437. Henry VII.
Instructions and report of James Braybroke, Francis Marsin,
and John Stile, respecting Ferdinand, King of Arragon.
I. To take with them letters from the King of England,
and a book of articles, for the mutual assistance to be given
by the Kings of England and Arragon against France, and
to bring back the answer of the King of Arragon. To
endeavour, in the most wise and secret ways they can use,
to learn the state the King of Arragon hath stood in since
the death of his Queen.
Audience had by
the English ambassadors
of the King
On the 17th of July the ambassadors had their first audience
of the King of Arragon, and delivered the King of
England's letters. After asking after the health of his noble
brother, and of the noble Prince of Wales, the King of
Arragon said that as to the conclusion of the disposal betwixt
the noble Lord, the Prince of Wales, and his daughter, the
Lady Katharine, it had been greatly to his comfort. Inquired
if she could speak any English, and was told she could
speak some, and understand much more. The ambassadors
commended her for her great affection to her father, who
replied that she had ever loved him more than his other
children ; and that he greatly desired she should be an
Englishwoman. Has also written to her at divers times to
apply herself to learn that language.
II. Whether any speech or likelihood of the King and
Queen of Castile going to those parts, and whether they, or
the King of Arragon, have the chief authority.
King and Queen of
There was no very certain knowledge of the King Archduke
and the Queen coming to Spain. Letters were constantly
passing from the one court to the other.
III. Whether the people desire the coming of the King
and Queen of Castile.
They right greatly desire it, being, as they are, so inclined
to their own natural Princes, and trusting that then they should
not have to pay so many taxes ; the land having been made
very poor by the King of Arragon, who had ever been most
chargeable to them.
IV. Of what wisdom the King of Arragon is reputed to
be ; whether he, himself, rules, or is ruled by counsellors.
He is reputed very wise, and determines the greatest and
most secret causes himself. Almazan is his chief counsellor in
outward matters ; others of his counsellors are continually at
court, but no man is so near his most secret council as
V. Whether there are any factions, or divisions, between
the King and his nobles.
Affairs of the King
There is variance between the Constable of Spain and the
Duke of Anajara. Other factions also exist, and there is
fear of troubles ensuing.
VI. Whether the King of Portugal favours the King of
Arragon, or the King Archduke.
He loveth and favoreth most the King of Arragon.
VII. Whether there is any speech of accord, or likelihood
of war, betwixt the King of Arragon and the French King.
Could not hear of any mention of war. The common saying
of the people was that they were sorry the King Archduke
was so much ruled by the Council of France.
VIII. In what esteem is the King of England held.
Opinion held of the
King of England.
The King and his nobles repute him to be one of the
wisest and most excellent Princes in the world. Many of the
commons think the same. But many gentlemen and commons
who have no knowledge of the King, or his realm, think there
is no land but Spain.
Marriage of the
Princess of Wales.
IX. What speech is there of the marriage betwixt the
Prince of Wales and the Lady Katharine.
The King and his nobles greatly rejoice thereat, and are
desirous it had pleased God that the Prince and Princess of
Wales had been as near the Crown of Castile as the Archduke
and his Queen. Every man and woman in the realm
favour the Lady Princess above any other of the King's children.
After the decease of Prince Arthur much labour had
nevertheless been made to the King to marry her to the
Duke of Calabria.
X. Whether the King of Arragon be reputed King, or
Administrator of Castile ; and if the latter, whether he take
the revenues to his own behalf.
Immediately on his Queen's decease he had proclaimed
himself Governor and Administrator of Castile on behalf of
his daughter, though divers of his nobles were displeased at
him for not retaining the title of King. Receives all the
revenues to his own use.
The rebel Suffolk.
The ambassadors proceed to say that on the 21st of
July they had shown the King of Arragon the overture made
to the King of England by Ferdnand, the Duke, and had
delivered to him the book of articles, which the King said he
had already received from De Puebla. But he added, that he
would send for his Secretary, and compare the two books
together, after which he would give an answer thereupon.
On the 23rd of July the ambassadors met Almazan, who
asked whether they had any other matters to show. They
replied, that as, every day, the period appointed for the
marriage betwixt the Prince and Princess of Wales was
approaching, the King of England hoped that by that time
everything would be performed and paid on behalf of the
King of Arragon ; to which Almazan replied, that nothing
should be faulted according to the articles that had been
agreed upon. He then went on to speak of the resolve of
the King of Arragon to rule Castile during his lifetime ; of
the state of the kingdom, and of his intents and enterprises ;
also of his sentiments towards the Archduke, and the course
he was minded to pursue towards him. Furthermore he said
that the King had seen the copy of the articles, and that they
agreed with those sent by De Puebla ; nevertheless he was displeased
with some of them. However, he was told that nothing
had been put in them save by assent of the Spanish ambassador.
He said, moreover, that the King his master was
bearing the matter of Suffolk, the rebel, in mind, and that he
had thought the King of England would have had him long
since, but he had been deceived by his ambassador Juan
Manuel, who had written that he should be delivered on a
certain day. On Almazan being asked whether he was of
opinion that the King of Arragon would marry, he said
he would never do so if the Archduke dealt well and kindly
Young Queen of
Prince Charles of
The ambassadors add that they had heard, before their
coming to Valencia, that a marriage had been concluded
between the King of England and the young Queen of Naples,
and had found that the first speech of it had come from
Pascarell her apothecary. On the 28th of July the old Queen
of Naples had arrived, and had had a long conference with the
King of Arragon about her daughter's marriage ; so said the
common voice. When John Stile spoke to Almazan of the
picture he had desired to have of the young Queen of Naples
for the Princess of Wales, he was told that if the ambassadors
had gone first to the King, instead of going first to
Valencia, his Highness would have caused them to have the
picture, but as she was at Monvedro they could not have
it without going there. Almazan said, moreover, that the
King his master favoured all the King of England's causes,
and, if it were in his power, would make another marriage
betwixt Prince Charles of Spain and the King of England's
X. How proclamations and writings are made.
In Queen Juana's name, and King Ferdinand's, as administrator
of her realm.
XII. What ambassadors are at the court, specially of
Several are at court, but none from France.
XIII. What authority De Puebla hath.
Is greatly in favour with the King and Almazan. Such of
the nobles and commons as formerly knew him in Spain
XIV. Whether there be good obeisance showed the King of
All the nobles and commons are very obedient, loving him
for the good justice he ministers to them.
XV. How it stands between the King of Arragon and the
Kings of Portugal and the Romans.
Kings of Portugal
and the Romans.
The King of Portugal much loves and favours him, but the
King of Arragon has no trust in the King of the Romans.
XVI. What authority Ferdinand, the Duke, hath.
Ferdnand Duke de
Is a Maestre de Sala to the King, and is taken to be
an honest, wise, gentleman. But the Queen had been displeased
for that he had taken too much rule in the Princess
of Wales' household, and had told him she had sent him to
England as her ambassador, and not to rule her daughter.
XVII. What attendance the King hath, and what order
Description of the
King of Arragon.
Many lords spiritual and temporal, also many knights,
attend upon him. Rises before 6, and by 8 hath heard two
masses, after which he goes to dinner, where every man may see
him. Is a good feeder, and drinks two great draughts of
wine and water ; never sits more than half an hour at table,
and none sit with him. After he hath dined all the lords and
others go to their own lodgings to dine.
XVIII. To mark well his personage, and whether he be
toward any marriage.
Is of goodly personage, and right lusty of his age, for he is
of the age of 55 or 56. Hath a smiling countenance ; lisps
because of a tooth he hath lost before ; hath a little cast in
the left eye ; of a gross strong nature. They had been told at
Blois that he should marry Madame de Foix, but had heard
no mention of it in Spain.
XIX. His substance and riches.
Reputed to be very rich, having during his Queen's life
spent nothing of his revenues of Arragon and Sicily.
XX. What favour the men of war bear him.
They much favour and love him.
XXI. Whether there be any wars between him and the
Moors, or in any other parts, and whether the realm of Naples
be in obedience to him.
Of late he maketh war against the Moors of Barbary, and
hath provided for an enterprise against them. The realm of
Naples is fully under his obeisance, but the Commons there
like not the Captain Gonsalo Fernandez.
XXII. Daily and nightly to put all things seen and heard
of them in writing.
Item : To confer with some substantial person or persons
of the King's secret council about the espousals between the
Prince and Princess of Wales, and the performance of the
articles agreed to thereupon, as well for payment of the
dowry as other things, and to note well the answer they
This article is answered in the communication with Almazan.
English. 42 pages of print.
Printed in Gairdner's Memorials.