Spain: February 1555

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1954.

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'Spain: February 1555', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 137-143. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Spain: February 1555", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 137-143. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Spain: February 1555", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 137-143. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

February 1555

147. Simon Renard to the Emperor
London, 3 February Sire; The enclosed summary (fn. 1) will tell your Majesty what was decided by Parliament at its recent session. I would have sent the acts themselves, were it not that they are so prolix that they would fill a volume. The summary contains the substance of them. I will not deal with other questions, because Señor Ruy Gòmez will be able to give a better account of them to your Majesty than I could do, as I do not take part in any negotiations which might supply me with an opportunity to write to your Majesty. I will only say that I have heard that the Queen has been very melancholy these last three days, because she had heard that the King wished to visit your Majesty before her confinement, and fears that there may be some disorder in England because of the Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay, whose behaviour is unaccountable. The Queen also sees that the split in her Council is increasing rather than diminishing, and apprehends that the carrying out of the acts on religion may rouse opposition. The bishops have condemned some obstinate heretics to death and have been over-hasty about it, whereupon the people began to murmur in such fashion that execution of the sentence has been suspended.
There are tidings that the Vidame of Chartres (fn. 2) will shortly be passing through England on his way to Scotland, and also to the effect that the French are sending three or four thousand soldiers to Scotland, as I have already written to your Majesty.
Ambassador Wotton wrote a few days ago that the Constable has confirmed to him that there is desire for peace, as I mentioned in my recent letters. The Constable was more attentive to Wotton than usual, and Wotton interprets this as the Frenchmen's ruses and trickery have taught him to do, especially when the Constable told him that the King of France had rejoiced to hear that the King (Philip) had been appointed protector of the heirs to the Crown. Wotton also says that the French are carrying on great preparations for war and are trying to raise money; and that in order to conceal in what straights he is, the King of France is continuing work on the Louvre and the Bastille gate. About a fortnight ago, the King of France had a fall from his horse while hunting in the forest of St. Germain, and might have been badly hurt, but he was picked up at once, and got off with a wound in one leg.
Sire: I have begged the King (Philip) to grant me leave to retire from my mission here, as your Majesty has been pleased to agree. But Señor Ruy Gòmez tells me that your Majesty is now of another opinion. And as I understand that the King will only be going abroad in three and a half months from now, and I am rendering no service here and have no business entrusted to me, I humbly beg your Majesty to allow me to go home and set about paying the debts which I have accumulated while acting as your ambassador here. If at any time your Majesty wishes me to return, I will obey your orders as in duty bound.
Signed. French.
Vienna, E.22.
148. Simon Renard to Philip
5 February Sire: The people of this town of London are murmuring about the cruel enforcement of the recent acts of Parliament on heresy which has now begun, as shown publicly when a certain Rogers (fn. 3) was burnt, yesterday. Some of the onlookers wept, others prayed God to give him strength, perseverance and patience to bear the pain and not to recant, others gathered the ashes and bones and wrapped them up in paper to preserve them, yet others threatening the bishops. The haste with which the bishops have proceeded in this matter may well cause a revolt. Although it may seem necessary to apply exemplary punishment during your Majesty's presence here and under your authority, and to do so before winter is over to intimidate others, I do not think it well that your Majesty should allow further executions (fn. 4) to take place unless the reasons are overwhelmingly strong and the offenses committed have been so scandalous as to render this course justifiable in the eyes of the people. I think your Majesty would be wise to show firmness and to tell the bishops that they are not to proceed to such lengths without having first consulted you and the Queen. Otherwise, I foresee that the people may be indisposed, although hitherto they have proved peaceable enough and well disposed towards your Majesty. If this were to happen, which God forbid, and if the people got the upper hand, not only would the cause of religion be again menaced, but the persons of your Majesty and the Queen might be in peril. Your Majesty will also consider that the Lady Elizabeth has her supporters and that there are Englishmen who do not love foreigners. The nobility shows an altered countenance. The bishops have their enemies, and so has the Chancellor his. All these people grasp any occasion, especially with the approach of spring. Your Majesty might inform the bishops that there are other means of chastising the obstinate, at this early stage: such as secret executions, banishment and imprisonment. The watch-word should be secure, caute et lente festinare. Indeed it is urgent to act in this sense, for I hear that the bishops intend to continue executions, and that other heretics are to be burnt this week, both in London and in the country.
Copy. French.
Vienna, E.22.
149. Simon Renard to the Emperor,
London, 10 February Sire: Since I last wrote, the Bishop of London (fn. 5) and the other bishops assembled here to enforce the recent acts of Parliament against heresy have burnt three men: one here in town and the others in the country, and are preparing to proceed in the same way towards obstinate offenders who refuse to obey the laws of Parliament. The nobles and the heretics among the people are murmuring about this, as I have reported to the King in a letter, a copy (fn. 6) of which is herewith attached. The nobility have always wanted such an occasion to move the people to join in a revolt. I foresee, unless God remedies it, or moderation is used, that things will take a dangerous turn. Especially, the Chancellor's enemies will not lose this opportunity for revenge, as is only too obvious. Besides, affairs in this country are in the same difficulties as they have been in the past: the split in the Council has increased rather than diminished; the two factions no longer consult together; some councilors transact no business, Paget, seeing that he is out of favour with the Queen and most of the Council, is often in the King's apartments. The Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay continue to present a problem. There is hardly any intercourse between Spaniards and Englishmen. The people are talking against the Queen even more than they did in the past. Many intrigues are going on in which the French are taking part. I suppose that Señor Ruy Gómez will have informed your Majesty fully about this, and given you more authentic information than I can do, as I take no part in affairs.
The French have sent 17 ships to Scotland with a number of Scottish and French troops: some say 15,000, others say less, the object being to freshen up their garrison along the frontier. However that may be, they certainly have some reason for sending these troops. These ships sailed just at the time when the Duke of Savoy crossed over, and it was hoped to capture him. When the French Ambassador here heard that he had not been caught, he tore out his beard with rage and disappointment.
The French Ambassador has complained to the Council because the Earl of Lennox (fn. 7) has held some letters signed by the Dowager Queen of Scotland (fn. 8) by which she promised marriage to the Earl of Baldoch (sic), (fn. 9) making over her income to him if she failed to keep her promise. These letters were written some six years ago. I was unable to learn how they fell into the Earl of Lennox's hands, although I have asked the Earl, who told me the above. The French are mustering troops near Abbeville, it is said here, intending either to make a surprise attack on Hesdin fort or to revictual Marienbourg, or perhaps to undertake a raid from Marienbourg into the Low Countries.
Gresham (fn. 10) is back from Spain with 275,000 crowns, which your Majesty gave leave to have exported for the Queen. The remaining 25,000 out of the total of 300,000 were carried on another English ship which it is feared may have been taken by the French, because there are no news of it.
The French have lost several ships which they sent out to waylay vessels coming from the Indies. They are said to have been driven ashore in the neighbourhood of Lisbon.
The Venetian Ambassador here states that Pietro Strozzi is in arms in the territory of Siena, between that town and the sea, with a number of foot and horse; also that supplies and ammunition had been run into Siena.
Sire, as I hear there is some question of making me stay on over here after the King leaves, I cannot forbear to beg your Majesty very humbly to excuse me. As your Majesty well knows, I have carried out certain negotiations here, and have not been able to do so without incurring the hatred of a number of Englishmen, who are daily plotting to take vengence upon me and kill me or have me killed. It has already been found out that four English gentlemen had undertaken to kill me, giving as a pretext that they were coming to sup with me, as Paget has informed me. Now, some are saying that I brought the papists into this kingdom, others that I brought the foreigners and Spaniards in here, and it is certain that I can render your Majesty no service or stay here one hour after the King leaves without risking my life. Moreover, the great dangers I am exposed to have made me too apprehensive for me to be able to stay here any longer. Thus, I do not believe your Majesty will command me to do so, but will not take it in ill part if I excuse myself, since you have already granted my request to retire, and will allow me to go home.
After having written the above, I have learnt that it has been impressed upon the bishops that haste in the religious affair would be unwise, and that it seems that they will hold their hands.
Signed. French.
Vienna, E.22.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV, from an undated copy at Besançon.
150. Philip and Mary to their Ambassadors in Rome (Abstract)
Westminster, 16 February Instructions to the Bishop of Ely, (fn. 11) Viscount Montagu (fn. 12) and Sir Edward 16 February Carne, (fn. 13) who are being sent as ambassadors to Pope Julius III.
Copy. Latin.
Besançon, C.G.73
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
151. Antonio de Eguino to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
London, 18 February. As soon as the courier arrived whom your Highness sent to me with dispatches, I left home for the port where I was to embark. We waited a few days for the wind, which God gave us so good that we crossed over to England in three days, landing at a place called Penzance, whence I came to London by land. I handed your Highness's letters to the King together with news of your health and the Infante's. His Highness was expecting these news and greatly rejoiced over them. I was bidden to return next day and report on the business with which your Highness had entrusted me. When I had done this, the King told me that your Highness had done very well to inform his Majesty (the Emperor) and himself, although he had already heard about it, more or less, and that he would consider with his Majesty what had better be done. However, he could have wished that as the matter had been discussed in Council, in Spain, as it had been decided to send me on this mission, that some remedial measures had been proposed, if any were possible, and that your opinion on them might have been sent him. He asked me whether there had been anything of the sort. I replied that I knew no more than what I had been instructed to say, but that I believed all possible thought had been given to the matter and that as no suitable solution had been found, it had been left in suspense until the Emperor and the King had been able to consider it and make known their pleasure. I added that in order to form an opinion, his Majesty would do well to see the finance reports that I brought. He answered that he would do so shortly and would summon me when he had time. He referred me to no one, and I have not mentioned my business to anyone else, nor will I do so until his Majesty has considered it and given me instructions. True it is that the Duke of Alva and Eraso have seen a copy of a dispatch that I brought and have questioned me on the matter, discussing the principal affair and several details and telling me that the King thinks I had better go on to the Emperor's Court and lay the whole matter before him, although they suspect that he may be unwilling to listen to me, because he now deputes financial affairs to others. I will carry out whatever orders I may be given.
I have handed over to Luis Vanegas, for the Queen of Bohemia, (fn. 14) the casket and the letters which your Highness sent to me for this purpose. He received them in time, before his departure, as he will report to your Highness.
Holograph. Spanish
Simancas E.808.
152. Philip and Mary to Pope Julius III (Abstract)
Westminister, 21 February After a brief outline of the events which have taken place in England since the death of Edward VI, Cardinal Pole's legatine mission and reception in England, there follows a list of laws which have been repealed by Parliament, with the Royal assent, as contrary to the obedience owing to the Pope and the Apostolic See:
A law of year XXI, Henry VIII, against any who may obtain, from the Roman Court or elsewhere, a dispensation touching the plurality of livings or the obligation to reside.
A law of XXIII, Henry VIII, to the effect that no man is to be taken out of the diocese in which he resides, with certain exceptions.
A law of XXIIII, Henry VIII, to the effect that all appeals formerly referred to Rome are henceforth to lie before the English courts.
A law of XXVII, Henry VIII, on the submission of the clergy to the King's Majesty.
A law of that same time, called a statute, forbidding the payment of annates and first fruits to the Bishop of Rome, and ordering the election and confirmation of archbishops and bishops in England.
A law of that same time, called the law of exoneration, freeing the King's subjects from all exactions of the Roman See, and directing that all licenses and dispensations are to be sought for in England, and not elsewhere.
A law of XXVI, Henry VIII, to the effect that the King is Supreme Head of the Church in England and has authority to deal with all errors, heresies and abuses.
A law of the same year, called a statute, ordering the nomination and consecration of suffragans.
A law of XXVII, Henry VIII, on the appointment of ecclesiastics and laymen to examine ecclesiastical legislation.
A law of XXVIII, Henry VIII, called a statute, abolishing the authority of the Bishop of Rome.
A law of the same year, conferring the power to create bishops by letters patent.
A law of XXXII, Henry VIII, called a statute, on matrimonial contracts and the degrees of consanguinity.
A law of XXXVII, Henry VIII, called law of the kingdom, confirming the title and style of the King's Majesty.
A law of XXXV, Henry VIII, containing among other things a form of oath by which all subjects are required to renounce the authority of the Bishop of Rome.
A law of XXXVII, Henry VIII, called a statute, to the effect that doctors of the civil law who are married may exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
A law of I Edward V (sic, i.e. VI) providing penalties for any who may state in public, in speech or writing, that the King ruling in England is not Supreme Head of the Church of England and Ireland, or that the Bishop of Rome or anyone else than the King of England is entitled to that style.
All these laws, promulgated since the twentieth year of Henry VIII, have now been repealed, and the Pope's authority in England has been restored as it was before the said twentieth year of Henry VIII.
Copy. Latin.
Besançon, C. G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
153. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
London, 22 February Since I wrote the letter being taken with this one, an English courier arrived by land with your letter of the 10th instant and a note in your own hand, to which I am replying in my own. I well know how happy you must have been to hear of the successful issue of negotiations in this country with regard to religion. In this respect, as I have informed you in my other letter, things are going better from day to day, God be thanked! I warmly thank you for everything you say to me, and for having caused a solemn procession to be held. Also for having written the news to the chief cities and the prelates of the kingdom, as well as to the cathedral churches and the provincials of the various religious orders, instructing them to have processions held and thanksgiving services to our Lord, imploring Him to guide this matter still further.
You will see the reply I am sending about the briefs that have come from Rome and other matters. . . . . (Domestic Spanish affairs).
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.809.
Lambeth date missing 154. Cardinal Pole's dispensation to Simon Renard to eat meat in Lent, because date missing of certain infirmities rendering it unhealthy for him to eat fish.
Signed. Parchment. Latin.
Besançon, C. G.73.


  • 1. This paper has not been found.
  • 2. François de Vendôme.
  • 3. John Rogers, burnt at the stake on 4 February.
  • 4. John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, was burnt at the stake at Gloucester on 9 February.
  • 5. Edmund Bonner.
  • 6. See Simon Renard's letter to Philip, dated 5 February.
  • 7. Matthew Stuart.
  • 8. Mary of Lorraine.
  • 9. Probably the Earl of Bothwell (Patrick Hepburn).
  • 10. See the Calendar of State Papers (Foreign Series) for Mary's reign.
  • 11. Thomas Thirlby, formerly Bishop of Norwich.
  • 12. Anthony Browne.
  • 13. Sir Edward Carne received an allowance at the rate of fifty-three shillings and four pence per diem as from 12 February, 1555. He remained as ambassador in Rome until the end of Mary's reign. His first despatch reproduced in the Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, is dated 16 July, 1555.
  • 14. The Emperpor's daughter, Mary, wife of Maximilian, King of Bohemia, son of the Emperor's brother Ferdinand, King of the Romans.