Spain: May 1554, 1-10

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

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'Spain: May 1554, 1-10', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 230-244. British History Online [accessed 5 March 2024]

May 1554, 1–10

May 1. Brussels, R.A. Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire : The Queen, hearing that the French ambassador was complaining and demanding restitution of two of his packets which he asserted to have been stolen in England, whereas she had only heard of the one of which your Majesty has seen a copy, sent to the Chancellor to find out what had become of the other. The Chancellor confessed that he had had it in his hands and read it, but did not know where he had put it, or what he had done with it after reading it. His secretary, who remembers having made an abstract of it, says its substance was that Courtenay was to marry the Lady Elizabeth, whilst the Queen should lose her crown and her life. The pensioners would be against her as they had not been paid their pensions for three years past; and Wyatt's plot was revealed in the letter. It would have been very convenient if the original had been produced, for it would have served to convict Courtenay and Elizabeth. The Queen knows not what to think of its loss, for it looks as if the Chancellor wished to save Courtenay ; he left that name blank in his decipherment of the other letter.
Neverthless , the Queen yesterday called together the lawyers and chief Lords of the Council, who are to act as judges, to hear the report on the criminal procedure against Courtenay and decide what was to be done about it. They all agreed that he deserved to die and should be sentenced accordingly; and if this comes to pass, I shall discreetly urge that he be executed. It is proved that Courtenay has sent a child of five, the son of one of the soldiers in the Tower, to present his commendations to Elizabeth. As for her, no decision has yet been arrived at.
The Queen holds Paget in grave suspicion because of two actions of his, which she explained to me. The first was when it was proposed in Parliament to proclaim guilty of rebellion those who should take up arms against his Highness ; for Paget opposed the measure more stubbornly than any one else, although he had told the Queen that it was reasonable and would pass. The second was that, when penalties against the heretics were being discussed, he incited the Lords not to consent, nor to give their approval to the institution of capital punishment for such offences. She also ran over a number of his past actions, which caused her to consider him to be inconstant. I know the Chancellor, the Controller and others hate him, and am unable to believe him capable of changing sides now or of working against the marriage, which he has laboured so diligently to bring about. However, if he saw the Queen was angry with him, he might change out of spite in order to cross the designs of the Chancellor, who never consults him about Parliament. The session is not going well as regards the above-mentioned points, and the Queen has decided upon a prorogation until September. In the meantime I am doing my best to remain on good terms with both parties, and not be caught up in their quarrels. It is true I have noticed that Paget is always conversing with heretics, and consults Mr. (Sir Philip) Hoby, one of the craftiest heretics in England, who tells me he is soon going to join Morison at the baths in Italy, and desires to have letters to your Majesty so that he may kiss your hand on his way.
Mason is taking with him an Englishman called Sheres, (fn. 1) who was formerly sent by the Duke of Northumberland to the King of the Romans to intrigue against your Majesty. He is a great heretic, of French leanings, a scandalous fellow on whom it will be well to keep an eye.
The Earl of Arundel is being approached with a plan for marrying his son (fn. 2) to the Lady Elizabeth if Courtenay loses his head; and I believe this has induced him to consent to the death sentence.
An attempt was made to set the Earls of Derby and Shrewsbury at odds by giving Shrewsbury the post which Derby formerly held; but the Queen has settled the difficulty to the satisfaction of both parties, and Shrewsbury has been appointed lieutenant-general of the Scottish border. (fn. 3)
News have come that the English ambassadors have landed at Corunna; and the lack of any tidings from his Highness causes amazement.
The French say that their King is expecting 8000 Switzers to reach him by the end of this month.
London, 1 May, 1554.
P.S. Sire: When my letters had been finished, I heard that the House of Lords had thrown out the bill for the punishment of heretics. The result will be confusion in the Council and government; the heretics will be encouraged and the Catholics alarmed. Great disorders are to be looked for; but I hope to deal with all this in another letter, as soon as I shall have heard the details of the debate.
Signed. French. Mostly cipher.
Printed, with omissions, by Tytler, The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, Vol. II.
May 4. Brussels, R.A. Prov. 13. The Emperor to Simon Renard.
We have received several letters from you, and are well satisfied that you should give us news from time to time, so that we may be informed of all you hear concerning the state of affairs and their trend over there, besides the temper of the Councillors, the inclinations of both nobles and people, the intrigues and machinations afoot: all, in fact that you can discover. We desire you to keep up this practice; for though circumstances change, it can but be to our advantage, especially in such times as these, to know everything that may happen. We were very much pleased to learn from your letter of the 27th of last month that matters look more hopeful, especially among the Councillors, and that with their aid the Queen has called together the forces needed to guard her person and instil fear into those who would gladly conspire against her, either on the grounds of religion or of the marriage. The acceptance of the marriage in full by Parliament can but prove most opportune; for it will in effect cut short all attempts on the part of the French to exploit with their usual malice any disaffection there may be towards the Queen, inspired by the resentment some may feel for her zeal in bringing back the erring ones to the right road, and remedying the condition of religion within her kingdom.
We certainly held the opinion that her departure from London so long before the arrival of our son (we had not then heard of the choice she afterwards made in the person of Lord Clinton to exercise authority during her absence) might present grave difficulties, considering how changeable are the people of London, and how among so many there must be great diversity of opinions. But the measure just referred to, and the gathering of troops both mounted and on foot which you describe to have been summoned by her, give less ground for apprehension both on her account and on our son's.
Nevertheless we are convinced that she ought to leave London as late as possible, and in fact not until she receives certain news of our son's departure, an event which we hope may soon take place. We request you dexterously to bring this about. We are fully aware that the Queen may find it difficult to meet her expenses, owing to lack of money; and having heard the report that her man Gresson (Gresham) had entered into negotiations with certain Antwerp merchants and held out hopes that the sacca (i.e. permission to export money out of Spain) would be granted, we, in spite of the great obstacles the project usually meets with in Spain, sent word to Gresham that we wished to communicate with him on the subject, and decide upon the proposals he should make to the said merchants on the conditions for obtaining the said leave. Our officers of finances in Spain will necessarily have to be entrusted with the supervision and execution of such decisions as we may come to in the matter, and will receive orders to report on the means whereby money may be brought from Spain with the least trouble and harm to our kingdoms, making such provisions as may seem fittest to obviate the difficulties that usually ensue. But we were told that Gresham had gone to England. As soon as he returns we will communicate with him, and strive to oblige the Queen in every way within our means.
M. de Courrières and the Alcalde are already on their way to England on the mission you have heard about. Their conduct in the discharge of the mission entrusted to them will, with your help, no doubt fulfil our expectations, and they will aid in solving many questions which may crop up on our son's arrival.
Ambassador Mason has arrived here. We gave him audience, during which the Bishop of Norwich took his leave of us to return to England. We have sent him our exhortations for the fulfilment of his duties towards the Queen, as we hope and expect him to do judging by the proofs and assurances of goodwill and devotion he has unfailingly given during his sojourn here. We particularly hope that by his intervention some better understanding may be arrived at between the Chancellor and Paget. He may, we trust, bring about the exercise of greater moderation in matters of religion and others that might cause disturbances, being himself a moderate man. We think it well that you should do your best to assist in this, on our behalf, never departing however from the requisite modesty, as we have often written. Be particularly careful not to occasion any suspicion that we may be seeking to interfere further in the government of the country than they, who are jealous of strangers, are willing to tolerate.
New judges having been appointed for the trial of the rebels, it is necessary, as we have often written before, that you may dexterously obtain the prompt punishment of the guilty, and a pardon to win over the rest. It is particularly needful that a decision be arrived at concerning the Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay. We can see no serious foundation in Lord Paget's proposals for marriage with the person he spoke to you about. If it appears necessary to proceed further, for lack of other means to make sure of him, it would seem to us best to put off the matter until our son's arrival, so that the best course may be chosen with his help and advice.
We suppose that you have written to our son about the officers that have been chosen for his service, and the archers, and also the opinion held in England that it would be best to clothe them in his livery, so that they may wear the same attire as those he is bringing with him. We cannot meet your request in this matter, as we do not know what livery has been given to his followers. If you receive no answer from him on this point before his arrival, it will be necessary to make shift to arrange matters afterwards.
As to your oft-repeated remark that it would be well at once to distribute the presents and pensions among the English, so as to make sure of their real sentiments, we will abide by what we have written before. We believe it to be infinitely better that such grants and largesse come from the hand of our son, so that he may reap the full benefit. Nevertheless, as we have written before, and you will find by referring to our letters, you may inform those who are to receive gifts that it is the intention of our son to reward them on his arrival. They will thereby be disposed to look forward with greater pleasure to his coming, and will get a better welcome ready for him, by preparing for it with right good will.
You have heard particulars of Cardinal Pole's negotiations and the answer he has brought back from France. There is little to build upon, although we hear from several sources that the people in France desire peace. As you believe that the possibility of peace has its effect in curbing the heretics, you will make use of the information we are sending as it seems best to you.
The French have been intriguing everywhere in Germany. It is plain that they have drawn over Margrave Albrecht to their side. Their tricks have been frustrated in such a way that neither they nor the Margrave have so far had much opportunity for calling out their musters. We are doing our best to upset their plans. Although they (the French) have rejoiced exceedingly over the capture of Ascanio della Corgnia (fn. 4) and the death of Rodolfo Baillon (Baglioni?), later events, namely the occupation by our troops of several forts useful to them in the territory of Siena, and the closer investment of that town, have damped their spirits. We are doing our best, with God's grace, to make all necessary preparations so that they may be confounded in their designs.
Brussels, 4 May, 1554.
Copy of a minute. French.
May 4. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Bishop of Arras to Simon Renard.
I have received both your letters of the 10th and 12th of last month. As it seems by your last letters to the Emperor that affairs in England are following a course more to the Queen's advantage, and proper measures are about to be taken for her safety and our Prince's, his Imperial Majesty is all the more determined to solicit his speedy passage from Spain. According to the latest news you may hope, by God's grace, to see him soon.
M. de Courrières and the Alcalde are already on their way to England. They expect to arrive on the 12th or 13th of this month. His Majesty does not think that the title of Alcalde can be objected to, or give umbrage, as he will have no authority nor exercise jurisdiction over any except foreigners to the country; and even so he will not overstep the limits set by the Queen and Council. He has ample instructions on this point, and is fully determined to excercise his customary discretion.
I have prevented a meeting between M. de Courrières and Duboys. As it is your wish that he shall be proceeded against at all costs, the Emperor has commissioned the Alcalde to examine those persons in England from whom he avers he heard the rumours he referred to. If you wish others to be questioned to clear yourself or to charge Duboys, he may take their evidence too.
I have read out to his Imperial Majesty the recommendations you made to me with regard to the safety of our Prince's person, and for his protection in case of need. It seemed to me that his Majesty took your solicitude in good part. I have no doubt that with so precious a thing at stake we will cover the throw with our whole possessions.
You have been informed of the negotiation carried on by Cardinal Pole, and you will learn from his Majesty's letters the outline of events in all quarters. I will merely add that we have since heard that Don Juan de Guevara, provisionally in command of the light cavalry pending the arrival of the commander named by his Majesty, has defeated near Asti a troop of French cavalry set in ambush. Forty-five were left dead on the field and thirty-eight taken prisoners. In the Sienese matters are going better and better, according to an account that arrived last night by a courier from those parts.
The Bishop of Norwich is about to return to England. The Queen of Hungary spoke to him in private by his Majesty's orders, and requested him to do his best to bring about more unity of feeling among the Queen's councillors, and moderate the Chancellor's vehemence, particularly on the subject of religion. He was specially recommended to use his influence that some safe arrangement might be arrived at concerning Courtenay and the Lady Elizabeth. (fn. 5) The Admiral who is a relation of the Lady Elizabeth's and as some say her liege (lige), is less to be feared in command of the war-ships sent to meet our Prince, than if he had been left, as some believed he would be, in London during the Queen's absence, with the Lady Elizabeth in the Tower. The Queen of Hungary has told the Bishop of Norwich that he had better persuade the Queen of England to leave London for her journey to Winchester as late as possible, not, indeed, until our Prince is very near the English shore. The Bishop assured the Queen that he would do his very best. He received a present of two thousand crowns, but it will be necessary to put him on the list, after the arrival of the Prince, for an ecclesiastical pension or some other award. There is time for this, and the omission of his name from the present list may well be excused on the grounds that he was not in England when it was drawn up.
Brussels, 4 May, 1554.
Signed. French. Partly cipher.
Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
May 4. Vienna, E.V. 5. M. de la Capelle (fn. 6) to Simon Renard.
Pretermitting all greetings. I have no doubt you are aware of the arrival off Portsmouth of both fleets. I am writing to ask what information you may have on the journey of my Lord, our Prince. There is a great diversity in current reports. Some English merchants lately arrived from Spain say he is ready and about to sail, others aver he will not have finished his preparations for another two months. Following the repeated advice of the Admiral of England, I am sending the present letters to you by my brother-in-law, Jehan, Sieur de Soatre, with the request that it may please you to send me trustworthy information according to the news you have received. The Admiral told me to-day that his men were re-victualling here for six weeks only, and his vessels could not be manned longer. I can see he greatly fears having to go to Spain on account of the possible difficulty of obtaining food there, which may indeed be real; on the other hand I have also heard from him that the Queen may wish him to go. Though he is resolved to obey her, I cannot help noticing a certain contradiction and diversity in his moods. As far as we are concerned, the Queen of Hungary, our Regent, commanded us to take victuals enough for two months only, one of which expires this day. Considering the orders I received from her to accompany the English Admiral, I shall provision my ships for six weeks at least, on the assumption that it is the Queen's wish that, if possible, I should not leave the English Admiral. When the six weeks are up it will please the Queen to send orders for the revictualling of our fleets, if she desires us to stay longer at sea. Otherwise I shall be compelled to return home, having neither the authority nor the means to revictual my ships. I beg you to inform the Queen of Hungary, so that confusion may be avoided, as I have no authority to revictual the fleet for any period longer than the two months referred to.
Since the Admiral left, one of the men in charge of the revictualling of the English fleet has been on board my ship. He declared that the said fleet was taking food on board for two months, and that certain vessels freighted with victuals would follow the Admiral's fleet, to ensure sufficient food for a third month. If this is so we are being deceived, and might find ourselves short, to our great confusion and shame. I request you to send me your good advice on this matter, and I shall act accordingly. You will hear other particulars from my brother-in-law, who will tell you all we have heard, and the daily occurrences.
Off Portsmouth, 4 May, 1554.
Signed. French.
May 4–6. Brussels, E.A. 108. A faithful account, certified by MM. Loys de Reberque, de Wenderques and Loys de Salprewick, Echevins of the town of St. Omer, of certain speeches against the holy Catholic faith, the Host, and reservation of the Body of Our Lord at the Mass. The names and surnames of the witnesses follow their depositions.
Dame Anne Clepsteren, wife of Pierre le Roy, about 40 years of age, was requested to say all she knew and heard on her oath. She declared that yesterday, about four o'clock in the afternoon, as she was returning home from her errands in the town, she met a married woman from Guines named Jacqueline Loncle, native of Neuville, near Petit-Guerquam, as she believed; sister to her husband, Pierre le Roy's, servant. She offered her meat and drink, and in the course of conversation witness asked the name of the woman's little girl, who was about a year old. The woman replied: Katie (Catherinette). As the witness had been told that children were no longer baptised at Guines, she asked Jacqueline whether it were so, and received the following reply: Yes, they were christened there, and you could understand the christening better at Guines than here, because they were baptised in English, which people could understand, whereas here you could make out nothing. The witness remarked that people here believed what the priest told them though they could not understand it. Conversing further, Jacqueline told the witness that Mass was said at Guines, but that the priest was not a very good man, and spoke High German. The witness then remarked that she had heard that the English fled out of the church if the body of Our Lord were reserved at the Mass, and pretended to eat their bonnets, in sign of mockery. Thereupon Jacqueline asked: “Do you believe the white thing they lift up to be God?” Witness replied that she truly believed it to be God when the priest had consecrated the wafer.
Then Jacqueline said God was not in the Host, but in heaven; and that she had sold over a hundred such (wafers). “You are off the right road,” she added. Witness was greatly perturbed on hearing such sentiments. In answer to a question, she said she could not be sure whether Jacqueline uttered these words: “You are off the right road in believing that God is present in the object shown by the priest.” Witness could say no more, nor give further evidence except that she told Jacqueline that she was a miserable woman to say such things and would burn for it. Jacqueline replied she was not afraid of fire. Witness remembered Jacqueline to have said: “They say that a soul is freed from Purgatory every time the priest says Mass. If this were true no souls would be damned.”
When witness's husband heard these words he ordered Jacqueline out of the house, telling her she was a bad woman.
Witness was examined and cross-questioned on her deposition, which ended here.
(There follow two more depositions of witnesses to the same effect.)
5 May, 1554. Before the Mayor and Echevins.
Jacqueline Loncle, a prisoner, was brought before the authorities on an accusation of having uttered the words reported above; and on being questioned, replied as follows:
She was born in the village of Guerquam and was brought up and lived there until about ten years ago, when she went to live in the house of a man named Manck Ol, a brewer by trade. She remained there until two years ago, when she married the brewer's servant, Jacquet by name, native of Honnin near St. Pol.
She confessed that yesterday she went to the house of Pierre le Roy to see her brother who was in service there and in the course of conversation the wife of the said Pierre asked her if children were still being christened at Guines, and if her own child had been baptised. She replied yes, and that baptism was administered in English.
She denied having said that the christening was better there than here because it was performed in English.
She confessed having said that they had a foolish priest at Guines who spoke German.
She could not say if yesterday she had told Anne Clepsteren that God was not present in the little white thing (ce blanc cosette) the priest holds up in consecrating the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that they who believe it were straying from the right way; and she called upon the said witness and others who were present to say what they heard.
She confessed having said that if a soul were freed from Purgatory for every Mass said by a priest, there would be none damned, because of the great number of masses that were said daily all the world over.
She said that three men who were with her last night came from Guines.
In answer to a question she said she did not know if when leaving the house of Pierre le Roy she gave the answer that she did not fear the fire, because Pierre le Roy said he would have her burned; she declared she had never begged.
She confessed that last night as she was being taken to prison she had said that she well knew that Pierre le Roy was having her locked up because Pierre le Roy did not wish her to go to his house. She denied having said that she would abide by every word she had uttered.
She afterwards declared that she had been moved to speak as she had done to the wife of the said Pierre, by having once heard a certain man at Calais say that Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven and would not descend to earth again until the day of the last Judgment. This had prompted her to say to Anne Clepsteren that God must leave heaven often if He were present at all the Masses said by the priests. This was the cause of her doubting, and she could not hold a different belief.
6 May. Before the Mayor.
The said Jacqueline Loncle was brought up again before the authorities and questioned whether she had anything more to add or to confess concerning the errors she had uttered in Pierre le Roy's house.
She repeated her previous statements, after being confronted with the witnesses, and declared that she had meant no harm, and believed all that the Holy Church taught us to believe, praying that she might be pardoned.
(Jacqueline was then sentenced to be banished from the town and territory of St. Omer.)
St. Omer, May 4–5, 1554.
May 6. Brussels, R.A. Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: I added to my last letter a note to inform your Majesty that the Upper House of Parliament had thrown out the bill providing for the punishment of heretics, a matter into which I was then unable to go more fully because the courier was in a hurry to catch the tide. From what I have since heard, it would seem that Paget was responsible for this, for he induced several of the lords to oppose the measure, persuading them that it was being introduced in order to deprive them of the Church property now in their hands. He thus acted without regard for his duty as the Queen's subject, servant and councillor, or considering the trouble likely to follow the bill's defeat in view of the discord already rife between the Catholic and heretic elements in the nobility, the Council and the people. He gave no thought to the Queen's reputation, the quiet of her realm or his Highness's coming, but allowed himself to be led by his hatred of the Chancellor and spite at not having been consulted about the measure, to bring about its rejection. The result is that the outlook is blacker for the Queen than it has ever been; for the Lady Elizabeth gives ground for fear, the rebel prisoners who have not been sentenced are ill-disposed, the. heretics have taken heart because the bill has been thrown out by the Lords, the leading men of the realm are members of the heretic sect, the Queen has no money, and his Highness's arrival, which is not universally desired, is the subject of talk. Moreover, Paget is not likely to have shown his hand so far without having formed some seditious plan, and as he acts by the advice of Cobham and Hoby, heretics both and one of them, Cobham, of French leanings, I am afraid that more intrigues may follow.
When Paget heard that the Queen knew of his doings, he came to see me, and begged me to obtain for him, by way of reward for any services he might have rendered your Majesty or his Highness, leave to go away to the baths in Cornwall. He was suffering from pains in his leg, he said, and he saw that the Queen was not pleased with him; but though absent he would always remain true and ready to die for her. His reason for wishing to leave court was not to abandon affairs, but to gather strength in order to be able to render more service. I was not to suspect him of having intrigued against the Queen, for the nobility was entirely in her favour, his Highness's coming would soon pacify the whole kingdom; and other remarks to a similar effect. I replied to him as cautiously as I could, for fear he had come to find out whether the Queen had spoken to me about him, or was angry with him, and whether there was any intention of shutting him up—a prospect which terrifies him. So I only said it would not be meet for me to ask leave on his behalf, as the Queen was quite accessible to him. I was astonished to hear of all this fresh commotion, and begged him to beware of advice that might harm him. I had several reasons for not wishing to sue for his leave, and wished to avoid his seeing from my attitude that the Queen suspected him.
The Chancellor also came to my lodging, and told me that the act had failed to pass because of the opposition organised by Paget. The Queen had better realise who was her good and faithful servant, and who was not; but there was no reason for being pessimistic about her affairs, for he had provided sufficient forces to resist the heretics or any rebellious party, so the only danger lay in a very sudden rising, to obviate which he thought the Queen would do well to leave London and repair to Windsor, there to await news of his Highness's landing, which had better take place at Southampton, for the people were Catholics and obedient there and at Winchester; and there was no danger anywhere but in London. In reply, I said that it could only have done good to put off the bill on heresy until the next session of Parliament, for I was afraid that the Queen's crown and life might be set in hazard and the heretics provoked to rise in arms against her. It would be well to think of the future as well as of the present, and take into consideration the condition of the realm and the manifest ill-will displayed by the activities of the French, as well as the advisability of making sure of the Tower and the prisoners in it before the Queen left London. I held him to be prudent and discreet enough to take all requisite precautions, but it was not wise to irritate either the people or the nobility, and before Parliament met it had been decided not to introduce any religious measures. Here the Chancellor interrupted me, saying that most of the lords regretted having allowed themselves to be swayed by Paget's prejudice, for they had been told by him that it was proposed to take away their Church property from them and that the bill's object was to give the Bishops authority to treat them vindictively; but the lords had not intended to favour heretics or heresy. Pembroke and several others had sent to tell him that they were sorry. Before the Queen left London, he would see to the prisoners, and as for Courtenay, he was to be indicted and should be pronounced guilty. Elizabeth, he thought, had better be sent off to the North Country, where the people were Catholics. Although the bill had not become law, penalties that had long ago been instituted against heretics were still in vigour and should be enforced. For his part, he would do his best to ensure the Queen's security, but he wished his Highness were here. Last Sunday, he told me, the French caught one of your Majesty's couriers on board of an English vessel coming from Spain, and seized his packets which he had not had time to throw overboard because a thick fog had enabled the ship to be captured by surprise. At the same time they had taken three Spanish merchants, one of whom was Don Lope de Carrion's nephew. He had had letters sent off from Laredo on April 15th, telling him that the Queen's ambassadors had arrived in Spain, that M. d'Egmont had left Bilbao by the post to go to his Highness at Valladolid, and the baggage was already being taken on board the ships at Corunna. The Admiral was at Portsmouth with his fleet, and had better stay there because the French had designs on the Isle of Wight.
Parliament rose yesterday. The lords are going off to the provinces to see to it that no risings take place; and a placard is to be published, setting forth the act ratifying the marriage.
Wotton has written to the Queen that the English refugees are still urging the King of France to make a descent on Essex and Sussex, where they assert that the people will rise at their bidding, and that the attack be made in the name of the Queen (fn. 7) of Scotland, whom they are already calling Queen of England. They also want a Scottish army to fall upon Berwick and Newcastle; and the King of France, nothing loath, has sent for M. de Termes, who is to go to Scotland with the Vidame of Chartres and Roggendorff. Moreover, the rebels have an understanding with people in the Isle of Wight. Wotton also says that one of my servants is a spy and in touch with the French ambassador here resident; for Pickering has heard that he let it out that I had deciphered the ambassador's letters. I have grave suspicions, Sire, of one Guillaume Mondrolois, now in Brussels, whom I dismissed because I mistrusted him. When in my service, he was often away and no one knew where; he had money and spent prodigiously on clothes. He did no writing or any other business for me, but served as an interpreter when certain Englishmen came to see me; so he can only have repeated what he gathered on those occasions. He had a friend in Antwerp whom he called his brother-in-law, and whose name I have not been able to learn; and this man frequently sent him news, a suspicious matter about which I thought I had better warn your Majesty. Moreover, Mondrolois offered me his services unsolicited, telling me that he knew English well and had gained experience of men and affairs over here when in the employment of M. Van der Delft. All this combined with certain other indications to make me beware of him, not to mention the fact that when I was in France he was there with Ambassador Mason, and used to offer me information. (fn. 8)
Bartolomé Compagnone, a Florentine merchant, has gone to Antwerp with the avowed object of raising money; but I must warn your Majesty that, as you may also hear from Scheyfve, he has always acted here as a spy for the French ambassadors; so he had better be watched.
Gresham, the Queen's agent, who is carrying this letter, is going to obtain passports from your Majesty to enable him to export from the Low Countries the powder, saltpetre, arquebuses and armour mentioned in a note (fn. 9) herewith enclosed. All these things are required for the Queen's service, so I felt unable to deny Gresham a recommendation to your Majesty, who will decide as to whether his request deserves to be granted or not.
A French courier arrived here yesterday, and immediately afterwards the French ambassador caused it to be said that peace was nearly concluded between your Majesty and the King, his master. About two hours later a Spaniard from the Canary Islands, coming from France, reached my lodging. He used to serve the Prior of Capua in France, and was in the habit of giving me news. He now says he has come over on purpose to tell the Queen that the French have an understanding with people in Calais, and that the stores they are accumulating at Ardres are intended for Calais when they have taken it. They are bringing up 600 or 700 foot and 300 men-at-arms for the purpose, and there are traitors in the town, as my man knows from the very captains in charge of the undertaking. He has come moved by his desire to serve the Queen on account of the alliance she has contracted, and also because he says the French have wrongfully cut off Don Hernando de Sandoval's head; and he swears by his life that all he says is true. I have reported to the Chancellor, who has sent off Cornwallis to Calais, to be followed to-morrow by the Earl of Huntingdon, the Master of the Horse and two other gentlemen, who are to remedy matters there. The Queen has ordered me to inform your Majesty of this, in order that you may assist her by making a demonstration on your part of the frontier.
The same Spaniard told me that when he left France the King was at Anet, and about to start for St. Germain, Chantilly and Compiègne. The Constable was at Chantilly last Tuesday, and had ordered a muster to take place on the 15th of this month near Soissons. France was greatly distressed, and the King, doing what he could to raise money, had sold the salt-works at Bordeaux and La Rochelle. I hear from other sources that the men-of-war off the coasts of Normandy and Brittany are not more than thirty, small and large together, and are under orders to make sail for the Canaries when his Highness has reached England. Roggendorff is in Lorraine, bringing a number of lansknechts to France. Discontent is rife among officers and soldiers alike because eight months' pay is owing to them. The French have given up all hope of Siena, and it is being said that the Pope is intervening in that affair on the Duke of Florence's side, because he wishes to marry his nephew to the Duke's daughter.
This morning the Queen sent Basset (fn. 10) to tell me that Parliament finished yesterday in a manner satisfactory to its members and creditable to her Majesty. The lords gave their assent to the old penalties against heresy, which they openly proclaimed they meant to see stamped out; and Basset added of his own accord that never did session end with a better grace. When the Queen made her speech, she was interrupted five or six times by shouts of God save the Queen! and most of those present were moved to tears by her eloquence and virtue. Her belief is that God will restore matters to tranquillity, for the peers have spoken to her to promise fidelity, so I may lay aside all my fears and suspicions. His Highness will be very welcome, though she will take all possible precautions to keep the bad men quiet. Paget is sorry for his misdeeds; but she can never feel that he is to be trusted.
I am sending to your Majesty a genealogical tree that has been published here to show that his Highness is no foreigner, but an offshoot of the House of Lancaster. (fn. 11) When Paget heard that the Chancellor had devised it, he said it was being done in order to give his Highness a right to the throne. The Chancellor himself told me this, and I am having the greatest difficulty in knowing how to behave towards the two. I can neither forget how Paget worked for the marriage, nor excuse him for his intrigues contrary to the Queen's interests; but still less can I think of making the Chancellor suspicious, for I am mindful of his influence, rank and office, and all my actions are carefully calculated to further his Highness's safe arrival in England. If Paget persists in requesting leave to go to the baths, I believe the Queen will give it to him in such a manner as shall cause him bitterly to repent of his ingratitude and make him aware that he is in great danger of losing his honour, life and goods.
Most of the churches here are in ruins, such is this people's faithlessness.
The Queen has informed me that Hales (Als), about whose fear of being punished for heresy I have already written to your Majesty, has repented and made a public declaration that God has inspired him to bear witness to the truth. His speech was of the right sort to win over heretics, for he is a man of authority and position, and well-versed in the law; and others will probably follow his example.
London, 6 May, 1554.
Signed. Cipher. French.
Short extracts from this letter are printed by Tytler, The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, Vol. II.
May 8. Brussels, R.A.P. 13.. The Queen Dowager to Simon Renard.
The Spanish firm of Antonio Sanvitores and Company, of Burgos, have presented a memoir to us, wherein it is set forth that in the month of July, 1545, a certain vessel belonging to them was freighted in Portugal with a cargo of sugar and other merchandise to be sent hither. The vessel was boarded on the high seas by certain Englishmen who by the exercise of force and violence pillaged and robbed the vessel within the Emperor's jurisdiction, taking a great quantity of sugar and a case of ambergris besides other goods and money to the value of five thousand crowns. The condition in which the ship was left by the English enabled the French in their turn to get possession of it and rob the rest of the sugar and other goods she was carrying.
One of the members of the firm, John Baptist de Sanvitores (fn. 12) by name, soon afterwards brought a lawsuit against the robbers, but owing partly to the troubled state of affairs, partly to other causes, he was never able to get justice done him. It was considered best to let the matter lie for a time, to the owners' loss and damage. They now submit a humble supplication and request, founded on the consideration that the kingdom of England is enjoying peace and friendship with our States, asking that we may grant them letters of recommendation to the Queen of England or to you, so that they may obtain prompt justice. We have granted their request, which seems very reasonable, in view of the fact that for the last twenty years they have lived continuously in these States. We therefore order you in his Majesty's name to submit the facts to the Queen or her Council, with the request that they may be pleased to dispense prompt justice by granting that this long-standing suit may be heard and disposed of without further delay.
Brussels, 8 May, 1554.
Minute. French.
May 8. Brussels, E.A. 108. Memoir of Count Beveren and M. de Eecke.
May it please her Majesty the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) to determine whether M. de Wacken is to bring back the fourteen men-of-war under his command, at the expiration of the second month, namely, on the 3rd of June, without tarrying further, or whether he is to wait some time longer. In the latter case, it will be requisite, with submission, that the Queen send orders to M. de Wacken to provide himself with victuals in England, and not to stir unless he receives fresh orders.
Brussels, 8 May, 1554.
Signed by both writers. French.
May 10. Vienna, E.V. 5. M. De Courrières to Simon Renard.
These our letters are written to inform you of our safe passage from Calais to Dover. Nevertheless, we came across three large French men-of-war close to port, one of which grappled our mainstays shouting “heave to! heave to!” But the wind was strong and our master was in no mind to heave to so readily, and the man-of-war was compelled to sail onward, so that by good luck we reached port without further mishap. Our horses and some of our baggage, both mine and the Alcalde's, had to go.
Pray inform the Queen and her Council of this so that they may take the necessary measures. It was an escape in ten thousand, praise be to God! As we are now on foot, you would give us great pleasure by sending us a couple of hackneys, one for the Alcalde and the other for myself. We are very much astonished to find the passage is not better guarded. To-morrow we shall be at Canterbury for Whitsuntide, and we expect the Bishop of Norwich who took his leave of the Emperor on May 1st as I did also. The gentlemen at Calais assured us there were no ships at sea, and our boat was manned for an easy journey. We encountered the opposite, as I have just told you, I hope this adventure is the worst I have left to face, for I am an old dog (cane) of sixty-seven.
Dover, 10 May, 1554.
P.S. If the opportunity occurs, pray kiss her Majesty's hands for us, and commend us to her Council. Some seem to think here that (Sir) Peter Carew was in command of 16 vessels, but we cannot believe it.
Holograph. French. Signed: Montmorency.


  • 1. John Sheres; see Vol. IX of this Calendar, pp. 190, 196, 300, 336.
  • 2. Henry, Lord Maltravers.
  • 3. Shrewsbury was Lord President of the Council in the North.
  • 4. Ascanio della Corgnia had been taken prisoner, while fighting in the Imperial ranks, on March 23; but as he was the Pope's nephew, the King of France thought it opportune to set him at liberty not long afterwards.
  • 5. From this point to the end of the next sentence the original is written in cipher.
  • 6. Adolphe de Bourgoyne-Wacken, Sieur de La Capelle, Vice-Admiral of Flanders.
  • 7. Mary, daughter of James V and of Mary of Guise. Her paternal grandmother was Margaret, elder daughter of Henry VII. She had been in France since August, 1548.
  • 8. Mondrolois may have betrayed Renard's secrets, but it is quite certain that at about this time one Etienne Quiclet was doing so, and Renard, in spite of warnings, refused to suspect him, a fact that was later turned to great account by the ambassador's enemies. See Lucien Febvre, Philippe II et la Franche-Comté (Paris, Champion, 1912).
  • 9. This note has not been found.
  • 10.
  • 11. Henry III of Castile, Philip's great-great-great-grandfather, married Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
  • 12. This person, designated at John-Baptist de St. Victor, presented a memoir, probably about the same case, to Renard in October, 1553. See Vol. XI of this Calendar, p. 264.