Proclamation by Lord Burghley, 2 March 1581 (E 101/668 f.48)
This proclamation by Elizabeth I’s chief minister William Cecil, Lord Burghley, assigns a warship to a wool convoy operating between London and Flanders. This protection was vital at a time of heightened international tension, when England was preparing for naval aggression by Spain. The cost of the venture was £80 (equivalent to almost £12,000 today), but given that the infrastructure of the entire wool industry depended on safe links with the continent, Burghley no doubt judged it worth the investment.
Be yt remembred that I William Lord Burghley Lord Treasurer of England have made covenante in grant to Sir Thomas Cotton knight for the furnishing of one ship of war for the conducting of wool of late of four ships from the port of London to the porte and town of Bruges in the lowe countreyes of Flanders the eighth day of March in the twentieth and three year of the reigne of our sovereigne Ladye Quene Elizabethe for the sum of five score pounds of lawfull English monie to be payed by the mayor constables and fellowship of the staples of England. In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my hand and set my seale the seconde day of March in the said xxiij th yeare of the reign of the sayd Quene.