Mary: March 1555

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1861.

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'Mary: March 1555', Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861), pp. 156-162. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "Mary: March 1555", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861) 156-162. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "Mary: March 1555", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861). 156-162. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

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March 1555

March 3.
333. Sir John Masone to Sir William Petre. Has received his letter of the 22d February by Antonio Florebello, and offers his hearty thinks for the short receiving of his money and Petre's travail in bringing the same. Whensoever it shall come it is already spent, and therefore more care does he take for the receipt of that that shall be due again this month of March, as well diets as fees, than he takes pleasure for the receiving of the past, which as soon as it comes must be paid again; so as he sees the estate of an Ambassador, that of himself is not able to bear the brunt, is come to be most miserable. Therefore if Petre can with good mean help him from it, like as he has always found him his especial friend, so shall he reckon that agreement of friendship to pass all the rest. In the meantime, he would to God Thomas Gresham, who he hears is returned to Antwerp, might be his paymaster! The Lord put some good man in mind, whom the Queen can be content to believe, to advise her to take the measure of her realm and to proportionate her receipts and expenses together, and to bring her charges to the rate as they were at in her grandfather's time and in the beginning of her father's. Good Lord! how often has he heard this matter spoken of and wished for! and that he sees it not executed, he must needs think they are not thoroughly reconciled to God's favour. So long he sees shall they run to risk ere their case shall be out of remedy; and then woe be to those that might have holpen it in time! They have peace, they have such ways to bring in money as they never had, and yet remain they needy and most miserable. What is this but an evident sign of God's displeasure? They see the sore and seek not to amend it; unless it may be thought an amendment to hold away poor men's duties, the satisfaction of which sort, notwithstanding wars and all other extremities, other Courts have a special regard unto, who see that of the contrary must needs ensue dishonour, shame, and displeasure of Almighty God. Well! his writing will not help, and therefore he says no more. The French still assemble on the English frontier, for resisting of them sees no such preparation as were to be wished. The States were appointed to meet here to-morrow for a new aid, but the Queen not having returned from Antwerp it is doubtful if the day will hold. During this extreme weather the Emperor has been ill-troubled with his gout; but as the time amends so does the disposition of his body. The Abbate has not had audience yet. The Dowager of the Vaivode has by express Ambassador threatened afresh the King of the Romans to seek aid at the Emperor's hands, if she does not obtain her demands, which it is thought she has already done by the French King's means. Italy is conveniently provided for. Don Bernardino de Mendoça, who before had charge of the gallies of Naples, has arrived in Piedmont. Shortly such news are expected from Sienna as shall be much contrary to the French reports. This day they look for the ordinary of Milan. Pickering has been here some days, and will leave for England on Thursday or Friday next. [Two pages.]
March 6.
334. Sir Thomas Cornwallis to Sir William Petre. Last Tuesday at seven o'clock p.m. took shipping at Dover, and arrived here at one o'clock a.m. After opening of the gates participated to the Lord Deputy and Council their Majesties' letters, and in consultation agreed to apprehend all suspected persons within and without the town. Although in the few whom they have this day examined they have found nothing worth advertisement, and in the many still to be subjected to inquiry they are likely to gather no knowledge of any lewd practices attempted or devised, yet in their proceedings they will do much pleasure to the commonwealth of the town and the marches, in abandoning a great number of idle vagabonds and masterless servants, whom, but upon this experience, he would have not believed to be so numerous. For want of time has been unable yet to learn anything of Anthony Coverer and Peter Hilliard. In his haste had forgot to move her Majesty for a preacher. On his arrival found one called Doctor Serles, a prebendary, sent hither by Doctor Harpsfeld, Archdeacon of Canterbury, a man so rude, unlearned, and barbarous, as the like was never heard in the place of a preacher. In his opinion, for the advancement of God's glory, the Queen's proceedings, the estimation of learning, and the people's conversion, it had been better that her Majesty had spent 300l. than such an unlearned man should have come among this people. Is the better able to judge and report of him, having chanced this day to hear him preach, and Petre's self shall judge, since at his next coming he intends to bring the sermon penned. Wishes that Harpsfeld himself, or some other grave learned man, might with speed be sent hither to repair this man's hurt. The French King has sent to Ardres three ensigns of foot, and to Boulogne four ensigns, to victual the pieces, it is understood. [Two pages. Indorsed by Petre.]
March 9.
335. Lord Grey to the Council. Although after the French troops had victualled Ardres, this country should have been clear of them, yet now M. St. André, the Count Rhinegrave, and the Captain of Boulogne have arrived at Ardres with a great number of horsemen, and a greater power of French will this night encamp at Fiennes, near this. This he cannot but further mislike, and be jealous of their often recourse upon these marches in this sort. As their refortifying Ardres is but a mean argument of a good errand hitherwards, so he the rather mistrusts their quietness, for he has apprehended four Frenchmen who came from Ardres yesterday and were very curious in reviewing the ditches of the town. Although these men excuse their fact by ignorance, yet because one of them has served here in the wars and knows the English constitutions, therefore conjectures some further matter will be bulted out.
P.S.—Has just been informed that at Boulogne are 18 cannons ready mounted to carriage, which are intended to be brought to Ardres; and that Senarpont, the Captain of Boulogne, has said that he expects the French King there in person very shortly. [One page and a quarter. Indorsed by Petre.]
March 9.
336. Sir John Masone to Sir William Petre. This morning M. D'Arras informed the Cardinal's gentleman that the Emperor intended to see him, and therefore required him to stay his departing. Such may be assigned to D'Arras's influence. In the afternoon the Abbate had access to the Emperor, from whom albeit he had none other resolution but that previously declared to him by D'Arras, yet it was a great comfort to see his person and have the matter confirmed by his own mouth. He found the Emperor in right good estate, although lately ill-handled by his familiar disease. The Queen and D'Arras left this afternoon for Antwerp, where they will probably remain till Easter, D'Arras in the meantime occasionally coming hither. Sig. Antonio Augustino, one of the Rota at Rome, appointed the Pope's Nuncio to England, arrived here yesterday, and will proceed thither as soon as he has spoken with the Emperor. The Emperor busily amasses his army, and by next month he shall have a large force from Germany, among which will be 1,500 horse out of Hungary. Lately several merchants have resorted hither, dribling one after another for licence for grain, some for one quantity some for another, and all bringing letters of recommendation from the Council, written so as if one minute served for all. The effect of this is that he has to repair to the Queen, sue out the licence and deliver it to the merchant, which kind of office has not heretofore, he thinks, been appointed to any Ambassador. He has so often troubled her with these suits, that he is thought to be a party with the merchant; wherefore he suggests that if the realm stand in such necessity it were more honourable that her Majesty should write to the Emperor for such aid as may conveniently be spared; because if the present system continues it is impossible to persuade them here that the meaning is for the particular profit of the merchants, whereby, besides a slender answer, the Ambassador cometh in a slander. Therefore requests, that if they will continue this mode of application, they will either write to the Queen herself or frame the letters so that she may see the requests emanate from their Lordships: "otherwise I may well obey commandment, but I assure you it shall be with an ill will." [One page and a half.]
March 15.
337. Sir John Masone to the Council. Yesterday received their letter of the 9th, touching the Frenchmen haunting between Dover and Calais; of this, although it appears that the men here were before advertised, they take the warning in most thankful part. Presumes they have heard of the surprise of Casale, the chief town of Montferrat, belonging to the Duke of Mantua, by the French. This is of much importance, as between that and Milan there is no place of any strength, but as the castle still holds out, there is good hope it may be recovered. For this purpose a large force is already in order, the Spaniards of Naples having arrived and the Germans levied by the Cardinal of Trent being not far off. Nevertheless Brissac (for it was Birago who did the feat) has arrived there with the body of the French army, and has brought with him 15 great battering pieces in hope to win the castle before the joining of the Imperial aid. The Castellan is accounted valiant and a very good man of war, and has with him 200 Germans, which for the size of the piece are considered sufficient. In the surprise there were not past three of any name hurt or taken, whereof one was Count Lodrogno and the other one Farnari. Letters from Florence of the 4th mention that the Genoese have come to parley. The Duke requires that the talk shall not be confined to Sienna, but extend to all other forts in their territory occupied by the French, and that Pietro Strozzi be none of the Commissioners. [One page.]
March 16. 338. " A note of all such bonds as the King's and Queen's Majesties must make for the prolongation of the Spanish money, a die xvj. of March a° 1554." [Four pages. With notes by Petre.]
March 17.
339. Peter Vannes to the Council. On the 5th inst. received their letter of the 12th ult., dated at Westminster, which gave him and all the Queen's friends more joy than he can express. For though by the letters of the Bishop of Norwich and others, they had general advertisements of her Majesty's successes against the rebels, yet the letter of the Council containing all the particulars of so goodly a victory, and the names of the conspirators did justify the truth, which had been contradicted otherwise. Repaired, with his household and some friends, to the Duke and Seigniory, and declared to them that he had come by the Queen's express command to communicate to them the occurrences which had lately taken place in England, which declaration he extended to her honour and the praise of her Council and subjects. They took it in very good part that she should vouchsafe to signify her proceeding in so great affairs to them, and highly commended her great wisdom in repressing so great a mischief before it had taken greater power, alleging that in such cases nothing was so necessary as to withstand the first brunt. After he had told them how secretly, advisedly, and on what pretended ground the authors of the rebellion had wrought this wickedness, what untrue persuasions they had used to rouse the Queen's subjects, and in how many counties the conspiracy was ripe to break out at the same moment, describing the counties and inclinations of the people, the qualities of the personages, and for what purpose each was meet, how the conspiracy was at one point discovered, overthrown, and its chief authors apprehended, the Duke and the Senate confessed with him that this was only the hand and work of God, and that no man's providence, no worldly counsel or strength, could have brought so great and wickedly prepensed matters in so short a moment to so good an end. The whole Seigniory received this communication with as great pleasure as they could their own affairs, and took also great pleasure to view the names of such noblemen, great lords, and most faithful Councillors that had put their hands to his letter to the number of 16, with great attention hearkening unto him when he declared particularly their virtues, qualities, strength, courage, reputation, integrity, stedfast concord, and assured faithfulness towards the Queen's Majesty. They were rejoiced also to hear of the great preparations of war made by her in all parts of the realm, as she thought convenient to be ready to repress any rebellion that by the devil's instigation might arise, and to resist any great hostility that, by land or sea, should appear against her. Assures them that the crushing of the rebellion has not only purged the realm of an inward sore, but has greatly increased the estimation of England in these parts. Has thought good to send copies of their advertisement into divers parts of Italy to quench untrue reports from elsewhere. The siege of San Fiorenzo in Corsica, so long in hand, has at length come to an end from lack of provisions and aid, which was to have come by the French gallies, but which from bad weather were too late, seven or eight gallies having been lost. The garrison and inhabitants are to be allowed to depart in safety with bag and baggage, leaving the ordnance and munitions behind; the Italians to be landed at Leghorn, taking an oath not to serve the French King for eight months; the Corsicans and Genoese to be turned to the gallies, the Frenchmen into Provence. The Genoese army has set forth to other places yet held by the French. The Duke of Florence daily increases his camp against Sienna with great bands from Naples and Lombardy. Those within Sienna with all diligence furnish the town with provisions and fortify it where needful, with mutual salutations of shot of artillery between them and the fort, with divers skirmishing and robbery about the countries on both sides. It is said that the Turk's army will be sent in three score gallies to the service of the French King. [Four pages and a quarter.]
March 20.
340. Sir John Masone to Sir William Petre. The inclosed letters arrived this afternoon. By others of more recent date it is understood that the castle of Casale is very well defended, and has beat down in the adjacent town sundry houses and turrets, the standing of which, by commodiously covering the enemy, might have annoyed it. It has received, besides 400 Germans, 100 Spaniards; so that if the succour arrives in time, as there seems no doubt it will, the French will not likely have to boast much of this enterprise. The Marquis of Pescara, who is General of the light horse, was at Mantua when Casale was surprised, and having received there 30,000 crowns for his wife's dowry, sent straight by the ports 20,000 of these to Milan, to be employed for the Emperor's service as need should require. The soldiers that remained in Antwerp are discharged, and appointed to resort to Namur, because the enemy begins to assemble at Marienburg and has already done some hurt.
P.S.—The Siennese continue to parley; trusts the next letters will bring good tidings of them. [One page.]
March 21.
341. Same to same. Letters received at the Court to-day mention that the French having made a breach in the castle of Casale, gave it a great and fierce assault on the 12th inst., but were repulsed with the loss of at least 1,000 of not the worst of their soldiers; so it is hoped until succour arrives it will hold them in play. As yet the French have made no spoil in the town beyond sacking the Jews and taking from the townsmen all kind of weapons; if they fail in their attempts and are driven to avoid again, it is to be feared these poor townsmen are like to feel to their pains what they will do. Has spoken with Secretary Grasso touching the safe conduct of the 150,000 crowns, and has delivered him a memory thereof; he has promised to dispatch the matter. [Half a page.]
March 22.
342. Henry II., King of France, to Queen Mary. In favour of William Le Gras, merchant of Paris, whose vessel had been captured in 1542. [French. Broadside. Signed by his Majesty and countersigned by De l' Aubespine.]
March 28.
343. Queen Mary to Sir John Masone. Understanding on the late being here of Prothonotary Noailles, brother to the French Ambassador Resident, that the French King was well willing to give ear to some communication of peace, overtures had been made to him by means of the English Ambassador. Sends copy of the King's reply, and of a letter to the Emperor from her Majesty on the same subject of peace, transmitted herewith. Desires him to deliver it to his Majesty as soon as he conveniently may, procure his resolution and answer, and ascertain what persons he shall be pleased to appoint to communicate with the French Commissioners. [Minute. Four pages and a half.]