Spain: July 1557

Pages 300-308

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

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July 1557

317. “Reports from France by a servant of the Queen Dowager of France”
5 July A marriage per verba de futuro has been concluded between the third daughter of the King of France and the son of M. de Vendôme. (fn. 1) The King is giving the young couple the duchy of Alençon, which M. de Vendôme laid claim to.
The French say that the King of England's camp is moving towards Mézières, between Boulogne and Amiens in Picardy.
They say the French have raised 25,000 foot for defensive purposes, including 8,000 Germans, 8,000 Swiss and 4,000 Gascons. These troops are being assembled at Amiens, and it is said that the French frontiers are well provided with supplies and soldiers. The ban and arrière ban, which are garrison troops, only used in times of great need, have been called up, but they cannot be ready to serve before the end of August. It is said there will be 14,000 foot and 5,000 horse to defend the frontiers, and that the rest of the troops will form a light corps to attack the enemy wherever possible. They say the truce was broken on the advice of the House of Guise and the Duchess of Valentinois, against the opinion of all the other members of the Council and especially of the Constable. Plans for the French fleet and for action in Italy were based on the Cardinal of Lorraine's calculations. He thought that as the Pope was getting old, he would become the next Pope himself, and that in the meantime, with the help of the present Pope, he would be able to throw the Duke of Guise and his army into the Kingdom of Naples.
The French say that the Duke of Florence deceived them, not having kept what he had promised, and the same of the Duke of Ferrara, who failed them in the hour of need.
The Italian enterprise is going very badly at present. The Cardinal of Lorraine and his brother Guise are being blamed for it, and it is believed that they will lose their credit with the King, especially as all the King's money has been spent for this purpose, and the French are now without money or means to raise any.
Piero Strozzi arrived fifteen days ago at Compiègne, where the King was, coming on behalf of the Duke of Guise, with the Pope's ambassador. They brought a draft for mediating peace; but the Pope says he wishes the King to know that he will do nothing in the matter without the King's consent. Strozzi has been wounded in the mouth by a shot from a harquebus, which broke his teeth, so that now he has a very ugly mouth. M. d'Aumale, (fn. 2) a general of the Duke of Guise, has been mortally wounded.
Loans are being demanded in France with great insistence on the King's behalf, and commissaries and collectors are going the rounds very diligently, nobody being let off.
The King has obtained the Pope's consent to taking the revenues of all churches for one year, and in this connection a treasurer has been appointed. He bought his post for 18,000 crowns, the equivalent of 8,000 ducats.
An inventory is being drawn up of reliquaries, chalices and other objects of silver in the churches of France, in order that they may be melted down and converted into coin. It is known that this is the last resource remaining to the French to raise money.
It is said in France that the Constable is glad that the Duke of Guise's undertaking has turned out badly. He says the plan was an unfortunate one; he was against it, and opposed to breaking the truce.
Cardinal Guise and his brother are disliked in France because of their ambition and the bad advice they have given the King. The eldest son of the Constable has been married to a bastard daughter of the King. (fn. 3) The match that had been planned for him was broken off, and the lady has become a nun.
The King made the Constable's second son a knight of his Order three weeks ago.
The King has created numerous new offices, appointing two men instead of one throughout the kingdom, and means to raise a large sum of money by these means.
The King's forests are being sold.
King-of-Arms who came from England to declare war on France was not given audience (fn. 4); for they did not allow him to speak or to declare his mission, but gave him eight days to leave the kingdom under penalty of being hanged. However, he received a present of 200 crowns.
The whole kingdom is anxious and frightened by this declaration from the English.
It is said in Flanders that letters from Italy speak of an attack by the Duke of Alva on the French rear-guard, killing three thousand men and capturing seven pieces of artillery. The Duke is said to be pressing forward to join forces with the Marquess of Pescara, so that a total defeat of the French is in sight.
It is said to be true that the troops raised by the King of England in Germany defeated those the Rheingrave had assembled for the King of France, and that the latter had to fly to Strasbourg, where they hope to raise 6,000 more.
Don Bernardino de Mendoza reached Brussels about three weeks ago, coming from England with letters from the King to the Duke of Savoy, instructing him to move forward with the Germans, both foot and horse, from the places where they had assembled on the frontier. His Majesty said that within 10 or 15 days he will be in Brussels with a sum of money, and that all was to be ready by then for an invasion of France.
It was also said that the Duke of Savoy, with 8,000 horse from Flanders, three or four German regiments and some Spanish ones, was to take the offensive in France, and that Don Bernardino with the artillery, munitions and supplies was already at Namur.
It is said at Bayonne, though nowhere else, that M. de Guise had given battle to the Duke of Alva, losses being very heavy on both sides and the Duke (of Guise) himself killed; but since then the Duke of Guise was reported to have arrived at Ferrara.
Many French gentlemen who went to Italy with Guise have returned to France, very sad and in very bad shape.
They say in Flanders that the Duke of Ferrara has handed over to the Cardinal of Trent, who is in Milan, acting on behalf of the King of England, a sum of 100,000 crowns as a contribution to the war, and that he would be prepared to lend 200,000 more without interest.
It is said in France that the Duchess of Ferrara and her son wished to poison the Duke, and that he ordered them to be arrested, considering the French responsible. During the last eight days, eleven companies of Gascons, commanded by M. d'Aigremont, have been moving forward to where the King now is.
The Bishop of Liége (fn. 5) died seven weeks ago, and the Marquess of Berghes (fn. 6) who was his coadjutor, has peacefully taken possession of the diocese.
The Prince of Orange was very ill and his life was despaired of. He has lung trouble.
Simancas, K.1490. (fn. 7)
318. Philip to the Bishop of Arras
Calais, 6 July In England, I received a letter dated 1 July, and here, where I have arrived in good health, one of 4 July. As for what you say in both of them about Polvilar, (sic, i.e. Polweiler), I will leave all that until we meet, for it will be soon. We must have some ships at sea in order to encourage our friends here; I am afraid that if we do not, they may fail us. We must also harass the enemy wherever possible. You will do what you can to this end. I should have been glad if Vaudéont's return could have been avoided, but I believe he will be there by now. This will perhaps stop the talk that was going on. The Anabaptist's affair was handled very well, and I thank you for it. I have seen the papers he swore to before you. We will speak about them. I will refer you to my letter to Don Bernardino in reply to what you write in your last letter about making an attempt on Rocroy. I have no time to write to him, as I am leaving at once.
Copy. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.4.
319. Pero Menéndez to Philip (Extract)
Bruges, 9 July After having landed the soldiers and the money, I went to Portsmouth to take over the surplus supplies from the wool-ships. Don Diego de Mendoza had had extra supplies put on board them for the infantry they were bringing. When that had been done, I was handed a letter from your Majesty dated 30 June, instructing me to go with my fleet to serve the Admiral of England or, in his absence, his lieutenant, and to remain at his orders until Don Luis is ready, when I am to place myself under his orders. I immediately started for Dover to look for the Admiral of England. On the way, I hoped to be able to kiss your Majesty's hands and inform you about certain matters which I thought might be of importance to you. At dawn to-day, I was at Ypres, where I had been informed that your Majesty was spending the night. But I learned from Eraso that you had slept at a place four leagues away, and that I might not be able to report to you before you left for Brussels. I reflected that a week had passed since your Majesty instructed me to join the Admiral of England, although I had only had the letter two days ago, and thought I had better lose no time in carrying out your instructions. I will do my best to see to it that the English are satisfied, although it will be very difficult to bring men from Biscay and Guipüzcoa together with the English; they are very quarrelsome, unreasonable and impatient folk, all of them. I am afraid the English may ill-treat the others. Seventy or eighty men whom I was bringing in this fleet have left it. If I had been there at the time, this would not have happened. I would not have given them leave, and would have explained to them the orders I received from your Majesty about serving the English Admiral and keeping all the English satisfied. For these reasons, I do not dare to remain absent from the fleet any longer or to follow your Majesty to Brussels, unless you send for me. I have many questions to take up, however. If you wish me to come, you will send me orders to that effect. When Don Luis de Carvajal summons me to go to Spain with him, I will ask leave of the English Admiral, and will then place myself under Don Luis's orders, as your Majesty has commanded me.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.514.
320. Bishop Delfino to the King of the Romans
Rome, 11 July The Duke of Alva has proposed to the Pope the same terms which he notified to Cardinal Carafa last November. Cavaliere Placidi, a gentleman of Cardinal Santa Fiora, has been sent on this business to the Duke. It is believed that an agreement may easily be reached.
The Sienese have sent ambassadors to King Philip begging that their city may not be placed under the Duke of Florence.
The Duke of Florence has informed the Pope that if his Holiness does not reach an agreement with King Philip, he (the Duke) cannot fail of the duty he owes the King for many favours received in the past, and because he has now been given the state of Siena. The Duke is under arms in his own state, and in a position to send out 12,000 infantry and 300 or 400 horse. I believe that this last protest of his will make his Holiness reflect.
2,000 Swiss troops are said to be coming to guard this city, and it is believed that they have already reached Bologna.
It is said that as soon as Strozzi has returned, the Duke of Guise will go to France with the troops he brought to Italy, leaving 100 men at arms as a guard in Rome. They no longer hope or even talk about an attack on the Kingdom of Naples.
Wise men think the King of France has his work cut out, and that the English declaration of war has indisposed all the Frenchmen who are here in Rome.
Cardinal Morone has been examined four times, and Cardinal Pole summoned by the Pope. Both these matters cause infinite astonishment. It is believed that Cardinal Morone's case will be long drawn out, and that the Kingdom of England will not allow Cardinal Pole to come to Rome. The Pope is fitter than ever.
Holograph. Italian.
Vienna, Rome 10.
321. The Earl of Pembroke to Philip
Calais, 19 July Your Majesty: I have come hither to see that the troops are fitted out properly and to hasten on preparations. I thought well to send this gentleman to your Majesty to beg you to grant me a commission under your signature in favour of a person whom I shall name, in order that he may requisition horses and carts in Flanders. I beg your Majesty to believe what this gentleman tells you.
Holograph. Spanish. Countersigned: Thomas Heigam.
Simancas, E.514.
322. Philip to Don Juan de Ayala
Brussels, 22 July 3 p.m. The day you left this place, I received a letter from the Earl of Pembroke informing me of his arrival at Calais with part of his troops, and that the rest were to come the next day. He also asked me to provide him with certain things about which I will inform you, so that you may discuss the matter with him.
You will have met the convoy of money for-the pay of the troops, beyond Bruges. Juan López Gallo has arrived here, and says it was on its way.
As for the commission which Thomas Heigam has asked for on behalf of the Earl of Pembroke, to requisition horses and carts for the baggage train, an Englishman being appointed for the purpose, he was answered that this would not be suitable. Indeed it would give rise to much trouble and vexation, and any practical advantages would be small. But I have sent orders to Moqueron, Commissioner General of Transportation, to try to find as much as he can in the Campine, towards Breda, and to send it on here as fast as possible. Besides this, orders have been given to Vandeville to provide 52 carts, of the best and biggest available. You will remember that those found for the English are to be paid for at the established rate, and that you are to persuade them to desist from their demands for loans of money, for their pay ought to suffice.
Before I left England, negotiations took place between the Earl of Pembroke and others about the artillery, munitions and other arms that they were to bring. They replied that there would not be more than 12 light pieces of artillery, for use in their camps, according to their custom. They maintained that we were to pay for these. They also wanted 12 carts. Now, Thomas Heigam is asking for 80, saying that they are needed, especially as more tools have been provided for the 2,000 sappers. He has been answered that this is not possible. He then said 20 carts would do for the sappers, but even this was not agreed. You will speak to the Earl about this, reminding him of what was agreed and pointing out that it would be difficult to make new arrangements now. It is not reasonable that the English should always be making fresh demands. You will report to me about this as soon as possible.
They are now asking for 70 horses to draw the artillery. I am sending to Vandeville to provide them; and these are to be at our expense.
They asked in England for money to spend on spies, guides and carts; and they were told that if necessary I would supply some spies, at my expense, and that the chief postmaster would be instructed to send carts. As for guides, they would be available on the spot. This was meant to apply when the English forces had joined our camp. What is to happen in the interval is another question, and I have had the Earl informed that you will provide what is necessary. You will use for the purpose the money remaining at the disposal of Portillo, to whom I am sending appropriate instructions.
We had talked about the possibility that the Earl, on his way, might occupy two or three French places which are causing some trouble on our frontier; but so much time has passed that it would not be well for him to delay for this purpose. You will therefore ask him to make haste to Câteau Cambrésis, where he is to join our forces.
No provision had been made for the eighteen persons mentioned at the end of the memorandum you brought. I now direct that 1,200 crowns a month shall be given to them for the duration of this campaign, with the Earl of Pembroke's agreement. You will take this up with him, as I do not wish to be bothered with it, and he will know what each one of them had better have. If he insists that a larger sum is needed, you may go up to 1,500, making the proper entry in the accounts; and see to it that the lists of these names are very clear and distinct so that the accounts may be in order.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.515.
323. Don Juan de Ayala to Philip
Calais, 23 July I arrived here on the 21 of this month, and found the Earl of Pembroke, Viscount Montague, Lord Clinton and Lord Grey. (fn. 8) Before seeing the Earl, I thought it well to speak with the Treasurer of Calais, in order to obtain some information from him. I then went with him to call on the Earl, to whom I presented your letter and told him that you had sent me with the instructions I was carrying. He replied that he kissed your Majesty's hands for remembering him and sending some one on the errand I had explained, and that he would discuss everything with me before dealing with anyone else. From what I have seen so far, he appears to be satisfied that your Majesty should have sent me, and I will do my utmost to arrange everything as your service demands, and to avoid the drawbacks that have been mentioned. I have heard from the Treasurer of Calais that everyone here agrees. With his approval, I spoke to the Earl about the letters I was bringing from your Majesty to Viscount Montague and the other lords, explaining that I had been instructed to proceed as he should direct me. He replied that your Majesty had shown him great favour by causing these letters to be written, and that I should hand them over to him. I did this, except for the one addressed to the Earl of Rutland, who has not yet crossed over, as the weather has been bad these last days.
Yesterday, Thursday, M. de Vandeville arrived here. I had given him your Majesty's letter at Gravelines. The Earl of Pembroke, when I presented Vandeville to him, appeared to be glad to see him. The Earl, the Treasurer of Calais, Vandeville and I then discussed various questions: among others the day on which the muster should be held. All the troops have not crossed over yet, but the Earl said it might take place to-morrow, because the remaining troops, that is to say some 500 horse, together with the Earl of Rutland and several lords, will be crossing to-day. Since then, however, I have spoken with the commissioner of musters, who says that it cannot be done to-morrow, because he does not know whether everyone will be here to-day. We also discussed the day on which the army may move from here. The Earl told me that in order to march he needs 150 artillery horses and 500 carts, and that he had sent a gentleman to your Majesty with this message. This demand appeared exorbitant to us, but for the moment there was nothing to be done about it. Afterwards, I spoke further with the Treasurer and got him to settle on 300 carts. This is still a very large number; your Majesty will consider what had better be done. Orders will also have to be issued about supplies. A letter from the Duke of Savoy to Vandeville, which I have seen, shows that the commissioner general finds it difficult to provide them here, and has written to Vandeville that they will have to be sent from elsewhere. But Vandeville tells me to inform your Majesty that he will not be able to do this, because he will not be obeyed in the country through which the troops are to pass, and that it would be well to send somebody with special powers from your Majesty to act in this matter. He says he is on no account to be given this duty, for he will not be able to leave camp, nor would it be well for your Majesty's service that he should do so. He went back yesterday to Gravelines, and has written to me to-day that he has received orders to provide 80 artillery horses.
I have spoken to-day with the Treasurer who is with this army, in order that he should report to me on what he has spent on clothing and transportation. He told me that out of £9,000 he received, he still has about £1,000, but that he still has clothes and transportation charges to pay for, and that he cannot tell whether what he has in hand will suffice until all accounts have been presented. The money brought here amounts to 34,000 ducats. One month's pay is over 36,000, without counting the salaries claimed by several lords and gentlemen who are not occupying any posts, as your Majesty knows. Moreover, the Earl tells me that he must have something in hand for extraordinary expenses on spies, the post and other objects that may have to be met. I gave him a soft answer about all this, without making any firm promise. Your Majesty will consider how much more money will be required. It will have to come promptly in order not to delay our departure from this place.
As for the rate of exchange: one real for 7 dineros (pence), I thought it better not to discuss this with the Earl, for it is the rate at which transactions are taking place here. True, the Treasurer of Calais told me that the legal rate is only 6½, although the current rate is 7. I will see what had better be done about this. As for paying the troops by means of vouchers signed by the Earl, without its being necessary for the person who brought the money in the name of Portillo to release the entire sum at once, I have discussed with the Treasurer of Calais, and by his advice have not taken it up with the Earl, because his disposition is what your Majesty knows, and it seemed he was very far from being inclined to agree. Indeed, he has told me that the money had better be handed over to his treasurer. I am temporising about this pending the muster being held and my knowing exactly how much the pay is going to amount to, when the proper sum may be handed over to the treasurer, following your Majesty's orders.
The Duke of Savoy has written to Vandeville about the route these troops are to follow, which is that already known to your Majesty. Vandeville has informed the Earl of Pembroke, who is greatly pleased with having been selected for this duty. In general, I recognise that they are all of them very glad to serve your Majesty, and especially so the Treasurer of Calais, who has been very helpful to me in arranging matters for the best.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.514.
324. Don Juan de Ayala to Philip
Calais, 25 July I received your Majesty's letter of the 23rd on the following day, and at once went to give your to the Earl of Pembroke. About the carts, he says flatly that he will not leave this place unless he gets 210: i.e. 140 for the troops and 72 (sic) for the artillery and munitions. I did my best to bring him round to reason where the artillery is concerned, but could not move him. I did not wish to contradict him absolutely, lest he think that was what I had come here for, or other such things. The Treasurer of Calais afterwards had a long talk with him, and finally told me that he could not make him change his mind. It seems to me that if, as I feel sure, such a large number of carts cannot be found, your Majesty might write the Earl a very tasty (sabrosa) letter, ordering him to start without further delay, because your service requires it, and that if he has not received the requisite number of carts, he is to march with those he has, without waiting for the rest. Like that, I am sure he will start, for there is no doubt about his desire to serve your Majesty. At the same time, it would be well to speed up the carts that are coming from the Campine. I told the Earl what had been agreed about the artillery and munition waggons, and he replied that nothing had been agreed with him; and if Lord Paget had said 12 were enough, he had been talking about something he did not understand. There will be no difficulty about paying them at the established rate.
As for extraordinary expenses on spies and other things, the Earl agrees to proceed as your Majesty directs. The troops will march to Câteau Cambrésis by the route your Majesty directs.
About the salary of the 18 persons, I did not negotiate with the Earl, for it was not necessary. Your Majesty's instructions will be carried out.
Yesterday, a muster was held of 1,200 infantrymen and some horse, in the usual manner, each man's name being noted down. They are good-looking troops, and well armed. I am told that to-day the rest will be mustered in the same way, and that to-morrow there will be a general muster. The Earl says that on Tuesday he wishes to go to Guines to await transportation, but I do not think he will be able to do so, because first it will be necessary to pay the troops here, and for that we shall have to have the balance of the necessary sum, and also what is required for the 18 gentlemen and other expenses that may have to be met with between here and your Majesty's camp.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.514.
325. The Earl of Pembroke to Philip
Calais, 29 July Yesterday, I received your Majesty's letters telling me to hurry as much as possible and push the sappers forward. To-day, other letters have come from your Majesty, and I have spoken with Don Juan de Ayala about them. He is certainly a very meritorious person, in whom we have found all your Majesty had said about him and more; we are very fortunate to have so honourable, prudent and well disposed a gentleman with us. As for the sappers, I have already sent off 1,500, including the miners, and they are marching to-day. I am sending in command of them Sir Richard Lee, a man of experience who had the same command in the campaign against Boulogne. He has with him his lieutenant, who is no less experienced, and there is another very competent man acting as captain of the miners. So that there should be no delay on my part, I am determined to take the field to-morrow, although we are being delayed a little by the necessity of paying the men and also by lack of carts. However, in order to join your Majesty's forces as soon as possible, I have requisitioned carts in the country round about, although they can only serve as a stop-gap, pending the arrival of those from Flanders. I beg your Majesty to give instructions that they meet us on the way as soon as possible.
Before your Majesty left England, Lord Clinton and I told you that it would be impossible, when assembling this force, not to bring over more than the exact number wanted. This in fact is what has happened. We are already sending some of them back, at great expense to ourselves, and are leaving others to serve your Majesty here and at Guines. As for the rest, although they are more than were wanted, we hope your Majesty will be willing to take them on, as they are already here and have come with the greatest goodwill to serve you.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.514.
326. Note in Eraso's hand
Valenciennes, 31 (?) July (fn. 9) The English cannot be here until Tuesday, and will perhaps wish to rest on Wednesday, wherefore it will be necessary for your Majesty to consider proceeding to camp without them, taking with you the Spaniards and the German horse of Aremberg and Wytguystein, (fn. 10) the light Spanish horse and Munchhausen's (fn. 11) regiment of infantry. This will make it necessary to change the orders and have them come here to-morrow, sending by several different routes to find Münchhausen and make sure that whatever happens he shall be here to-morrow with his troops. Your Majesty must leave with them and the artillery without waiting longer for the English, to whom six pieces of heavy artillery may be given, so that if your Majesty does not decide to have those forts levelled, between here and St. Quentin, they (the English) may undertake that work. The principal point is that Munchhausen should arrive in time, for without him, your Majesty cannot go in person or take the artillery which is here already and that which is coming to-morrow. For this reason, it is necessary to send many messengers, to make sure of finding Münchhausen.
Samancas, E.514.


  • 1. i.e. Marguerite de Valois, born in 1552, and the future Henry IV, born in 1553.
  • 2. Claude de Lorraine, Duke of Aumale, lived until 1573.
  • 3. François de Montmorency married, on May 3, 1557, Renée, a natural (but legitimised) daughter of Henry II by Philippa Duc.
  • 4. cf. the paper printed on p. 294.
  • 5. George of Austria, who died on 5 May, 1557.
  • 6. Robert de Berghes or Van Berghen.
  • 7. This bundle is one of those that were removed from Simancas by Napoleon, and returned to Spain in 1940.
  • 8. William, Lord Grey of Wilton, Lieutenant (or Governor) of Guines.
  • 9. This note bears no day of the month, but must have been written on or about the 31st, see the following paper.
  • 10. Count Ludwig Sayn-Wittgenstein.
  • 11. Hilmar von Münchhausen (1512–1575).