Non League Club

The heart of a king but the body of a woman

Posted in Uncategorized by stuartnoel on March 25, 2012

Back in the days of Henry VIII when the boat was the only method of continental travel, Tilbury was THE place to be. It was like the Las Vegas of England. It was the hotbed of sin, and the home of the finest culture. Quite simply, everyone who was anyone would at some point be seen in Tilbury, or Tilberia as it used to be known. Its fame and fortune came because of its strategic location on the Thames Estuary. Even today it has an important place in everyday commerce as one of the first or last (depending on how you view it) deep water docks on the river.

On the 19th August 1588, just as the rest of England was preparing for the start of another season of ye olde football, Queen Elizabeth (obviously the first but she was never known as the first as she would not have known there would be a second 400 years later) made a surprise visit to Tilbury. War was in the air with the Spanish (what were the odds on a Spanish victory back then I wonder?  Same as for them winning Euro2012?), and any day soon it was expected that an Armarda would sail up the Thames, stopping at Margate for a visit to Bembon Brothers Amusement Park, before continuing to London where they would buy a day pass to rape and pillage. Lizzy was obviously a tad concerned so she wanted to rally the troops at Tilbury. Her speech is one of legend today and it included the immortal lines:-

“I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.”

Rousing stuff indeed and it seemed to do the job as today we can still call the settlement Tilbury and not El Tilburia. But the river still dominates the daily life of the town. The fort that was build to protect the Thames is still in existence, the landing stages now welcome more paper for newsprint than anywhere else in Europe and cruise goers get their first taste of London with a view of Tilbury power station when they alight at the London International Passenger Terminal here. (more…)