With the recent four hundredth anniversary of the sailing of the Spanish Armada came a virtual flood of new works concerning the great invasion fleet and the English ships that opposed it. While it would seem that there would be little new to say about such a heavily researched subject, there is one aspect of this momentous year that has been received relatively short shrift by historians of the period, the national mobilization of England to meet the threatened invasion. Often referred to as the Great Muster of 1588 because one of its most important elements was the muster of the militia to fill the ranks of the army, it was an administrative feat of massive scope that involved months of preparation, extensive military planning, and precise timing. Because these arrangements were never tested in battle, however, the effectiveness of this effort is hard to judge, and its importance is often missed by historians. While Garrett Mattingly devoted an entire chapter of his well known work on the Armada year to events on land, he found the queen's visit to the army at Tilbury after the departure of the Armada more important, or at least more interesting, than the actual state of the nation's defense. More recently, Geoffrey Parker has used the discovery of a large quantity of siege equipment on an excavated armada wreck as a jumping off point for his article “If The Armada Had Landed.” Approaching the issue from the standpoint of a historian of the Army of Flanders, and leaning heavily on continental sources, he adheres to the view that England was totally unprepared for fighting on land if the Spanish had succeeded in landing troops on the island. While this view reflects the common opinion of both nineteenthand twentieth-century historians on the subject, a careful review of English sources, particularly the surviving muster records, military papers, and coastal surveys, leaves a good deal of doubt concerning the accuracy of Parker's judgment. It is the purpose of this article to examine the English side of the story of the Great Muster of 1588, by illustrating the extensive defensive preparations that were organized to face the Spanish threat.