1560 in England...hm. If the quilt is of the "holland" style, it would be wholecloth linen or fine cotton on the top, a cotton batt (wool was relatively rare), and cotton backing (they used a type called "bockeram," which was a fine evenweave. It was NOT modern buckram). The color would most likely be white or cream.
If you decide to go with silk, use a smooth, non-stretchy silk like broadcloth or heavy weight china silk. Dupioni, raw silk and shantung are too slubby and don't quilt well, and the common china silk from chain fabric stores is too thin. The batting would be cotton, and the backing would be either silk in a contrasting color or striped cotton from Italy. Good colors: magenta pink, steel blue, soft rose, yellow, red, olive green. The olive green/magenta combination was quite popular, as was yellow/red. One caveat: silk can be *very* slippery, so baste heavily and use a frame.
There's a great picture of a yellow/red ship quilt in Quilt Treasures: The Quilters' Guild Heritage Search (1995). There's also a picture in a book about the textiles at the Gardner Museum in Boston.
Good luck, and keep us posted!