Simancas: March 1567

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 1567', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 621-630. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Simancas: March 1567", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 621-630. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Simancas: March 1567", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 621-630. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

March 1567

1 March. 409. The Same to the Same.
Morette, the duke of Savoy's man, returned hither five days ago. He left Edinburgh a day and a half after the death of the King, and his account of the matter is almost the same as that published and written to your Majesty although he makes certain additions, which point to suspicion that the Queen knew of, or consented to the plot. When I asked him what he thought, or had been able to gather as to the Queen's share in it, he did not condemn her in words, but did not exonerate her at all. He thinks however, that all will soon be known, and even gives signs that he knows more than he likes to say.
After he and the French Ambassador had dined with me on the 26th ult. the same day that Morette had audience of the Queen, a messenger came to say that a servant of the queen of Scotland was waiting outside, and on my saying to the Ambassador that he could ask him in, he told Morette to go out and speak to him, which he did, and after a short time brought him in. I think he went out to tell the man what he was to answer if I asked him anything. They took him to the Queen, and I know that he handed her a letter from his Queen. After she had read it, she said she had no reply to give. I have not been able to discover what the letter contained, but they tell me that the Queen was annoyed when she had read it. The man I have mentioned is a Frenchman, (fn. 1) and at once went on to France. When the Ambassador and Morette saw the Queen, she wore a thick black veil, and displayed great sorrow at the death of the king of Scotland, whom she assured Morette she would avenge This Frenchman told Morette that a proclamation had been issued in Scotland offering 6,000 crowns reward for the discovery of those who had committed the crime, and that a placard has been affixed to the Queen's house saying in substance "I (without name) and the earl of Bothwell, with others whose name shall shortly be declared, did this deed, and if you want further particulars, ask the brother of the Queen's steward." As a result of this, orders had been issued that no discussion should be raised or word said on the matter except at the Council.
Morette has not left yet. He tells me that he asked the queen of Scotland whether he should see the King. She told him he would not and she did not think he would be pleased to see him, in consequence of the Secretary's murder, he, the Secretary, having been a servant of Morette. The latter knew that the King wished to see him in order to give him two horses, for the Duke and the King had even told the Queen that he wished to see him, whereupon she had replied that Morette had declined to meet him by reason of the Secretary's death. The Queen had thus by these means prevented their meeting. It seems to me from his mode of speech that he is not favourably disposed towards the Queen.
It is said here that the king of Scotland wished to come to this country, seeing the bad treatment and indifference of his wife towards him, although others say that his intention was to go to France. His wish was communicated to his father, and the father wrote to the Queen, who having expressed her affection for him asked him with fair words if it were true that he wished to leave her as he had written to his father, and begged him to tell her why, and if on her part she had given him reason for such a wish. He had replied that as to the reasons for his wishing to go he would tell them in due time, but that he had no complaint to make of her. She afterwards summoned the Council and with them Croc, who was there for the king of France, and in their presence asked the King the same question, to which the King had replied in similar words, whereupon the Queen had called them to witness that he confessed he had no cause for complaint against her, and that being so he could please himself about going. After this, the King's illness and the rest of the sad events happened.
This Queen has sent to visit to queen of Scotland, as I wrote your Majesty she would do. The man who goes is called Killigrew, and is a close familiar of the earl of Leicester. It is thought that the Queen will again try to get the queen of Scotland to marry Leicester. Melvin left with Killigrew and begged me to write to his mistress, which I did to keep her in hand.
Melvin visited Margaret, who told him she could not believe that his Queen had been a party to the death of her son, but she could not help complaining of her for her bad treatment of him. He asked her to write to her, and she said she could not do so without leave of this Queen, who seems to have taken great pity on her, and has sent to her her other son, who was confined in the dean of Westminster's house. Every day it becomes clearer that the queen of Scotland must take steps to prove that she had no hand in the death of her husband, if she is to prosper in her claims to the succession here. The spirit of the Catholics has been greatly weakened by this event, and more still by the news that your Majesty is not coming to Flanders, which I believe has also done great injury in that country.
Morette tells me that all along on his road to Scotland he found the English inclined to your Majesty's interests, and that he had taken careful note of this. I answered him that the devotion of these people to your Majesty's predecessors was of long standing, and could not fail to continue, and then changed the subject as if I did not understand what he wished to lead up to. I asked him what orders the queen of Scotland had given with regard to the Nuncio who was to go thither, in the light of present events. He says that he will be well received and the Queen will be governed in all things by him. He could go with perfect safety, and he, Morette, had written to him urging him to come. He had not thought it necessary to ask this Queen for a safe conduct through this country, because in the first place he thought she would not give it, and I do not think that the passage would be safe for him if she did. The Queen has summoned the earl of Arundel, and I am told by his son-in-law Lord Lumley that he will be here within two months, and he is sure the Queen will show him great favour, she being deeply offended with all the peers for their late action in Parliament, and wishing to employ the Earl. They tell me six of the Queen's ships are being fitted out and the Admiral had gone to superintend. Your Majesty shall be informed of what can be learnt.—London, 1st March 1567.
8 Mar. 410. The Same to the Same.
I am informed that the letter I told your Majesty in my last had been sent by the queen of Scotland to this Queen only contained a lamentation for the troubles she had suffered in her life and a request that the Queen would pity her, especially in her present grief at the death of her husband, which was greatly increased by the desire of wicked people to throw the blame of such a bad act upon her. She therefore asked the Queen to help her in her troubles as she could turn to no one else, and begged her not to allow her to be calumniated in this country. The man who gave this letter to the Queen was not the one who went to France, as I told your Majesty, but another man, who is one of the queen of Scotland's grooms of the chamber. He married the night following the death of the King, and both messengers came hither together.
I have been much surprised that neither of them has brought me a letter, or spoken to me from their Queen, from whom nothing of importance has yet been heard, although they say that the earls of Argyll, Murray and Athol were gone to visit the earl of Lennox father of the King, but for what reason is not known, and I do not think that anything trustworthy can be heard until Killigrew returns.
Morette, the Duke's man, left here the day before yesterday, after staying nine days. He was with the Queen four times, and she caressed and made much of him. Although both coming and going he showed great friendship to the French Ambassador, and interest in the King's affairs, yet I am told the Ambassador was suspicious that he might have designs against them. People who are not to be trusted themselves can never trust anyone else. I do not know what passed between Morette and the Queen, except what he himself told me, which in substance was that he simply saluted her on the part of the Duke and Duchess, but afterwards, prior to another audience, he told me that he was about to discuss three matters with her, and asked my opinion as to whether he ought to do so. First was respecting her marriage ; second, whether she would accept the Archduke ; and the third to ask her feeling with regard to the disturbance in the States, seeing that certain persons gave out that she was helping the rebels there, although he did not by any means believe it. He said he was going to ask her these questions in order to be able to give the Duke an account of what was going on here, because he expected your Majesty would soon pass through his dominions, and he would be glad to be in a position to inform you. I told him that he could do as he liked about it, although as regards the third point, I was sure not only that the Queen was not in fault in the matter, but would, if she were asked, act as a good friend and sister in return for the friendship your Majesty had always shown her. He somewhat questioned this, and I told him he need have no doubt that the friendship between your Majesty and this Queen would be maintained, as it ought to be, especially as there were other princes and potentates who not only failed to keep friendly, but tried to make friends with the Turk, and it was much more lawful to maintain good relations with the Queen, as sometime or another it might serve to bring her back to the service of God and Christianity. I think that he told me he would put these questions to the Queen, because he thought she would discuss them with me. He afterwards told me that she had answered as regards the marriage that she intended to marry, more because of the importunity of her subjects and for the good of the country, than for any wish of her own, and as regards the Archduke, she gave him no decided answer. To the question about the suspicion of her helping the Flemish, she said she was not likely to do anything so bad, and told him he had better enquire of me rather than of her, as I knew her feelings on the matter. I suspected that Morette would introduce the Archduke's business in order to find out how the thing stood, because the French are very attentive to this in order to be able to give information at their court. The ships I wrote to your Majesty were being fitted out, although orders were given to that effect, have not been taken in hand.
Preparations are being made for Ireland, as John O'Neil's people have treated badly the troops who were sent from here.
During the last few days, the Council has been secretly discussing the measures the Queen is to adopt in demanding the restitution of Calais, and the arguments which are to be adduced in support of the demand, as well as the demonstration which is to be made for the purpose of preserving her right, and in order that it may be seen that proper steps are taken to protect the national interests. I understand however, that whatever demonstrations they may make it will all end in words. The Ambassador who was in France before the one who recently died, (fn. 2) has been appointed to go to France on the matter. He is called Thomas Smith, and it is believed that another person will accompany him, although it is not decided. The period for the restitution expires on the 2nd April.—London, 8th. March 1567.
411. The King to Guzman De Silva.
We have received all your letters, namely those of 16th, 23rd, and 28th December, 6th, 11th, 18th, 25th, and 27th January, and 3rd, and 8th February, to which there is little to reply, as they mostly contain statements as to what had passed in London, and you had heard from elsewhere. You will continue to advise us as hitherto and particularly in these times when it is so necessary we should know the intrigues of the French in that country, and other parts. It was well to advise us of the arrival of the secretary of M. de Foix, and of his dealings with the heretics there. You will endeavour to inform yourself upon this point and advise us of all you learn. I enjoin you to be very intent on this and other things of the same description, still maintaining your good communication with Madame de Parma, my sister.
I note what you say with regard to the Queen's pleasure when you informed her of our decision to go to the States for the purpose of remedying the troubles there, and in this and in other conversations with the Queen on this matter, your conduct was very prudent and we thank you for it. Thank her for her kind offers and professions of friendship, using fair words to preserve her in her good disposition towards us, with regard to the delay of the Queen in despatching the person who was to take the Garter to the Emperor, and treat with him on the Archduke's suit, you will continue the good offices you have hitherto used, with all fitting dexterity.— Madrid, 8th March 1567.
15 March. 412. Guzman De Silva to the King.
The restitution of Calais is still under discussion, and I am told the Queen will order measures to be adopted, although I do not think they will be of a character that will lead to bloodshed. The dispute is open, however, and it would not be altogether bad if it were followed up warmly enough here to cause the French some of the trouble they wish to cause others. I have dropped a few words to the Queen to give her to understand that it will not be wise for the sake of her own dignity, and her obligation towards the people in this matter to allow her rights to lapse, and have shown her, as if in the course of conversation, how necessary it is for her to be our neighbour in Flanders, assuring her that for her own sake your Majesty will remain her friend, and urging her not to allow anyone to convince her to the contrary, which, seeing the malice of some people, I should not be surprised if they were to endeavour to do. Even to me who know how much she is attached to your Majesty's interests and how complete is her union with you, they come with rumours and information to try to persuade me that she and her ministers are helping the Flemish rebels, but that I, seeing, that this was all malicious invention, to weaken our mutual confidence and friendship, paid no attention to it, but advised her of it, as a friend should, to warn her to be on the alert, if any of her counsellors should endeavour to defer or abandon the steps to be taken with regard to the restitution, and should note it carefully, as I could not refrain from at least pointing out to her what I thought was for her interests, leaving to her great talent the task of unravelling the details. She thanked me much, and told me she was determined to follow my advice, and I might be sure that all her counsellors were in favour of it, and were urging her to send at once, although the measures might be deferred until next year, which she did not wish them to be. We regard to Flanders, she reminded me of what she had always said about the insolence and evil intentions of the rebels, and that if your Majesty went to the States, her help would not be lacking. Her Ambassador in France had written to her that Don France's had told him that the coming of your Majesty was certain, but it was not convenient to announce when. She would speak and act accordingly. If there is anything underhand here, I cannot see it, and considering the efforts that have been made, I should have discovered, I think, if there had been, whereas I see no signs of it, although in consequence of their being heretics, there is not the same amount of certainty and confidence as formerly, which makes matters more difficult.
The going of the earl of Sussex to the Emperor has cooled down, and apparently they do not think the Archduke's business serious, and have no hope for the earl of Leicester. I am given to understand, that in view of the Queen's not marrying most of the principal persons in the realm have agreed amongst themselves as to the person whom they will support in case of the Queen's death. I learn this from one of them who is sensible and a Catholic, but I did not ask him who it was, because I feel sure that it is the queen of Scotland, notwithstanding that hitherto nothing certain has been learned with regard to the conspiracy against her husband, nor has the Queen cleared herself, but rather have the accusations been pressed in consequence of the suspicions aroused by the bad terms upon which she was with her husband. She has, however, still many friends, who cannot believe that she had any hand in the crime, nor do I think they would believe it if they had more proofs than they have.
I had learned that the king of France was sending to Scotland Rambouillet and Croc, who was ambassador there, I sent to tell Cecil adding that there seemed some mystery. He answered me that he had already received advice of it, and that the French were plotting to steal the prince of Scotland, or get possession of him by some means, in order to bring him up in France, and these two men came about it, but that stops had been taken to prevent such a thing happening.
The earl of Leicester is returning to the Queen's favour, but I think with no other pretensions than to maintain his position, which I think he could easily do, as he has won over the sympathies of the Queen's favourites, and those who surround her closely. They have been firm and steadfast to him through all the past troubles. Ormond is still as before, but he takes no part in business, and simply acts as a good courtier, although he is clever and ingenious.
They have recently been pressing the earl of Sussex again with respect to accounts and other things relative to his late office in Ireland, but he has justified himself and the business is now at an end, to the sorrow of his rivals.
The disputes and enmity between Sussex and Leicester, have again been revived. The Queen had promised Sussex the Governorship of Wales, and Leicester had undertaken to use his interest in his favour, the matter therefore being looked upon by Sussex as settled.
I understand now that Lord Robert has asked for the Governorship for himself, no doubt for the purpose of giving it to Sydney who is now in Ireland, or putting someone else into it. Sussex has complained of this to the Queen, and begged her to comply with her promise, or if not, to give him license to leave the kingdom for Italy or elsewhere. I do not know how the business will end, or if the antagonism will again be brought up in earnest. If so between them and their friends a good deal of dissension might result, which would not be altogether objectionable, as it would give them something to think about, and occupy the leisure they now employ in concerning themselves about other people's affairs.
There is an English gentleman here who is said to be a great cosmographer, and thinks he can discover a shorter road to the East Indies than that taken by the Portuguese. As far as I can gather from what he says, the route will be by the country they call Labrador by either of two ways, from this river or from Bristol. Departing from this river the route is to Norway, and from there to Iceland, going thence from east to west by Labrador, the north coast of which indications prove to be open. Thence still further to the west over the north of the West Indies and finding a passage where best they may, or according to weather, arriving at the last of those Indies to the north, and thence to the Province of Maugi in the land of the Tartar, or else to the Island of Japan, whence they can easily go to China or the East Indies.
By the other way from Bristol, the route lies between Scotland and Ireland and from coast to coast, and island to island with a fair wind to Labrador, then doubling Cape Frio, which is the northernmost part of that country towards the east, following then the same route as that already mentioned. If the weather does not serve to double Cape Frio, they will make Iceland and Greenland and await a favourable opportunity to continue the voyage. The voyage seems a difficult one, but so did those which were made before the discovery of the Indies, and as these people here have not much business, they are always thinking of some scheme for their advantage. I will try to get speech with this gentleman, and learn his real intention, which may be different from what is professed. In any case, I will advise your Majesty as it is most necessary to keep the matter of the Indies well in view, and be even with those who wish to go there.—London, 15th March 1567.
24 March. 413. The Same to the Same.
Killigrew, who is the gentleman that this Queen had sent to visit the queen of Scotland, arrived here on the 19th inst. The Queen tells me that the queen of Scotland showed great sorrow at the death of her husband, and that grave suspicion existed that the author of the crime was the earl of Bothwell, and others who are now with that Queen, who did not dare to proceed against them, or make any demonstration in consequence of the influence and strength of Bothwell, both on account of his perpetual office of Admiral, and because the Queen has given him the charge of 500 men, who no doubt were those who formed her guard. I learnt this also from Killigrew from what he could discover there, although the queen of Scotland for her dignity's sake did not tell him, but rather dissembled, and spoke of sending her child hither ... This Queen said she did not know, however, what she would do, but if she sent the child here, it would cause her anxiety, as any little illness it might have would distress her, and she knew that the French would do their best to take the infant to France. I told the Queen that no effort should be spared to bring him here, or at least to prevent his being taken anywhere else. The Queen also told me that after Killigrew had left Scotland she had received news that the Queen had gone to Edinburgh, and having ordered the keeper of the fortress there to put it in order for her reception, he had refused to do so out of fear that the earl of Bothwell would enter with the Queen and take possession of it. He had been ordered to deliver the Castle within 24 hours, but it was not known how the matter had ended. The keeper is the earl of Athol, a relative of the King. From what I could gather from the Queen, there seems to be much suspicion against Bothwell and his faction, and the Queen cannot proceed against them, as she is in their power. She is accompanied by this Bothwell, the earl of Huntly, two sons of the duke of Chatelherault, and a bastard brother of the Queen who is called Robert.
Nothing more has been said lately about the going of the earl of Sussex, and neither he nor the Secretary has mentioned the matter to me. On the contrary, the Lord Chamberlain, who is one of the most earnest advocates of the Archduke's marriage, sent to me as I was going into the Queen's chamber, to say that he had now lost hope of Sussex being sent. To introduce the subject to the Queen, when she was telling me about the bringing of the prince of Scotland here, I said to her that that would be a good plan, as she could bring him up, and then marry him. She answered that she had deferred Sussex's departure until he had concluded certain affairs he had in hand, but that he would certainly leave after Holy Week, and I might write to that effect to whom I liked. I shall believe what I see.
The Queen told me that she had ordered the despatch of the man who is to demand the restitution of Calais, and that they have completely settled what forms the demands shall take, because if it were not effectual now she would not lose her right by any negligence of hers, and would reserve the enforcement of her claims for a convenient opportunity, and will protest if the place be not restored to her. Not only will she try to get it, but whatever place she can get in recompense for it. I told her I thought it was quite right that she should take the necessary steps to maintain her right for the sake of her own dignity and the satisfaction of her subjects.
I took the opportunity of speaking to her about Morette, the Duke's man, to learn whether he had raised the discussion of which he spoke to me, as advised. She said that he had mentioned the subject of events in Flanders, and on being asked what he thought of them, he had replied that they were very bad, and had made a remark about the friendship of your Majesty, as if doubting its sincerity in consequence of the difference of religion. I told the Queen that he mentioned the same subject to me, and that I had answered him that your Majesty was quite confident in that respect, seeing the love that your Majesty bore her, and the importance to both sides of the ancient and almost natural friendship between the countries. With regard to the subject of religion, which Morette had mentioned when he made the same remark to me, I had replied, that it was more licit for your Majesty, a Christian Prince and a knight of St. Michael, to preserve your friendship with a relative and neighbour than with a Turk, especially as it might be hoped that God would bring the Queen round to His service. I thought this a good opportunity to reply as if by chance, to what is said to the Queen on this matter of religion with the object of making her distrustful of your Majesty's friendship and turn her to others.
They say the queen of Scotland is inclined to summon Parliament in order to discuss the measures to be taken regarding her husband's death. The King's father remains in Glasgow with many friends and adherents, as well as others that are enemies of the earl of Bothwell, with the intention of avenging the death of his son.
Lennox has written to the queen of Scotland that he does not think that calling Parliament together is very necessary, as it is not a matter for Parliament to punish such a crime as this. He has written the same effect to his wife, who is still grieving for the loss of her son, and confesses that she like her husband, has no other object but to avenge his death, although she sees that it would be better for her to be calmer about it than she is. She thinks the end of it all will be that they will murder her husband, as they have murdered her son, and she is in great fear that the heretics will take possession of her grandson, and try to bring him up to their own tricks. She thinks that they have been prompted to this action by some friends here of Catharine, who have found ready compliance in the Scotch, in consequence of their small attachment to the English. Margaret, although she is sensible, is impassioned, as is natural in her position, and believes that the queen of Scotland is not free from the death of her husband. In fact, however, nothing more has been heard beyond what I have written. Time will demonstrate the truth, and will show the way this matter may best be treated. The road, however, is very uncertain and thorny. Bothwell was thought and said to be a Catholic, but I understand he is not, and is considered to be a person who pays little attention to religion of any sort.
It is announced that Thomas Smith, who is going to France, was to be accompanied by a gentleman named Winter, the Vice-Admiral. I am told, however, that the latter will remain in Calais, to take the steps that will be necessary for the restitution, Smith going on to France alone.—London, 24th March 1567.
29 March. 414. The Same to the Same.
I understand that they are despatching the earl of Sussex, but until I see him clear out of the country, I cannot believe he is going, considering past delays. Count Oliver de Arcos, who I wrote to your Majesty had gone to the Emperor, bearing a letter from this Queen to him, and verbal instructions to tell him that Sussex would follow soon, writes to me saying that the Emperor whom he found at Prague had replied that he had been told that the Earl had left six months ago, but he had never arrived. I think his Majesty answered rightly, seeing what has happened in this matter. Five days ago Croc arrived here on his way to Scotland as Ambassador from the king of France. They tell me he is a Catholic, and he professes to be one, but he is considered somewhat unquiet. He remarked to me that when he left Scotland shortly before the death of the King, he had some suspicion of what afterwards happened.
The viceroy of Ireland has written that one Tirlogh Lenogh foster-brother of John O'Neil who had followed him devotedly, had offered his services to the Queen, and if he is sincere in this and it is no trick, O'Neil will suffer greatly in consequence. It is considered that if this man enters the Queen's service in good earnest, O'Neil will very shortly be taken or put to flight. The Council are afraid that the Scotch, his neighbours, may help him. The Viceroy begged that someone may be appointed to act as Chancellor of the kingdom, and this has been granted, although several people who had been nominated for the post have refused, but ultimately the appointment has been accepted by a certain Dr. Weston, who is the senior member of the bishop of London's court called the Arches. He is a great heretic, and they say he is to be given the deanery of York in order to be able to support his position with due dignity, although it had been promised by letter of the Queen to a certain Hulton, a malignant heretic preacher, that being the way such offices are filled up here.
By way of Scotland, an Irishman has arrived here, a man of good lineage in his own country, but it is said not very virtuous or lawabiding. His name is Caer O'Connor, and he accused Desmond bitterly before the Council yesterday, as it is believed from words he employed at the instance of the earl of Ormond. He says that Desmond has given great help to John O'Neil, and receives under his protection the freebooters of the country, especially O'Briens, O'Connors, and O'Tooles, who appear to be thought people of importance there.—London, 29th March 1567.


  • 1. M. de Clerivault. See letter Sir W. Drury to Cecil 12 February 1567, Calendar of State Papers. Foreign.
  • 2. Sir Thomas Hoby.