Spain: January 1548

Pages 241-246

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.

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January 1548

Jan. 4. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Flemish Council of State.
Since writing to your Lordships on the 27th ultimo I have endeavoured to obtain the official letter addressed to the King's authorities in the Boulognais directing them to restore to the Dowager Countess of Egmont her barony of Fiennes and its appurtenances, and to the Seigneur de Mourbecque his manor of Souverain Moulin. This letter has now been sent to me, and I have the pleasure to forward it to your Lordships herewith, in order that you may utilise it as you think proper.
The King with the whole of the Council are now residing at Hampton Court. On New Year's day the King went publicly to mass, which was celebrated with the accustomed solemnity. It appears that the resolutions that they have adopted and ordered in this Parliament will not be carried into effect until next May, this being set forth in the rolls of their ordinances on the Holy Sacrament which they have had printed. I have obtained a copy of these, and the conclusion to be drawn from it is that they will administer the Communion sub utraque specie. (fn. 1)
There is no fresh news of the Scots, or from France, beyond what I wrote to your Lordships recently.
London, 4 January, 1548.
Jan. 22. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Flemish Council of State.
On the 4th instant I forwarded to your Lordships a letter from the King of England's Council, accompanied by letters of my own, authorising the restitution to the Countess of Egmont and to the Seigneur de Mourbecque of their respective estates in the Boulognais. Since then nothing has happened here specially worthy of mention. The King is still staying at Hampton Court, and it is said that he may be expected back here in London next week.
The bishop of Winchester is now out of prison, and I am informed that he has to declare his opinion of a certain book that has been handed to him. (fn. 2) To judge from appearances he will conform with the others as he sees he is out of favour. A few days ago all the foreign captains were summoned to Court, in order to learn from them what troops they would be able to muster; but as subsequently news was received here of the reply given by the Pope to the Cardinal of Trent, the matter was dropped and no more was said about it. (fn. 3) Nevertheless these people (the English) are providing their ports and strong places with stores and munitions, so as to be prepared against the French in any case, as they repose very little confidence in the latter people.
They (the English) have received news that the Seigneur de la Chapelle had arrived in Scotland with his company where he was swaggering bravely, assuring the Queen (Dowager Mary of Lorraine) and the Regent (Arran) that the King of France, his master, would send them all the contributions of men and money that they needed against the English. Nevertheless there is no lack of Scotsmen who are coming in to join the English. There is, indeed, one who has come in on the same pretext, who they say was an admiral; but I understand that they do not trust him over much, and will not be very ready to let him go when he wants to do so. (fn. 4) The earl of Huntly still remains here under respectful guard but a prisoner. I am writing at present to his Majesty (the Emperor) about the agreement arrived at in Renegat's affair, in order that the embargo in Spain may be raised.
London, 22 January, 1548.
Jan. 22. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since my last despatches nothing has happened here worthy of writing to your Majesty, except that I have continued incessantly to urge for the restitution of the property that Renegat had plundered from some of your Majesty's subjects, at whose instance the embargo of English property in Spain was decreed. The Great Master of the Household, Lord St. John, Controller Paget and myself have met several times to arrive at some satisfactory settlement, and at length the representatives here of the parties who have been plundered, having full powers to act in their name, have agreed with Renegat himself.
By this arrangement Renegat undertakes to surrender what he confesses to have taken, of which a part is in being here, the rest to be restored in the form of money in Spain. The entire value will reach six thousand ducats. With regard to the balance which was claimed by those who had been despoiled, reaching a sum of about fourteen thousand ducats, Renegat persists in his assertion that he has never captured anything at all beyond the property represented by the six thousand ducats abovementioned. In order, therefore, to avoid the lawsuit which Renegat was anxious to provoke, and which he continued to declare would result in the evidence of the complainants themselves proving his case, the representatives of the complainants have made a further compromise with him. He declares that he can bring forward at least two hundred witnesses to prove that in the coffer or chest he took there was no more than he confesses and is willing to restore; and it has been settled that Renegat shall at the expiration of eight years pay a further sum of five thousand eight hundred ducats, providing at once sufficient security for the payment.
We have thought on the whole that it would be best to accept this offer, having regard to Renegat's insufficiency, be being unable even to furnish the first sum of six thousand ducats, representing what he confesses to have taken, except by means of subscriptions from the English merchants who are anxious to get the embargo on their property raised in Spain. He would be even less able to provide security for the payment of the second amount without the assistance of the King, who has consented to letting him have a certain quantity of lead at a reasonable price and on long credit. The Protector and the members of the Council say that they never would have acceded to this if it had not been out of friendship for your Majesty, which has also led them to make Renegat pay the 5,800 ducats abovementioned which he still persists in saying are demanded of him unjustly, and that he ought to be heard in his own justification.
Having regard to the first decision of the Council in the matter, namely, to deliver into our hands all Renegat's possessions, and also his person, in order that we might proceed against him in any way or country we pleased, the Council declaring to me that if Renegat's goods had been sufficient to meet our claims they should all have been confiscated to us. I cannot help believing in the truth of what the Protector and Council say, as above mentioned. So far as I could perceive, Sire, also I think that the Protector would have been well pleased if we had taken the person of Renegat with his goods, in order that the merchants might not have been burdened with the contribution they have undertaken to pay, and that he himself might have made a more advantageous bargain with the lead. I do not think, moreover, the Protector is very well disposed towards Renegat, who has always been a servitor of the former Lord Chancellor. (fn. 5)
The settlement is, however, made conditional upon the English property in Spain being freely released, otherwise all parties are to remain exactly as at present. It seems to me, Sire, that, if your Majesty pleases, it would not be a bad thing to order this release, for, in good truth, if the business is brought finally to the issue of a lawsuit here, the master of the Spanish ship will not escape suspicion. Your Majesty will please therefore consider if it will not be advisable to release at once the English property now embargoed. The owners say that they have suffered great injury in loss of capital and interest for a matter in which they themselves are quite blameless. Great complaints have continued to be made on this subject, and the late King Henry and the members of the Council have frequently reproached me about it, especially after I had assured them by your Majesty's orders that the seizures should be released on bail being given. This, they say, has not yet been done, in violation of the treaty of close alliance. I have always replied to these representations as well as I could to exonerate your Majesty, but really your subjects have been much hampered in getting their claims attended to in consequence of these embargoes.
In these affairs, as in all others, I have invariably found Controller Paget very reasonable. I will also fully inform his Highness the Prince (Philip) of this business by means of the attorneys of the Spanish claimants, who are going to Spain to petition for the raising of the embargoes there. In the meanwhile the property surrendered by Renegat here is deposited in the hands of an Italian. Your Majesty ordered me formerly to claim as confiscated to your Majesty the gold or silver that came from the Indies (fn. 6); and I shall be grateful if your Majesty will instruct me as to your pleasure in the matter. I am moved to crave for this guidance, because the Spanish merchants emphatically affirm that my own instructions show that your Majesty has no right of confiscation in the case.
The King is still at Hampton Court, but it is said that he will come to London next week. There have been published here certain "rolls," containing the printed ordinances on the Holy Sacrament. They prohibit under very heavy punishment all disputes or discussions questioning these decisions, the object being that every person should remain firm in the conviction that the sacrament is the true Corpus Domini. But the conclusion of it all is that they will allow the administration of the holy Communion sub utraque specie. On New Year's Day the young King attended mass publicly, the sacrifice being celebrated as usual. The bishop of Winchester has been released from prison. He is giving it to be understood that he will conform with the others. They (the English) are not yet entirely reassured of the French, and the Controller Paget went so far as to say in conversation with me, that he was not sure whether the French were casting their eyes upon your Majesty's dominions or upon theirs. They (the English) would therefore be prepared in any event and would take care to provide for their ports and strong places. Paget also told me that the Sieur de la Chapelle had arrived in Scotland with as many as fifty or sixty gentlemen and captains. He was, said Paget, swaggering bravely and assuring the Queen and the Regent that the King of France, his master, would send them all the supplies of men and money that they needed against the English. There is, however, no lack of Scotsmen who are coming to join the English. One such man, who is said to have been an admiral, has come hither on a like pretence, but I am told they do not trust him over much, and he will have a difficulty in getting back when he wants to. The earl of Huntly is still here a prisoner but kept in respectful custody.
Four or five days ago the foreign captains who are here were summoned to Court and were asked what number of men they could raise. Since then news of the answer that the Pope gave to the Cardinal of Trent has been received here, and there has been no more talk about raising troops. Yesterday the muster was called here of two standards of foreign troops, who were to be all Spaniards. They did not muster two hundred head between them, and even with that, not half of them were Spaniards. (fn. 7) I write these details to your Majesty in order that you may see by them that the bounty and the pay of these soldiers are not so liberal in England as they used to be, but on the contrary so narrow that no foreigners will come here in search of them whilst they can find service elsewhere. So far as I understand the councillors themselves are discontented at the meanness of the Protector and those who have served under him in Scotland complain of it publicly. (fn. 8)
London, 22 January, 1548.


  • 1. The resolution referred to had been unanimously adopted by Convocation on the 2 December, the Ordinance to administer the Eucharist in both kinds to all Communicants having been proposed by Cranmer.
  • 2. Bishop Stephen Gardiner had been released from prison on the 8 January and brought before the Council; the occasion for his liberation being, he was told, the general pardon that had been granted when Parliament was prorogued. He was, however, admonished on the subject of his former contumacy and required to state plainly whether he would undertake to receive the royal injunctions, the homilies and such other points of doctrine or discipline as the King and clergy might ordain. Whilst professing readiness to obey generally he protested against certain articles of the homilies, and requested a short time to consider these before giving a complete acceptance of them. The “book” mentioned in the text was apparently the homilies. Gardiner returned to his diocese with this incomplete acceptance.
  • 3. The reason for the summons of the mercenary captains was really with a view of raising a force to capture Haddington. Particulars of this meeting of mercenaries and what came of it will be found in The Spanish Chronicle of Henry VIII. (p. 199), edited by the present writer. The conciliatory answer given by the Pope to the Emperor's envoy the Cardinal of Trent in the matters of the Council and the question of Italy seemed to make for European peace. Van der Delft was however wrong in his suggestion that it had caused Somerset's government to abandon the intention of increasing their mercenary troops.
  • 4. Probably Lord Bothwell, who was in London at the time, and who, Lord Grey wrote to Somerset on the 9 January, 1548, was playing false and should be held tightly until the spy Cockburn arrived in London to convey particulars of the alleged treachery.
  • 5. Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Southampton.
  • 6. It should be explained that the treasure (or some of it) seized by Renegat from the Spanish ship he despoiled in retaliation for an injury done to him, was alleged to have been shipped in America surreptitiously without declaration to the authorities, in order to escape the payment of the proportion due to the Government. On this account the Emperor set up a claim to the whole amount. The contraband shipment of bullion from the Spanish possessions in America was of constant occurrence, the exactions of the Spanish Government, as will have been seen by the correspondence in the last volume of this Calendar, being very capricious and ruinous.
  • 7. This was probably the company brought from Flanders for Colonel Sir Pedro Gamboa by one Pedro Salcedo. He is said to have enlisted 120 men. Gamboa's adjutant, Captain Carlos de Guevara, enlisted 130 men in Flanders at the same time. There were great complaints and dissensions amongst the captains on this matter of the nationality of the recruits they brought, and especially as to the honesty of their musters. Many of the men instead of being Spanish veterans as stipulated turned out to be Burgundians who were unreliable when opposed to the French, and the captains invariably excused any defeat or slackness of their men by alleging that they were not Spaniards but Burgundians. Full account of these happenings will be found in “Mercenarios españoles al servicio de Inglaterra” in the present writer's “Españoles é Ingleses en el Siglo XVI.”
  • 8. According to The Chronicle of Henry VIII, which reflects the opinions of the Spanish mercenaries in England, Henry VIII was very lavish with these soldiers, upon whom he piled pensions and honours. The meanness of Somerset towards thom was one of the principal levers employed by Warwick (John Dudley Duke of Northumberland) to gain the mercenaries to his side when he was planning the ruin of Somerset.