August 16 1578

16/08/2020 all-day

Queen Elizabeth I visited the city of Norwich. It was a grand affair. The Queen had left London in mid-July on that year’s Summer Progress, accompanied by a vast entourage. With her came the Yeoman of the Guard, 130-strong, and the mounted Gentleman Pensioners. The Queen’s whole Government came along too, including her trusted Chancellor Lord Burghley, her favourite the Earl of Leicester, Sir Robert Dudley, and her spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham.

In all, well over a thousand people tramped north in the Queen’s train. After travelling through Essex and Suffolk, the Progress reached Norfolk’s capital on August 16. She entered Norwich through a spruced-up St Stephen’s Gate, and pressed on through welcoming crowds to the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.

Queen Elizabeth stayed in Norwich for nearly a week. The city pushed the boat out to entertain her, with pageants and displays each day and evening. During a torchlit boat tour along the River Wensum, the Queen passed by the city’s oldest pub, the Adam and Eve. We don’t know if she popped in for a drink!

“I have laid up in my breast such good will as I will never forget in Norwich,” declared Queen Elizabeth as she and the Progress departed on August 22. Shortly afterwards the dreaded plague broke out in the city. Many blamed the Progress for spreading it. A Royal visit was a mixed blessing.