Spain: December 1545, 16-31

Pages 280-286

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

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December 1545, 16–31

18 Dec. Simancas. E. F. 501. extract. 176. News sent to Spain by the Emperor's Spanish Secretary, Idiaquez.
The French are very desirous of the marriage and will soon renew the negotiations for it. (fn. 1) It will, however, be taken in hand not by the ambassadors but by other persons. The English ambassadors are staying there (Brussels?) and amuse themselves as best they can. It is impossible for them to come to an understanding with the French, except through the mediation of the Emperor. The fact that the Emperor can, at any time he thinks fit, arrive at a perfect agreement with the English, is one of the principal means to bring the French to listen to reason. M. Gerard, who has gone with the French ambassador to conclude a truce with the Turk, has written that an agreement has been made to suspend hostilities for four years.
The (known) friar has returned from France. He brings the same news as that which the Admiral had already communicated; with the addition that the French are desirous of bringing about the marriage of the Prince of Piedmont with the daughter of D'Albret.
(Endorsed:—Political news sent by Secretary Idiaquez, Brussels, 18th December, 1545.)
20 Dec. Vienna Imp. Arch. 177. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
The ambassador of Portugal resident here has informed us that his King was sending to the King of England a gentleman of his to treat with him of certain affairs set forth in the letters of credence given to the envoy. The said gentleman fell ill on the road, and finding himself in danger of dying of his malady whilst in France, he sent his credentials, etc., to the said ambassador. The latter recognising the pressing nature of the mission is sending to England with the same credentials another gentleman, who is the bearer of the present letter, and he begs us to write desiring you to introduce him and help him with the King. We request that you will do so, giving him all the assistance you fairly can.
As the bishop of Winchester is still at Utrecht, in communication with our sister the Queen Dowager of Hungary and our representatives, and as the gout from which we are suffering has prevented us from going to Utrecht, we are unable to write you anything as to the decision that will be arrived at with the said bishop. We are, however, now much better; and hope to depart as soon as the Christmas holidays are over, and to go to Utrecht. From there we will write you fully as to the negotiations with the bishop of Winchester and all other points. 20 December, 1545. (fn. 2)
21 Dec. Vienna Imp. Arch. 178. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
This day the Lords of the Council have sent to me as they say by command of the King to inform me that there lately arrived here a Spanish comendador with letters of recommendation from the Duke of Alburquerque in order that this King might receive him in his service. The letter also stated than in consequence of a dispute he had had with another gentleman of your Majesty's household, he had found it advisable to leave your service, he having filled an office in your chamber; and in consequence of your Majesty's displeasure he had been commanded to live on his commandery in Spain. As he had not found favour with the Prince (Philip) he had withdrawn himself from Spain and had come hither. It appeared to the Council that this letter was a forgery; as the comendador had called himself by divers names, Don Pedro Pacheco in one place, Don Pedro de la Cueva in another, and Herrera in a third, his own servants not rightly knowing what to call him; and the Council consequently did not know what to think of him. Their doubt was increased by the fact that a French gentleman, who has recently joined this King's household, named M. de Bertheuille, otherwise Fontenay, had advised them that when your Majesty was before St. Disier, this comendador had carried on intelligence with him (Fontenay) and certain other Frenchmen; giving them much secret information about your Majesty's camp. The Councillors therefore gave me the above information in order that I might tell them my opinion about it. The King was inclined to send him back whence he came as he was a subject of your Majesty; only that he feared by this information that he might have done some other disservice or disloyalty and he therefore preferred, if I approved of it, to keep the gentleman by fair means, until I had time to report to your Majesty. I replied thanking the King and Council, who I said were so sage and prudent that they well knew the sort of person this must be. I had, I said, some knowledge of this comendador, who although he had only come to see me two or three times, I soon found to be shaky in his words (vacillant en ses parolles) and I thought the King would easily find as good servants as he would be. With regard to their intention to keep him till I reported to your Majesty, I approved of it and I would write on the subject. I now humbly do so and beg for your good commands.
In case the person of this comendador may be unknown to your Majesty in consequence of change of name, I may say that in the course of conversation he told me that he was sent twice by your Majesty to the King of France about the ransom of Count William of Furstenberg. I also gathered from his talk that he had long lived in France.
London, 21 December, 1545.
(June ?) Simancas. E. 72. 179. Examination of Juan Ortiz de la Rea, junior, a native of Castro Urdiales, before the Alcaldes Ronquillo and Castello in the royal prison at Valladolid. (fn. 3)
The prisoner deposes that he, being a soldier by profession, of sixteen years' service, was in Flanders last July, having gone to Antwerp with the intention of joining the Emperor's forces. But hearing that the Lorrainers were killing those who attempted to pass through their country, and he being alone and afraid, he decided to go to the King of England's army then before Boulogne. He was moved to this by hearing that the Duke of Alburquerque was with the English by his Majesty's orders, and the Duke had written to the deponent in Spain saying that he wished some gentlemen to go and join him there (i.e., before Boulogne). The deponent took a servant with him called Juan Sangentes of Somorrostro. As soon as deponent arrived before Boulogne he went to salute the Duke of Alburquerque and offered his services. The Duke thanked him and asked him if he would accept a Captain's Commission to raise Spanish soldiers for the English service. He replied that he had no means of doing this, as there were no Spanish soldiers in Flanders: but he would rather serve as a private soldier with a pike over his shoulder and a corslet on his breast, than as Captain, as he had no men to begin with. The Duke approved of this and sent deponent with a servant of his called Inestrosa to speak with a gentleman named Henry Knyvett, a favourite and chamberlain of the King of England, who served as interpreter between the King and the Duke. The Duke and Knyvett afterwards spoke to the King about the deponent's wages which were fixed at 20 ducats a month as man at arms during the time of the war. The deponent then kissed the King's hand, and was in his pay and service until the camp was broken up, when he asked Knyvett whether he should remain at Boulogne or not. He was told that it was no good staying there as no Spanish men at arms would remain, but he had better return with the King to England. He did so, carrying his arms, horses, servants, etc., with him, and accompanying the Duke and Knyvett. He remained in the King's court for three or four months receiving there the wages of 20 ducats a month for the time he was on the campaign and for that he passed at court, minus 13 days; but he received no grant or gratuity for his journey to England or for his voyage from and return to Spain. He asked the Duke of Alburquerque to favour him by asking the King to give him a place in his household; but the Duke said that he would not advise him to try for that as Spaniards were not well treated in England; for even whilst he (the Duke) was there they were being unjustly used, and things would be worse in this respect when he had gone. The Duke told him that he could not remain in England with a clear conscience, for if he was overtaken by death there was no one there to confess him, and as he was married it would be much better that he should go home and not think of staying in England. The Duke afterwards told him to ask Knyvett to beg the King to give the deponent a pension in his own house in Spain where he might serve the King as he might be ordered to do. If you do this said the Duke, I will help you with the King and give you a good character. The deponent immediately went to Knyvett and offered to serve the King in Spain or elsewhere out of England. Knyvett replied; the Duke has already spoken about you to the King and says you can serve him with a ship or two. The deponent said yes, he could do this if the King obtained the Emperor's license for him to do so, but he could not bring ships without it. After Knyvett had again spoken to the King he told the deponent that he had better draw up a memorial to his Majesty, which he did; and Knyvett afterwards said to him, “Juan de la Rea the King is willing to maintain you in your own home, on condition 'that when an English Ambassador goes to Spain you accompany him to Court, and help him as may be needed; and also that you continue to write to the King carefully all that may happen at the Spanish Court. The King will pay for the messengers; and will be glad to know how much you ask for this service.” The deponent replied that he would leave that to the King. Knyvett then entered the presence chamber and the deponent went to tell the Duke of Alburquerque what had passed. Knyvett afterwards told him that the King was not enamoured of the suggestion but he would speak to his Majesty again about it. Subsequently Knyvett told the deponent that the King would make a present to him simply out of goodwill towards him, and in recognition of what he had done. The deponent was pleased at this, and went to receive the present which was 37 1/2 angels equal to 60 ducats. He had already received 40; so that the 100 represented really only the 5 months and three days pay for the time he had served. The deponent went to the Duke and told him what had passed, whereat the Duke was displeased. The deponent then said to Knyvett. “Sir: the King has given me no present as your worship promised. He has not even paid me for the whole time I have served him, or given me anything for my journey hither and my return. The deponent then asked Knyvett to obtain leave for him to return to Spain, which he did, the license being signed and sealed by the King himself. With this he embarked at Dover for Calais, where he left his passport according to the regulation, and received in return a warrant to pass the guards. With the deponent from London there came Friar Juan de Ludeña, a relative of the Duke. He went by Bruges, and when on his way to Ghent was told that the Emperor was that very day leaving for Antwerp; so the deponent went direct to the latter place where he awaited his Majesty for some days. As he saw that the Emperor's arrival was delayed by the gout, he went to Ramua to see certain relatives of his there, and to embark some property belonging to him which he wished to send home by sea. He returned to Antwerp and thence to Ghent, where he stayed for some days in the hope of speaking to the Emperor on a certain matter interesting to deponent; but seeing that his Majesty continued unwell and could not receive him, the deponent started for Spain by land through France. Being asked whether he went to the French Court, whom he saw there and what he did, the deponent confessed that he went to Fontainebleau where the King of France was, and he remained there 15 days. He there spoke with Don Pedro de Guzman, whom some people call Don Pedro de Noche (Night), with whom he kept company during his stay and gave him an account of his doings in England. Don Pedro Guzman told him that if he liked he would get him into the service of the King of France, who was then at peace with the Emperor. The deponent thanked him and said he would be very glad to serve the King, without prejudice to the Emperor, against the King of England, who had so badly remunerated his services and treated him so scurvily. The deponent being a soldier begged Guzman to speak to the Admiral and the Duke of Orleans for him. They both went with covered faces to speak to them, and the Admiral promised to see the King about it. The principal secretary afterwards told the deponent that the King was ill, but the Admiral had said that the deponent was to receive 300 French livres a year and a Captain's commission to raise infantry. The deponent said he could not do this without license from the Emperor and asked whether his appointment was to be made officially at once. The secretary replied no, as the King was ill; but when his Majesty recovered it would be done, so that he might look upon it as certain. But the deponent seeing that the affair was dragging, departed from the French Court and came to Spain. Before he left he gave an account of all this to Don Pedro de Guzman, and to other Spaniards there, but he received neither passport, nor warrant, nor money, nor a commission to raise troops, nor anything else; except only that the secretary made him a present of 50 crowns to buy a horse and help him on the way, as the deponent said he was in need. He came straight from the French Court to his own house by way of Bayonne and St. Jean de Luz, tarrying nowhere. He was asked whether at St. Sebastian or any other place he spoke to any soldiers or others to the effect that he had a commission to raise troops for the King of France. He replied that he had no reason to say such a thing, as he had no commission or authority whatever to raise men. It is true that in Castro Urdiales some of his kinsmen and friends asked him how he had got on; and he told them what had happened to him at the Court of France and in the English service. He was asked whether he had promised to any of these persons money or anything else if they agreed to serve the King of France, and he replied that he had not. He was asked what money had been given or sent to him by the French for raising troops and he said none whatever, nor had he received any communication from them since he left. Had he since he left the French Court spoken or written to any soldiers or others asking them to join him in serving the King of France ? No, he had not; except that since his arrival at Castro Urdiales he had written one letter to Gaspar de Otañez his cousin, who had been a soldier at Pamplona, telling him of his arrival and afterwards another letter to the same cousin addressed to his native place, Otañez asking him to come and see him for pleasure, and at this very time he was arrested and he neither saw nor spoke to his cousin except in the town prison where the deponent was confined. All this he solemnly swears is true. Had he ever returned to the French Court after his arrival at his home ? No, never; but a servant of his had been drowned in the ship in which he had embarked his property in Flanders. In this ship there had come Captain Tarifa and many other Spanish soldiers, who were drowned when the. ship was lost off St. Jean de Luz, and the deponent had gone to that place to see whether he could recover any of his property. He stayed there about four or five days, but recovered nothing, and then returned home without speaking about any other business. He came to his house in company with the master of the ship that had been wrecked, and as he was leaving St. Sebastian fell in with certain Spanish soldiers who were on their way to France. They asked him if he was raising men for the King of France, as they had been told he was. He replied no for he had no authority to do so, but he hoped soon to receive his commission for that purpose. He gave to one of the soldiers, whose name he does not know, a memorandum written and signed by him, saying that the troops which the deponent was to raise for the King of France were to be engaged in France, and were to be free from military duty in the Emperor's garrisons. He was asked if since he had been in the royal prison or in the keeping of the Corregidor of Biscay he had informed the King of France, the Admiral, or even the Duke of Alburquerque, of his arrest. He replied that when he was in the town prison of Bilbao he sent by the Emperor's post letters to the Duke of Alburquerque and other Spanish gentlemen telling them, and begging them to favour him. He also wrote to the Admiral of France and to the Chief Secretary saying that he was in prison at the request of the King of England, who had complained of him to the Emperor, but he knew not for what. He had prayed them to ask the Queen of France to write to the Emperor on his behalf; and that he should be brought before judges. He did not write to the King of France, nor to anyone else that he recollects. He was asked whether he endeavoured to buy any ships or galleys, especially the great galley of Don Alvaro de Bazan, and replied that he had never thought of such a thing. Did he bring from France or had he received from there monies to buy arms or other warlike stores ? No, such a thing had never even been mentioned to him. Did they not send or bring him from France 10,000 ducats or crowns, or some other amount of money for the purposes named? No. Nothing passed or happened beyond what he has already said. But (he was asked) had he not already confessed to some person that what is suggested in the last question was the case; and had he not said that he had a salary of six reals a day from the King of France during the time both of peace and war ? No. He recollected no such thing, nor of anything beyond what he has already deposed to have happened at the French Court. He was asked whether since he was lodged in the town prison at Bilbao any soldiers or other persons came to speak to him, and if so what passed with them ? No, he replied, no soldiers had come to see him except the aforementioned Gaspar de Otañez, his cousin, who came to visit him, as did many other persons, but he had no conversation with them except on the subject of their visit. He recollects nothing else.


  • 1. That is the marriage that had been proposed by the Admiral of France (Hannebault) at Antwerp late in November, between the recently widowed Prince Philip and Margaret of France.
  • 2. The place from which place this letter was written is not clear, but it must have been Herzogenbusch, where the Emperor was laid up with gout from the 4th December until the 28th, when he left for Utrecht (Vandenesse. Itinerary).
  • 3. Don Carlos de Guevara. The strange story of this mercenary soldier, his murder of Sir Pedro Gamboa, his rival colonel, on Snow Hill in January, 1550, and his execution at Smithfield will be found in “The Chronicle of Henry VIII.” translated and edited by the present writer.