A Cambridgeshire Lieutenancy Letterbook 1595-1605. A grass roots account showing the interaction of central and local government in the late 16c. wars.
A Cambridgeshire Lieutenancy Letterbook 1595-1605.
Edited by E J Bourgeois II
Between 1595 and 1602 the government of Elizabethan England had to meet many demands on its military strength. It sent many troops to Ireland in an attempt to impose English rule, kept sizeable forces in the Low Countries to assist the struggle against Spain, and was threatened with invasion by a second Spanish Armada. The crisis meant that the county militia was faced with repeated calls for help from the central government.
For one county, Cambridgeshire, this pressure and the local response is exceptionally well documented in a manuscript letterbook among the Harleian Collection in the British Library. This volume is a transcription of the letterbook.
County administrations are often described as inefficient by historians, but the letterbook suggests that in Cambridgeshire the lord lieutenant and his deputies were diligent and highly competent servants of the national authorities: the volume revises our judgement upon the quality of Elizabethan governance.