Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1595

Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1595

As I just reposted an older article of a Queen Elizabeth I passport issued 1598, I found out that the St.Andrews University Library has even an older document in its archive. For now, I can only give you a description of the passport as there is no photo available. I will try to get one from St.Andrews University.

Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1595
Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1595

Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England, at Greenwich, for Sir Anthony Mildmay, allowing him safe passage for one year to visit healing baths in Germany on the advise of his doctors, ‘moved unto us by the advise of phisiciens for lycence to be given him to repaire to certaine Bathes in the partes of Germanie’.

Addressed to all ‘Admiralles, viceadmiralles, Captains of anie our Shippes serving on the Seas’, as well as to other public officials, ‘Wherefore we will and commannde you to suffer him quyetly to passe by you out of this our Realme with Three Servants Three horse and one hundred poundes in money together with all other his necessarie Carriages and utensiles’, provided he does not ‘haunte or resorte into’ the territories of hostile foreign powers, and ‘use not the companie of anie Jhesuite or Semynarie or other evill affected person’. Document signed at the head, ‘Elizabeth R’, dated ‘the sixth day of June 1595 in the Seven and Thirtith yeere of o[ur] Raigne’.

Sir Anthony Mildmay (c.1549-1617) was to be appointed ambassador to France the following year – a role he had assiduously tried to avoid with pleas of poverty, unsuitability, and the weak health to which the present document bears witness – being presented to Henry IV at Rouen in October 1596. Mildmay’s embassy was to prove something of a disaster: in March 1597 the French king ordered him from his chamber, threatening to strike him. He was never again to receive an appointment of any distinction: ‘I always knew him’, claimed the letter writer John Chamberlain in 1597, ‘to be paucorum hominem’. Notable in the present document is the ever-present danger posed on the seas by England’s continental enemies, as well as the looming spectre of Catholicism.

Provenance: Dr. Max Thorek, Chicago (partially erased ownership stamp).Physical Description: 19 lines on a vellum membrane (160 x 283mm, the signature approx. 70 x 140mm) inscription in a 19th-century hand in the top margin, close-trimmed right and lower margins, small losses to the lower margin. Mounted.

Passport signed by Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1595


BBC Show Finds Passport Signed By Charles I. in 1641

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  1. Tom
    Just when you think you have identified the oldest known document another one pops up! That is surely what makes passport collecting such an enjoyable and fascinating hobby, especially as every passport has a story to tell and provides an invaluable insight into the period in question.
    Your article/discovery is well timed as it enables me to update my talk on the History of Passports which I’m scheduled to deliver several times in the coming weeks. Many thanks.

    1. Welcome, Robert. We learn every day something new. I will let you know if St.Andrews will provide me with a copy of the passport. Cheers, Tom

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