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Tudor Minute July 26: England preps for a Spanish invasion

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for July 26.

On July 26 1588 England was preparing for the invasion of the Spanish Armada by mustering 4000 men at Tilbury Fort built in Essex on the Thames Estuary. Tilbury Fort had been built in 1539 by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, on the site of a dissolved hermitage, and it was here that the first men began to muster to fight off the invading Catholic navy.

On July 19 the Armada came into view for the first time, and according to legend, Sir Francis Drake finished his game of bowls before he went off to see off the Spanish. Later he and Lord Howard of Eggingham set sail from Plymouth with 55 ships to chase the Armada. On the 21st there was a skirmish, and another engagement two days later that saw two Spanish ships abandoned after they were damaged.

England had a system of beacons set up that alerted Elizabeth at Richmond on July 22. She reacted with customary calmness, knowing that her navy had smaller, lighter ships, and they she had the stronger navy.

The men mustering today knew they had a fight ahead of them, but they were prepared to see off Spain.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.

Armada Month Episode One
Armada Month Episode Two