Spain: June 1556

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

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'Spain: June 1556', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 268-271. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Spain: June 1556", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 268-271. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Spain: June 1556", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 268-271. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

June 1556

270. The Cardinal of Sigüenza (fn. 1) to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extract)
Rome, 4 June Your Highness will have heard how things are going here from a letter I sent you by a courier who left Rome on 20 May. I am writing now, as your Highness instructed me to do. Things are here as they are wont to be. The Legate for his Imperial Majesty and the King of England left on 30 May. Cardinal Carafa, who is going to France, is believed already to have arrived at that Court. One of the principal points these Legates are to try for is agreement on the Council being held here, although his Holiness says that he is summoning it rather out of urbanity (sic) than because there is any need for it. It is believed that a Bull has already been drawn up transferring the Council here from Trent . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.883.
271. Francisco de Vargas to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Venice, 7 June Your Highness will have seen from a copy of a letter I wrote to his Majesty how things are going here. It is all very laborious. Indeed, it will be a marvel if the truce continues, given the intrigues going on and the ill offices of the Pope and his nephews, and especially Cardinal Carafa who is pure poison, and bent on realising his and his uncle's vain imaginings. He went off to France with such pomp, so many jewels and antiques to offer as presents that every one is talking about it. What is outrageous is that, when the shameful intention of harming his Majesty, his Italian possessions and especially the Kingdom (of Naples) is so obvious, the Pope should pretend that he is serving the cause of peace by sending this legation. One despairs of seeing God remedy matters, and by some striking example chastise these plots against the Church and Christendom.
Paolo Giordano, head of the House of Orsini, who is not yet of age, has been engaged to the Duke of Florence's daughter and in the Emperor's service, as your Majesty knows. Now, the Pope has made him break off his engagement, appealing to Cardinal Santa Fiora to settle the affair, and has persuaded him to marry in France, sending him off to that country with Cardinal Carafa and Piero Strozzi, the favourite. The King of France has already given him the order of St. Michael and an income of 4,000 crowns: the sum he formerly received from the Emperor. This is a most unworthy deed, and like the rest of the Pope's actions aimed at doing as much harm as possible.
Their Majesties are well. The Emperor wishes to leave soon for Spain.
Signed. Cipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.1325.
272. Simon Renard to Philip
Paris, 13 June Sire: I have received your Majesty's letters of the 4th and 7th inst. Since I arrived in this kingdom, I have done my utmost to discover what the French are planning, in order to inform your Majesty, and have already written several letters touching the points mentioned in yours of the 7th, not only as regards your Majesty's patrimonial dominions but also England, Germany and other countries.
I have also gone into all I have been able to gather about Cardinal Carafa's legation. When he comes, his actions will perhaps confirm my forecast, which is that he will endeavour to cause trouble rather than to promote agreement.
I have also dealt in my letters with the intrigues the French are carrying on in England and the warlike preparations they have on hand in the direction of Italy, the Mediterranean and elsewhere. I have given the names of various captains who have been sent out both to Italy and to Germany, whither Viral has been despatched. As I have constantly had occasion to remark, the intentions of the French come out quite clearly both in public negotiations and private affairs. If things go badly, it will not be the fault of the minister who reports, moved by his sense of duty and instructed by experience which has taught him never to accept the words of the French as Gospel truth. At present, I do not find the French any better than they were in the past, (fn. 2) but rather worse. I have been unable to discover one single instance proving that they wish to maintain peace and amity. On the contrary, they are full of the hostility which appears to be natural to the King of France. The truce that has been concluded cannot be relied on. Indeed, the French are so swollen with pride and persuaded that they have the advantage over your Majesty, whose forces they affect to despise, that they trust in their strength, intrigues and alliances to put all their plans into effect. Thus your Majesty will realise how determined they are to disregard the truce, which they concluded out of necessity and because it was advised by the Constable in order to traverse the designs of the Cardinal of Lorraine, which are aimed at Italy, and to get back the prisoners. But since the recent position about the prisoners developed, the Constable himself has shown an ugly temper. The Guises have all along been advising a breach of the truce in order to pursue the plans started in Italy by the Cardinal of Lorraine, arguing that precious time is being lost. At present, I hear that the King is holding conferences every day as to whether or not to break and on what pretext. It appears that the Constable insists that the season is too far advanced to do anything this year except to continue intriguing and making difficulties for your Majesty wherever possible, collecting money and making preparations. He is unwilling to allow the Guises to have the advantage over him in that he was the cause of the truce, which they try to represent as unfavourable to the King, but at the same time his own opinion continues to be as in the past. The Guises and their party, on the contrary, consider that it would be a great mistake to miss the opportunity afforded by the readiness of the Pope and other potentates of Italy allied with the French to damage your Majesty; also that affairs ought not to be allowed to settle down in England and that the German Protestants must not be abandoned. The upshot will depend on the negotiations which Cardinal Carafa is coming here to undertake. The general opinion is that this year will not end without trouble starting in Italy, and this is confirmed by the fact that the French are sending two thousand men to Corsica in order to move them forward to the territory of Genoa, and by the galleys they are fitting out in Corsica, Marseilles and elsewhere. Foot and horse are being concentrated round this capital in order that they may be ready when the moment comes. All the German captains are here at Court: the Rheingrave, Sternen, Riefenberg, Hara (Harrach) and fifteen or sixteen others, and more are expected. Belleforiére and several others have started for Picardy, Belleforiére is captain of Corbie and is to be in charge of the artillery. If Carafa's business is what is expected, the truce will be broken, according to what I hear. It seems that the King's intention for this year is to demonstrate on this side of the Alps. I do not know what exactly is being planned, and the spies have not been able to discover it. It may be that the French have designs on some towns, such as Arras. However, operations this year will probably not be on a very large scale. The King will visit his frontiers, settle affairs in Lorraine and try to order his finances, which are at a low ebb. If there is actual war, it will probably be undertaken in Italy, thanks to Carafa and the Duke of Ferrara, at the time when the King moves towards the frontier. It will be well to take precautions as your Majesty will understand better than I can. If I hear anything further I will immediately report. Pending Carafa's arrival, surprises and changes may take place.
As for the French plots in England, about which I have written, the Frenchmen are aware that they have been discovered, because the Queen has ordered Courtenay to return to England and has fitted out some men-of-war to prevent a sudden landing there, also trying and imprisoning several of their accomplices. The extent of her information on this subject comes out in Ambassador Wotton's negotiations about the rebels, Noailles's intrigues, Killigrew's piracies, the behaviour of Peter Carew and other details. The French realise that they can do nothing further for the rebels without actually going to war with England, and that they cannot use Courtenay at any lower price. They have recently called back Dudley (fn. 3) and 22 or 23 English refugees who have gathered together at Havre Neuf in order to take ship there for Scotland, where it appears they are going to try to intrigue in England. I am also assured that stores are being laid in in Normandy and Brittany to revictual ships and that the King is waiting for the return of Tremen (fn. 4) who has been to see Courtenay to find out what he is disposed to do. An Englishman by the name of Neville, who belonged to the household of the late King Edward, has arrived here from Venice, where he was with Courtenay. He says that Courtenay has rented a house in Venice for 250 ducats a year. As Neville travelled slowly he was unable to give any information about Tremen's coming. I am informed from a good source that there are two French refugees at Winchelsea near Rye who have contributed to save some rebels and have kept their property for them. One of these men is called Magny. The French believe that the fleet which your Majesty is fitting out in Holland to escort the Emperor to Spain is really intended to make raids in Normandy and that the Emperor will not leave Brussels this year. They also say that your Majesty will either punish Elizabeth or will make her marry a foreigner. Their great fear is that your Majesty will be crowned King of England. Count Schwarzenberg has been commissioned to raise two or three thousand horse.
As for Germany, I have mentioned the sending of Viral, and this is quite certain, for I have the information from the person who went with him as far as Chateau Thierry. I also hear that Marquess Albert has sent one of his gentlemen to try to obtain the money which has been promised him, amounting to 100,000 crowns. This man says that nothing much will happen at the present Diet, because the potentates are afraid that the King of France will come to terms with your Majesty and abandon them. This is all I can report at present about Germany.
It is suspected that Killigre (fn. 5) is at sea with his three ships in the intention of enabling Elizabeth to escape from England, but nothing certain is known about this. There is a lame man with Bassefontaine who travels to the Low Countries and acts as a spy. He speaks good English and is very useful to Bassefontaine.
I am told that there are three Spaniards who report frequently to Bassefontaine and have been seen in his house. It is also said that there are 200 or 300 Spaniards who are prepared to leave for Spain as soon as they get their pay. I have taken up the matter of the privileges of Artois with the Constable, but he puts me off from one day to the next and I have not been able to obtain a decision in this matter or in that of the three servants of the Duke of Arschot and the prisoners in the wood of Vincennes. I have offered caution for them and have asked the Constable to tell me whether he is holding them on criminal charges, or if not for what other reason. He grows angry every time I speak to him on the subject. It would be well to mention the matter to Bassesontaine or to take some decision, for otherwise they will certainly be kept here for a long time.
Marshal St. André is escorting Carafa, and all the Neapolitans at the Court of France have gone out to meet them. A greater welcome is being prepared for Carafa than if the mightiest prince of the world were passing through France.
Copy. French.
Vienna, F.31.


  • 1. Don Pedro Pacheco, Cardinal, Bishop of Sigüenza.
  • 2. Renard had already been Ambassador to France, 1549–1551, and later, 1553–1555. in England.
  • 3. One Dudley is referred to as an offender in the Acts of the Privy Council, 29 July, 1556.
  • 4. Andrew Tremayne was committed to the Marshalsea on 24 February, 1555, under suspicion of piracy (Acts of the Privy Council).
  • 5. There are several entries concerning the Killigrews in the Acts of the Privy Council, at this time.