Spain: May 1544, 11-15

Pages 151-159

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

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May 1544, 11–15

12 May. 91. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—This morning the privy councillors sent me word by my man that they were in receipt of letters stating that the Royal army had, some days before, effected a landing two leagues from Edinburgh, (fn. 1) the capital of the kingdom of Scotland, at a seaport town called Leith, the nearest to that city. No sooner, however, was the cardinal of St. Andrew's advised of the arrival of the English, than he hastily assembled an army of 12,000 or 14,000 men and took the field, though, hearing that the English were in much greater numbers than he anticipated, he immediately retreated, leaving only on the coast a few pieces of ordnance. (fn. 2) That after the Cardinal's retreat the inhabitants of Edinburgh had sent to present the keys of that city under certain conditions, which offer the earl of Hertford, the Admiral, and other chief commanders of the English fleet and land forces, had refused to accept, (fn. 3) unless the castle of the place surrendered at the same time. To this condition, however, the people of Edinburgh could not subscribe, inasmuch as the castle was not in their power, nor had they the means of reducing it to obedience. The English, on the other hand, finding that the 6,000 horse they were expecting from the Northern frontier had not yet joined, and, in consequence of that, being unable to drag along their heavy field guns, suspended their attack on Edinburgh; yet they lost no time thereat, for they sacked two or three small towns in its immediate neighbourhood. Indeed, the privy councillors are of opinion that the abovementioned cavalry must already have joined the bulk of the Royal army on Thursday last, for on the preceding “Wednesday they had crossed the Borders in pretty good haste, and as the distance to the English camp was only 45 or 50 miles, most probably they have already effected their junction.
The privy councillors, moreover, have informed me that besides the King's old intelligences in the place, certain Scotch lords have lately embraced the cause of England, so that they confidently expect that what with the powerful army the King has in the field, and the indisposition—or, rather, the grave illness—under which the Governor Aryan is now suffering, events will turn out successfully for them. (fn. 4)
The landing of the English on the coast of Scotland has been very opportune and favourable for my lord Machwell (Maxwel), the count Dhouglas (Douglas, earl of Angus) and his brother, and certain other Scotch lords, whom the Cardinal and his party had cast into prison, and intended to have beheaded in a few days, though many here presume that the said Dhouglas and Machwell had purposely allowed themselves to be taken, and that their imprisonment was only a feint. Nor has the arrival of the English force been less fortunate for count Lynnes (Lennox), who has been persecuted to extremity by the said Cardinal and Governor. (fn. 5) Machwell and Douglas are prisoners in Edinburgh Castle, whilst the dowager Queen and the Princess her daughter are in another castle far away.
As far as I can gather from the privy councillors, their master's intention was that after the landing of the English force on the coast of Scotland, the Royal fleet should return home. I do really believe that, considering the good success of the expedition, he can hardly have changed his mind, but will, on the contrary, persevere in his purpose, and have his fleet back as soon as possible, the more so that he suspects and fears that the vast naval armaments now being made in France are destined for the invasion of his own kingdom the very moment that he is absent from it, and has crossed over [to Calais]. Should king Francis really intend to invade England, it must be requisite to have the whole of the Royal fleet along the south-western coast of England (fn. 6) facing that of Normandy and Brittany, in the ports of which these French naval armaments are being made. And so is this King preparing for the event, for he has already taken his measures for a body of troops to be ready to concentrate at any point of this western coast that may be invaded; be is daily sending thither commissaries and experienced agents to provide every necessary for the defence, has established a postal service like that of the North, (fn. 7) and, as far as I can hear, besides the usual garrisons for the defence of that coast, he has raised a sufficient force to protect any point attacked by the enemy. It is doubtful whether the French will not prefer to send their fleet to Scotland rather than to invade any part of England, unless, perhaps, the French have on their side cardinal Pole, by means of whom the internal affairs of this kingdom might be troubled.
In consequence of a letter written by the queen dowager of Hungary to the deputy (fn. 8) of Calais, asking him to arrest the person of one Octavian Bosque (sic), an armourer of Milan, accused of some treásonable dealings against Your Imperial Majesty, the said Octavian has been arrested and confined to prison here pending the pleasure of the Queen, who is to decide what is to be done with the prisoner.
The King, after hearing what Your Majesty has written to the duke of Alburquerque, has sent him a message to the effect that he must needs put aside the pleasures of the chase, and that he will give him a house close to his Court in order to be better able to speak to him when necessary.—London, 12 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the Emperor.”
Indorsed: “From the ambassador in England of the 12th of May. Received at Spire the 22nd of the said month.”
French. Original. 4 pp.
12 May. 92. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Rep. P., Fasc. C. 235. “Madame,”—By the enclosed copy of my letter to the Emperor, (fn. 9) Your Majesty will learn the news of this country. I will only add that these privy councillors have again sent to request me to write to Your Majesty to be pleased to tell them what is to be done with the person of Octavian, the Italian.—London, 12 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the dowager queen of Hungary.”
French. Original. ½ p.
14 May. 93. Prince Philip to the Imperial Ambassador in England.
S. E., L. 64, ff. 108, 321. Your letter of the 18th of January came duly to hand. I was glad to hear that Ferrante Gonzaga's mission had met with complete success, and that the king of England continued in his good purpose of brotherly affection for the Emperor, my lord, and as firm as ever in his determination to attack Our common enemy. His Imperial Majesty has since written to me to the same effect, at which you may imagine what my joy and contentment has been. I hope to God that the end of all this will be such as We all wish.
The 5,000 Spanish infantry who have been recruited in these kingdoms [of Spain] for Flanders are already on board, and We are sure will arrive there as soon as this letter. Provision has been made for the defence of Our coasts for fear the Turkish fleet—which, in combination with the French, was, as We hear, preparing to sail for Toulon and Marseilles—should ravage them.
As far as We can learn, the designs of king Francis for the present consist in sending most of his forces to Italy, whilst his fleet and that of the Turks come to Our Mediterranean coast, and perhaps to the islands of Mallorca and Iviza. It is not yet known which coast they will attack first, but every preparation for defence is now being made, &c.
Of their land army nothing is known for certain, though the rumour is that it is slowly approaching the Rousillon.—Valladolid, 14 May 1544.
Spanish. Original. 3 pp.
14 May. 94. High Commander [Cobos?] to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 64, ff. 222, 316. “Sacra, Cesarea Catolica Majestad,”— On the 4th of February, Martin Alonso de Los Rios, the messenger, was despatched from this place to Your Imperial Majesty. The weather was so foul when he was about to embark that my letter of the 14th, enclosing bills of exchange amounting to 466,500 ducats, was delayed until the 18th, when, as there was nothing new to advise, a duplicate was sent by another way. That is the principal reason why my answer has been so long on the road. Another is, that the deputies (procuradores (fn. 10) ) to these Cortes, having arrived and held some sittings, it seemed to me and my colleagues in office that he (Rios) ought at the same time to have given Your Imperial Majesty some account of what had already been done. In the meantime, the courier of the 24th of February, from Italy, with duplicate letters of that date, arrived. Soon after, Juan Çapata de Cardenas came with that of the 14th, and a few days after, that which Your Majesty ordered to be written to me on the 22nd. This last letter came by hand of the messenger whom the marquis de Aguilar despatched by land. As it contained, in fact, the substance of what Your Imperial Majesty wrote by Juan Çapata [de Cardenas], and as previous to that it was known here that Martin Alonso de Los Rios had landed safely in England, and, therefore, that Your Imperial Majesty was already acquainted with our answer, this was again a cause for our not sending the duplicate of our letter, which was already written when the above-mentioned Martin Alonso de Los Rios came back from England. By him I wrote again to Your Imperial Majesty, answering some of the questions contained in the memoranda brought by Don Luis de Avila y Zuñiga. The rest shall be duly answered when there is an opportunity.
Your Imperial Majesty cannot imagine how glad we all were to hear of Your arriving at Spire in good health, notwithstanding the uncommonly sharp winter and the had roads, for certainly the journey from Brussels to Spire must have been a very fatiguing one.
I see by what Your Imperial Majesty writes to me that the prince electors of the Empire have arrived at Spire, and that on the 20th of February the deliberations of that body were to commence immediately by the discussion of religious matters. I and my colleagues are very anxious to know what the result has been in other matters in which Christendom is principally concerned—such as peace, and defence against the Turk. We shall be glad to hear what resolution has been taken in other matters at issue, and principally those relating to France.
Respecting the peace, I gather from the copy of the letter which Your Majesty caused to be written to Juan de Vega, the ambassador at Rome, as well as by the answer to cardinal Farnese, that there is very little chance, if any, of its being secured. Both Your Imperial Majesty's declaration on the subject and Mons. de Granvelle's resolute answer appear to me and my colleagues inimitable, for certainly if no other overtures were made, and the Cardinal had no other mandate from His Holiness, it is quite evident that they deserved no other answer. From various quarters, and especially from a servant of the Portuguese ambassador at Rome, intelligence has come here of the depression and disappointment caused by Your Imperial Majesty's resolute answer to the Cardinal. Indeed, it appears that both in France and at Rome, where the cardinals of the French party fancied that the Pope's overtures for peace might be accepted, the blow has been severely felt. It never occurred to them that unless king Francis himself came forward and gave certain securities for the future, all proposals of peace on the part of His Holiness would be rejected.
Notwithstanding Your Imperial Majesty's love of peace, and the many sacrifices you have hitherto made for the sake of attaining it, yet if the state in which Your Spanish kingdoms at present are is to be taken into consideration, with a Turkish fleet in combination threatening our coasts, and a treasury completely exhausted, Your Majesty would not have been justified in accepting His Holiness' overtures. For I can assure Your Imperial Majesty that after the money which has been just procured is spent, there will be no means of getting one “real” more out of the people; for in order to procure the bills of exchange sent by Martin Alonso de los Rios, and attend to other pressing wants we have been obliged to utilise the funds destined to other services of the State, and take in advance the extraordinary grant of money made by the Cortes.
The Instructions to Ferrante Gonzaga, on his mission to England to settle the details of the campaign against France this next summer, could not be better than they are. I am glad to hear that he has brought such an answer from the king of England as will ensure success, because when king Francis sees himself hemmed in on both sides of his kingdoms by the two most powerful allied armies, he cannot do less than come to terms, relax in what he pretends to do against this country and in Italy, although it must be said that the intelligence we have from Fiance is that he is in no humour just now to take the offensive, but will limit himself to strengthening his towns on the frontiers of Picardy and Champagne, and keeping on the defensive, besides doing what harm he can in Italy, as he has already begun to do in Catalonia, with the help of the Turk. As to Your Imperial Majesty's resolution to invade the kingdom of France by one side, whilst the king of England enters it by another; nothing could, in my opinion and that of my colleagues, be better and more opportune. We can only add, that as Your Imperial Majesty is on the spot, and well acquainted with the military resources of France, there can be no doubt that, all things considered and with God's help, the issue will be what we all here expect and wish for.
Prince Doria and ambassador Figueroa wrote to me in similar terms as Your Imperial Majesty did respecting the offers made by Barbarossa; but certainly I must say that had his demands been more moderate it would have been very convenient to accept them; but as they were so exorbitant, there is no need of further talking about him and his offers.
In making the 5,000 foot soldiers march to the place of their embarkation, great diligence has been used. Vares de Acuña passed this way, and instructions were given to him of what he had to do. Already the men, as I hear, are close to the port where they are to embark; they would have reached their destination much sooner had not the late heavy rains retarded their march, and their having been waiting for Don Alvaro de Bazan, who is to command the fleet. They will sail at the end of this month at the latest. Before leaving home the men received one month's pay; another will be issued at their embarkation; one-half more in specie will go on board the ships to be distributed among the men at their landing. The merchants of Burgos could not be persuaded to allow some of their men to take passage in their fleet, and therefore we have been obliged to freight elsewhere as many transport ships as could be found. As it is, we are not sure that, when everything is prepared, the naval squadron that is to escort them will be ready (fn. 11).—Valladolid, 14 May 1544.
Spanish. Original. 9 pp.
14 May. 95. Eustace Chapuys to Secretary Cobos.
S.E. Anglia, L. 8. “Muy magnifico señor,”—Though I have frequently written to his Imperial Majesty, as well as to his sister, the dowager queen of Hungary, of late events in this country, and most particularly of the invasion of Scotland, which took place at the beginning of this month of May, and I have no doubt that my information, such as it is, has been duly communicated to His Highness, the Crown Prince in Spain, yet lest the Privy Council (Consejo de Estado) at Valladolid should want more details about it, I now send your Lordship a summary of the news obtained from these privy councillors, as well as from other officials and private persons of this Court. (fn. 12)
On the third day of this month, the King's lieutenant, milor Darfort (the earl of Hertford), and the Admiral (Sir John Russel), accompanied by milor Seusburio (fn. 13) (Shrewsbury), and other lords (lores) and knights (caballeros) of this kingdom, landed with a force amounting to several thousands of men on the 2nd of May on the western coast of Scotland, close to a fortified town named Leiza or Lizay (Leith) only distant a few miles from the capital of Scotland—Edinburgo (Edinburgh). The Royal fleet consisted of upwards of two hundred sail, between warships of all sizes and tonnage, and transports (hurcas), the force on board (fn. 14) amounting to many thousands of men, exclusively of a large body of cavalry, that went by land, crossed the Scotch borders near a place called Barbique (Berwick Castle), commanded by an English general named Lord Ralph Everss. (fn. 15)
The first thing the English did after landing and defeating the Scots who attempted to bar them the passage to Leiza (Leith), was to storm that town, which was taken without much resistance, its garrison and the principal inhabitants flying in all directions. Had the cavalry joined the bulk of the English army, not one of the Scots would have escaped. As it is, they were persued some distance beyond the walls, and the town was sacked.
This happened on the 4th of May; next day, a Scotch lord of the name of Brumsen (fn. 16) arrived at the gate of Liza (Leith); he came, as he said, either for the English of that garrison to take him prisoner, or else to hold a parley with the English general-in-chief. One of the guard outside of the fortifications shot an arrow at him, and wounded him in the leg. The Scotch laird rode away, but came again next day provided with a safe-conduct. He stated that he came on behalf of several Scotch noblemen (grand maistres d'Escosse) to make large offers to Monsr. de Hertford (Edward Seymour), which offers the latter refused to take into consideration. Almost at the same time the captain of the galley sailed to a small fort or blockhouse (blockhuis) that was on an island in the middle of the river [Forth], called Inchegarvie, which he took by storm, and razed to the ground.
Meanwhile the provost and baillies of Edinburgh (el Alcade y Regidores de Edinburge) sent a deputation to the English camp, offering to deliver the keys of that town, which, as I said above, (fn. 17) is the capital of all Scotland, under certain conditions, which the King's lieutenant (earl of Hertford) granted willingly; but when the English presented themselves at one of the gates of Edinburgh they found them closed, and the artillery of the castle played upon them. Whilst this was passing at one of the gates the English were busy at another. Having battered it down with their guns they penetrated into the town and took it without much resistance. The castle also was attacked, though ineffectually, for it was found to be too strong. The cardinal (David Beton) and the Governor-General (earl of Arran) left it at night and fled; but, as the cavalry had not yet joined (it did not reach the English camp until the afternoon of the ensuing day), both reached some place of safety.
The day after the attack on the castle was renewed, but as it was well provided with ordnance and ammunition it could not be taken, and the royal army, after sacking Edinburgh and setting it on fire, besides taking possession of two boroughs or ecclesiastical benefices belonging to the cardinal, withdrew towards the coast. (fn. 18)
The royal fleet, on the other hand, was equally successful, for the admiral captured two fine war ships (“La Salamandre” and “La Licorne (fn. 19) ”), belonging to the late King [James V.], and took and destroyed a fort on an island [of the Forth].
The privy councillors tell me that, for the present, nothing more will be done by way of punishment to the Scots; the King being justly satisfied that his royal army will soon return to England to be employed in the future campaign against France.
Of the Emperor's camp I have no fresh news. The last letters I have received are dated from Metz. He was then about to march with the whole of his army to Font à Mousson in Lorraine. May God guard you from all dangers, and long preserve your life for the better service of Ms Imperial Majesty and of his son, the Crown Prince of Spain!—London, this day, the 14th of May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To Don Francisco de los Cobos, señor de Sabiote, High Commander of Leon, in the Order of Santiago, of the Emperor's Council of State,” &c.
Spanish. (fn. 20) Holograph. 3 pp.


  • 1. Written “Esdemhourt.”
  • 2. “Et que estant le cardinal du dict Escosse adverty de leur arrivée, avoit faict amas de douze ou quatorze mil hommes, et estoit sorty en campagne, mais entendant le nombre des Anglois et lesquipaige [estre] plus grant quil ne pensoit, il s'estoit incontinent retiré, delaissant aux champs quelques pieces dartillerie.”
  • 3. “Mais le conte Darfort et ladmiral avec les aultres chiefz principaulz navoieut voulu accepter.”
  • 4. “De sorte quilz esperoient moyennant cela, leurs forces, lindisposition, et la griefve maladie du gouverneur que la tout ira bien en ce coustel là.”
  • 5. “Est venu bien à propos à mylord Machevell [et] au conte Dhouglast et son frère et certains aultres seigneurs prisoniers, les quelz le diet Cardinal et ses adherants voulloient faire decouller dans peu de jours, quoy que ceulx-cy presumanent que les diets Dhouglast et Machel se fussent faict ou laisse prendre pour une feinte. Aussi nen dira [ira] mal au conte de Lynnes, le quel es toit poursuyvist (poursuivi) du diet Cardinal et gouverneur extremement.”
  • 6. “Au quel cas seroit tres requis avoir la dicte armée [de mer] en la coste du ponant (Poniente, the West) correspondant à la Normandie et Bretaigne.”
  • 7. “Et y a faict asseoir les postes comme du coustel du Nort.”
  • 8. “Le Debity de Callais.”
  • 9. Sec above, No. 91, p. 151.
  • 10. Those of Valladolid, who happened then to be assembled.
  • 11. “Con los mercaderes de Burgos no se pudo acabar que llevasen en su flota ninguna gente, aunque se procuró con ellos, y por esto se han tomado los mas que han sido menester para llevarlos. No sabemos si la dicha flota estará presta para ir en conserva de la armada.”
  • 12. Ever since the Emperor's departure from Barcelona in May 1543, his son Philip, having been declared Regent of Spain, held his Court at Valladolid, in the centre of Castille.
  • 13. “El Conde Darfort, teniente de Rey, vicerey, el Almiraute Rousel, Sebusberrio (Shrewsbury), y otros lores y caballeros de este reino.”
  • 14. “La armada [naval] consistia segun me dicen, de mas de doscientos vaxeles de todo porte, entre navios de guerra con artilleria y hurcas ó transports para la gente de desembarqua, la qual pasaba de muchos millares.”
  • 15. Sir Ralph Evers. “Sin contar much a caballeria que fue alli por tierra y pasó la frontera no lejos de un castillo denominado Barbique al mando de un capitan ynglés llamado milor Raulfo Evero (sic).”
  • 16. Elsewhere Brumeston and Bruneston, i.e. Alexander Crichton, laird of Brunston.
  • 17. “Que como antes dije “ are the words, which, literally translated, mean “as I said he fore, or in a former letter.” See above, p. 151, where a similar remark occurs. This would prove that either the “Abstract of Letters from England with News of Scotland” (No. 88), pp. 146–8) was made by Chapuys himself, or else that in a former letter to the High Commander, or to Prince Philip, both of which have not been preserved, Chapuys announced the King's resolution to withdraw his army from Scotland.
  • 18. “Y con saquear y pegar fuego à la dicha ciudad, y sorprender los burgos de las cercanias que eran del beneficio eclesiastico del Cardenal de Escocia, se retiraron hacia la Costa.”
  • 19. The “Salamander” and the “Unicorn,” as in the Admiral's letter, p. 142.
  • 20. This letter itself, though signed as usual by Chapuys, is not, as I am informed, in his own hand, nor in that of his secretary, but in that of one of his Spanish servants; for the Imperial ambassador himself knew little of that language.