Simancas: March 1565

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 1565', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 404-414. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "Simancas: March 1565", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 404-414. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "Simancas: March 1565", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 404-414. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

March 1565

12 Mar. 286. Guzman de Silva to the King.
On the 5th instant the party of the earl of Leicester gave a supper to the Queen in the palacs, which was the wager their opponents had won of them on the previous day. The French Ambassador with Margaret and other of the principal ladies supped with the Queen, as is usual on similar occasions. There was a joust and a tourney on horseback afterwards. The challengers were the earl of Leicester, the carl of Sussex, and Hunsdon. The Queen sent for me to be with her during the entertainment, and whilst I was there she spoke of the liberty which she said her preachers had, especially as regards their speech and their resistance to the ecclesiastical costume which they were ordered to wear, as I had told her 10 days before. The tourney was a good one, as such things go here, with four and twenty horsemen between challengers and opponents. When it was ended the Queen entered her apartments asking me, if I was not tired, to stay and see the rest of the rejoicing for the day. She left Viscount Montague and her Vice-Chamberlain with me until the earl of Leicester disarmed, when the rest of the guests and I went to his apartments to supper. When this was ended we went to the Queen's rooms and descended to where all was prepared for the representation of a comedy in English, of which I understood just so much as the Queen told me. The plot was founded on the question of marriage, discussed between Juno and Diana, Juno advocating marriage and Diana chastity. Jupiter gave a verdict in favour of matrimony after many things had passed on both sides in defence of the respective arguments. The Queen turned to me and said, "This is all against me." After the comedy there was a masquerade of satyrs, or wild gods, who danced with the ladies, and when this was finished there entered 10 parties of 12 gentlemen each, the same who had fought in the foot tourney, and these, all armed as they were, danced with the ladies—a very novel ball, surely. After this the Queen went up to her apartments again where they had spread a very large table in the presence chamber with many sorts of cakes, confitures, and preserves, and in one part of it there were herrings and other small fishes in memory of the principle of Lent. The Queen asked whether I would cat anything, and on my replying that I would not she laughed and said, "I understand you very well and will not cheat you, 12 o'clock has struck," and with that she entered her chamber, not very tired to all appearance, although the entertainment had been so long. She said how much she wished your Majesty had been present, and she could entertain and feast your here.
On the following day, Ash Wednesday, she went into a great courtyard where on occasions such as this the sermon is preached, so that the people on all sides may hear as great crowds go, although the Queen tells me that more go to see her than to hear the sermon. The preacher was the dean of St. Paul's, (fn. 1) who has replaced the one now in prison, from whom he must be very different in person and doctrine. After preaching for some time he began to speak ill of a book written by a Catholic, who is in Louvain, in praise of the Cross, and went on to abuse images. As soon as he commenced the Queen said, "Do not talk about that." The preacher, as I am told, could not have heard her and went on, whereupon the Queen raised her voice and pointedly said to him, "Leave that, it has nothing to do with your subject, and the matter is now threadbare."
The preacher was confused, spoke a few words more, and finished his sermon, and the Queen left apparently very angry, as I am told, many of the Protestant hearers being in tears, whilst the Catholics rejoice. So strong is the hope born of desires that insignificant events elate and depress men thus.
The French Ambassador came to my house as he sometimes does, although always, as I think, to learn something, and told me that the French Ambassador to the Emperor had returned, and asked me whether I knew the reason. "You have the better chance of knowing," quoth I. He said if it was on the question of precedence, as he had been told, he knew nothing about it.
After speaking of the great pleasure his Queen would feel in the meeting with our Queen, her daughter, to which I replied in the same strain, he asked me if I had heard what the Queen had said to her preacher, and he thought she might have avoided so public an occasion for it. "I think differently," I said. "Those that sin publicly must be rebuked publicly, and as the Queen does it so might your most christian King do it ; but I believe that when he gets older he will be more likely to make much of the heretics."
The Queen keeps well. I was with her this afternoon on business connected with the state of Flanders. She spoke of the forces of the Turk and the number of men and ships he is said to have, and said to me, "It seems very wrong that we Christian princes leave my brother the King alone in this matter, which is one in which we are all interested ; it is too bad." I answered, "I am very glad to hear your Majesty spenk thus sincerely, as it shows your good feeling to so true a brother in such a business."
She pressed me on all occasions to remember her to your Majesty, and to say how much she loves you and desires to please you.— London, 12th March 1565.
287. The Same to the Same.
The intention of removing the Catholics from the magistracy and replacing them by protestants, which have been deferred has again been taken up and executed in many places.
On the 10th instant proclamation was made in this city ordering the fulfilment of certain regulations, amongst others that all the citizens should keep weapons in their houses and hold themselves in readiness. They tell me the regulation is an ancient one, but it is not usually revived in this way.
They have taken the confession of the Irishman whom they imprisoned, and who, I wrote, came with the appointment from the Pope to be Archbishop of Armagh. (fn. 2) He admits it is true that he was appointed Archbishop, and that the city was made the metropolitan see of Ireland, the rest of the prelates in the country being retained as suffragans, and that he bore the Pope's order to that effect. He also had power to proceed against those who disobeyed him and those who refused to submit to the Apostolic see in that country. I think he confessed only what he could not deny as they captured his credentials. Nothing more has been done in it yet.
Respecting the order given by the Queen that the ministers were to wear a certain dress, which as I have written many of them opposed and disobeyed on the ground that they wanted to make papists of them, there has been a meeting of several of the new bishops, some of whom asked Secretary Cecil to be present at the discussion on the matter in order that none of the others might make his absence an excuse for staying away. He attended, and after he had made his statement defending the order, some of them argued against it in long and windy speeches which Cecil stopped and said, "Cease these harangues and give us some valid reason against the order." They then told him that the garb was a papistical one and was disagreeable to them, to which he answered : "If you have no better reason to give than that you have studied but little. Do the Queen's will or worse will befall you," and with that the meeting broke up to the small satisfaction of some of them, indeed of most, although they put the best face they can on it. One of the ministers took leave of his parishioners the other day, saying that he could no longer discharge his office as it was against his conscience to wear the garb ordered by the Queen.
Some few of them are already wearing it.
Montague recently said to me, "I cannot understand these people ; they cannot endure me and yet they send me to do their business for them. We are in the midst of troublous times as you see. God help us to a remedy." Leicester is very friendly with him, and he is held in high esteem by Catholics. He appears to be greatly attached to your Majesty. I am glad he goes to the conference. Captain Randolph who now commands the artillery, is the only man of any use as a soldier, and he is so much attached to the service of your Majesty that it is impossible for him to conceal it, although it behoves those who live here to do so, amid so much suspicion and distrust. I was told by a person that the other day he came quite to high words with others of his countrymen about your Majesty, although the affair has been smoothed over and has led to nothing further. It is impossible to realize how your Majesty's coming to Flanders is looked forward to ; by some with pleasure and by others with detestation. They dine with it, sup with it, and sleep with it. The country is tranquil nevertheless.— London, 12 th March 1565.
15 March. 288. The Same to the Same.
I am informed to-day that Parliament, which was summoned for April, is again prorogued. This has been settled since the last prorogation as in addition to the fact that they do not usually sit in the summer there are important objections to a meeting at present. It is usually convoked in order to obtain grants of money to meet the needs of the nation and this is a bad season for such a purpose and, besides this, the Queen understands that they will press her upon one or two matters, namely, to decide upon her marriage or appoint a successor. The question of marriage is a difficult one, because if she weds Robert I am assured it will cause great dissatisfaction in the country, both amongst the higher classes and the common people, and, as I have written to your Majesty, the Queen has told me several times that she wishes to marry but not with him and Robert himself has told me the same. Apart from this all eyes are fixed on the Archduke Charles and well informed people tell me that negotiations about him are actually going on through Robert ; although I have been unable to confirm this in a way that allows me to assert it or to find other certain presumption of it except the good quarter whence I hear it and Robert's evident leaning towards it. Of the latter there is no doubt in appearance, but it is impossible to say with what object. On the other hand it is stated that negotiations are on foot about the king of France, which the Queen herself told me, and it may be true now because the French, having got wind of the Archduke's affair, may wish to divert it by bringing their own king forward. It may be also that, however great the disparity of years, they may be willing to overlook it in order to join this country to theirs, seeing also that the king has a brother. By the same rule this Queen may perhaps be listening to the Archduke for the purpose of stopping his negotiations with Scotland with no intention of having him herself whilst the French may be trying to beat her at her own game. However this may be it is a matter that should be closely watched and if I had received any instructions or remarks on the subject from your Majesty, either to help or hinder, I could have had a hand in it, even if with no other object but to hear what passes, but, as it is, I do not presume to meddle and stand aside until I know what is the object to be sought.
After writing this I received a letter from the Emperor dated 7th ultimo in which he says that he has not returned the Order which his father wore from this country as his exequies had not taken place for various reasons and that the same course had been followed with your Majesty. He will, however, send it soon. He who brings it will be well received here, as I understand.
The Earls of Hernust and Abajemont (Ormond and Desmond ?) who had the conflict in Ireland, about which I wrote to your Majesty, have not been reconciled by the Queen's governor there. I am told they are ordered to come here and that great offers are being made to John O'Neil, although this imprisoned Irishman here blames him somewhat.—London, 15th March 1565.
17 Mar. 289. The Same to the Same.
The duchess of Parma has sent me a draft of 2,000 crowns of 36 placks which your Majesty was pleased to have drawn on Geronimo de Curiel on account of the bishop of Aquila to pay his household and bring his body out of this country. With this money and part of the belongings that had remained, the affair was settled as quickly and adroitly as possible, so that the creditors might not hear of it and arrest the body, and although it was delayed longer than I had thought, it was finally carried through. To this effect the necessary debts were paid, and Luis Roman the Bishop's secretary will give an account to your Majesty when he arrives in Madrid of what still remains to be done in this matter.
The French ambassador seems to have cooled somewhat about his departure from this country and his going to Spain. He told a friend of his that the Ambassador his master has now in Madrid wrote that he had spoken to your Majesty and satisfied you personally, but he thinks nevertheless that the said ambassador will accompany our Queen to the interview with her mother and will not return thither.
News has arrived here from several sources about the forces the Turk is fitting out for this summer, and the preparations your Majesty is making to resist him. Many gentlemen here display great wish to take part in the expedition and ask me about it. I tell them the truth, namely, that I do not know your Majesty's pleasure on the subject. There is a rumour that your Majesty had sought this Queen's aid.
I have thought well to inquire whether this would be made a pretext for raising troops for some other purpose, but all is quiet. Marga, (fn. 3) who is a most excellent person, a good Catholic, and a devoted servant of your Majesty, is going to Madrid to pay his respects. He has license from the Queen for seven months, and says he is going to visit the countess of Feria. Many others would like to do the same, especially Randolph.—London, 17th March 1565.
24 Mar. 290. The Same to the Same.
On the 20th instant I was with the Queen speaking on certain private affairs, and afterwards we talked on other unofficial matters, during which I told her the reason, as the Emperor had informed me, why he had not yet sent back the Order of the Garter with the intimation of his father's death, to which she replied that she had always thought he had refrained from doing so for some very good and sufficient reason, because as he held the first place amongst princes on earth it was reasonable that he should in all his actions follow the example of God who was prince of all in heaven, and who always acted for the best ; which is true. She expressed her pleasure at the news of your Majesty's victory, and the defeat of the 800 Turkish horse and 400 jannissaries, and then said, "I also have some news to tell you. I am informed that my brother the King is sending the duke of Sesa to Germany to arrange the marriage of your Prince with the Emperor's daughter and that of the princess of Portugal with the Archduke Charles." I answered that the news did not come from Spain, but must be some Italian gossip, as it has come through Milan where news was not always correct. "I have letters from Spain of the 7th February and others have arrived dated the 3rd and the 11th, and in none of them is any mention made of such news. "I believe you," she said, "as my Ambassador also tells me nothing about it." I said, "They also say that your Majesty is going to marry the king of France." She held down her head a little and laughed, and I then told her that I had mentioned it to the French Ambassador, who asked me what I thought of it as the King is short and the Queen tall, to which she replied they tell me he is not short, but I wish to confess to you as it is Lent and-you are my friend. "Marriage was suggested to me with the King my brother-in-law ; the king of France has proposed as well as the kings of Sweden and Denmark, and I understand the Archduke Charles also : the only person who has not been mentioned to me is your Prince." "The reason," I said, "appears clear. The King my master no doubt is convinced that your Majesty does not wish to marry since he, the greatest prince in christendom and the wisest, to whom, I am told, your Majesty owes most obligation, was offered to you and nothing came of it." She replied, "For my own part I do not think that such a conclusion is so clear as you say, although at that time I had a great idea not to marry, and I promise you, if I could to-day appoint such a successor to the Crown as would please me and the country I would not marry, as it is a thing for which I have never had any inclination. My subjects, however, press me so that I cannot help myself, but must marry or take the other course, which is a very difficult one. There is a strong idea in the world that a woman cannot live unless she is married, or at all events that if she refrains from marriage she does so for some bad reason, as they said of me that I did not marry because I was fond of the Earl "of Leicester, and that I would not marry him because he had a wife already. Although he has no wife alive now I still do not marry him, notwithstanding that I was spoken to about it even on behalf of my brother the King. But what can we do ? We cannot cover everybody's mouth, but must content ourselves with doing our duty and trust in God, for the truth will at last be made manifest. He knows my heart, which is very different from what people think, as you will see some day. I wish your master were here that I might entertain and consult with him, as please God some day I may. If he goes by way of France you know the road is a bad and a long one, and there are always difficult bits on a long journey." With that she laughed and passed to the subject of the interview of our lady the Queen with her mother, about which I told her I knew no more than I had already conveyed to her from your Majesty. She then again spoke of the Princess and said they had told her she was handsome but not clever. "He who said so must have seen her Highness and not spoken to her." I said, "What do you think of her marriage with the Archduke?" "That it would be very appropriate if either of them had a great kingdom" I replied. I then praised an order of hers making a license from the bishops unnecessary for those who were obliged to eat meat this Lent, but that such a license might be given by the ministers in consultation with two physicians, and that they should not be bought with money as they had been. Many other things were said to which I do not refer, and have set down thus much, although at great length, in order that your Majesty, taking these things together with others you may have heard from elsewhere, may perhaps be able to understand the drift of them. The Queen told me that Margaret's son had been very well received and treated in Scotland, and that he and his father would return in May. I do not know how this will be, but am told that he has no such intention. The secretary of the French Ambassador came on the 22nd. The next day the Ambassador had audience of the Queen and he sent word to me that his King had made him archbishop of Bourges near Orleans. He says they have again assured him that he is to go to your Majesty's court as I have already written. I hear that the secretary has gone to the palace again to-day and will again start for the French court in six or seven days. I cannot discover what they are negotiating although I am doing my best. They say that the man who is to bring the camels and the litter for the Queen is also to bear the Order of St. Michael for Leicester and the Queen's nominee, but that he will not come until after Easter. I am told the Queen is again treating about an interview with the queen of Scotland. She tried before and it fell through.—London 24th March 1565.
Postscript : As I was closing this letter a gentleman from the queen of Scotland came and told me from her that she had received letters from France informing her that I had orders from your Majesty to discuss a certain business of hers which had already been broached between your Majesty and her. She only sent now to know whether this was so, as in such case she would send Lethington, to whom I could communicate as with herself.
I asked the gentleman from whom in Flanders his mistress had received the information, and he replied from Marania. I then asked him how long it was since the Queen had received it, and he told me a fortnight. I said I had no orders from your Majesty to discuss anything, as I had not satisfied myself as to who this gentleman was, and, although he brought me a letter, I had never seen any letters from his Queen and could not compare it. Your Majesty's instructions to me, moreover, were that I was to discuss this matter if it is introduced to me, but I was not told to discuss it of my own accord. The gentleman said he would show his letter to Luiz de Paz, who knew the Queen's signature and would return to speak to me in the morning, as he did not wish to go back to Scotland without an answer from me, his journey having been undertaken solely on this account. He told me he had seen the Queen this afternoon and represented to her that he had come to obtain a passport for Lethington who was about to be sent to France, although he assured me that such was not the case, but was only a pretext for the coming of Lethington here to confer with me. All he wanted to know was whether I could treat with him as he understood your Majesty had written to me to that effect five months since. I told him that if I had to send word to the Queen I should not have waited all this time to do it. He said I might have refrained from doing so in consequence of the unsafe condition of the road, and with that he left with the intention of returning. If he speaks plainly to me I will answer him in accordance with your Majesty's instructions, but if not I propose to keep silence and defer the question if possible until your Majesty tells me what I am to do in it.
The succession of the kings of England from William the Conqueror to the present Queen is enclosed, as also your Majesty's descent from Edward III. With the next letter will go a statement of the claims of the present pretenders which I am now having translated in my house.
31 Mar. 291. The Same to the Same.
With the order sent to me by the duchess of Parma the household of the bishop of Aquila has been paid off and his body sent to Naples. It was managed in such a way that his creditors could not arrest the body or do anything to dishonour it as Luis Roman his secretary will relate in detail to your Majesty. This man, in addition to maintaining the household by order of the Duchess, has been serving faithfully and well since the Bishop's death in your Majesty's interests and your subjects' welfare. I humbly pray your Majesty to show him favour.
Although the body and household are safe out of the country most of the debts and claims are still outstanding of which Luis Roman takes a full list and of the securities held by each creditor. Both to Luis Roman and the others who remained in the Bishop's house I might have given some extra recompense, but I have been very sparing in this respect in order to be able to pay something towards that which is still owing. I have very little left in comparison with the sum due, but the distress of the creditors is so great that I thought better to lighten the burden where I could and hope that your Majesty will provide for what the memory and faithful service of the Bishop demand.
292. The Same to the Same.
On the same day that the queen of Scotland's gentleman came with the letter as I wrote to your Majesty on the 24th, the day the courier left, I received a letter from Cardinal de Granvelle dated 6th February, containing the clause which I copy below, referring to this Queen's recent indisposition of which I had advised him.
"The Queen is young and will pass through all these ailments but, in truth, I wish there were not so much indifference about the queen of Scotland's marriage, especially with the Archduke, as it is a grave thing for us for a multitude of reasons that there should be any thought of marrying her with the king of France. There is not the slightest appearance that it is merely a feint to keep Scotland in hand, and I believe they are in earnest to hinder our objects. I am astonished that not even Luis de Paz has received any news from there and I have heard nothing since his Majesty's decision."
In the face of this I thought best to answer the queen of Scotland's messenger in terms that would ensure Lethington's coming hither, and at the same time to give no pledge in the business except such as may be fitting and convenient when he arrives here, according to the orders your Majesty has given me or such as you may be pleased to send before the Secretary's arrival, considering the time he would occupy in his journey hither. The words of my letter were as follows :— "I received your Majesty's letter by this gentleman and listened to what he has told me replying to him as the subject required." I said to the gentleman verbally, "Salute the queen from me and tell her that I desire to serve her more than I can say for her own sake, and that I have such good reports of Lethington's ability and good parts that, when he comes to this court, I shall be glad to communicate with him." With this answer he left bearing with him a safe-conduct from this queen for Lethington. The next day I went to see the French Ambassador and congratulate him on his promotion to the Archbishopric of Bourges. Amongst other things I said to him, "You will see this queen married to your friend the earl of Leicester before you leave." He coloured up very much and, after a while, laughed immoderately and replied, "I am certainly fond of him. Marriages are all in the air ; they say now that the Scotch Queen is to marry the duke of Orleans and this Queen will not be sorry for it. Lethington, again, is to come hither on his way to France." "What kind of man is Lethington?" I said. "A sort of Scotch Cecil," he replied. On the 27th, the Ambassador passed nearly all the morning with Secretary Cecil, and the same night a special courier arrived for him from France. On the 28th he was with the Queen, and he has now sent word to me that he is despatching his secretary in case I should wish to write to Don France's. On the last-mentioned day when this Ambassador was with the Queen he took leave of her apparently in high good humour and the Queen the same. The only thing that my informant could hear of the conversation between them were the words, "Keep it to yourself." I cannot understand what they are about although I have made and am making every effort to find out. As far as can be conjectured it must be either a matter of marriage, as I have said, between this Queen and Robert, or to prevent the Scotch Queen from marrying except to the satisfaction of this Queen and France. Otherwise it can only be some secret league for reciprocal aid as they are both suspicious and alarmed at your Majesty's voyage to Flanders, and the French are working as they have done before, to alienate these people from their friendship with your Majesty and are trying to get the Flanders trade for themselves, and perhaps even these present conferences may be to treat of this very matter. The French may be offering them very favourable terms to get their representatives not to agree with the Flemish representatives in the conference, and although it is not to be supposed that these people will suddenly change from the alliance with your Majesty yet they will be glad to keep these negotiations on foot to avoid being driven into a corner during the conference, and to be able to say that other people are courting them on the matter. They are also negotiating with the count of Embden, and I am assured that they have quite decided amongst themselves, even though they come to terms with Flanders, to send forty or fifty thousand cloths to that place every year as they wish to keep Embden in their hands in case the trade with Flanders should fall off in consequence of religious questions or their own excesses. It is no wonder these heretics and the French fear the name of your Majesty in this country as it is impossible to conceal the affection with which the majority of the godly here regard you. This must disturb them greatly although I do all I can to tranquillise the Queen, not without effect apparently ; but still, conscience is its own accuser.
Lady Margaret sends to tell me of the kind treatment her son has received at the hands of the queen of Scotland and that the French Ambassador here sent to her in great secrecy to offer and promise all his support for the marriage of her son and anything he might require. She says she knows the French way of dealing and thinks this is for the purpose of discovering whether there is anything afoot, and, perhaps even on the advice of this Queen. She repeats that she and her children have no other refuge but your Majesty, to whom she and they will always remain faithful, and begs me address your Majesty in their favour so that in case the queen of Scotland should choose to negotiate about her (Margarets) son, or in the event of the death of this Queen, they may look to your Majesty. I sent her as kind an answer as I could, telling her that I had heard the French were trying to arrange this marriage for the duke of Orleans and asked her to find out through her friends what this Queen is negotiating about and advise me of what she hears, and I will do the same for her as a proof of the great affection your Majesty bears her for many reasons and especially for her high Christian character.
I have already written your Majesty that Parliament, which had been prorogued until April, would certainly be further postponed until the 5th October, and this has now been done, the letters of prorogation being in course of despatch. I am told that this incident has given rise to some passages of a character anything but pleasant between this Queen and the queen of Scotland.
I send your Majesty enclosed a statement respecting the right of succession to this crown in accordance with the interpretation placed upon the laws by persons versed in them. I had not been able to send it before as I could not obtain, it notwithstanding my diligence. The person who compiled it is learned in the matter and a Catholic.
The earl of Arundel is on his estates, and has sent to ask me to let him know as soon as I learn anything certain about your Majesty's visit to Flanders. It is impossible to exaggerate the anxiety of good people here that your Majesty should come.
The earl of Pembroke has not left his house for a longtime through illness. He appears to be attached to Robert. I am given to understand that he could get out if he liked, but he is not well pleased at the negotiations that are being carried on. Spinola tells me that Pembroke said to him the other day "This French Ambassador is a bad piece, he flatters the Queen and I am always afraid that he will cheat her at last. He is doing her a great deal of harm in the business he is discussing with her now." He said nothing more. I have written to your Majesty that Stukeley had been captured in Ireland. They have not brought him here yet, but on the 29th instant they took Thomas Cobham and lodged him in the Tower. It was he who robbed the ship in which there were 40 galley slaves.—London, 31 March 1565.


  • 1. Dr. Alexander Nowell.
  • 2. Dr. Creagh who, greatly against his will, was sent on his dangerous errand to compete with two other claimants for the Irish primacy.
  • 3. Probably Sergeant Morgan. He is called Mr. Morgan of Kent by the English ambassador in Paris, who advises that he passed that city on his way to Spain under date 25th April 1565 (Calendar of State Papers, Foreign).