Rome: 1563, January-March

Pages 116-125

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 1, 1558-1571. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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1563, January–March

Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Divers.
vol. cxlvi.
f. 31d.
206. [John Francis] Commendone, Nuncio in Poland to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“As to the National Council, negotiations still go on in secret. The Moscovite may well cause a diversion; but this is doubtful. What is indubitable is the rage of the heretics, and the partiality of certain neutrals who would still desire to make their own special terms and articles of religion.
“Some months since, the more readily to secure the King's compliance, they hit upon the expedient of holding out hope that in such a Council it would be possible to declare his marriage with the Queen unlawful; a thing upon which his Majesty is so bent that in the last Diet he said that he would rather turn monk than live with such a wife. Now they go further, and quote to him the Canon of the Reform of Matrimony made at Trent, twisting it to their purpose; and the Archbishop has told me that the King demanded of him his interpretation of this canon; and when I asked what answer he made, he told me that he had replied that he understood the words according to their significance; which answer I affected to take in a good sense, i.e., as if his lordship had so said because in those words of the canon no mention is made of cases already dispensed by the Apostolic See; but I was much displeased that the Archbishop should have allowed the King still to suppose that the Council of Trent had excluded in posterum dispensations in primo gradu, implying that in this degree no dispensation could, in any circumstances, be granted.
“I discussed the matter at large with the Archbishop, reminding him, among other matters, of what, in a similar case, had befallen King Henry of England, by reason of his being persuaded by Mgr. of York [Wolsey] that he had the right and the power to divorce the Queen, who was of the same name and blood as this Queen, (fn. 1) and how, besides all the rest, there ensued the ruin of this same Mgr. of York, and all his family. His lordship concurred, and expressed disapproval of such ideas, and of the designs of the National Council. But as I had to confute some of his assertions, I fear he is not so detached from them as he might be. He has without a doubt a great inclination to the Cup [for the laity] and the like matters.”
11 Jan., 1563. Warsau. Italian. Decipher.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm.
ii. 131.
f. 316d.
207. [Hippolytus D'Este,] Cardinal of Ferrara, [Legate in France] to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“As to the affairs of this country: M. de Guise having intelligence that Admiral Châtillon was on the march from the neighbourhood of Orléans at the head of his cavalry with intent to cross the river Loire; and finding that it was impossible to prevent him from crossing, as he had at first intended, forewarned the Queen thereof at Chartres, sending part of his troops thither for her Majesty's reinforcement against the enemy, and advising her to have the Prince of Condé, who at that time was still confined in a neighbouring castle, brought into the city; which was forthwith done, it being discovered that Châtillon's design was to surprise the castle and liberate the Prince; and soon afterwards her Majesty, with the King and all the Court, departed towards Châteaudun.” (fn. 2)
27 Jan., 1563. Paris. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. c. f. 275.
208. Mary, Queen of Scotland to [Charles,] Cardinal of Lorraine.
“My Uncle,—Having this opportunity of writing to you, I have resolved not to let it slip, that I forfeit not your good esteem. I should have done so earlier, had an occasion presented itself so apt as the present, which I am assured by the Cardinal of Granvelle, who will deliver this to you, will warrant my accompanying it with a letter addressed to our Holy Father, to whom I pray you to present it for me with the expression of the obedience which I owe him, and in which I am resolved to live and die, it being my purpose never to part company with the ancient Catholic and Roman Church, of which I hold him to be the Chief Pastor, imploring him to account me his devoted daughter, testifying (as you may do, if it so please you) the displeasure with which I see so many execrable errors, in which the greater part of this wretched country is plunged, and assuring him that I shall deem myself fortunate to be able to remedy them, if need be, at the cost of my own life, which I will sooner forfeit than by changing my faith approve any jot or tittle of their heresies. As I doubt not but he will lend ear to you, so I will beseech you, that if in any matter I have failed of my duty to religion, you will make him my excuses, since none knows so well as you what my will is, and what my power; and thereby I shall be yet more beholden to you. Furthermore I entreat you to let me know the result of the deliberations of that holy conclave, that in what concerns me and those that shall be amenable to my power, and also those that have not yet changed their faith, due heed may be given thereto, as on my part it shall inviolably be. And so, to make an end, I pray God to grant you grace, my Uncle, to do something that may redound to His honour and the peace, so sorely needed, of so many good lands that are now in tribulation: presenting you herewith my most affectionate regards.”
“Your most obedient and good niece, Mary.”
30 Jan., 1563. Edinburgh. Italian. Copy.
in Baluze' Misc., ed. Mansi (1764), vol. iv. p. 363.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. c. f. 281.
209. Mary, Queen of Scotland to Pope Pius IV.
“Most Holy Father. As it has ever been our intention to employ, as We have done, our thought, our care, our labour, and the means which it has pleased God to give us since our return to this kingdom, in the endeavour to reclaim our poor people, whom We have, to our extreme displeasure, found astray from the good path, and immersed in the new opinions and damnable errors which are found to-day in divers parts of Christendom; it sorely vexes us that so evil have been the times that We have not hitherto been able to do our duty, as We desire, in the congregation of the Holy Council, wherein We entreat your Holiness to believe that it is not We that are in default, who are doing all that is in our power to cause a number of the prelates of our realm, great part of whom are absent, to go thither, anticipating that so good and holy a journey cannot but bear fruit to the edification of all our subjects by inducing them to acknowledge, as they should, the Holy Catholic Roman Church, in the obedience of which We, being resolved to live and die her most devoted daughter, will spare nothing, not even, if need be, our own life, so far as our power may extend, as We have besought our uncle the Most Reverend Cardinal of Lorraine, devoutly kissing your Holiness' feet, to give you more fully to understand, seeing that he knows the state of our affairs, the means that may be at our disposal, and the need that We have of your Holiness' help and favour. And so We will pray the Creator long to preserve and sustain your Holiness for the good governance and ordering of His Church and the Christian Commonwealth.”
“Your most devout daughter the Queen of Scotland,
31 Jan., 1563. Edinburgh. Italian. Copy.
Printed, ut supra, p. 364.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. xxxii.
f. 29.
210. [Egidio Foscarari,] Bishop of Modena to [John,] Cardinal Moroni.
… “There arrived from France on Friday letters from the Queen and the Cardinal of Ferrara to the Cardinal of Lorraine. The Queen's letters reported, with some detail, that as to the State matters were going well, but that as to religion there was no improvement, that the people were disgusted with the course matters had taken at the Council, and that on that account the Huguenots, French, English, Scottish, and German alike, had plied her with exhortations to recall her bishops from Trent. The letters of the Cardinal of Ferrara also dwelt on the dissatisfaction with which France regarded the Council of Trent; and from England the intelligence received by the Bishops was that, upon tidings of the victory gained by the Huguenots, the Queen had been prodigiously elated, and had sent word to the poor incarcerated bishops that they must make up their minds either to conform to her religion or to die; but that when it afterwards turned out that the Catholics had carried the day, (fn. 3) the English Catholics waxed so bold that they began openly to preach the true religion.”
1 Feb., 1563. Trent. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
Carte Farnes.
vol. iii. p. 288.
211. [Antony Perrenot,] Cardinal of Granvelle to [Hercules Gonzaga,] Cardinal of Mantua.
… “The Queen of England finds herself in difficulties with her parliament, which has not as yet given its consent to the aid which she asks, some saying that the late war with Scotland might well have been avoided, as also the present war, which is wilful, and others that the most pressing need is to settle the question of the succession to the crown in the event of the Queen dying without heirs, which is a ticklish matter, and of a kind to give rise to great differences of opinion in that kingdom. The question of her marriage with Milord Robert [Dudley] was found to involve more difficulty than heretofore; and when it was proposed in the House of Lords to pass a law that those who will not conform to the Queen's opinion in matters of religion shall be guilty of a capital offence, many of the chief nobles opposed it.
“Here, with the help of our ambassador, we are doing all that we can to ensure the safety of the holy prelates that are in prison: God grant it may be to some purpose.”
7 Feb., 1563. Brussels. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. lxix.
No. 16.
212. Muzio Calini, Archbishop of Zara to [Aloisius,] Cardinal Cornaro [,Commendator of Cyprus].
“The Cardinal of Lorraine departed on Friday…. It is rumoured that Lorraine's departure is occasioned by projected alliances, to wit, that of his niece the Queen of Scotland with the Emperor's son Prince Charles, and that of a daughter either of his Imperial Majesty or of Maximilian, King of the Romans, with the King of France. And it is also surmised that the Cardinal is to solemnize the nuptials of the Duke of Ferrara because Chancellor Fiaschi was sent hither before the Cardinal left.
“By the latest intelligence from France it would seem that the victory which was so much vaunted has proved fruitless; first it is understood that the Huguenots have the advantage in cavalry; and Condé is as haughty and hopeful as if he had taken the King prisoner. So it is firmly believed that terms of some sort will be made.” (fn. 4)
15 Feb., 1563. Trent. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xxxix. f. 79d.
213. [Charles Borromeo, Cardinal Archbishop of Milan] to [Alexander] Crivelli [Bishop of Cariati,] Nuncio in Spain.
“As to the Ambassador of Savoy's importunity that you should write to the Bishop of Aquila in England, the Pope is of opinion that you ought to do nothing in the matter; seeing that his Holiness has, through other and better channels, done all that pertains to his office in regard to that Queen.”
15 Feb., 1563. [Rome.] Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm.
ii. vol. 131.
f. 334.
214. [Hippolytus D'Este] Cardinal of Ferrara, [Legate in France] to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“Yesterday evening M. de Guise on his return from hastening the construction of the defences of the place that he had taken at the head of the bridge of the city [of Orléans], after crossing a little stream called the Loiret, a tributary of the Loire, in a boat that could carry but one horse at a time, or little more, being in a hurry to get to his quarters, mounted a horse, which he found there by chance, and was pushing forward, attended only by a gentleman upon a little mule, when he was wounded by an arquebus shot in the shoulder near the juncture with the arm, the bolt passing from the one side to the other. (fn. 5)
“It was done, they say, by a man from the King's camp, but we cannot as yet imagine how this could be, seeing that, being well horsed, he fled, having wounded the Duke after he had passed by.”
19 Feb., 1563. Bles [Blois]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Pio, vol. cxxxiii.
ff. 322d.–323.
215. [Prospero Publicola] Santacroce, [Bishop of Chissamos,] Nuncio in France to the Same.
“The Legate has seen fit that I should accompany him to Court without awaiting further answer from the Queen, and so yesterday we came to this place; and this morning we have received intelligence that M. de Guise, being with the army about Orléans, was yesterday evening wounded by an arquebus shot in the shoulder, the act, they say, of a Scotsman in his Excellency's service, who, being a Huguenot, thus played the traitor as his Excellency was returning from an inspection of the sentinels. There are, however, hopes of his recovery, as the shot is out, having passed from one side to the other through the shoulder downwards into the back without penetrating far into the body. Physicians are in attendance accompanied by gentlemen who are to investigate all the circumstances. The report still is that the Scotsman has escaped.
“There is no more news save that the German cavalry are yet in Normandy, and the advices received by his Majesty give reason to believe that they will stay there, and act in concert with five or six thousand English that are there endeavouring to make themselves masters of great part of that province. When last heard of they were marching on Cham [Caen], a place of great importance, where there is a very strong fortress; but if artillery be brought up, it is not thought possible for it to hold out; and it is understood that they have sent to Havre de Grace for I know not how many pieces.”
19 Feb., 1563. Bles [Blois]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
Carte Farnes.
vol. iii. p. 216.
216. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro to [Ranuccio,] Cardinal Farnese.
“I have little news to send you from hence, because, in the absence of the Cardinal of Lorraine, it is, as it were, arranged that nothing shall be done. The Cardinal of Lorraine will be here, by what he writes, on Saturday at the latest; and notwithstanding the speed with which he has travelled he has found time to meet and speak with the King of the Romans. God grant that by the time he returns there may also return forty prelates who have gone, some to Venice, others to other places. The Duke [William] of Mantua, with his lady the Duchess, (fn. 6) is here until the first week of Lent, when he will go to Spruc [Innsbruck] to see the Emperor. The Cardinal of Lorraine, besides conciliar matters, is said to have negotiated with their Majesties the marriage of the Queen of Scotland with the Archduke of Austria, and that of a daughter of the King of the Romans with the King of France.”
22 Feb., 1563. Trent. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm.
ii. vol. 131.
ff. 340d–344.
217. [Hippolytus D'Este,] Cardinal of Ferrara, [Legate in France] to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“Soon after her Majesty arrived at the camp it befell that the man that wounded M. de Guise was taken rather by Divine providence than by human diligence, for though he had two nights and a day in which to make his escape, he yet kept all the time so circuitous a course that at the end he was not more than five leagues from the camp; and so those who, by chance, found quarters at the same inn with him, arrested him, rather upon slight presumptions than upon certain proof, and brought him hither, where he forthwith confessed the deed and manifested a great desire to speak with M. de Guise, saying that he had much to tell him that would be to his advantage. But the Queen, who, with all imaginable display of sorrow and sympathy, had visited the Duke, decided, with the advice of the physicians, not to suffer the man thus boldly to enter the Duke's chamber, lest the Duke should be agitated.
“Her Majesty, however, has strictly examined him in the presence of many gentlemen.
“He is a Frenchman of the neighbourhood of Saintonges brought up by the Seigneur de Soubise. He has frankly confessed that he did the outrage, and that he did it by order of Admiral Châtillon. As for Soubise, he says, the thing was done with his knowledge, but not by his advice or at his instigation, whereas from Châtillon he had not only much instigation but money, and for ease of his conscience the assurance of Desa [sic Beza] and another minister, that it was lawful to rid themselves by all means in their power of all that withstand the progress of their religion.”
24 Feb., 1563. The Camp near Orléans. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Pio, vol. cxxxiii.
ff. 324d–325.
218. [Prospero Publicola] Santacroce, [Bishop of Chissamos,] Nuncio in France to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“M. de Guise now exhibits fresh symptoms, fever, vomiting and great drowziness, from which the physicians augur ill. The Queen and the Legate will stay beside him till the event be manifest. The assassin has been taken some five leagues from the camp by four soldiers who happened to go there for another purpose, and observed that he took to flight. He is a young man from Angoulêeme, Melé (fn. 7) by name, and was in Guise's service. He confesses that he did the deed at the instigation of the Admiral and Soubise, and that he is one of thirty confederates who plotted to murder Guise, Sipier [Cipierre] and Martigues in the camp, and thereafter the Queen, the King, the King's brother and the Legate, being told by Beza that thereby they would do God a signal service because they would bring about the re-establishment of the Gospel…
“We learn here that the English have refused to furnish funds for the pay of the German cavalry on the pretext that a promise which, they say, they had of the cession of certain ports has not been fulfilled.”
23–25 Feb., 1563. Bles [Blois]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. xxxii.
f. 79.
219. The Same to [John,] Cardinal Moroni.
“I would I could send you better tidings of affairs here than I can by the present dispatch, which is occasioned by the death of the Duke of Guise, who, being assassinated by one of his servants in his own camp by an arquebus shot, died on the 7th day thereafter, to wit, on the 24th; (fn. 8) which leaves the affairs of this kingdom in so distracted a plight that I know not what to say of it, the Constable being a prisoner, and Marshal St. André also dead.
“Our camp is still occupied with the siege of Orléans, as is that of the enemy with the siege of Cham [Caen], the most important place, next to Rouen, in Normandy. May God intervene with His most holy hand to set all right and put an end at last to these turmoils.”
25 Feb., 1563. Bles [Blois]. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Pio, vol. cxxxiii.
f. 326.
220. [Prospero Publicola] Santacroce, [Bishop of Chissamos,] Nuncio in France to [Charles,] Cardinal Borromeo.
“The death of M. de Guise is a stunning blow to both the Court and the army, the more so as Marshal de Brisach (fn. 9) has not come to the camp.
“The siege of Orléans continues, but the garrison makes a gallant defence. The report is still confirmed that the English have refused to afford the Admiral [Châtillon] any help, saying that they make no war upon the French, but have merely purchased Havre de Grace, as they would purchase other towns, if thereby they might facilitate the recovery of Calais, whereat they say the Admiral is greatly disconcerted.”
27 Feb., 1563. Bles [Blois]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di.
Carte Farnes
. vol. iii. p. 340.
221. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro to [Ranuccio, Cardinal Farnese].
“The Cardinal of Lorraine returned on Saturday. The Speculative will have it, by what they say is understood to have been agreed between [the Cardinal of] Lorraine and the Emperor, that as to the negotiation for the match between the eldest daughter of the King of the Romans and the King of France, their Majesties cannot conclude it without consulting King Philip (he [the Emperor] having offered to give the Princess to the Prince of Spain); and that this will suit the King of the Romans well enough, because it will enable him to require the Catholic King either to accept or to reject the offer, so that they may conclude the other match. (fn. 10)
“As to the match between the Queen of Scotland and the Archduke of Austria, they say that [the Cardinal of] Lorraine made at first some sort of proposal to give the Archduke a sister of the Duke of Lorraine, but that he met with discouragement; and that there has been some talk of the Queen of Scotland, but that they did not go deep into the matter.”
1 March, 1563. Trent. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. x. f. 248.
222. [Charles Borromeo, Cardinal] Archbishop of Milan to [Zacharias] Delfino, Bishop [of Lesina], Nuncio to the Emperor.
“In consequence of the death of the Cardinal of Mantua, may he be in glory! and the return of Cardinal d'Alta Emps to Rome, his Holiness has resolved to create other two Legates to the Council, to wit, Morone and Navagero, whose goodness, integrity and virtue are such that the Pope anticipates that they will render excellent service in this holy business, and also that his Imperial Majesty will be well pleased with the election, as both are known to him; and Cardinal Morone has on many an occasion received from him particular tokens of his affection and esteem. For which cause it has seemed good to his Holiness to give Morone an express commission to visit his Majesty on his way to Trent. They have received the cross to-day in consistory, and will depart this week without fail; and I hope Morone will be there before Easter. And as his Holiness has confided to him his mind in regard to present affairs, I will say no more, but will leave his Majesty and you to gather it from him viva voce.
10 March, 1563. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Conc. di
vol. c. f. 214,
and vol. cxxi.
f. 289d.
223. Mary, Queen of Scotland, Queen Dowager of France to the Holy Synod at Trent.
Regretting her inability to send her bishops and ambassadors to the Council, and referring the Fathers to the Cardinal of Lorraine for a full explanation of the circumstances.
18 March, 1563. St. Andrews. Latin. Copy. (fn. 11)
Vat. Arch.
Misc. (fn. 12)
224. News Letter.
“It is known for certain that King Philip will come this summer to Flanders to devise precautionary measures against the Huguenot sectaries, who now, as the result of the peace in France, are gathering courage. There are also some vexatious differences among the councillors of this Court; and M. [Simon] Renart, a man of quality and great distinction, who has been ambassador in France and in England, and was in great repute with the potentates, has been dismissed from the Council. The reason of his deprivation of office is not known as yet, but will be explained when his Majesty comes, as will also many other matters that are at present secret.
“We have also certain intelligence of an attempt in Scotland by some earl whose name I know not against the Queen's person with intent to kill her; but he was discovered, crushed, broken and taken with his two sons, and died of rage to find himself a prisoner; of his sons, one was beheaded, the other, by reason of his extreme youth was banished for life. (fn. 13)
“The news from England is that Parliament has decreed that the Queen be head of the Church and has passed a most cruel law requiring every one to subscribe and observe the state religion on pain of death, without distinction between subjects and foreigners. Nor is it any longer allowable to go to Mass in the house of the Ambassador of the Catholic King, as it was wont, and if Masses are said elsewhere, it is a capital offence to attend them. The eight bishops and other Catholics that are in gaol are condemned to death by the said law. The Queen restores Havre de Grace and the other places occupied in Normandy, and is to receive Calais in exchange on certain conditions, annulling divers ancient disputes and differences between the two kingdoms.”
25 March, 1563. Brussels. Italian.


  • 1. Catherine, sister of the Emperor Ferdinand I, widow of Francis Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.
  • 2. The alarm caused by the Admiral's movements shows how far from decisive the victory at Dreux had been. No attempt seems to have been made to arrest his march into Normandy. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1563, pp. 41, 49, 55, 68–71, 78, 84, 95, 111.
  • 3. The battle of Dreux. Cf. pp. 116–17, supra.
  • 4. Printed in Baluze' Misc., ed. Mansi (1764), vol. iv. p. 297. Cf. pp. 116–17 supra.
  • 5. Cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. i. p. 512.
  • 6. Eleanor, daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand I.
  • 7. A slight error. The assassin was John Poltrot, Sieur de Méré.
  • 8. Cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. i. p. 516.
  • 9. Charles de Cossé, Comte de Brissac, Marshal of France.
  • 10. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1563, pp. 310, 367.
  • 11. Printed by Raynaldus, Ann. Eccl. 1563, § 111; and Labanoff, Lettres &c. de Marie Stuart (1844), vol. i. p. 179.
  • 12. Reference too imperfect to admit of rectification: so left by Mr. Bliss.
  • 13. The reference is to the rebellion of George Gordon, fourth Earl of Huntly, and his two sons.