Spain: January 1558, 16-31

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

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'Spain: January 1558, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 333-349. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Spain: January 1558, 16-31", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 333-349. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Spain: January 1558, 16-31", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 333-349. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

January 1558, 16–31

369. The Duke of Savoy to Philip
Bruges, 16 January Yesterday, I replied to your Majesty's letter of the day before. Since then, I have had certain news that the enemy is before Guines and has begun to shell the place. Münchhausen's troops are to arrive here to-morrow, and I have decided to stay one or at the most two days more, by which time I should have the reply that the four members of (the Estates of) Flanders are to give me about the 100,000 crowns. As soon as I receive the money, I will post to St. Omer, for the result of my discussions with M. de Glajon, who arrived here last night, is that St. Omer would be the best place at which to concentrate our troops, and then move from there in whatever direction may be necessary, and especially to relieve Guines, if the English make sufficient haste to arrive there in time, as I have twice written them to do. The gentleman of the Queen's chamber who has gone on to your Majesty to-day assured me that the Earl of Pembroke was on the coast with 5,000 men, and that as many again were being expected from one hour to the next. I will not fail to press them as much as I can. The artillery which I hope to get together amounts to 16 field pieces with the munitions and all that is necessary, and I will continue to provide as best I can.
I am sending with this letter a memorandum showing the money that has been received here up to the present and what has been spent, and for what purposes, so that your Majesty may be informed.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
370. Lord Grey to the Duke of Savoy
Guines Castle, 17 and 19 January, 8 hours after dinner I have thought it necessary to send this Spanish gentleman to confer with you about affairs interesting the King's and Queen's service. I therefore beg you to believe him as you would myself.
This letter stayed here until 19th January, 9 o'clock, because the Spanish gentleman was unable to get through the enemy trenches and the next day was severely wounded on the breach. Thus he cannot go to you, but I hope he will soon recover.
Holograph. French
Simancas, K.1491.
371. Philip to the Duke of Savoy (Extract)
18 January I have seed your letters of 14, 15 and 16 January. By them and other news I have received, I have learnt that the French are still before Guines, and that the 60 Spanish harquebusiers from Don Juan de Mendoza's company had tried in vain to enter the place. Carasco, who is camp-master Cáceres' Alférez has written from inside holding out hopes that the defenders will be able to last several days yet. We therefore approve of your decision, arrived at since Glajon joined you, to go to St. Omer. You will be in the right place there to relieve Guines, if it can be done, and for other purposes as well. It was a good idea to ask the Earl of Rutland to make haste with his Englishmen. The Earl of Pembroke was at Dover with 5,000 men, and others are being brought up to complete the 10,000 whom the Queen has ordered to cross the Channel, so I trust they may come shortly. (fn. 1) I am writing in this sense by Basset, who passed by here and with whom you spoke. As for the points he raised, he has been answered as follows: You will see to providing quarters and supplies, and you will write to the part of the country where they are to pass so that moderate prices may be charged. I am writing to Niurlet or his lieutenant to get together as many lighters and barges as he can at Dunkirk, Nieuport or Ostend, because the English ships are short of these. Carts for the baggage are being held ready in the villages and money supplied to pay for them when the troops arrive, which should be soon, as the way is not long. They ask that the money they bring from England may be accepted here at the same rate as at home; and this is the most difficult point. It has been decided that one of the generals (fn. 2) shall go, taking two other officials with him from Bruges, and that all the Queen's money brought to pay the English troops shall be marked, so that it may afterwards be exchanged. Any money brought by private individuals shall be valued at the current rate. This seems to be the best way to proceed. Instructions have been sent that merchants from Antwerp shall bring harquebuses, pikes and corslets, for sale on the spot. Competent persons have been sent from here to attend to all this, and I am informing you in order that you may consider what more has to be done in connection with these troops. . . . .
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
372. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extract)
Bruges 18 January The night before last I sent your Majesty the news we then had. We have since heard that yesterday, Monday, the enemy began shelling Guines with 8 cannon, after having delayed 3 days working their way up in trenches and bombarding some of the defences. It seems that the Governor and his troops, numbering over 1,000 men, are of good heart and determined to die rather than surrender or show any weakness. The Governor swore and made his man swear to this effect. The Spanish harquebusiers who, as I wrote to your Majesty, were to try to enter the place, appear not to have been able to do so, although I am informed that as many as 40 did get in, and they will put up a good defence. I have sent instructions to have all the ships available at Dunkirk ready to help bring over the troops from England, and quarters have been found for them round about Dunkirk, although as far as I have heard none have yet landed . . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
373. Carasco to M. de Bugnicourt
Guines, 18 January (fn. 3) I have not reported to you before because it was not possible. Alonso de Bargas started out from the castle last night with a guide but could not get through, about which I was very sorry because I should have been very glad to have a detailed report for you. You will know that the enemy have been bombarding us from all four sides for the last six days. Yesterday, Tuesday, they attacked the outwork to the right of the castle gate. The affair lasted two hours, the enemy having to take wind three times. They finally withdrew, having lost more than 300 men. Today, Wednesday, they delivered another violent assault and pressed us very close. You may imagine that if the enemy had such severe losses in these two attacks we also must have had some; and where numbers are not great, even small losses are grievous. Of the two gentlemen who came with me, Alonso de Bargas has a torn muscle and Rábago is dead. I assure you that if these few Spaniards had not come the enemy would have pressed the place still closer, for these Spaniards are gallant fellows and have shown that they know how to clench their fists. Baena and Pero Bravo are two squadron commanders who deserve great favour; one for the determination he showed in entering this place, and the other for the way he has fought. As letters may easily miscarry, I will not write more. Besides, I believe that you understand me. My Lord Grey is of very good heart and his men the same. I assure you that none of the men here have had any rest for the last six days, for we are being shelled all day and have to defend ourselves at night.
Holograph. Spanish
Séances, K.1491.
374. Philip to the King of Bohemia
Brussels, 19 January I wrote your Highness a letter by Don Luis Osorio, and now I am only writing to send you the report (fn. 4) you will see about the loss of Calais, in order that your Highness may learn the truth of what happened. It was rather the fault of those who were within than because of the enemy's might, for the defenders gave up the place without waiting for an assault or any use of force, or holding out for the relief which the Queen and I had ordered to be sent by sea and land, and which would have reached them very shortly. I felt the loss of this place, because it is important, as your Highness knows, and I have therefore given instructions that the measures you will see from this report be taken at once. The Queen is also doing everything that appears to be called for. I will keep your Highness informed of further developments, as I always wish to do where my affairs are concerned, being embounden so to proceed by the brotherly love between us and my esteem for your Highness.
Signed. Spanish.
Vienna, Sp.H.C.1.
375. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extract)
Dunkirk, 19 January This morning as I was leaving Bruges I received your Majesty's letter of yesterday, Tuesday. I did not stop to answer it, wishing to get on to this place with more speed than it seems to me the English have used or are using. I sent two ships I found here in order to bring part of the troops which they wrote to your Majesty had already reached Dover, and these two ships came back here as they had gone, without having found in Dover one single soldier or hardly the memory of one. The Earl of Pembroke had left that place for London. A man whom Niurlet (Nordet?) sent caught up with him on the road in order to find out what had happened to the troops or what the Earl intended. This man says that the Earl replied that he knew nothing. He was ill, and in no condition to think of anything but his own health. So the man came here with these good news. Your Majesty sees what gross neglect these people are guilty of, and how little can be expected of them, as although it is highly important for them that Guines should be relieved, with a view to reconquering Calais which they see your Majesty is determined to help them to do, they behave so slackly. I felt this more deeply than I can say, and have written about it to the Queen in order that she may understand how ill your Majesty and she are being served.
I am told that a certain Lord Fitzwalter (fn. 5) has landed here on his way to your Majesty. I did not meet him on the road. Your Majesty will let me know what he has come for, in order that I may act in consequence. Your Majesty sees that ships have been provided in case the English troops do come. Quarters are also ready for them, as I wrote yesterday, and carts, provisions and everything else needful. As I am on the spot, it is right that I should attend to all this and that your Majesty should not have to bother about these details from where you are. I also gave orders, days ago, that all sorts of arms should be sent here for the English, and from what I hear I believe they will arrive even before agreement on the prices is reached at Antwerp. As for the Queen's money and that of the private individuals, your Majesty's instructions shall be followed, and I think the way you indicate is the best. . . . . . .
The plans of Bourbourg and Gravelines will be drawn up as soon as possible and sent to your Majesty. But it does not seem possible to start work now on the fortifications of this place. Much money would be needed for materials, master-workmen, sappers and other necessary things; and as the enemy is so near, at Grave-lines, a corps of men-at-arms would be required to protect the workmen from enemy raids, which may easily take place unless at least a regiment of infantry comes here, and as your Majesty knows that is out of the question at the present moment. I will be at St. Omer to-morrow, and according to what the enemy does, I will take such decisions as seem to be required, reporting to your Majesty from hour to hour.
Holograph. Spanish.
Séances, K.1491.
376. A report on what happened at Calais up to 19 January, 1558
19 January It is learned from persons who escaped from Calais that when the King of France had assembled his army near Abbeville to a total of 16 to 18 thousand infantry, including 20 standards of Germans, 20 Swiss, some Gascons and the rest French, with 4,000 horse made up of men-at-arms, light horse and herreruelos, 30 pieces of artillery and munitions, with the object, as spies and others said, of attacking in Flanders or Artois, the Duke of Guise, who was in command of the force, arrived at St. Omer and took up his quarters at Liques. However, he did not dare to attack any fortress belonging to his Majesty on that frontier, although he had intended to do so, and instead made for Calais, because he knew there were few troops there, and also because he had intelligences in the place, as subsequent events showed. Thus the French arrived at Newnham, where there is a bridge over the river leading towards Calais, put a battery in position and captured the castle, the commander of which abandoned it and withdrew to the town.
The next day, 2 January, the main body of the army moved against Calais, and the rest attacked a castle towards the sea called Ruisbank, which was bombarded and surrendered. In order to prevent reinforcements arriving by sea, the French placed 4 cannon and many harquebusiers on the pier. Then, the army camped on the sanddunes in the direction of Gravelines, whence help might have been expected to come, because some Spanish infantry and light horse had been concentrated there for that purpose. His Majesty had warned the Deputy of Calais, before the enemy arrived, of what they meant to do, and had offered to send reinforcements and whatever else might be needed. The Deputy had replied showing that he was of good heart, and asking that the Governor of Gravelines should be requested to have some Spanish harquebusiers ready in case he were to want them. In response to this, his Majesty ordered two companies from Hesdin to proceed to Gravelines. After Calais had been besieged, the Deputy sent to ask for them, but by that time it was impossible to get into the town, although it was attempted both by sea and by land, because the French had occupied and were holding all the passages. Without losing a moment, the enemy put batteries in position and began to bombard the place from the dunes and also to shell the old castle of Calais, in which a breach was made. It would have been possible for the defenders to repair this breach, but an artilleryman assured them that the French would not be able to enter the town through it, for if they tried he would burn them with artificial fire. When the enemy did attack on Friday morning, before dawn, they had no difficulty in getting into the town. Although there is no certain proof, everything points to there having been some understanding inside the place. The Constable of France said he had been working at this for the last six years.
When the Deputy of Calais saw the enemy inside the old castle he began to parley with them, and presently reached an agreement, the text of which has not yet been obtained. It is known that among other things the French agreed to spare the lives of those within, not to loot the place, and that those who were willing to take an oath to the King of France should remain in possession of their houses and property. Some took this oath, and the rest remained prisoners. An order was issued that all should lay down their arms in the churches, where the women, old men and children should also gather. When the Germans entered the place they began to kill and loot, which was a great pity to see, and many of the people escaped to Dunkirk, where they have been quartered in the castle.
On 9 January, the French began to move their artillery, and the next day the army broke camp, leaving 4,000 soldiers in Calais, as we hear. The next night was spent one league away, and on the 10th they proceeded by the same road they had arrived by, which is the Guines road. On the 13th, they were in position before that fortress, where there are 1,000 English and Burgundian soldiers sent thither by M. de Bugnicourt, Governor of Artois, by the King's instructions. There are also some Spanish harquebusiers who have succeeded in entering the place. Lord Grey, Governor of Guines, who is there in person, has sworn and has made his men swear not to surrender, and they are all of good heart. They themselves set fire to the houses before the enemy arrived. The French spent three days digging trenches, and last Monday, 17 January, they began to shell the fortress. There is hope that the defenders will be able to hold out, because the enemy are not as numerous or as strong as had at first been said.
His Majesty has ordered up 4 German regiments to St. Omer, where the army is being assembled. One has already arrived, and the others are expected within two or three days. There are in the neighbourhood as many as 1,500 Spanish harquebusiers and infantry, (fn. 6) and 1,000 light horse: Spaniards, Burgundians and mounted harquebusiers. All these forces are assembling with the greatest speed possible. The Flemish trained bands, and 3 Rittmeisters with 700 berreruelos, are on the march, and beside these, 20 standards of frontier troops, which will be very useful as they know the roads. The Queen is sending 10,000 English troops which are to cross over to Flanders at once to land at Dunkirk whence they can reach St. Omer in 3 or 4 days.
There is the necessary amount of artillery and munitions. The Duke of Savoy has left Bruges, where he was negotiating with the members (of the Estates) of Flanders about money for the fortifications of Gravelines and Bourbourg, and has gone to St. Omer to hasten on the concentration and move towards the enemy. This will be done with the greatest possible speed, as it is very important both because of Calais and to prevent the enemy from obtaining supplies.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
377. The Duke of Savoy to Philip
20 January Since I wrote last night to your Majesty, Lord Fitzwalter came back here and told me that the Queen had sent him an express messenger informing him that she still intended to send the troops, and that ships should be provided to carry them hither. I saw to this at once, and every effort will be made to get them off to-day. May your Majesty be pleased to have one of the generals come about the money, so that no time may be lost. This morning, we could hear the artillery from Guines. When I reach St. Omer, I will report further.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
378. The same to the same
From the Abbey of Guater, 20 January On the road to St. Omer I received your Majesty's letter together with one from the Governor of Guines, who refers me to the report of a gentleman who brought these letters, and whom I have not yet had time to hear. There is also a letter from Cáceres' alférez to M. de Bugnicourt. It seems to me that the enemy is pressing them hard, and that the defenders are doing their duty. I have sent another messenger from here to Dunkirk urging them to make haste to send the ships, and I am having Basset informed of what is going on, in order that he may help to have the English sent with all possible speed. I will report again from St. Omer.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
379. A report sent on behalf of the Duke of Savoy
20 January (fn. 7) When the Duke was at Bruges, there came to him an Englishman who had been Captain of the Artillery at Calais. Before receiving him the Duke learned that this man was the very one who negotiated with the French on the terms of surrender of that place, and that M. d'Estrées, Captain General of the French artillery, had treated him very kindly and had him accompanied as far as the sluice near Gravelines. All this, together with other information which his Highness obtained, and the fact that the man was asking for a company of infantry to serve his Majesty, induced the Duke to have him arrested, with a view to learning more fully why he had come, other things he may know about Calais, and especially the treason which it is said was practised inside the English Privy Council. There had not yet been time to have him examined, but it could be done shortly, either there or anywhere else, as his Majesty may direct.
The wife of the Governor of Guines arrived here to-day with a safe-conduct given to her by the Duke of Guise. She tells of the great danger threatening that place unless it is relieved, because food-supplies do not suffice for more than 13 days and the powder will only last four. She said that the French were trying to drain the moat, but those within were determined to fight to the death and not give up. The Duke thinks she insists so much on the danger in order to hurry on relief.
Simancas, K.1491.
380. Philip to the English Privy Council
Brussels, 21 January We have felt great pain and anxiety on account of the fall of Calais greater indeed than we can express in words, because of the importance of that place, which you realise, and our concern for the interests of the Kingdom of England, which we have as much at heart as our other affairs. It would, however, have been still bitterer to us if we had felt that we had failed in any way of our duty. But the moment we heard of the French advance we took the greatest care to provide relief for Calais, both by sea and by land, as we instructed Juan de Ayala to explain to you some days ago. We believe you have heard from him of the assistance and plans for raising the siege which we had good reason to hope would have been successful, if those in command of the fortress had done the minimum necessary for their execution. Now, however, the position is entirely changed, and a new course of action has to be devised.
We therefore exhort you to be prepared to stand by the Queen with your prudent advice, constancy and virtue, in order that your forces may be employed to the best purpose. We on our side will regard no effort as too great. In order to assure you of our determination, we are sending Count Feria, whom you already know, and whom we request you to believe as you would ourself.
After writing the above, we received your letters of 10 January. We have nothing to say in reply beyond that which we have already written to you, assuring you of our will to carry on the war. We rejoice to see how great your own constancy is at this season. For the rest, we refer you to Count Feria.
Copy. Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. IV.
381. “One of the letters of credence given by the King to Count (Feria), to members of the English Privy Council”
21 (?) January (fn. 8) Philip, by the grace of God King of the Spains, England, France, the two Sicilies, Jerusalem, Ireland, etc. You will hear from Count Feria, our Cousin and Councillor of State, that which we have ordered him to communicate to you. We request you to give him the same credence that you would to ourself, and to have complete confidence in him, by doing which you will please us and act in a manner which we will be glad to recognise.
Signed: Philippus; countersigned: G. Perezius (Gonzalo Pérez). Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
382. Philip to Cardinal Pole
Brussels, 21 January I have received two letters from you written in your own hand and dated 4 January, in which you send me news of the pregnancy of the Queen, my beloved wife, which has given me greater joy than I can express to you, as it is the one thing in the world I have most desired and which is of the greatest importance for the cause of religion and the welfare of our realm. I therefore render thanks to Our Lord for this great mercy he has shown us, and I am obliged to you for the news you have given me of it, which have gone far to lighten the sorrow I have felt for the loss of Calais. That sorrow was indeed unspeakable, for reasons which you may well imagine and because the event was an extremely grave one for these states. I have decided to take the action you will hear in detail from Count Feria, whom I am sending to the Queen to make a full report and to negotiate everything that will have to be done in this connection. I have instructed him to confer with you and to visit you on my behalf, as you are a person whom I greatly love and esteem.
When the above had been written, Don Juan de Ayala arrived here and handed me your letter of 10 January. You have given me great pleasure by informing me of how the Queen took this matter of Calais. Her Christian spirit and prudence caused us to expect no less of her. We are grateful to you for having put forward the very Christian reasons you gave her for so doing, and I beg you affectionately thus to continue, so that she may receive what Count Feria has to say to her in the same spirit.
Draft or Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. IV.
383. News of the fall of Guines
21 January (fn. 9) On Thursday, 13 January, the French camp arrived before Guines. They spent four days, until the following Monday, in sapping up to the castle by means of trenches, placed eleven cannon in position, and first began to shell a fort in front of the castle, which they considered to be the strongest point of the defence. On the same day they delivered their first attack, on the right-hand side of that fort, but did not succeed in crossing the moat, although some of them waded in until the water was up to their waists.
The next day, Tuesday, they bombarded the fort with 16 guns, and from both sides. At two in the afternoon they delivered an assault on both sides, the attack lasting until after half-past-three, when the enemy withdrew. On Wednesday, the number of guns bombarding the place increased to 22 or 24, and another assault was delivered. It failed, however, and the enemy retired and set to work at filling the moat with bundles of wood, barrels, wool and other things. On Thursday, 20 January, the bombardment became heavier still, and an attack was delivered which lasted three hours, and resulted in many being killed on both sides and in the enemy's entering the fort, whence the defenders had to retire to the castle. Once the fort had been lost, the castle, although strong, was dangerously exposed and could not hold out. That same night a parley began between the Governor and the enemy, and on Friday morning M. d'Estrées, general of artillery and a gentleman of the King of France's chamber, entered the castle. The Governor then went out to negotiate with M. de Guise. When he came back he informed his captains and soldiers, and those Spaniards who were still alive, that only the captains and himself were to be prisoners and that the soldiers were free to depart with their arms. Many captains then got away dressed like soldiers, and have succeeded in reaching this place.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
384. Philip to the Duke of Savoy (Extracts)
Brussels, 22 January I have received your letters of 18, 19 and 20 January and have seen those you sent to me from Lord Grey and alférez Carasco. I was very glad to learn how gallantly the men at Guines had behaved, repelling two attacks the French had delivered, and that they were still of good heart. I hope to hear more of what that gentleman told you. I have seen Lord Fitzwalter and the Comptroller (fn. 10) who came with him. He had come to explain why the troops had not been sent from England and to offer to turn over Guines and Ham to me, as they are places of importance for the Low Countries, whence the enemy can be attacked. Although they, no doubt, made this offer because it is difficult for them to keep up these places, now that they have lost Calais, I answered thanking them and showing that I regarded it as something of great importance. I told them that I considered Lord Grey a good soldier and was confident that as he had held out so far and you were getting your forces together near by, he would be able to defend the place. Now, as when the Queen received your last letter she took a new decision to send the greatest number of English possible, I am writing to her at once, and also to the Privy Council to lose no time in despatching these forces. You did wisely to have Basset informed of what was happening at Guines, in order to persuade them the more, and to have ships ready to bring their men across the Channel, for it appears the English ships suffered heavily from the recent storms, and this is the crucial point. The troops at Guines have behaved very well, and as the place is important from every point of view, I beg you to throw as many troops into it as you can and to do your utmost to help them hold out until we can relieve the place. Thus you will be doing us great service, and will be preventing the enemy from undertaking anything else. I am informed that they are getting infantry and cavalry together at Amiens, and M. de Vendôme is there in person. You will be watchful to follow whatever plans they may be making, and prepare to meet them. I have ordered Berlaymont, who is still here, to make haste to send provisions to Le Châtelet, St. Quentin and Ham, for that is the most urgent thing at present. As for the Englishman who was captain of the artillery at Calais, it seems to me that you had better try gentle methods and kind words, without going further, in order to get out of him the truth about what happened there, and particularly about the treachery which it is said was plotted inside the English Council. He may be expected to give you full details about this, and you will inform us and also the Queen, taking care to send your letter by a trustworthy person who will hand it to the Queen in person and explain why you decided to hold the captain, so that if she is approached on the subject by members of the Council she may be in a position to answer them. You will also ask her what you are to do with the captain, whom in the meantime you will have well treated. . . . . . .
P.S. It seems necessary that you should risk some troops and try to throw them into Guines, for otherwise I fear the place may be lost, before we can relieve it. The English regard it as so important that I am determined to try everything to save it.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
385. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, ca. 22 January I wrote yesterday to the Queen and sent you the letter by a messenger. I believe you will have received it. I did not inform you of the Earl of Sussex's arrival and that of the Comptroller of the Queen's Household, because I wished at the same time to inform you of what I had decided with them, which you will learn from the letter written in my own hand (missing) which is to go with this one. All I need add is that from what we hear, the garrison of Guines is defending the place very well and has repulsed two attacks, killing a number of the assailants. Our men seemed to be of good heart; they certainly deserve to be helped, for if the attacks go on for long the place will be in grave peril, as it is small. In order that you may be informed of the course of events there, I have sent you copies of letters received from thence, and you may report to the Queen if she has not already had the news.
Undated draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
386. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 22 or 23 January (fn. 11) I am writing a letter to you by the Earl of Sussex and the Comptroller of the Queen's Household, the contents of which I need not repeat here, as you will receive my letter from them. If you were to depart with the boats before they reach Dunkirk, they would be held up there, wherefore they have asked me to write to you to wait for them two or three days, in order that you may all cross over together. It seems to me important that they should return to England as quickly as possible, and that it can do no harm for you to wait for them a little. Therefore I have acceded to their request, and charge you if this messenger reaches you in time, not to sail until the Earl and the Comptroller arrive. They are travelling by post and will not be long on the way.
Marginal note in the King's hand: I think you might wait for them one day; but not more, if they are not disposed to make haste. The loss of Guines is certain, as you will have learnt.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. IV, under date of 24 January.
387. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extracts)
St. Omer, 22 January Yesterday morning I had news of the fall of Guines. The news did not reach me from a sure source, wherefore I did not wish to report to your Majesty until I knew more. To-day, two captains of the Burgundian infantry which had gone there as reinforcement arrived here together with the alférez of another captain who was killed in action, and from them I heard what had happened, as your Majesty will see from the enclosed report. (fn. 12) I am more sorry than I can say about this, not so much because of the importance of the place as because it did not hold out long enough to allow us to prevent its fall. The moment I had the first news, I sent to La Cresionera (sic) at Gravelines to help Vandeville, who was ill and needed it. Cresionera is a trustworthy person who knows what he is about. I also sent Captain Valverde with his company, and ordered Captain Silvestre at Renty to move up with 150 harquebusiers of those your Majesty ordered to St. Quentin. I am waiting for news of the direction in which the enemy is going to move, whether towards Gravelines or some other place, in order to help with the 6,000 Germans I have in hand and to prevent your Majesty's interests from suffering. . . .
Lord Dudley, who was Governor of Ham, arrived here this afternoon and told me that when his men learnt of the fall of Guines they mutinied, saying they would not stay and work there any longer. They made for the gate, casting all respect aside. Seeing that there was nothing for it, Dudley pursuaded them to wait long enough to burn the castle and raze it to the ground, destroying the artillery and everything else that might be of use to the enemy. Of the forty-odd Spaniards who were at Guines, 18 or 20 have come here, some of them whole and others wounded. All the rest were killed fighting. Alférez Carasco was taken prisoner. Some say he escaped, but this is not known for certain. All those who have reconnoitred the enemy's camp say they have not more than 15,000 infantry and 3,000 horse. The King of France is at Calais. I will keep your Majesty frequently informed of what happens. . . . . . . .
Holograph, Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
388. The Duke of Savoy to Philip (Extracts)
St. Omer, 24 January The night before last I sent what news I had to your Majesty and this morning I received yours of the 22nd in reply to mine. About Guines, I can only refer you to my last letters, from which you will have heard how it was lost. It was impossible to do more to relieve it than we did, given the lack of time, and other difficulties. Thus far, I have not heard that the enemy has moved forward from there. Indeed they have not yet started repairing the breach or doing anything to recondition the fortress. According to what they do, I shall decide on the line I am to take. If, trusting to their good luck, they decide to attack one of your Majesty's fortresses, I will go to relieve it with whatever troops I have.
I have seen the news your Majesty has received about the concentration taking place at Amiens and thereabouts. I have had no news of it myself, but will not fail to be on my guard and to make sure that those in charge of places which the French might attack shall be watchful. Your Majesty did well to have Le Châtelet, St. Quentin and Ham revictualled, for those places were in need of supply.
About the English artillery captain whom I left a prisoner at Bruges, I will try to get a suitable person to find out from him by gentle means full details of what happened at Calais, and especially about the treacherous practices which I am told took place with the Council in England. I will inform your Majesty of whatever he may say, and also the Queen, by means of a trustworthy person, in order that she may be informed of the reasons that induced me to keep him a prisoner until I discover all this and receive her orders as to what is to be done with him. Meantime, I will see to it that he is well treated. . . . . . .
Since I arrived here, I have inspected the place several times and found it much weaker than it should be, given its importance: weaker than I had expected from the reports received. Given the evident peril in which it has been, and still continues to be, I have tried to get the townsmen to put up a sum of money to fortify it. They have finally offered 12,000 florins, which will immediately be collected so that the work may be begun. It is no less necessary here than at Gravelines, indeed rather more.
Since the above was written, I have heard that the enemy is still at Guines. Some people say that work has begun on the breaches, which indicates that the French intend to keep up the place.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
389. A memorandum from Ruy Gómez to Philip
Gravesend, 25 January Count Feria arrived at Dover on 24 January in the morning, and found there Treasurer Selinger, (fn. 13) an old man who was formerly Governor of Ireland. Feria learned from him that there were not more than 1,200 troops in the district. If these troops are like those I saw on the way, they are a miserable lot. He also said that these troops were waiting for the Earl of Rutland, who was to bring more, up to a total of 5,000. Feria met Rutland the following day at Canterbury, and heard from him that he had been instructed by the Queen to take ship with the Treasurer and his troops, but that it would be necessary to get together a greater number, or it was to be feared that they would break up. The Council had done nothing about it, and the Earl did not think the Council greatly cared to have these troops sent abroad, especially after the fall of Guines. In spite of this, and although they are not likely to render good service, he had carried out his instructions and was doing what he could to hasten their departure. It had been supposed that 10,000 would go, and that together with the Duke of Savoy's forces they could stop the enemy. It would therefore be desirable to learn at once whether your Majesty thinks these 5,000 had better cross over, as they only amount to half of the total which had been spoken of, and present the drawbacks that have already been mentioned.
All the men who were on their way to join up seemed to think that there was no reason why they should go overseas now that Guines had been lost. They (i.e. the English) are all so downcast that Feria says he will have great difficulty with his negotiations at Court. The English seem to be satisfied with their island, without Calais. Mr. Harby, who came to guide him, told him that the general note was one of weakness. He also said there were news that both the King of Denmark and the Maritime Cities (i.e. the Hanseatic Towns) were fitting out big fleets, and that he had told the persons who had given him these news that your Majesty knew about it and was taking steps to prevent them from continuing. He thought the reason for these war-like preparations was that the Maritime Cities' ambassadors received an unfavourable answer last year in England.
If the English are to go overseas, measures should be taken in time to deal with the points raised by Basset. Although some of these matters were referred to the Duke of Savoy, care must be taken to have all of them attended to.
In order to allow the news about Guines to reach Court before he does, Feria will delay on the journey. He will report further to your Majesty what happens.
Copy or decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
390. Philip to the Duke of Savoy (Extract)
Brussels, 26 January Count Feria has written from Gravesend what you will see from the abstract of his letter. The force is a small one and in poor condition. It will not be able to cross overseas in time, especially as the French army cannot be expected to stay still much longer without undertaking something. The Earl of Rutland is encountering difficulties in making the men up to 5,000; and both by sea and by land there are obstacles. In view of all this, I am answering Count Feria that it seems better to let the whole matter drop and to concentrate on the principal object in view, in order that the English may not advance it (i.e. Rutland's force) as a pretext for not doing what they ought to do towards recovering Calais. My letter to Feria is being taken by this messenger. If you agree with the view I have just expressed, let him go on to England. If you think otherwise, as perhaps you may, according to what the enemy is doing, you will send him back to me and let me have your own opinion, so that I may consider it and come to a decision. . . . .
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1491.
391. The Prince of Orange to the Duke of Savoy
Brussels, 26 January In order to carry out the instructions his Majesty and your Highness gave me, I have negotiated with the English merchants at Antwerp about the sum of money mentioned in my letters. Just when everything was on the point of being settled with the merchants, a new difficulty cropped up: some of the Lords excused themselves from signing the letters of security. I was thus obliged to go to see his Majesty. He has now taken a decision the result of which will be that the money will be raised; and I did not wish to fail to inform your Highness of this.
Holograph. French.
Brussels, E.A.85
392. Francisco de Vargas to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Venice, 27 January Your Highness will see from the enclosed copy of letters I am writing to his Majesty what news there are here, and how pleased certain people are that the (Turkish) fleet is coming. It has turned out to be true that the fall of Calais was caused by the treachery of the man (fn. 14) who was in charge there. Where there is treachery there can be no such thing as a strong fortress. The English have always been jealous of Calais, but have not taken steps to provide for it. It would never have fallen into such a state if his Majesty had had the keeping of it. I trust in God that the upshot will be to the confusion of the French and will avail them little, as they have received some heavy blows and more will follow.
Cardinal Carafa is staying at the French Court until the Bishop of Terracina (fn. 15) returns there. The Bishop is being sent by the Pope, and according to news from Rome dated 22 January, was to have left within 4 or 5 days.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.1323.
393. The Cardinal of Sigüenza to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extracts)
Rome, 29 January I wrote the news to your Highness a few days ago, and need not be long now. I believe you know that the French have taken Calais: a grievous loss. Yesterday, a courier reached the Pope from his Legate in France, saying that the place fell on 8 January. No details are known, but if everything happened as believed, it seems to have been by treachery, for otherwise it could not have been taken in such a short time. The Governor of Calais was a great heretic, like all those who were with him there, (fn. 16) according to what the English Ambassador tells me; so I am not surprised at its fall. The force sent by the King of France on this expedition is said by some to have amounted to 12,000 men, by others to 20,000, with 4,000 horse. The advance of such a body of troops could not have been so well concealed as not to have been known. It has been talked about here for the past month, and people have been saying that the objective was Calais. But at Court this was not believed on account of the season and because the force appeared to be a large one for the purpose. The English had been in possession of Calais for 207 years. (fn. 17) If it had to be lost, it is better that it should have been taken from the English than from the Spaniards. His Holiness said to me last night that if Spanish troops had been defending it, it would not have been lost. The French are now much more determined in their attitude when negotiating with his Holiness, but I do not believe it will profit them. Nothing is known here about his Majesty's plans since Calais fell . . . . . . . .
The Bishop of Terracina arrived here a week ago. He had been sent from the French Court by Cardinal Carafa to confer with his Holiness on several questions which the Cardinal had been discussing with the King of France. He left again to-day, well satisfied with his mission, as it is said. He is taking the sword to the King. I was with the Pope yesterday evening after the arrival of the news about Calais. He is as well as ever. He spoke kindly of your Majesty, but the French are doing all they know, and will be greatly encouraged by their capture of Calais and the coming of the Turkish fleet. It is said that the Turkish fleet is starting this year earlier and is stronger than on other occasions. May God be pleased to guide everything as His service demands, which is very necessary in order that the French may be confounded. . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.883.
394. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 31 January The Count of Mélito has shown me the two letters you wrote to him: one from Dunkirk on the 23 rd, and the other from Gravesend on the 25 the I was glad to hear you had a good passage, and am looking forward to learning how the Queen is, and how her pregnancy is progressing.
As you know, my chief reason for wishing you to go to England was that the Queen was sending me troops. As long as Calais held out, I had intended to use them together with my own forces in order to make the enemy raise the siege or accept battle. After Calais had been lost, my intentions were the same where Guines was concerned. But now that Guines has fallen, and as my own territory is not in danger, because of the measures which have been taken and are being taken, I do not desire that the Queen should send the troops over so early in the year, at great expence, especially as this summer it will be necessary to spend large sums in order to recover Calais, which is an ancient possession of the English Crown. You will explain to the Queen that I greatly appreciate the efforts she has made to send these troops across, especially as after Calais and Guines had fallen, she still wished to send them. But as I am in a position to resist the French with my present forces, and even to do them some notable harm, as I hope, I think it would be preferable that she should hold her troops back, and apply the money she had intended to spend on them to fortifying her own harbours and islands, which are of great importance for the safeguarding of the kingdom. I therefore request her to command her Privy Council to give particular attention to this matter.
I thank you for the other points you mentioned to Ruy Gomez, and recognise your zeal for my service. I need say nothing about what passed between you and the Constable at Ghent, because Ruy Gómez's answer will deal with them.
Signed: Yo el Rey; countersigned: Gonzalo Perez. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
395. Philip to the English Privy Council
Brussels, 31 January We have read your letters of 24 January, and have wished to lose no time in investigating the matter concerning the King of Denmark and the Hanseatic Towns. We have caused a man who knows those regions well to proceed thither in order that he may be able to report fully to us on the maritime preparations going on there: why they are being undertaken and against whom. We certainly cannot imagine that the King of Denmark should harbour any evil intentions towards this kingdom or towards us, because of the solemn treaty subsisting between the Emperor, ourselves and him, and because we have never given him any cause for breaking it. However, you are certainly wise, as you say, to conduct your affairs in such a manner that if any attempt were to be made against you, you would be able to resist. With regard to the Hanseatic Towns, we have also taken steps to discover their intentions, and will keep you informed. While this is being done, we exhort you, in case any friction is being caused on account of the privileges, as you suspect, to do your best to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement with the Towns, keeping us informed of what you agree with them. There are certain points in your letters which escape us, and we are not fully acquainted with the nature of the privileges in question. If the Cities remain obdurate, we have given instructions to our ships that no prejudice or wrong is to be caused to any place belonging to this kingdom.
With regard to the war with Scotland, and the negotiations begun two months ago for a settlement, we consider that you have acted prudently, and we can only praise the spirit in which you have taken steps, in the meantime, to supply yourselves with whatever may be necessary to carry on war in case the enemy, under pretext of these negotiations, were to hope to find you unprepared and attack you. We request you to keep us informed of what occurs in this matter, moved as we are by our love for the Queen, our consort, and our care for the kingdom, in order that we may do whatever may be necessary for its protection. We feel compelled to urge you to be swayed by no private interests or passions, but only by your care for the welfare of the kingdom, lest its reputation for power and greatness, earned the world over in former times, be lost now through your own neglect and indifference.
Draft or Copy. Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
396. “The difficulty of blocking the port of Calais”
January (?) The trouble is, that at low tide there is very little water in Calais harbour, and the people would be able to remove any stones that might be dropped in the mouth of it. The way to proceed, would be to load the ships that are to be sunk with a solid mass, like the pier of a bridge, because if the stones were loose they could be taken up at low tide. Even if they were not left showing, they would be fished up with harpoons and other instruments, one by one. But if they formed a single block, they could not be removed unless the mass were broken up, and that could not be done unless the boats were above water.
The English are familiar with the harbour mouth and know where the vessels had better be sunk. I do not think this should be done where there is very little water, but rather somewhat further out where the water is deeper, so that they may not be uncovered at low tide.
The English will also know at what time the ships had better be sent in, and how the crews are to escape when they have carried out this duty.
It would be preferable to use hulks, because they are very stout vessels; especially the tincladas (fn. 18) are broad of beam and draw little water.
Simancas, E.811.


  • 1. On January 12, the Privy Council had caused a letter to be sent “from the Queen's Majesty to the Earl of Pembroke and the Lord Warden for the revocation of the noblemen and gentlemen that be at Dover, and the dismissing of the men that were called thither”. (Acts of the Privy Council, 12 January, 1558.)
  • 2. i.e. chief finance officials.
  • 3. This paper is only dated “January”, but Lord Grey's letter of 17 January shows that it was written on the 18th.
  • 4. See the following paper, which is reproduced from another copy preserved at Simancas, E.811.
  • 5. Thomas Ratclifle, who had succeeded as Earl of Sussex in 1556.
  • 6. i.e. Coseletes: literally corslets, a current term for Spanish infantry in the XVI century.
  • 7. This paper seems to have been written after the Duke of Savoy left Bruges on 19 January, and before news reached the Duke that Guines had fallen on 21 January.
  • 8. This paper bears no date. It is doubtless one of the letters drawn up for Count Feria, referred to in Philip's letter of 15 January, 1558, to his sister, the Regent of Spain (p. 332).
  • 9. This paper is not dated but must have been written on or about 21 January, 1558.
  • 10. Sir Thomas Cornwallis, who succeeded Sir Robert Rochester as Comptroller of the Household in December, 1557. Previously, he had been Treasurer of Calais.
  • 11. Feria appears to have left Brussels on 21 January. He was still at Dunkirk on the 23rd. He had reached Dover on the 24th. This letter was probably written on the 22nd or 23rd.
  • 12. See the following paper.
  • 13. i.e. Sir Anthony Sentleger or St. Leger, was Lord Deputy of Ireland under Edward VI (1550).
  • 14. The reports on Calais sent to Philip do not actually incriminate Lord Wentworth. Indeed, they go no further than to say that everything points to treachery on the part of persons unspecified.
  • 15. Ottaviano della Rovere.
  • 16. Lady Wentworth was committed to the Fleet on 9 August, 1558, and the Privy Council took various steps in view of her behaviour in religious affairs, as well as that of Lord Wentworth's three maiden sisters, (cf. Acts of the Privy Council for 1558, pp. 376, 377, 387, 388, 402.)
  • 17. Calais was taken by the English in 1347, and lost early in January, 1558, which makes a little over 210 years,
  • 18. The tinclada appears to have been a sort of decked-in barge or lighter.