Rome: January 1572

Pages 1-4

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 2, 1572-1578. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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January 1572

Vat Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. f. 672.
1. Michael Bonelli, Cardinal Alessandrino to John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“At this moment, i.e. 6 o'clock of the night, according to the Italian reckoning, his Majesty's courier has arrived, bringing me the letters of the French nuncio, of which I send you a copy for you to see and show to his Catholic Majesty. I have opened the letter that he writes to you to see if anything more had occurred. I shall continue my journey. And so I present you my regards.”
4 Jan., 1572. Borzighillas. Italian.
—… “Perchance this might be the right moment to carry into effect that which I remember having discussed with you, to wit, the disposing of the Princess of Portugal, the Catholic King's sister, to Monsieur, with the title of King and Queen of England, thus by means of France and Spain in concert depriving that impious Jezebel of possession of the realm, as she is already deprived of title to it.”
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 5.
2. News Letter.
“The courier from London that was on his way hither with letters and despatches has been relieved of his baggage, as he quitted England, by order of the King of Spain. Wherefore the Queen has laid an embargo on all the ships that are at present in her ports, not only Spanish but no matter whence they came.”
4 Jan., 1572. Paris. Italian. Copy.
f. 4.
3. News Letter.
… “Two days since there arrived here an ambassador from the Queen of England, to treat, they say, of a league between his Majesty and that Queen, but for the present the main business is to apprise his Most Christian Majesty of the conspiracy formed against the said Queen of England and her State by the Duke of Norfolk, who pretends to the succession to the crown of England; which Duke has been a prisoner for many a month, and on the 8th of last month was publicly brought to the scaffold in the city of London as party to and head of the plot with the concurrence of the Queen of Scotland under promise of marriage; but the people rose and prevented the execution from taking place.
“The Earl of Leno' [Lennox] is at present Governor of Scotland in the Queen of England's name; and pending his government the Prince of Scotland, son of the Queen, has been slain in Stirling by three hundred Scotsmen on horseback, who have also rifled his palace, and the better to compass their end rode ten leagues by night.
“They say that this conspiracy was formed at the instance of the Duke of Norfolk and the Queen of Scotland, the boy's mother, to bring about the death of the Queen of England, and possess themselves of that realm, with intent to slaughter all the Huguenots therein, and restore the ancient practice of the Catholic religion by means of the forces promised them from Flanders, which purpose has been frustrated, though the Duke meant well; and the afflicted Queen of Scotland, convicted of complicity in the plot, is now so straitly confined in her prison that no one may speak with her, and food is conveyed to her through a window. The case against her has been drawn up; but the Queen has not seen fit to proceed to execution without first communicating with the Most Christian King. However, it is believed that he will do no good.”
6 Jan., 1572. Amboise. The Court. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 5.
4. News Letter.
“It is understood this evening that the King will go to Bayonne where Cardinal Alessandrino ought to arrive from Spain on the 14th inst., at which time it is supposed that the Queen of Navarre will also be there.…
“His Majesty has despatched two Knights of the Order to meet Cardinal Alessandrino and attend him to Court.”
7 Jan., 1572. Amboise. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607.
f. 482d.
5. John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to Marquis Chiappino Vitelli.
Decipher Postscript to letter of ceremony.—“I desire to know the true state of affairs in England at the moment; for here it is supposed that the plot is discovered in its entirety and exactly as it was arranged, and that they will put the Duke of Norfolk to death, and that more than 300 nobles are in prison; and so it is deemed that there is an end of the affair past all hope, unless the prisoners aforesaid should be liberated, and the old scheme resumed. You will be good enough to advise me if you have any hope in any, and what event, and whatever else may seem meet to you in regard hereof.”
10 Jan., 1572. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
Spagna, N.S.
vol. v. f. 38.
6. The Same to Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“As to Thomas Stuclhe [sic Stucley]'s offer I have spoken with his Majesty, who has known that gentleman for many a year and understands quite well what use can be made of him; and these same proposals of his have been on the tapis here for a long time, and are not new to the king, but they are matters which he would not address himself to undertake without a surer basis. The plot devised by Ridolfi was a matter of importance and substance, had it not been discovered, which causes the King infinite mortification; and were there a main enterprise like that of Ridolfi in hand, his Majesty would perchance avail himself of the aid of Thomas Stuclhe, as subsidiary to the main enterprise, for what it might be worth; but to his Majesty it seems not well to essay the subordinate scheme before he has resolved upon the main one, because to make an attempt upon Ireland, or to try to burn the English fleet, would not only, it is thought, be more easily said than done, but would be making open war upon that realm, which would excite many humours which would not be easy to digest at this time; and if it produced no other effect it would at least hasten the death of the Duke of Norfolk, and of all the other nobles that are prisoners, if they are not by this time dead. Ridolfi's conspiracy was in effect completely discovered at the critical point, as you may learn from the writings touching that matter sent by the Legate Cardinal Alessandrino; and the King has the same report in writing, and I have it likewise from the Nuncio of France. So we must wait to see the fate of the prisoners, for if by good grace they should succeed in so defending or screening themselves as to be acquitted and released (which is not expected), we might revert to our original hope; and in that case I find the King well disposed. But if they should be put to death, as it is expected, there is no more to be done but to have patience, because to make war and attack those realms deliberately without a rising of the magnates of the said kingdom is no enterprise for these times, nor would the King so much as think of it at present; and this is the answer to the two ciphers received touching this matter.”
11 Jan., 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Borgh IV.
vol. 260. f. 50.
7. Fabius Mirto, Bishop of Caiazzo Nuncio in France to [Jerome Rusticucci Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia].
… “There is here an English ambassador whom they treat with much honour, negotiating secretly with him by means of MM. de Limoges and Foys [Foix]. It is said by their Majesties that he is here upon the business of the marriage of Monsieur [of Anjou] with the Queen, which is not very probable. I should rather suppose that he is here to give account of the late insurrection and the complicity of the Queen of Scotland, against whom the Queen of England is mightily incensed, and perchance is trying to keep her people in hand by making believe that she has an understanding with the French, and can rely upon their aid.
“I understand that the legate must at the least be at Bayonne, so that he might arrive at Court in twelve or fifteen days.”
20 Jan., 1572. Ambues [Amboise]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ix. f. 173d.
8. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal[Bishop of Sinigaglia].
… “It is understood here that the Grand Master of Malta offers some opposition to the proposed grant to the Knight Ramagas of the office of Turcopolier of England. The Prior of England [Shelley], who is here, desired me to do a certain office for him in regard of the said pre-eminence, touching which I have told him that the whole matter must be referred to the wise judgment of his Holiness. What I have to say for this gentleman is that he has often discussed the affairs of England with me, and has ever shown himself a Catholic, and very zealous, and well acquainted with the humours of that realm. He is noble, and is excellently well lettered, and is conversant with princes. If the Pope has no information to the contrary, he will do well to consider whether he might be a person to employ in emergencies that may arise in regard of England.”
26 Jan., 1572. Venice. Italian. Copy.