Simancas: June 1566

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: June 1566', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 555-564. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Simancas: June 1566", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 555-564. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "Simancas: June 1566", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 555-564. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

June 1566

1 June. 359. The Same to the Same.
In my last letter, 25th ultimo, I wrote to your Majesty that it was said the Viceroy of Ireland had made terms of peace with John O'Neil and this was considered true at the time. Since then Captain Pierce has arrived from the Viceroy to discuss with the Queen the terms demanded by O'Neil. Amongst other things the Queen had to give him 17,000 pounds English money, which he had formerly spent in her service, otherwise he would not come to terms. The Viceroy informs the Queen that it would be well in case she refuses O'Neil's demands to delay the business in order to give time to collect forces to resist him. O'Neil, it is said, declares he will wait the whole of this month, and if by that time they do not reply, he will take his own course. It would be no harm for these people to be embarrassed somewhat by O'Neil.
The Queen will not on any account sanction the sale to Stukeley of the office of marshal in Ireland or even of the lands he has purchased adjoining O'Neil's country. The reason they give is that they cannot trust him as he is a friend of O'Neil, and might make common cause with him. The real reason probably is that they consider him a Catholic.—London, 1st June 1566.
4 June. 360. The Same to the Same.
Melvin, the Scotchman who was here on behalf of the queen of Scotland, and by whom I wrote to her, has returned hither, and given me a letter in reply to mine, in which the Queen refers me to the bearer. He told me that the King and Queen were well, and that the latter's confinement is expected not later than the 10th instant. His negotiatious with this Queen were that she should consent to be God-mother to the infant, and refuse to allow the conspirators who took part in the death of the secretary to remain in this country, and asked her to consent to meet his Queen after her confinement. This Queen had replied that she was willing to expel the conspirators who were in Newcastle, giving them some days' notice. With regard to being the infant's God-mother, this she would do with pleasure, and with respect to the interview, he says, she did not answer decidedly, but that secretary Cecil had told him that it would be impossible this summer, and I have no doubt Cecil was right. They are delaying to see what will happen as they are very anxious about the Emperor's answer respecting the Archduke, and also, I think, because they do not like the queen of Scotland to communicate with her friends in this country whom she might meet at the interview.
The news as to the date of the confinement is confirmed by another gentleman, who is a brother of the Scotch Ambassador in France, who is on his way to the latter country.
Although the queen of Scotland must have understood from my communication to her that I could inform her as to what Yaxley had done on his journey, neither Melvin nor the gentleman I have just mentioned has been instructed to say anything which will enable me to treat confidentially with them. I am surprised at this, and think perhaps that the Queen has learned what has happened through Don Francés de Alava.
I wrote to your Majesty some days ago that I thought Captain Hawkins might be fitting out his ships (which he said were intended to be ready to serve your Majesty) really for the purpose of making another voyage like his last one to the Indies, and I am informed to-day that it is so arranged that there shall be no difficulty about finding people to trade with him in the places he visited last year. My information is not certain enough to enable me to frustrate the plan yet, and I will wait until it is more advanced, and I can with good grounds ask the Queen to stop the voyage, but I think that the Governors should be warned.—London, 4th June 1566.
8 June. 361. The Same to the Same.
I am informed that Thomas Danet who went to the Emperor from this Queen about the Archduke's match, had sent a courier with a letter to the Queen from the Emperor, in his own hand, and that good hopes were entertained of the conclusion of the business. The Emperor had also replied respecting the Order of the Garter, which he said he would accept with the same pleasure that his father and grandfather had.
I sent to learn of Cecil when and how Danet had arrived. He said he arrived on the 29th ultimo, and that the Emperor had received him very well, but could give no reply until he had communicated with the Archduke Charles. Danet had therefore followed the Emperor to Augsburg on the 3rd instant, and passed through the duchy of Bavaria, whence he will go to Vienna by water, and hopes the business will be successfully carried through.
Melvin, who I wrote to your Majesty had come hither for the queen of Scotland, delivered a letter from his mistress to the earl of Northumberland, containing only a few gracious words, assuring him of the interest she took in his affairs, and referring him to Melvin. Melvin assured me that the letter contained no more than this, and the earl imprudently gave it to the Queen. I think, however, that his reason was more that he distrusted Melvin because he was a Protestant. It is wonderful what a lack of confidence and security this heresy has caused. The Queen was extremely angry and complained to Melvin, who answered her to the effect that I have just written, and that as to the suspicion that his mistress had any understanding with the Queen's subjects, either here or in Ireland, it was quite true that she had friends, and desired to keep them amongst her subjects, but certainly not to the Queen's detriment or to that of her country.
They wanted to send James Crofts to fill some post in Ireland, but I understand that he has refused it. It is thought because he aspires to the Governorship of Berwick, the earl of Bedford it is said having been made Governor of the North.
The Queen gave Melvin leave to visit Lady Margaret, but in the presence of the keeper of the Tower.—London, 8th June 1566.
15 June. 362. The Same to the Same.
Since my last letter to your Majesty, Melvin came to give me an account of what has passed between him and the Queen on Scotch affairs, and to ask my opinion as to what course he should take, and how he should treat the new French Ambassador, whose arrival here was not known when Melvin left Scotland and whether he should communicate to him what had passed with this Queen. I told him as regarded the Ambassador, that he should make a show of confidence in him, and give him an account of unimportant things and matters that the Ambassador might hear from other quarters, but to go no further, until he had instructions from his Queen.
He told me that this Queen demanded that the queen of Scotland should make a written agreement ceding all rights she claims to the crown during her life of the Queen and her issue, whilst this Queen will publicly state by word of mouth that she holds her as her successor if she herself should die without heirs. Respecting Lady Margaret's business, she said it was grave, but she would make the queen of Scotland the judge thereof. Not so however with the King and his father, as she would judge them herself. The Queen still harps on the communications of the queen of Scotland with her friends in England and Ireland, but Melvin continued to answer, as I wrote before, that she had friends here whom she wished to retain, but not to the prejudice of the Queen. The Queen has sent to summon back hither the Ambassador Randolph, who is still in Berwick, and has despatched a gentleman named Killegrew to Scotland to complain of the matter. Melvin spoke to the earl of Northumberland respecting the monies found on Yaxley, and the Earl had asserted that they were his as they were taken in his territory, and he understood from lawyers that the Queen could not prove that the money Was for her. (fn. 1) He (Melvin) asked whether the duchess of Parma could take some steps on the ground that Yaxley was on board a Flemish ship, and said that Northumberland wanted to know whether the Queen was sure the monies were hers, and where they were being sent from. He answered him that when he left Scotland she was not certain, but that she had learned positively since.
I told him that as regarded the Queen's demand for a written renunciation of rights by his mistress he should answer that such a mode of procedure was not expedient, even in the interests of his mistress's dignity, but that if there were to be a written agreement, it should be executed mutually, and in the same form for both parties. I told him he should remain firm in this, and even though they threatened to break off the negotiations he should delay the discussion until his Queen's affairs were more settled.
With regard to Lady Margaret I thought that this was merely talk, and whilst thanking the Queen for her promises he should insist upon Lady Margaret's liberation, which however I think difficult, as the Queen and Council know her to be a woman of courage, and if she were freé and went to Scotland, she could greatly aid with her counsel, whilst if she remained in this country they would still be in difficulty about her in consequence of her great intelligence and her many friends.
Respecting Yaxley's money I told him he should take some preliminary measures in order not to allow the right to lapse, which it would do at the end of the year according to the law here, and that the rest of the questions should stand over until good proofs were forthcoming, that the money was meant for his Queen. I said I was sure the duchess of Parma would help in any way in her power in the interests of his Queen.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 8th instant, that Danet, having arrived at the Emperor's court, had sent a courier post haste to the Queen, and that I understood the Queen had received a letter from the Emperor, although I did not know its contents. This afternoon I was with her at Greenwich, to speak to her on matters concerning your Majesty's subjects, and she told me that the Emperor had received her messenger very graciously. I said I understood that this was so, and that the Emperor had written to her, but that I did not know any of the particulars about this business.
Cecil afterwards told me that Danet had written to the Queen that the Emperor had received him well, and had told him that he could not reply about the Archduke's affair, until he had communicated with him. He had however appeared well disposed and had ordered Danet to follow him to Vienna. The Queen had openly told Danet that he could assure the Emperor that she would not ask the Archduke to come if it were not with the intention of carrying the business through, unless indeed he had some great deformity which would make it impossible. He thought the Queen had clearly therefore, expressed her wish, but Cecil did not continue on this subject and only spoke on the point of the Archduke's coming. I wrote to Chantonmay to show Danet all possible friendship, but had previously informed him of his position, and told him that your Majesty would be pleased at attention being shown him out of regard for this Queen, as I knew Cecil was to see the letter. He thanked me and I told him that it was your Majesty's orders that all your ministers should do as much to those of this Queen everywhere. He said that it was good thus to maintain our friendship as the French were trying with all their force to destroy it, and that he could say no more upon that subject, although he remained hesitating as if he wanted to do so.
Lord Robert came to meet me on the staircase of the palace, saying that he remained in town for the purpose of seeing me. I was with him for a short time, and, amongst other things, he said that if the Queen was not to marry one of her own subjects, he hoped she would marry the Archduke, as that was the most fitting match for her and the country.
I told him he was right, although I did not think there was much in it, and I did not know how they would manage about religion. He answered that that could be arranged very well, because either the Archduke would win over the Queen or the Queen the Archduke. I told him that the Queen was not acting wisely in wasting time, but should make up her mind, one way or the other in a matter of so great importance. He said it was true, but the conversation was cut short as the Queen called me in and Leicester said he would come and dine with me before the departure of the Queen, and we could then talk at length. We entered together and found the Queen with the earl of Ormond, and certainly he and Leicester did not look very amiably at each other. Captain Pierce, who as I wrote to your Majesty had come hither from Ireland, will return in two or three days. He cannot bear instructions for a settlement as I am told the Queen is raising a thousand foot soldiers, and 200 horse to send thither. The Commander is not yet appointed.
The Queen has not paid her household, nor will she pay what she owes in Flanders, but I am assured will rather borrow more.—London, 15th June 1566.
23 June. 363. The Same to the Same.
On the 16th instant there arrived here a man whom the queen of Scotland sent to Rome before the murder of the Secretary. He recently left Rome, and came by way of France. He is a Catholic and brought letters from Don Francés de Alava. He told me that the Pope had received him very well, and had sent to his Queen 20,000 crowns for her present aid, and promised 4,000 crowns a month to pay a thousand soldiers for her defence. He also promised to continue to help her still more, if the Turk did not come this year, and said he would send a Nuncio to Scotland if the Queen wished. The man said that he was now going to Scotland to settle all this, and would shortly return to give an account of things, and guide the Nuncio if he came.
Don Francés writes me that the Nuncio there had told him that his Holiness would help the queen of Scotland with 25,000 crowns for the present, which only differs by 5,000 which the Nuncio probably added himself He says nothing about the 4,000 a month.
The man also told me that Cardinals Granvelle and Pacheco, had shown him great kindness and promised him all possible help with his Holiness. They said they were sure your Majesty would be pleased that they should do so. As the man appeared to be in the confidence of his Queen, and was a good Catholic, I thought well to give him a general idea of the matters your Majesty had entrusted to Yaxley, in order that he might inform his Queen of it from me and tell her that I had not been able to convey this to her, although I have greatly desired to do so, as I have not been able to find the means of writing with safety, and secresy was necessary owing to the recent conspiracy. I assured her of the good will with which your Majesty had listened to Yaxley, and how glad your Majesty had been to learn her good determination with regard to religion, and also of the aid your Majesty had ordered to be sent, as well as the advice which you had given in order that she might succeed in her Government, which advice was then expedient, but had now become necessary. The man left very pleased with what I had told him. He took a despatch from the Pope for the Queen in possession of a French courier who accompanied him, in order that it might not be discovered if he were searched I sent by him a secret cipher to the Queen, for convenience of communication, although I did not inform this man of it, so that my letters should not be identified thereby. All caution is needed as they are so suspicious.
After the departure of this man, Melvin came to see me. He has not seen the Queen again, although he has requested an audience. He told me that he had been informed that she had written urgently to his Queen, complaining of him, for the communications he was carrying on here, and he also understood that this Queen thought of withdrawing her Ambassador from Scotland, in order that he Melvin might be withdrawn from here. I told him that if he had any suspicion of this he should at once devise some means to let his Queen know what went on here, and seek some person with whom she might communicate her business with full confidence. He said he thought this was necessary, and that though his Queen. had friends belonging to both religions, it would have to be done very carefully, so as not to cause inconvenience. I replied that this was so, and would so remain until Scotland was tranquil, and the Queen certain of her subjects. He assured me that she was so, and that the queen of England had not a person in Scotland who desired to follow her, as she had offended those concerned in the first rebellion, by abandoning them in the time of their need, after she had egged them on. Melvin knows this, because he himself was one of them, although now he is faithful and the Queen employs him.—London, 23rd June 1566.
364. The Same to the Same.
News of the confinement of the queen of Scotland is expected hourly, and they tell me that this Queen has appointed the countess of Rutland to represent her at the christening of the infant. It would seem, therefore, that peace and amity exist between the two Queens. I am led to believe, however, that suspicions still remain between the two, and that she of England complains of the other for having intelligence with some of her subjects, and has signified as much to the gentleman from Scotland who is at this Court, as well as sending a gentleman of her own named Killigrew to treat of the matter with the queen of Scotland.
On the 16th instant there was a dispute between the earls of Leicester and Sussex, and hard words and challenges to fight were exchanged. The Queen, however, has settled the matter, and taken upon herself to decide between them. The matter has thus ceased, as Cecil tells me, although it was thought it would have gone further, as they are bad friends from other causes. It is believed that they will remain as antagonistic as ever, but they supped together on the night of their reconciliation, and on the following day came from Greenwich to dine with the earl of Bedford, passing together through the city in order that the people who had become excited about their dispute might be reassured. Knollys, the member of the Council who went to Ireland, returned here yesterday. It is not known what brings him back, but it is still affirmed that they are raising a thousand infantry and two hundred horse to send to that country.
The new French Ambassador is a brother of L'Aubespine, Secretary of State. He seems a very religious man, and tells me that the constable is acting very badly in religious matters in order to preserve the dignity of his house, which would be better served by his death. Things are in such a condition in this respect at the Court that Catholics have to be cautious and cannot show what they feel. He (the Ambassador) has to do the same in his own house, and cannot even trust his own servants, except two who came with him, and in matters that concern the service of his King he dare hardly trust his own right hand. Don Frances advises me that he is not very sure about his (La Forest's) religion, but I have not seen anything doubtful yet.
The islands of Guernsey and Jersey belonging to this country, in the see of Coutance, which at the time of King Henry VIII. and until the accession of this Queen were always firm in their obedience to the Church, have since been disturbed by ministers sent from here, and the Bishop is now making fresh efforts to convert them again.
It is feared here that ships are being armed in France to make some attack upon.the islands, but up to the present it is only suspicion, and they have not sent anyone there to defend them, but are putting the castle in order.— London, 23rd June 1566.
Attached to the foregoing letter and apparently of the same date is the following note :
There recently arrived here four or five Frenchmen who gave out that they came to buy horses for the Count de Montgomeri, and among them was a Scotchman whom they called the bastard de Montgomeri. He was with the earl of Leicester and twice with the Queen for a considerable time, and has now returned. He left here two of those who came with him, but I have not been able to discover what the object was, nor has the French Ambassador. Just as I am writing this I am advised that the bastard de Montgomeri did nothing himself here, but that a Frenchman who came with him brought letters from the Count de Montgomeri offering this Queen that whenever she desired to enter France he would furnish her with a force as large as that of Havre. There is no stopping these heretics.
25 June. 365. The Same to the Same.
On the night of the 23rd a gentleman (fn. 2) from the queen of Scotland arrived here, who came to see me early next morning, and gave me a letter from his Queen from which and from his own statement I learn that the Queen had given birth to a son, and that she had sent the gentleman to inform this Queen thereof, another gentleman going to the king of France, these two Sovereigns having consented already to be sponsors. She asked me to convey the information of the with to your Majesty. She did not send specially as the voyage was so long a one, and when her messenger arrived, your Majesty would already have learned from other sources, and also for reasons which your Majesty would understand. These reasons having caused her likewise to refrain from asking your Majesty to be godfather, but that she had asked the duke of Savoy, as she considered him a person attached to your Majesty.
Yesterday afternoon this gentleman went to the Queen, and to-day returned to see me. He tells me the Queen seemed very glad of the birth of the infant, and he begged her to appoint the earl of Leicester or Cecil, or both, to represent her at the christening, as the Queen wished to see some trustworthy person from her to communicate with greater safety, and she could appoint whatever lady she liked amongst those who are in Scotland. The Queen did not reply to this.
The gentleman who is going to France is an Italian, and will visit the duchess of Parma on behalf of the queen of Scotland. After advising the king of France, he will go on to the duke of Savoy.
This gentleman tells me that as regards the suspicions entertained by this Queen, of intelligence between his mistress and her friends here and in Ireland, he has apparently satisfied her by what he has told her from the queen of Scotland. She appears reassured, but nevertheless, a thousand infantry and two hundred horse are being raised, and I am told that Randolph, the commander of the Artillery, is to take charge of them.
I wrote to your Majesty lately that the king of Scotland and his father had written to the Queen, who refused to receive their letters. She yesterday received that of the King, but not that of his father. The letter treats of the liberation of Lady Margaret, and the Queen said that she did not well understand it, but would read it at her leisure. She complained somewhat of the style of the letter in the matter of courtesy.
From what can be heard the people of this country are delighted at the good news of the birth of the queen of Scotland's child.
Ten days ago there arrived here a secretary of the former English Ambassador in Madrid. He brings a long statement of what happened with the Ambassador respecting his manner of life, and the measures taken with regard to him by the holy office, and the Count de Feria's action. He tells me that the Council are going to speak to me about this matter, and yesterday Cecil remarked to me that the English were complaining bitterly of the treatment they were being subjected to under colour of the inquisition, and that they could not trade, in Spain with their former freedom. I satisfied him as well as I could, pointing out the necessity for care in these matters in that country, and that your Majesty left the inquisitors a free hand for many reasons.
This secretary of Embassy told me that he understood that the men who were apprehended at Gibraltar had complained very much to the Queen, and had asked to be granted letters of marque against your Majesty's subjects as a reprisal, and that your Majesty had been written to on the subject, as the Queen could not avoid it. He asked me what I thought would be the answer. I think he must have been set on to sound me as if he were a friend, as he is considered a Catholic, and spoke so long upon the subject. I told him that I did not believe that the Queen had written or ordered any such thing to be said to your Majesty, since the men were very justly treated, and your Majesty had refrained from prosecuting them to the full out of friendship to the Queen, although you had been petitioned to do so, as more than a million had recently been stolen from your Majesty's subjects. In case any such request had been made as he told me, your Majesty's reply, if you wished to treat the subject in a friendly spirit, would be that justice had been done with great moderation at the Queen's instance, which is true, and if any such reprisals as those suggested were adopted, she would sec what would be the result. The Queen ought to cut off the head of anyone who advised her to such a course, as it placed her in the position that unless your Majesty treated the matter in this friendly spirit, the answer might be one which was desired by more people than she thought.—London, 25th June 1566.
29 June. 366. The Same to the Same.
The queen of Scotland's gentleman who came to bring news of her confinement left here at dawn yesterday. This Queen appears to be very pleased. (fn. 3) This gentleman urged her, as I wrote, to send the earl of Leicester and Secretary Cecil, or at least one of them, to represent her at the baptism, saying that if both could not go, which she desired, she would prefer that Cecil should be the person, as he is must in the confidence of the Queen, and she could satisfy him with regard to the suspicions which appeared to be entertained by her. She could also communicate privately several things which she desires this Queen should know. The Queen replied that she would try to please her in this. He asked leave to visit Lady Margaret, and was told that his Queen did not write upon that matter, and she (Elizabeth) did not know why he asked such a thing, which she refused him. He replied that he asked it because they heard that Lady Margaret was ill,and he wished to take news of her health. He said he would see her in the presence of anyone the Queen desired, but the permission was withheld from him. The Queen, however, read the earl of Lennox's letter, which she had refused previously to do. She said that he wrote more politely than his son, and it was easy to see that he was older and wiser. She refused, however, to keep either of the letters, but returned them after she had read them. Four days ago a gentleman ironi the king of France arrived here, called M.decroc, who goes as Ambassador to Scotland. He was with this queen the day before ycsterday, and amongst other things, asked leave to see Lady Margaret, which was refused him. The Queen came yesterday to St. James's to dine, and will leave on her progress on the 3rd proximo.
The pertinacity of some of the ministers in refusing to wear the old garb, formerly worn by clergymen, has been carried to such an extent that many have been arrested, and will be deprived of their benefices, and exiled if they do not obey. Former threats have had little effect, but seeing that now they will carry out the punishments, I am told they will obey. The only good to be derived from this is the joy of the Catholics, who think that, at all events, this is some reform of heresy, and opens the door to others.
The queen of Scotland's gentleman, when he arrived with news of the birth, came to my lodgings before he visited either the Queen or the French Ambassador, whereat the Ambassador was aggrieved and jealous, and a secretary of the Scotch Ambassador in Paris, who was with him, answered him that his Queen had sent a special envoy, a Frenchman, to advise the French King, who would call upon him, on his arrival here. The gentleman to advise the queen of England was only instructed to give me the news, because he knew that I was attached to the Queen. It is true the Frenchman did not arrive until the day after. This secretary, who is a Catholic, told me that the Ambassador from England in France had also told him that he was surprised at the friendship the king of Scotland had with Don Frances de Alava, and that he had replied that they were intimate together in Paris. Frenchmen and Englishmen never cease their suspicions, judging others by themselves.
All these courtiers of the queen of Scotland exhibit small confidence in the queen of France, although they tell me that the Pope has written to her, enjoining her to help the queen of Scotland's affairs, and she had replied that she looked upon them as their own, and had already sent an aid of 60,000 francs, although it is known that she has not sent a crown. This secretary was instructed therefore to tell the queen of France that his mistress owed more to your Majesty than to anyone.—London, 29th June 1566.


  • 1. Sir James Melvin, who also addressed the Earl on the subject, says in his "Memoirs," "But the ship wherein the said gold was did shipwreck upon the coast of England within the earl of Northumberland's bounds, who alleged the whole to appertain to him by just law which he caused his advocate to read unto me when I was directed to him for the demanding restitution of the said sum in the old Norman language which neither he nor I understood well, it was so corrupt. But all my entreaties were ineffectual ; he altogether refused to give any part thereof to the Queen (of Scots) albeit he was himself a Catholic and professed secretly to be her friend."
  • 2. This must have been Sir James Melvil (see Melvil Memoirs).
  • 3. Sir James Melvil's own account (see Memoirs) says the Queen's first reception of the news was anything but pleasant.