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West Tilbury - where Queen Elizabeth I gave her speech

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The site of Elizabeth I's speech

"My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects, and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all, to lay down my life for my God and for my kingdom and for my people, my honour, and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm; the which, rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know, already for your forwardness, you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the meantime my lieutenant-general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject, not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people."

The most famous speech of the Virgin Queen was given in a field a little bit north of West Tilbury church on 9th August, 1588. The exact site was lost for many years until it was rediscovered by Randal Bingley who also provided the above illustration - see Panorama 29 for his article. The night before her great speech, Elizabeth stayed at Saffron Gardens in Horndon. "Queen Elizabeth Slept Here", was published by the Thurrock Local History Society to mark the four hundredth aniversary of this important event.

The above text of the speech is taken from Lara E. Eakins Tudor History site ( and is from a letter by Dr. Leonel Sharp to the Duke of Buckingham written after 1623. The spelling has been modernised.

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