Spain: January 1558, 1-15

Pages 321-333

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

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January 1558, 1–15

347. Philip to Lord Wentworth, Deputy of Calais
Brussels, 2 January We have had sure information to-day that the French are about to make an attack with all their forces on Calais. We wish to inform you by this messenger, in order that you may urgently take all possible precautions, with your customary vigilance, for the defence of that fortress and the frustration of the enemy's designs. It is desirable that you should report by special messenger to the Queen, our consort, informing her of everything that you require from that kingdom. If there is anything else we can do to contribute to the defence of Calais and defeat of the enemy, we will gladly use our best efforts, for there is nothing of greater importance for our interests and those of the Kingdom of England.
Copy. Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
348. Lord Wentworth to Philip
Calais, 2 January 10 a.m. Sire: The enemy is by the bridge very near this town. He has 20,000 men, foot and horse, and is skirmishing with us all the time. It seems to me that he means to bring his artillery up to the bridge to-day. Although they have not done so yet, it is certain that the French intend to besiege this town, and I fear I may not obtain help from England quickly enough; the wind may turn in the wrong direction at any moment. But, knowing that some Spanish troops have come up to your frontier, I wish most humbly to beg your Majesty to let me have 300 or 400 harquebusiers with some gentlemen of honour and reputation to control them, as soon as I shall send a letter to that effect to the Governor in command of your frontier. I beg your Majesty to make known your pleasure to your governors, as the matter is of importance. Thus, I will be in a better position to resist the enemy's might.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.
349. Lord Wentworth to Philip
Calais, 3 January Sire: I have received your Majesty's letters informing me that the French are moving against Calais. Indeed, they have been camping before this town for the last three days. They have set their batteries in position, and have stormed the castle at the entrance to the port, and also the other castle on the road leading to France. Thus they have occupied all our territory, and nothing remains for them to do except to take this town. If it is lost, your Majesty knows what great facility it would give them to invade your territories of Flanders. We have little hope, unless your Majesty sends us relief, wherefore we humbly beg you to do so, as we are in the most dire necessity, especially for harquebusiers. But the best remedy of all would be for your Majesty to send your fleet. If you do this, we trust in God that you may win a great victory. I can only place my confidence in God and your Majesty. Whatever befalls, I am determined to die at my post. (fn. 1)
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
350. Philip to Don Luis de Carvajal
Brussels, 7 January I have seen the letter you wrote yesterday to Eraso. As you know, you proposed before you left to throw some troops into Calais on the land side, but it seems there was no time to do so. Still less is there now, for Calais is besieged and being shelled. The harbor castle has fallen. It therefore appears necessary that the fleet should leave the harbor. Letters have come from the Queen and the Deputy of Calais urgently requesting that you so proceed. I request you, as you see how important this is in order to prevent the French from seizing the supplies, to leave Calais with your ships as soon as you can, put out to sea and join the English fleet, with which you will consult as to how you can do the greatest harm to the enemy and assist Calais. If the English go on requesting you to throw troops into Calais, and you see that this can be done without taking too great risks or loss of reputation, I will leave the decision to you; but you yourself are not to leave the fleet, and you will take the greatest pains to keep me informed of what happens.
P.S.: in Philip's hand.
Make the greatest haste to get the fleet out.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.517.
351. “Account by Jean Perdrix”
8 January Jean Perdrix, townsman of Calais, came to this town of Gravelines and declared as follows:
On 7 January, at 2 o'clock after midnight, the French entered the castle of Calais by a breach which they had opened in it.
The French had entered the castle before the townsmen knew they were there.
At about three o'clock, a parley began with the French. At about 6 o'clock, it was learnt that an agreement had been reached and that the town had been surrendered, the garrison's lives being spared, but every one taken prisoner.
As soon as the town was surrendered, it was sacked by the French, and all the inhabitants taken prisoner.
As the defenders were only 2,000 strong they were compelled to surrender.
Within the castle, there was a man-at-arms of Calais called Middleton, having about 20 men-at-arms with him, who had entered the town.
Simancas, K.1491.
352. Philip to the Duke of Savoy (Extract)
9 January When I was about to send this off, a messenger arrived with a letter (fn. 2) you wrote to me in reply to mine of yesterday evening. I have given orders to supply the engineer with 200 crowns and send him off to-morrow. Your decision about the artillery was right, although I wish to know how many pieces there are. You also did well to send for M. de Glajon to look after the carts, horses and sappers. I am sure you will use all possible despatch with regard to the standards, the light cavalry (herreruelos) and Spaniards who are in St. Quentin. In view of what you say about the standards from Hainaut, I will cause M. de Lalaing to be referred to. I think the towns will try to get out of supplying any money, but I will communicate with you further about this. Secretary Van der Aa says he has not the memorandum about the troops on the frontiers, and believes that Vertz took it with him when he went to you. If he has it, you will send it to me. About the safe-conducts, the English are very much against their being given, as you know, and at the present moment it is advisable to treat them gingerly, wherefore I think this matter had better wait. The Treasurer of Finance has told me that the Burgomaster of Antwerp says it would not be advisable to attempt to discuss the 100,000 crowns with the people of that town at the present moment. Therefore you will consider what had better be done. I have seen from the letter written by the Prince of Orange what he says about the money he went in search of. Gaspar Schetz is here, and will be spoken to about this matter to-morrow, but you will not fail to answer the Prince and ask him to do his utmost to find the 100,000 crowns elsewhere, for the persons whom we are obliged to provide here are taking away money every day. What was written to you about giving assistance applied to the persons you mentioned, saying you wished to take them with you for certain business. If they have not yet arrived, you will summon them. We agree with what you wrote about Gravelines. You will give the proper instructions to Don Enrique. I am glad that Lazare Schwendi has reached St. Omer and is going on to Bourbourg. I will at once send an appropriate person to England to handle the question you mention, with detailed instructions.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
353. The Duke of Savoy to Philip
Alost, 9 January By your Majesty's letter, I saw how much you felt the loss of Calais, which I also deplore, as the place is of great importance, and also for other reasons. But it may be hoped that the measures your Majesty will take, your zeal and holy purpose will result in this sorrow being of short duration, to be followed by greater joy than before.
The 5,000 crowns that your Majesty sent to Gravelines will have arrived opportunely, for money was badly needed there. The engineer, Juan Tomás, whom you intend to send to me will be very welcome
I had already taken measures about the artillery, which your Majesty mentions. I have field artillery at St. Omer, and I have instructed M. de Glajon to join me to-morrow, to take charge of the carts, horses, sappers and other necessary things.
I see that it is most urgent to raise cavalry, and therefore am making all haste to do so. I will use part of the money from Flanders for that purpose.
As for bringing troops from Vermandois, Count Mega (i.e. Meghem) will be with me to-night, and I will see with him what we can remove from those fortresses, and give instructions that it be done at once, although we must remember that the enemy can go thither by the bow-string, that is the direct road, while we are obliged to follow the bend of the bow. Therefore it would seem to be wise not to remove these troops until we see more of what the enemy intend to do. Also, as your Majesty knows, those troops are badly paid, and therefore have begun to meddle with the munitions, which is probably known to the enemy and will encourage them to undertake something.
It has occurred to me, as money is so short at present, that your Majesty might do a deal with merchants about safe-conducts, (fn. 3) which I believe might produce 30,000 crowns for this emergency; and at a moment of such need, it seems to me that there ought to be no hesitation to have recourse to this device. If your Majesty agrees, please inform me, so that I may immediately take it up with them.
As for what your Majesty says about negotiating with the principal cities of these states, as was done when his Majesty (the Emperor) went to Namur, I will say that, at that time, all the troops I saw from those cities amounted to 4 standards, and were so poor that I would have been happier to have them far than near. It seems to me that instead of troops, it would be better to try to obtain money from these towns, and I believe they would rather give money than men, especially in this winter season. Their contribution might suffice to raise and to pay a few companies in Hainaut and Artois. About Hainaut, your Majesty might write to M. de Lalaing, telling him to raise as many as he can. I will find out from M. de Bugnicourt what can be done in Artois, and inform your Majesty.
Secretary Van der Aa stayed in Brussels. He has with him the memorandum your Majesty asks for about the troops on the frontiers, and it can be obtained from him.
As for what happened with the burgomaster of Antwerp, the treasurer of finance was present, and will be able to report to your Majesty. I believe the burgomaster has already left to negotiate on this subject with the representatives of the town, in accordance with our agreement, where the 100,000 crowns are concerned.
Your Majesty will see from the Prince of Orange's letter which I am sending what has been done regarding his instructions. I am of opinion that Schetz should be given some satisfaction in order to make it easier for the Prince to negotiate.
I do not understand clearly what persons are meant in the matter of assistance. I beg your Majesty to let me know about this in order that I may give effect to your intentions.
I have seen the letter which Don Hernando de Acuña wrote to your Majesty, reporting that he had found Gravelines Castle very weak. His view was that a large number of troops ought to be sent there in order to make the place secure. It would not be possible to do this at present without weakening all the other fortresses, and even so Gravelines would not be adequately provided for, just because it is so weak. I should say that the troops now in it would put up a better defence in the open country, in trenches. Moreover, it would not be possible to send the necessary supplies to Gravelines in time, as your Majesty notes. As Don Juan de Mendoza will arrive there with his men from Brussels, and Don Bernardino de Ayala is already inside the place with his company and the ordinary garrison, I think it would be better to await developments and continue to muster our forces. When our army is ready, I am sure that the enemy will be unable to do us any great harm, either there or anywhere else. I am therefore writing to Vandeville that if necessary he may pull down the church and a number of houses to improve the defences of the Castle.
I am also writing to Don Enrique Enriquez not to shut himself up with the cavalry, but to take the field, as your Majesty says. I shall send M. de Meghem to St. Quentin, following your Majesty's orders. M. de Bugnicourt informs me that Lazare Schwendi had arrived at St. Omer with his troops and was going to Bourbourg. I have no other news than what your Majesty has already heard of Gravelines or of the enemy. As soon as I hear anything further I will report.
I think it would be well if your Majesty wrote immediately to the Queen in order to find out what the English plan to do now that Calais has fallen, in the light of which you will be able to make up your mind as to what help must be given them, and other necessary measures. The Englishman whom I met on the road yesterday told me that there were 30,000 men ready to cross over here, in order to retake Calais if it is decided to do so, and that all efforts will be made to that end. I think it would be necessary to do this immediately, for if the French are given time, they will soon make it impregnable. I will say no more about this but leave it to your Majesty's judgment.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
354. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extract)
9 January Since I sent a letter to your Majesty to-day from Alost, I have not heard that the enemy has shown any sign of moving. Now, I have received the report which I am sending with this letter. (fn. 4) It was made by a townsman of Calais. Vandeville writes that the Earl of Rutland has again sent a messenger asking him to let him know where he may land the troops he is bringing. Vandeville replied, as he had before, that he can do so between Gravelines and Dunkirk. I have information from Don Juan de Mendoza that he will be to-night at Gravelines. I will report to your Majesty, hour by hour. . . . .
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
355. The Prince of Orange (fn. 5) to Philip
Antwerp, 9 January Sire: Following your Majesty's orders, I have conferred with several merchants of this your town. The principal difficulty seems to be that there are so many obligations out, signed by your receivers, that have not been met. Especially, the Schetz have not yet received the 100,000 crowns due to them, and underwritten by the Lords. But even apart from that, their credit is shaken. Subject to correction, the best way seems to be for your Majesty to obtain a letter of obligation from the Estates, upon which the merchants would be more willing to negotiate. Moreover, Sire, when the Marquess of Berghes was negotiating here last year for loans on your Majesty's behalf, certain merchants made difficulties about lending, and these merchants are now being daily threatened by a bailiff with being sold up on account of those loans. The merchants and others appear to be dissatisfied. May it please your Majesty to consider how to remedy this position. I will do my utmost to carry out my instructions, with my friends' assistance.
Holograph. French.
Brussels, E.A.84.
356. Hernando de Acuña to Philip
Gravelines, 9 January at 9 o'clock Don Juan de Mendoza and I informed Ruy Gómez, yesterday, of what had occurred since I reported to your Majesty about the fall of Calais. To-day, some of the Calais men-at-arms and many people who had been turned out of the town told us that the French have broken camp, and that yesterday, at two in the afternoon, their advance-guard was seen crossing a bridge, whence they could either return towards Boulogne or, if they liked, turn off towards Renty or make straight for Guines. The Governor makes sure of none of this, and we have no horse with which to reconnoitre. Don Enrique left this place to-day. Every one says the main French force will go to Guines or come hither. A boy who is a page of M. de Martigues and comes from Brussels, whither he says he is returning, states that he heard his master say he meant to come hither, and on to Bourbourg and Dunkirk.
The position here is as we wrote to your Majesty yesterday. Don Bernardino's soldiers have started on the work we thought had to be done in the castle here. At present, they are all we have to protect this territory, Valverde's company having been removed to a place where its presence was necessary. It would be well to carry out the work here with all haste, but that cannot be done unless your Majesty sends some money to Vandeville, who says he is paying the few men now at work out of his own pocket. If the enemy stays away, it will be necessary to carry out repairs. Having said this much, Don Juan de Mendoza, Captain Juan Gaetan and I have no more to say, for we are all in complete agreement. The Governor tells us that there are supplies for 1,200 mouths for three weeks. I will not fail to inform your Majesty of anything more I may hear about the enemy's movements. The aforesaid page also says he heard his master say that the King was sending 20,000 Germans and 2,000 horse. I take this for hot air, although it may be believed that their recent success will encourage them to persevere.
P. S. Since the above was written, Vandeville has told me that two men whom he regards as trustworthy have told him that the enemy's camp has not moved yet, but that at 10 o'clock to-day a certain number of horse started in the direction of Guines, without its being known for what purpose.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
357. The Prince of Orange to Philip
Antwerp, 10 January Sire: I have heard to-day from one of my friends that a certain Antonio Bonvisi of Lucca, now residing in your city of Louvain, who formerly lent 100,000 crowns to the Queen of England (fn. 6) and enjoys great credit on the exchange of this town of Antwerp among merchants and others, might give his obligation, and be underwritten in his turn by the Lords. In that case there are good hopes that the merchants would accept Bonvisi's obligations. I thought it my duty to inform your Majesty of this in order that you may summon Bonvisi and negotiate with him.
P. S. Since writing the above, I have also heard that if your Majesty were to write to the Burgomaster, Aldermen and Council of Antwerp, requesting them to give their obligation for 100,000 crowns, obtaining in turn the obligation of the Lords, the merchants would prefer to negotiate on this basis, rather than to take the obligations of the Lords, for the reasons I explained in my yesterday's letter.
Holograph. French.
Brussels, E.A.84.
358. Edward, Lord Dudley to Philip
Written at Ham (Hampneis) 10 January Please it your most excellent Majesty that the 8th of January I have been summoned first by a trumpet from Senarpont as by another from the Duke of Guise willing me to deliver this your Majesty's castle, that I have in keeping. Whereunto I made answer no less than duty bindeth me that I would not, but rather stand to the defence of the same even to the death. But I now looking every hour for the enemy and being very evil furnished as well as powder and good guns as also for other soldiers scantly able to furnish one part of the castle as I have declared to the Deputy and Council of Calais, but the matter thereof not so deeply weighed as reason required. Yea, and when I have written unto England for better furniture and that when lately not two months hence the Queen's Majesty writing her letters unto the said deputy to appoint me 100 soldiers more, yet they have been stayed from me. This I am forced to declare to your Majesty in the way of my discharge. And now the matter being upon the present help my humble petition is that it may please your Majesty to command one ensign of soldiers of 300 at the least to repair hither in all haste and certain guns with such provision of powder as possible, with spades, may be conveyed. And so, determining with God's grace to end my life in this your Majesty's service, I shall most humbly beseech God to preserve your prosperous state in felicity long to endure. (fn. 7)
Holograph. English.
Simancas, E.811.
359. Philip to the Prince of Orange
11 January I have received your letters of the 9th and 10th inst., and seen those you wrote to the Duke of Savoy on the 8th. I am grateful to you for your trouble in the business you are now conducting at Antwerp, and request you to continue. As you know, the basis of this transaction must be your credit and that of other lords of these countries, besides what Schetz has contributed, and it will be impossible to meet Schetz's claim soon enough to help us find money for the present emergency. To obtain an obligation from the Estates, as you recommend in your letters, would take a long time, and as you know would be difficult. As negotiations are already engaged with the Antwerp people, I beg you to do as best you can with the Lords' bond, without bringing Schetz into it, as he is already heavily burdened. I hope that you will be able to find the 100,000 crowns on the strength of the obligation offered by you and the Lords.
As for Bonvisi, I am having him summoned to this place in order to see whether there may not be means of getting something out of him on another transaction, as we now are obliged to avail ourselves of every opportunity, and the people of Flanders have shown great goodwill in the matter on which, as you know, Count Horn has been sent. Of the sum to be raised on the credit of the Spanish Lords who are here with me, 50,000 crowns have already been received and spent.
As for the complaints of certain foreign merchants about the insistence with which they have been asked to contribute to expenses, following the Marquess of Berghes' negotiations, I will find out what has been happening and see to it that they have no just grievance.
Draft. French.
Brussels, E. A.84.
360. The Prince of Orange to Philip
Antwerp, 11 January Sire: As I have already written to your Majesty, I am continuing my utmost efforts to find money. The Englishmen with whom I spoke recently have come this evening to give me their answer. They are willing to give their bond for as much as 30,000 crowns, in order to render service to your Majesty and to us Lords, on condition that they receive security in a form which I am to send your Majesty to-morrow. However, they say they do not know whether the merchants will regard their credit as sufficient for as much as 30,000 crowns. I will not fail to try to get the merchants to accept the Englishmen's obligation as soon as I have received it, but I do not think it will be possible to raise more than 30,000 on the Lords' obligation as long as the other (i.e. Schetz's) maturity has not been met. I therefore beg your Majesty to cause the Lords to sign the form I am sending you and to return it to me, in order that I may conclude the transaction.
Holograph. French.
Brussels, E. A.84.
361. The Prince of Orange to the Duke of Savoy
Antwerp, 11 January My Lord: This evening, the Englishmen with whom I spoke recently came to tell me that they are willing to give their obligation for as much as 30,000 crowns to serve the King, your Highness and the rest of us Lords, provided they receive the obligation of your Highness and the Lords, in a form of which I will send you a copy to-morrow, so that you may have the Lords immediately sign, each one as he should. I will then obtain that of the Englishmen. As far as I can see, I will not be able to raise more money on your Highness's and the Lords' bond than on that of the Englishmen, until the other one (i.e. Schetz's) has been paid. I thought I had better inform you of this, so that you might know how my negotiations are proceeding. I am doing my best to carry out my instructions.
P. S. When we have signed the obligations, I beg you to obtain letters from his Majesty guaranteeing us, for your and our security.
Holograph, French.
Brussels, E. A.58.
362. The Duke of Savoy to Philip
Bruges 12 January Since I arrived at this place yesterday afternoon I have heard that 400 enemy horse have moved towards Gravelines, and that when they arrived at the Sluice, 40 of them crossed the river between the sea and the town to reconnoitre the place. This permitted our artillery to do some damage in their ranks, but the fact remains that these 40 came up within a league and a half of Dunkirk. I have also heard from various quarters that the French are moving more than 20 pieces of artillery to Newnham, which is the castle at Calais which they occupied, with the intention of pressing on to Gravelines or Bourbourg. I want very much to know what speed is being made with bringing up the regiments of Münchhausen and Clas Vanastat (fn. 8) and how much ground they are covering every day, in order to take necessary measures. I beg your Majesty to send me this information, and to send it quickly.
The moment I arrived here I began to discuss with the four members (of the Estates) of Flanders who are here, asking them to help with 100,000 crowns towards fortifying Gravelines and Bourbourg. They have now told me that they are going to confer with the rest, and give me good hopes that the matter will be concluded to your Majesty's satisfaction.
I have sent instructions to M. de Nordet to make all possible haste in raising ten standards of infantry in this neighbourhood, and I hope to be able to appoint some one else to raise ten more.
The same M. de Nordet writes that 3,000 men and women from Calais have arrived on foot, and that many of them, especially the women, have brought sums of money in crowns and nobles. He also says that in Calais only a very few people remain of that (i.e. the English) nation, and that those who do remain have sworn fidelity to the King of France. Nordet also tells me that about 100 Englishmen have arrived there, who were going to Dover but were driven into that port by heavy weather. These Englishmen say there is a great concentration of troops at Dover. I have issued instructions that these men and others that may come shall be given quarters outside the town. I am sending with this letter to your Majesty a list (missing) of the troops in the fortresses of Artois, Philippeville and Charlemont. M. de Lalaing will be able to furnish a corresponding list for Hainaut.
M. de Glajon has not arrived here yet, and I am therefore not in a position to report to your Majesty about the artillery, but I will do so as soon as he comes. If I see that M. de Bugnicourt can free himself in order to come here, I will send you word, because I would like to decide on the place where the army is to be assembled as soon as possible.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
363. Lord Grey, Governor of Guines, to M. de Bugnicourt
Guines, 12 January, 6 hours after dinner My Lord: I have received your letter. The people you sent me yesterday have arrived safely, and I thank you with all my heart for having sent me such excellent men. I trust that by so doing you have rendered good service to the King's Majesty, both because of their fighting value and their good counsel. Our last letters will have told you of the position here. I beg you to take measures as speedily as possible, especially to provide us with fuses and powder for the harquebusiers. As you will have learnt from my last letters, we still have supplies for some time to come. I pray that God may prosper the Duke of Savoy so that the army he is raising for the King may soon be ready, for our relief and the confusion of the enemy. The enemy's advance-guard came up this afternoon as far as Douve, a place near here on the road to Calais, as we expected they would do in order to put their artillery in place to-morrow. We have good hopes that they will waste their time and fail of their purpose. I beg you to give credence to the bearer of this letter.
Once more we all beg you to do all you can to speed his Majesty's coming to relieve us.
Holograph, French.
Simancas, K.1491.
364. Philip to the Prince of Orange
Bruges, 13 January Your journey to Antwerp will not have been at all in vain if the Englishmen, as you write in your letters I received by this courier, give you 30,000 crowns on my obligation and that of the Lords. This money will be extremely welcome now, and might contribute to induce others to enter similar negotiations with you, which I have no doubt you will try to bring about. As soon as I receive a copy of the obligation which you write you will send me, I will proceed with it in accordance with the contents of your letter. I do not write to you what the enemy is doing, because I have had no news of his movements for some time, and have written to M. de Vandeville this morning in order to obtain some.
Draft. French.
Brussels, E. A.85.
365. “The Bishop of Arras's report to his Majesty”
Brussels. 13 January When the French saw that we were disbanding our army, they collected all the forces they had, together with those remaining near Laon in view of Polweiler's journey, which were Swiss and Gascons brought from Piedmont, those from the Mâconnais and most of the horse they had on the frontier in this direction. As soon as this concentration was completed, they set out towards Abbeville with as much as 18 pieces of heavy artillery, and camped there on the right bank of the Somme, waiting for the rest of their forces to come up. When they reached our frontier, they took routes calculated to mislead us as to their intentions. We received information that they were going for Calais. Some people even said that they had intelligences inside that place. The Deputy of Calais was immediately informed, in order that he should be on his guard. He replied that we had better look after our own frontiers, for he knew for certain that the French were aiming at Hesdin; and he refused to believe anything else, until on New Year's eve the French came up between Calais and Guines, having marched through the Boulonnais. On New Year's day they posted their artillery, part of it against a small castle protecting the river along the Calais road, called Newnham, and part against the castle on the other side of Calais harbour, called Ruisbank. The troops in Newnham withdrew during the night with their captain and entered Calais, leaving the castle unoccupied, without the French being aware of it. When they reached Calais they frightened the inhabitants to such an extent that many left the town without the French knowing it, although after they had left, the French discharged a few cannon against the castle. Ruisbank was then abandoned, the Captain jumping out of it through a breach the French had made, taking with him as much of his belongings as he could and placing himself in the hands of the French. When the Deputy saw the French so near he wrote that he then realised they were coming against him, and that it would be well to have 300 or 400 Spanish harquebusiers ready for when he should ask for them. He wrote to this effect to M. de Vandeville and M. de Bugnicourt, requesting that these harquebusiers should be sent to him on his demand, and that others should be sent to Gravelines. But the deputy did not ask for them until Calais was surrounded on all sides, although Captain Salinas was sent to him with a letter informing him that the harquebusiers were ready. The Deputy sent word that he could hold out in Calais 20 days, and that he would die at his post rather than give it up. His Majesty, considering that, however strong a fortress may be, it is lost in the long run unless it is relieved, wrote to the Deputy and also to Lord Grey, who is in charge of Guines, that in addition to the help coming to them from England, amounting to 8,000 or 9,000 men who by then could not enter the port of Calais because Ruisbank castle had been lost, and who therefore would land at Dunkirk, where provisions had been laid in for them and all preparations made, he (Philip) was collecting his own forces, which were already marching towards the frontier: four German regiments which had not been disbanded, some of the Spanish and Walloon troops from the frontier, besides which all haste was being made to raise other troops which had gone home because they had not been paid. As the French were not more than 17,000 fighting men, all told, and in those narrow passages it would be easy to render effective assistance to the defenders, the English were informed that the Duke of Savoy was starting in two days to draw near to the camp. We know for certain that Lord Grey received the Duke's letters. The Duke tried to communicate with the Deputy by several different routes, but we do not know whether the messages reached him. What happened was that when the French had put their artillery in position near Ruisbank Castle, and began to shell Calais, although feebly, Captain Salinas at the peril of his life made his way into the town alone in order to encourage the English to defend the place, showing them how they should set about it. But at last the Deputy, who appeared to have entire confidence in some artificial fire which an engineer had asserted he would be able to use to great effect, neglected the defence. When the French attacked, nothing of the fire was seen; and this has given rise to suspicion that the commander of the castle and the engineer had an understanding. Thus the French entered the castle, and thence they sent a trumpeter to the Deputy who agreed that Andelot should enter the town to negotiate with him. Andelot was there all night, and at 7 in the morning the French entered the town and disarmed the inhabitants. Thus they have possession of Calais and of most of the artillery, munitions and other supplies. Some say they will now make for Guines; and this seems likely. But two of our standards have entered that place, besides the troops Lord Grey has there. According to others, the enemy will attack Gravelines, where are Don Bernardino de Ayala with 250 Spanish harquebusiers, Valverde with 120 and Don Juan de Mendoza, a nephew of the Bishop of Astorga, with 150 Spanish foot, whom he got together in this town, as well as Vandeville's ordinary 200 men and 400 Walloons, in two companies. Don Hernando de Acuña and Juan Gaetan have also been sent there to help. All our light cavalry is moving towards that part of the frontier, and haste is being made to raise more troops and as many as 400 German harquebusiers. Schwendi's regiment was at St. Omer three days ago, and that of Clas van Hatstat at Valenciennes. Conrad de Bamelberg was the farthest away, being near Namur, and George von Munchhausen is beyond Antwerp and is moving as fast as he can towards the frontier. In addition, a new regiment is being formed with ten standards numbering 3,000 Low Germans. There are no news of the English reinforcements, (fn. 9) and it is believed that they will have gone back when they heard of the fall of Calais. Count Feria is going to England to negotiate with the Queen and the Council as to what is to be done.
Copy. Spanish.
Madrid, Acad. Hist., Col. Salazar, A.48.
366. Lord Grey to the Duke of Savoy
Guines Castle, 13 January, 11 hours after dinner I humbly report to your Grace that to-day we are surrounded by the enemy. I have risked these two bearers to beg you to consider our plight and what a great service you would render the King and the Queen if you were to come at once to our help with his Majesty's army. If you did that, you would make them raise the siege and retire to Calais, to their great dishonour, or else accept battle here. In either case we should be relieved, and Calais risk being starved out and recaptured by you. It is quite certain that the French are not as many or as strong as rumour had it. As this is a matter that touches his Majesty's prestige, and also yours, I am constrained to mention it to you. I also beg you to give credence to the letters of the gentlemen who are here with me and who have written to M. de Bugnicourt.
Holograph. French.
Simancas, K.1491.
367. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Brussels, 15 January On 23 December, I wrote to you by a courier from Antwerp giving you the news and asking you to see to obtaining the money. Both before that and since I told you that I had decided to come here from camp and for what reasons, and what garrisons I had left in the fortresses of St. Quentin, Ham and Le Châtelet, and explained why I wished to disband the army. My reasons for so doing were indeed imperative. It was then December, and there were heavy falls of rain and snow. I had no money to keep up such numbers of troops. These provinces were suffering in consequence, and I was very much embarrassed with regard to my requests for grants from the Estates. First of all, the German cavalry was disbanded, because it is the most difficult to discipline. But when it was learnt that the King of France was gathering forces, artillery and munitions, and raising six regiments of German infantry, I kept five of my own although it cost me much expense and labour, both to do that and to provide for the security of the frontiers. Thus, although we learned that the enemy wished to attack several important places on the frontier, and made a demonstration in the direction of St. Omer, they did not venture to make any actual attack. We were then informed that failing that, the French would pretend to reprovision Ardres and then go for Calais, believing that there were not enough troops or supplies there to resist. I made haste to warn the Deputy of Calais of this, telling him to consider whatever he might be in need of, and that I would see to it that he be promptly supplied. To this end, I ordered two companies of Spanish infantry which were at Hesdin, and light horse and mounted harquebusiers to proceed to Gravelines, and gave instructions that the German regiments should take up quarters nearer Calais. The Deputy answered displaying a good heart, and asking me to tell Vandeville that, if he were to ask for Spanish harquebusiers, they were to be sent to him at once. (fn. 10) I immediately took the necessary steps. Later, the Deputy wrote me another letter, the last I received from him, (fn. 11) asking for these harquebusiers, not immediately but for a little later. By then, however, it was impossible to throw any reinforcements into Calais. Some Spanish captains and soldiers tried to enter by sea and by land, and failed to do so, because the French were occupying all the passages. So the enemy began bombarding Calais and the place surrendered, as you will see by accounts received from spies and persons who escaped from the town. I regretted the fall of this place more than I can express to you, and I have ample reason to do so, because it is a famous fortress and a very important one. Also, it has been lost at a critical time, and it lays the way open towards the Flemish frontiers. Above all, there is the English question. Divergent trends of opinion obtain in that country. Commerce between England and the Low Countries will be affected and made more expensive. New and heavy obligations are laid upon me, as you may consider, with regard to either war or peace. As soon as I knew the French were attacking Calais, I sent Don Juan de Ayala to the Queen of England, my wife, to inform her of what was happening, of what I was doing and planning to do, and to urge the English to make haste to send help. But now, altogether different measures will be required, either to take Calais back or to attack the enemy somewhere else in the quarter that seems most opportune. In order to prepare the way for this, it seemed necessary to choose a person of outstanding quality, and we decided to send Count Feria for this purpose. He is going to start in two or three days, with the necessary powers, and I trust the English will help in this matter, as it is of such great importance for their country.
I have been thinking over what I myself had better do this year, and how I can manage to go to Spain, for which purpose I had formed the fleet under the orders of Don Luis, and had made provision for (the government of) these countries. But what has happened at Calais has obliged me to abandon the plan for the present. Quite apart from the question of honour and reputation, which I am obliged to consider carefully, there is no doubt that if I were to be absent now everything would be jeopardised, the enemy's forces would increase, and my own necessity and obligations multiply. This is one of the points that is most painful to me, because I know how much it matters that I should be able to put my financial affairs in order, the position being very bad at present. All these reasons, the Aragonese affair and the knowledge that the King of France is arming and I am losing men all the time have contributed to make me take this decision. Now, there are news that the King intends to join his camp in person, and this obliges me to form a powerful army, with which I hope with God's help to oblige him to make peace on the terms that were proposed last year. Failing this, however great sums of money we spend, I see no end to the ills Christendom is suffering from. I will say nothing of my own troubles, for I would bear them cheerfully if my states could be spared the afflictions with which they are being visited. That which the Low Countries have offered to contribute, even allowing for the increase I am now asking them to make and which they are at present discussing, would fall far short of what is needed for the above mentioned army, even allowing for the aid which may be expected from the English, given that they entered the war on my account. Therefore the only source still available to me is Spain, and I have decided to send somebody thither to ask for what is so speedily required.
In a P.S. dealing with local Spanish affairs, Philip again urges his sister to hasten to send him money.
Decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.516.
368. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extract)
Bruges, 15 January This morning, I received the letter your Majesty wrote to me yesterday, Friday, and learned that you had received mine of 12 January. Last night, I wrote to report that the enemy was moving from Calais. Since then, I have had letters from Vandeville and others who have seen houses burning at Guines, which is a sure sign that the French are heading in that direction, and that the country people are setting fire to their own houses meaning to seek shelter in the castle, which is the only defence of that place. The moment I received these news, I sent to inform the Earl of Rutland, begging him to do his best to come up with as many troops as he can. (fn. 12) No time will be wasted here in getting our forces together to relieve Guines, although I fear that the place is not as strong as it ought to be, and the governor by no means confident of defending it, to judge by his letters and especially one he wrote me last night (fn. 13) which I am sending together with this . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.


  • 1. This is the last letter from Wentworth received by Philip before the fall of Calais (cf. p 332, Philip's letter to Regent, 15 January).
  • 2. See Savoy's letter to Philip (p. 323).
  • 3. i.e. safe-conducts enabling merchants to export goods from the Low Countries for sale in France, at a time when Philip and the King of France were at war. These safe-conducts were used to revictual Calais, after its capture by the French, which caused bitter resentment in England, see letter from Feria to Philip, 22 February, 1558.
  • 4. See a statement by Jean Perdrix, 8 January, 1558, p. 322.
  • 5. William, Count of Nassau and Prince of Orange (1533–1584). He also had the title of Viscount of Antwerp, among many others. Afterwards known as William the Silent.
  • 6. See the Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, 1553–1558.
  • 7. One Edward Dudley “lately come out of France”, was committed to the Tower on 27 March, 1558, “to be kept there without conference of any other than his keeper” (Acts of the Privy Council, 1556–1558, which volume contains no further reference to Edward Dudley. Whether or not this was Edward, Lord Dudley, who was in command at Ham, is uncertain).
  • 8. Apparently the person referred to as Van Hatstat in Arras's report dated 13 January, p. 331.
  • 9. cf. Acts of the Privy Council, 1556–1558. On January 6, it was decided to send a letter to Lord Rutland, who was in command of these reinforcements, “not to adventure without some convenient number to accompany him, and further to govern himself in such sort as may best abound with her Majesty's service and the safeguard of his person . . .” On January 31, Rutland was ordered to disband his troops (ibid. p. 256).
  • 10. See above, Lord Wentworth to Philip, 2 January, 1558.
  • 11. See above, Lord Wentworth to Philip, 3 January, 1558.
  • 12. cf. p. 330, Arras to his Majesty, 13 January.
  • 13. See Lord Grey to Savoy, January 13, p. 331.