Spain: February 1554, 21-28

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Spain: February 1554, 21-28', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 123-129. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

February 1554, 21–28

Feb. 22. Simancas, E. 508. Francisco de Eraso to Prince Philip.
I had written another letter by Count Horn, (fn. 1) who delayed his departure because of the troubles in England which, God be thanked! went no further than your Highness will see from the enclosed reports. (fn. 2) And as Count Horn will inform you of his Majesty's health which is better, Heaven be praised! than could be expected, I need say nothing about it here.
Your Highness will learn from the reports what has been said with the Cardinal of England about peace, and how the matter now stands. Don Fernando (Gonzaga) replied that he would obey orders and set out on his journey hither as soon as the Marquis of Marignano arrived. But your Highness will have heard what has happened at Siena—that our people have seized the fort of Camollia which is less than 400 paces from the walls, thereby having great hopes of success; and the Duke of Florence writes that if the Marquis is taken away from him at this juncture things will turn out exactly the other way, imploring the Emperor not to inflict such a blow upon him. Consequently, as so much has been done already, other arrangements will have to be made in Piedmont in order to satisfy the Duke, and Don Fernando's coming delayed. Moreover, I do not know whether it would be profitable to have him come at all now that he has had a fright. There are no news from Corsica except that the Spaniards have arrived and San Florenzo is more closely beleaguered than ever.
Brussels, 22 February, 1554.
Decipherment or copy. Spanish.
Feb. 23. Simancas, E. 508. The Emperor to the Pope.
Your Holiness's brief and letters from Don Juan Manrique de Lara have told us of the satisfaction you displayed on hearing of the conclusion of the alliance between our son and the Queen of England, and the dispatch with which you caused the briefs of dispensation to be sent off. We are now sending Hernando de Vega to carry our thanks to your Holiness and speak to you as you shall hear from him and Don Juan Manrique de Lara, to whom we beg you grant entire credence.
Brussels, 23 February, 1554.
Minute. Spanish.
Feb. 24. Brussels. R.A. Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Wyatt has fully confessed that M. d'Oisel, when passing through this kingdom on his way to Scotland, together with the French ambassador resident here, spoke with one Crofts, now a prisoner, with the object of preventing his Highness's marriage to the Queen, setting Elizabeth on the throne, wedding her to Courtenay and putting the Queen to death. He had already spoken with Mr. (Sir Edward) Rogers, also a prisoner, and Peter Carew through South and Pickering, offering on behalf of the King of France help in money and men, and saying that in order to assist the execution of the plan the King would attack simultaneously from Scotland and towards Guines and Calais while they were busy carrying out the principal part. To this end the French had sent several captains to Scotland and meant to despatch the Vidame with artillery, munitions, money and troops to wage war on that side, whilst Marshal St. André was to open near Guines, near which place cattle had already been raided, though it was recovered by the garrison. Your Majesty may well consider whether the King was not thinking of his own profit as much as of Courtenay and Elizabeth. But as the chief conspirators are prisoners and the plot has been checked here, it may be feared that the King may try to carry out his projected attack from Scotland and against Guines, as his preparations have already been made. Spies from France say he means to do the Queen all the harm he can, now he knows his intrigues have been discovered and his ambassador's letters intercepted, hoping to cause fresh revolts, show the English that he keeps his word, and come to the rescue of the prisoners, especially as he hears the Queen has no money and that her Council is a prey to faction. It had already been said here that the Vidame had gone to Scotland from Ireland, but the news were not confirmed.
Thus French intrigues have been laid bare, and in order to prevent them the Queen has sent the Earl of Derby to raise troops and govern four counties. The Earl of Westmoreland (fn. 3) and several others have received similar orders, and each of her Councillors is keeping up 100 foot and 50 horse, paid by her, for her ordinary guard. The Admiral is hastily fitting out the greatest possible number of ships, the sea-ports are being supplied with all things necessary, and their captains have been instructed to favour your Majesty's Flemish and Spanish shipping. Your Majesty will be pleased to consider these points, for the time seems to have come for securing English help against France. The Queen and her Council consider the marriage with his Highness concluded, and are only awaiting the arrival of his power to proceed in the negotiation and prepare the way for its consummation.
Parliament is to be held at Oxford on the 7th of April next, and the Londoners are ill-pleased about it, seeing that if the Queen leaves the city it will soon be impoverished, especially as she intends to go to York and live there because the people are Catholics and there is a sea-port near by. The citizens of London are about to implore the Queen not to depart from their city, promising her entire safety and agreeing to any match she may choose.
The Duke of Suffolk is being executed to-day. He has refused to be converted to the old religion, but has admonished the people not to rise against the Queen, of whom he demanded mercy. Great efforts are being made to finish the trials of prisoners, who are very numerous as the enclosed list (fn. 4) shows, and there are over twenty more who are not mentioned in it.
The Queen has issued a general pardon to the people of Kent after the execution of 100 or 120 of the more guilty, each one of whom implored her to commute the death penalty to one of life-imprisonment; but she steadily refused.
As for faction in the Council, I hear that Paget is opposing the Chancellor, the Great Chamberlain and the Controller; and I fear that the Chancellor, out of spite, may behave in a manner contrary to the Queen's hopes. For the last six days and more he has not attended at the Council board, excusing himself on the ground of indisposition, and has gone off to a house of his some twenty miles from London. Suspicions are harboured against him because Crofts and Wyatt are continually asking to speak with him privately, which request has been refused.
The Lady Elizabeth arrived yesterday, dressed all in white and followed by a great company of the Queen's people and her own. She had her litter opened to show herself to the people, and her pale face kept a proud, haughty expression in order to mask her vexation. The Queen would not see her and had her lodged in a part of her house out of which neither she nor any of her suite can pass without crossing the guard, whilst only two gentlemen, six ladies and four servants were permitted to stay with her, the rest being quartered in the city of London.
The Queen is advised to have her thrown into the Tower, as she has been accused by Wyatt, mentioned by name in the French ambassador's letters, suspected by her own counsellors, and it is certain that the enterprise was undertaken for her sake. Indeed, Sire, if she does not seize this opportunity of punishing her and Courtenay, the Queen will never be secure; for I fear that even if she were left in the Tower when the Queen went off to Parliament, she or Courtenay, or both, might be treasonably released, which would be a worse plight than the former one.
The French ambassador is making great efforts to get back the originals of his letters, and Paget approved of giving them up, but the Chancellor was of the contrary opinion in order not to let go the proofs of the intrigues. I had already spoken to the Queen about putting the originals in a safe place, which she has done; and she will not hand them over.
Since the publication of the edict on the expulsion of foreigners which I sent to your Majesty, the people have behaved much better here, and it will be of great utility in cleansing the realm; but your Majesty would do well to take care that those who repair to your dominions be arrested, for several French heretics will be found among them.
Spinola went to Flanders with Fitzwalter, as a spy rather than anything else, and I did not know it until two days ago when a cousin of his told me. I am doing all I can to have Chevalier Bernardi sent away, but the Queen has not enough influence with certain of her Council who favour him, though it is certain that he is in the habit of trafficking with the French through the Venetian ambassador.
London, 24 February, 1554.
Signed. Cipher. French.
Printed, with omissions amounting to half a page, by Tytler, The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, Vol. II.
“A list of the prisoners arrested in connexion with the second conspiracy.”
(Enclosed in the foregoing letter.)
The Duke of Suffolk (executed). (sentenced) Heirgl, both hanged.
The Marquis of Northampton. William Winter.
The Earl of Devonshire. Gybbes.
My Lord John Grey (sentenced). Chambrone. (fn. 5)
My Lord Thomas Grey. (sentenced) Randall.
My Lord Cobham. (sentenced) Dannet. (fn. 6)
Knights. (sentenced) Colpeper of Gray's Inne. (fn. 7)
Thomas Wyatt.
Edward Warner. (sentenced) Peter Hart, a priest.
Gawen Carew. Pelham, slain. (fn. 8)
Henry Kiley (fn. 9) (and his brother). Bryan Fitzwilliam.
Crofts. (sentenced) Perseball.
Edward Rogers. Olyber.
George Harp (Harper ?). Haden the younger.
William Cobham. Vicars of the guard, hanged.
Thomas Carden (sentenced).
Ralph Hopton. Staunton.
Peter Carew (refugee).
The words printed in italics are in Renard's hand. The right-hand column seems to have been drawn up by an Englishman, as the notes added to the names are in English.
Alexander Brett (executed).
Thomas Cobham (sentenced).
George Cobham.
The two Knyvetts (sentenced).
The two Mantells. (fn. 10)
Rudstone (sentenced).
Cuthbert Vaughan (sentenced).
Wyets Rynsman.
Hugh Fayn (Fane ?).
Edward Fogge. (fn. 11)
George More.
Cormer, Rudstone's brother-in-law.
Feb. 28. Simancas, E. 808. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
The English courier sent back by you arrived last night with letters of the 9th of last month, in which you gave me news of your health and that of my grandson and the Princess of Portugal. Bernardino de Tavora told me of her delivery, about which I was naturally pleased, and having heard his commission I caused him to be answered in terms that shall be reported to you. He is to return at once, and if he came with any other object than the apparent one, he has had no opportunity of pursuing it, for—God be praised!—things in England are going better and better, and now that the Queen has ordered the execution of certain persons of rank and others her authority will be so firmly and permanently established that I believe no more troubles will arise. Immediately after the victory I sent off Count d'Egmont alone with your power, which had already come, in order to conclude the marriage per verba de prœsenti. He took ship for London, and though I heard that adverse winds forced him to take another direction I believe he will have arrived by now, and his mission is doubtless accomplished, for the general desire is to conclude the matter and hasten on your coming. Since you are ready, as soon as you receive this despatch you will set out for Corunna, where you have decided to take ship, without waiting for the Count or the ambassadors, for that would mean much loss of time, as even if the weather is favourable and they make haste they will be unable to reach you before the end of the (coming) month. We are writing to our ambassador in London to tell them to proceed to Corunna and, if they arrive there before you, go forward to meet you on your road; so inform Gutierre López and the others of what they are to do. I have carefully considered where you had better land, but the first point is that you should effect the voyage, as I said in another letter, and it is impossible to give you any fixed instructions from here because everything depends on circumstances which may change any day. So you will send out fast-sailing craft from the place where you embark to inform our ambassador, who has been warned to keep you posted; and when you are in view of the English coast send others forward to see in what condition matters are. I hope they will wear a favourable aspect, but I will leave it to you to land in England or here as you think best, and also to bring the ships and men you consider necessary in view of what I have already written to you.
The courier who left here by the sea-route on January 19th with copies of the articles to be ratified by you was kept back in Zeeland, but the weather now looks as if he would soon be able to go. When Count d'Egmont starts we will write to you at length by Eraso's hand, and a little with our own if possible, in answer to the points contained in your letters. I hope soon to hear from you your decision as to the regency and other matters. I have begun to deal with the Church question, and when I have settled that will take the most pressing of the others in hand.
Brussels, 28 February, 1554.
Decipherment. Spanish. Endorsed: arrived on March 17th; and, in Philip's hand: answered. Take note of his Majesty's instructions as to what is to be done when we arrive in England.
P.S. of 4 March.
This letter went with others by way of France. Since it was written a courier arrived last night from England, who left Count d'Egmont near London, so I suppose the marriage per verba de prœsenti has already taken place. You will leave for Corunna without awaiting the Count or the ambassadors, but do not set sail until Egmont arrives, for he will give you a full account of occurrences and the state of affairs in that realm, and it would not be right for you to start unless success were absolutely certain. Continue to correspond frequently with the ambassador and act according to the news he sends, and if the Queen is of opinion that you may safely land in England you will endeavour to do so at Southampton because Bristol is too far away. From Southampton you might perhaps be able to continue as far as Dover, whence the journey to London is shorter, and the ships, or some of them, might then come hither with the money. When you reach the English coast it is understood that not a single soldier is to be allowed to go ashore, in order to avoid all possible disturbances, and above all no captains or officers. I mean that you are to adopt the above-mentioned route unless you receive information that the French are so strong as to endanger navigation between France and England.
The post-scriptum is printed, as a separate letter under the date of 27 March, in Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
Feb. 28. Simancas, E. 1322. Francisco de Vargas to the Emperor.
On the 23rd instant the French ambassador went to the Seignory with letters from the King confirming the news from England, and saying that a despatch of the 6th instant related the accomplishment of their designs and the abandonment of the Queen by her own followers. On the same day I received Secretary Vargas's letter of the 8th, and on the morrow, the feast of St. Matthew (a notable and happy day), I went to report the tidings to the Seignory. They, already informed by their ambassador Marcantonio (Damula), who certainly is always careful to perform good offices, received me with such demonstrations of joy and good words of congratulation on the victory God has granted that it would be long to relate them all. I answered as seemed to me suitable, thanking them for their kindness and goodwill and assuring them that your Majesty was convinced of their sincerity and would always requite it with similar actions, behaving towards them in the future as you had done in the past. In the same audience, which was secret, I told them that your Majesty was well pleased with them . . . . .
Venice, 28 February, 1554.
Decipherment. Spanish.


  • 1. Philip, Count Horn.
  • 2. No enclosures have been found with this paper.
  • 3. Henry Neville, fifth Earl of Westmoreland.
  • 4. See the next paper.
  • 5. A John Kele is mentioned in the Council Book as owing 100l. to the Queen on January 17th, 1554.
  • 6. Probably Sir Arthur Champernoune.
  • 7. Leonard Daunet, committed to the Tower on February 24th. (Ibid.)
  • 8. Thomas Culpepper, who had already been imprisoned on the occasion of the first conspiracy in July, 1553. (Ibid.)
  • 9. William Pelham was taken in the North and indicted on Feb. 26th.
  • 10. Thomas Mantell of Canterbury save recognisances of 100l. for good behaviour on November 28th, 1553. (Council Book.)
  • 11. Set at liberty on March 6th, 1554, (Ibid.)