- A highly rare Royal manuscript signed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1591
- A museum-quality display piece which would grace any collection in the world
Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) reigned as Queen of England for 44 years, from 1558 until 1603.
She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and ascended to the throne at the age of just 25. Although young, she famously declared “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”
She became an inspirational figure, known as 'Gloriana' or 'The Virgin Queen' who had devoted her life to protecting England.
Elizabeth's reign is considered as a Golden Age of English history. She brought peace and prosperity to the country, and oversaw an artistic renaissance embodied by the works of Shakespeare.
It was also a period of English exploration and expansion, as Sir Walter Raleigh began to colonise America. And in 1588 Elizabeth's navy, led by Sir Francis Drake, famously defeated the Spanish Armada.
Today Elizabath I is regarded as one of the most iconic women in world history, and remains an inspirational figure around the world.
The document measures 10.5” by 8” and is presented in superb condition.
It remains fully intact, with crisp edges and no paper loss; faint vertical and horizontal folds; and minor stains common in a manuscript of this age.
It also retains its original wafer seal, attached by another official red wax seal from the royal court. Elizabethan documents such as this with their wafer seals intact are remarkably rare.
Elizabeth I signs boldly with her famous flourish at the top of the document.
Her signature is exceptionally large and visually impressive, commanding almost an entire third of the page.
The document is a royal warrant issued by Elizabeth I to her Chancellor of the Exchequer John Fortescue on April 29, 1591.
It requests a quantity of fabric and ceremonial garments to be supplied to Anthony Wingfield Esquire, who was set to become a member of the Order of the Garter.
The Order of the Garter, is England's highest order of chivalry, founded in 1348 by King Edward III.
Its 24 official members are always personally appointed by the monarch. In this case, Elizabeth had chosen Wingfield to replace William Norris, who had recently passed away.
The text below reads in full:
"We will and commande you Immediatlie upon the sight hereof to deliver or cause to be delivered unto our welbelovid Servaunte Anthonie Wingfelde Esquire by us nowe chosen and appoynted to be gentleman usher of this most honorable Order of the Garter in the rome and place of William Norris Esquire late gentleman usher disceased eightene yardes of Crinsim Satten for a mantle; twelve yardes of white Sarcenet to hont the same mantle.
"One Robe lace of blue Silke and gold, withe buttons and Tassells of lyke silke and golde. And also one scutchion withe a red crosse in the middest of the same embroidered with silke and silver.
"And these owrdres shalbe your suffycyente warrante and dischardge in this behalf. Yeoven under our Signett at our manoure of Estgrenewiche the xxixth day of Aprile in the xxxiiith yeare of our raigne 1591.
"To our righte trustie and welbelovid Consayloure John Fortescue Esquire Mastor of our Estate warderobe."
The ceremonial robes described in this manuscript are almost identical to those worn by members of the order today – and when it was established in the 14th century.
This fascinating content gives the document a superb historical context, spanning more than 650 years of English history and tradition.
This highly rare and significant Elizabeth I signed manuscript is a museum-quality piece of history.
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