Simancas: May 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: May 1560', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 152-157. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Simancas: May 1560", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 152-157. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "Simancas: May 1560", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 152-157. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

May 1560

8 May.
Brussels Archives, B. M. French M.S., Add. 28,173.
102. The Same to the Same.
Since ours of the 6th instant we received yesterday your Highness's letter of the 1st, replying to our despatches of the 23rd and 24th ultimo, with duplicate of certain letters from the King. Your Highness will have learnt by our said letters the steps we had taken to carry out His Majesty's commands, and we will only now add that we will not fail by communications and interviews with the Queen and Council, and otherwise to forward the wishes of your Highness and His Majesty, although the ambassador Seurre is of opinion (as is also Count de Roussy, one of the hostages,) that we should limit ourselves to the efforts we have hitherto made and not importune the Queen any more for fear of rendering her more obstinate than ever, but wait until perchance she recognises her fault, and request our aid and support. We very much doubt whether she will ever do this unless she is pressed to it by urgent need because, as we have written several times to your Highness, we do not think she desires our intervention, nor do the French either, as we saw more clearly than ever yesterday in the interview we had with Admiral Clinton, Dr. Wotton, and Secretary Cecil, who, on the pretext of discussing with us the complaints made by His Majesty's subjects came to see us. After a long conversation on this question they wished to read to us the answer the Queen had had drawn up in answer to Seurre's protest, which in our opinion was the real object of their coming. As the answer was very prolix, in order not to tire us, as Cecil said, by reading the whole of it, he wanted to read only the conclusion. We asked him thereupon why, and with what object, he wished to read it to us, whether for the purpose of making us witnesses and giving us an account of the Queen's action with de Seurre, or because she desired our intervention to inform Señor Garcia Lasso of the answer, in order that the Most Christian King might be by him made aware of her excuses and complaints, and that the said Garcia Lasso might endeavour to arrange the dispute between the King and her as we had recently offered the Queen our good services with that end, and she had told us that as she had news from Scotland that she wished to communicate to us, she would send her decision on the point at the same time. Cecil pretended to be surprised, and said he had heard nothing of this from the Queen, and his only instructions were to read the end of the answer to us, because in it the Queen called upon our King as her judge, and he (Cecil) knew of no other intention of the Queen, but would willingly speak to her about it. He also gave us to understand that at the moment he left the Queen de Seurre was with her, and had informed her that the brother of M. de la Rochefoucauld was coming to her with full power to settle matters, and that he had already arrived at Boulogne. He asked for letters of safe conduct for him, which the Queen had immediately and gladly given, and had even sent some of her ships for his further security. We therefore think that in view of the coming of this personage she will temporise with us on the chance of their coming to terms without other aid, which God grant. Cecil also told us that they would have already agreed if the bishop of Valence had had full powers, and we think well to inform your Highness of this, so that you may be in possession of all that passes here.—London, 8th May 1560.
Signed : El Obispo Aivaro de la Quadra. Philippe de Stavèles.
May 11. 103. Draft of letter from the King to Bishop Quadra.
Yours of 27th March to hand, and the duke of Alva has shown me what you wrote to him on 6th April. Your and M. de Glajon's joint letter is answered separately as regards Scotland, and instructions as to what is to be done with the queen of England. I approve of your conduct of affairs. Continue to act in harmony with the Duchess, my sister, pending other orders from me, but keep us fully informed of all that happens. For all else I refer you to the letter sent jointly to you and M. de Glajon.
Endorsed : Toledo, 11th May 1560.
May 13.
Brussels Archives. B.M. French M.S., Add. 28,173.
104. Bishop Quadra And De Glajon to the Duchess Of Parma.
On Thursday evening last Cecil sent us word that the Queen wished to see us on the following morning at nine, and at that hour we were with her. She began by remarking how tardy she had been in fulfilling her promise made to us on the 1st instant to let us know when she had news from Scotland of the negotiations for a settlement which were being carried on by the Queen Dowager of Scotland and the bishop of Valence on the one hand, and her (Elizabeth's) ministers and the Scots on the other, and that at the same time she would communicate her decision with respect to the offer we had made to use our efforts to effect an agreement between her and the Most Christian King by means of Señor Garcia Lasso de la Vega. Although she had received no news since then of the negotiations, she wished in fulfilment of her promise to point out to us the cunning and bad faith of the said Bishop towards her ministers whilst he was in the Scotch camp. For the purpose of leading them astray and gaining time he had pretended to desire a settlement, and after some remonstrance had proposed terms. When these were on the point of conclusion the Bishop had been asked to show his authority, and had declared that it was in the possession of the Queen Dowager, but when she was asked for it she had replied that she had not it. This had immensely irritated the Scots, who were now more bitter than ever, although their only desire was to become obedient and faithful subjects of the Most Christian King whilst safeguarding their own privileges, and she herself had been greatly annoyed at this action of the Bishop and seeing herself thus befooled by the King's ministers. Since she could see no hope or probability of a settlement being arrived at by means of the French representatives here, or even by the coming of M. de Randau, (fn. 1) brother to M. de la Rochefoucauld, who de Seurre had told her had already arrived at Boulogne on his way hither with full powers to arrange their differences, but in whom she had no more confidence than in the others, she would be glad to avail herself of our offer, and declared to us that for the purpose of pacifying matters she was willing to withdraw her troops from Scotland and render the country loyal and obedient to the Most Christian King, on condition that he would first withdraw all his French men-at-arms, leaving the fortresses and the government of the country in the hands of the natives to be dealt with as they liked according to their privileges and the treaties ; and on his undertaking not to molest or trouble them in any way for the past. In any other case she could never feel secure against his sending as many troops as he thought fit into Scotland (if the fortresses remained in his hands), and from there invading her own country. The second condition was that the King should at once cease all warlike preparations now being made in France, and break up the forces that may have been got together already there or elsewhere. Thirdly, that he should abandon the arms and style of king of England now usurped by him, revoking and annulling all letters patent or other acts bearing such seal or style. Fourthly, that he should give redress for the injury done to her by the usurpation of such arms and title, and recompense her for the expenditure she had been obliged to incur in consequence of his act. She requested us to convey these conditions to Señor Garcia Lasso for the object mentioned, and that we would use our best endeavours towards the end in view. She promised to hand us a written copy of the conditions, and would be very glad to do so immediately. We asked her what was the use of this, as she was already in treaty with the French, and even was expecting the arrival of Randau for that very purpose. After she had consulted on this point she said she thought it would be better to defer sending the conditions to Garcia Lasso until she had heard the instructions of Randau, and saw whether it was possible to come to terms with the king of France without other intervention. In case this could not be done she would have the articles handed to us in writing for us to take the steps agreed upon. As Randau has not yet arrived she has not sent these articles up to the present.
On this occasion, as usual, we continued to press her to withdraw her troops from Scotland, and hold herself simply on the defensive. She gave no answer whatever to this, but declared that she had a great wish to communicate on this affair directly and personally with His Majesty (the king of Spain), and said if the road were safe and open for her she would like to make a journey in disguise to meet him, and expressed great sorrow at the absence of the King from the Netherlands. As we have already written to your Highness, we are of opinion that neither the Queen nor the French really desire our intervention, and all we have done therefore hitherto has only been with the object of showing your goodwill and the desire of His Majesty that the public peace should not be disturbed.—London, 13th May 1560.
Signed : Obispo Alvaro de la Quadra. Philippe de Stavèles.
23 May.
Brusseis Archives B.M. French M.S., Add. 28,173.
105. Bishop Quadra And De Glajon to the Duchess Of Parma.
Certain couriers arrived from the camp in Scotland on Saturday by whom we learn that on Monday last the English assaulted the town of Leith and had been very bravely repulsed with the loss of 1,500 men, the French having pursued them and spiked some of their guns, such was the disorder. The English have therefore been obliged to withdraw their head-quarters and have informed the Queen that they have no hope of being able to take the town by force. This news is kept so secret here that no trustworthy details are obtainable and they try their best to put a good face on it. The Queen is making an extreme effort to reinforce her troops both by land and sea. We suspect that on Friday last when she sent for us she must already have received the news, although we found her in better spirits than before. We are afraid the affairs of this country are in a very bad way, and if anything evil happen or in case they collect their forces as they are striving very hard to do, things may get into such a condition as to be irreparable. Count Helfenstein took leave of the Queen yesterday. She very willingly gave him license to go, and made him understand, as she has done on other occasions, that she had no intention of marrying. The Count is making preparations for his speedy departure.
The duke of Holstein also leaves to-morrow on his journey home. He tells us he is going by way of Antwerp.
The bishop of Valence arrived here on Saturday. He advised us of his arrival, and we sent twice to him to-day to inform him of our action with the Queen and offer him our help to arrange peace if possible. He thanked us and informed us in return that the reason the treaty arranged in Scotland had not been carried through was not through the lack of the authority, as the Queen had told us, and he had clearly signified this to the Queen this morning in the presence of the English gentleman who was present on her behalf at the negotiation of the said treaty. He had accorded the three points demanded by the English, namely, that the French troops should be withdrawn from Little Leith and the place demolished, but he would not tell us the main point at issue. With regard to the five points required by the king of France, that to the effect that they (the Scots) should separate themselves from the alliance with the Queen, they had after some consultation refused without first hearing the other points. He therefore had to retire and has decided at the request of the ambassador (Seurre) to await here the arrival of M. de Randau, and in the meanwhile to send a courier to his King giving an account of his proceedings in Scotland.
Postscript : After writing the foregoing we learnt that in the above-mentioned assault the English were entirely defeated and lost all their artillery. For this reason the Queen has ordered 6,000 footmen to march towards Scotland, most of those who were already there having fled or been wounded or died, although we are not able absolutely to assert the truth of this. If it be true the loss must necessarily be very great, and this gives rise to some mistrust on our part, as the French dissemble about it.
The reason of the sudden departure of the duke of Holstein is, we understand, to bring for the Queen's service three regiments of infantry and some black arnauts. (fn. 2)
We are also informed that an English gentleman named Brigantyne (fn. 3) who was sent to Germany by the Queen has gone to beg help for her.
The preparations of which we have spoken are very extensive and even several ships belonging to the Flemish subjects have been seized for service in this war.—London, 23rd May 1560.
Signed : Obispo Alvaro de la Quadra. Philippe de Stavèles.
23 May.
Simancas B.M. M.S. Add. 26,056a.
106. Bishop Quadra to Count De Feria.
The Queen has expected for some days that her forces would take take Leith as Lord Grey said they would. They assaulted the place on the 7th without having silenced the lower defences or battered the forts much. They attacked with 22 scaling ladders, and those who got into the fortress were killed by the French artillery, whilst those outside suffered greatly from the volley firing of 2,000 harquebussiers. In the meanwhile 200 curassiers and 500 harquebussiers with 60 horse sallied from the place and completely cleared the trenches. The Scots who were stationed on the other side of the place did not move a hand—not without malice as is thought—and people believe that the alliance will not last long. To this end the French are directing all their efforts, making use of our supposed assistance. In short things are going badly, and we shall one of these days find ourselves at war without knowing why or wherefore. Since His Majesty warned the Queen not to help the rebels the Catholics have been persecuted worse than ever, and all those that are known have been cast into prison. Oxford students and the law students in London have been taken in great numbers. They have also arrested those who came to my house on Easter day to hear mass and have declared my house suspect. I do not wonder at this, for the Queen told Glajon and me that she did not like hidden enemies, by which she meant his Majesty the King, to which I fittingly replied.
They are only hoping that we and the French may fall out, and they evidently think that it will not be long first, or they would not be so bold as they are.
I am suffering the trouble you know of and am so slighted that it it is shameful. Pray help me if you can.—London, 23rd May 1560.
27 May.
Brussels Archives. B. M. French M.S., Add. 28,173.
107. Bishop Quadra And De Glajon to the Duchess Of Parma.
On the day following the date of our last of 22nd instant, M. de Randau, the bishop of Valence and the ambassador (de Seurre) came to tell us that they had been on the previous day with the Queen at Greenwich, to learn from her whether she had decided upon the place of meeting and who should represent her for the discussion with them on the differences between their King and her. She told them that the matter was so important that she had not resolved, but that in a day or two she would do so and let them know. They told us that the Queen would not discuss the differences in this city, and they thought she was not very desirous of a settlement. They also complained that, contrary to her promise to cease hostilities when she received the King's deputies, she now refused to do so.
Very late on Friday the Queen sent to tell us that she had seen the authority of M. de Randau, and was much pleased thereat, and if what Randau and the bishop of Valence told her was true, she had great hope of the success of the negotiation. In order that nothing should be wanting on her part, she had appointed Dr. Wotton and Secretary Cecil to conduct the affair, and would appoint three more when these had arrived in Scotland. Wotton and Cecil start to-morrow, so as to be on the 5th of June at Newcastle, where they will decide with the others where the conference is to take place. She assures us that it will not be her fault if a settlement be not effected. We still think, nevertheless, that neither she nor the French have any intention of making friends together, as the only object of the French is to separate the Queen from her alliance with the Scots, as we have said before, and it would appear by her delays that the Queen hopes to take Leith by famine, as the rumour runs that there is a very small store of provisions there, and it must fall in a few days.
The French at the last meeting very clearly gave us to understand that they did not intend by any means to discuss with the Queen the disputes in Scotland, and she shows no desire for our intervention or presence at the discussion of their differences. We should have been able to give your Highness an account of the conference if it had taken place in this city, but as it will be held a hundred and sixty miles off it will be difficult to obtain news. We will, however, strive by all possible means to obtain information for your Highness. By what we have said, your Highness may see how little use I (de Glajon) can be in future here.—London, 27th May 1560.
Signed : Obispo Alvaro della Quadra. Philippe de Stavèles.


  • 1. Charles de la Rochefoucauld, Count de Randau.
  • 2. "Des noirs harnatz."
  • 3. See letter on this subject from John Brigantyne to Cecil 8th June 1560. Calendar State Papers (Foreign).