Spain: February 1542

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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'Spain: February 1542', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542, (London, 1890) pp. 468-477. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

February 1542, 1-28

9 Feb. 230. The Same to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 19–27.
"Sire,"—My despatch of the 29th ult. must have informed Your Imperial Majesty of the queen's condemnation and sentence, as well as that of the duchess of Norfolk, her daughter, and of Mme. de Rochefort, which Parliament passed on the morning of that day. Until then the King had shown no alacrity or joy, not even when he first heard of his queen's misdemeanour; but since he was informed of the trial and subsequent condemnation on the 29th he has considerably changed, for on the night of that day he gave a grand supper, and invited to it several ladies and gentlemen of his court. There were no less than 26 at his table including the gentlemen, and at another table close by 35. (fn. n1) The lady for whom he showed the greater predilection on the occasion was no other than the sister of Monsieur Coban (Cobham) the same lady whom Master Huyet (Whyatt) did some time ago repudiate on a charge of adultery. She is a pretty young creature, and has sense enough to do as the others have done should she consider it worth her while. (fn. n2) It is also rumoured that the King has taken a fancy for the daughter of Madame Albart, the niece of the grand esquire Master Antoine Brown, and likewise for a daughter by the first marriage of the wife of Monsieur de Lyt, once debitis of Calais. This last attachment of the King, as the report goes, is founded on the fact that the above-mentioned official, who for the last two years has been kept a prisoner at the Tower, has all of a sudden obtained his liberty—no one knows how—and goes about London undisturbed; and besides that the King has ordered that the escutcheon of Monsieur de Lyt's arms, which had been removed from the Chapel at Windsor, should be restored to its place among those of other knights. (fn. n3)
Two days ago the comptroller of the Royal household went to Syon House to break up the establishment of the Queen's household and dismiss all her servants. This being done the King's comptroller is to take the Queen to his own lodgings, that is to say to the Tower, of which he is governor. I am given to understand that no final resolution has yet been taken as to what her fate is to be, but that in two or three days the matter will be cleared up, and it will be known what will become of her.
The French ambassador's man informs me that for some time back he has had no letters of importance from the King, his master. The last he has received orders him to persevere as long as he can in the line of political conduct so often recommended to him. The ambassador is to continue the same game, trying by all possible means to cajole and amuse these people in order to prevent their making a league with Your Imperial Majesty, which (the letter says) would be highly inconvenient at this present moment. The ambassador is also to assure and promise that should this king consent to treat with him, he may count upon the Scotch, who are ready to side with him. It appears also that after the receipt of this letter from France the ambassador met some of the privy councillors and transacted business with them, though with so small a success that he left the Council Hall in disgust, and was so angry that on the three following days he could not enjoy his dinner, showing great discontent with the councillors, especially the Lord Privy Seal, whom he abused immensely. Further still, he has sent his own cousin to France expressly to ask for his recall. Nor has his anger subsided since; on the contrary, it has been much increased by the bishop of London's appointment as ambassador to Your Imperial Majesty, for the Bishop is rightly considered an enemy of France, owing to the bad treatment he once experienced in that country.
The bishop of London, as I wrote in my former despatch, came to dine with me, but I could learn no particulars from him respecting his mission. He had not yet received his instructions, which were only delivered to him yesterday. He intends to take his departure to-morrow.
The Scotch ambassadors went away yesterday with a present from this king in silver vessels worth 1,500 ducats. As far as I can gather from report, they have concluded nothing, this king and his privy councillors giving as an excuse that they were so engaged with parliamentary business of all kinds that they could not possibly attend to that brought by them. After the dissolution of this present Parliament, however, the King has promised them that the affairs they brought to England shall be taken into consideration and discussed in the Privy Council.
The French ambassador's man has taken charge of inquiring what may be the object of the Scotch mission; but hitherto he has been unable to learn any particulars, for if he had, he would have called at this embassy. I hear that the negociations, though interrupted or suspended for a time, were secret. Should I learn their purport and object, I shall not fail to inform Your Imperial Majesty thereof.—London, 9 February [1542].
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
Indorsed: "Received at Valladolid the 5th March 1541 (sic)."
French. Holograph, mostly ciphered. pp. 6.
9 Feb. 231. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 11–13.
"Madame, &c.,"—Encloses copy of his despatch to the Emperor, and then adds, "I know not what else to write from this place, save to advise and recommend that this King be gratified as much as possible respecting the two points contained in my preceding despatches, and at the same time that the packet of letters from the King, herein enclosed, be immediately sent to Monseigneur de Grandvelle.—London, 22 February 1542."
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Queen of Hungary."
French. Original. p. 1.
25 Feb. 232. The Same to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 28–47.
"Sire,"—Your Imperial Majesty's letter of the 26th ult. has lately come duly to hand. Since then I calculate that mine, and especially that of the 29th of December, have been received, by which Your Imperial Majesty must have had full knowledge of the great care and pains I have hitherto taken to persuade and induce this king and his ministers to enter into a closer friendship and alliance with Your Majesty, as well as the means I have employed to penetrate what their real inclination and will is. This I have explained in my preceding despatches so fully and in such detail that I will take care not to fatigue or trouble Your Imperial Majesty with the repetition of words and ideas already expressed elsewhere as clearly and minutely as was in my power. I will only add one fact to the many already stated, namely, that immediately after the departure of the bishop of London I sent three different messages to the Lord Privy Seal and to the Admiral, asking them for an interview under some pretence or other; but in reality with a view to ascertain, if possible, whether the Bishop's mission had anything to do with the treaty of closer friendship and alliance now in contemplation. The Privy Seal's answer was that both he and the Admiral were ready to do good offices in the affair. I believe them both to be sincere in their professions, as well as the remaining members of the Privy Council, every one of whom seems, without exception, desirous of concluding the treaty one way or another. But, as I said in a former despatch, I fear that as long as there is a chance of war between Your Majesty and the king of France this king will make difficulties; for in the first place he dislikes mostly being put to expense, and the moment he thinks that Your Imperial Majesty wants him, his conditions for an alliance against the French will become every day harder and harder. As Your Imperial Majesty can never be sure of the French, it would be necessary, in my humble opinion, to gain over this king and forestall the French, who, according to my usual informer, are now making most brilliant offers, and almost giving these people "carte blanche," as I wrote in one of my despatches. Possibly my informer may be wrong, or have made a mistake as to that; but I still think that he is in the right, if I am to judge from the context of the King's letter to his ambassador, of which more will be said hereafter, in which allusion is made to the powers sent by him to his ambassador. I will take good care to keep up my acquaintance with the said man, so as to fish out of him what his master, the ambassador, is actually doing. Nothing shall be spared to that end—neither words nor ducats to keep him at our devotion. No later than yesterday I gave him 50 crowns on account of the pension which I pay him annually. A few days ago he sent me word that Morvilliers had returned from Scotland, and was thinking of crossing over to France without calling on this king. He has no more news to communicate for the present, but hopes, on the return of the ambassador's cousin, who is hourly expected back from France, to be able to furnish me with fresh information. To that effect he has made an appointment with one of my own men for this very afternoon. Should I hear of anything important, I shall not fail to communicate my information to Your Imperial Majesty by the next post. The man's petition for money, alluded to in my despatch, shall also go along with it.
As to this king retaking the duke of Clèves' sister, (fn. n4) I see no sign of it at present, for the reasons I have frequently stated. I am the more persuaded that nothing of the sort is intended that two or three days before the Queen was lodged in the Tower the King sent some of his privy councillors to her (Anne) to recover and bring back to him a certain ring, which the Queen (Catharine Howard) had sent to her, whether as a present or on approval (?) (fn. n5) I cannot say; which ring, according to the Duke's ambassador here, is only worth three gold crowns at the utmost, unless it be, as alleged, that the stone in it has some virtue against spasms.
The Duke's ambassador has lately received many letters from German princes, all addressed to the King, persuading him to take back Mme. de Clèves; but I am told that owing to the French ambassador's veto, he of Clèves has not yet presented them to the King, nor will he for some time to come, unless king Francis approves of the measure, and orders his ambassador to back and endorse the request.
My despatch of the xth inst. must have acquainted Your Imperial Majesty with the news of this country, and especially of the Queen's trial and condemnation; but I then forgot to mention how the King, immediately after Parliament had pronounced sentence, wishing to proceed with all moderation and justice in the Queen's case, had sent to her certain privy councillors and members of Parliament to propose that she should, if she wished, defend her own case in that assembly. This the Queen refused, submitting herself entirely to the King's commiseration and will, all the time admitting and owning that she deserved death. Some days after, that is to say on the afternoon of the 10th, the Queen after some difficulty and resistance was conducted to the Tower by the river. The Lord Privy Seal, with a number of privy councillors and a large retinue of servants, went first in a large oared barge; then came a small covered boat with the Queen and four ladies of her suite, besides four sailors to man the boat. Then followed the duke of Suffolk in a big and well-manned barge, with plenty of armed men inside. On their arrival at the Tower stairs the Lord Privy Seal and the duke of Suffolk landed first; then the Queen herself, dressed in black velvet, with the same honors and ceremonies as if she were still reigning. Two days afterwards, on Sunday the 12th inst., towards the evening, she was told to dispose her soul and prepare for death, for she was to be beheaded next day. In the same evening she asked to see the block, pretending that she wanted to know how she was to place her head on it. This was granted, and the block being brought in, she herself tried and placed her head on it by way of experiment. Next morning about seven all the privy councillors save the duke of Suffolk, who was indisposed, and he of Norfolk, were at the Tower, accompanied by various lords and gentlemen, such us the earl of Sorey (Surrey), son of the duke of Norfolk, and cousin of the Queen, who, soon after the arrival of the above-mentioned councillors, lords and gentlemen, was beheaded in the same spot where Anne Boleyn had been executed six years ago. After her body had been covered with a black cloak, the ladies of her suite took it up and put it on one side. Then came Mme. de Rochefort, who had shewn symptoms of madness until the very moment when they announced to her that she must die. Neither the Queen nor Mme. de Rochefort spoke much on the scaffold; all they did was to confess their guilt and pray for the King's welfare and prosperity.
Since the execution the King has been in better spirits and more joyful than before, and during the three last days of Lent there has been much feasting and banqueting. On Sunday the privy councillors and lords of his court were invited; on Monday the Legal men, and on Tuesday the ladies, all of whom passed the night in the Palace. The King himself did nothing else on the morning of that day than go from one chamber to another to inspect the lodgings prepared for the ladies, all of whom, generally speaking, he received with much gaiety, without, however, showing particular affection for any of them. (fn. n6) Indeed my impression is that unless Parliament entreats him to take another wife, he will not be in a hurry to marry; besides that there are few, if any, ladies at Court now-a-days likely to aspire to the honor of becoming one of the King's wives, or to desire that the choice should fall on them; for a law has just passed in Parliament enjoining that should the King or his successors wish to marry a subject of theirs, the lady chosen will be bound to declare, under pain of death, if any charge of misconduct can be brought against her. All those who know for certain, suspect, or presume anything of the kind are also bound to reveal the same within twenty days, under pain of confiscation of property and imprisonment for life; the same sentence to be passed on those of any condition or rank who, within the period above specified, did not reveal to the King himself, or to a member of his Privy Council, any blameable or reprehensible act on the part of the lady thus chosen to be the King's wife, etc.
I have heard of no other ordinance passed by the present Parliament, unless it be the condemnation and prohibition of the Bible which Cromwell caused to be translated into English and printed, which translation has been found to be falsified in many passages.
After the above was written my man returned from the French embassy, bringing me the enclosed copy of king Francis' letter to his ambassador here. I need not say that it was my usual informer who procured it. It is in cipher, from which I conclude that it was this king who first proposed the interview, though, when I happened to speak to him on the subject, he not only denied the fact, but assured me that the idea sprang first from king Francis. As to the King's conversation with the ambassador, as reported in the letter, it must be understood that as the ambassador, to my certain knowledge, has not seen the King since the festivities of last Christmas, the latter cannot have uttered the words attributed to him. If really uttered, they must have been by the duke of Norfolk, who occasionally ventures to improve upon his instructions whilst treating with foreigners (fn. n7) According to information coming from the same source, the French ambassador will soon go to France to report on the business in question, and yet he has engaged to meet mine within two or three days, that he may communicate such information as he may be able to collect respecting his master's actual negociations with these people. He will see in the meantime if he can lay his hand on other letters of the French king or his ministers, together with a copy of the deciphering key. I attach faith to what he said to my man. To meet some urgent want of his, he would like to receive beforehand some money; it shall be supplied to him, but I have no time to send his petition by this post, it will go by the next.
As to myself, the extreme need in which I am is so urgent and pressing that I cannot do otherwise than beg and entreat Your Imperial Majesty to be pleased, for God's sake, to order that I may be paid the remainder of my arrears, as Your Imperial Majesty had the kindness to promise before your departure from Bruges. Otherwise I really do not know how I can live and fitly represent Your Imperial Majesty's person in this country. All the property I had at home is by this time either sold or mortgaged. I have many debts and little or no credit with merchants, to whom I have to pay considerable interest for the sums I have borrowed from them. I again humbly request Your Imperial Majesty to have pity on me, and command the payment of what is owing to me, which, after all, will be spent in Your service.—London, 25 February 1542.—Eustace Chapuys.
The following is the true deciphering of the King's letter to his ambassador:—
"Monsieur Marillac,—The letter of the 5th inst., brought by your cousin, who is also to be the bearer of this one, has been duly received. I hear of the good and honest words spoken to you there respecting the accomplishment of the marriage proposed, as well as respecting the interview to be held between that King and myself. I entirely approve of your suggestion, that before fixing the time and place for the interview, it is but reasonable that all affairs, past or present, between the parties be duly settled, so that at our future meeting there shall remain nothing more to do than confirm and ratify the whole without further discussion, since the conclusion and consummation of the marriage will effectually remove all difficulties, if any should still stand in the way. That there be no cause for dissimulation on the part of the king of England, based upon your not having received proper powers to treat, I have sent you two, that you may make use of them at discretion. Should you at the beginning, and before you enter into the negociation, be asked to exhibit your original powers from me, and leave them in their hands, you will avoid as long as possible to comply with their request, and if hard pressed by them, will deliver the copy, not the original. I nevertheless leave this entirely to your discretion; you will act in the affair as you think best for the good issue of the negociation intrusted to you. You will take care to treat of the marriage before you enter into the discussion of other matters. That once settled and concluded, you will have plenty of opportunities to go into other matters, such as the interview and the consummation of the marriage.
"With regard to the difficulties thrown in the way of the king of Scotland being present at the interview, after saying how glad I am to hear that my brother and ally of England wishes to have an interview with me, and after making him or his ministers understand how desirous I myself am of such an interview with the person for whom I profess the greatest affection in this world, you will tell him that the king of Scotland is so young and well disposed, that he can easily take the trouble of attending the interview with my good brother of England, wherever it may be, without throwing impediments in the way of it. That his presence there, moreover, will not in any way prevent our communicating to each other our views of political matters, and that, in my opinion, there is nothing that will intimidate the Pope so much as the meeting of us three. And I need not tell you that you may repeat the argument, whenever you have the opportunity, that, acting thus, we should be two against all the rest, for the king of Scotland being my son, he will equally be the son of the King my good brother, Yet, should you perceive that the King or his ministers dislike much the presence of king James at the interview, you had better drop the subject altogether, though it seems reasonable that he should be represented there by some noble and great personage of his court; and if after that my brother, the King, should decide to hold another separate interview with king James, I promise to send thither some person of authority and closely connected with me to represent me. Written on the 11th of February."
Such is the letter; it is for Your Imperial Majesty to judge of its contents.—London, 25 February.
French. Holograph. pp. 12.
25 Feb. 233. The Queen of Hungary to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 7–8.
"Monsieur l'ambassadeur,"—We have purposely put off answering your letter of the xxxth of December in order to wait for news of the arrival in England of the ambassadors who were here, and have now returned home, which you alluded to in your despatch of the 29th of December ult. (fn. n8) We have since then received yours of the 10th and 29th of January, and 9th inst., (fn. n9) and We cannot do otherwise than thank you most cordially for the good service you are doing by continually informing Us of occurrences in that country.
We have also just received letters from Monseigneur de Grantvelle (sic), who, it appears, was obliged again to put up at Gennes (Genoa), as you will see by the copy of a letter of his to the sieur de Maruol, the Emperor's ambassador in France, which We enclose, (fn. n10) as well as another one of his, to you.
As to news of these parts and of France, We can give you the following:—The French are intriguing everywhere to take Us by surprise, but We hope that they will not be able to raise as many men in Germany as they imagine. The king of the Romans, Our brother, is still at Spiers (Spires) in order to collect the assistance in money which the States of the Empire did lately grant against the Turk at the diet of Reynspourg (Regensburgh), whither the king of France has sent four ambassadors, who have addressed the assembly. One of them in particular, the chancellor of Alençon, made a long speech to persuade the States that they ought all to join together and march against the Turk, and that the King, his master, was willing and ready to assist them in the defence of Hungary, which he (the Turk) intended to invade and occupy, as well as all the rest of Germany, nay, the whole of Christendom. The orator went on to say that the Turk was by no means an enemy to be despised; he had great power, thousands of followers, and much money, and, therefore, that it behoved them to be well united for the defence of their territory, and not allow themselves to be surrounded and surprised. That the King, his master, had sent to Constantinople Cesare Fragoso and Rincon, with a view to persuade the Turk not to attack Germany; but that those ambassadors of his had been arrested and taken prisoners by the Imperialists (Cesæriens), at a place under the Emperor's rule, and against the truce of Nyze (Nizza), and that they (the German states) should by no means make an offensive war against the Turk, for fear of over-irritating him.
Thus much have the French ambassadors at the Diet done and said in public; secretly they have and are still soliciting the German princes not to grant help and assistance to the Hungarians, trying to persuade them that this year the Turk will make no attempt at all on that side, and offering to mediate between the Infidel and the German states. Meanwhile Hungary is preparing for defence, the natural and patrimonial vassals of the king of the Romans having met and agreed as to the defence of their territory against the Turk, to which may be added that king Ferdinand's affairs in that country are much smoother and prosperous than ever they were.—Brussels, 25 February 1542.
French. Original draft. pp. 2.


  • n1. "Jusques a la quelle condempnation ce roy dois quil sestoit apperçu du [mauvais] gouvernement de la dite royne, navoit monstre allegrie ne joyssance comme yl a faict depuis, et mesmes au dit xxix, quil donnast le soupper et banquet aux dames dont en sa table parmy aucungs sieurs en eut xxvi," et en une autre [table] la auprez xxxv.
  • n2. "Elle est belle jeusne fille et a assez experit pour si elle lentrepregnoit faire aussy mal que les autres."
  • n3. "Lon parle aussy que le dit sieur Roy a fantaisie en la fille de Madame Albart (?), niepce du Grand Escuyer Me Anthone Brun (Brown) pareillement est yl bruyt dune fille que la femme de Monsr. Lyt, jadis Debitis de Callais eust en premieres noupcez, et ce presume lon en partie pour aultant que le dit Debitis que[a] este pres de deux ans en assez estroitte prison dans la Tour, va en sa liberte par leans, et que le dit roy a deu commander que les armes du dit sieur de Lyt, quavoient este hosteez de la chapelle de lordre fussent restitueez et remisez en lenr lieu."
  • n4. "Au regard que ce roy repraigne la sœur du due de Clèves, je ne vois grande apparence pour ce quen ay escript diverses fois."
  • n5. "Pour repeter et retirer certain anneaul, que la dite royne luy avoit deu envoyager ou en present on pour enseignees."
  • n6. "Le dimanche fust pour les sieurs de son Conseil et de la Court; le lundy pour les gens de la loy; le mardy pour les dames lesquelles dormireut toutes en court, et luy dans le matin ne feist aultre sinon daller de chambre en ehambre pour faire auctentiquement apprester les logis des dites dames avec lesquellez yl feist tres grande et tres jouyeuse chere en general sans monstrer particuliere affection a nulle."
  • n7. "Et quant aux propoz tenus au dit ambassadeur, comme il est mentionne en la dite copie, il est a sçavoir quilz ne luy ont este tenuz de ce roy, auquel il na parle dois les festes de Noel, ne dautre quelconqne sinon du duc de Norfolq, que sadventure assez parfois denrrichir les affaires."
  • n8. See above, No. 220, p. 429.
  • n9. Those of the 10th and 29th January may be found respectively under Nos. 224 and 228, that of the 9th February under 230.
  • n10. Not in the Archives.