Spain: August 1545, 11-20

Pages 230-234

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 8, 1545-1546. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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August 1545, 11–20

14 Aug. Vienna Hof. Cor. 121. Henry VIII. to the Queen Dowager of Hungary.
The writer is despatching to Flanders “ Sir Ralph Fane knight, lieutenant of our Gentlemen Pensioners, and Master Francis Hall, controller of the town of Calais, together with the governor of our merchants, and two other gentlemen of our household,” as his commissioners for the management of a certain matter there. Begs the Queen to aid and favour them in the performance of their mission.
Our Manor of Petworth, 14 August, 1545.
17 Aug. Vienna Imp. Arch. 122. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since my last, written from Portsmouth, I have still continued to follow the King in his progress. His Majesty has done me all possible honour, inviting me several times to accompany him in hunting, which invitations I have always accepted; and have received many proofs of favour and affection from the King, who constantly holds kind and familiar conversation with me. On my arrival at this place (Guildford) I received your Majesty's letters of the 6th instant, with the enclosure touching the three points dealt with in my previous letters: namely, the raising of the embargo on the ships, the negotiations for peace, and the aid demanded as a consequence of the French invasion. Enclosed with your Majesty's letter I also received one from the Queen Dowager of Hungary, ordering me to use every means to obtain further enlightenment as to the feeling of the English with regard to these points, pending the dispatch by her of the personage who is to come hither to exhort this King to conclude peace. By this means it was hoped that, when the personage in question arrived here, he might be the better informed as to the course he should take. Your Majesty's despatch arrived opportunely, as the King had on the same day sent to invite me to .accompany him in hunting. I duly attended the appointment, and took care to refer to the contents of the aforementioned letters, in the first place to Secretary Paget, who is the most influential person here, and afterwards to the King himself. They were both very well pleased with your Majesty's decision to furnish the aid, and to send the personage hither; but when I came to the ratification (i.e., by Henry) of your Majesty's treaty with France, they raised the difficulty mentioned in your Majesty's letter as having been brought forward recently by the English Ambassador; so that, as they said, they did not see their way to accept the said treaty of your Majesty with France with the reservation mentioned in it of your treaty with England. I did not know what reply to make on this point, as I was not acquainted with the scope of the reservation clause, not having in my possession a copy of the treaty and being ignorant of its provisions, as I recently informed your Majesty. I said, however, that speaking unofficially, I thought that your Majesty intended the King to approve of the treaty with France, in order that he might be in a position to benefit by the reservation contained in it as regards the aid: and that your Majesty's treaty with England would remain in full force against all powers, in so far as it did not run counter to your treaty with France.
To this he replied that he did not understand which treaty I was referring to, as if to signify that he thought your Majesty had several treaties with France. (fn. 1) It was finally agreed that our views should be put in writing for the King's information, and he would reply. We then entered into discourse about the peace, seeing that the cessation of this war would banish all the scruples.
I remarked that I thought it opportune and necessary that peace should be discussed; and that your Majesty was earnestly desirous of bringing about a settlement, your Majesty's ambassadors being already on the road both to him (Henry) and to the King of France; and every effort should be made, in the interests of Christendom at large, for the salvation of their respective subjects, and in order to avoid a further effusion of human blood. I urged the King to think over the means and preliminaries that might tend to that object, so that the ambassador might the sooner be despatched, and the great boon of peace attained: and on these lines I continued, as opportunity occurred on the way, in order to sound the inclinations and views of the King and the Secretary as to an understanding. But I could gain no further guidance, beyond what I wrote in my former letters; except that I learnt, in strict confidence, that they were already in treaty with France through Mme. D'Etampes, who was managing the affair. The proposals the French made were the payment to the King (Henry) of his subsidy (pension) with the arrears, and 100,000 crowns as a ransom for Boulogne. But as the indemnity was very small and no mention was made of the cost of the war; and also, as I gathered, because the French in their last communication wished to include in the terms something about Scotland, the King (Henry) had cooled in the matter, and the negotiations had fallen into abeyance. The man who travelled backwards and forwards on these negotiations was one Bartolomé Compagni, an Italian merchant in London, who formerly came to see me about the affairs of Jasper Doulchy, and is at present at this Court. I do not know if he is waiting for some despatch. Anything further I can discover in the matter I will communicate to your Majesty.
With regard to the raising of the embargoes and the satisfaction of your subjects, the English are becoming every day more reasonable; and nearly everything has now been despatched.
Whilst looking on at the hunting I chatted with the Queen (Catharine Parr) who was very kind and gracious with me. She mentioned the death of the Princess of Spain (whom God rest), as also the King and Secretary Paget had done; but as I had no intelligence of the sad event, except the common rumour here, I replied that I had received no news.
With regard to the progress of the war since my last letters, I may report that the King's force put to sea, having, amongst others, 120 good fighting ships well equipped, firmly resolved and determined to give battle to the French; and it is announced here that they encountered them and a skirmish took place with the galleys, in the course of which the English sank a foyst (fn. 2) (fustè) and carried away the poop of a galley, without any loss on then side. The conflict was brought to an end by darkness; and the combatants lay to at night about two miles distant from each other. When morning came, however, and the English were preparing to renew the fight, they found no Frenchmen in sight. They had retired under cover of darkness, the English know not whither. (fn. 3)
In Scotland also the two armies have come in sight of each other. The Scots, seeing that these people (i.e., the English) to the number of 14,000 were ready to meet or pursue them (leur tenoyent myne et piedt) turned aside and avoided an encounter. Seeing this, the English appeared to have followed them up, and fallen on their rear, defeating a portion of them, the foreign troops in the service of this King being the principal actors in the scene. I know not, Sire, when this will reach you, as the passage is difficult; but I thought best to write, pending the coming of the personage who is to represent your Majesty.
Guildford, 17 August, 1545.
August. 123. Letters patent from the Emperor in favour of the Councillor Cornelius Scepperus, ordering all the imperial officers to aid and forward him in every way on his voyage to England in the Emperor's service.
19 Aug. Vienna Imp. Arch. 124. Cornelius Scepperus to President Loys Scors.
When I had arrived at Antwerp, as yet uncertain as to the road I should take to come hither (England) I learned from a sure source that it would not be possible for me to pass by way of Calais, as no passenger boat had left there for three weeks, in consequence of the close blockade maintained by the French galleys. Finding, however, at Antwerp a vessel loaded with sundry merchandise ready to sail for England, I made an arrangement with the master with the intention of coming over in her. In order not to lose any time, and as there was no wind blowing, I got into a little barge from Malines, and came to Flushing to await there the arrival of my ship from Antwerp, whilst I was making my arrangements for the voyage. Seeing, however, that the vessel was still delayed owing to the lightness of the wind, and there seemed to be no probability of my being able to come hither in her speedily, I took a boat on Sunday 16th instant; and, though there was no wind, we made some way that night with the tide; finally catching some wind from the N.N.W. about 10 o'clock on Monday. We then made such good efforts that on the same day we came to the English coast, and yesterday we arrived in this town of London, after suffering many troubles and annoyances, in consequence of having to lower our sails and give an account of ourselves to all sorts of warlike craft in the King's service guarding the Thames. There are many of them spread about in different directions, and we were consequently considerably delayed: and to make matters worse, when I arrived here I did not find the ambassador nor his wife nor anyone to represent him, at which I am annoyed (que me vient mal á point). I do not even know for certain where the King is, some maintaining that he is in the neighbourhood of Southampton, whilst others assert that he is else where near Guildford, which is 25 miles from here. I shall go thither to seek him as soon as I can get post or other horses, which at present are not easily procurable, as there is so much demand for them; and the country and rivers are covered with soldiers coming and going.
I have no news I can write, as we saw at sea no fighting ships, either English or French; but on the river Thames and the coast many ships and small craft loaded with soldiers going towards Boulogne. I am informed that the Earl of Hertford left here very hurriedly by order of the King, but it is not known whither. The same thing is said about the Earl of Surrey. I find everyone very desirous of peace; but I do not know how it will be with the leaders. The others must dance to their tune. They say that on the 16th instant their ships of war put out from the harbours where they were lying, with the intention of seeking the French; and we were asked if we knew anything of the result. They are confident that an encounter has taken place; their only fear being the galleys, against which they are powerless, even when the weather is such as it is now. I will not fail to advise the Emperor of all that passes as soon as I can, and I beg you to excuse me to the Queen (Dowager) for not writing to her Majesty; having nothing to say.
London, 19 August, 1545, 7 o'clock.


  • 1. There was a secret treaty accompanying (and really explaining) the treaty to Crpy by which, as in the subsequent treaty of Cateau Cambresis, bound both monarohs to mutual aid for the extirpation of Protestantism. Henry and the Protestants already had an inkling of this.
  • 2. The foyst was a very long narrow galley with two masts carrying lateen sails. It was provided with 18 or 20 oars, and was manned by a crew of about a hundred.
  • 3. Lord Lisle (Dudley), Lord Admiral, had 84 ships under his command. The fleets met on the 15 August, in mid-Channel somewhere off Shoreham. See Lisle's own account of the engagement, State Papers Henry VIII., i 819, which agrees with this statement; and also that given by Lord Herbert of Cherbury.