Elizabethan Essays by Patrick Collinson

By Patrick Collinson

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7 If the little community of Terrington could 'easily' find £700 (and in the end it was obliged to spend £500 on inadequate stopgap repairs) it is not clear why the 9 or 10,000 Terringtons which made up Elizabethan England could not between them have provided the queen with an annual income of 5 or 6 million pounds, 50 times what it in fact was. But Elizabethan England was not that kind of polity. 8 Nowadays, central government claims the power through rate-capping to curb expenditure by local government.

The Monarchical Republic of Queen Elizabeth I 35 she had none. But the consequences of her singular endgame for the perceived political future of her people are not always squarely faced. The reason is not far to seek. Elizabeth's subjects professed to be so dazzled by their queen's regal splendour as to be incapable of looking beyond her or of contemplating any feature of their political culture other than her radiant presence. 9 The lawyer and parliament man Thomas Norton, languishing under house arrest, reflected: 'Lord!

As an enclave of Wiltshire isolated in Berkshire, the town was practically without magistrates and had to make arrangements for its own government: and this it did by means of a town meeting of the kind later set up in the vastly greater isolation of New England. And yet it was doubtless the case that a thousand other villages with a similar social structure, lacking a resident magistrate or gentleman, had the capacity to do something similar, in effect to constitute themselves republics, and a good many did, if with less formality.

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