Spain: June 1554, 16-20

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

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'Spain: June 1554, 16-20', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 277-283. British History Online [accessed 5 March 2024]

June 1554, 16–20

June 16. Brussels, L.A. 68. An order to all the public officers in the Low Countries, to allow the Bishop of Norwich to export four great roan horses and convey them to England.
Brussels, 16 June, 1554.
Signed: Bave.
June 17. Brussels, E.A. 109. M. de. La Capelle to M. d'Eecke.
I am writing to inform you that on the 9th of this month, as I was with the Lord Admiral of England, whose company I have never left, at the port of Plymouth, the Marquis de Las Navas arrived there towards evening. I have no doubt you have heard this already. He and others of his company told me the Prince would not leave for England before the feast of St. John (24th June) or even later. Our victuals, as well as those of the English fleet, were getting very low; so I spoke to the Admiral of England about it, with the desire to find out his intentions, and by what means we might revictual. He told me he had that very moment received letters from Portsmouth from which he gathered that the victuals and beer he had written for some time before were ready and would be sent to him by the first toward wind. As for us, he might help us with the food, but could give me no useful information about beer, except that I might go with my company to the Isle of Wight. I followed his advice, and left him on Wednesday last arriving at the Isle of Wight the next day. I found M. de Courrières at Southampton, and explained matters to him, for we had always intended, I and my captains, knowing nothing of his presence there, to revictual at Southampton for the third month; and a few days over too, in case the Prince did not arrive before our third month expired, as this is the season of calm. We are now engaged on the business of revictualling, and I hope to go back to the place where the English Admiral is, in four or five days' time. We have bought provisions to the value of about twelve hundred livres of 40 gros (fn. 1) which M. de Courrières is to give us in cash. We shall have to buy the rest at Portsmouth, from the Queen of England's purveyors, who will deliver us the goods we need. The amount will be about 1800 livres as above, and they will accept my signature. I beg you therefore to see to it that they are satisfied. The two sums amount together to about 3000 livres.
I have also received, as I wrote to you, one thousand gold crowns from the ambassador, Simon Renard.
I will do my very utmost worthily to serve the Emperor, and honourably to acquit myself of my charge, especially as I received yesterday evening a letter from you, written from Brussels on the 12th of this month, and had received one the day before from the Queen Dowager dated May 14th in which his Majesty's intentions were clearly set forth. I will conform in every particular. I do not know, however, his Majesty's wish as to my return and when it is his desire that I should go back, if before his Highness's arrival or after, and I beg you to advise me on this point. Since I left I have had no letters save the two I have just mentioned, and one from the Bailiff of Flushing dated, as I believe, the 7th of this month, from which I understand that certain packets have been sent to me, but I have had no news of them so far.
M. d'Eecke, I hope to write again, and a longer letter, in a day or two, and send an answer to the Bailiff of Flushing, but to-day I have no time; the courier is in a great hurry, and is now jumping into his saddle. All my company are in very good health.
Southampton, 17 June, 1554.
French. Holograph. Signed: Adolf de Bourgoyne et Chapelle.
June 18. Brussels, L.A. 68. The Queen Dowager to M. de Vandeville.
The Emperor has charged Diego de Cepeda, bearer of these letters, to take twelve bales, laden in three carts, to England, for the Prince of Spain. We commend you on his Majesty's behalf to do your best to ensure the safety of the said bales, and to give him any assistance he may need for their transport, besides providing an escort of soldiers or others as you shall judge necessary, that they may be safely shipped to England and protected from the enemy. Do not fail in this.
Brussels, 18 June, 1554.
French. Minute.
June 19. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Bishop of Arras to Simon Renard.
I have thought well to write to you on two points of your letters, as follows, so as to explain his Majesty's intentions concerning them. His Majesty will write himself more fully hereafter. You say you believe there is an understanding between Paget and ambassador Mason, against the Emperor's hope, founded on something you wrote about their having assured you that in spite of the differences between the Chancellor and Paget they would live and die in the service of our Prince and the Queen. According to your last letters it seems that Paget is fairly deep in the Earl of Aundel's plot to marry his son to the Lady Elizabeth to the prejudice of the Queen, and that Mason and Hoby are hand in glove with them too. You suggest in your letters that it would be a good thing to seize some of Ambassador Mason's packets by surprise, so that their intrigues may be brought to light. There is a very good way of doing so, namely, to send a certain number of packets by our own couriers; and then we could easily make believe that some of our own packets, sent with theirs, had been lost between Gravelines and Calais, either feigning that the courier ran away from fear of the French, or even actually pretending that he was robbed by them.
The Emperor is of opinion that no such attempt should be made unless the Queen is informed of it, and gives her approval and consent. She might think that she had been wronged by an attempt made over here to discover more of the state of her affairs than she might wish known through the seizure of her ministers' correspondence. His Majesty wishes you to speak to her about it, and whatever she decides for the best shall be done in this case. I have no doubt you have already communicated to her what I wrote to you by his Majesty's command concerning Hoby. You will do well to send us the answer as quickly as possible, as we are embarrassed as to how to entertain him here, especially as he is constantly using pressure to obtain leave to go to the baths at Liége or elsewhere for the good of his health.
The second point concerns the safe-conduct asked for by the French ambassador. His Majesty is by no means minded to grant it to him, and the reply is being deferred purposely, as it is better in any case to keep him waiting and tell him the answer has not arrived yet, than to give him a flat refusal, especially as you are at present suing for the recovery, through the Queen, of what was taken lately from M. de Courrières and the Alcalde (Briviesca de Muñatones), and their merchant Iacopo da Tresso when they lately crossed the Narrow Seas on their way to England. (fn. 2)
The news are that the King of France is doing his utmost to get his army in the field before the Emperor's can be ready. We are doing our very best on this side for our defence. The Spaniards, and other infantry border-regiments are being sent to the frontiers, besides the regiments of Count Deversteyn de Trelon, ten companies of Germans in the pay of Conrad von Bamelberg and 15 companies of Low Germans under M. d'Aremberg. We believe for certain that Count John of Nassau reviewed his troops near Treves, and there are 10 more companies of Germans, besides 15 the Marshal of Gelders is raising and 8 more that are in Luxembourg. There are 5 more companies of Germans, too, who are at Thionville under M. de Meghem. The ordinary bands of cavalry, and those specially mustered are also marching towards the frontier. The Duke of Savoy, General of the army, left this morning for Cambray where he is to meet MM. de Lalaing, Bugnicourt, Glajon, Barlaymont, J. B. Castaldo, Antonio Doria, the Bailiff of Avesnes, and other gentlemen of these States and confer with them on the best way in which to utilise our forces. Two thousand four hundred German horse are marching hither under various captains, and will arrive one after the other to reinforce the different companies. There is a rumour that the King of France is going to make two camps. This seems unlikely, as in spite of all he had tried to do, he has no foreign soldiers except 5000 Swiss and 6000 Germans, old troops and new reckoned together.
Before M. de Bamelberg and his force left Luxembourg, he and M. de Meghem with the Marshal of Gelders, rode along the frontier line between Thionville and Metz up to the suburbs of the town. They took all the forts on that line and burned them. The French had made use of them to damage our frontiers.
Margrave Albrecht (fn. 3) had assembled eight hundred horse and five companies of infantry, but the Duke of Brunswick (fn. 4) sent five companies of his own horse that pursued them to a small unfortified town where they are now besieging them. It is said that Margrave Albrecht is with them, but I do not think it is certain. The King of France has sent to the Ferrarese some 4000 Grisons, in reality only about 3000, which have been joined by 1200 Italians and 300 horse. He says he means them for the assistance of Siena, and that the Florentine exiles number another 3000. Besides which the galleys of France, accompanied by those of the Moors of Algiers, are to carry 5000 infantry to Porto Ercole, Riquerode's regiment among them.
The Emperor has provided 5000 Germans recently levied and 4000 Italians; besides which five companies of men-at-arms from Naples are now fortifying the Marquis of Marignano's camp. These troops already amount to 22,000 men. His Majesty has commanded that his galleys recently arrived from Spain at Ajaccio shall be assembled and manned with 4000 Spaniards, and sent against the French and Algerian galleys, and do their best to second the effort in the Sienese and to serve in Corsica, where our people took the fortress of Corte at the end of last month. The effort made on our side is sufficient, and I hope it may dishearten the French and those who favour them in Italy.
The Turk has had an encounter with the Sophy and lost 14,000 or more men. Although the French are pressing him to send a fleet, and have again despatched Codignac to Aleppo, there are no certain news as yet that the Turk's fleet has put to sea; and in any case the season is now well advanced, as you can tell for yourself.
Brussels, 19 June, 1554.
French. Partly cipher. Signed. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
June 20. Vienna, E. 22. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: In accordance with the letters written to me by M. d'Arras on the 15th of this month, I have let the Queen know of Hoby's arrival at Brussels, and the instances Mason is making to obtain an audience for him. The Queen replied that the letters he is carrying for your Majesty were wrenched from her by his importunities. Since his departure Courtenay has declared that Hoby and Morison, encouraged by Paget, persuaded him to consider a marriage with Elizabeth, and were it not for them he would never so far have forgotten himself as to become guilty of the ingratitude which caused him to be sent to prison. It is certain that Hoby has done all the harm that it was possible for him to do, and that he has an understanding with Paget, Cobham and others to do as much harm as they can to the Queen's affairs. I am greatly displeased to see Paget following this course through his inconstancy, matters now being in such shape, that the Queen would stand in no danger whatever were it not for the plots and intrigues whereby he has drawn over to his side several heretics. Were it not that the Queen is afraid to cause a commotion in the kingdom when his Highness is just about to arrive, he would already be in the Tower. I cannot be blamed if he has refused to reconsider his ways, but I now see there is no hope. Mason is of the same kidney, and writes to him every day. For this reason it might greatly serve your Majesty's interests if his (Mason's) letters were examined. I have good reason for saying this, as his last letters to the Queen and Council contained a lengthy passage concerning your Majesty's affairs, and said the conclusion of peace would be convenient both for you and for the King of France. He tacitly implied that your forces were weak; that the King of Denmark and other German princes were irritated against the Duke of Brunswick because he tried to lay siege to Hamburg; and sent the note of which I enclose a copy (fn. 5) with the information that his friends had given it into his hands. I found his reasoning and his writings sufficiently suspect, and the Queen has the intention of recalling him if she notices any sign of his performing any ill-offices. The Queen submits entirely to your Majesty's good pleasure as to what shall be done with Hoby, as the letters were granted to him. It seems that the secretary drew them up in warmer terms than she had realized.
The Queen sent me yesterday the letters I now enclose, and which were sent to her by the Deputy (i.e. the Captain) of Guines, who took them from a man from Lille who was carrying them to the Captain of Ardres. The man was arrested, and I have obtained a letter to the said Deputy ordering the man to be handed over to M. de Vandeville. I have written to him accordingly, to send for the man and have him taken in safe custody and secretly to Brussels, which I expect he will do, as the matter is so very important to your Majesty's service. One of the letters being in cipher, it might be deciphered by him who wrote it, or the cipher might be discovered among his papers. Your Majesty will see from a note found among the letters, that another messenger has carried letters to the Constable of France, and that there are spies at your Majesty's Court. Your Majesty may infer how important it is to be on good terms with the Deputies of Guines and Calais at such a season.
Your Majesty will find that the cipher is written by another hand than the one that wrote the plain writing. I have noted this so that your Majesty may have it looked into.
I have certain news that the King on leaving Compiègne will go to Aussonce (?), and thence to Nizy, (fn. 6) a place belonging to the Cardinal of Bourbon. (fn. 7) From Nizy he will go to Laon, where he is pitching his camp. The twenty companies of Swiss that have crossed into France have arrived there already, and they are waiting for the 5000 lanzknechts, that Riffenberg, Roggendorff and the Rheingrave are bringing. The King has not been able to get together as many men as he hoped.
The assembling of the troops has been delayed by the recent illness of the Constable and of the Duke of Guise. Neither have recovered yet. Meantime the King is having his artillery which numbers 49 pieces both light and heavy transported to St. Quentin with the munitions. I have not yet discovered what road he is going to take or what his plans may be. He has seized one half of the reliqueries in the churches of France, and is laying heavy taxes on the privileged merchants as well as on those who enjoy no privileges. The people of France are very grievously burdened.
The King does not trust the English refugees to carry out any plot, although he has increased their pensions so as to flatter and hearten the factions who are still in England. He is certainly hoping to see some rising and disorder take place against the Queen, and to use it for his own ends.
Wotton has written that the French ambassador in England has done his very best, even to colouring the negotiations he has carried on, to get himself recalled. But the Constable does not approve of it and has ordered him to dissemble and submit to everything until the time is ripe. There is no longer any question of his going now. On the contrary, he sent word to the Queen's Council that he desired to follow the Court and be present at Winchester when the marriage should be consummated. I do not know whether that will be permitted him, but I have told the Queen that it would be better, for every reason, to put him off than to allow him to be present.
Wotton adds in his letters that as he was talking with the Constable one day of the Queen's constant desire for peace between your Majesty and the King, the Constable replied drily that the reason of his saying it was plain enough, but that it could not be, because your Majesty and the Queen were as one person, and the King knew his business: thus implying that he would not consider the way of peace but would bring matters to an end by violence.
Orders have been sent everywhere in Brittany and Normandy that every man must arm, as they are afraid that his Highness's army may land there.
I have been pressingly requested to beseech your Majesty once more to oblige the Queen with powder and saltpetre; but as I well remember your Majesty's former reply I have put them off, saying that your Majesty has great need of both commodities.
The Marquis de Las Navas arrived yesterday at this place of Guildford. He is to have audience to-day.
I have been informed that the King of France was not able to raise more than 100,000 crowns at the last Lyons fair. He has sent the money to Italy.
They say the Duke of Savoy, being General of your Majesty's army, will not come over to England.
Guildford, 20 June, 1554.
Signed. Partly cipher. French.
June 20. Vienna, E. 22. Simon Renard to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I only received your Majesty's letters of the 13th instant on the 19th; but before they came I had already sent 3,000 ducats to M. de Courrières to buy provisions for his Highness and to revictual the ships. I have heard for certain that M. de Wacken (fn. 8) is at Southampton laying in the stores he needs, and as soon as I receive the money your Majesty has been pleased to send me I will forward it to M. de Wacken, to whom I have written fully, and have sent your Majesty's letters.
I will refer your Majesty for news to my letters to the Emperor, in order to avoid repetition; but I must beg you to glance at the notes found in the intercepted letter of a spy who was on his way to France, in which your Majesty is named; and you will also see what shameless imprecations were uttered by a prisoner.
Guildford, 20 June, 1554.
Signed. French.


  • 1. The livre de gros was worth about 2s. 2½d.
  • 2. See pp. 244, 257.
  • 3. Albrecht-Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Culmbach.
  • 4. Franz Otto, Duke of Brunswick.
  • 5. This note has not been found.
  • 6. Nizy-le-Comte, between Laon and Rethel.
  • 7. Charles de Bourbon, younger brother of the Duke of Vendome.
  • 8. i.e. M. de La Capelle.