Simancas: April 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: April 1567', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 631-638. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Simancas: April 1567", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 631-638. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Simancas: April 1567", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 631-638. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

April 1567

7 April. 415. The Same to the Same.
The heretics here do not at all like the surrender of Valenciennes, as they begin to see that matters in the States are to be put right, and that the fury and disorder of the sectaries and rebels will not be allowed to proceed. The Catholics are as joyful as the others are sad, and since the duchess of Parma resolved to take up arms, everything has prospered well. This will help her through her continuous troubles and cares, which she bears with great valour and prudence, and is therefore hated by heretics there and here.
The earl of Leicester has returned to the Queen's favour. Although she appeared to be very angry and annoyed with him, I always thought his disgrace would not last long.
The Queen has conferred the office of Lord Steward on the earl of Pembroke, and he commenced his functions at Easter. He aspired to the post when the earl of Arundel left, and although the Queen had promised it to him, she had put off actually giving it. Some months ago, he was summoned for the purpose of receiving the stick of office, as is customary in the Queen's chamber, and returned without it to his great disgust, which has continued since. When the Queen summoned him again on the present occasion, he was still in doubt whether she would change her mind once more but he was satisfied this time, and it is looked upon as a favour to Lord Robert, who is a great friend of Pembroke's and has always been on his side. From what I understand the friends of the earl of Arundel are not pleased at the office being filled up, as the earl will arrive here shortly, he being now in Antwerp.
The Queen has detained the earl of Sussex here although he has three or four times asked leave to go home. She lately ordered him not to leave before Easter, and then, when he was going to take leave of the Queen, the earl of Pembroke took him to his room and told him this was not a good time to ask permission to go, and he, Pembroke, as a friend, both of Leicester and him, wished to bring about a reconciliation between them, he, Sussex, having the governorship of Wales, about which the dispute has arisen, on condition that he gives his word not to complain further of the matter, nor of Lord Robert ; and so it was agreed. I see no signs of the Earl's departure to the Emperor, which may have been hindered by these private affairs of his as the Queen told me. He distinctly told the Queen that if the marriage is to be negotiated by him, he must have, in writing, and signed, what he has to do, and if after his departure, anything fresh should be ordered, he will only execute what he bears written warrant for from here, as he will not deceive the Emperor. He is quite right in this, as they are so fickle here, and I think that it will all end in his being satisfied with the governorship of Wales, and carrying the Garter to the Emperor, making an excuse that in consequence of religion, the marriage cannot be effected. The duke of Norfolk has not returned here, and he sent an excuse to the Queen from attending the feast of St. George, asking the Queen's license to remain at home on private affairs. It will be a great gain for religion in this country if the Duke be converted, as many others are being every day. His wife hears Mass every day. Her goodness and that of her mother who is with her, together with the enmity of Leicester, will I hope aid in bringing the Duke round, since Lord Robert is returning to the Queen's favour, to the great displeasure of many. Lord Robert is now a strong heretic, and I am told is very sorry that affairs in Flanders are prospering, speaking evil of the prince of Orange, and saying that he has deceived the sectaries by promising them help and then abandoning them.
News comes from Scotland that the earls of Bothwell and Huntly and their faction are with the Queen, together with Argyll, and that Bothwell has the Castle of Edinburgh, the port of Leith, Dunbar and other places the strongest and most important in the kingdom in his hands. There is scant satisfaction at this here as they consider Bothwell and the rest very inclined to the French, and they may be able to admit what troops they like without let or hindrance. They assure me that that Queen shows great favour to Bothwell, although suspicions against him are as strong as ever that he was the author of the King's murder. It is true that all this news comes through heretics. This Queen has no person representing her there, but has constant information from Berwick. The earl of Murray is at home, and after he had asked license from the Queen to leave, which was granted, it has been revoked. Cecil sends to tell me that Lennox, the father of the King, had understood that Edinburgh and the other places had been surrendered to Bothwell by order of the Queen. He, Lennox, had embarked on the west coast to come here or go to Spain. Parliament is to commence on the 14th instant, and it is believed that religious matters will be dealt with.
The French are trying by various means to obtain the prince of Scotland to bring up in France. He is now in the power of the earl of Mar, at Stirling, he who formerly had the Castle of Edinburgh, and he will not give him up. The letter enclosed was sent to me by the Queen, by one of her courtiers named Bautista, with word that it is respecting a business of Count Oliver de Arcos and requested me to obtain a reply from your Majesty.—London, 7th April 1567.
14 April. 416. The Same to the Same.
I am carefully obeying your Majesty's commands to discover and communicate all I can, but as this court is ruled only by a few heretics, it is difficult to learn what is going on, at least until it is discussed in the Council. I have been able to learn no more of the negotiations of the secretary of Foix, the former French Ambassador here, nor has he returned as I was informed he would. I thanked the Queen as your Majesty ordered, for her expressions of pleasure at your Majesty's coming to Flanders, assuring her at the same time of your attachment to her and desire to reciprocate her offers of service. She replied amongst other fair words, that not only did I seem to have well recollected her words, but I must have been in her heart itself to have entered into her feelings so thoroughly.
I quite expect, as I have said before, that the demands for the restitution of Calais will not go beyond verbal protest, but I am told they are ill satisfied with the action of the Calais people towards Winter, the Vice-Admiral, who went to demand the restitution of the place from the Governor. I am doing my best to assure the Queen and the rest of them of your Majesty's friendship, and in my conversations with the counsellors and others who might repeat my words to the Queen, I cautiously express my sorrow that they have lost the place (Calais), in accordance with the instructions your Majesty gave when the peace was being arranged ; impressing upon them the importance to this country and to international commerce and friendship, that the place should be restored, and persuading them that your Majesty looks upon the matter as your own, so that they may not get faint-hearted about it. It will be well for the settlement to hang fire a little, and that both sides be somewhat pressed, as not much can be expected from their virtue. The Queen has said nothing about the departure of the earl of Sussex. His wife begged leave to retire to their home, but he remains here. The hatred that this Queen has of marriage is most strange. They represented a comedy before her last night until nearly one in the morning, which ended in a marriage, and the Queen, as she told me herself, expressed her dislike of the woman's part.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 7th instant, that Cecil had sent to tell me that the earl of Lennox, father of the king of Scotland, had embarked for England or Spain, but the news has since been contradicted. The Queen tells me the earl of Bothwell has been accused of the murder of the King by five gentlemen, who were to prove their accusation within a given time which expired on the 12th instant, and that she (Elizabeth) at the request of the earl of Lennox had written with her own hand to the queen of Scots asking her to postpone the hearing as the time was too brief, and it would not look well for her to appear to treat of so grave a question closely touching her own honour without all due consideration.
Leicester afterwards told me that news had just arrived from Scotland confirming the statement that a divorce was being effected between the earl of Bothwell and his wife, who is a sister of the earl of Huntly, and that he (Leicester) had received letters from Berwick, saying that the earl of Murray, the Queen's brother, was expected there the same night on his way to this country, his intention being to go to Italy, although my own belief is that he will not get beyond here. The Queen told me nothing of this, and Leicester said he had not yet had an opportunity of telling her. When they speak of the earl of Bothwell's divorce here, they hint that it is with the object of his marrying the Queen, although I have been able to learn nothing more definite about it, as no one has arrived here from her, and I am dependent on gossip.
When I asked this Queen why she had not some person to represent her in Scotland as she said she would have, especially now that the king of France has an Ambassador there, and it is so important that she should know what the French were doing and counteract any evil designs, she replied that she had appointed a person satisfactory to the queen of Scotland, but he had been unable to go, and she did not like to send anyone else, so as not to cause suspicion to the queen of Scotland at this juncture. I might rest assured, however, that she was kept very well informed as to events there.
I would have sent Luis de Paz to that country on some pretext of his own affairs to obtain information, but amidst so many changes I have thought better to keep quiet for the present until we see more clearly how things are going and what is best to be done.
They say Irish affairs are going on well, and that the Viceroy is pressing John O'Neil. I hear they sent 100,000 crowns there a few days ago for provisions and pay for the soldiers, and although 70,000 at least were owing already, it is a great deal of money considering the small sum the Queen is inclined to spend, except when the fancy seizes her.—London, 14th April 1567.
21 April. 417. The Same to the Same.
The Queen was to have left for Windsor, where she intends to stay a part of this summer, but she has postponed her departure for 14 or 15 days, it is said for the purpose of awaiting the reply to be given in France about the restitution of Calais, or else to settle something with the representatives who have come hither from the States of Flanders, as the city authorities are pressing her on the matter
News has arrived that certain English ships have been arrested in Havre de Grace, and a French vessel has been detained here in consequence. The Ambassador spoke to this Queen about it, and requested that the embargo might be raised, telling her not to believe that any such arrest had been made in France. Cecil replied that the French ship should be disembargoed at once, if the Ambassador would promise that if any English vessel had been arrested in France it should be released, to which the Ambassador answered that he could not promise this without disrespect to his King. The Ambassador himself told me that it was possible that the Governor of Havre de Grace might have made some such demonstration, as he was young and arrogant and no friend to the English. He would not be sorry thus to provoke war. Cecil sent to tell me that this was what actually happened, but he (the Governor) had shortly afterwards released the vessels, and the same course was pursued here.
The Queen tells the Ambassador that she hopes his master will answer favourably about the restitution of Calais, as the place is hers, and he will surely not wish to retain it, especially as the question concerns other sovereigns besides herself. In the event, however, of his retaining it, although she wishes to keep the peace, she will be forced to take the first opportunity of regaining it. She says also that the French themselves offered her two fortresses in France in exchange for the place, but she refused. The Ambassador does not believe this. It looks as if they were getting warm about it, but it will all end in words, unless better arguments or more help are forthcoming. They have begun to fit out ships, but I think the only object is to show the French that they are getting ready. There is nothing thought about the earl of Sussex's departure.
The earl of Murray arrived here on the 16th instant, and was with the Queen for a long time the next day, but I have not been able to learn what passed. It is announced that he will go by Germany to Genoa, or else by way of France, where some people think he will remain, either openly or hidden, in which case there will be no lack of places where he can stay as he is a heretic. He came to my house the day before yesterday, and said that the alliance between his Queen and your Majesty and her obligation to you had caused him to visit me. He has license from his Queen to travel in Italy and see Milan and Venice. He thought of going by way of France, and would have gone through Flanders if it had been in a more quiet condition. The ostensible reason of his journey was his desire to see the countries mentioned, but he said it was really because, as the earl of Bothwell, who had always been his enemy, was in so powerful a position he feared something unpleasant might befall him (Murray), particularly as Bothwell had over 4,000 men at his disposal, besides the force in Edinburgh and Dunbar, where he says the whole of the artillery and ammunitions are. He said he did not intend to return until the Queen had punished the persons concerned in her husband's death, as he thought it was unworthy of his position to remain in a country where so strange and extraordinary a crime went unpunished. He believes that the truth might certainly be ascertained if due diligence were shown, as it is undoubted that over 30 or 40 persons were concerned, and the house where the King was killed was entirely undermined, which could not be done by one man. Although he did not name any particular person, it was easy to understand by his discourse that he considers Bothwell to be guilty. I asked him if the statement about the divorce between Bothwell and his wife was true, and he said it was. As he tells the story it appears to be a somewhat novel sort of divorce, as it is on the petition of the wife. They had been married hardly a year and a half, and she alleges in her petition that her husband has committed adultery. I asked him whether there had been any ill-treatment or quarrels to account for the divorce, to which he replied that there had been none, but that the wife had taken proceedings at the instance of her brother, the earl of Huntly, who, to curry favour with Bothwell, had persuaded her to do so, and at Bothwell's request the Earl was to be restored to his position in the Parliament which is to be held on the 14th instant, although this Queen had assured me that it would not be assembled. Murray told me he had heard here that the divorce would be effected in order that the Queen might marry Bothwell, but he did not believe it considering the Queen's position and her great virtue, as well as the events which have taken place. It really seems improbable, she being a Catholic as she is, and the divorce for such a reason as that alleged, being only as regards co-habitation, which lawyers call a divorce "de thoro," and neither party being free to marry again during the life of the other. I asked him if it was the same in his religion, and he said it was, but the French Ambassador is certain that if the divorce is effected, the Queen will marry him (Bothwell), and the French Ambassador in Scotland has written that the Parliament will be held.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 14th instant that this Queen had told me that she had written at the request of the earl of Lennox to the queen of Scotland, asking her to extend the time fixed for the trial of the allegations against the earl of Bothwell in the murder of the King, as it was too short to prove so important a business. Her request, however, was not granted, and this Queen has received news that the trial took place on the day appointed, namely the 12th, and no accuser or witness appeared against the Earl, who was acquitted by the majority of the judges, who were ordered by the Queen to declare their judgment, but the rest of them would not vote as they considered the trial was not free, the earl of Bothwell having large forces with him, and Lennox being ordered not to bring more than six horsemen. For this reason there was no one to bring or support the charge. Lady Margaret knows nothing of this yet. The earl of Arundel entered here on the 17th, and all the people in the Court went out to receive him. He alighted at the palace on his way. He greatly praises the reception he met with at Milan from the duke of Alburquerque, with whom he stayed some days, and speaks very highly of the Duke's good government, and the purity and rectitude with which justice is administered—quite a new thing for these people.
Since writing the above, a courier has arrived from Scotland for Murray, who tells me it is true that the earl of Bothwell has been acquitted of the charge brought against him, and although the earl of Lennox did not come to make the accusation the Queen's fiscal did so. When Bothwell had been acquitted he had placards posted saying, that now that he had been absolved by the law, any person who said he had been concerned in the King's death would have to meet him in combat and should be taught the truth.
As I have already written, efforts are being made to alarm this Queen about your Majesty's coming to Flanders, in order to soften her about Calais, but I hardly think it was necessary for that purpose, seeing how things are here, although Scotch affairs may furnish a reason why these people should distrust the French.— London, 21st April 1567.
26 April. 418. The Same to the Same.
Some four or five days ago the Queen summoned the earl of Sussex and told him to prepare for his journey as he had to leave to visit the Emperor at once. The earl replied that his departure had been under discussion for a long time and he believed the principal object of his journey was connected with the marriage with the Archduke. Seeing, however, that no favourable decision had been arrived at in this matter he begged the Queen as he had done three times before not to send him. The Queen answered him very firmly that he was to talk no more about excuses as it was not conducive to her dignity or the public interest that he should avoid going and as for the marriage it should be dealt with so as not to present so much difficulty as he said. The earl replied that such being the case he would willingly go, but he wished to bear with him the decision on the two points contended for by the Queen, namely that she should see the Archduke before marrying him and question of religion. He said as regarded the first point no middle course could be found ; but as to the question of religion he wished to be quite clear about it before he left, because although he was a native born Englishmen, and knew as well as others what was passing in the country, he was at a loss to state what was the religion that really was observed here. He believed that her Majesty and the rest of them held by the Augsburg confession, but he saw nevertheless that Calvinism was being preached and being taught nearly everywhere, and he therefore wished the Council to decide about this as it was a point of the highest importance, those who adopted the Augsburg confession being further removed from Calvinists than from those who professed the ancient religion. In fact this was clearly proved at the rising in Antwerp when those who held by the Augsburg confession made common cause with the Catholics, and it was still further shown in the last Parliament here where one of the Bishops showed himself in favour of the Augsburg creed, and was so much reprehended by the rest of them that the bishop of London had gone so far as to say that no one ought to speak to him, and quoted St. Paul publicly to this end. Things being in this condition he (Sussex) did not know how he was to treat with the Archduke, without some resolution of the Council with respect to a matter upon which they themselves were not decided, and he therefore begged the Queen to consider the question and grant him leave of absence that he might also reflect upon what was best for her interests, and so the matter was left.
I was told yesterday by a connection of the Lord Chamberlain that the latter had told him that the earl of Sussex was entrusted with no other mission than that of taking the order of the Garter to the Emperor. This man was advised of this as he was to have accompanied the Earl if the marriage had been discussed. I sent to tell Cecil what I had heard and to ask him if it were true. He answered that it was not, but that the Earl would be entrusted with both missions, and he (Cecil) was then preparing the despatches he was to take with him. I believe it will all end in the taking of the Garter, and they will get out of the marriage business in some way that they will consider decent.
Cecil has sent to tell me that he has news from Scotland that Parliament has also absolved the earl of Bothwell from the King's murder as the judges had done and the Queen had thereupon granted him the castle of Dunbar with all its lands which had always belonged to the crown. In answer to the placards the earl had had posted, as I told your Majesty, against those who might say he was concerned in the murder a document had been circulated, copy of which I enclose as sent to me by Cecil, who also tells me that the queen of Scots had given license to the earl of Lennox to leave the country, and the earl of Mar had also asked for similar license, whereat they are much surprised as he has the custody of the Prince. This, however, says Cecil, is what they write to him although he does know how true it may be.
Certain Catholics say they are sure Bothwell cannot be culpable, and that the Queen was in no way cognizant of the murder, but that these heretics wish to cast blame upon her in order to benefit Catharine's affair, as that Queen is a Catholic and they wish to defame her and separate her from her many friends here. They greatly fear she will marry Bothwell and are trying to prevent it, being anxious that she should accept Lord Robert, for which purpose some of his friends wish a person to be sent to her from here. Things here are as usual. The Catholics constantly increasing in numbers ; quite contrary to what happens elsewhere, and I know for certain that many of those who were furious heretics when your Majesty was here are now the best christians. When the troubles in Flanders began and the sectaries multiplied, people here were in such high glee that they could not contain themselves, notwithstanding that the Queen publicly showed her sympathy on the the other side and spoke strongly on the matter (although it is difficult to judge what her private opinions were), but now that things are going the other way those who rejoiced before are dejected now and downcast, whilst the godly ones who were so grieved are now glad, especially in the belief that your Majesty is coming to the States, which they think will not only be certain to remedy the trouble and pacify the country ; but your Majesty's presence will so animate this country that it will return to the state to which your Majesty reduced it, and even much better, and that henceforward nothing will ever cause it to backslide again. So far as my own observations serves I believe these good people do not err in this nor in their belief, which is as great as the fear of the heretics that God will send them their deliverance by your Majesty's royal hand.—London, 26th April 1567.