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Queen Elizabeth I in Woburn

It was the custom for monarch of the middle ages and early modern period to travel around the country surveying their realm and being seen by their subjects. It was also a good was of (a) escaping the capital at times of plague and (b) offestting the cost of the upkeep of the royal household by transferring the expense of victualling and putting up the court to the monarchs most important subjects. In 1831 J. D. Parry, son of Woburn's perpetual curate at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, wrote a book - History and Description of Woburn and Its Abbey. Below is his account of Queen Elizabeth I's visit to Woburn in 1572.

"Queen Elizabeth, in one of her progresses to visit her subjects in different part of the kingdom, passed through this town in the year 1572, and lodged at the house of Lord Russell, Earl of Bedford, who it should seem from his letter to Lord Burleigh, did not by any means desire the presence of this imperious and expensive dame, for any length of time. The words of his original letter are as follows. "I am now going to prepare for her Majesty's coming to Woborne, which shall be done in the best and most hastiest manner that i can. I trust your Lordship will have in remembrance to provide helpe that her Majesty's tarreing be not above two nights and a daye, for, for so long tyme do I prepare. I pray God, the Rowmes and Lodgings there may be to her Majesty's contentacion for the tyme. If I could make them better upon suche a sodeyn, then would I, be assured, they should be better than they be. So with my hartie thanks to your good Lordship, remayning always, as I have just cause, yours, and som commit you to God's keeping. From Russell House, this xvith of July 1572. Your Lordship's right assured F. BEDFORD".