Spain: May 1536, 16-31

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.

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'Spain: May 1536, 16-31', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888) pp. 118-133. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

May 1536, 16-31

16 May.
S. E., L. 33, f. 1.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 273.
53. The Privy Council's report on the despatches of Sylva and Suarez de Figueroa of the 16th and 17th of May.
Letters have come from Italy, the contents of which are as follows:—
Nothing more to say; we shall soon know the truth. The speedy arrival of the Turkish fleet is very much dreaded. The news must be true, for the Venetians are arming. Nothing more can be done on the part of the Privy Council than to give notice to all the ministers of Your Majesty, namely, Soria in Venice, Figueroa in Genoa, count of Cifuentes in Rome, and above all prince Andrea Doria, that they may all be on the alert and prepared for the emergency.
With respect to the Imperial army in Lombardy, the Privy Council does not consider that further orders are required; the marquis del Gasto (Alfonso Davalos) has been written to, money has been remitted, and, moreover, full instructions have been sent by Don Antonio Dixar (fn. n1) for the commanders of the Imperial forces in Italy. As to the Spanish galleys, they must already have arrived at their destination.
You may speak to the ambassador; I myself will do the remainder on my arrival, which will be to-morrow. The information furnished by the Signory of Venice to Lope de Soria respecting the deciphering of the letters and the arrest of the two secretaries, their own and that of cardinal (Ippolito) de' Medici, is a thing for which Your Majesty may be grateful, as indicative of the good wishes of the Venetians, and their determination to defeat French intrigues. What they have done with Guido Rangone is equally meritorious. We very much wish to know whether we are to speak to the Venetian ambassador, or wait until Your Lordship's arrival. (fn. n2)
Count Guido's account of the whole affair is not to be believed implicitly; it is too vague and general. I should not be surprised if he himself had spread the rumour, in order to conceal other plans. Most likely that captain (Guido) is no longer the friend of France, for although the lord of Maruol informs us that Guido is still giving out that he intends to enlist a good number of Swiss, there is no appearance of that, as cardinal Carazolo (fn. n3) writes, and besides, everything in the way of armament there, as well as here, seems put off until the arrival of the sieur de Beauriqualt (Bourchicault), who is to go there (to Italy) from France.
From Flanders we have no news whatever of Francis' plans and projects. It is presumed that he will go to Lyons.
The other despatch to which the Count alludes must have been retained by the commander of Rhodes, a Frenchman. Count Cifuentes' letter to Pero Gonçalez was private, and did not touch on politics.
With regard to the duke and duchess of Savoy and Nizza there is nothing to add to the instructions taken by Antonio Dixar.
Respecting the marquis de Marignano when the letters of the count of Gavi come to hand, it will be seen whether the report be true or not, and we can decide accordingly.
Nothing to observe respecting this paragraph, except that it will be well to have the cipher changed, as the Council proposes The contents of the letters seized at Venice seem to have been rather guessed at than deciphered, as the cipher appears to have been a most difficult and intricate one. Nothing in those letters is of importance, except, perhaps, what relates to the movements of England; at any rate the cipher might be changed.
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 5.
18 May. 54. Eustace Chapuys to Monseigneur de Granvelle.
V. Imp. Arch.
Rep. P.C.,
Fasc. 230, No. 28.
I could not, if I wished, write to you more news of this country than those contained in my despatch to the Emperor. I hope, however, to be able to make up for the shortness of this letter by sending you in my next the faithful account and true chronicle of the mien and language which the English Messalina, or Agrippina, held during her imprisonment, in which account you will, no doubt, find very remarkable things, as the lady under whose custody and keeping she was has not concealed a single thing from me. (fn. n4)
From the very beginning of her incarceration the lady I allude to sent to communicate to me certain facts concerning the Messalina, apart, among others, that she heard her say that she could not imagine who could have made her lose the King's favour and love save me, for she pretends that from the very moment of my arrival at this court, the King no longer looked upon her with the same eyes as before. I confess that I was rather flattered by the compliment, and consider myself very lucky at having escaped her vengeance; for kind-hearted and merciful as she is, she would without remorse have cast me to the dogs. (fn. n5) Two other English gentlemen have been imprisoned along with her, and it is suspected that a good many more will share the same fate; for the King has been heard to say that he believes that upwards of 100 gentlemen have had criminal connexion with her. You never saw a prince or husband show or wear his horns more patiently and lightly than this one does. I leave you to guess the cause of it. (fn. n6)
Owing to my last illness, and also because I am waiting for the extremum actum fabulœ, and presume that George, the courier, must have told you my prognostications with regard to the Messalina's fate, I will not write more for the present.—London, 18 May 1536.—Eustace Chapuys.
I have just heard that yesterday, the 18th, the archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer) declared and pronounced by way of sentence the lady's daughter (Elizabeth) to be a bastard, and begotten by master Norris, not by the King, which is equivalent to remove a cog from the Princess' eyes. I hope, therefore, that whatever difficulties the King may have hitherto made to have her declared true heir to the kingdom will now be removed, and that he will now have her declared and sworn to as such, and as his legitimate daughter born of a marriage legitimated propter bonam fidem parentum. I have also been informed that the said archbishop of Canterbury had pronounced the marriage of the King and of his mistress to have been unlawful and nul in consequence of the King himself having had connexion with Anne's sister, and that both he and she being aware and well acquainted with such an impediment, the good faith of the parents could not possibly legitimize the daughter. (fn. n7)
Though what I am about to say on this subject may have no sufficient foundation, yet I feel bound to inform you that many people here imagine that most of the newly-created bishops will soon have their desert; (fn. n8) for there is a report that, by persuading the King's mistress that there was no necessity for the confession [of her sins], they have encouraged her and made her more audacious and licentious in the prosecution of her detestable and abominable vices; and what is still more blamable on the part of the said bishops, they have taught her that, according to their sect, it was allowable for a woman to ask for aid and help in other quarters, even among her own relatives, whenever the husband was not considered idoneous or sufficiently able to satisfy her wishes.
Before her marriage to the King, and in order to enhance the love she bore him, the Royal concubine used to say that there existed a prophecy that about this time a queen of England was to be burnt alive; but that, to please the King, she cared not if she was that queen. After the marriage she often said in jest that part of the prophecies had already been fulfilled, and yet she had not been condemned to death by fire. (fn. n9) One could very well repeat to her what was once said to Caesar: Venere idus, sed nondum prœterire, the days have commenced, but have not yet ended.
I have not the least doubt that if His Majesty intends to treat and come to some sort of arrangement with these people, some personage of authority and rank ought now to be sent, and if he could but come before the closing of this Parliament, the affairs of the Princess and other matters might be satisfactorily adjusted. Should the said personage come before St. John's Day, he might assist, as I believe, at the King's approaching marriage and the coronation of the new queen, which is to be celebrated with great solemnity and pomp, the King intending, as I am told, to perform wonders, for he has already ordered a large ship to be built, like the Bucentaur of Venice, to bring the lady from Greenwich to this city, and commanded other things for the occasion.—London, 19 of May 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "A Monseigneur de Grandvelle."
French. Holograph. pp. 4.
19 May. 55. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 230, No. 29.
On the 7th inst. Your Majesty's letter of the 13th ulto. came to hand, brought by the secretary of the English ambassador resident at that court. Unable, as I was at the time, to inform the King of its contents, owing to the fever and ague that came upon me soon after, and has troubled me ever since, I dispatched my own secretary with a message to Master Cromwell respecting the contents of that letter; at which he seemed very glad, especially through my detailed and particular account of them, and the great chance there was, and is, as I intimated to him, of Your Majesty's good will towards this king continuing, and even increasing. As usual, Cromwell gave me every assurance of corresponding reciprocity on the part of his master, adding that things could not be in better terms than they were, now that the concubine was under trial; and that if I only brought to my recollection the words he said to me on the eve of St. Mathias, I should own that he was right in his predictions with regard to her. (fn. n10) Cromwell further said that he was most desirous to see me in good health, in order that, the concubine and her accomplices once out of the way, I might attend Court, and there begin negociations.
With respect to the copy of the original draft of the brief of deprivation, which the French have recovered, I fancy that it will not be of much use to them in their negociations with this king, inasmuch as for a long time back they (the English) have been convinced that it is the Pope, who for his own particular interest, has been promoting the said deprivation, and importuning Your Majesty to further it. Besides which, many here suspect that while king Francis would be quickly rewarded through that deprivation in the way of exemption from the annual pension he owes to England, as well as by the loss of the title which this king pretends to have to France, (fn. n11) Your Majesty would gain nothing by it, and the Princess herself be considerably injured. I shall not fail to bring forward this and other arguments on the very first opportunity before Cromwell, who, as far as I can judge from appearances, seems now desirous of establishing the closest possible friendship between Your Majesty and the King, his master.
For that purpose, and after Cromwell had heard what the English ambassador's secretary had to say respecting the sincere and perfect good will and affection which Your Majesty bore the King, his master, he insisted upon that secretary going straight to Greenwich and seeing the King, having first advised and entreated him to speak out freely and frankly, without paying the least attention to any signs of approbation or disapprobation in the King's countenance.
The secretary has since told me, among other particulars, that the King said to him: "I do not in any way perceive, except perhaps from words, that good will you speak of on the part of the Emperor. Even if those words were sincerely uttered, that would be a proof to me that his affairs just now are not so prosperous as he might wish, and that he is in need of my help" no doubt meaning by this last sentence that Your Majesty is wanting his pecuniary aid, for in any other matters, and, whatever the French may say and boast of, this king considers that Your Majesty's forces in the field are without comparison greatly superior to those of the French, whom he already considers, as he himself has signified to me, and I have stated in one of my last despatches, as good as defeated and ruined.
I cannot well describe the great joy the inhabitants of this city have lately experienced and manifested, not only at the fall and ruin of the concubine, but at the hope that the Princess will be soon reinstated in her rights. I must say, however, that as yet the King has shown no intention of bringing about the said reinstatement, but has on the contrary obstinately refused to contemplate it, on the two different occasions that his Privy Council has spoken about it. I hear, nevertheless, from many authentic quarters, that even before the arrest of the concubine, and when speaking to mistress Jane Seymour about their future marriage, (fn. n12) the lady proposed to him to replace the Princess in her former position; and on the King telling her that she must be out of her senses to think of such a thing, and that she ought to study the welfare and exaltation of her own children, if she had any by him, instead of looking out for the good of others, the said Jane Seymour replied that in soliciting the Princess' reinstatement she thought she was asking for the good, the repose, and tranquillity of himself, of the children they themselves might have, and of the kingdom in general, inasmuch as should the reinstatement not take place, neither Your Majesty nor the English people would be satisfied, and the ruin and desolation of the country would inevitably ensue.
Such a wish on the part of the said lady is very commendable indeed, and I purpose using all means in my power in keeping her to her good intentions. I also mean to go to the King about it, two or three days hence, and visit one by one the members of his Privy Council, and if I can personally, or by means of my friends, influence some of the lords and gentlemen who have been summoned for the next Parliament—which is to meet on the 8th of next monthI shall not fail to do so, for I really believe there will be a question of excluding the little bastard from the succession to the Crown, and praying this King to marry again. It should be observed that in the meantime, and in order to conceal from the public his love for Jane Seymour, the King has made her reside seven miles from this city, at the house of the Grand Squire, a rumour having been previously spread among the public that the King has not the least wish of marrying again unless he be actually urged to it by his subjects. Many messages, moreover, have I already received from various members to the effect that at the meeting of Parliament they will uphold, at the peril of their lives, the Princess' rights.
On the afternoon of the very day on which the concubine was lodged in the Tower, as the duke of Richmond went to his father, the King, to ask for his blessing, according to the English custom, the latter said with tears (larmoyer), that both he and his sister, meaning the Princess, ought to thank God for having escaped from the hands of that woman, who had planned their death by poison, from which I conclude that the King knew something of her wicked intentions (fn. n13)
On the 12th inst. Master Norris, first chamberlain to this king, Master Obouston (Weaston) who used to sleep in the King's chamber, Master Bruton (Brereton), the gentleman in waiting, about whom I wrote to Your Majesty by my secretary, were condemned as traitors, and sentenced to death. Of these, only the last-named confessed having slept with the concubine on three different occasions; all the others were sentenced on mere presumption or on very slight grounds, without legal proof or valid confession. (fn. n14) On the 15th the concubine herself and her brother (George), were tried by a tribunal composed of the principal lords of the kingdom, and convicted of treason, the duke of Norfolk presiding over it and reading the sentence to the culprits. I am told that the earl of Wiltshire wished also to be present at the trial [of his daughter and son], as he had been at that of the other four. Neither the concubine nor her brother were taken to Westminster as the other criminals had been; they were tried within the Tower, and yet the trial was far from being kept secret, for upwards of 2,000 people were present.
The chief charge against the concubine was her having had connexion with her own brother (George) and other accomplices; having actually promised, to marry Norris after the King's demise, her having received from, and given to, the said Noris certain medals indicative that both were bound together and aimed at the King's death; that she had poisoned the late Queen, and meditated doing the same with the Princess. (fn. n15) These charges she obstinately denied; others she answered satisfactorily enough, though she confessed having given money to Ubaiston (Weaston) and to several other gentlemen. She was likewise charged, as was her brother, with having ridiculed the King, and laughed at his manner of dressing, showing in many ways that she did not love him, and was tired of married life with him. (fn. n16)
The brother, as I say, was charged with having had connexion with her; no proof of his guilt was produced except that of his having once passed many hours in her company, and other little follies. He answered so well that many who were present at the trial, and heard what he said, had no difficulty in waging two to one that he would be acquitted, the more so that no witnesses were called to give evidence against him or against her, as is customary in such cases, when the accused denies the charge brought against him. (fn. n17) I cannot omit another charge in the indictment, namely, that the concubine, his sister, had said to his wife that the King was impotent. (fn. n18) This, however, was not read in public; it was given to him in writing, under protest that he was only to say yes or no, without reading aloud the accusation; but to the great annoyance of Cromwell and others, he (George Boleyn) read it aloud and said tha the was unwilling to engender or create suspicion in a matter likely to prejudice the issue the King might have from another marriage. He was likewise charged with having spread the rumour or expressed a doubt as to Anne's daughter (Elizabeth) being the Kings, to which charge, however, he made no answer.
Both were tried separately without seeing each other. The concubine was sentenced first to be burnt alive, or beheaded at the King's pleasure. When the sentence was read to her, she received it quite calmly, and said that she was prepared to die, but was extremely sorry to hear that others, who were innocent and the King's loyal subjects, should share her fate and die through her. She ended by begging that some time should be allowed for her to prepare her soul for death.
After reading the sentence to him, the brother said to his judges that since die he must he would no longer plead "not guilty," but would own that he deserved death. His last prayer to the King was that certain debts, which he named, should be paid out of his personal estate.
Although the generality of people here are glad of the execution of the said concubine, still a few find fault and grumble at the manner in which the proceedings against her have been conducted, and the condemnation of her and the rest, which is generally thought strange enough. People speak variously about the King, and certainly the slander will not cease when they hear of what passed and is passing between him and his new mistress, Jane Seymour. Already it sounds badly in the ears of the public that the King, after such ignominy and discredit as the concubine has brought on his head, should manifest more joy and pleasure now, since her arrest and trial, than he has ever done on other occasions, for he has daily gone out to dine here and there with ladies, and sometimes has remained with them till after midnight. I hear that on one occasion, returning by the river to Greenwich, the royal barge was actually filled with minstrels and musicians of his chamber, playing on all sorts of instruments or singing; which state of things was by many a one compared to the joy and pleasure a man feels in getting rid of a thin, old, and vicious hack in the hope of getting soon a fine horse to ridea very peculiarly agreeable task for this king. (fn. n19) The other night, whilst supping with several ladies at the house of the bishop of Carlion (Carlisle), he (the King) manifested incredible joy at the arrest of Anne, as the Bishop himself came and told me the day after. Indeed, he related to me that, among other topics of conversation, the King touched on that of the concubine; telling him: "For a long time back had I predicted what would be the end of this affair, so much so that I have written a tragedy, which I have here by me." Saying which, he took out of his breast pocket a small book all written in his own handy and handed it over to the Bishop, who, however, did not examine its contents. Perhaps these were certain ballads, which the King himself is known to have composed once, and of which the concubine and her brother had made fun, as of productions entirely worthless, which circumstance was one of the principal charges brought against them at the trial. (fn. n20)
Three days after the concubine's arrest the Princess was removed to other quarters, most honorably attended and escorted on the way, not only by all the officers of the little bastard's household, but by several gentlemen and ladies, who had formerly been in her mother's service and in her own, and who, on hearing the news, went thither to congratulate her. Though the governess herself had no objection to their remaining in the house, the Princess, following my advice, has declined their services, and will retain no one near her person that is not previously accepted and appointed by her father, the King. Indeed, my great fear is, among others, that when the moment comes for the Estates to ask for the reinstatement of the Princess in her rights and titles, the King is likely to answer that it cannot be done unless she previously swears to, and conforms with, the irritating statutes concerning the King's second marriage as well as against Papal authority; which act of acquiescence, in my opinion, it will be extremely difficult to obtain from the Princess, though my advice is that she ought to agree to the whole of it so long as her conscience is not aggrieved, nor her rights and titles impaired through it. Please Your Majesty to instruct me what your wishes and intentions on this point are, that I may act accordingly.
To-day lord Rocheford, and the other four gentlemen (fn. n21) above-named, were all beheaded in front of the Tower. Notwithstanding the great efforts made by the resident French ambassador, the bishop of Tarbes, and by another one, called the sieur de Vintemille (Vintimiglia), who arrived the day before yesterday, to save the life of Vaston (Weaston), he suffered death like the rest. To make matters worse for the concubine it was arranged that she should witness their execution from the windows of her prison. Rochefort before dying declared himself to be innocent of all the charges brought against him, though he owned that he deserved death for having been contaminated with the new heresies, and having caused many others to be infected with them. He had no doubt, said he on the scaffold, that God had punished him for that, and, therefore, he recommended all to forsake heretical doctrines and practiceś, and return to true faith and religion. Which words on the mouth of such a man as lord Rochefort will be the cause of innumerable people here making amends for their sins, and being converted.
The concubine herself is to be beheaded without fail tomorrow, or on Friday, at the latest, and I have my reasons for saying that the King is very impatient, and would have liked the execution to have already taken place; for the day before Anne's condemnation he sent the Grand Squire and many others in quest of Mistress Seymour, and made her come to within one mile of his own residence, where she is being splendidly entertained and served by cooks and officers of the royal household. And I have been told by one of her female relatives, who dined with her on the morning of the very day of Anne's condemnation, that the King sent her a message to say, that at three, in the afternoon of that day, she would receive news of the sentence, and so it was, for he despatched Master Briant in all haste to give her the intelligence. So that to all appearances there cannot be the least doubt that the King will soon take the said Seymour to wife, some people believing, and even asserting, that the marriage settlements have already been drawn up.
The Scotch ambassador is still here, but there is nothing settled yet as to the meeting of the two kings. The ambassador assures me that king James unit have nothing to say to the proposed marriage of the duchess of Vendosme, and absolutely declines her hand. Should I hear anything more about the proposed interview or the bailiff of Troies' mission, I shall not fail to apprise Your Majesty. They tell me that the Bailiff, having heard on his way here of the arrest of the concubine, stopped for some days at Boulogne feigning illness, but in reality in order to wait for new instructions from France in case these late events should render a change in politics necessary.
I have this moment received Your Majesty's letter of the 18th ult., together with the papers and documents therein mentioned, of which I shall make use according to Your Majesty's desire and commands. I shall not fail to inform you also how this King takes the whole, and what he thought and said about it before the Bailiff's arrival. (fn. n22) I cannot say what he may have done or said since; all I know is that he has taken in very good part the justifications offered and preliminaries proposed by Your Majesty [at Rome], as Briant happened to tell Mistress Seymour and the other ladies the day he went, in his master's name, to announce Anne's condemnation, as already said; for although the said Master Briant is generally believed to be attached to the French interest, certain it is that on that occasion he very much praised Your Majesty's friendly intentions, and began to criticise and laugh at the French, who had, perhaps, made some foolish and shameful reply to the challenge offered by Your Majesty. (fn. n23)
With regard to this king's inclination and willingness to accept the overtures which have been made, I cannot say more for the present than I have said in my preceding despatches, and again intimated in this one. Certainly Cromwell goes on giving me the best hopes possible, especially now since the concubine's disgrace and arrest. Yet I intend bringing him to the point before I go to the King, which will be as soon as I can. (fn. n24)
I must not pass in silence over the fact that although the King, during this last Christmas festival, pressed me very much to put down in writing the four articles proposed by Your Majesty for the renewal of friendship and alliance, yet since then he has not insisted thereon, and has rather praised my refusal to accede to his wishes, as well as the general terms of my negociation with Cromwell. On the very same day that I had my audience, the latter owned to me that the King's persistence in demanding the said four articles in writing could hardly be free from a sinister interpretation. And upon my asking Cromwell what could suddenly have come over his master's mind, so as to make him change his opinion on a matter on which he seemed to be so firm and determined, that Secretary knew not what to answer, save that he suspected the King had conceived certain suspicions and jealousy of him (Cromwell), owing to some expression or other in Your Majesty's letter to him. (fn. n25)
After writing to Your Majesty as above, I thought I might delay the departure of this courier for 24 hours, in order to report the execution of the concubine, who was beheaded this very morning at 9 o'clock within the Tower, in the presence of the King's Chancellor, of Master Cromwell, and of many other members of the King's Privy Council, besides a considerable number of other people, though no foreigners were allowed to witness the execution. I hear that, although the heads and bodies of those executed the day before yesterday have been buried, the head of the concubine will be exposed on the bridge, at least for some time. She confessed, and took the Sacrament yesterday. No one ever shewed more courage or greater readiness to meet death than she did, having, as the report goes, begged and solicited those under whose keeping she was to hasten the execution. When orders came from the King to have it delayed until to-day, she seemed sorry, and begged and entreated the governor of the Tower (Sir William Kingston), for God's sake, to go to the King, and beg of him that, since she was well disposed and prepared for death, she should be dispatched immediately. The lady in whose keeping she has been sends me word, in great secrecy, that before and after her receiving the Holy Sacrament, she affirmed, on peril of her soul's damnation, that she had not misconducted herself so far as her husband the King was concerned. (fn. n26) —London, 19 May 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original. Mostly in cipher. pp. 14.
26 May. 56. Count Cifuentes to the Same.
S. E., L. 865, f. 51,
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 278.
Two letters of the 26th inst. from the High Commander of Leon (Covos) and from Mr. de Granvelle have come to hand, informing me that the French ambassador at the Imperial court had communicated the answer which the King, his master, proposed making to the speech pronounced by Your Majesty before the Pope and Cardinals, and at the same time ordering me to procure a copy of such answer when delivered.
Yesterday, Ascension Day, in the same place where your Majesty made your speech, and whilst His Holiness was dressing to go to mass, in the presence of the cardinals and foreign ambassadors who happened to be in the room, the French ambassador put into the Pope's hand a letter from his master, at the same time stating that the paper he held was an Italian translation of the King's reply, which he would, with His Holiness' permission, read to the assembly. Accordingly, after beseeching His Holiness to let all present come near and listen to its lecture, the ambassador asked whether he could begin. The Pope's answer was limited to saying that he sincerely wished for peace and concord between the King and Your Majesty, and then he went to mass. After it the Pope came back, and the French ambassador proceeded to read his master's answer. I myself was not present; I only attend chapel on the days that His Holiness himself says mass; and as neither he nor any of his servants had previously informed me of the act that was to take place, I neglected to go thither. True is it that upon my secretary going the day before to the Palace on certain business of this embassy, and asking whether, in case of the King's answer being read, I myself was to attend, he was told that there was no certainty of the paper being read on that occasion; and as to myself, I received no intimation whatever of the day, hour, and place of the reading, and therefore did not attend, this being the reason why I was not present.
After this I begged His Holiness for a copy of the document, and he did give it to me, though with some difficulty, and recommending great secrecy, "for" (said he) "as it is written in French, every one will know that it is I who have procured it." I enclose it. (fn. n27)
With regard to the General Council, I am told that the bull for its convocation is getting ready, and will be published at Easter; also that Vergerio has written a discourse, and presented it to His Holiness and to his ministers. In what sense I cannot say, for I have not read it; but having, as he has, once spoken in favour of it, it is not probable that he now can disapprove of it. However this may be, having received information that Vergerio's or some other one's negligence was the cause of the bull not having been published, owing to its having no leaden seal attached as usual, I went to the Pope, imparted my information, and begged him to fulfil his promise, &c.—Rome, 26 May 1536.
Signed: "El Conde de Cifuentes."
Spanish. Original. pp. 5.
26 May. 57. Viscount Hannaërt to the Emperor.
S. E., L. Suelto 10
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 281.
Cardinal Lorena (Lorraine) has come back, without concluding peace, at which this Most Christian king seems exceedingly disappointed. He has been heard to say that, perceiving Your Majesty's warlike preparations, he is determined to make a stout defence, and has consequently given orders for an army of 60,000 men, besides 4,000 men-at-arms and 1,500 or 2,000 light cavalry, to be got ready. To that end he is actually arming 20,000 militiamen (legionarios), and trying to increase the number of Germans already in his pay, besides enlisting 10,000 or 12,000 Swiss, though, according to information furnished by Your Majesty's ambassadors, both in Germany and Switzerland, very few, if any, will join his banners. Turin, Saluzzo, and other strong places in Piedmont are to be strongly garrisoned, and the Admiral (Brion) is to return to France with the rest of the army. It is even reported that this King's plan is to invade Roussillon, and penetrate into Spain by way of Perpignan, to which end he has caused the "ban (fn. n28) and arrière ban" to be promulgated, ordering all knights holding fiefs from the Crown to be ready with horse and arms when needed. The prince of Labrit (Henri) is to go to Guienne, raise 6,000 men in those parts, and try what he can do in Navarre.
The news from England is for certain that Anne [Boleyn], called the Queen, has been found in bed with a lover of hers and sent forthwith to the Tower. It has besides been proved that she had an incestuous connection with her brother (count Rochefort), as well as with several others, and that the daughter of whom she pretended to have been confined was not hers, but one taken from a poor man. The English ambassador residing at this court informs me that Anne and her brother (George) have already been sentenced to be burnt alive, and that one of the King's chief chamberlains and three other noblemen are to be beheaded for having joined a conspiracy against the King's life. The latter, as the report goes, has sent for his daughter, the princess (Mary), and made her come to his court; he has, moreover, feasted her and given her many jewels which the said Anne had in her possession.
An ambassador from Velez de la Gomera has arrived, for what object it is not said. He brings two barbs as present to this king.
The Count is here. (fn. n29) It is said that in four or five days hence the King will go to Valencia (Valence), and thence to Avinon (Avignon).—Lyons Solarrone (sur Rhone), 26 May 1536.
P.S.—I have just heard that this King will most likely recruit 6,000 Switzers.
Signed: "Joan Hannart Viscount."
Spanish. Original. pp 5.


  • n1. Antonis de Ijar or Hixar (a town of Aragon) though his name is generally found contracted as Dexar or D'Ixar.
  • n2. That is Covos, for the report was addressed to him.
  • n3. "Prothonotary Marino Caracciolo, created cardinal in 1535.
  • n4. "Vous cscripvant Ihistoyre et cronique des minez et propos que la Messaline ou Agrippine angloyse a teun durant sa detention ou yl y devra avoir choses notablez, actendu que celle que la eu en charge et garde ne men çelera choze du monde."
  • n5. "Bien men prent quelle nest echappee (sic) car selon quelle estoit humaine et piteuse elle m'eust faict manger aux chiens."
  • n6. "Car le roy a dit quil pensoit et croioit que plus de cent avoient eu affaire a elle. Vous ne verrez oncques prince ou autre homme que manifestoit (manifesteroit) plus ses cornes, ou que les pourtoit (pourteroit) plus alegrement. Je vous laysse penser la cause."
  • n7. "Autres mon dit que le dict Conturbery avoit prononce le marriage du roy et de la dite concubine avoir este illegitime, et invalide pour avoir dit le roy avoir cu participation avec la seur delle, et que saichant lung et lautre cest empeschement la bonne foy des parents ne pouvoit ayder a legittimer la dicte fille bastarde."
  • n8. "Que pluseurs pensent que la pluspart de ces nouvcaulx evesques ont davoir (auront bien tost?) leur saint Martin."
  • n9. "La dite concubine avant que le dit Roy leust espousee pour encarecer (sic, encherir) lamour quelle pourtoit au dit roy disoit quelle sçavoit bien quil y avoit une prophetie que environ ce temps une royne dangleterre deuroit estre brulee, mais que pour complaire au roy elle ne sen soucioit. Depms quelle fust esposee elle se gaudissoit disant que desia estoient aduenus les propacatoires (sic propiciatoires?) mentionnes en icelles prophetics, et encoires nestoit elle condampnee."
  • n10. "Et que le cas ne pouvoit estre en meilleur trayn et terme que maintenant pour ce questoit succede en lendroit de la concubine, et que si bien me souvenoye de ce que mavoit dit la veille sainct Mathias, il mavoit tacitement assez declaire et pronosticque ce quen adviendroit."
  • n11. "Et au regard de la copie de la minute de la priuation que les françois ont recouvert (recouvré?), ie tiens quilz en feront peu leur proffit envers ceulxçi, les quelz sont de long temps assez pessuadez que le siege appostolicque est cetuy que pour son interest poursuyt la matiere, et en importune vostre maieste. Et beaulcop (sic) plus suspeçonnent les françois quen receuront prompt emolument, assauvoir(a sçavoir) la exemption de la pension et du tiltre que ceux çi pretendent en france."
  • n12. "Que parlant desia auant la prinse de la dicte concubyne ce roy avec maistresse Janne Semmel de laffaire de leur mariage aduenir, icelle Semmel luy tint propoz de remectre la dite princesse en son entier; et luy disant le dict roy quelle estoit folle, et quelle denoit procurer pour le bien et exaltation des enfans, quilz auroyent par ensemble, et non pas pour autruy, elle replica que sollicitant la reintegracion de la dicte princesse elle pensoit solliciter le bien, repoz et tranquillite du dict roy, delle [et de], ses enfants quelle auroit, et de tout le royaulme; car sans la dicte reintegracion ne vostre maieste ne aussi ce people ne sçauroit estre consent, dont ne sçauroit proceder que toute rayne."
  • n13. "Estoyent bien tenuz a Dieu dauoir eschappe des mains dicelle mauldicte et veneficque (?) putain, quauoit delibere les faire empoisonner, dont fault il dire que la dict roy en sçauoit quelque chose."
  • n14. Au xiie de ce mois furent condampnez comme traitrez maistre noris premier sommelier de corps de ce roy, maistre obouston que souloit coucher avec le dict roy, maistre bruton gentilhomme, dont par mon homme eseripulz a vostre maieste, et ce na este que le dict varlet qua confesse sestre trouve avee la putain et coucubyne du dict roy par trois fois. Les autres ont este condampnez par presumption et aucuns indices, sans preuve ne confession valide."
  • n15. "Ce principallement dont elle fut chargee estoit dauoir cohabite avec son frere et autres complices; quil y avoit promesse entre elle et noris de se espouser apres le trespas de ce roy, que denotoit quilz luy deuiseoient la mort, et quelle avoit reçu et donne certaines medailles au dict noris que se pouvovent ainsi interpreter; quelle avoit faict empoisonner le feue royne et machyne de faire le mesme a la princesse."
  • n16. "Il luy fut aussy objecté, et au frere aussi, quilz sestoyent mouquo du roy et de ses habillemens, et quelle en pluseurs façons demonstroit ne aymer le dict roy ains estre ennuyee de luy."
  • n17. "Mesmes que contre luy ni aussi contre elle ne furent produitz nulz temoigns corame il est costume quant le ree (?) nye ce dont il est accusé."
  • n18. "Je ne veulx omectre que entre autres choses il luy fut objecte pour cryme que sa soeur, la putain, avoit dit a sa femme que le roy nestoit habille en cas de copuler avec femme, et quil navoit ne vertu ne puissance. Et ce ne lui voulu lou dire deuant le monde, mais luy fut monstré par escript avec protestacion quil ne le recitat, mais tout incontinent il declaira laffaire au grand despit de Cromwell et aucuns autres."
  • n19. "Que sentoit fort a linterpretation de plusieurs la ioyssance destre quiete de maigre, vielle et meschante bague (hague?) avec espoir de rechargement (rechangement?) quest chose fort peculiarie [ment] aggreable au dict roy."
  • n20. "Il souppa naguieres avec pluseurs dames en la maison de levesque de Carlion, et il moustra une ioye desexperee comme me vient dire le leudemain iceluy evesque et me rappourta aussi quentre pluseurs propoz que le dict roy luy avoit tenu particulierement, il luy dit quil y avoit desia long temps quil presagissoit lissue de ces affaires, et que sur ce il avoit [faict] une tragedie quil pourtoit avec luy, et ce disant, icelluy roy tira de son sain (sein?) ung petit livret escript de sa main mais le dict evesque ne lit point dedans; peult estre que cestoit certaines balades que le dict roy a composé, des quelles la putain et son frere, comme de chose inepte [et] gouffe se gaudissoient, que leur fut objecte pour grand et grief cryme."
  • n21. It will be observed that only three, Norris, Brereton, and Weaston, are named by Chapuys, having omitted no doubt by mistake Mark Smeton, who was the fourth. See above, p. 125.
  • n22. "Tout incontinent aduertiray [vostre Majeste] du tout, et a ce que [ai] entendu le dict roy, avant la venue du dict baillifz."
  • n23. "Si ne layssoit-il de louer vostre maieste en ce que dessus et mesdire et soy gaudir des frarçois, que debvoient avoir fait certaine folle et honteuse response touchant loffre du combat entre vostre maiesté et le roy de France." See above, p. 117.
  • n24. "Et au regard de la volente et inclinacion de ce roy quant aux pratiques dont est question, ie nen sçauroye escripre plus avant quay fait par mes precedentes et ce que dessus. Cremuel me ramplit continuellement de meilleur espoir, mesmes pour ce quest advenu en lendroit de la concubine. Iasentiray (je sentirai) mieulx le tout ayant parle au dict roy que sera le plustot que pourray."
  • n25. "Et Cremuel mesme le propre iour me confessa que la dicte instance de demander iceulx articles par escript ne se pouvoit excuser de sinistre suspicion. Le dict Cremuel linterrogant quavoit peu si soudainement detourner le dict roy de la volonté quil mavoit affirme continuellement, il ne me sçeult donner autre raison synon quil suspiçionnoit que le dict roy, son maistre, avoit prins quelque suspiçion et ialousye contre luy a cause des lectres que vostre maieste luy avoit eacriptes."
  • n26. "Lexecution et decollation de la concubine a este faicte maintenant a neuf heures du matin, dedans la tour, ou se sont trouves presents le chancellier, et maistre Cremuel, et pluseurs autres du Council du Roy, et autre assez grand nombre des subiectz; mais lon ny a voulu souffrir estrangiers. Il se dit que combien que les corps et testes de ceulx qui furent executez avant hier ayent estez mis en terre, que toutesfois la teste delle seroit mise sur le pont, au moings pour quelque temps. Elle se confessa hier, et communiqua pensant destre executee, et ne monstra onques personne meilleur volonte daller a la mort quelle et en sollicitoit ceulx quen devoient avoir la charge. Et estant venu commandement de differer iusques au iourdhuy, elle sen monstra fort dolente, priant le cappitaine de la tour que pour lhonneur de Dieu il fut supplier au roy que, puisquelle se trouvoit en bon estat et disposee a recevoir la mort, que lon la voulsist despecher incontinant. La dame qui la eu en garde, ma envoye dire en grant secret que la dicte concubiuc, auant et apres la reception du sainct sacrament, luy a affirme sur la dampnation de son ame quelle ne sestait meffaicte de son corps envers ce roy."
  • n27. See No. 52, p. 110.
  • n28. "Y mandado cridar el primer vando y derriervando para que todos los feudales esteu á punto con armas y cavallo."
  • n29. "El conde está aqui," probably count Nassau, who was still in France.