Spain: June 1558

Pages 394-402

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1954.

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June 1558

444. Count Feria to Philip
London, 6 June The Admiral arrived here early on the first Paschal day, 29 May. The courier your Majesty sent on the 28th arrived on the 31st. After reading your instructions, I spoke with the Queen, who wished me to meet the Cardinal and her Council in her presence, and to address them. This I did, and the Admiral reported what he had heard from your Majesty. After discussion, the Marquess Treasurer (sic) (fn. 1) was instructed to see to supplying provisions for the fleet so that it should be able to go to sea this month and continue to serve until the end of September. I think there will be no failure to do this, for the Marquess Treasurer carries out everything concerning your Majesty's service more efficiently than do the other ministers.
As for the frontiers of Scotland and Ireland, I have done nothing since I have been here but insist that they ought to be strengthened, as a matter of urgency. As a result of my labour, instructions have been given to do this; and I instilled enough fear into them about Ireland to induce them to place the matter in the hands of the Earl of Sussex, who has been as remiss in the matter as if he had no responsibility concerning it. Now, although I have always thought these frontiers needed attention, it has seemed to me that the English were exaggerating the danger in order to avoid being pressed too much about raising an army. Since they decided not to bring over 500 horse (herreruelos) from abroad, but to try to raise cavalry here in England, they have taken no action in this matter, and so the affair stands to-day. They also regret very much having sent for the 3,000 Germans. The point I have insisted upon most with them is that they should not allow ships from France to transport troops and supplies to Scotland, and I have always told them that the King of France intended to do this.
When these people first made up their minds to form a large fleet, they and especially the Admiral assured me that they would be able to land as many as 10,000 men. Since then they have come down to 5,000. But as the Admiral had frequently mentioned the larger figure to me, he now seems to think that the number he mentioned to your Majesty was too small, and that he might land 7,000. As for me, the English never take me in, because I never believe a word they say. And as I often check up on them, they find me tiresome. Your Majesty may be sure that if it had not been for their fear of the fleet the Hanseatic Towns and their allies were said to be forming, the English would never have fitted out so many ships. Now, the whole kingdom is complaining of the expense involved, and expressing doubts whether any useful purpose will be served by it. In order that they may not blame your Majesty in this connection, I have told several Privy Councillors the plain truth: they never would have fitted out this fleet had it not been for the above mentioned reasons; and they confessed that what I said is true. I have not spoken to the Queen about this, but I intend to do so before leaving, in order that they may not make her believe something else.
Your Majesty will see from what they are writing to you by this messenger their views about the Hanseatic Towns affair. I have not seen their letter, although the Queen told me last night that she would show it to me. But I do know that they chop and change about any business they take in hand, from one day to the next, and I am weary of writing to your Majesty about it.
They tell me that they are sending you full explanations. The Hanseatic ambassadors are very grateful to your Majesty. They will let me know about any reply they receive, and they intend to appeal to you for advice. The Queen is not of the opinion that it would be well to reprove the Swedish Ambassador, in presence of the whole Council, for having gone to see the Lady Elizabeth. She thinks it would suffice to have the Chancellor and Treasurer present; and so she will proceed.
I am going to see the Lady Elizabeth on Friday, 16 miles from here, as your Majesty has ordered me to do. Jerningham and Basset are going with me.
The miners left on 22 May, and the sappers will be here on 12 June. A muster will be held at once, and they will be sent off. There has been more delay than I like; indeed I have been very much vexed about it. When the Bishop of Arras wrote to me by your Majesty's orders about these 1,000 sappers, before sending the money and the letters patent, I spoke to the Admiral so that he might consider who would be the right man to recruit them. I had confidence in him, and emphasised the importance of the matter, mentioning the excellent service rendered by Captain Pero Andres and the sappers he commanded during the Thérouanne and Hesdin campaigns, and how badly those your Majesty had last year had done. He discussed the matter with the Master of the Household, who was to attend to it. Afterwards, when the money and the letters patent arrived, the Admiral was at Dover and had been commanded by your Majesty to Brussels. I then tried to find out from the Master of the Household what had been done about the sappers. He knew nothing. A messenger was sent to the Admiral to find out what he had done; and he replied that he had not spoken to or appointed anyone. When I learned this, I inquired from them for suitable persons.
The Comptroller greatly desired that it should be a certain man who had lost all his fortune at Calais. But though this man seems to be very honest, they tell me that he has never had any war-service. Next, Paget told me that a certain Randolph would be willing to go, who was an English serjeant-major last year and has a pension from your Majesty. He is a man of experience. I spoke with him to find out whether he had anything to do for the Queen just now, and whether he would care to take on this duty. He replied that he would go, even if it were to serve as a sapper, and that he was doing nothing here but draw your Majesty's money. When the Councillors who had wanted to get the other man sent heard this, they began to say that the Admiral meant to use Randolph, and sent to the Admiral asking him to tell me so. I understood from him that he wanted to satisfy both sides, for he came to tell me that he wished to appoint Randolph as his lieutenant on land. I said to him that if the Queen ordered me, I would take on the post myself, and even serve as a sapper, but that if this were not desired, they must understand that they would have to send the best man available to serve where your Majesty was, and not waste time trying to do one another favours.
At that, the Admiral appeared to take my side, but since then he has gone over to the Moors (i.e. the enemy). So many dirty things have happened in this business that if it had not been important to send Randolph rather than some one else I would have washed my hands of it. When I went to the Queen to ask for leave for Randolph to go, I found the Council had persuaded her that she ought not to grant it. She was very much inclined to take the line that, until the Admiral arrived and took a decision, it would be better not to do anything. I told her that Randolph should take the sappers in hand now, as he was competent, and that if any other duty came up later for which he was needed, he might be released. I told her something about what had happened in the affair, but did not wish to go into full details, because I should be sorry to add to the nuisances I already have on my hands. The Queen agreed to my suggestion. Your Majesty may judge how important this post of the Admiral's lieutenant on land can be, when I tell you that the same Randolph came to tell me that the whole thing is (partisan) passion, and that he wanted to go to serve your Majesty, begging me for God's sake not to allow them to do him this wrong. If the Queen were to write to your Majesty about the matter, I think it would be well to answer her that you wish Randolph to go with the sappers. These people here care no more for your Majesty's wishes than for those of any other friendly prince, and if they are given their way in this, they will want to have it in things of greater importance, as your Majesty has seen and will see. I beg you, with all due submission, to forgive me for annoying you at such length with such a small affair, but I worry so much about it that I cannot hold my peace. Once I am over there, I will tell your Majesty such things that you will not fail to say I am right.
A certain Pedro Ortiz de Madariaga wrote a letter to the Regent from Falmouth, saying that he had arrived there on 23 May, having left Laredo on 19 April, on a sloop in which he was bringing some cases of tapestry belonging to your Majesty, pomegranates and olives. As the Regent had already left, I read the letter and sent the man instructions to go on to Flanders with his cargo. I also asked the Admiral to give him 2 or 3 ships to escort him as far as the Flemish coast.
The English keep throwing the matter of declaring war on Scotland in my face. The Admiral says he did not mention it to your Majesty, because he only likes to tell people things they will be glad to hear.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
445. “A copy of the letter written to M. d'Arras about the sappers” (fn. 2)
London, 13 June To-day, a beginning was made with holding a muster of the sappers. 600 were lined up, and the rest will be to-morrow. 200 have already gone aboard ship and are to sail to-night, and the others will go soon. I am writing to the Governor of Dunkirk to provide quarters for them until it has been decided where they are to go. If instructions are not ready against their arrival, I beg you to send them immediately to M. de Glajon.
Simancas, E.811.
446. “A copy of the letter sent to the Captain of Dunkirk about the sappers” (fn. 3)
London, 13 June His Majesty has had 1,000 sappers raised in this kingdom; and they are being sent over under the orders of Captain Randolph. If instructions have come from the Duke of Savoy or M. de Glajon concerning them, you will hand those instructions to Captain Randolph. Otherwise, you will take the sappers in and provide them with quarters and whatever else may be necessary, writing at once to the Duke of Savoy and M. de Glajon that they have arrived. I will also write to them by the first courier, announcing their departure from here and requesting orders for them.
Simancas, E.811.
447. The Cardinal of Sigüenza to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Rome, 16 June Yesterday, I received a letter from your Highness, dated 25 May. I was grateful for the news you gave me of the health of his Imperial Majesty, your Highness and his Highness (Don Carlos). I have written to you by several different routes what news I had to give. His Holiness has still not made up his mind about the offer his Majesty has made to him. I am told every day that he is going to come to a decision. I will report to your Highness what happens.
Martin de Guzmán is still here. His Holiness has not yet decided whether or not to receive the obeisance of the new Emperor. Several Congregations have met on this question; I do not know what the upshot will be. His Holiness is full of zeal where religion is concerned, and regards this point as a very difficult one, wherefore they say he wishes to examine it minutely before reaching a decision. Antonio Agostino, who went to the Emperor as Nuncio, has now returned and has done what he could. His Holiness desired me to be present at all these Congregations, although it is a matter that concerns his Majesty, and that Martin de Guzmán should accompany me. I have done my best and will so continue. His Holiness's difficulty is, as he says, that Maximilian is a heretic and his father also suspect for not having controlled his son and for having sworn to certain articles containing heretical matter, which his Imperial Majesty (Charles) had never been willing to swear to. I think it will be extremely difficult to persuade the Pope to receive their obeisance, however great disadvantages might result. . . . .
Letters have been received here from Spain about the discovery of certain persons there who had become involved in this business of Luther. This caused his Holiness great pain, for he says that the Spanish province was the only one that had been free of this contagion. He speaks the truth. But I believe his Holiness knows all your Highness is doing in order to discover and punish these offences. I was extremely sorry to hear about them, especially because I understand that there are persons of quality among the guilty. But as God was pleased to permit some people to fall into this error, so He has shown great mercy in permitting it to be discovered. The matter is an important one, and it is necessary to act as your Highness is doing, with all possible rigour. I wish I were there myself to serve your Highness in this connexion. The heretics will be very glad to learn how far this matter had proceeded.
P.S. of 17 June: Since the above was written, Paolo della Tolfa, his Holiness's nephew, has arrived here, sent by Don Juan Manrique to kiss the Pope's foot and inform him of the doings of the (Turkish) fleet. Don Juan writes to me that the fleet arrived off Sorrento and effected a landing there. There was no defence, because it had been believed that the fleet would not raid those parts. Thus the Turks looted the place, and few of the people inside escaped. It is said that a great many inhabitants of Sorrento and Massa were taken away captives: according to some, over 6,000 souls were carried of, although Don Juan writes that they may have been about 3,000. Your Highness may imagine what it must have been like from the fact that over 300 nuns were carried off from Sorrento alone. There were 6 convents of nuns in that town, and many members of the nobility among them. Next, the fleet made for Procida where negotiations are going on for ransom, and where the fleet still was on the night of the 15th. The Turks were asking 60,000 ducats for their captives, and 40,000 were being offered. God must surely punish the man who is responsible for this evil, both in this world and the next!
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.883.
448. “A copy of the writing given to the Treasurer who went with the English troops under the Earl of Pembroke to serve his Majesty, instructing him to hand over to Francisco de Lejalde £306 4s. Id. and one farthing, sterling, which he still had in hand out of what he had received to pay the troops “(Abstract)
16 June Instruction to William Wightman, Treasurer of the English army, to hand over to Francisco de Lejalde the above mentioned sum, at the rate of 7d. to each Spanish real, and to obtain Francisco de Lejalde's receipt for the same.
Simancas, E.811.
449. “A copy of the letter written to the Duke of Savoy about the wool question “ (fn. 4)
London, 18 June I received your letter of 4 June, and his Majesty instructed me some days ago to attend to the matter about which Gaspar Casenbrot came here. The merchants would have preferred to go somewhere else, but now that the matter has been taken up with the Queen and Council, her Majesty has sent to inform me yesterday that they have agreed to go to Bruges with their wool, as such is the King's will. Thus it has not been necessary to present the letters brought by Casenbrot for the Queen.
Simancas, E.811.
450. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 19 June I have not yet replied to your letter of 6 June, as I was waiting for Don Alonso de Cordova to take it and he has not yet been able to go. I intend to send him very shortly, and will write at greater length by him. I am sending the present courier to ask you to inform the Queen that I am well and to give me news of her health. She has not written to me for some days past, and I cannot help being anxious.
I also wish to tell you that I have had to dispose of the German infantry I had in the fortresses of these countries, some of it for the relief of Thionville and some to join my army. I am therefore in need of infantry, and wish to make use of the regiment recruited by Wallerthum for service in England, leaving it at Gravelines, which as you know is being fortified. The enemy has a number of troops at Calais, which is a menace to Gravelines. Now, you tell me that the English regret having asked for this regiment, and I have heard from various sources that the French have not sent reinforcements to Scotland. It therefore seems to me. that Wallerthum's regiment is not needed in England, and I have sent word that it is not to take ship in Holland, as had been arranged, but is to proceed to Dunkirk and Gravelines. I am not writing to the Queen about this at present, for I desire that you, with your accustomed tact and prudence, should try to arrange it with the Council and any others whom you may think well to approach, so that they of their own accord should ask us to take the regiment off their hands or to have it disbanded. You will set about this as soon as possible. If you are unable to arrange it in this way, you will tell the Queen plainly what I want, and ask her on my behalf, as the regiment does not appear to be needed in England, and I do need it myself, that I may pay it and keep it up from now on. The pay the English have advanced is now exhausted, and none of it could be recovered if the regiment were to be disbanded. If the Queen thinks suitable, you may then go back to the Council, explaining to them my reasons for making this request, and inform me of their attitude. If they are obdurate, it would be easy to send the regiment over to England from Dunkirk, as it will be at Gravelines.
Some days ago, I received a request by the Queen's orders for an export licence for a quantity of arms from these States, and as you may have heard, I granted it. Since then, I have been asked for a further licence for 8,000 corslets, 8,000 harquebuses and an equal number of pikes. Although the request was made in the Queen's name, no letter from her was presented. I cannot refuse what she asks. However, I have heard that the request was not made with her knowledge and consent, but by some private individuals who intend to make money by selling these arms. I therefore charge you to ascertain from the Queen whether the arms are needed, and in what quantity, and to whom the licence is to be given, in order that there may be no fraud. Pending your reply, I will hold the licence back.
Signed: Yo el Rey; counter-signed: Gonzalo Pérez. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
451. Count Feria to Philip
London, 23 June Your Majesty's letter of 19 June reached me on the 22 by Francisco; and it was longed for, because three weeks had passed without bringing any news of your Majesty. Thank God, you have been well! The Queen is better than she has been recently. She had suffered from some of her customary ailments.
As soon as Francisco arrived, I began to negotiate with some members of the Council about the Germans, to see whether the matter could be arranged as your Majesty instructed me. I found them in a different mood from that they had been in a month ago. Since the Admiral came back, there has been much emphasis on Scotland and Ireland. Besides, as they have disbursed money for the Aufgeld and the first month's pay, and have vessels ready to carry the troops to England, they now dislike giving them up. But they finally agreed to do so, on the terms they are writing to your Majesty. They all had to meet, together with the Cardinal, and I had to address them, although I tried to get out of it. I did not tell them definitively that your Majesty was taking the regiment over, but only that I thought you would do so, as it seemed better that you should be able to use them. I did not wish to tell them how badly your Majesty needed them, because if one asks the slightest thing of them, they think your Majesty is unable to get along without them. They are now begging you to tell them as quickly as possible whether you wish to take on the Germans, and to issue an export licence for the weapons, in order that they may have time to provide for the defence of the Scottish frontier with troops recruited in this country. The Bishop of Ely and the Master of the Rolls, Cordell, were being sent towards Scotland to inspect the frontier and devise means for defending Berwick. Just the mission for a bishop and a lawyer. They stayed over till to-day because of the German troops question, and it was necessary to revise their instructions accordingly.
The licence to export arms from the Low Countries which your Majesty says has recently been applied for without presenting a letter from the Queen or Council, was asked for by the Marquess Treasurer, who wrote about it to Gresham after approval by the Council. They now beg your Majesty to grant the licence. They need the arms for the troops who are to go to the Scottish frontier instead of the Germans and those who are to stay here to guard the Queen's person. They say they need the quantities asked for: 8,000 corslets, 8,000 harquebuses and 8,000 pikes, and although I have tried to get them to reduce the quantities they insist on them.
The Admiral says your Majesty told him to wait here for the orders you were to send him about the fleet, which he had expected to receive by the middle of this month. The Queen thinks he had better go on waiting here. I am much against this, and would like to see him go away. I have insisted upon this, and believe he will join the fleet in two or three days. He can await your Majesty's instructions there. Although they say everything is now in order, it will certainly be more so if he is present. I wish your Majesty had never sent for him to Brussels. So far, his journey there has done no good, and in some ways has done harm.
The Ambassadors of the Hanse are dissatisfied because they are kept waiting for their reply. Paget is the Councillor who is chiefly dealing with this question, and I suspect he has hinted to them that they are being held up on account of your Majesty. I should be sorry for this. I believe Francisco brought them a reply to-day. When I spoke to the Council, my first concern was to disculpate your Majesty for not having answered on this point, on the ground that you were extremely busy with important affairs.
After we had spoken about the Germans and other matters, the Cardinal and Councillors mentioned their desire to see you break with Scotland, and even reproached the Admiral for not having taken it up with your Majesty and told you how much feeling there is about it in this country. They lament every day about the harm they are suffering because of the failure to break off relations with Scotland. I believe they will write to your Majesty again on the subject; and they have asked me to do so.
800 sappers out of the 1,000 your Majesty ordered to have recruited in this country should be in Dunkirk by now. The first left here on the 14 inst., and they had been going over up to the 21st. I am sure the remaining 200 will be here within 5 or 6 days. I have written to the Captain of Dunkirk to supply them with quarters and let M. de Glajon know as soon as they are there. I have also written to the Bishop of Arras. Randolph, who is taking them, is leaving within 3 or 4 days, unless your Majesty sends other instructions, or the Queen does. Eraso has been informed of what is being done with them. I did not think fit to use the letters patent, but gave them to the captains. Some money was advanced to the sappers, as well as their uniforms. M. de Glajon and your Majesty's officers will look after them there and see to it that they are paid. They are going off contented.
I went to visit the Lady Elizabeth, as your Majesty instructed me to do. She was very much pleased; and I was also, for reasons I will tell your Majesty when I arrive over there.
I beg your Majesty to have this courier sent back at once, for the Council has asked me to do this, and I think they are justified in making the request.
It has been settled with the merchants here that they shall ship their wool to Bruges, as your Majesty will learn by the Council's letter. Since then, a gentleman arrived here bringing letters from the Duke of Savoy for the Queen, the Cardinal and some others, on a mission to negotiate this matter on behalf of Bruges. Although the business was settled, it was impossible to prevent him from presenting his letters. I told him that the English wanted to go to other towns in the Low Countries, but that your Majesty had desired them to go to Bruges. He understood the favour your Majesty had shown that town.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
452. Philip to the Duke of Savoy (Abstract)
Brussels, 24 June Grief over the loss of Thionville, which the King knows the Duke shares. Explains movements of troops. . . . .
Colonel Wallerthum, who was to have gone to England, has been ordered to hasten to Gravelines.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1492.
453. Philip to the person in charge of the 2000 (sic) English sappers, instructing him to take them to Gravelines
Brussels, 26 June To the Colonel or whomsoever is in charge of the English sappers coming to serve in this campaign: As these sappers are urgently needed to work on the fortifications of Gravelines, I charge you, wherever you may receive this letter, not to proceed but to turn about and make for Gravelines with your men, where you are to help with the fortifications and do whatever else the Governor of that district may order you. You are to remain there until I or the Duke of Savoy send you other instructions. . . . . . . .
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.517.
454. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 29 June You will learn of the loss of Thionville from a report (missing) that is being sent to you with this letter, as also of the instructions we have issued here to meet the situation, and when we expect to have our army ready.
P.S. in Philip's hand: d'Assonleville has arrived here and is setting out shortly. The 800 sappers had already reached Dunkirk. I received a letter yesterday saying that Don Alonso de Córdova would shortly be arriving in London. As soon as he is there, you may come hither.
Signed: Yo el Rey. Spanish.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
455. The Earl of Bedford to Don Diego de Acevedo
Tavistock June I was extremely sorry to hear of the trouble you had had, having set out on two occasions, only to turn back because of bad weather and fear of the enemy; but I thank God that after all this you are in safety. I immediately sent your letter to the Lord Admiral by the post to Torbay, where he must be now as he set sail three days ago.
I can again assure you of the truth of the news about the loss of Thionville and that the French raided up to Gravelines and Dunkirk, which places they sacked except for the fortress of Gravelines. But when they were making off with the loot, they were attacked on land by Count Egmont with the help of some of our ships, and perhaps as many as 10,000 of them were killed, several gentlemen whose names figure on the enclosed list being taken prisoners. Twenty pieces of artillery were also captured. On the Scottish border, our forces routed 400 enemy horse. It is said that Calais has a weak garrison consisting of not more than 800 soldiers, wherefore it is believed that our King will undertake something in that direction.
Enclosed list:
M. de Villebon.
M. de Thermes, Governor of Calais.
M. de Saussat.
M. de Senarpont, Governor of Boulogne.
M. de Morvillers, Governor of Abbeville.
Six other nobles and captains.
Holograph. Signed: F. Bedford. Italian.
Simancas, E.811.


  • 1. The Marquess of Winchester.
  • 2. This note was addressed to the Bishop of Arras, probably by Count Feria.
  • 3. Probably from Count Feria.
  • 4. Probably from Count Feria.