Simancas: July 1559

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: July 1559', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 81-91. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Simancas: July 1559", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 81-91. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Simancas: July 1559", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 81-91. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

July 1559

July. 41. The Bishop Of Aquila to the King.
On the 27th and 28th ultimo I wrote to your Majesty. About three days since Thomas Randolph, brother of the Randolph one of your Majesty's servants, arrived here from France and at once went to see the Queen. He told her how the Dauphin had ordered the arms of England to be emblazoned with his own in many places, and it was said he would shortly proclaim himself king of England. Randolph says that after the Queen had heard all about it, she told him that she would take a husband who would give the king of France some trouble, and do him more harm than he expected. She gave him 200 ducats and ordered him to return to France immediately. He was to leave last night.
I hear that the duke of Chatelherault is in England and very near London. The day before yesterday Cecil after having been in and out several times with advices for the Queen left Greenwich suddenly with only two servants. I have been unable to find out whither he has gone although I have tried to do so in several ways but the accounts all differ. I am sure he has gone to speak with the Duke, and we shall soon have news of this marriage, for it is not to believed that they would have received the Duke at such a time this and endanger their friendship with the French unless the thing were settled, and he was to be something more than a guest.
The person who says the Duke is here is John Alee, a connection of the Queen, who is leaving for Italy tomorrow, that he may not see what is going on here. He is ordered by the Queen to visit tthe duchess of Lorraine on his way and tell her that if she will come to England the Queen will be glad to receive her and will be grateful for the visit. I have not been able to discover whether the invitation is sent out of friendship or for some private business, but I get my information from John Alee himself.
They say that the Queen has news of religious disturbances in the North Country where they refuse to receive the new church service. I know for certain that in the diocese of Winchester they have not received it and will not take the oath, and that all is in confusion. They dare not press them. There is no news from Scotland, as they say there is a prohibition against writing or travelling into England.
These people are hurrying on the collection of money and are pressing for anticipated payments if only for a month before they are due, a sure sign that they think they may want money before long.
The French ambassador is anxious. He has sent a gentleman France as well as two or three couriers in the last few days, and he sends people to me to learn what is going on here and to know what your Majesty thinks of this Queen. He is surprisd that she has not sent an ambassador to your Majesty's court, and he announces the great severity of his King against the heretics. He even says that his King wants to burn all Geneva to gain the goodwill of the Catholics.
They have taken the bishop of Lincoln out of the Tower a was very ill.—London, 1st July 1559.
7 July. 42. Count De Feria to the Bishop Of Aquila.
His Majesty is about to leave, and promises before his departure next Wednesday to decide your Lordship's affairs. I will also endeavour to get him to resolve what is to be done with those people (the English). It is only with great trouble that he can be got to decide anything. I believe that a more wretched life is before the Queen than she wots of. I am only sorry that it is not we who are to give her the purge, but those scoundrels shall pay for it.—Brussels, 7th July 1559.
9 July. 43. The King to the Bishop Of Aquila.
All your letters to 28th ultimo and 1st instant received. I thank you for informing me so minutely of all that occurs, and desire you to continue to do so. I have not replied owing to my being greatly occupied, and I now very briefly touch upon the various points in your letters, particularly about the Bishops, as they must be kept in mind since they are steadfast. Respecting the marriage of the Queen with the Archduke there is nothing more to add, as you will have heard from Martin de Anda that the Emperor wishes to send a resident ambassador, even although nothing else may come of it. You will try to keep up the negotiations as you have been instructed, and will let me know what else you learn about the duke of Chatelherault. Respecting religion, which is the principle thing of all I note what you say, and I greatly regret that the danger becomes daily greater, and that the Queen's affairs are in so bad a state that grave risk is caused both by the way justice is administered and by the conduct of religious matters the Catholics in the country being so numerous. Considering all this, and seeing of how little avail have been our kindness and compliments to the Queen, the favours she knows she has received from us, the demonstrations of love and friendship we have made to her, and the good offices of the Count de Feria in frequently pointing out to her in our name the evil course she was pursuing, which would lead her and her country to ruin, we have decided to approach her in a more pressing fashion than hitherto. Don Juan de Ayala is going over to fetch the Countess de Feria, (fn. 1) and the pressure, we think, will have more effect from him coming, as he does straight from here, than if it were brought to bear through you alone who are resident there, and I therefore write a very short letter to the Queen accrediting him, and have ordered him to be instructed to go and see her with you and tell her that she well knows the love and goodwill I have always borne her and have proved whenever opportunity has offered, and, in virtue of this, I cannot refrain from telling her clearly that her affairs, from what can be heard on all hands, are in a very bad and dangerous way, and the changes she has made are rendering the maintenance of her royal power extremely doubtful. I therefore beg her to consider the matter deeply, and, not only for her own sake do I ask her to do this, but also because I must say that the danger which will arise to me from her proceedings, if she do not change her ways very shortly, will force me to take counsel as to my action to avoid harm to my own dominions which will certainly be damaged without any advantage to her. This, in substance, is what I wish him to say to her, and he is to communicate it to you before he does so. As I have said, you will go together and I shall be glad for you to aid and forward him all you can in order that the Queen may hear him at a fitting season and be told with due calmness and courtesy, without any appearance of roughness or threat, that if she wants to go to ruin herself and refuses to change her ways and look to her kingdom and her safety we must take our own course to avoid falling into the same trouble. You will inform me of what she says and how she takes it without waiting for Don Juan de Ayala's return, as I desire to know at once. As I have to send you another letter replying to the other matte's mentioned by you, and to tell you what decision has been arrived at in your own affairs, I only now say in this that I have ordered to be enclosed herewith an advice I have recently received from France, by which you will see the demonstration the Most Christian King is making against the heretics. This for your information and to be made use of when you see an opportunity.—9th July 1559.
Document endorsed : "England. To the bishop of Aquila from Ghent, 9th July 1559, by Don Juan de Ayala"—from the King.
44. Count De Feria to the Bishop Of Aquila.
Gamboa (fn. 2) arrived here on the 6th and brought me your letter. Whatever we may do or say we can get no further than the instructions given to Don Juan de Ayala, which will have as little effect as what has been done before. About your Lordship's affairs we have had the King in labour for a month but have not managed to deliver him yet. He promised us yesterday that he would despatch the matter at once. I do not fail to put before him all the urgency and necessity for decision, but I find no more movement in other things than in this. I think surely, however, the decision will go by the next opportunity or at least a grant in aid. The king of France is in no danger and with hope that his eye may be saved. I should not be glad of his death, as it would, I think, be injurious to religious matters in every respect. (fn. 3) His Majesty is certain to approve about Guido Cavalcanti, and I will be his friend if he acts properly.
The bearer will tell you the news better than I can write them.— Ghent, 9th July 1559.
12 July. 45. The Bishop Of Aquila to the King.
On the 6th instant I received your Majesty's letter of 26th ultimo ordering me to recover the collar of the Golden Fleece worn by King Henry and send it to Ghent. The letters were delayed and these people were some time making up their mind to give me the collar which I have consequently not been able to send until now. They have also given me a cloak which I send with it.
I have since received another letter from your Majesty, dated 9th instant instructing me what to do when Don Juan de Ayala arrives, which instructions shall be carried out unless in view of the death of the king of France (of which the Queen received news to-night) Don Juan should think well to suspend action until receiving fresh orders from your Majesty. The joy of the Queen was very great, and she at once sent the news to the Emperor's ambassador.
I conversed yesterday with some of the Frenchmen here, and they confess that the Scotch affair is lost. They have news that the Queen Regent is in a corner awaiting succour, that they have attacked and taken the town of St. John (Perth) and that the whole country is up. The question is not religion but rebellion, and, the King being dead, the remedy is difficult, particularly as things here religious and otherwise will get much worse if they are allowed, to have their way. I cannot help telling your Majesty how greatly many of the godly here and persons well versed in public affairs are astonished to see that this Queen is allowed to proceed with her designs to the manifest peril to the faith and the neighbouring kingdoms. In six months she has revived heresy and encourages it everywhere to such an extent that it is recovering furiously all the credit it had lost for years past. I well know that this question will be duly considered in your Majesty's council, and I only venture to say what I do in order that your Majesty may know the opinion of the people here. At one time they expected the remedy from your Majesty's hand, but had recently turned towards the king of France for it. Now that he fails them it seems that all must fall on your Majesty's shoulders again, although at the same time, his death greatly facilitates redress as no other parties exist now in the country but Catholics and heretics, and no dependence will be placed on the new king of France for the present, your Majesty being now the only hope of the godly and dread of the wicked if the latter are not allowed time to meet and weaken the Catholic party. I pray your Majesty to pardon this digression, but as I have heard these views so often and from so many people, I have presumed to set them forth, for if I failed to do so I fear I should be wanting in my duty to your Majesty. I have been unable to learn anything more of the duke of Chatelherault, but the journeys Cecil sometimes makes, wither no one knows, only that he does not go where he announces, make me suspect, that the Duke cannot be far off, and I should not be surprised if he were in Dover castle where the governor is a brother-in-law (fn. 4) of that Randolph who I believe came with him hither. I have not dared to enquire too closely so as to avoid arousing the Queen's suspicion, which would not be perhaps convenient. There is nothing new in the Emperor's business. His Majesty wrote a very good letter to the Queen expressing his satisfaction at her resolve about the marriage, and again offering his services, saying that for other affairs he desired to have an ambassador here, and in the meanwhile the present one should remain. She was pleased at this, but gave her usual answer about the marriage.
They deprived the archbishop of York and the bishop of Ely last Friday. He of Ely had words with Bacon and told him that if the Queen continued as she had begun to be ruled by those about her, both she and her kingdom would be ruined.
A battle has been fought between the earl of Desmond and the earl of Clanrikarde (Clikharn) in Ireland with much slaughter, and Clanrikarde taken prisoner.—London, 12th July 1559.
12 July.
Simancas, B. M. MS., Add. 26056a.
46. The Bishop Of Aquila to the King.
I am assured that the Queen understood the king of France was intriguing against the country, and intended to deprive her of it, and I had an idea that the bishop of Ely was concerned in this from certain indications. Nothing, however, is certain here, and Paget is suspected ; he will get into trouble if it be true. The death of the King they think puts them out of apprehension, and in order not to cause a disturbance they have refrained from proceeding in the matter till they know that your Majesty is in Spain. They are always afraid that the Catholics here may obtain help. The idea is that in September proceedings will be taken against many people.
I understand that the bishop of Llandaff, (fn. 5) who is a greedy old man with but little learning, is wavering, and it is feared he may take the oath, as he is wearing a bishop's garb again lately. I had news of this and sent to visit him and console him as well as I could, but he has given way notwithstanding. The rest of them are firm, each in the place appointed for him, and they hope more than ever in your Majesty.—London, 12th July 1559.
47. The Same to the Same.
Some days ago there arrived here in a lay habit a friar of Mercy who calls himself Rodrigo Guerrero. He came to me and wanted to make me believe that he came from Spain, and other things which I saw were false, and as I thought him a suspicious man I dismissed him and had him watched to see what he would do. I heard that he went to the palace and often spoke to Cecil, and I endeavoured to reassure him and get him to come and speak to me again, which he did yesterday, and told me who he was, and how being discontented with many things (which as I consider them false and irrelevant I do not repeat) he had come here to join the heretics, although he says that in his conscience he is not one, but must become so for his livelihood, as they will give him a professorship at Oxford where he can earn his living. I treated him kindly and brought him here, and he says that if your Majesty will order a warrant to be given to him so that neither the General nor Provincial of his order, who are his enemies, shall punish him or know of his doings, and you will grant him a perpetual pension either in Barcelona, Granada, or Valladolid, he will go to Spain as your Majesty has ordered. I have promised him to inform your Majesty and would endeavour to induce your Majesty to listen to his petition, and avoid his taking so bad a step as to become a heretic. He was content with this and is somewhat reassured. I do not know, but I take him to be a man of poor understanding. In any case I do not wish him to remain here, as he would form a school of Spaniards at Oxford, and would attract thither all the good-for nothings of your Majesty's dominions to the great disservice of God and your Majesty, and I therefore beg for instructions.— London, 12th July 1559.
Note in the handwriting of Philip II. :
Reply at once to the Bishop that he is to promise everything to this friar Rodrigo Guerrero, and if he wants a warrant that he shall have a very complete one. Ask him whether he would like to go over in my fleet and a passage shall be given him, and if not he shall have every favour he now requests as soon as he arrives in Spain. In short, write in such a manner that he shall be induced to go to Spain, and for the Bishop to be able to show him the letter if be thinks fit.
13 July. 48. The Bishop Of Aquila to the King.
Don Juan de Ayala arrived here yesterday, and hearing of the death of the king of France he thinks well to await your Majesty's orders before fulfilling his commission to the Queen, and he writes to this effect to your Majesty. This courier is being despatched by the Emperor's ambassador to advise his master that the Queen has given him notice that the duke of Wittemburg was in league with the French and had received money from the King in order to obstruct the Emperor if he had commenced war to recover the lands of the Empire which he claims. The Emperor is advised not to trust the said Duke or send him as ambassador to France.
The Queen is sending Thomas Challoner as ambassador to your Majesty. He leaves soon.—London, 13th July 1559.
17 July? 49. The King to the Bishop Of Aquila.
I reply in a separate letter about Friar Rodrigo Guerrero written purposely that you may show it to him if desirable, and by means of it persuade him, in any case, to leave there and go to Spain and so avoid the inconvenience you point out of his settling in England. The less sense he displayed in his discourse the more necessary is it that he should be got away, and you will use all and every means in your power to persuade him to go ; and especially to take passage in the fleet. If you cannot induce him to do this you must try at all events to get him to Spain, and if he will not go without the documents he asks for let me know and I will send them to you for him. Do not let him stay on that account, and pray use the utmost zeal and diligence, as your prudence and experience will show you are necessary in this case.
It will be well also if you will draw up a statement of all that has passed in conversation with him in the fullest detail, and particularly what he may have said about the reasons why he went to England and what his intention was. Send it to me separately and let all letters on the subject be sent apart from other business, as shall be mine in reply, the quality of this affair being such as to make this needful.—Without date.
17 July. 50. The King to the Bishop Of Aquila.
I note what you tell me about Friar Rodrigo Guerrero, of all of which I approve, and I am very glad to hear that he has signified his wish to go to Spain, as we have ordered, and will reside in Barcelona, Valladolid or Granada on his being granted an income for life and a license, so that neither the General nor Provincial of his order may punish him or know of his actions. You have done well in telling me of his need, and I shall be glad for him to go to Spain as a sensible and religious man such as he ought to do, and I will do all he asks of me, both as regards the General and Provincial, who shall not proceed against him or know of his life, and also as to giving him an honest and sufficient income in Castile or Andalucia in any part he may choose, and you may promise and assure him in my name to this effect, and urge him to come and embark in my fleet which is now ready to accompany me to Spain, where a passage shall be given him and all requisite for the voyage. If he wishes for a private order of my own to free him from his enemies and provide him with a livelihood and you advise me thereof, it shall be given to him as soon as he arrives here, or it can be sent to you at once. My departure being, please God, in August, get him to start at once. The sooner the better.—Ghent, 17th July 1559.
18 July 51. The Count De Feria to the Bishop Of Aquila.
Yours of 12th instant received. Although I know his Majesty has ordered the carrying out of what was agreed upon, I have not seen the despatch, and I am now going to the palace to see it and to find out whether any good is being done in your Lordship's private affairs. Do not be astonished or angry at anything you may see until we have tired the King out as he expects to be tired out before he does anything, great or small. It is no good saying any more about the voyage to Spain, for if the world itself were to crumble there would be no change in that. I wish my wife to come as soon as possible without seeing the Queen. I cannot speak of other English affairs and do not want even to think of them seeing the way his Majesty is treating them.—Ghent, 18th July 1559.
52. The King to the Bishop Of Aquila.
Yours of 12th and 13th instant received. You have done well in advising me of events in England. You will learn by a letter enclosed of the death of the king of France, which news will arrive late, as you will have heard of it already, but I send it that you may be kept well posted in all that happens.
I thank you for the points you set forth on English affairs, and am carefully considering them in order to adopt the best course under all circumstances. I am not without anxiety about them.
Respecting the question asked by you and Don Juan de Ayala as to whether he should carry out the commission we gave him to the Queen now that the king of France is dead, we have deeply considered and have decided that it is now more necessary than ever, and that the death of the King, far from being an obstacle, is an excellent opportunity for fulfilling the instructions we gave to Don Juan, as is also the accession of the new King, (fn. 6) who, as you know, has claims to the English throne through his wife. This should make the Queen and her friends more suspicious if they look at it as they ought, and I have consequently ordered the present courier to be sent back to you at once, with instructions to you to go with Don Juan, as soon as you receive this, and perform the duty set forth in our letter, you giving him such assistance as may be necessary. I send with this the same orders to him, which please hand to him, and let them be carried out at once, giving me full particulars of how the Queen takes it, which it is necessary I should know.
The news about the duke of Wittemburg which the Emperor's ambassador writes to his master does not seem to have much foundation yet, but you do well to inform me of everything. You will do the same about Scotch affairs, and will try to obtain trustworthy information.
I have not been able to decide about your affairs, but will do so soon. In the meanwhile I have ordered 1,000 crowns to be sent you. Perhaps they will go by this opportunity, and if not then by the next, so as not to detain this man, as it is most important that the commission of Don Juan should be carried out at once.—Ghent, 18th July 1559.
27 July.
Simancas, B. M. M. S., Add. 26,056a.
53. The Bishop Of Aquila to the King.
I have lost all hope in the affairs of this woman. She is convinced of the soundness of her unstable power, and will only see her error when she is irretrievably lost. In religious matters she has been saturated ever since she was born in a bitter hatred to our faith, and her one object is to destroy it. If your Majesty were to give her life and all in it, as you did once before, she would never be more friendly than she is now, and she would, if she had the power, sow heresy broadcast in all your Majesty's dominions to-day, and set them ablaze without compunction. Besides this, her language (learnt from Italian heretic friars who brought her up) is so shifty that it is the most difficult thing in the world to negotiate with her. With her all is falsehood and vanity.
13 July (August?). 54. The Same to the Same.
The last letters I wrote to your Majesty are dated 27th ultimo, and since then Don Juan de Ayala will have arrived and informed your Majesty of the state of affairs here. They are now carrying out the law of Parliament respecting religion with great rigour, and have appointed six visitors who examine all persons to whom the law decrees that the oath has to be administered, and they proceed against those who disobey. They have just taken away the crosses, images, and altars, from St. Paul's and all the other London churches, but encounter resistance as usual in the matter of the oath. In all else they do as they please, but it is thought that outside London they will not have it all their own way. They have deprived the bishops of St. David's and Exeter this week, and the bishop of Durham, a very aged and learned man, came up from his diocese solely to tell the Queen what he thought about these affairs. He showed her documents in the handwriting of king Henry against the heresies now received, and especially as regards the sacraments, and begged her, at least, to respect the will of her father if she did not conform to the decrees of the church ; but it was all of no avail, and they only laugh at him as he might with better reason laugh at them. They tell me that this Bishop will remain steadfast, and his opinion has much influence and weight in his diocese.
The new Bishops complain because they do not give them the enjoyment and revenues of their sees, and are constantly running after Cecil and altering their charges.
This Scotsman (fn. 7) is still in hiding. They say publicly that he is here and that he has lately been in the Queen's house. This cannot be ascertained, but it is generally believed, and that he will marry the Queen. I am told that the matter has been discussed in the Council, and that they all agree that she should marry the Scotsman rather than the Archduke in the hope of the former becoming king of Scotland. Some of them are in favour of waiting until he is really King, and his country is tranquil, whilst others say that as the malady of the Queen of Scotland is mortal, there is no necessity to wait, but that the marriage should take place at once, and he be helped to take possession of the kingdom. It seems the latter opinion is held by the Queen, who they say has secretly sent money to Scotland, and has her ships kept ready to prevent the French from sending troops to that country, although she says herself that she is sure the king of France cannot send an army to Scotland at present, and so say certain Scotsmen recently arrived from France. I believe that if she could raise a revolt about religion in France like that in Scotland, neither fear nor conscience would prevent her from attempting it, and the same thing may be said of Flanders, for I am quite astounded to see the flocks of heretics who come hither to the city and are well received and their constant sermons and meetings.
The Queen Regent of Scotland is trying to pacify the heretics there, and the latter say they have arranged in accordance with the statement sent for your Majesty's information ; but the document comes from Cecil's house, and I do not believe it. On the contrary, I hear by other means that the terms are not so hard on the French as is said here, and that the heretics have given hostages to the Queen so that she may go to Edinburgh and rule the kingdom, leaving them in their heresy. Here, however, they publish it in the other way, as these people lose no opportunity of terrifying the Catholic party. I hear on very good authority that the Queen is quite sure that your Majesty will not fail to persist in your friendship and defence of her kingdom for the sake of your own interest, and this opinion of hers is shared by all of them, and is the main foundation of all their deliberations and decisions.
Some Florentines who reside in Lyons, France, have recently arrived here, it is said, with a sum of money, but I have not been able to confirm this, although it may well be true, as I know the French ambassador is promising pensions to some Catholics and heretics here.
The Queen is beginning to collect the grants that have been voted. They say the amount will not reach 400,000 ducats in all. What they have had hitherto have been the church revenues and some of their properties which they are selling.
These Irishmen have been speaking to me again and they say, in substance, that in order that your Majesty may be the better informed about their proposal, they beg you to send a person expressly to treat with those from whom they come, and they undertake that one of their number shall accompany him disguised as a merchant. They say he can go direct from Ireland to Spain afterwards, and give an account of affairs to your Majesty, and you can then resolve. They assure me that perfect union and harmony will exist about it in Ireland, and they believe that the earl of Ormond himself will fall in with it as he is very indignant and dissatisfied with this Queen. I am convinced that these men are not trying to deceive me, but nevertheless I have always answered them evasively until I know your Majesty's pleasure.
A servant of the Marquis de Nesle, who is one of the French hostages here, killed an Englishman the other day, and he and the other Frenchmen have been in great straits as the townspeople took up arms against them and are pressing them closely.
The king of Sweden's ambassadors who have arrived are being treated by the Queen in a manner that does away with any doubt about her marrying their master, for they are being made fun of in masques in their own presence.—London, 13th July (August?) 1559.


  • 1. The Countess remained in Durham Place from the departure of her husband until the arrival here of his kinsman, Don Juan de Ayala, to convey her to Flanders, and did not return with the latter to England on his mission to the Queen, as Mr. Rawdon Brown supposes in his note to a letter on the subject, in Vol. 7. Calendar of State Papers (Venetian).
  • 2. The courier
  • 3. Henry II. of France received a fatal thrust in the eye from Montgomery, colonel of the Scots Guards, at a tournament in celebration of the peace of Chateau Cambresis, 30th June 1559.
  • 4. Sir James Crofts.
  • 5. Kitchin.
  • 6. Francis II., husband of Mary queen of Scots.
  • 7. The earl of Arran.