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The Bishops Ultimatum

Posted August 30, 2012

Bishop Cox

Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I, was very impressed with the Palace of the Bishops of Ely and required a residence that suited his status.  He persuaded the Queen to negotiate the terms of a lease and so Elizabeth ordered the Bishop Cox to rent the gatehouse to Christopher Hatton.  When the Bishop protested, Elizabeth wrote to him:

“ Proud Prelate!  I understand that you are backward in complying with

your agreement, but I would have you know, that I who made you what you are ,

can unmake you; 

and if you do not forthwith fulfil your engagement

by God I will immediately unfrock you.”

The Bishop swiftly agreed and in 1576 Christopher Hatton leased the gatehouse for £10 a year, ten loads of hay and a rose picked at midsummer.  The following year took over the whole palace, borrowing over £40,000 from his Queen to spend on his new home built in the orchard grounds and his lavish lifestyle.   Ten years later she had lost interest in him and demanded that the money be re-paid in full. But Christopher Hatton fell ill and died of a broken heart for the love of his Queen and the debt was never repaid.