Charter of Queen Elizabeth I

This sumptuously decorated charter is one of a series of royal charters that Waterford received through Anglo-Norman and medieval times from the kings and queens of England, beginning with Prince John in 1199. This charter has a portrait of the monarch (as was usual), arms, emblems, foliage and flowers, and on the top right the Waterford coat of arms in which the three royal lions are combined with the three galleys of the city for the first time, denoting Waterford's close relationship with the crown. The two emblems were to remain together until 1953 when the lions were dropped.

This charter - like its companions - charts the importance and influence of Waterford at the royal court; in this case the removal of the city from the jurisdiction of County Waterford. The two city bailiffs were given the title and powers of sheriffs, and the Admiralty rights of the Corporation were also improved.

date/period: 1574 A.D./early modern

inventory no.: 1999.1604

collection: Waterford City Council

location: Waterford Museum of Treasures exhibition

dimensions: 575 height x 710 width mm

provenance: Found in excavations of Waterford city centre 1986-1992

material: Parchment

Further Reading:

Julian Walton, The Royal Charters of Waterford, Waterford Corporation 1992 ISBN 1 897775 00 8

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