Elizabeth: April 1589, 21-25

Pages 224-230

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 23, January-July 1589. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1950.

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April 1589, 21–25

April 21/May 1 [Clitherow] to [Barnes].
A 26-years old Cistercian abbot, named Friard, a notable preacher, came here from France and is greatly frequented by the whole town. His attack upon and quarrel with the buyers of ‘liberantiae,’ which as a result of his preaching first fell to 40% and now are unsaleable. Certain learned men of Louvain and Brussels upheld the buyers against the abbot, but the Bishop declared for him. The matter smoothed over: but ‘liberantiae’ are still not bought and no ‘succursus’ paid for three months.
Lieutenant Colonel is discharged. Captain Bostocke given his place, but he will not yield. If he be put out, 300 men will follow him: if not, some captains will go away. Parma goes to the Spa and then to France: is reconciled to the Duke Pestrana who goes as general of the horsemen.
Directions for any of his friends who would send him English bread.
Lieutenant Colonel Bratleye imprisoned a, Gaunde for extortion, which is also urged against the Colonel, whose chief enemy is Darbishire. It is thought the regiment will break. The Dukes of Alvey and Pestrana expected here. The two Stanleys and F. Darbishire persecute the Lieutenant-Colonel. There is now hope that the ‘liberantiae’ will sell at 66%.—May 1. N.S.
Add to “M. Gerarde Burghet.” Endd. “From Clitherow to Barnes.” Latin. Passages in italics in cipher, deciphered in English. 1¾ pp. [Flanders V. f. 19a.]
April 21. Walsingham to Mr. Secretary Wolley.
Hears from Sir Thomas Morgan and others that the Duke, having taken Gertrudenberghen, prepares flat bottom boats, etc., for another attempt upon Berghen-ap-Zome. Desires him to acquaint the Privy Council herewith, and also to get them, as Morgan desires, to order Willoughbie, “now there,” to command all officers of that garrison to return forthwith to their charges. (fn. 1) Her Majesty should appoint a governor of Flushing in place of Sir William Russell, who is unwilling to return. Sir Robert Sidney would be suitable. This is especially necessary, as the States will certainly be hostile to Russell since they have discovered, by some means, that on Leicester's instructions he practised to get the lieutenants, etc., of Gertrudenberghen to be wholly at her Majesty's devotion.—Barn Elms, 21 April, 1589 [corrected from 1588].
Signed. Add. Endd. with note of contents. Seal of arms. 1 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 94.]
April 22. Thomas Bodley to Walsingham.
Wrote last by Mr. Gilpin's man. Leaves Mr. Caron to relate his own proceedings. He is diligent and cirumspect. Refers his honour to his letters to the Lord Treasurer [not found] for news. Did not receive his letter of the 3rd, in favour of Capt. Morgan for the sergeant-majorship of Berghen, until the 20th, when the Council of State had already appointed one Lovell almost a fortnight before.—The Hage, 22 April, '89.
Postscript. Mr. Caron means to go to-morrow or the next day to Frise, where the States are assembled. He will “take the Count Neuwenar in his way.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 96.]
April 22. William Borlas to Walsingham.
Since coming over, has been but two days in Flusschyng. Took musters here, at Bergen, and at the Brell. Reached here to-day, as Mr. Constabell can witness, and goes at once to complete his task by mustering Hostend. Will then make up and send over the books. Will earn the ill-will of many.
The States were unwise to besiege Gettrengberg and now, more unwisely still, proclaim as traitors Sir John Wynkfeld and the other English there and touch other personages' honour. “I think, sure as they have lost the town, so have they lost their wits also.” Need of a remedy for these things.—Flusschyng, 22 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1¾ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 98.]
April 23. The Privy Council to Sir John Conway.
Her Majesty commends his services in fortifying Ostende, providing against the enemy's attempts, and governing the town so peaceably. She cannot, considering the dangerous estate of the town, be persuaded to grant Conway's request for his recall. He is to remain until instructed to the contrary.—White Hall, 23 April, 1589.
Signed by, Chr. Hatton, H. Derby, C. Howard, Hunsdon, Cobham, T. Buckhurst, J. Perrot. One of the Conway Papers. Add. Endd. 2/3 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 102.]
April 23. Robert Dackombe to Willoughby.
Wrote of the weakness of this place. The expected supplies have not come and their own works have slackened. The breach between Bruges port and the south bulwark was only slightly repaired, and the violence of the exceedingly high tides since April 20 has so increased it that they can hardly keep the water out of the town. The greater part of all the enemy's forces lies within four hours' march, ready to seize an opportunity to surprise or besiege the town. Their ordinary forces (of which he encloses a note [not found]) would be enough to put the place in extreme hazard. Their preparations, and prisoners' reports, indicate a determination to make the attempt. None of these things, however, make the Governor take any measures to strengthen their defences. Dackombe at the first suggested making a counterscarp: the Governor allowed of it in words, but did nothing. A suggestion for a “fortification with stakes and nails,” as used at the north fort at Bergas, to remedy the weakness of the ramparts which cannot support a parapet, was similarly treated. A month ago they proposed in open court that the court of guard in the church of the old town should be reedified. It was accidentally blown up about the middle of last December. (fn. 2) The burghers offered to do the work in two or three days. It is a most important place, but so far very little has been done. Two English prisoners were taken recently. One, sometime sergeant of Sir John Wingfeild's company, is still in hold. The other, called Androwes, once ancient to the Treasurer, afterwards soldier in Sir John Borowe's band from which he fled with two horses to the enemy, is given full liberty, without the captains' knowledge. This is dangerous, for there are rumours of treachery. The two were with Sir William Stanly in the last attempt on this town. The Governor keeps all his intelligences to himself. When they protested at his private conferences with the enemy's drums, his receiving and sending of sealed letters, etc., he smothered their speeches by asserting the authority of his commission. Captain Pigott, a prisoner noted for his treachery, “is the only near and dear counsellor of the Governor,” whilst her Majesty's captains are “mere strangers to all his actions.” Wishes Pigott were removed from here. Some other prisoners, withheld by the Governor from the Marshalsea, walk freely wheresoever they please. Desires Willoughby to be a mean to obtain some relief for this place. They have two fears, “the one, at every low water, fear of having our throats cut, the other, at high water, the fear of drowning.”—Ostend, 23 April, 1589.
Postscript. The captains have twice offered to make a general contribution to repair the weak places of the ramparts, but the Governor said that he heard from the Council that her Majesty was determined to spend no more on the place, thinking it better to abandon it than keep it, and that they should follow his example and spare and save what they could.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 100.]
April 24/May 4 last date. John Welles to Walsingham.
Hears to-day that the King delivered to the King of Navarre Angiris, Ponse, Sonir, Bloyis, Bougense, made him lieutenant-general, and has proclaimed the Edict of January. The Count of Mongirine defeated de Mayne's vanguard. De Mayne is at Paris to-day. Sent Dinis taken for the King. De Mayne's proclamation against speaking ill of the King brought hither by two councillors and two gentlemen who have gone on to New-haven. The Duke demands 800,000. “It is thought he will give them all the slip and get him out of France.” Mompanser again defeated the peasants, slaying 1,200 and capturing many more: he slew 3,000 and took 1,500 in the first overthrow. He besieges M. the Vikis in the Mont Sin My chill. Mongromy takes 800 horse to him.
The King of Navarre's camp is at Vendome. Duke Markire joins the King, to whom go many Bretons. Count Brysake reported slain: eight of his companies defeated. This town will now block up Dipe, if Newhaven will help them. Three more towns, names unknown, have come over to the King, who was to have been delivered to the Duke de Mayn, but the plot was discovered. This town begins to be afraid: mutinies among the captains. Many gentlemen “of the Baronis Niuborkis” are prisoners. Has himself been a close prisoner for 14 days, thrice examined by the council and threatened with the rack. They say that they have not all his letters. “Lyly hath news of you by Rypiris.” They demand 500 crowns and now the captain asks for 200. All say that John le Roye betrayed Welles. His brother goes into England: they say that he is the greatest villain against the King that there is in Ron. “He that M. the Chorige sent to your honour is in London, at the French ambassador's.” They have taken everything from Welles, to his shirt. Bycnor dare not speak for him, so he depends entirely upon his honour. If Mr. Ourslye would write to Ralph Letherborowe, he could help Welles out. Needs money, and there are no merchants here that a man can borrow a crown from. A ship of Abire goes hence to England: desires that some of the goods, belonging to this town, be stayed for him.—Rone, 1 May, “as they write,” 1589.
Postscript. Three cannon sent to-day to Blyngevill castle, which belongs to M. the Legir, who is at Dipe. Paris and Rone have sent to Newhaven for warships to be set forth to blockade Dipe: there is some further meaning in this and some think de Mayne himself will come to Newhaven. The galleass lost twelve guns and many men at sea through foul weather. They say that she, with some French ships, shall blockade Dipe. Captain le Croue, master of this prison, is a chief man in this town against the King. They hope to take Dipe, unless help comes from England. Were 3,000 men and 500 horse sent from England, Ron itself would yield. Importance of Dipe. Presses for his release.—4 May.
On another sheet. The two Kings met at Somer and are accorded. The Edict of January granted for those of the Religion. Navarre is made lieutenant and comes into Normandy. He defeated de Mayne's vanguard, took 8 pieces of cannon and drove him back to Orleins. Mompensir besieged Valase. An assault failed. Pice Cort, Milliris' brother, gathered the ‘gotis’ [gautiers], Mompensier raised his siege, feigned to retire on Cane, and, leaving his ordnance in a castle of M. the Halle, turned on the peasants and routed them, slaying at least 3,000 without losing five men himself. “And now the peasant will no more for the League.” Navarre is said to be at Alansone with great forces. This town begins to repent “and goeth about to make the wars in the King's name but as yet it is not accorded.” The sieges of Dipe and Blyngeville are broken off. All Britene is for the King. John le Roye, the post, betrayed Welles, so the captain who took him says. He is a spy. His brother goes into England. “Your honour may have me for him.”
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [France XIX. f. 110.]
April 24. Walsingham to Sir John Conway.
Commending the bearer, appointed provost-marshal of the Ostend garrison by Willoughby. Understands that certain captains would retain their prisoners, whose custody rightly is part of the provost-marshal's office. Desires Conway to favour him herein.—Barnelmes, 24 April, 1589.
Modern transcript. Original signed and add. 2/3 p. Original letter not found: with the above is (f. 105) the covering sheet of a letter to Conway from Walsingham, undated, but add., endd., and with seal of arms and which is one of the Conway Papers. [Holland XXXII. f. 104.]
[April 25.] “Matters whereupon to confer concerning the causes of the Low Countries.”
1. Of what things her Majesty has cause to complain, of what things her ministers have complained, and how they are answered.” [Margin, in different hand: “Appeareth by the contraventions set down.”] (fn. 3)
2. On what points the States have complained, by letters or through Bodeley or Ortell, and what have been the answers. [Margin: “My Lord Treasurer hath these things already digested.”]
3. Disorders or defaults of the States General or particular, defaults in their government, and how her Majesty may remedy them.
4. To consider obscurities, incommodities, and disadvantages to her Majesty in the articles, and how they may be helped by explanation. [Margin: “By the note touching the renewing of the Treaty.”]
“To the first”:—
Her Majesty has, through Willoghby, Killigrew, and Bodeley, required that the Council of state be given its former authority to consult, resolve, and execute without delays. Otherwise there are many inconveniences and the state is weakened against the enemy. Her Majesty would not have agreed to help them and to enter into so open an hostility, had she not thought that her Governor-General would always give his advice in the Council and, with its allowance, provide and execute all things necessary for their defence. “And therefore in all these cases following her Majesty did require, and so it is capitulated in sundry articles by covenant of the States, that her Majesty and her Governor should have full authority:—” (fn. 4) [There follow extracts from articles 17–24, and 27. (fn. 5) ] Thus clearly her Majesty would not have assisted them so greatly without these conditions, for she would then have been the States' servant rather than their protector, and her forces would have been lothe to venture their lives at the States' commandment rather than under her own General Governor. Article 16 [abstract given] should make it unnecessary for the Governor to resort to the States General about matters therein expressed. Articles 12, 15, 4, and 5 [abstracts given] should also be performed: article 5 clearly provides that only her Majesty's garrisons should watch and ward in the cautionary towns.
As regards complaints made to the States on such matters, Killegrewe, Wilkes, and Willowghby are to make declaration, and copies of Bodeley's writings are here to be seen, e.g. his remonstrances of January 14, (fn. 6) and of February 21, (fn. 7) in which he said that her Majesty found the Council's instructions from the Estates contrary to the Contract, and cited articles 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24. Note that, upon the 17th article, he said that the revenues of the Provinces ought to be at the disposition of the Governor and Council of Estate and that the men of war should be paid by their ordinances, using the treasurer- and receiver-generals according to the custom of the country. Also that he complained that the States would not have the English mustered with the Governor's knowledge. By their answer of January 30, the States seem to assert that the said instructions are not contrary to the Contract, and yet at the same time to say they must be changed “according to the occurrences of matters, as in other countries is practised.”
Endd. with date by Burghley. 5¾ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 107.]


  • 1. This was done—Acts of the Privy Council, XVII. 144–5.
  • 2. See Calendar, XXII. 351.
  • 3. See below, p. 237.
  • 4. From here onwards the paper is in a clerk's hand, the earlier part being by Burghley.
  • 5. See the treaty printed in Dumont, Corps universel diplomatique, V., 454–5.
  • 6. These are calendared above, pp. 38–9, under date.
  • 7. Calendared above, pp. 119–23.