Elizabeth: May 1588, 1-10

Pages 607-610

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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May 1588, 1-10

May 1/11. Thomas Jefferey to Lord Admiral Howard.
On receipt of a letter from John Butler, I informed myself of the state of the Guyzard (as they usually call them). There are not above a thousand men for the League betwixt Abbeville and Boulogne, who lie here and there upon the passages, to prevent any man coming by land with good force. Those in 'Basse Bollinge' are about four or five hundred, very poor by report; who arrived secretly on Thursday night. The chief of them is Monsieur Laveron [qy. La Verune], with the Bishop of Boulogne, who fled afore out of the town.
It has been greatly doubted till now that they would have got the High Town, as the governor was not well provided of men. Those of the League brought great store of ladders, to climb the wall, as it is presumed.
The next day they went to a castle, in which the governor had about seventy men, and the captain took out sixty men before daybreak into the castle of the High town, which will be a good aid to the governor. Those of the League got the other castle, those left in it not being able to keep it. On Saturday night the Leaguers began their enterprise. They came to the gates of Boulogne, unpaved the ground and got in. Coming to the second gate, they burned it and so entered. There the governor encountered them with ten or twelve men in armour of proof and some musketeers, who slew five or six of the League and put them from the gate. Since then they have done nothing. The governor plies them with his ordnance, so that they cannot stir in the Low Town, and has battered the church steeple there, so that it cannot annoy the High Town.
Monsieur Bernet shows himself very valiant. He issues out and has burnt divers houses in the Low Town. It is reported that peasants come daily out of the country to the League, being made to believe that they only want "to have the governor out of that place," but what it will grow unto is not known. Those of the High Town daily call traitor to those of the League. The Duke of 'Pernon' is at Rouen and has "made his entry for the government of Normandy," but was not allowed to bring any great train into the town. It is thought that he will send aid to Boulogne by sea, for he cannot do it by land unless he has great force, as the other hath the passage.
There is no news from the Low Countries but that the Prince daily makes great preparation in shipping, that all his men are drawn into Flanders, and that billanders, 'plytes' etc. are being trimmed up at St. Omers that have laid dry this seven or eight years.
Dated at the top, "Laus Deo in Calais, 11 May, 1588, stylo Romano." Add. Endd. Received "from the post at Dover, John Prettywell." 1 p. [France XVIII. 82.]
May 4/14. M. de Carrouges, governor of Rouen, to Burghley.
Stating that some time ago, a convent of English nuns of the order of St. Bridget took refuge in this town by the King's permission, where, having been distressed by the inconveniences common to those who are distant from their kinsmen and native land, they have been reduced to beggary; and by reason of the wars of this kingdom and the late dearth in this province, not having been able to obtain sufficient charity to maintain them—this town having had to feed an immense number of poor people—have been compelled to have recourse to foreign countries. To which end they sent two of their nuns to Spain, who returning thence with alms, were captured by the Rochellers, and have since (as he is informed) been sent into England. Fearing that they may be ill-treated there, rather by suspicion of their journey than by infraction of the laws which by their banishment they have obeyed, he wishes to testify that he knows them to be very honest persons, leading a life far removed from faction or conspiracy aganst any, and above all against the State of England, for which and for the prosperity of the Queen, he has often seen and heard them offer prayers to God; and that their journey had no other cause than their necessity, which was very well known to him. Wherefore he prays his lordship to use his influence and authority that the Queen may have pity on them and that their ill fortune may not be taken for a sign of crime; which he would take as a great favour to himself, and it would be a work worthy of so great a sovereign to have compassion on these poor captives, whose liberation would be a signal sign of her clemency, and an obligation to himself to do his lordship any service that he can ask of him.—Rouen, 14 May, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley's clerk [in error] "the French ambassador to my lord." French. 1¼ pp. [France XVIII. 83.]
May 4/14. The Same to Walsingham.
Verbatim the same as to Burghley.
Signed. Add. Endd. [correctly]. French. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. XVIII. 84.]
May 4/14 M. Gourdan to Walsingham.
I have received your honour's letter, and learnt from Mr. Bornay the charge which he had from the Queen. He will tell you what I replied. I pray you, do me the favour to manage matters so that she may not take it ill; for it is not that I do not greatly estime the offer which she makes to the King, or that I do not desire to serve her in any way she may please to command me.—Calais, 14 May.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 85.]
May 5. Stafford to Walsingham.
On Friday night, the day that I sent you the news of the broil here the day before, the King suddenly departed with six or seven of the chief of his Council, "some without boots, some without spurs, some upon foot cloths, and going over 'St. Clou brigg' went to Trappes, where he rested awhile, and within three hours after went to horse again, and is gone to Chartres yesterday to dinner, where as soon as he was gone, all that were his affected followed galloping, as Montpensier, Longueville, and all them that were not affected the other way.
"His mother is marvellously amazed at it; for he had sent her to the Duke of Guise, and in the mean time 'scaped away. The Queen his wife, melancholy, weeping and lamenting; the town here, what fury soever they were in, are marvellously amazed, but as yet the Duke of Guise is not remained full master of this town, though what they will do hereafter I cannot tell; as [it] is much to be doubted, when they feel further the loss that it is to them to have lost their king in such a displeasure, and what ruin he may bring upon them by it, as some say he protested it at his going away he would do.
"Truly, if things be not moderated, wherunto I have promised to them that have spoken to me of it, both to put my helping hand to, and assured them that her Majesty would do so too, though of late you had not had great credit with the King, but that I knew you desired the good and the quiet and not the destruction of this realm. Monsieur de Brissac himself, who came hither to me, both for the conservation of me and my house, and offered in respect of the place I bear from her Majesty all honour, favour and courtesy, hath told me their manner of proceeding, which he desireth might be known unto her Majesty and all princes, which I leave unto Lillye to report, who shall come unto her Majesty as soon as I have got a passport for him; besides that I know myself of their modest dealing, having the hand and vantage so much as they had.
"I only dispatch this poor man in the meantime, that her Majesty by you may know this sudden 'horlyborlye' of the King's departure; who is thought will go to Angers or Tours, and there assemble 'as' [sic. all] his forcestogether, which flock unto him from all parts; and as is assured me, he hath above eight or nine hundred gentlemen, and from all places come to him continually, and that he hath already the regiment of Picardy following him and his Swisses, and the other guards that he had here that went out at the same instant after him, above 8000 footmen. I am advertised, but I cannot assure you; but it is very likely, that he hath in post dispatched to Lavardin to bring away all the forces he has in Poitou to him, and to leave the King of Navarre to do what he list; and that he hath made the like dispatch to the Marshal Matignon. Some say he hath sent also to the King of Navarre to come, but that I do scarcely believe. He sent yesterday to his Mother to command her not to stir from hence and not to follow him; that he would within a day or two send her his will.
"There is to go to him tomorrow from this town the two Presidents with six counsellors and certain burgesses, to mitigate his anger. . . ." Paris, Sunday, 5 May, 1588.
Postscript. Sends by request a packet from one John de Castra, (fn. 1) a Portingall who was in England with that King, but came away malcontented. Has himself never seen the man.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVIII. 86.]
May 10. M. de l'Aubespine Chasteauneuf to Walsingham.
Understanding that her Majesty has had two couriers from France, he desires to know if matters at Paris have passed as he related to his honour, and if anything has happened since his man left at midday on Sunday. Also if her Majesty continues in the intention of which she spoke to him yesterday morning, to send a gentleman [to France], as if so, one of his own shall accompany him.—London, Friday morning.
Holograph. Add. Endd. with [English] date. French. ½ p. Seal. [France XVIII. 87.]


  • 1. See p. 601 above.