It could be ye: Elizabeth I held England's first lottery


Blackleaf
#1
Today's Lotto entrants long for the multi-million pound jackpot: but how about a set of sparkling gold jugs, a tapestry and freedom from arrest for seven days? (Small print - pirates and traitors excluded).

That - and more - was on offer to entrants of England's first ever national lottery, which was drawn 450 years ago on January 11, 1569. Announced by Elizabeth I three years earlier, it was intended to raise much-needed funds to build up the Royal Navy, sponsor adventures to far-away lands and patch up England's coastal defences against the Spanish and French.



It could be ye! Elizabeth I held England's first lottery 450 years ago with a £850,000 jackpot, gold jugs for runners-up and criminal pardons for all entrants

First lottery announced in 1566 to raise money for the Royal Navy, foreign exploration and England's defences

Everyone guaranteed a prize, but at a hefty ten shillings tickets were way out of reach for ordinary citizens

Draw was held three years later in London but ended in failure with only 10 percent of the tickets being sold


By RORY TINGLE FOR MAILONLINE
1 January 2019

Today's Lotto entrants long for the multi-million pound jackpot: but how about a set of sparkling gold jugs, a tapestry and freedom from arrest for seven days? (Small print - pirates and traitors excluded).

That - and more - was on offer to entrants of England's first ever national lottery, which was drawn 450 years ago on January 11, 1569. Announced by Elizabeth I three years earlier, it was intended to raise much-needed funds to build up the Royal Navy, sponsor adventures to far-away lands and patch up England's coastal defences against the Spanish and French.

Everyone was guaranteed a prize, but at a hefty ten shillings tickets were way out of reach for ordinary citizens. The jackpot - a whopping £5,000 (£850,000 in today's money) - would be paid partly in cash, with the rest in gold and silver tableware and 'good linen cloth'. These sparkling wares were printed on garish advertisement posters put up across the land.


The first ever national lottery in England was announced in 1566 to raise money for the Royal Navy, foreign exploration and England's shabby coastal defences against the Spanish and French. This advertisement - issued at the time - shows some of the glittering prizes on offer, including chests of gold and silver tableware


Elizabeth I (left, in a painting c.1575) wrote the instructions for her draw in a letter (right) to Sir John Spencer in 1566, ordering him to produce books of tickets to be sent to major towns and cities across the land. There would be 400,000 lots, she said, and the prizes should be entrusted to 'persons of good trust' until the winners were able to claim them

Holding a country-wide lottery had not been done before in England, so Elizabeth had to look abroad for inspiration. Similar draws had been held as far back as the ancient Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and caught on 15th-century Europe among Low Countries traders looking to sell their excess wares.

Elizabeth wrote the instructions for her draw in a letter to Sir John Spencer, ordering him to produce books of tickets to be sent to major towns and cities across the land. There would be 400,000 lots, she said, and the prizes should be entrusted to 'persons of good trust' until the winners were able to claim them.

The letter states: 'Where we have com[m]anded a ceratine carte of a Lotterie to be published by our Shirif of Countie in the principall townes of the same...' It continues: '...it is expedient to have somme persons appointed of good trust to receave such particular sommes as our subjects shall of their owne free disposition be ready to deliver upon the said lotterie.'

Money raised, it states, shall be 'employed to good and publique acts and beneficially for o[u]r Realme and o[u]r Subjects.' The letter states that out of every pound sterling, Spencer was allowed sixpence to pay the collectors. As an incentive to Spencer, for every £500 pounds sent to London, a further 50 shillings was promised to him.

To understand why the lottery was needed we must understand the political context of the time. Elizabeth, by 1566 already on the throne for eight years, faced a Europe that was overwhelmingly Catholic and determined to destroy her newly-formed Protestant church.

A sign of the increasing threat from Catholic powers came in 1570, a year after the lottery draw, when the Pope Pius V issued a Bull (or decree) declaring Elizabeth a heretic and excommunicating anybody who obeyed her orders. This perilous atmosphere required the immediate renovation of England's poorly coastal defences (which were tested by the Spanish Armada in 1588 ).


Everyone was guaranteed a prize, but at a hefty ten shillings tickets were way out of reach for ordinary citizens. The sparkling prizes were printed on garish advertisement posters put up across the land (pictured left, c.1566). Elizabeth's lottery was a way to raise money without going to Parliament (seen right in a 1559 woodcut)


This advertisement, issued c.1566, outlines how the lottery will work. This includes a list of the prizes (the prices in Tudor spelling). There would be a jackpot of £5,000 (around £850,000 in today's money) and expenses tableware for the runners-up. In the end the value of the prizes was reduced when only 10 percent of the tickets were sold

There was another even more pressing reason for Elizabeth to feel threatened. Her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, was a Catholic with a strong claim to the English throne. Forced to abdicate the Scottish throne, the plucky Mary fled across the border in 1568. She was imprisoned but continued to inspire plots from Elizabeth’s foreign and domestic enemies.

There was yet another drain on the treasury: England's status as a burgeoning imperial power. Opening up new trade routes required new expensive ships, as did the voyages of discovery that would enjoy their crowning moment in 1580 with Sir Francis Drake's successful circumnavigation of the earth.

With all these demands on the royal coffers it’s no surprise Elizabeth's secretary of state, Sir William Cecil, complained that a lack of money was 'the principal sickness in this Court'.

Raising taxes would spark the ire of Parliament, so a lottery seemed the ideal solution.

The initiative wasn't going to pull in a quick buck, however, as there were a whole three years before it being announced and the draw actually being held in 1569.

Shivering against the winter cold, ticket holders gathered by St Paul's Cathedral in London accompanied by a beer-guzzling crowd of onlookers keen to see the flashy prizes on offer.


The draw was held on January 11, 1569 by St Paul's Cathedral in London (which is depicted as it appeared in Tudor times in a 1916 engraving). To amuse the audience, ticket-holders were allowed to hide their identities by writing jokey remarks on their tickets. These messages included anti-Catholic quips such as 'In God I hope and a far for the Pope'



Elizabeth (depicted on the left by an unknown artist) desperately needed money to protect England against foreign invasion and domestic rebellion. Also, she needed new ships for the voyages of discovery that would enjoy their crowning moment in 1580 with Sir Francis Drake's (depicted by Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger in 1591) successful circumnavigation of the earth

To amuse the audience, ticket-holders were allowed to hide their identities by writing jokey remarks on their tickets.

These messages, according to the History Press, included anti-Catholic quips such as 'In God I hope and a far for the Pope' and the slightly less prosaic 'The head of a snake with garlic is good meat'.

Despite the fun of the draw itself the lottery was a failure, with fewer than 10% of the 400,000 tickets sold - and the prizes reduced by a similar proportion accordingly.

Naive criminals who had brought tickets under the promise of seven days freedom from arrest for all but the most serious crimes also appear to have been disappointed. One London debtor cited his pardon as an excuse not to be sent to jail but was immediately 'made a jest of'.

Elizabeth never held another lottery, although there were similar draws held off and on between 1750 and 1826.

The modern British National Lottery was established by Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major and the first draw held in 1994.


The lottery was not the money-raising success it might have been and was never repeated by Elizabeth. England was increasingly becoming a global power in the latter years of her reign. Pictured: A map of Drake's Great Expedition in 1585 by Giovanni Battista Boazio


A sign of the threat from Catholic powers came in 1570, a year after the lottery draw, when the Pope Pius V issued a Bull (or decree) declaring Elizabeth a heretic. This perilous atmosphere required the immediate renovation of England's poorly coastal defences (which were tested by the Spanish Armada in 1588, seen here being attacked by English fire ships in Calais)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...0-jackpot.html
 
White_Unifier
#2
Ah the Royal Casino. Who was the Royal Loan Shark?
 

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