medieval and early modern literature: his books include Sir Philip Sidney and the Sidney Circle (2010), Shakespeare: Henry V: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism (2008), and Fairy in The Faerie Queene: Renaissance Elf-Fashioning and Elizabethan Myth-Making (2004). He is co-editor of Medieval Into Renaissance: Essays for Helen Cooper (2016), which came out with Boydell and Brewer, and his biography of soldier-author Thomas Churchyard was published by Oxford UP in 2016. His current research projects focus on early modern military identity and Tudor war poetry.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Bergeron, David, English Civic Pageantry 1558-1642 (London, 1971).

Chambers, E.K., The Elizabethan Stage (Oxford, 1951), esp. vol. 1.

Cole, Mary Hill, The Portable Queen: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Ceremony (Amherst, 1999).

Dovey, Zillah, An Elizabethan Progress (Stroud, 1996).

Dunlop, Ian, Palaces and Progresses of Elizabeth I (London, 1962).

Frye, Susan, Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation (Oxford, 1993).

Goldring, E., et al. eds., John Nichols’s The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources, ed. (Oxford, 2014), vol. 3.

MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Suffolk and the Tudors: Politics and Religion in an English County, 1500-1600 (Oxford, 1986).

Somerset, Anne, Elizabeth I (London, 1991).

Strong, Roy, The Cult of Elizabeth (London, 1977).

Wilson, E.C., England’s Eliza (Cambridge, MA, 1939).

Wilson, Jean, Entertainments for Elizabeth I (Woodbridge, 1980).