Simancas: May 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: May 1567', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 638-642. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Simancas: May 1567", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 638-642. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "Simancas: May 1567", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 638-642. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

May 1567

3 May. 419. The Same to the Same.
One trouble brings others, and this is proved in Scotland where the Parliament after absolving the earl of Bothwell agreed that religion should be on the same footing as it was when the Queen came from France to Scotland, which is worse than it has been recently. When the Parliament closed, the Queen went to Stirling to see her child the Prince, intending to bring him to Edinburgh. The earl of Mar, who had the custody of him, told her that he would not allow her to enter to see the child unless she were only accompanied by two women, as he had in his keeping the treasure of the kingdom and would not risk losing it. When the Queen learnt this she returned, and on arriving six miles from Edinburgh Bothwell met her with 400 horemen. As they arrived near the Queen with their swords drawn they showed an intention of taking her with them, whereupon some of those who were with her were about to defend her, but the Queen stopped them saying she was ready to go with the earl of Bothwell wherever he wished rather than bloodshed and death should result. She was taken to Dunbar, where she arrived at midnight and still remains. Some say she will marry him and they are so informed direct by some of the highest men in the country who follow Bothwell. They are convinced of this both because of the favour the Queen has shown him and because he has the national forces in his hands. Although the Queen sent secretly to the governor of the town of Dunbar to sally out with his troops and release her it is believed that the whole thing has been arranged so that if anything comes of the marriage the Queen may make out that she was forced into it. This Queen is greatly scandalised at the business and related it to me. I also heard it from Cecil and from the man who brought the news, who is a good Catholic and an intimate acquaintance of mine.
I am assured again by the Queen that the earl of Sussex is going although he is doing his best to avoid it for the reasons he told me, and I repeated to your Majesty in my last. Still they may make him go.
The Queen has not yet received a reply from the man she sent to France about Calais as it appears the King had gone hunting and had not received him, whereat these people are greatly annoyed. They are even more disgusted at the queen of Scots, particularly those who had hoped that religion here might be restored through her instrumentality and who think present events are a bad beginning. —London, 3rd May 1567.
10 May. 420. The Same to the Same.
The day before yesterday letters from France brought the King's answer to this Queen about Calais, and although I am informed the King sent a courier to your Majesty giving you an account of what was being done in the matter, I think well to send a copy of the answer. I was sure that the reply would cause annoyance here, although they must have known very well what it would be, but they will dissemble, and in fact they cannot do otherwise.
The entry of the duchess of Parma into Antwerp and the success that God has blessed us with in the States has caused great sorrow to the bad heretics and infinite pleasure to the Catholics, who are certain that your Majesty's coming will not only provide for the present but for the future as well, and they believe that the time has arrived for securing matters there and mending them in this country and elsewhere, and they are elated thereat.
They say the earl of Sussex will certainly leave on the Monday after Whitsun, but until I see him fairly gone I cannot be sure, as things change here from hour to hour. Since I wrote to your Majesty on the 3rd instant news comes from Scotland that certain lords there seeing how Bothwell has acted with the Queen, met at Stirling with the earl of Mar, who has the Prince in his possession, and sent to warn the Queen to consider deeply about her marriage both on account of her own honour and the interests of her country, which otherwise would be greatly injured. The said lords had considered the raising of the child to the throne in case the Queen should marry Bothwell, the government being carried on by them in his name.
The French are very busy in these affairs. A courier passed through the day before yesterday from Scotland to France, but I have not learnt what he carried although I have tried. It may well be imagined that they would like to get hold of the Prince, as I have already written, and all that can be done here is to endeavour dexterously to hinder them in their designs. The earl of Lennox, father of the king of Scotland, has arrived at Portsmouth, and before landing he sent to this Queen for permission to disembark and a safeconduct. She replied that he shall be well treated and may come to her without any need for discussing conditions about it. I am told this Queen has letters from Scotland saying that it is publicly announced there that the Queen will be married shortly to Bothwell at Dunbar with all solemnity, and for this purpose the lords are summoned under penalty of the Queen's anger. The person who tells me this says he has had the letter in his own hands and has read it. He is a person of credit, but it seems impossible.—London, 10 May 1567.
17 May. 421. The Same to the Same.
The earl of Sussex is making ready for his journey to Germany. Cecil sends to say that he has now quite completed his despatch. Leicester, who had been away on private business, returned here yesterday, having seen the duke of Norfolk on his way.
Smith, who went to France about the restitution of Calais, has come back, and although he has given an account of the answer, I do not think that anything has been done in the matter, or will be for the present, except threatening, as they do to take advantage of their first opportunity.
A Catholic person who has a close friendship and understanding with the brother of the English Queen's agent in Scotland says that he is sure the news about the marriage with Bothwell and the other things against that Queen are not true. He says that this Queen and Cecil write very secretly to this agent of hers, always to send the worst things he can think of about affairs in Scotland, and he knows for certain that this Queen herself wrote to him to discredit the queen of Scots all he could, but still I am much surprised that the latter Queen has not sent anyone hither lately.
The happy occurrences in Flanders have caused these heretics much grief. People are flocking here still for refuge from the punishment they fear the duchess of Parma will award them and her steps for the future, and they greatly regret the courage and prudence she has shown through all this business. These heretics hate her strangely, as do those who fly from Flanders ; which is no small glory to her. They complain that the prince of Orange and Brederode have betrayed them, and failed in all the grand promises they made them ; but no notice should be taken of the word of people who never tell the truth.
Brown, one of the principal judges, died last night. He is a great loss to the Catholics, as he was a good Christian and helped them all he could.—London, 17th May 1567.
24 May. 422. The Same to the Same.
When the earl of Sussex was quite ready to leave and had his instructions complete, news arrived of the coming hither of Count Stolberg, (fn. 1) and M. de Maldeghem and Sussex was detained, as the Queen tells me, to hear what the former has to say.
Cecil sends to say that the queen of Scots married the earl of Bothwell on the 15th instant at four o'clock in the morning, having created him duke of Orkney three days before, and this news was confirmed by Leicester who came to see me yesterday. There were only three persons of rank at the arrangement of the marriage, and one only at the ceremony. The queen of Scots is to send a man hither shortly and another to France. The information comes from many quarters and is undoubted. It seems to have scandalised people here very much, and has caused sorrow to many who see the evils it will bring in its train. It seems the Scotch nobles are still against the match, although now that the thing is done they may come round to it.
There is a talk of delivering the prince of Scotland to this Queen to be brought up by his grandmother, who sent to me a few days since to say, that as she heard the earl of Leicester was coming to consult me as to the advisability of this Queen's receiving the child here, the subject having been discussed in the Council, she begged me to advise that it should be done. Lord Robert came, but did not ask for my advice direct, although he introduced the subject in a way that compelled me to give it, and'I therefore told him they should make every effort to get the child here, because if it was desirable that he should inherit the crown, they could have him in their own hands, and thus keep in check other claimants in this country, whilst if he were not to succeed they could put him into a safe place, so that in no case would any harm come to them from it. I said it was meet that the Queen should act promptly about it, as it was notorious that the French were endeavouring to get the child. I do not know whether the French will be more artful than they, but they are trying their hardest. It is said here that the cause of the queen of Scotland's hurry over this marriage is that she is pregnant, and the matter was arranged between them some time ago.
I am still keeping Leicester in hand by assurances of your Majesty's esteem, and he is always making great offers of service as usual. He assures me that the duke of Norfolk and he are now great friends, although I do not believe that such friendship will last long. The Duke arrives here this afternoon. The brother of Lord Robert's wife is still in prison, and so close that no one can speak to him.
I wrote that the earl of Lennox had arrived at Portsmouth, but had not landed pending this Queen's permission and safe conduct. Whilst he was waiting a storm drove him back to Conquet in Brittany. Margaret has sent a ship for him. He has the queen of Scotland's leave for ten years' absence, during which he may enjoy his Scotch revenues.—London, 24th May 1567.
31 May. 423. The Same to the Same.
Four days since the French Ambassador said to the Queen he hoped she approved of the reply about Calais, to which she answered in the presence of the Council that she could not do so nor be satisfied with it, but that as the King was young she would let the business stand over until he was older, when she hoped he would better consider the answer to be given to her. I quite believe that the affair will thus remain. Things here are quiet, although they are holding more Council meetings than usual. They say they are for the purpose of considering Scotch affairs, but they settle nothing. Nothing fresh from Scotland. We learn from Ireland that the castle where the Queen's munitions were kept has caught fire accidentally and been all burnt, a part of it falling in and killing some of the soldiers who guarded it. The Viceroy was to take the field on the 20th, with 1,200 men nearly all natives, which force will be divided so as to enter by various way. He had imprisoned the earl of Desmond and his wife as well as another man of rank on suspicion that they were secretly aiding O'Neil. They complain greatly here of the French for not punishing those who accompanied Monluc and plundered certain of their ships at Conquet, as I wrote at the time. They have pressed the French Ambassador about it, although he has not mentioned the matter to me, and they show a determination to try to avenge themselves if justice is not done, as Lord Robert assures me they will. They have not much to complain about however, seeing what they do themselves.
Count Rocandolf is still here and a servant of Leicester's going on his business to France with letters from this Queen to the (English) Ambassador has been taken at the port in France where he landed and sent to the castle by the governor of the province, all the despatches he bore being taken from him and sent to the King. When they found there was nothing in them but what related to Count Rocandolf's business the man was ordered to be released and his despatches returned to him and a letter given to him for this Ambassador here explaining that they had taken him for other reasons, after their usual manner. These people however are much aggrieved at the detention of their Englishman, and a servant of Leicester's too, and Cecil says he will do the same to the first French gentleman who comes hither. These are small matters and I do not suppose will cause trouble, but still these trifles sometimes end seriously.
I am informed that they are going to fit out four fine ships and a pinnace at Rochester, two of them belonging to the Queen. The matter is kept very secret and nothing has been done yet to the ships except to caulk them, but it is thought that John Hawkins will go with them. They will give out that they take merchandise belonging to two rich aldermen here called Ducket and Garret, but it is believed that some of the Councillors will have shares. They will probably go to Guinea and afterwards whithersoever they please. I will endeavour to stop them from going to places prohibited by your Majesty, and have advised the king of Portugal by one of his subjects who left here by sea a week ago.—London, 31st May 1567.


  • 1. He is always called Count Rochefort in the original text, which would appear to be a free translation of his name. I have, however, substituted his real name of Stolberg, which is used in all the official documents relating to his embassy.