Spain: May 1544, 6-10

Pages 135-151

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 7, 1544. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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May 1544, 6–10

6 May. 85. The Earl of Hertford to King Henry.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Please it Your Highness to understand that upon the despatch of our last letter (fn. 1) to Your Majesty, making mention of our landing besides Legh (Leith), having forthwith put Your Majesty's army in order of battle, we marched towards Legh (Leith) in three wards, whereof the Lord Admiral (Sir John Russel), had the forward, and the earl of Shrewsbury (Talbot) the rearward, and so marching towards Legh (Leith) intending to recover the town, because, being masters thereof, we might bring into the haven such hoys and crayers (crafters?) as were laden with our great pieces of artillery, (fn. 2) and the drafthorses with their draft and carriages for the better landing of the same, with such victuals as should be needful for our army, having, indeed, no other place to land them on upon this shore. Albeit we wrote unto Your Majesty, in our said last letter, that at our landing we saw no great appearance of any resistance (indeed, we saw none, neither had [we] any manner of impediment at our landing, so that we were set all on land out of our ships boats and cables, with a few light pieces of ordnance for the field, in less than three hours), yet after we had marched a mile, carrying our said light pieces of ordnance, drawn with us by force and strength of men, the forward discovered a good number of Scots, both on horse and foot, to the number, as we think, of six thousand, laying in order of battle, betwixt Leght and Edinburgh, (fn. 3) along upon a brook, whereupon they had laid their ordnance in two straits and passages, which we must needs pass to come to this town, or else have been driven to have gone six or seven miles about; which passage they (the Scots) had furnished with men and ordnance, and being there the governor (earl of Arran), and cardinal (David Beton), the earl of Murray, the lord Seton, and sundry other lords of Lothian, they seemed utterly determined to keep that passage, showing a great face and countenance of the same. Nevertheless, we marched towards them with good speed, and shot of the ordnance out of the forward; (fn. 4) the Scots proudly again shot at us, both out of the field and also out of the town of Lythe (Leith), with a great brag, as though they would have winned with us; but, in fine, we approached them so fast, and pressed them with our shot, as well of the hackbutiers (fn. 5) as [of the] archers, that we beat them from the said brook after this sort—that is to say, the forward marched first to the first passage towards Edinburgh, where the greatest number of the Scots lay, and having put them to flight and scaled (scared?) them from their ordnance (ordinance?), turned towards the other passage besides Legh (Leith), because the Scots shot their ordnance from thence very hotly upon your men. And yet, when the said Scots perceived the forward turn towards them [no sooner did they see that], than they all left that passage with their ordnance; and the hackbutiers, being in hot chase of the Scots, which fled from the further passage towards Edinburgh, had no regard to the forward when the same turned to the other passage (fn. 6) towards Leith, as aforesaid, but followed the first chase; whereupon, the battle being at hand, [we] made towards the said hackbutiers, and sent out a good number of archers to back them, and retired the said hackbutiers without losing of any man, and brought away the Scots' ordnance, and returned all without hurt; and so [in] we won both the passages, assuring Your Majesty that for the space of half-an-hour, or thereabout, it was right sharply handled on both parties, and on our side very honestly handled and boldly maintained by sundry here, (fn. 7) as I, the earl of Hertford, shall at more leisure declare unto Your Highness. And among the rest Peter Mecotas, (fn. 8) with his company of hackbutiers, did Your Highness right honest service; and also the forward, in the meantime, recovered by force into the town of Leith, (fn. 9) which was stoutly defended by the Scots, and the streets of the entry into the town fortified with their ordnance, such as it is, besides that they had cast ditches (fn. 10) almost round about to defend our entry; but our men gave the onset so boldly, that a little before night we had both the town and their ordnance, such as it is, and our enemies fled apace out of the town, whereof sundry were slain; and God be thanked that but two or three of our men were slain, and two hurt with shot of ordnance.
Thus have we now the possession of this town, where we be encamped; and yesterday and this day, having brought the ships laden with ordnance and draft-horses into the haven as the tide would serve, we have done, and do, as much as is possible to land the said ordnance and horses, which has been a great business, and is now at a good point, so that, with the leave of God, we intend to-morrow by daylight to march to Edinburgh for [the] execution of such charge as it has pleased Your Majesty to commend unto me, the said earl; and albeit we have been suffered to lie quietly enough in this town these two nights without any alarms or business, save that some light horsemen of the Scots have pricked aloft about the town to view our doings, whereof hackbutiers have taken taken up some of them, and also of their horses, with their hackbuts, and likewise brought some of them hither prisoners, yet we understand that at Edinburgh they be determined to defend the town and the castle with all their power; but, with God's grace, their defence shall little avail them. The Governor and Cardinal were in the field with the earl of Morrey (Murray) and sundry lords of Lothian, as is before said, whereof the lord of Brunestoune was one. (fn. 11) But after they had shewn us the said brag, and were put to flight in [the] manner above-mentioned, they tarried not in the town of Edinburgh, but fled forthwith to Lithes, as we be informed; (fn. 12) and if we had had any horsemen, it had been possible, and like enough, that perchance the Cardinal himself and the Governor, or some of them, might have come short to Edinburgh. We trust to very soon hear of our horsemen, and when they come we shall the better [be] able to do Your Highness' service, and in the meantime we shall not be idle.
The said town of Lithe (Leith) was found to be of good substance, at the least of ten thousand pounds, as we suppose, whereof there was great store of grain of all kinds, finding also within the haven two fair ships of the late Scotch King's called the “Salamander “ and the “Unicorn,” for the which I, the Lord Admiral, have taken such order that by the sufferance of Your Majesty the one shall arrive to Your Majesty with the rest of your Navy.
Furthermore on Sunday night, immediately upon our entry into the town of Leith, the provost of Edinburgh and other burgesses of the same sent a herald to me—the said earl—with desire of assurance to come and speak with me, which I granted unto them; and yesterday in the morning they came unto me, requiring to know my intent towards their town, offering that, if I would grant them assurances, and so long as Your Highness would support them against the power and authority of the realm of Scotland—whereof they were subjects, and were not able of themselves to stand and resist the same—they would be content to stand and adhere finally to Your Majesty, as much as in them is, for to have the late treaties accomplished. Whereunto I answered and remembering them of the great untruth used towards Your Majesty by the realm [of Scotland] with their most worsiest (sic) proceedings with Your Highness from the beginning, which I extended and dilated as my poor wit would serve me, not forgetting thereunto to express unto them Your Majesty's great clemency and goodness ministered to them, and Your Highness's godly intent to have brought these two realms to a perpetual, wealthy, amity and quietness. I told them that Your Majesty being a prince of honour, power, and such magnanimity and courage as could not bear these untruths and disloyal behaviour used towards Your Majesty, had therefore sent me hither to extend your sword and violence in the revenge of their falsehoods to such as would make resistance against your force and power now arrived (arrayed?) here, and therefore I told them plainly that [it was] my intent to have their town and castle on Your Majesty's behalf, and dispose [of] as I thought good. The Provost replied that was an extremity they could in nowise agree to, and therefore that, such being the case, they would return to their town and defend themselves as well as they could; but if I would declare unto them what kindness they should receive at my hands if they would set open the gates of their town, and receive them gently into the same, they would then deliberate together, and show me what they could do in that behalf. I answered that I came not hither to put conditions or treat with them; but if they would deliver me their town to be disposed [of] as I thought good, I would receive it and use it accordingly; but in case they made any resistance or defence, they might be sure that I would in that case so persecute them as the law of armies here requires, and make them an example to the World. Other answers they could have none of me. So that in fine they desired respite to make an answer, whether upon their devise and consultation with the rest of the town [people] it should seem best unto them to deliver the same in [the] form abovesaid, which, considering our ordnance was not yet landed, and that we could not be in readiness to march to Edinburgh before to-morrow, I was content to grant them till yesterday evening at 7 of the clock, at which hour they came not again themselves, but sent their herald unto me with their resolution that unless I would capitulate with them what kindness should be shown unto them in case they would receive me into their town, they could not deliver the same to be disposed [of] at my will; but [were] and would rather be enforced to defend themselves, and would do so to the utmost of their power. This I accepted as their final answer and resolution in that matter, intending to summon the town to-morrow and assure them that in case of their abiding the shot of the cannon or making any resistance whereby any damage or grief may ensue to any one of this army, I would not fail to persecute them with fire and sword without mercy, as partly I have declared to the said herald to be signified to them. In a like manner on Sunday night, after our entry into this town [of Leith], whence we had set the watch upon the same, came the lord of Bruneston (fn. 13) to the town's end, intending, as he says, either to have been taken prisoner or by some means to have got assurance to come into the town to speak to me, the said earl, but some[one] of the watch having spied him, shot an arrow at him and hurt him in the thigh, so that he was fain to return for fear of his life. Nevertheless, yesterday he came again by daylight, and sent to me for assurance to come to my presence, and in discourse with him of the state of the realm [of Scotland]. He told me that there were a great number of gentlemen here, in Lowdyan (Lothian) which, if they saw that Your Majesty was determined to have a footing and entry, and would make any abode of Your force here for their relief and succour, would come in to serve Your Highness and stand against all such as would impeach Your Majesty's good purpose; whereas if extremity be ministered he (lord Bruneston said) it shall be a means to lose the hearts of all the people of this realm, and to put them in utter desperation of Your Majesty's favour and clemency, which by gentleness and kind handling, without rigour to be used in blood shedding or spoiling of their goods, might very easily be won and recovered, especially if it might appear unto them that Your Majesty would plant here [so] as to fortify, this town being now in Your Highness' hands, and so proceed forthwith to the conquest of the town and castle of Edinburgh, and then establish a garrison there, which [being] done, Your Majesty (he said) may be sure of all on this side of the Frith, and also very shortly come to the rest of the whole realm.
This tale Lord Bruneston told unto us all severally, which we have thought good to signify unto Your Majesty, the more so, because now, upon our arrival here, we see some likelihood that if Your Majesty has a good foot[ing] here, a great part of the realm would soon fall into Your Highness' devotion, and also now upon the view of the situation of this town it is evident that the same in time might be fortified and kept against the power of all enemies, and by the same both Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland on this side of Force (the Forth) be subject to Your Highness' will and pleasure; so that had Your Majesty's former determination to fortify this town continued, we think it would not but have served to great purpose, which we can no less do than advertise for the discharge of our duties, although with God's leave I, the said earl, do intend to proceed to the accomplishment of Your Majesty's last resolution with as much diligence and no less good will than to my duty appertains, supposing that before we shall be able to recover the town and castle of Edinburgh and put the same to sack, fire and sword, burn this town, which is well sacked already with all such villages as be here, it will be yet eight days or we cannot well depart from hence, and on our return home by land we shall not fail, God willing, to annoy the enemies as much as we can.
Finally, within our arrival here Richard Broke, the master of the galley “Subtellis,” (fn. 14) has taken a block-house situated on an island within the river called Hirschegaruie (Inchegarvie), which after a little assault made thereunto and some shots out of his galley was rendered unto him, and because Your Majesty had determined that we shall not abide here upon fortification of this town, order is taken that the said blockhouse shall forthwith be rased, which, had Your Highness' first determination to fortify here continued, would have been worth the keeping. Thus Almighty God preserve Your Majesty in your royal state most felicitously to endure. At Legh (Leith), on Tuesday the vi of May, at night.
Indorsed: “A copie of therle of Hertford's letter to the King's Majestie.”
English. Contemporary copy. 5 pp.
8 May. 86. The Admiral (Sir John Russel) to Secretary Paget.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Mr. Secretarye,”—I have no news to write [to] you but of the stout cardinal, who, like a valiant captain, showed himself on the field with such power as he could make against the King's Majesty army, setting a great face, as though he would have bidden the battle, and had chosen himself a strong ground, having between us and him a river, which had a narrow passage. He had bestowed his two slings and three serpentines of iron, and did back the same himself with all his band, which was estimated among themselves to the number of five or six thousand fighting men, (fn. 15) besides the multitude of rascals and “paysants “ wherewith the country was furnished; and when he saw the vanguard march down towards him, and that he might perceive they had [no] great devotion to wait the showers to come, His Holiness, (fn. 16) like a valiant champion, gave his horse the spurs and turned his back, and was fain to leave his ordnance behind. Yet he tarried till we came within shooting distance of our hacks. (fn. 17) He was appareled, as it has been reported since to my lord Lieutenant and [to] me in a frock of yellow velvet, cut and pulled out with white tinselled sarcenet. (fn. 18)
And in the meantime that we were in no other mind but that we should have had some business with him, there was at another passage at the town of Lieth (sic) certain pieces of ordnance, which did us some displeasure; but after we were dispatched of that place, the vanguard marched through to the other passage, the which of force the army must pass before they would come to the town of Lieth, and before we could come to that passage they slew two or three of our men, and in conclusion the Scots were fain to leave their ordnance. At such place I stayed the whole vanguard till the battle (fn. 19) was come in.
If I should write to you the good order of array that our men kept that day, and being the first day of our marching and newly come from the sea, perchance you would hardly believe it, but I assure you it was passingly (sic) good.
Thus I take my leave of you for the time, requiring you to show the King's Majesty that I have rigged and equipped for His Highness the “Salamander” and the “Unicorn,” which be two princely ships for their burden as ever I saw. This last I esteem to be as much as the “Mynyon “ (Minion), and the “Salamander” I judge to be as much as the “Great Galley” or within very little, and fully as long. I have loaded their bellies full of great cannon shots of iron.
The soldiers and sailors (mariners) have made their hands [full] here. I esteem the pillage of the town [at] no less than ten thousand pounds among them. The town standing to be very strong, and no hill nigh unto it to hurt it, I do not perceive but if it were His Majesty's pleasure all the country would be glad to be His Majesty's subjects, and stands in no less fear at the present moment than I think will happen unto them.
You may perceive by this despatch to the King's Majesty the rest of our proceedings, and what we are determined to do. This, after my hearty commendations to yourself, I pray you commend me to my lord Wriothesley, and to all my lords and friends at your discretion.—Scribbled at Lieth the 8th of May [1544].
Indorsed: “Copye of my Lorde Admyrall's letter to Master Secretary Paget.”
English. Contemporary. 2 pp.
8 May. 87. The Queen of Hungary to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—After your letter of the 22nd ult., (fn. 20) of which a copy was forwarded to the Emperor, Our brother, We received one from His Imperial Majesty, dated the 29th of April, telling Us that in his opinion and in order to please the king of England in the matter, the declaration against the Scots ought to be made without delay, at the same time bidding Us to have it drawn out Accordingly, and in compliance with the Emperor's wishes and commands, We have caused the aforesaid declaration, of which a copy is inclosed, to be made and published. We think that the king of England will be perfectly satisfied with it, since the Scots are therein fully declared to be the Emperor's enemies. (fn. 21) Although the words of Our declaration are not exactly the same as those of the minute that was put into your hands there [in London], yet no harm can come out of this, since the few words added are expressly meant for the justification of the said declaration as far as the Emperor is concerned, and also by way of excuse for Our not having sent a challenge before-hand, as it was proper and honest to have done, notwithstanding that the declaration, as you will see, is founded on the doings and hostilities committed by the Scots in the dominions and countries belonging to His Imperial Majesty, and especially in those countries under Our government, in contravention of, and direct opposition to, the old treaties. In order to save time and no longer delay the declaration, We have considered that it was better not to send the challenge to the Scots; it will be for you to inquire and ascertain what the English think of the document as it is worded.
As to the King's declaration against the duke of Holstein, the Emperor has not yet lost all hope of coming to terms with him, and, therefore, as long as the Danish deputies, whom the Duke has sent to Spire, remain there and do not go back to Denmark, there is no necessity for urging the King to make his declaration against him.
We have sent word to the English ambassador residing at this Our court, that some days ago a French herald presented himself at the gates of Cambray, and asked for permission to pass on and deliver a letter he had for Us, which permission the captain (governor) of that city very properly refused, saying that if he (the herald) had any letters he would undertake to have them delivered to Us, and that in the meantime he might remain at Chastelles de Gouy until an answer, if any, was returned. The letter was from the Admiral of France to Us; a copy of it is inclosed, but as the affair concerns as much the king of England and his subjects as it does those of the Emperor, We would not answer or take any steps about it before consulting the King, and to ask for and obtain his advice and counsel about it. The object of the letter, as you will see, is exclusively the liberty of fishing. You must, therefore, ask the privy councillors whether it would be convenient to give mutual securities for the subjects of France and those of the Emperor, including of course those of the king of England, to carry on fishing freely and with out molestation. The securities should also comprise the Scots, for otherwise it would be of no use whatever, especially if that given by France cannot be relied upon entirely.
We have also informed the Emperor of the contents of the Admiral's letter to Us in order to know what his wishes in this matter are, and how to reply to the French overtures in the manner most suitable to the interests of both the Majesties, Imperial and Royal. True it is that in the year 1542 the admiral of France (fn. 22) made also overtures to that effect, proposing that the fishermen of the nations then at war should pay a quota of money (deniers), but at his overtures were made ab a time when the Emperor's subjects in these Low Countries had ended theirs, after having been obliged to arm themselves for the defence of their fishing crafts and crews, the securities demanded by the French were not granted; now the state of affairs is different and the fishermen on both sides of the Channel, whether Frenchmen, English or Flemish, being equally in a position to profit by an arrangement of that sort, you shall try to obtain the King's resolution on that point, and let Us know of it, at the same time assuring the King and his ministers that in this, as well as in other matters, We shall never take a determination without consulting him first and obtaining his consent.
We have ordered the arrest and imprisonment of a French spy (traitre) named La Chapelle, who went about the country inquiring for news to transmit to France. He has accused another spy, an Italian named, Octavian Bos, residing at Antwerp, who, he (La Chappelle) says, has great intelligences in France, and has now gone over to England for the purpose of reporting news of that country, and secretly sending them to La Chapelle for him to forward to France. We have written to the Deputy of Calais, who has replied through the English ambassador here that previously to the receipt of Our letter the said Octavian had taken his departure for England. The Deputy, however, had considered it his duty to inform the English ministers of the fact, in order that the said Octavian might be arrested and examined.
As soon as you (Chapuys) hear of Octavian's arrest you shall take care that he be questioned respecting his accomplices, if he had any others besides La Chapelle when he was last in France, and whether since October of last year he has or has not been at St. Jean de Nemours, near Fontaine le Bleau (Fontainebleau), and given certain letters to Monsr. de Vendôme; for La Chapelle—with whom Octavian lived in great familiarity, occupying the same lodgings at the Golden Goat (La Chievre d'Or) of Mechlin in Flanders—declares to have been present when Octavian delivered certain letters to the said Monsr. de Vendôme, who, he says, had since gone to England to gather information and report to France. I request you to have him well interrogated, in order to ascertain whether he has accomplices here in this country.
Count du Rœulx writes to Us that the Sieur de St. Martin, of whom you wrote to the Emperor on the 8th of April, was in the English camp during the last incursion into the Boullonois made by him (the Count), in concert and union with our allies—which incursion, by the way, turned out very successful in wasting the enemy's land and spoiling it. Having inquired of the English commander who St. Martin was, the Count was told that he was king Francis' servant, and was doing the King service. This the Count could not believe, inasmuch as the said St. Martin (fn. 23) is well received by the Sieur de Biez, who (the Count adds in his letter, ignoring, perhaps, the Frenchman's practices [in Calais]), knew very well that St. Martin had frequently visited the English camp. That made the Count suspect that some foul trick was being played, and he accordingly wrote to Us. If the opportunity offers, you had better speak to the privy councillors confidentially about it.
French. Original draft. 5 pp.
n. d. 87A. The Emperor's Declaration against Scotland.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “By the Emperor, etc.” (fn. 24) —Whereas from the most remote ages down to the present time the subjects of the kingdom of Scotland have been in the habit of resorting to, and frequently residing in these Our Low Countries for the purposes of trade, and have been well and honestly received, treated and favoured in conformity with the treaties of alliances made between Us and Our noble predecessors on the one side, and the late kings of Scotland on the other; and whereas in consequence of those mutual treaties and engagements, the people of Scotland have been friendly treated, and have reciprocally communicated and traded with Our subjects; in a like manner have those among Our subjects, who wished to frequent Scotland for the purposes of trade, been well received and treated in that country, so that in point of fact the relations between the Scots and the people of the Low Countries, Our subjects, have always been most amicable. Yet, subjects of the kingdom of Scotland have, since the death of their late king, gone so far as to make confederacy and alliance with the French (?) allies of the Turk, and, therefore, enemies of God and Ours, whilst the French themselves have made war upon the most high, most powerful prince Henry, king of England, France, and Ireland, Our good brother, cousin, perpetual ally and friend; and have also, under the excuse of resorting to, and frequenting these Low Countries of Ours for the purpose of trade, invaded by sea, robbed, and taken prisoners the subjects of the aforesaid King, bringing them in irons into Our ports and bars, thus contravening not only the treaties existing between Us and Scotland, but acting directly against Our perpetual alliance and close friendship with the aforesaid king of England, his kingdoms, countries, and subjects, which We cannot tolerate, permit, or in any way allow, but are bound, on the contrary, to remedy the evil of it.
For the above cause, and other good and urgent reasons prompting Us, We ordain and command you,—N—, under pain of Our indignation to have the above published through all Our country and county of N., that all subjects of the kingdom of Scotland shall not in future visit, haunt, frequent, or reside in our Low Countries, under pain of being held and reputed as enemies, and, as such, being made prisoners and their vessels and merchandise and property seized and considered a legitimate prize. Also, that none of Our subjects dare haunt or frequent the said kingdom of Scotland, or send help, assistance, or favour to the Scots, under pain of being punished and chastised as peace breakers, ordering all Our officers, and those among Our vassals, etc.
Headed: “ A nra. trés n~ra, chere et feal, etc.” (fn. 25)
French. Original draft. l¼ pp.
—May. 88. Abstract of Letters from England with News of Scotland.
Wien, Imp. Arch. The earl of Hertford, King's lieutenant and commander-in-chief of the English army, accompanied by the Admiral (Sir John Russel), by the earl of Shrewsbury, of the name of Talbot, lord Cobham, lord Clington (Clinton), lord Sturton, lord William Howard, lord Dacres, lord Scroupe, lord Conyers, (fn. 26) and a large number of lords and gentlemen, entered Scotland by sea with a fleet consisting of 210 sail and provisions for sixty days. By land, with orders to join the abovementioned Lord Evre (Evers) with 4,000 horse, (fn. 27) besides 3,000 more under Lord Sturton, who entered also by another side of the Borders to call off the attention of the enemy in that quarter. Of the cavalry I have no news yet; but the King's lieutenant, lord Hertford, with the royal fleet, anchored in sight of Lith (Leith), a town and seaport among the best of Scotland, situated a short league from Edinburgh, which is the capital of the kingdom, just as London is the capital town of England, and Paris of Fiance. The landing, which took three hours, was effected without opposition, and the whole of the force, with a few pieces of light field artillery, were sent to attack and take possession of the said town and port of Lith (Leith), for otherwise it would have been impossible to land the heavy ordnance and the horses to drag it along. In advancing upon the town the men themselves had to drag the light pieces.
At about one league from the sea a body of armed Scots amounting to 6,000 men, without including in that number the “paysants,” among whom were the Governor (Arran), the Cardinal (Beton), the earl of Murray, lord Seton and other great lords, was seen encamped and fortified on two narrow passes (destroitz), which our army had necessarily to go through, the one leading to Leith, the other to Edinburgh; at one and the other of these two passes the Scots had some pieces of ordnance. Lord Hertford, after dividing his army into three parts and giving the command of the vanguard to the Admiral and rearguard to lord Shrewsbury, himself with the main body advanced against the Scots, ordering the Admiral to attack the pass leading to Edinburgh, which happened to be guarded by the above-mentioned Scotch lords with the greater force. The artillery played on both sides, and our hackbutiers (arquebutiers) and archers took such aim that at last the Scots had to abandon their position and take to flight, leaving their artillery behind. Whilst our hackbutiers were in pursuit of the enemy, the vanguard, finding that the pass to Edinburgh was free, and that the Scots had fled, turned round and went to the other pass, where the Scots made a stouter defence, with their artillery and that of Leith closely playing on us for some time, though in the end they did like the others—they abandoned their position and fled. Meanwhile the main body of the English army, under the King's lieutenant, perceiving that the hackbutiers were not aware of the vanguard having attacked the other pass, continued still in pursuit of the enemy, followed them closely and brought them back without loss. The two passes being thus gained, the army proceeded towards the town, and notwithstanding the artillery shots from the walls and the defence that was made, the courage [of the Scots] at last failed, and Leith was taken late in the evening of the third of May. Our loss was only three men killed and a few wounded, whilst the enemy's was considerable; the rest escaped, for we had no cavalry and night was coming on. The town, moreover, was sacked and given up to the soldiery (aux compagnons), who made a very handsome booty to the estimated value of 10,000l. sterling, or 30,000 “carolins.” In the harbour two fine warships, named “La Salamendre'' and “La Licorne,” which belonged once to king James, were found. This happened on Sunday, the 4th of May. Had our people had any cavalry, most probably the Governor and the Cardinal would have fallen into our hands. The latter was dressed in yellow velvet. (fn. 28)
On Monday and Tuesday the artillery and the horses were landed from the ships. Meanwhile, the Governor (sic) of Edinburgh, after applying for a safe-conduct, which was granted to him, came to the king's lieutenant and offered to surrender under certain conditions, which were not accepted, lord Hertford telling them that the town was to surrender at discretion. About the same time a Scotch nobleman, named lord Breston, approached Leith for a similar purpose; that is to say to ask for a safe-conduct to parley, or to have himself taken prisoner. However that may be, no sooner had he dismounted than one of the sentries wounded him in the thigh with an arrow. He went away, but returned next day under safe-conduct, making to lord Hertford very large offers in the name of the grand masters (grand maistres) of Scotland, which offers were also refused. During this time the captain of the [Royal] galley went to attack a small fort or block-house (blockehuis) on an island in the river named Inchegarnoy. It was taken by storm, demolished and rased to the ground.
The above is the abstract of two letters, one from lord Hertford, the King's lieutenant, dated the 6th of May, the other from the Admiral, of the 8th. Other letters came from Scotland on the 14th, though not from the abovesaid generals, announcing that Our people have taken possession of the good city of Edinburgh, and set fire to it, burned and rased it to the ground, as they had formerly done at Leith. The confirmation of this news is expected from hour to hour, and it is hoped that, with God's help, when the afore-mentioned cavalry arrives, some good “exploit” shall be made.
Indorsed: “Extraicts de lettres d'Angleterre (fn. 29) (du 6, 8, et 14 Mai) sur les nouvelles d'Ecosse pour asjouter à la lettre de la Reine de Hongrie à Chapuys du 8 Mai.”
French. Copy. 3 pp.
n. d. 89. News from Scotland.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Relying on the proposals of the inhabitants of Esdenbourch (Edinburgh) who had many a time gone to the English camp offering to surrender and deliver up the keys of their city, the earl of Hertford, though he had less artillery than he ought to have had, advanced and presented himself before the gates. These, however, notwithstanding the offers of the inhabitants, were found closed, and some of his men, who had little experience of warfare, having approached one of them, the artillery of the castle fired upon them, and caused some damage. Meanwhile, the Earl's artillery having battered down one of the gates, (fn. 30) the English penetrated into the city, after slaying two hundred Scots to whom the defence had been entrusted. After which the English, inexperienced as they are in attacks of that sort, fell into disorder, and the confusion was such that they wounded and slew each other without knowing it. Thus milord Guillaulme, the brother of the duke of Norfolk, had his cheek pierced by an arrow. (fn. 31) Indeed, such was the disorder and confusion on the occasion, and the strong resistance from the castle, that the assailants were obliged to retreat. During the fight the Cardinal (Betoun) and the Governor abandoned the city, and as the cavalry which the Earl expected from England did not arrive in camp until the afternoon of that day, they could not be pursued, and so escaped.
Next day the English renewed the assault, and took possession of the town; but some foreign soldiers (soudards), not satisfied with that, and bravadoing (faisant les braves), thought that they could, with the help of the English troops, attack and carry the castle; but they were repulsed, and the artillery played upon them.
After sacking the city, and slaying two hundred Scots who composed its garrison, it was proposed to lay siege to the castle; but surrounded as it is by rocks and sands, it was considered almost impossible to open trenches there. When the English artillery approached, that of the castle succeeded in dismounting one of the principal English guns. Not having the means at hand to render the gun serviceable or carry it away, the Earl ordered the piece to be loaded up to the muzzle that it might burst, as it did. Such is the account which the earl of Hertford himself has sent home, adding that he had sent his cavalry to sack and burn the towns and villages near Edinburgh for five or six leagues around. The English have thus made a very rich spoil, without having lost in all the encounters and assaults more than seventy or eighty men.
The King has since received news from Scotland that the Cardinal and the Governor (earl of Arran), finding themselves in such perplexity, and not knowing how to improve their cause, had determined to set at liberty count Dhouglas (Douglas), earl of Angus (Archibald), and other state prisoners, and gain them over to assist against the common danger and peril of their situation. They had also summoned the earl of Lynnox to return, but he answered that he was ready to come back and do his duty towards his native country, provided the government were in other hands than those of Arran, under whom he would never serve.
The earl of Hertford, after having captured the two best and largest ships of the Scotch navy, one called “La Salamandre,” the other “La Lycorne,” had taken and demolished a castle, situated on an island formed by the river beside a town called Lyft (sic), the richest and most commercial place in all Scotland. He had also sacked and burnt two (lieux) belonging to the said Cardinal, and skirting the coast so as to obtain, in case of need, the assistance of the English fleet, he is now returning home. After marching with the whole of his force the distance of 16 miles along the coast, the Earl intends to dismiss the fleet, and take the road towards a castle called Whome (Hume), 12 miles from the Northern frontier of Scotland, and take, fortify, and hold it, so as to molest and annoy the Scots from thence, and, if necessary, make it the central position for a large army.
I have omitted to say that on the landing of the English on the coast the Cardinal said the Governor had gone out of Edinburgh with a good number of men, in order to guard some difficult pass, but on the approach of the English the Scots retreated and fled, leaving behind them all their artillery and heavy baggage; and the same was done by other lords (seigneurs) who had charge to defend the said pass. And it is, moreover, asserted that the Cardinal was dressed in a cassock (casaque) of yellow velvet, checkered and lined with white silk taffeta.
Indorsed: “Billet des nouvelles et occurrences en Escosse envoye à l'Empereur par son ambassadeur en Angleterre.”
French. Copy of the time, 2 pp.
10 May. 90. King Henry to Queen Mart.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Fasc. Varia, No. 4. Takes the opportunity of Paget being now sent to the Emperor's Court. Has given him order to visit the queen [regent] of Flanders and the Low Countries. Paget is to tell her the news [of England], and at the same time to thank her for the kind help and assistance she has bestowed in the matter of provisions, and so forth, for the English army.—Westminster Palace, 10 May 1544.
French. Original. 1 p.


  • 1. That is, the Earl's and the Admiral's, for this unsigned letter was evidently written by both. No earlier letter, however, has been found in the Imperial Archives of Vienna, unless it be that of Sir John Russel to the Secretary of the Council.
  • 2. “Suche hoyes and crayers as weare laden with our greate peaces of artillery.”
  • 3. “Leght and Edinboroughe.”
  • 4. “And shot of the ordinance (sic) out of the forward.” It is doubtful whether “forward” is here meant for vanguard, as in other passages of this report, or whether the flagship “Forward,” of which mention is made at p. 149n. of Vol. VI., Part II is meant. I am inclined to adopt this last conjecture.
  • 5. “Hacquebutters.”
  • 6. “Wenne the same (they came?) tourned to the other passaige towards Legh.”
  • 7. “Be [by?] sundry here.”
  • 8. Here the scribe who copied for me this and other letters in English, added by way of a note:—“The name of this captain of hackbutiers is quite illegible; it begins with an M and ends in tas, Mirotas, Micotas, Meotas (?).
  • 9. “And also the forwarde, cant à cant, recovered par force into the town of Legh, which was stoutly defended by the Scots, and also the straits of the entry into the town.”
  • 10. “Besydes that they had cast dyches almost rounde about to defend our entre.”
  • 11. “Whereof the lorde of Brunestoune (Alexander Crichton, laird of Brunston) was one.”
  • 12. “And fled forthwith to Lithes (sic), as we be informed.”
  • 13. See above p. 138.
  • 14. That is the “Subtle.”
  • 15. “He had bestowed 11 slynghs and 111 serpentines of iron, and did back the same himselfe with all his bande, whiehe was estimated among themselves to the number of V. or VIm. fighting men,”
  • 16. “And that he might perceive they had greate devotion to waite the 6howes (sic, showers of arrows?) to come to his Holiness.” Such is the reading in the copy before me, but it is evident from what follows that the negative was omitted by the English copyist.
  • 17. “Tyll we came within short distance of our hakes (hackbuts?).”
  • 18. “Le Cardinal y estoit,” as in * note, p. 142.
  • 19. That is the “main body.”
  • 20. See above, p. 121.
  • 21. “De la quelle le dit sr roy se doibt contenter en tant que par icelle les dits escossois sont declares ennemis, et combien que le narré n'est du tout conforme à la minute qui vous avoit esté baillée par de la, si ny ayt il en ce nul prejudice, et est le narré faict pour justification de la dite declaration et excusation que on [n'a pas] envoy'en Escosse faire la defiance comme l'honnesteté requeroit, ne fust que la dite declaration est fondée sur les exploitz et hostilitez commis par les Escossois es pays de sa mate,”
  • 22. At that time Philippe Chabot de Brion or Brion-Chabot, as his name is sometimes written, had the charge of Admiral; he fell into disgrace in January 1543. See Vol. VI., Part II., pp. 9n., 39, 47, 579.
  • 23. See above, No. 61, p. 89.
  • 24. A marginal note has the following:—“L'on prendt ce present [language] pour garder honnestete vers les Escossois et demonstrer que on n'a rompu les traictez avecq eulx sans souffisante cause.”
  • 25. The Declaration has no date, but as the preceding letter of queen Mary to the Imperial ambassador in England is of the 8th of May and the “Declaration” was enclosed, I have not hesitated to calender it here.
  • 26. “Monsr. l'admiral et le conte de Shrevsbery nommé Talbot, mylorde Cobham, mylorde Clyngton, mylorde Sturton, mylorde Guillaume Hawarde, mylorde Dacres, mylorde Scroupe (?), mylorde Conyers.” The names and titles of the lords named in this passage are probably those of: Francis Talbot son of George, king Henry's Lord Steward; Sir John Brooke, lord Cobham, captain of king Henry's bodyguard; Edward, lord Clinton;—Stourton or Storton (lord Edward);—Dacre of Dacre, or of Gillesland (lord William); Scrope of Bolton (?); and Conyers of Hornsby (lord Christopher)?
  • 27. “Quatre mille chevaulx soubz la conduiete de mylorde Evre (sic).”
  • 28. “Le cardinal y estoit en ung beau chamar de velour iausne tout couppé et deschiquetté bien soigneusement comme à ung tel prelat appartient.” See above the Admiral's account, p. 141.
  • 29. Evidently a French translation of part of the two letters in English, Nos. 85 and 86, to which another of the 14th was afterwards added.
  • 30. “Et que apres avoir abattu la dicte porte à cops d'artillerye sea gens estoient entré dedans la dicte ville et, du premier impute (unpetu) avoient occis deux cents, Escossois qu'estovient à la defense de la dicte porte. Quoy estre faict les dits anglois (comme peu practiques en tel cas) misrent en desordre et y en telle confusion qu'ilz [se] blessoient lung l'aultre.”
  • 31. “Et entre les aultres mylord Guillaulme, frere au due de Norfole, fust blessé au visaige d'ung cops de fleche, au moyen du quel desordre et de la forte resistance quilz trouverent dedans ilz furent constraints se retirer.”