Simancas: June 1573

Pages 469-472

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


June 1573

9 June. B. M.
Cotton, Galba, C. IV. Original draft.
386. Letter of Intelligence from London (unsigned) to the Duke Of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands.
I wrote last on the 20th April, and I have had nothing to advise since then, as I have not been able to see my friends. As the matters were public I did not report the departure of the soldiers, munitions, and stores from the Thames for Flushing and Brille on the 9th ultimo, and of the 1,000 men raised in and around this city with money provided by the Flemish rebels. Most of them are gone, and the rest will leave shortly.
I have now to report that we have news that the castle of Edinburgh is surrendered to Morton on certain conditions, which will be a cloak to cover the cunning tricks they have been carrying on there, all of them invented here. The Queen and Council have thus, at last, in their hands what they have been so long desiring in order to be able to promote their false religion. They will also get into their power the prince of Scotland, of which country this Queen will now be absolute mistress, to the destruction and ruin of the Catholics there, and here too, as she will be in no fear of Scotland now, as she was before. This it was that prevented her from executing the Catholics, but the poor creatures now see themselves powerless and hopeless, and are crying to God for strength to bear their martyrdom like the Christians of the primitive Church.
Montgomeri has arrived with all his fleet and some prizes at the Isle of Wight. He came here secretly at once to hatch some new plots. They are doubtful about being able to succour Rochelle, and even more doubtful of effecting a landing on the coast of Normandy, Brittany, Picardy, or Guienne, as the King is well prepared everywhere. As they are now sure of Scotland, therefore, secret orders are to be given for Montgomeri and his fleet to join the pirates in the Channel, and, together with Orange's fleet, try to defeat that of Count Bossu and relieve Haarlem. (fn. 1) They say that if they can do this they will be able to hold Holland for a long time, as your Excellency's forces can be prevented from doing harm to the other rebel places there. When it is effected they are to go to Flushing and land their troops with others going from here, and endeavour to take Middleburg and obtain possession of all the island, under the protection of Orange. They will prevent, in this way, reinforcements coming from your Excellency, as they will hold the channels with their fleet.
This plan is authentic, and a great pirate named M. de Lumbres has come to this Court from Orange about it. He saw Montgomeri immediately, and it is said that certain Bishops and heretic gentlemen here will aid with large sums of money. A subscription is also to be raised by the Flemish rebels here and the many secret sympathisers in the States. Lumbres left yesterday on his return.
The plan is also proved to be authentic by the arrival here of all the commissioners sent by this city to Flushing as soon as the announcement was published that licenses would be granted for ships and merchandise to be sent to Antwerp. They bring back word that they (the Flushing people?) will give no such license, as they say the Antwerp men are their enemies. No further particulars are known. A proof of the correctness of my information on this point is that seven English ships were bound to Sluys with wool and other goods under convoy of two ships of the fleet, and, being encountered by the Flushing people, three of them were captured, two loaded with wool and one with oil, the rest escaping and entering the Sluys. The Council is evidently a consenting party to this, or the Flushing people would not dare to do it. (fn. 2) The Flushing people aim at stopping trade in Flanders, as they understand that the agreement was effected in order to provide food for the people there. They will therefore put their wicked plans into execution. As my friends told me and I wrote on the 20th April, the idea is to have free intercourse so as to be able to provide victuals to all the rebel places, as, indeed, they do now constantly from Ipswich and Colchester and places in Suffolk, whence 60 vessels with food have sailed. Four ships that were loading here from Sluys, it is said, will now go to Hamburg.
Captain Morgan and others have 1,500 soldiers ready, and will at once leave for Holland with great quantities of stores.
The letter your Excellency wrote to me on 20th February has not been given to me by Antonio de Guaras. God grant that its detention may not bring trouble to me, although I already see signs that it will. The curse of jealousy is capable of anything. The anxiety has made me very ill, and I am in the doctor's hands. —London, 9th June 1573.
19 June. B. M.
Add. 26,056b. Transcript.
387. Document in the handwriting of Guaras headed : Martyrdom of a Catholic Priest in England.
When the Queen came to the throne, many Bishops and others were arrested for religion's sake, and, amongst them, a very wise priest, who was kept in prison thenceforward like the rest.
This holy man was carried before the Judges to be examined on points of faith, many people gathering there to hear him. He first denied their right to examine his conscience, he being a priest and they laymen. They said they were authorised by virtue of the Queen's commission, which they produced, signed and sealed, for the hearing of this case ; she being the spiritual and temporal head of the realm, as was set forth in the commission. He replied that the Pope was head of the Universal Church, and, not only was the Queen not so, but no temporal prince could be, particularly a woman, an imperfect vessel. In his conscience he could not acknowledge the Queen to be a legitimate sovereign, as the contrary was set forth in the excommunication of the late supreme Pontiff and confirmed by the present Pope. He only acknowledged her to be a bastard and spurious woman, not born in wedlock, and he only believed in all that the holy mother Church taught, and outside of this true faith there was no spiritual salvation. In discharge of his conscience to this effect he publicly declared the same to those present, and begged them to reform and pray to God for grace to understand these truths.
These and other things he declared to the great admiration of the people, and was thereupon condemned to be quartered alive, which martyrdom was effected to-day, and he continued to exhort the people to the end.
And so this holy martyr, leaving the memory of his doctrine, is now in glory. Amen.—London, 19 June 1573.
Note.—This letter refers to one Father Woodhouse, who was arraigned in Guildhall for treason and twice examined, as related, after having been confined in the Fleet prison for a long period.


  • 1. Count Bossu had recently obtained possession of the fort at the mouth of the Sparen which commanded the entrance to Haarlem by water. The city was therefore suffering great privation.
  • 2. Ch. de Boiset writes from Middleburg to Walsingham, 23rd December 1573 (Cal., State Papers, Foreign), saying that this capture was not the work of the Flushingers but of pirates who assumed their name. The Flushing people, however, had cause to complain of the English for allowing stores to be sent to their enemies, and were sending a list of grievances to the Queen.