Cecil Papers: March 1597, 21-31

Pages 121-139

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 7, 1597. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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March 1597, 21–31

Roger Manners to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 21. Entreats him to be a mean to the Queen for a grant to the Earl of Rutland of the keepership of Thorney Wood in Sherwood Forest, void by the death of Sir Francis Willoughby, by whose little care her Majesty's game hath gone to great decay, and is like to be utterly destroyed if that keepership be kept severed from the general office of the forest.—21 March 1596.
Signed. Sealp. (29. 5.)
Humfrey Founes, Mayor of Plymouth, to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 21. Here arrived lately a ship of St. John de Luyce, from the port of Portyngall, bringing a Portyngall suspected of divers to be an espyall, for that he was here lately a prisoner and then very desirous to go home.
I have taken his examination, and the examination of the master of the ship, a Frenchman, and of the pilot, an inhabitant of our town, as well to know what they have found of this Portyngall as to learn the state of that country; whose confessions, with the confession also of one John Hyll who came lately from the Gruen, where he hath been long prisoner, are here enclosed.—From Plymouth, 21 March 1596.
[P.S.]—There hath been a Frenchman, suspected to be an espiall, of whom your Honour had former advertisement, detained here long in prison, for whom, as well as for this Portyngall, I pray to receive direction what shall be done with them.
Part of Seal. ½ p. (39. 39.)
The enclosures :
1. Examination of Francis Robello.
1596, March 19.—Arrived yesterday in a ship of St. John de Luce that came directly from the port of Portyngale. Asked whether he had any lading in the ship, confesses he hath certain marmalade and conserves to the value of 8l. Being further asked the cause of his coming in, for this small trifle is not sufficient to wear his charges, answered that he killed a man in his country about two years since for which his life shall be called in question, so he durst not abide in his country, minding now to pass to and from the seas in shipping of this country for getting of his living. Asked why he had not made this account when here of late prisoner and sent away upon his own request, he saith that he stood then in hope his friends would have stood by him, whereof making proof, he found no courtesy at their hands. Denies that in his travel through the country he was ever asked from what place of England he came or how the state of this country stood, or such like question, but only what fleet was here providing. Which being thought strange he said of his own accord, it is no strange thing, for those of the country are not inquisitive of those things; but if he had passed by the sea coast thinks he should have been put to the question.
When he went hence the first of January last, in fourteen days he reached Byon in France, whence he intended to pass to the port of Portyngall by the sea coast : but, hearing that soldiers were placed along all the coast and that the place was amongst them, he took his way through the middle of the country of Castile, where he found soldiers taken up in every place, not so much as the shepherds spared. Coming to the port of Portingale he hid in a friend's house nine days, and then the said ship of St. John de Luce arrived, whereof, he understood, one John Rogers an Englishman was pilot, and meeting him brake unto him and told him that he did very well know him, but he should not fear, he would do him no harm. So hereupon this examinant had free access to and from the ship, and there did take his meat and drink at the charge of the said Rogers until the coming away of the ship. In the meanwhile there arrived seven hulks laden with corn, whereof two (as he thinks) arrived here, while he was prisoner, bound for Italy.
Saith that Peter Subbeour is appointed by the King to keep the coast with certain men-of-war, how many he knoweth not; but four of his ships he did see which came into Vyano and brought with them a hulk laden with pipe staves and other timber. Hath heard that the fly-boats that were at Farroll are discharged, but forty of the King's ships of war remain there continually, besides six or seven gallies : also that there are 50 or 60 gallies looked for to come out of the Straits to Lisbon.
Signed :—Humfrey Founes, maior.
Headed :—“Examination of Francis Robello of Braga, a city in Portyngall, taken 19 March 1596 before Humfrey Founes, merchant, mayor of the borough of Plymouth.”
(39. 36.)
2. Examination of John Rogers.
1596, March 19.—John Rogers of Plymouth, mariner, arrived yesterday in a ship of St. John de Luce from the port of Portingale, saith it was reported, while he was there, that there was between eighty and a hundred sail of ships remaining at Farroll, not in any readiness but preparing. As his ship came from the port of Portyngale at Vyano they spake with two great ships of war of the king's, which were sent out to keep the castle. In his going forward he was at Byan in Gallezin, where he heard that there were billeted abroad in the country thereabout a great number of soldiers, and some of them he did see repair to the town with their commanders and purveyors, which were landed out of the army, but for their further employments he heard not any thing. While his ship was at the port of Portingale, there arrived seven hulks laden with corn, whereof some, as he verily thinketh, touched here as they were outward bound : they gave out in speech that they were bound for. Italy licensed by her Majesty as a favour shewed to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This latter point is affirmed by one Martyn du Weeresavan, a Frenchman, master and owner of the said French ship, who knoweth the skippers of two of the ships and was here when they were here outward bound. The said two hulks had in them dry Newfoundland fish that they put to salt in port of Portingale, which argueth that they touched here in these western parts.
The said Martyn also affirmeth that while the ship was at anchor at Vyano on the voyage from the port of Portingall, there came two great ships of war appointed to keep the coast under Peter Subbior, with a hulk that they had taken laden with pipe boards and other timber. He hath heard there is a fleet of eighty sail and eleven gallies or thereabouts, that the fleet that remaineth at Farroll is not in any readiness. It is generally reported that what preparations be made there are rather for defence of their country than to invade or otherwise annoy any other country. Many of the soldiers that were of the fleet are billeted abroad in the country, wherewith the country people are so charged as they greatly complain. One other thing the country people find themselves grieved at, for the soldiers eat up the corn that they should sow their ground with.
Signed by the Mayor.
pp. (39. 37.)
3. The confession of John Hill of Stonehowsse, who hath been prisoner in the Growyn in Galicia fifteen months, arriving here in Plymouth the 18 of this present month.
1596, March 19.—He hath come all the sea coast along from the Growyn and found at Farroll 100 sail of ships, mostly fly boats not in readiness. There was looked for at his coming away 50 sail of gallies to keep at the Growyn for defence of the ships. There be great store of soldiers and sailors dead by reason of the sickness amongst them, and the Sanvado did go from thence to Saint Tiago to lie from the sickness, and coming to Bilbowe stayed there fourteen days. In the meantime came to the said town a nobleman of great fame from the Cardinal and took shipping in a small pynck in Dunkirke, and being there arrived presently went to Madrid to the King, accompanied with many The pynck doth stay for his return from the King. In all the coast along from the Growyn there was no shipping except such as are going to the New foundland, but at Passage there are great Biskeners, but small store of men belonging to them. Six of them, new built, were of the burden of eight or nine hundred tons each, but they be not yet rigged, nor did he see any preparations to put them in readiness. Every two or three months there goeth from the Growyn to the Earl of Tyrone a ship of the burden of fourscore tons, and she is an English ship never altered from her first shape, which hath divers of her men that speak English if they meet with English men-of-war which be better than themselves, otherwise they say they be of Ireland.
Signed by the Mayor.
Endorsed :—“John Hill from the Groyne. This party is sent for.”
1 p. (39. 38.)
Captain Matthew Bredgate to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 21. The gent. your servant, Mr. Maye, according to your letters unto me, is very welcome and shall be in every condition, for your honour's sake, so well accompanied that I hope he shall have no cause to complain of any unkind usage towards him. And whereas it was informed the Lord Buckhurst by one Thomas Browne (a man every way unknown unto me) that there should be great sums of money secretly conveyed into the True Love and other ships now pretending the Barbary voyage, he thereupon directed his warrant with his own handwriting to the searchers of Gravesend to make diligent search and enquiry for the same, especially in the True Love; who for that purpose were twice aboard, being then satisfied by the master that neither himself nor any bearing office in the ship knew of any such matter, yet notwithstanding they kept back the merchant's cockets, and by no means would deliver them unto the master, whereby the loss of one tide having then so fair a wind greatly hindered our forwardness to recover the Narrow Seas, where now we are. We purpose to depart hence with the first good wind and weather that God shall send, which at this time is very contrary.—Dover, the 21 of March 1596.
Signed :—“Matthew Bredgate.”
Seal.½ p. (39. 40.)
M. Chaste, Governor of Dieppe, to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 21/31. Vous avez seu la preste d'Amiens qui ruyne nos affaires a cause de l'inportanse de la place et aussy la grande quantité de poudres, balles et artillerye qui estoit dedans. Ce miserable peuple ne se voulut garder ny permettre que on les ayt gardes, car le roy leur avoyt envoye des Suisses qu'ilz ne freserent. Nous pansons cette année elargir nos frontieres; nous an sommes bien recules et les affaires de ce royaume an etat a cause ceste perte qu'il ne se peut maintenir sans une grande armée bien payée. Je crois que vous aves seu comme le roy a fally Dourlan et aujourdhuy j'ay heu avis qu'il a fally Arras apres avoir abatu trois pontes a coup de petart. Il a tant de deplaisir de la perte qu'il a fet que je crains que cela ne se precipite au quelque danger. Dieu l'en veulle preserver, car apres luy il ni auroyt plus desporeise a la conservation de cet etat. Les remonstrances de la royne y peuvent beaucoup.—A Dieppe, ce dernier jour de Mars.
Holograph. 1 p. (49. 89.)
Sir Edward Norreys to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 21. Recommending the bearer, whom he hath brought up of a child, for employment as opportunity shall offer. He hath followed the wars both in Brittany and Ireland, and in these parts, so that, though young, he is an old soldier. Thinks Essex doth remember him.—Ostend, this xxi March 1596.
Holograph. 1 p. (173. 52.)
Sir Fra. Ruisshee to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 22. The few occurrents by our long lying still, and the little doubt I have of your lordship's ancient and ever good favour towards me, hath imboldened me to be silent unto this time, neither can I now acquaint you with matter of much worth or much pleasing, for since the loss of Amiens the King hath drawn some forces together into the field; and, after some projects to annoy the enemy again, they undertook the surprise of Arras, upon a vain hope and an uncertain French plot to blow open a port with a petard, assuring themselves by that to have entrance. But at their arrival there, the strength of the place with little assistance of the town did frustrate their expectation. The French which had the point, being the regiments of Picardy, lost some few, but we that were their second had no loss but our toilsome march.
For the King's next resolution we hear nothing, but since our retreat from Arras we lie betwixt Amiens and Dorlans, four leagues from one and three from the other, expecting the enemy in one quarter or other.
For further news, here is report of the Cardinal's drawing head for Bullen, but how certain I know not.—Averna, 22nd March 1596.
Endorsed :—Cap. Fra. Russhe.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (173. 53.)
[Mr. Drake] to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 23. I have received your letters for sending up a certain priest which was my good hap to meet withal; the which I have accomplished by this bearer and with as small charge as may be, in respect I assure myself, he can make known great matters and you shall find him a man very dangerous, one that hath been a ranger over all England and few places in it unknown to him, as also the disposition of most gentlemen of any quality.—Ashe, the xxiijth of March 1596.
Signature torn off.
Endorsed :—“Mr. Drake to My Master.” (39. 46.)
Arthur Gregory to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 23. Understanding by a friend that Sir John Fortescue is suitor to her Majesty for the self same things which her Majesty hath already granted to himself, and that the same carrieth with so plausible a show of reason and profit to her Majesty as it will presently be granted, desires that he may not at the very point be frustrated of the effects of Cecil's mediation; otherwise he must withdraw himself in debt and unable to serve any longer.
Will act entirely by Cecil's direction, being only bound and depending on none other than himself and Lord Burghley.—23 March 1596.
P.S.—The stay made in Mr Attorney's hands hath caused others to offer my suit, which, if Sir John carry it, is for a meaner man of service than myself.
Signature and postscript in Gregory's handwriting.
1 p. (39. 47.)
Sir Horatio Palavicino to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 23. Has despatched Giustiniano, intending him to leave on Saturday night, and begs, therefore, that he may have the letters for Mr. Carron and Mr. Gilpin soon, upon the warmth and force of which everything depends. Has written to the man of Brussels and ordered that he may be paid other 90 crs.,—his three months' pay. Thinks Cecil will be satisfied that it is well spent. Has given him a man in Antwerp (through whom to send letters) and full instructions.—Baburham, 23 March 1596.
Italian. Seal. Holograph. 1 p. (173. 54.)
Sir John Aldryche to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 23. As my duty binds me, so am I still bound to remember my service once vowed and ready when your lordship shall command.
As concerning the occurrents and state of all things here, I know you are advertised by those that should better understand them, so I fearing to be troublesome, and yet not to be forgetful I have been thus bold.—From the camp by Picardy, the 23rd of March '96.
Holograph. Part of Sealp. (173. 55.)
Mons. le Grand to the Earl of Essex.
[1596-7], March 23/April 2. Monsieur de Fouquerolles vous dira sy particulierement des nouvelles de nostre Court et de nostre guerre que je ne vous proportuneray point du discours que je vous en pourvais faire; mais je me contenteray de vous asseurer que tous les accidents du ciel ny de la terre ne pourront jamais diminuer l'inviolable affection dont je me suis voue a vostre service.—Ce second jour d'Avril.
Holograph. Two seals on red silk. 2 pp. (49. 98.)
John [Mey], Bishop of Carlisle, to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 24. I have received your letter on behalf of Mr. Leonard Lowther for his admission to the parsonage of Graystocke, which as I will not deny to perform, so I trust your honour will not be displeased if for divers good causes I defer the same. For the said Leonard Lowther hath two of the best benefices in all my diocese already, at neither of which he lieth but at a farm in another diocese which he hath purchased; and now he would have this third, neither shewing any dispensation whereby he may keep them all three, nor promising any resignation of either of the others. Besides, this Leonard Lowther is a base brother to the other Lowthers, whereby I doubt whether he be the man to whom her Majesty gave it or no. Moreover the last incumbent left a wife and five young children, which is to have some commodities due in her husband's time, which the same Lowther denieth to her without course of law, which will be great charges and trouble to the poor widow if by some good order they be not agreed. Upon which considerations I have deferred this admission until these things may be concluded for the benefit of God's Church and of the poor children. In the mean time I have granted to him liberty to till and sow the land and to receive all commodities which are not litigious between him and the widow, promising there shall be no danger of lapse in word of an honest bishop.—March 24, 1596.
Seal. 1 p. (39. 48.)
Richard Cole to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 24. Her Majesty by instructions under her own hand hath authorised the Lord President and Council in the North to appoint one or more examiners for the examining of witnesses produced before them.
The late Lord President, my honourable good lord and master, upon great experience of the estate of that country, upon advice with the Council, appointed two examiners—one for the plaintiffs, the other for the defendants. In execution of both these places there have four several persons succeeded and enjoyed the offices distinguished from the secretary there or any other officer.
Since Lord L. decease, attempts have been made for uniting these two offices, and lately, I understand, Mr. Beale goeth about to bring them within compass of his patent, in violation of what, by her Majesty's instructions, hath about twenty years continued, confirmed, as I suppose, under the broad seal of England.
The defence of my poor estate, being admitted to examine for the defendants, hath been such and so chargeable as, besides my destruction from my place, I have gained very little since my admittance not a quarter of a year before his lordship's decease. Though it doth necessarily concern me to be secured herein, yet in respect of the favour received from my Lord Treasurer and your Honour, I will not attempt any means to seek the same, unless you shall please to allow thereof, and to the end that you should see the estate of these two offices I enclose the same set down in writing.—xxiiijth of March, 1596.
Signed. Seal. 1¼ pp. (39. 50.)
Enclosure :
Statement touching the Examiners' offices before the Council of the North as far as can be gathered.
1. Examiners established about 20 years by warrant signed by the Queen's own hand.
2. The offices have continued successively to four persons in the times of Mr. Blythe, Mr. Cheeke, Mr. Beale, and Mr. Rokeby, Secretaries to the Council, and distinguished from the Secretary's office.
3. The examiner's office before the Lord President and Council on the marches of Wales is divided from the Secretary's office.
4. Mr. Beale pretends an interest in the offices of examiners in the North by colour of the Queen's grant to him of the Secretaryship in tam amplis modo et forma as any his predecessors had, yet his predecessors Mr. Blythe and Mr. Cheeke were not interested therein, for in their time the said offices were disposed of by the Lord President and Council.
5–8. Further characteristics of the offices tending to show that they are independent of the Secretary.
1 p. (39. 49.)
The King of France to the Earl of Essex.
[1596-7] March 24/April 3. La perte d'Amyans a ranversé tous mes desayns. Je faysays etat d'assayllyr mon annemy et commancer des le moys d'Avryl, mes il faut que je cherche la defancyve. Ce m'est un tres grand crevecœur que je me persuade estre resanty de mes amys comme de moy, car j'an useroys aynsy an leur andret. C'est pourquoy j'ai voullu anvoyer Foucquerolles par de la, duquel vous antandres toutes les particularytes que je vous pourroys escryre, vous pryant que je reconoysse par la responce que luy cera fete, que vous aves soyn de moy, que vous aprehendes et craymes ma cheute et que vous me voulles ayder a lesuyter, nous le ferons sy nous voullons asayllyr notre annemy devant qu'yl ayt assaylle ces forces sy non nous y metrons la main trop tart. Je l'ay escrit et dyt yl y a longtams a quoy on a eu peu d'esgard, dont je porte la peyne a laquelle je cherche remede par le moyan de mes amys, quy ne me peuvent habandonner quyls ne s'abandonnent eus mesmes. Le dyt Foucquerolles vous dyra le demeurant par tout.—3 Avryl a Vynacourt.
Holograph. Endorsed :—1597. 1 p. (147. 129.)
George, Earl of Cumberland to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7 [Before March 25]. Being here, by the Queen's command, to make his ship ready “for this pretended journey,” finds such scarcity of corn that he will hardly get his biscuit made in time unless he may have, for ready money, 200 qrs. of wheat which was unladen out of the Argoc[ie ?], and now in storehouses at Portsmouth. Begs for direction herein by bearer, for the time he has is short.
Addressed :—“Chief Secretary.”
Endorsed :—“Marc. 1596.”
Seal. Holograph. 1 p. (39. 81.)
Maréchal de Biron to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 25/April 4. Je n'ay vouleu permetre que se quavalyer s'en alast en vostre pays, sans vous asseurer par luy que je suys vostre bien humble servyteur, vous suplyant me conserver vos bonnes graces et croyre que nul un monde ne les peust tant cheryr que moy. Nous nous prometons avoir le bon heur de vous voir en France, ou j'espere qu'avec vous je donneray un coup d'espee a un Spaignol pour l'amour de vostre maitresse. Je remets a Monsr de Fouqueroles pour vous dire des nos nouvelles. Je vous suplieray seulement faire estat de mon service.—A camp a Vignencourt, ce iiiime Avril 1597.
Holograph. 1 p. (175. 32.)
Thomas Flemyng to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 26. I have considered of your honourable and godly care towards the eldest brother, not evidently found to be an idiot, yet of small capacity to govern himself and so great an inheritance, and therefore though meet to be tied from wasting or alienating, yet so that his own issues, if he after in good sort marry and have any, should not be deprived, who may prove wise though the father be simple, whom to debar from their father's simplicity were an act injurious. To prevent his alienations and to provide for himself, his honest wife and children, if hereafter he have any, I have devised this proviso and condition, referring the same to your honourable censure and wisdom.—This 26 March, 1597.
Endorsed :—“Mr. Sollycitor to my master. His opinion concerning Meverell.”
Holograph. ½ p. (39. 53.)
Sir Thomas Sherley to Lord Burghley.
1597, March 26. Sending a note of money paid and to be paid on account of English companies serving in France, for six months from October last, calculated after the rate of twenty eight days to a month.—26th March 1597.
Holograph. 1 p. (39. 55.)
Enclosure :
The account, written on a small piece of paper, with corrections and annotations in Burghley's handwriting.
(39. 54.)
English troops in Picardy.
Account of the pay of the officers of the field and of the 2,000 men in Picardy for six months; showing a total payment of 10,394l.
Undated. 1 p. (39. 59.)
William Lyllé to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 26. The great extremity that our troops endure by reason of the want of money caused our general to return to this place with the intent to lay all his plate and all the other means he hath to pawn to relieve them; and despatching away in haste I am constrained to leave my cipher and to signify thus unto your lordship, that the secretary that delivered me the two discourses in Italian which I sent you long since was with me at the army and told me that his master the actor in both for that of the kingdom is despatched from this king and is now parted thitherward. He and his master desired to know of me what taste your lordship had taken of both; considering that to favour it was very glorious for you and very commodious for her Majesty, considering also to what end it tendeth. The means are so small from hence (where they have not for themselves) as he feareth that it will scarce make him live there, and if the same may be profitable to others, he thinketh for none more than for her Majesty; whereupon he craveth your furtherance to her. In my next which shall presently follow this I will set down all particularities, by which whatsoever is here obscure shall there be plain. I beseech you mislike it never the worse that I solicit it. The secretary being my ancient friend and willing to show me all the love he could did think me by ancient acquaintance fit for it, knowing long ago that I was your creature; and therefore if her Majesty embrace the favouring thereof I most humbly crave the negotiating thereof, thinking it in my simple opinion a thing very profitable for all the world, at this time more than ever. The one I know is communicated to your lordship by other means, but the other he protesteth was to none but to me, and both to be easily effected if some means were added to his provision from hence. In Spain they have given a great mislike to the Signorie of Venice; having at the ambassador's door framed a quarrel d'Allemagne, and so shuffling together went into [his] lodging, beat his servants, entered his chamber study and viewed all his papers and secrets. Besides, in Italy the governor of Milan hath of long time had a practice upon Brescia, thinking to have surprised it and impatronised the King of Spain thereof. For the state of matters here you have heard by our general the number of our sick and deficients, their poor estate and all the captains'; from him also our enterprise on Arras, where nothing wanted but discretion in the French, their ladders being in the army but not ready at the need. The King is now at Piqueny and looketh on Amiens with great grief. He attendeth his forces and meaneth to do some great matter upon it; but the country round about it is so ruined that the horse that now guard about the town have no means to live in their quarters. You may imagine what will follow upon the whole army when it shall be there. I fear me my former letters will be prophecies to the army and to the whole country. Fontaine Martel's enterprise upon Dieppe, which tended also to Rouen, doth shew that the King [of] Spain will use all means to get France, at the least these parts, and that in that case many of the French will be marchans. At this time those of the Religion are infinitely discontented, and have sent to the King by the deputies he sent to them, to whom they would scarce give audience, to assure him that if he will not consent to the chamber bipartite they will do nothing at all for him in any his wars, nor will quit any garrison in any their towns. Lesdigères, albeit that he is appointed for this war against the Spaniard and hath blanks to take and receive money and levy men to that end, yet hath he sent to the Assembly to assure them that he will do nothing but that shall stand with their liking; and his son-in-law shall become now at his return to be one of the Religion or else he will neither give him charge in the country nor deliver him any town into his hands. In general terms I am assured that the Marshal de Bouillon is discontented. At the camp I see no old men. They say here the mean officers and counsellors are not honest, and the Constable is lame of the gout in bed; of whom they will not speak because he at the Court plays the King, and the King abroad playeth the Constable, both taxed for lechery, and Madame Gabrielle accounted cause of all ill-fortune, although every man seeth many nearer causes which cannot be remedied in this broken commonwealth.—St. Valery, this 26 of March 1597.
Holograph. 2 pp. (49. 74.)
Sir Thomas Sherley to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 26. My mishap doth also light heavy upon all mine, and my eldest son being indebted is by my disgrace enforced to avoid England for the present to avoid arrests. The company that was mine at Flushing would wonderfully steed him if he might have it, wherein I humbly beseech you to assist him, though not for his own sake yet for mine. I hear that some whom I would not have thought do labour it for Sir Thomas Flud. I protest to you that as there is no cause why he should have them, so is it utterly evil and unprofitable for the Queen's service, and I have not forborne heretofore to say so much against myself. I know you are most honourable and constant to your poor friend; I beseech you in this to afford your help.—This 26th of March 1597.
Holograph. Seal, broken. 1 p. (49. 75.)
Sir Francis Vere to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 26. By Mons. de Caron who is arrived here in Zealand and presently to pass for England, your lordship shall understand of all that passeth more particularly. He bringeth her Majesty in a manner a full resolution and grant of the shipping her Majesty demanded, and many humble thanks for her so fit ratification of the late league. As for the shipping, the States had once determined to send none if my lord of Cumberland had the command; whereof so soon as I was advertised, having heard how far you had dealt with the Queen for him, with Mr. Gilpin's help I got it altered, so that now the handling thereof is left to Mons. de Caron, who will proceed therein both with your knowledge and liking.
There is nothing resolved of for this summer service, neither will there be till the arrival of Mons. de Buzenval, who is looked for daily; and if the King or her Majesty will do anything royally, I am persuaded they will be easily drawn to afford all the help they can and leave undertaking themselves.
We have it here fresh that if her Majesty will undertake the siege of Calais, the King is content she shall enjoy the same, whereof I doubt not but your lordship hath better advertisements. Howbeit, hearing thus much by principal men of this state, and not knowing whether they which had refused the conditions would offer them directly, I thought good to give you this knowledge, assuring myself that her Majesty liking of it it will be performed, and that these men may be brought to give some good aid if her Majesty urge them to it in time. I have heard from my good friends that there is labouring to remove my regiment hence. It is a thing which I have feared still, and should do more if I were not assured that you would care for me as one that must now only rely on your protection. I beseech you therefore to withstand such courses, which I know are only set afoot to ruin my poor fortune. And now that I have spoken for myself I am an humble suitor for my brother Horace, that as occasion is offered your lordship will be mindful to do for him. He is yours most devoted, and one that I hope will not for his other parts be unworthy of the favours you shall do him. Your lordship will excuse this over boldness in craving when you weigh that whatsoever you do grant is to those that are yours.—Middleburgh, this 26 March 1596. (sic.)
Endorsed by Essex's secretary :—“26 March 97 (sic.).”
Holograph. Seal. 2½ pp. (49. 77.)
Sir Edward Norreys to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 27. Here is suddenly a great rejoicing grown out of their former despair. I know not how sure the news from Spain is, but there is great expectation of it. I send the very words sent me, and will send the list as soon as I receive it. It is said that the Cardinal departs from Brussels the week after Easter, to go towards France by the sea-coast, which makes me believe the rest the more.—Ostend, 27 March.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (175. 19.)
The enclosure :
Relation des galions, urces, et aultres navires, qui vont à l'armée de sa Majestie Catholique, de laquelle Don Martin de Padilla, Conte de Sancte Jadea, Adelantado Mayor de Castille, General des Galeres d'Espaigne, est Capitaine General.
Altogether 98 ships of 28,173 tons, contributed by Castile and Portugal, with vessels of French and Dutch origin.
A list of stores and provisions on board the fleet. A list of the soldiers, viz. 8,130 Castilian infantry; cavalry, consisting of 46, “lances, harquebusiers et genets,” and 630 aventuriers et entretenus; also 2,200 Portuguese soldiers.
There have also left Seville 30 “phlibotes” with 2,500 men; and the General Pedro de Conbiana is in Vigo with 40 ships, and 12 pinnaces carrying 3,300 men.
There are also 2,500 men from Brittany, and 200 of Don Fernando Giron, with which he is to join the Fleet.
In all 17,220 men from Spain, all meant to serve by sea.
The names of the principal persons in the fleet, among others, the eldest son of the Adelantado with a flying company, Don Fernando de Toledo, Seigneur del Gares, “Aventurier,” and others (named). A bishop of Ireland, with many fathers, of the company, and other orders and church ornaments. Carpenters, masons, artillery for landing, 25 pieces. Don Bernardo de Villeda, de l'habit d'Alcantara, va pour administrer l'hospital general de l'armée.
French. 2½ pp. (175. 20.)
That there is a very great fleet preparing in Spain. That Count Fuentes is general by land, and the Adelantado of Castile by sea. That all the great cities of Spain and the bishops and great clergymen furnish shipping and men with their pay for two years. That the King is at no charge save for the munitions. That there are two companies of 600 cavaliers hazarders, which receive no pay; many companies of divers nations and orders commanded by great princes, of whom he has forgotten the names, but at his next coming will bring them. That this army will be greater than hath heretofore been seen; whereof whole Spain is full; but not spoken of amongst them, whither they shall go. That there are already 17,000 Spanish troops furnished and in pay, besides others.
1 p. (175. 22.)
Sir Thomas Fludd.
1597, March 28. Memorandum that his clerks are ready to go to the Low Countries and France, namely, William Fludd, his son, and John Goughe to Myddeborrowe, and John Wylmote to go to Roane; that the merchants have already written to both places, and that, therefore, it is necessary that he should have lists of the companies and officers, with their several entertainments and time of this going, and also letters from his lordship to those parts.
½ p. (39. 60.)
Sir Robert Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 28. The bearer hath been these many years lieutenant to Sir Thomas Shirley's company, and during all that time hath carried himself like an honest and a tall man. He goeth now into England upon some occasions he hath, and hath desired me to give him a letter to your lordship. I would not deny him that pleasure, because you shall never know him but for a tall soldier. His name is Will. Arnold.—At Flushing, the 28 of March 1597.
Holograph. 2/3 p. (49. 79.)
Sir Robert Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 28. Your letter of the 22 of March was yesterday delivered unto me by the elder Dutchman I sent over unto yon. What contentment he gave unto your lordship I know not, but being brought unto me of purpose by Mons. Valck I could not but send him into England. To Mons. Valck I delivered thanks from her Majesty, who shewed to rejoice very much at them. The report of the younger Dutchman I think to be upon better ground, and as I shall be able either by industry or by fortune to understand of any such wicked practices I will not fail to advertise them, and to lie in the best wait I may to get the actors into my hands. And infinite glad I shall be to have the comfort to do some profitable service; since otherwise I have very little cause to take pleasure in my fortune here. Truly, my Lord, I begin to grow very weary, seeing business increase daily upon me and likelihood of more and more troubles, and the longer I go forwards the less cause to hope for any acknowledgment or requital. I cannot be so blind but I must see the great inequality held between me and others, neither is there any man of my profession which hath had commandment, but one way or another hath had somewhat added unto him. I have served here now a full prenticeship, besides the time I spent before in her Majesty's court and wars, and can truly say that yet I know not what it is to have credit or profit bestowed upon me. If the Queen did not for others, I were to blame if I would not abide the lot that all other men did; or if she did not allow of my service and oftentimes yield me thanks for it, I would be contented to believe that my deserts were nothing. But both these two being, and yet I being in one place, I must think there is some secret canker in my fortune to which no medicine will be found. I humbly thank your lordship for nominating me to the Cinque Ports; and though I be no baron yet I dare say the Queen had done no unpleasing deed to the country if she had given me the charge of them, neither is it so long ago since knights which could not speak of such alliances as I can have had that place. I am sure I had a grandfather a duke and an uncle that in their time bare the greatest sway in England; and my father, though he were no haron, possessed as great places of commandment as her Majesty can give any, and if they were all alive, I durst say I had not done anything why they should be ashamed of me. But her Majesty will have a baron in that place : I would to God that the Spaniards would run away at the title of a baron, or that it would keep our men from running away, otherwise I fear me our country of Kent and Sussex will be honourably left to be spoiled and burnt. But the Queen is made believe how great a place this government is, and that therefore I cannot do that service in it, but that by it already I am sufficiently rewarded. So good a place it is, as if I were but as I was when I first came unto it I should think it a very unlucky hour wherein I undertook it; and whosoever he be that hath it, and deals as he should do in it, will earn his wages as dearly as he that cuts wood for the Queen's kitchen, and from it will have less money in his purse at the year's end than the other will have. When I came unto it I know no young man in England of a gentleman more forwards to have thriven by the wars than I was, and it was the profession I did ever give myself unto; and now I must be contented to see a number in the opinion of the world far gotten before me. During the time I have been here I have had as many dislikes as any could have, part of my charge taken from me, orders set down to the discredit and distrust of me, no care showed of the necessities of the town how often and instantly soever I called out for them. Lastly, neither liberty upon my most necessary occasions given me to go into England; and fault found if either for the bettering of my experience or reputation I go into the field. So as I am bound here, and yet in that sort that I should not like of my stay; wherein a horse is more gently used, for yet a bit is sought out for him that may be most pleasing to him, But for the wants of the town now that your lordship is Master of Ordnance (for which I am exceeding glad, both for the good of the whole state and for your lordship's in particular) I trust I shall find more care had, and now therefore humbly I put you in mind of the six pieces I spake unto you for at your return from Cales. Here are already three pieces of the Queen's and some 2 or 3 last of powder, which what store it is for such a place as this is you can judge as well as any man. I beseech you to give Rol. Whyte leave to solicit you for these things. For since I must stay here it will be some comfort unto me to see myself not neglected in those things which be for the defence of the place. And as for any good to come speedily to myself, I assure you it cannot come so slowly but it will come, as I am now, sooner than I shall look for it. For since I may not be suffered to be seen in England, I will easily resolve that there will be ways enow found to keep me from any other matters. And that I cannot be suffered, I say that whereas the reason of the refusal unto me is the necessity of her Majesty's service, there have been no extra-ordinary present occasions, nor any shew why any might be expected, nor any commandment from her Majesty that I should do anything for her; which makes me resolve that both I have had that have crossed my coming over and that they have been able to prevail against me : whereas on the other side my lord Burrow can be Deputy of Ireland and governor of the Brille both at once. I neither envy his fortune nor the power of his friends; only I would I could be wise enough to keep myself from repining, since I see I may not look to be better than I am. But I trouble your lordship too long; I beseech you pardon me for it. Indeed I repine that these courses are taken with me, and know not to whom so boldly to express it as to you; though to others also I will not be ever silent.—At Flushing, the 28th of March 1597.
Holograph. Seal. (49. 80.)
Sir Thos. Sherley to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 29. Though I take little hope by the news brought of my son Anthony, yet am I advised by some friends of mine to send an express messenger to Plymouth. I do therefore very humbly beseech you that I may have a commission signed by you and some two councillors more for post horse for my man this bearer.—This 29 of March 1597. [P.S.] My servant whom I send, his name is Edward Byllynges.
Holograph. Seal. ½ p. (49. 83.)
Humphry Founes, Mayor of Plymouth, to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 29. Wrote lately to him of one Hill that hath been long prisoner in Spain and arriving lately thence declared the state of that country as far as he knew it. Before he enters into any other business has appointed Hill to report himself to Cecil.—From Plymouth, 29th day of March 1597.
Signed. Seal. ½ p. (49. 84.)
Dr. Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Paul's, to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 29. My cousin Robert Penington is an humble suitor unto the Lord Treasurer for a lease of the bark of the oaks and ashes in his lordship's woods in Edelmeton, which my said cousin, being a tanner, hath of long time heretofore had and now hath at his lordship's hands for the use of his occupation, paying for every load of bark 16s., besides the pilling and carrying at his own charge, which is as much as any may reasonably give. I am bold heartily to pray you to further this suit by your favourable mediation, and I shall be ready, when his lordship or your honour will, to grant a lease not only of the bark but also of all the timber and trees in our grove called Paul's Grove adjoining unto his lordship's and your woods there; and otherwise also to pleasure you in anything lying in my small ability.—29 March 1597.
Signed. Seal. ½ p. (49. 85.)
Thomas Throckmorton to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 30. I beseech your favourable consideration for the obtaining of my liberty, in regard of the great suits in law which of late are attempted against me and my poor tenants by Sir Moyle Fynch, for the avoiding of my lease of the manor of Raunstan; and further, in respect of my own poor estate, which at this instant standeth very dangerously for that by my longer restraint I shall be unable to satisfy my creditors and in worse case to recover that which is my own.—From Banbury Castle, this 30th of March 1597.
Signed. Sealp. (49. 86.)
Anne, Countess of Warwick to Sir Robert Cecil.
1597, March 30. I must needs thank you that amongst your many and weighty affairs you have so kindly remembered me by letter, especially in that which I am not a little glad of, which is to hear that there is good likelihood of my brother's return very shortly. I am at this instant in a cold, bare and moist place, yet a near neighbour to Tibbolls [Theobalds], and where I purpose to stay some few days yet. In the mean season I shall be desirous to hear from you, being sorry that you have been so ill of late.—From Northaw, this 30 of March 1597.
P.S.—My neighbour and good friend Sir Henry Cock tells me how much he is bound for the good and honourable favour he hath received both from your father as also from yourself, in whose behalf, as he hath desired, I must yield you many thanks; which if I had been but so good a secretary as I do wish or if my ill English had not been too bad I would have signified with mine own hand.
Signed. Seal. 1 p. (49. 87.)
[Anthony Watson], Bishop of Chichester, to Sir Robert Cecil.
[1597,] March 30. I beseech you give me leave, as my present estate requireth, to desire an increase of your favour. Her Majesty by Sir John Stanhope's good motion is graciously inclined to remit my first fruits, if it please you to strengthen her princely disposition with this favourable and true report, that this benefit hath usually been bestowed upon her Highness's almoners, and that the chargeable times may commend my condition to her bounty. My bill was drawn in the Signet Office, and is subscribed by Mr. Lake's testimony that it is the same form heretofore observed by them to whom her Highness vouchsafed so great favour. Bishop Guest, B. Freeke, B. Pearce, B. Fletcher, being almoners, the late B. of Oxford, and he that is now B. of Exeter, had their fruits freely pardoned. Herein you shall witness a truth without offence, relieve my ensuing wants and bind me to witness my thankfulness.—March 30.
Holograph. 2/3 p. (49. 88.)
Capt. Edward Wylton to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 31/April 10. The strange alteration of the K., people and country since the loss of this fair frontier town is almost incredible. The K. wanteth both munition and money. The people, being desperate of their estate, have been lately found so pliable to the Spaniard that they have not with their favour doubted to attempt Roan, Diepe, Abbeville, Beuvois, Bullen, Montroyle; whereof the two latter had without doubt been lost, had not an Irishman, upon the killing of his enseigne, come over to the K. party and discovered the plot. The country so subject to ruin that the K. must be forced perpetually to lie upon the frontier with his army. The K. is not able to besiege any place. The people able to give him small help. The country more commodious to the enemy than to him. We live here miserably having had no pay this fortnight but what hath been borrowed of the K. to relieve us. Retreat we have none that is sure. If the K. offer Bullogne as before, it is more than he can perform, for that is the D. Epernon's, and the K. though he be able to take that from him yet he will not lest he cry quittance in a greater matter. Rue and Mintroile are absolutely at the K. devotion and are all and the best he can give us in these quarters. His necessity now will force him to anything for of himself he is not able to do anything of moment. I beseech your lordship continue ever my good lord, and if this entertainment fall, procure my stay elsewhere; your lordship knoweth my poverty and my perpetual desire to do you service.—The Camp, 10 April 1597 stilo novo.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (50. 3.)
Justinus de Nassau, Admiral of Zealand, to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 31/April 10. Avails himself of the departure of M. de Caron to testify his regard for Essex and his willingness to serve him in those parts.—Middelburg, 10 April 1597.
Holograph. French. 1 p. (147. 130.)
The Pewterers Company.
1597, March 31. Petition to the Queen, setting forth that the Company of Pewterers, to the number of three thousand persons, petitioned to have the casting of tin into bars made part of their mystery, which petition was referred to the Lord Treasurer and Lord Buckhurst, who made stay in the matter for two years; praying that they should certify of the matter.
Endorsed :—“The Lord Treasurer and Lord Buckhurst to certify their opinions with as much convenient speed as they may. Ult. March 1597.” Signed :—“Jul. Cæsar.” (175. 24.)
Intelligence from Spain.
1597, March. Richard Devorox of Limerick, being in Lisbon with a ship of Limerick which was stayed in Spain to serve in the last fleet, saith that the fleet, when they parted from Lisbon, were 84, and that they did expect 20 ships from Biscay to meet them at Ferrol, and 18 from St. Lucas which carried victuals and soldiers.
Further he saith that when he came from the fleet there was in Ferrol 92 sail, the Biscay fleet and them of Seville being already come; and that after those of Biscay and of St. Lucas were come they unrigged all their ships saving 12, and all the soldiers and mariners (saving so many as did look unto the ships being at anchor) were seast (sic) in the country 100 leagues in circuit about. These 12 ships above mentioned were preserved to send abroad upon the coast to look for Englishmen, and some of the lesser sent do come down as far as the Sleeve, to look what news from England, and are divided into two parts, so that when one comes in the other goes abroad; and six are still forth.
He saith also that when the fleet was cast away on the moores, there were lost 30 sail and 5000 men, of which the King lost St. Jago Major of 1000 tons, and one of the six new ships that were built at Lisbon, of 200 tons, and two galley zabres, and the Admiral of the Venetian fleet, and 18 great double fly boats. The rest that were lost were small French ships and some small ships of the country.
He saith also that this fleet doth mean to continue there to make head towards the spring, and that they do expect 24 ships from the Straits and six new ships from Biscay which Pedro Seburo went to make ready in January last.
Likewise he saith that being in Lisbon on Shrove Tuesday, there were sixteen galleys upon the caryne [careen] to be trimmed and sent presently to Ferrol to the fleet, and that they do expect 60 more from the Straits and 5000 men.
The principal ships that be in the fleet are :—
The St. Paul Admiral, 1000 tons.
The Vice Admiral, 1000 tons.
The St. Jago Minor, 800 tons.
The St. Thomas, 800 tons.
Two Venetian Argosies of 1000 tons apiece.
Twelve new ships from Biscay which were built at Passage, between 400 and 200 [tons] of burthen; and six built at Lisbon of the same burthen.
He saith also that their first pretence was for Waterford, and that one John Poore, master of the ship wherein he was that was stayed, did advise the Adelantado to go for Limerick, for that if they should come to St. George's Channel, although they did possess the harbour of Waterford, yet the Queen's shipping being made ready might command the sea, so as they should be driven to go between Scotland and Ireland; but going for Limerick they may go free without danger of her Majesty's shipping and so retire with their shipping at their pleasure, and that the Easterlings might victual them there from time to time without danger of being troubled. The principal Irishmen that were there were Maurice Macshaune, Cale O'Connor, John Lacy, Walter Leigh, the bishop of Killaloe; the bishop Strong was appointed to be there but was sick. The pilots of the Admiral are one Lambert an Englishman, and John Pore an Irishman, and one John Griffith of Plymouth in the Vice-Admiral.
He saith also that at his coming from Lisbon there were 38 Dutch ships there and 16 French, and it was thought they would be stayed for they were denied their pass.
John Peters of Hamburgh, whom I have with me aboard, departed from Seville the latter end of December for Malega, and saith there was then 12 new ships built at Seville at the charges of the spiritualty, of the burthen of 400 and named by the names of the 12 Apostles, and that then they had all ready saving their masts and rigging, and that their foremast was set. There was a pattern made of them in wood two yards and a half long, which was sent to the King to Madrid in a waggon, to let him see the proportion of them, and there was set down in the pattern the shew of 24 pieces that they should carry.
The same Peters, being in Malega in the beginning of February, saith that there was 1000 soldiers taken up there, and that 12 of the principal galleys of Naples were there bound for the fleet, wherein the Admiral of the galleys of Naples was in person, Don Pedro de Tolledo, and that they did expect 38 galleys more to be sent from Italy.
The galleys of Naples were land laden with powder and shot, five Dutch flyboats laden at Malega with corn, some report for provision of of the fleet, and some said they were bound for Lisbon.
Pedro de Bois, of St. Martino's by Rochelle, being a man of war, took about Capicher a Frenchman which came from St. Lucas about the 24th of January. When I understood his prize was from St. Lucas I desired him, showing him your honour's [Essex's] warrant, to give me knowledge what news was there of the Spanish preparations, and he sent the master and the merchant of the prize aboard to be examined by me. They sware upon their oath that there was about forty ships at St. Lucas ready, but for what place they knew not; and that there was 8 galleys which went to Seville to take in treasure to pay the soldiers.
Likewise they said there were 5000 men to come from the Straits in the galleys, and that they did there expect 40 galleys out of the Straits.
Endorsed :—“Captain Wyn. Intelligence of Spain. March '97.” 3¼ pp. (49. 90.)
Don John de Ribas, Governor of Calais, to—.
1597, March. I received your letter of the last of December and am glad to know of your good health. Although I have had a thousand difficulties with this mutinous people, thanks to God they could not prevail with their lewd intentions, though they have had many practices to alter the state of the town and cast me out of it. In the end, by casting forth some companies of horse and foot to diminish the forces, and giving the torture to four that had a new practice, I withstood them. Otherwise they would have joined four or five thousand foot, and two thousand horse, and made a Babylon that we should need to have another Potosi to defeat them. This mutiny is a very shrewd piece of work, because from the first till now there are four afoot of Spaniards, that of the city of Cambria, “Shatalett,” Ardres, and this city, and also in the town of Gueldres. It is long ago that the troops of Almayn are in mutiny. All this comes of the decree and divers other evil successes. The arrival of these 4,000 Spaniards and provision of money will make all things be compounded. Our deputies and those of France are met together and are treating of the peace. There is a good hope that it will be effected. It is said that those of England will pretend to enter into the treaty. Those of Holland, now that they have gotten all in Friesland, are very arrogant and make great preparations for war against the spring. But if we can agree with the others, we shall disperse them like clouds, and they shall be abated of their pride.
Endorsed :—“March 1597. Translation of a Spanish letter from Jhon de Ribas, the governor of Callys.”
1 p. (175. 25.)
William Udall to the Bishop of Limerick.
[1597, March]. I grieve at the bad success of Wednesday's search : for I offer my life to prove the following true. That the company was conveyed away during the rebellious resistance made by Mistress Fortescue. That Hugh the Butler and a priest did run away together. That six hundred books were in the house in a flasket unfound. That two suits of church stuff were hid in the house. That the butler being escaped said to his friend, “I pray God the other priest and books may escape.”
Holographp. (175. 26.)
William Udall to the Bishop of Limerick.
[1597, March]. I have been desirous to inform the Earl of Essex of two matters concerning Ireland of great moment, viz., the cause of Tyrone's favour and successes, and the fatal nature of the course had with him. I would ask you to discover from the Earl whether I may do this in speech or by writing to him.—Tuesday, Holborn Bridge, 1597.
Holograph. Sealp. (175. 27.)
Peter Geringe and others to the Queen.
1597, March. Tenants of the Parsonages of Wynterton and Sutton and other lands in Doddington, Heckington, and Lesingham, Lincolnshire, late parcel of the lands of the Duke of Norfolk, attainted. Pray for leases in reversion.
Endorsed :—“March 1597.”
Note by William Aubrey, that the Queen grants the petition.
1 p. (2002.)