Simancas: March 1560

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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, 'Simancas: March 1560', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 132-142. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "Simancas: March 1560", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 132-142. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "Simancas: March 1560", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 132-142. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

March 1560

6 March.
Brussels Achives. B. M. MS., Latin. Add. 26,056a.
90. The King to Queen Elizabeth.
Letter of credence for Seigneur de Glajon. He affectionately salutes his dear sister and kinswoman from whose letters of 14th December he learns that she and her council desired to refer certain matters of the highest importance to his consideration. He thinks better to avoid long written communications that might give rise to delay and misunderstanding, and to send Seigneur de Glajon for whose words he bespeaks credence and attention on a subject so important to the future prosperity and tranquillity of her country.— Toledo, 6th March 1560.
7 March.
Simaneas, B.M. MS., Add. 26,056a.
91. Bishop Quadra to Count de Feria.
His urgent need of money—beseeches help. The Emperor's ambassador has been my guest for six months, and I must feed him and those who come to visit him. Besides this, not a day passes that I am not besieged by poor clergymen and students whom they have turned out of their benefices and colleges and who come to beg for charity. I cannot help relieving them, and when I can no longer do so, I will gladly give place to anyone who will come here and go through what I have to suffer. I gave Rastelo (Rastell ?) twenty-five crowns the other day for clothes. He is preaching secretly in the desert like an apostle. Every day I have to find money for somebody, and I am deeply in debt.
The coming of the personages to be sent by His Majesty hither and to France will do more harm than good if they are only coming to talk, as the Catholics expect much more than that, but in any case they will be too late as the good or ill will be done before they arrive ; the army having to leave here within a fortnight to attack the French. The Queen will have to take the matter up more warmly than she thought, as Randolph tells me the rebel forces are very few, and the Scotch people are making no move as she expected. She is in danger and much alarmed, and this is the time to do what ought to be done, but if we are to be always on the defensive and to continue to palliate such things, I can only say patience ! although I well know we shall never have such an opportunity again. All are with us, and the very heretics are sick of it. I do not presume to speak openly of the matter in this spirit, as I am not a turbulent or boasting person, and do not want to appear so. Lord Robert has sent Sidney to speak to me, and I have spoken plainly to him, and have even let the Queen see how pained I am. Sidney says something about your Lordship's writing to Robert about the licenses (for the Countess and Clarentius), but I told him I had forgotten all about that, and was dissatisfied with his brother in-law for other reasons. He (Lord Robert) is the worst and most procrastinating young man I ever saw in my life, and not at all courageous or spirited. I have brought all the artillery I can to bear upon him, and, by my faith if it were not for some fear of our own house I would soon give the historians something to talk about. Not a man in England but cries out at the top of his voice that this fellow is ruining the country with his vanity.—7th March 1560.
7 Mar. 92. Bishop Quadra, to the King.
By copy of a letter which I enclose, your Majesty will learn what the queen of England's fleet did in Scotland on the 15th ultimo, since when the French have maltreated the Scots in some engagements of small importance in which the English took no part. The English are not quite satisfied as they have not yet received the hostages they asked for and especially since the French have announced that their King would pardon the rebels, who on their side will be glad to have forgiveness and to separate from the league they have entered into with this Queen.
Four days since the Queen Regent of Scotland sent a herald here for the purpose of asking the Queen whether the action of her ships in Scotland was taken by her orders, and if not to demand restitution and redress for the damage done. The day following this demand letters arrived here from the king of France to his ambassador and from Throgmorton to the Queen. The King writes nearly the same as the Scots herald had said, and Throgmorton advises that they have asked him the reasons for the Queen's action, and on his declaring them Cardinal Lorraine had promised him that satisfaction should be given to her. The French ambassador here has made the same offer to the Queen and Council and a committee has been appointed to discuss the questions at issue. As regards the usurpation by the King of the arms and style of England he offers to abandon them on condition that the Queen shall appoint, a person to meet a representative of the king of France and decide whether he has a right to them or not. This the Queen is disinclined to do as she does not wish to bring her rights into question. As to the withdrawal of the French troops from Scotland, which is the real difficulty, the ambassador proposes that when the rebels and the English have laid down their arms both by land and sea and returned to their homes, the French will withdraw all their forces except five companies of 300 to 400 foot soldiers each, and a pardon shall he given to all. The government of the county will be handed over to the Scots and the French will only retain possession of four or five strong places. There is a great deal of difficulty about this which has been increased by Throgmorton's letters urging them on no account to believe what is said here as he knows for certain that the real aim of the French is to victual their fortresses and stand firm, with the object, when opportunity offers, to catch these people unawares and invade this country. The discussion is still proceeding, but I think it will come to nothing, as it seems to me as if the Queen were determined to try whether she cannot turn them out altogether. The French persuade themselves that a settlement will be effected, and with this end they are bearing themselves with extreme solicitude and humility although outside they still flourish about and make as many friends as they can, both Catholics and heretics. What will be most likely to influence the Queen is the laxity of the rebels and the fact that the people of the country make no move as it was assured they would do as soon as her fleet arrived there. I have urged both sides to make peace, and, whilst preserving my ordinary demeanour towards both of them, I have shown a little more leaning towards the Queen but telling her still how badly she is acting. She persists in her resolve and says that she not only desires to protect herself, but also to be avenged, and is providing herself with ships and money and sending the principal gentlemen of the country to the ports, some of which are to be fortified. She is expecting Duke Adolph, who has offered her 24 standards if she need them, The French ambassador says that the troops which the Count of Oldendurg was trying to raise in Saxony were on account of fears about Metz and the Empire although it was published that they were to be sent hither. The idea, however, is now abandoned, and the ambassador confesses that the Queen had good reasons for distrust, as he says his master had no right to question her legitimacy, seeing that King Henry, her father, had acknowledged her. So far as I understand the Queen and her Council do not believe any of this, although I do not see how they can persevere in the path they have taken.
The Queen tells me that the son of the king of Sweden will soon go to Flanders, where he will wait until it is time for him to return to his own country, but the French have an idea that it is to raise money that he is going, and if nothing else can be done, to arrange his brother's marriage. With regard to the match with the Archduke there is no news and in my opinion will be none. The letter she (the Queen) promised to write to the Emperor has never been written and will end like the other letters, a copy of one of which (that taken by the ambassador Preyner) I send to your Majesty that you may see what she says about the late Queen Mary of sainted memory having tried to force her into marriage and imprisoned and ill-treated her in consequence, which if it were true your Majesty would know. I also send copy of the Emperor's reply, by which it would seem that he withdraws from the negotiation although he instructs Count Helfenstein to stay here. The latter has not yet delivered the letter as he waits to see what she will write to the Emperor.
The king of France told Throgmorton he was surprised that his mistress should try to disturb his Kingdom by means of religious dissension, and the ambassador here said the same thing to the Queen, as five or six principal people can testify. It is asserted here that the Pope is inclined to proclaim her and place an interdict on the kingdom, whereat she is somewhat concerned, as she fears it may estrange your Majesty from her, and she tells me that she is desirous that a concilio should be held and that she is not so fond of this new theology as I think, and other things of that sort, which if I did not know her character, might perhaps convince me ; but it is all compliment. Count Helfenstein was present at this conversation and on one occasion was going to write to the Emperor about the concilio, but she stopped talking about it as soon as she saw he took her at her word.
I understand that if any disaster happens to the Queen's life or estate the Catholics will raise to the throne a son of the countess of Lennox, and this talk, according to what Paget tells me, is well founded. Both the lad and his parents are strong Catholics, and they say he is very promising and of good parts. The Queen signifies her intention of declaring Lord Hastings as her successor, but he himself is quite of a difierent opinion and goes in constant dread of being sent to the Tower.
So great is the common dissatisfaction with the Queen and her mode of life that it is quite marvellous that so much delay should occur without some disaster happening to her, and it will not be from any fault of the French if it be not attempted.
If a settlement is not shortly arrived at I think they will propose that during the Queen's life their claims shall not be pressed, but that if she die without children it will not be considered unreasonable that the rights of the queen of Scots should prevail. The French ambassador has just been here telling me this and giving me an account of what he is doing. I answered him that, as both the Queens are young and without children, it is useless to discuss what may happen after our time, and we had better look to the preservation of the State and the public peace. He is so suspicious of the marriage of the Archduke that I think it gives them more anxiety than the question of Scotland, although they pretend to the contrary. I have heard that he has said that the peace between your Majesty and the King his master was made by men who were prisoners, and if it had been made by others your Majesty would not have got such good terms. I am sure he has said this, and I think his aim is rather to show strength and confidence than to sound the Queen and her friends. He is a man of ability and I cannot believe he speaks at random. He also declares that all the trouble in Scotland arises from their objection to the change of religion there, whereas the Queen says that neither she nor the Scots care anything about it, and it has never been mentioned. In short they are trying to win over people here, and if the natural enmity of the two nations do not prevent them, they certainly will not fail through any want of diligence and urbanity of their own. On the other hand the name of your Majesty is generally venerated to an extraordinary degree. I say generally, because, with the exception of the Queen and those who surround her, particularly the heretics, everyone else is calling out for and desiring your Majesty. I do not like to omit telling your Majesty this as I think you should know the state of affairs. The French ambassador also told me that if they did not come to terms with the Queen they would probably get the Pope to proceed against her, and he wanted to know what your Majesty would do in such case. I evaded the subject, although I said that the kings of Spain had never failed to obey the apostolic See in things that were just. As I have said, I am sure they are alarming the Queen very much about this, and she thinks probable that in such case your Majesty would withdraw your friendship from her. Yesterday, when she was giving me an account of her affairs and came to this subject of the Pope's declaration, she said that at all events she would be victa sed non suplex and thus consoles herself whatever happens. Every possible preparation is being made for war, and they have already eight or ten armed vessels to send to the Cornish coast as they fear the French may send that way some reinforcements which they might disembark at Dumbarton and march to Leith through a friendly country. They have also ordered troops to be raised to provide against any attack of the French on the coast. Captain Randolph tells me he thinks that the present state of things is doomed, and if it were not for leaving his home he would go and serve your Majesty in Spain. He came from Berwick the day before yesterday and says that 12 days ago the French gave the Scots a good trouncing, and if the Queen does not send troops from here the rebel forces are insignificant. The troops now on the frontier do not exceed 10,000 men. In Leith there are 3,000 harquebussiers and 60 pieces of artillery. He says the fortification is not very good, as it is of sand, of mean construction and is situated in a flat country, and he assures me that unless those who capture it are very good soldiers they will waste their time. He says that so great is the Queen's need of competent officers that he does not know three in the whole army who are fit to command 200 foot. I do not think the duke of Norfolk is included in these, but the lieutenant-general Lord Grey is. It is to be hoped they will speedily be confounded.
I have kept this letter open to learn what has been arranged between the Queen and the French ambassador. The following are the terms.
Respecting the title assumed by the king of France and his wife of kings of England, they abandon it entirely. Respecting the arms, it is to be investigated if the Queen of Scots, being heiress apparent on the death of Elizabeth without children, can assume the arms by right quartered with her own in the lower sinister quarter of the escutcheon. The Queen will not enter into any compromise or send representatives to discuss the question elsewhere, and the Queen of Scots will be urged to send a person here to allege her claim.
Respecting the withdrawal of French troops from Scotland, which is the difficult point, the ambassador has promised that whenever the English withdraw their ships and army and the Scotch rebels lay down their arms and beg for mercy from the king of France he will pardon them and withdraw his troops, leaving only four companies of 250 men each to garrison four fortresses which the King holds there, and in future all government offices are to be given to natives.
The English are not content that any French should remain, and the king of France is be to consulted on this point. With regard to the withdrawal of troops, as the French say that they have no preparations made the English offer to let them come by land in small numbers or will furnish ships to take them to France and will give hostages that they receive no ill-treatment.
As there is a difficulty as to which side shall begin to disband the English promise that if the French will first send away one third of their force they, the English, will disperse an equal number of their men and fleet. So that in three operations the disarmament will be concluded. The great difficulty, however, is still the demand that no French should remain and as it appears that both sides are firm on this point much still remains to be done.
The Queen appears very dissatisfied, and Cecil too, and I assume from this that they are not pleased with the arrangement, but as the Scotch business is turning out so badly for them, and they have never been able to get the hostages they expected or to do any solid work, they will have to take what terms they can get from the French for the present. The French are very accommodating in everything so long as they keep the fortresses with sufficient troops to hold them, and the disturbances in the country cease, which will enable them, if they desire, to invade this country whenever they think fit, and catch it unawares and disarmed. The only way the Queen can prevent it is to change her mode of life and opinions. I have told her so many times, and she now sees it like everybody else, but I cannot hope that God will move her to mend matters.
Count Helfenstein has gone to give her the Emperor's letter, of which I enclose copy, withdrawing totally from the negotiations for the marriage unless something clear and definite is agreed upon. This is an advisable course considering the state in which things are.— London, 7th March 1560.
15 Mar.
Samancas, B. M. MS., Add. 26, 056a.
93. Bishop Quadra to the Duchess of Parma.
The Queen has not more than 8,000 infantry in order, and will not employ the people living near the frontier, as they are mostly Catholics. Captain Randolph thinks the English will not succeed.
The Queen is in great doubt of the duke of Norfolk, and is sorry she gave him the command.
They have 25 ships ready, but the crews are only on paper. Cecil says the Queen will never consent to marry the Archduke, in consequence of the difference of faith. They are all so obstinate that they will sacrifice everything for this.
The people in the country are so anxious to have Lady Margaret's son for King, that not only would he be universally accepted if the Queen were to die without issue, but I am told that at the first opportunity, even now, many Catholic lords would proclaim him King. In any case they will not have any more women to rule them as they are so afraid of foreign influence. He has the best right of any of the claimants, and is the best in every way, but it is feared that the French want to get hold of him.—London, 15th March 1560.
26 Mar. 94. The Same to the Same.
By the letter enclosed for His Majesty your Highness will see the haste with which the Queen is carrying out her intentions with regard to the war, and of how little avail are all efforts made to detain her. She has gathered fresh encouragement from the tumults in France, which tumults the people here wish to answer by a declaration of war, and to add fuel to the fire, the neutral Scots have, many of them, gone over to the heretics. On the other hand, things here are not so quiet as they look, and there are men whom they dare not summon hither, and who would not come if they did. I am astonished, as things are going, that a general rising should not take place. I think M. de Glajon's coming would be very opportune, and that he should not be so meek as we have all been this year. I hope His Majesty has given due orders.
I beseech your Highness to pardon me if I venture to beg that you will sometimes order my letters to be answered, but, placed as I am here, I am obliged to be troublesome, as His Majesty has ordered me to communicate with you.—London. 26th March 1560.
28 Mar. 95. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 7th instant I sent your Majesty the heads of the negotiations for peace between the Queen and the French ambassador, and two days afterwards I sent to Madame de Parma a special messenger to tell her privately the present state of affairs and the danger which I think threatens. I have since written to her Highness again, and I am sure a full account will have been sent to your Majesty up to the 13th instant. Since then the bishop of Valence (fn. 1) has arrived here and has laid down four propositions to the Queen ; firstly, that the King is desirous of keeping the peace with her and all the world ; secondly, that certain injuries, which he specified, had been done to Frenchmen by her agents ; thirdly, that it was necessary for him to know whether these injuries had been done by her orders, not so much for purposes of redress or treating of past acts as to take measures for the future ; and fourthly, that if the Queen had any cause of complaint against him they should be remedied to her satisfaction, and if they were such as are covered by the treaty of Cambresi they shall be investigated and redressed at once, but if they were matters that required new discussion and inquiry, orders should be given for an inquiry to be held in a friendly way, as is provided by the treaties, without recourse to arms. For this purpose he said the personage who would be sent by your Majesty to mediate on both sides would be available, which personage. ... (fn. 2) I believe the Queen answered very bitterly ... but at last they got to the discussion of the heads, whereon the main difference exists. With regard to the arms some alteration was made, as Throgmorton writes that the promise made here by Ambassador Seurre, that they should be abandoned at once, was not ratified by Cardinal Lorraine, who said the ambassador had no authority to promise it. But the alteration in this does not amount to much, as the Bishop would not stand on the point if a fair answer were given to the rest. With regard to the style there was more trouble, as the Bishop alleged that at Chateau Cambresi the English commissioners knew that the queen of Scots used the title, and they made no objection whatever. The Queen was very angry at this, and said he did not tell the truth.
As regards the withdrawal of the troops from Scotland the Bishop began by making very large promises, but as the end of it all was that the fortresses were to remain in the hands of the French ; the Queen stopped the discussion and referred him to the Council, which treated him no better than she had done. He asked them to let him pass on to Scotland promising if they did that he would pacify all the rebels in accordance with the treaties which exist between France and Scotland, especially with regard to the withdrawal of troops, for which, he said, he had full authority, which they thereupon asked to see. He showed them his instructions in which he is directed, in case the Scots themselves request the departure of the French troops, to tell the Queen Regent to dismiss the greater part of them. This ended the interview, both he and they being displeased.
The next day the Queen sent a man to the duke of Norfolk to order him to enter Scotland with the army. The two following days, Saturday and Sunday, were spent in comparing instructions, and yesterday, Monday, Secretary Cecil and Dr. Wotton came to me from the Queen to say that as she had heard that the object of the bishop of Valence's visit was only to waste time and pass on to Scotland and no reply having been sent, as was promised by the 24th instant, either to the communications to the King through Noailles, or to those by the present ambassador, she and the Council had decided to order the duke of Norfolk to enter Scotland with the army and join the Scots. She had advice that they had taken the field on the 20th instant, but as she was desirous that all the world should see that she was a friend of peace, she had instructed the duke of Norfolk to send word to the Queen Regent that if she would dismiss the troops she had with her and let the natives hold the fortresses and live in freedom according to their own laws and customs he would not bring his army in to molest her. For her greater justification she said that against the French nation she had no complaint to make, but only against the house of Guise, which had tyrannised over France and was the mortal enemy of the English, and she conveyed this to me that all the world should see how this war began. I answered that having ... (fn. 3) I thought, as indeed I had told her personally, that she might have awaited his arrival, which perhaps might have altered her decision. Cecil then said that the decision could not be altered or delayed. I answered that no doubt they knew their own business best, but that I could do no more than hear what they had to say, and await the arrival of M. de Glajon to fulfil your Majesty's commission. They asked me whether the person your Majesty was sending to France was going from Flanders or from Spain, and seemed to attach some importance to this. I told them I did not know who it would be, although I thought that for convenience he would probably go from Spain. We spoke about their preparations for the war which they say are on a very large scale, and that they could keep 15,000 men at sea for 10 months with the stores they have ready. As regards land forces they have money enough to furnish as large an army as they want. Speaking of the recent tumults in France against the King, they seemed to approve of the object of them, which they said was only to obviate the tyranny of the house of Guise. As it is publicly said here that these tumults are suspected by the French to be fomented by the queen of England, they gave me explanations in that respect and said that there was no Englishman in France, except such as were rebels against England. I took good note of this because the man Tremaine, about whom I wrote to your Majesty, is there as a rebel since the rising of M. Remut. They then left. I was not inclined to tell them that I knew that they had sent to the duke of Norfolk three days before, as they have been so full of compliments to me lately. To-day Doctor Wotton and Mr. Cave (fn. 4) came again to tell me from the Queen that she had told the bishop of Valence that she was willing for him to go to Scotland and try to pacify them as best he could, since he said he had authority to do so, and secret instructions in addition. The Queen had also said that she would have a proclamation published declaring that she had no wish to begin war against the French, and that she gave leave for them to come to this country and to go backwards and forwards to Scotland ; and this without mentioning a word about what they said yesterday touching the war, although to me they repeated the same things. The Bishop will take leave to-morrow and will start for Scotland the next day. They seem to have told me all this to justify themselves, and I gave them the same answer as yesterday.
The Queen and Council were averse to the Bishop's visit to Scotland, and this caused them at first to refuse him license to go. They think he is a man who will do very little good there, and they say that he formerly went about Ireland in disguise trying to get the country handed over to the French. They are not free from fear that he may have the same idea still, as the Queen herself signified to me. Although I said nothing to her about it I do not know what .. (fn. 5) island ; but they think best to let him go in order not to appear ... (fn. 5) determined. Still what they say is exactly the reverse of what they do, which is to try and embroil your Majesty with the king of France and turn the French out of Scotland at the same time. They think that, even if they fail in both objects, peace will nevertheless be preserved served to them by your Majesty's favour. I think matters will not be settled until the Queen is undeceived as to what she can do in Scotland. I understand that this Bishop brings a letter from your Majesty to the king of France, by which it appears your Majesty promises him your favour and support. It is quite marvellous how this country remains tranquil considering the condition in which it is. If any disturbances take place I still believe that the Catholic party will turn to your Majesty.
I have understood Lord Robert told somebody, who has not kept silence, that if he live another year he will be in a very different position from now. He is laying in a good stock of arms, and is assuming every day a more masterful part in affairs. They say that he thinks of divorcing his wife.
The duke of Holstein is expected here this week, and, however it may turn out, your Majesty may be certain that what they have in view is to cause war and disquiet to all the world by means of the religious question. These heretic preachers, even, are already saying from their pulpits that, since the gospel has a power like England on its side, there is no need to preach with the tongue but the sword, and that this is the only way to resist the power of Antichrist. There is never a sermon preached without some reference to the multitude of brethren they say they have in Spain ... Having kept this letter back until to-day, 28th, I can now add thereto the declaration of war enclosed. It is drawn up in the crafty way in which all things are done here, but the army has orders to enter Scotland. I believe the duke of Norfolk will not go with it, but Lord Grey ; the reason being that the Duke is suspicious of the Queen and her favourites as she is of him, and therefore he has not cared to offer to enter with the army, fearing that if the enterprise should not succeed it might cost him his head, and the Queen on her side has not ventured to order him expressly to go, but has left him to do as he pleases and either enter with the army, or remain on the frontier in charge of the province. The proclamation is in accord with the cry of the heretics who have disturbed France. Please God that ... (fn. 3) times written ... (fn. 3) more than Christianity. The bishop of Valence took leave of the Queen yesterday prior to setting out for Scotland, in the belief that what they had told him about the Queen's wish for peace was in earnest. When he afterwards saw the proclamation, however, he was quite in despair of being able to effect what he had hoped in Scotland, and is now in doubt as to whether he shall go thither or return to France. He came to ask for my advice on the point, but I would only say that he must do as he thought best in his master's interests and in accordance with his instructions. When he saw that I would not express an opinion he told me he thought best not to go to Scotland as he feared the journey would be fruitless. He also thought now that M. de Glajon's coming would be useless, and expressed displeasure at his delay. Still I think he will go.—London, 28th March 1860.

Brussels Archives, B. M. French MS. Add. 28, 173a.
96. Documents taken by M. de Glajon concerning his Commission in England.
His instructions from the Duchess (of Parma)
Copy of instructions in Spanish given by the King to the personage sent to France.
Copy of letters from the King to the Duchess of 3rd March 1559 concerning English affairs.
Another copy of similars letters from his Majesty to Madame on the same, dated 6th March aforesaid.
Copy of Spanish letter written by his Majesty to bishop de la Quadra his Ambassador in England.
A proposal made by Ambassador Throgmorton to the king and queen of France and their Council on behalf of the queen of England his mistress on the 13th March aforesaid.
Copy of letter written by the Queen Regent of Scotland to Sieur de Noailles on the 28th January 1559.
Copy of a letter from Cardinal Lorraine and the duke of Guise to the duke of Alba of the 23rd February.
Credential from Madame to the queen of England.
Another letter of credence in his favour from her Highness to his Majesty's ambassador bishop de la Quadra.


  • 1. Jean de Monluc, bishop of Valence, the most adroit of French statesman of his time, with the exception perhaps of Cardinal Lorraine.
  • 2. Original torn.
  • 3. Torn in original.
  • 4. Sir Ambrose Cave, a member of the Privy Council.
  • 5. Torn in original