Rome: October 1574

Pages 186-189

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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October 1574

Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. viii. p. 294d.
355. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to the Same.
… “It is some time since we had any news from Flanders. Calm prevails in regard to the accord. There is, however, one condition which is excessively harsh and perilous, to wit, that the King is to expel foreigners and especially Spaniards from those parts; and if the States insist on this condition, he will not let it go forward.
“It seems that there is intelligence here from an Irish Catholic, resident in Portugal, that the Queen of England's Governor in Ireland had taken by stratagem one of the chief Catholic gentlemen who had risen in favour of the Queen of Scotland. (fn. 1) And he writes that, if succour, particularly munitions, be not sent, there is great danger of the Catholic party being completely crushed. So, by what I understand, they are discussing here how they may afford them aid by some secret method so as not at present to incense that lady, because the affairs of Flanders are not in such a condition as to allow hope of a greater enterprise against the said Queen.”
10 Oct., 1574. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. viii. p. 320.
356. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “Herewith I send some advices from England received by way of Flanders from the English that are there. His Majesty has no similar advices from elsewhere. It has been God's will that by reason of the troubles of Flanders and Africa it has been impossible to attend to this business, but it is not forgotten— when time shall serve.
“I have done my office afresh that some aid be given by some indirect way, as it cannot now be afforded openly, to those poor Irish Catholics, that they succumb not altogether. And some hope is afforded me that it will be given.”
20 Oct., 1574. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Enclosures missing.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1044. f. 305.
357. News Letter.
“There is much talk of peace; and it is also said that the Queen of England, seeing the realm of France so perturbed, intends to make war thereon.”
24 Oct., 1574. Brussels. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. viii.
pp. 339–43.
358. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “English affairs are ever kept in mind, and there is an unfailing supply of good words in regard to them at every audience; but, besides the sorry course of events in Flanders, the affairs of Africa have stood greatly in the way of that business, which his Majesty has much at heart; and although present necessities compel him to keep on good terms with that lady, nevertheless, I am of opinion that means and opportunities will not be thrown away as soon as we shall have God's mandate to do what is meet for His service and the stable well-being of his Majesty's states.
“There is no doubt that, as you write, these two princes, Spain and France, will, by reason of the mutual jealousy of their States, and for other reasons, hardly agree to make common cause in that enterprise; and assuredly, were not the Catholic King so much harassed, his power would suffice for it, however little help might be furnished from elsewhere, for many reasons which I might adduce in this regard, and which may yet be taken into consideration on your side. I believe likewise that France has an eye to that realm, perchance in the interest of the brother, thinking to wed him to the Queen of Scotland by Apostolic dispensation; but this subject labours sorely under the suspicions for which he has given cause in France of late; so that, as you must know, in regard of the restoration of the Catholic religion in that realm [of England] with the guarantee of a good Catholic King, it would make a little difference whether it was by Spain or by France that the thing were accomplished. I have been thinking that the Duke of Savoy, being now without a wife, (fn. 2) might perchance be eligible for that realm if he were wedded to the Queen of Scotland, as he might be the confidant of both these princes; and this project of wedding him to the present Queen was under consideration while holy Queen Mary was alive. Don John of Austria would also be suitable in respect of religion and the contentment of the English Catholics and the facility of the enterprise, if he should come to Flanders, as was at first designed, and perchance is still designed but for the great needs of Africa; for through him matters would be greatly quieted in Flanders, as what those countries want is a man of the blood [royal]; and this relief would enable attention to be given to the business of England, but not to the satisfaction of the French by what we may reasonably suppose.
“In the course of a recent conversation which I had with his Majesty as to these matters, and especially as to the affairs of Ireland, which realm his Majesty said was very dependent upon the Apostolic See, I answered that England also was very dependent thereon, and that I had seen many writings bearing upon this matter; and as we conversed of the deprivation of the realm of England made by Pius V in the person of this lady for that she is a heretic, I said—and truly—that the deprivation was of the realm of England and not of that of Ireland, and that these realms being distinct, the deprivation of the one did not include the other; to which his Majesty subjoined, that his Holiness might yet make deprivation of that realm, keeping the deprivation most secret in his own possession for use in due season. Pius V, as you doubtless know, for the most part kept his own counsel as to his doings; so that it is no marvel if, being perchance ill informed of these matters, he omitted the deprivation of the realm of Ireland, as I afterwards explained to his Holiness, when he adverted to the subject, being desirous that a remedy should be found for some untoward consequences of that bull of deprivation, which ought never to have been published until an army was on the way to England upon that enterprise, so that in one hand there might be borne the keys of St. Peter, to wit, the deprivation, and in the other the sword of St. Paul; for the publication of the bull of deprivation unaccompanied by the conquest of the country has done much harm, causing the death of many Catholics, and making that lady much more hostile to the Apostolic See. However, seeing that that bull left no manner of abuse of her unsaid, I could not refrain from entering upon some discourse of the matter for what it may be worth.”
25 Oct., 1574. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.


  • 1. This apparently refers to the submission of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald to Sir John Perrot, Feb., 1573. Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1509–73, p. 497.
  • 2. Marguerite de France, Duchess of Savoy, died 14 Sept., 1574.