Spain: August 1549

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

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'Spain: August 1549', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912), pp. 422-439. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Spain: August 1549", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912) 422-439. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Spain: August 1549", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912). 422-439. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

August 1549

Aug. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 32. The Emperor to Simon Renard.
(Extract from a minute.)
As for M. de la Croix's mission to the Pope, you will see to discovering as much about it as you can, especially if there is any question of renewing the league between his Holiness and the King of France in the event of the Holy Father's not being satisfied with the reply we gave him about Piacenza. But do so in so dextrous a manner that we may not appear to care greatly what negociations they may carry on together. Touching the league with the Switzers, we have been informed by our ministers in that quarter that five of the cantons have not given their consent, though the French certainly tried to get them to go in with the rest. We have received a copy of the text of the league as we have already written to you, and have seen by it that the Switzers have added clauses enabling them to refuse to be bound on the principal points which the French are trying to achieve, for they have reserved all leagues and confederations of an earlier date than this one. When the French speak to you about it, behave as if you gave the matter no heed or attention. . . .
We sent Controller Paget off after having communicated with him on various points touching our treaty with England. You may certify that nothing has been done with him against the treaties we have with France, or that might damage the friendship existing between the two countries, which we desire to maintain inviolate as long as the French will do the same, as they have so often assured us they wish to do. There is no need for you to treat on this point, and it will be quite enough, if they speak to you on the subject, to reply according to these instructions. We may inform you that, as far as we have been able to calculate, Paget's mission to us was intended to give the French a fillip in order that their commissaries may go to work with ampler powers, rather than anything else. And you will do well to let us know as much as possible of what happens in the negotiations between France and England. . . . .
St. Omer, 2 August, 1549.
Aug. 7. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 1)
Sire, after the return of Controller Paget, who sent me your Majesty's letters, I would have gone at once to the Protector to make more demands about sending Cabot, though they have replied to me on this point with a good deal of resolution, and also to speak about the bulwark the English are making between Gravelines and Calais. But the Controller, having reported his negotiation abroad to the Protector and Council, sent to me to say that he greatly desired to speak with me before I went to the Protector. So he has been keeping me waiting from day to day, and I believe he has not had an opportunity of leaving court because of the continual consultations that are being held to prevent or remedy the peasants' evil, which is swelling daily. The matter is grave since the peasants came off victorious in an encounter they had with the Marquis of Northampton, brother of the Queen, lately deceased. The Marquis entered the town of Norwich where there was a great gathering of peasants both within and without the walls, but after remaining under arms all night was forced to retreat with all his men, among whom was Charles de Guevara's company. But the Marquis was unable to make good his escape without losing several gentlemen killed, among them Lord Sheffield, and eleven pieces of artillery. This happened with the Norfolk rebels about twelve miles from the place where the Lady Mary resides. It is said that the Protector was to have gone there in person with the German infantry that remained near London, and Hacfort's company. Hacfort, Sire, asked me what he should do, and it seemed to me that if he were asked to go he might say that he had come with your Majesty's permission to serve the King of England against the King's Scottish enemies, but not in anything touching religion; therefore if the Protector wanted him for this work neither he nor his men would consent without first learning your Majesty's good pleasure, as they were in duty bound to do. And this he will put into effect if the matter goes farther.
In the west and in Cornwall, the Privy Seal has been greatly reinforced by the arrival of Lord Grey and Herbert, and together they have revictualled Exeter, which is besieged by the peasants, who began by taking the ports of Falmouth, Dartmouth and Plymouth on the coast opposite to France. So, Sire, things are going very badly, and we hear nothing but that if foreigners begin killing Englishmen, Englishmen will not leave one foreigner alive here. Thus for our own security we do not know whom we ought to wish to see victorious.
Nothing is being said here about Scotland. The Earl of Warwick has gone to Wales to keep the people in order. I have heard that the French have sent several ships and galleys to attack the island of Alderney which the English are fortifying, but have accomplished nothing, for their force only got as far as Jersey, where they hoped to surprise some vessels, but these escaped into the harbour with little harm, as a servant of the captain of that island who has just come here told me. If the Controller does not speak to me to-day, Sire, I will not fail to go to court to-morrow, and will then advise your Majesty more fully of everything.
London, 7 August, 1549.
Aug. 8. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, noticing that the King was going out of Paris in order to treat of his enterprises and affairs with greater secrecy, and was holding two or three Council meetings daily, I followed the court as near as I could with the pretext of several matters which I had negotiated at Villers-Cotterets, where I demanded audience as your Majesty may see by the separate letters which contain accounts of those affairs. My object was to find out the reason of so many Council meetings, to get to the bottom of the French plans against the English, and to hear what was being said about politics. In order to avoid rousing suspicions I have always adopted the course of prefacing my demands for an audience by saying to the Constable that I was unwilling to intermingle business with the King's diversions while he was enjoying himself at the chase, and desired not to make myself importunate, but would rather leave all to the Constable's discretion and judgment, that he might give me an audience when he saw fit. He sent to tell me that if I cared to go to the place of assembly I should see the sport given by a stag the King was going to hunt, and the Chancellor would invite him and myself to dinner, after which I might negotiate as much as I pleased. To avoid suspicions, I decided not to go to the assembly, but went to dine later at the Chancellor's house. While there I found out that they had been discussing whether the King should accompany this expedition in person or not, for the King's will inclined towards going, but the Chancellor, seeing that the Constable had several reasons for wishing to dissuade him, remonstrated that as this was the first expedition he had undertaken since he came to the throne it would be more fitting that he should show himself with a brilliant company and accomplish the journey with the honour his authority deserves, and that as this enterprise had been decided upon rather late, it would be difficult to get together a sufficient force of infantry, so that recourse would have to be had to the legionaries, and it would be difficult to obtain any foreign troops unless they were to be Switzers. If Switzers were to be engaged and a powerful army set on foot only to take a fort or two that could not be relieved by any hostile force, it would arouse your Majesty's suspicions. Also the matter could not be undertaken without great expense, which would weaken the forces available for next season, and all the more because French finance was in low water and there was much popular discontent about the taxes the King desired to impose and the tenths he intended to levy, and all the expedients for raising money had been tried as it was. If in the King's absence any move were to be made in the Terre d'Oye (fn. 2) and the older English conquest on this side of the sea, which your Majesty was obliged to defend if asked to do so by the English, it would be much easier to mask it and pass it off than if the King were present. Moreover, the issue of such an undertaking was doubtful, and it seemed probable that the English had furnished their frontier strongholds with all things necessary for their defence, beside the fact that your Majesty was pricking up your ears to listen to what was going on in order to make your profit out of it, and might make this an excuse for showing the English favour if you saw them in a weak position, as you neither desired to see the French prosper, or to allow the English to become powerful. The King might be quite certain that your Majesty had cavalry on the frontier ready to be used if the spies informed you that need was arising. Also your Majesty was a prince who understood the conduct of war and all such matters as well as any man in this world, for you had seen and directed them for many years with varying success, and your Majesty's reply to Marillac's questions about the soldiers he supposed you to be levying in Germany, was such that this question ought to be weighed carefully. It seemed to him (i.e. the Chancellor) that the Constable might well be entrusted with the command, and the King could follow from one town to the next, coming as near as possible in order to be informed of the events of each hour, and if he cared to he might even visit the camp. The Constable concurred in this opinion, but in order to avoid envy and rivalry proposed that the command should be given to M. de Vendome or M. d'Aumale, though professing his readiness to obey the King's commands. This happened in M. d'Aumale's presence, who by the advice of the Duchess of Valentinois offered to fulfil the King's wishes and to follow the Constable. The upshot of the matter was that the Chancellor's plain obtained, in accordance with which the Constable and M. d'Aumale left Compiègne on the 5th of this month for Montreuil, where the army is to be assembled on the 12th, and on the 15th is to march in battle order with a view to recovering Boulogne by taking two forts, one called Ambleteuse and the other Boulemberg. Judging by the report made by some people who have reconnoitred Boulemberg, the French make sure they will take it, saying that its fortification has been wrongly understood, for part of a hill-side which ought to have been enclosed by the wall has been left out, and under cover of this hill they will be able to bring up 10,000 or 12,000 men in battle-array and batter two bastions of the fort from thirty or forty paces. While this is going on they will mine the hill-side and cause the curtain between the two bastions to fall in, which curtain they take to be of earth-work without admixture of wooden binders or posts. When once the curtain is demolished they believe there will be no possibility of throwing up another rampart and that by these means they will take Boulemberg (fn. 3). This done they are sure of taking the fort of Ambleteuse which lies beneath Boulemberg by the sea and serves the English as a second port to revictual Boulogne; and the one reason for constructing Boulemberg was to protect Ambleteuse, which the French propose to batter with fifty cannon from two sides. Besides this they intend to divert the course of a little river that enters Boulogne harbour and into which the tide flows, and to sit down before Boulogne and besiege it until they starve it out. In order to split up the English force they have sent out a fleet under the Prior of Capua, which will do nothing but pass up and down to occupy the English and prevent them from assisting Boulogne, and in Scotland they intend to make raids and harry the English as much as possible.
I have been assured of the truth of the above by Captain Hippolyte and Chevalier Marino, who have also informed me that the defect in the fortifications of Boulemberg might be made good in three days, taking into consideration the facility for obtaining wood they have at Boulemberg, for they might advance their wall, strengthened with plenty of wood and stakes or with good double wattles, so as to guard the approaches and trenches. From what the said captain has seen of the fort he considers that if this fault were remedied it would be difficult to take, and both the captain and the chevalier are of opinion that it would be in your Majesty's interest not to have the two forts taken this year, but nevertheless leave this to your Majesty's better judgment. They have assured me that things are going worse here in France than ever before, for the Council is undecided and badly afraid of your Majesty, especially because it cannot make out your Majesty's intentions towards them. The French know your Majesty to be hostile, but see you avoiding every occasion that may be avoided of looking as if you wished to pick a quarrel with them, and standing things they never thought your Majesty would stand, such as the league made with the Switzers for the purpose of keeping the Duke of Savoy's lands, their open negotiations with Turks, Moors, pirates, infidels and Protestants, overlooking the Pope's plotting and the treachery made known the other day by which it was proposed to hand over the fortress of Gaëta, though this was discovered in time to reinforce the garrison with 300 Spaniards, and above all ignoring the Frenchmen's public boasts, that they are waiting for nothing but your Majesty's death to make war on our Prince (i.e. Philip), because of their envy of his greatness and fortune. In addition to this I perceive that your Majesty's prohibition to your subjects to go and serve the English causes the French to doubt, for it seems to indicate that your Majesty takes no interest in this war or in any of their doings. Also the fact that your Majesty allows no reprisals or counter-exploits, whatever outrages be committed upon your subjects by Scots or Frenchmen, and only demands justice and reparation, which are never given, by means of your ambassadors, leaves them quite unable to understand what your Majesty is about. The parties and factions about which I have already written are daily becoming more restless and will further be excited because the Constable's commission will leave M. de Vendome, Governor of Picardy, without his post. The Constable spied upon M. de Vendome's absence in order to get his own commission granted, though he first declared to Vendome that the King wished to command his army in person. They say that Vendome will be here with his wife on the 7th (fn. 4) of this month, and I will endeavour to find out all about his discontent in order to inform your Majesty of it.
Chevalier Marino tells me that the Prior of Capua has taken some English vessels, and that Colonel Melun and another French gentleman have each had a leg carried away by cannon-balls. Captain Hippolyte advises me that the King of France has had news that Paget returned to England after an ungracious dismissal by your Majesty because of the religious question, and that your Majesty had refused to make any reply to a marriage proposal until the said business of religion should be settled. He says your Majesty's reply to all the points laid before you by Paget was uncertain and vague, and that if the French had heard that your Majesty had but lent an ear to these proposals, the King would not have gone on with this expedition, which he has undertaken because of Paget's ill-success and the still unquelled revolt in England. The French say that the English have killed not a few foreign soldiers, which will deter any others who may be sent for from going to serve that country, and that the revolt is founded on extra taxation, religion and enclosures of common land made by the gentry. Hippolyte has told me that the King and Council have come to the conclusion that if they are to remain on bad terms with the English and yet fail to recover Boulogne they will expose themselves to a greater danger than ever before in case your Majesty were to declare war on them, because Boulogne would leave a door open by which France might be attacked by land and sea, the Bretons, Picards and Normans harried, and the King's forces divided. The King finds his forces less strong than he imagined, for it is impossible to obtain infantry unless it be composed of legionaries or pressed men, because the troops are not paid and there are no seasoned men available, besides the fact that they have no love for the present King, who is astounded that in all Gascony he was only able to raise 1,000 men for this war, for the people showed openly that they had not forgotten the Constable's harsh cruelty.
The very day on which the Constable left this place the King sent a servant of his with five or six archers of the guard to arrest the English ambassador at Poissy and prevent him from speaking with anyone, and it is said they have sent someone to rob the ambassador's servant whom he sent to England, and take his letters from him. I believe this was done in order to call back the French ambassador in England, if he has not already made good his escape as some suspect, and to keep the Englishman from advising his Government of anything he might have heard here. Thus do the French treat their ambassodors, and into such deeds do they convert their fair words. The purveyors had already chosen and taken a lodging for the English ambassador here in Compiegne, and the last time he had speech of the Constable he was received with the greatest possible favour. The French nature is thus disposed to trickery at the very moment when they are making protestations of friendship; and the ambassadors here are greatly scandalised by such proceedings and treatment; not that I write this for what may concern me, for I hold my life cheap in your Majesty's service, but because of the example and encouragement given by the French to other princes to violate all law and right, encroaching on the personal security of ambassadors and disregarding the respect that is due to them because of the persons they represent. According to Carneseque's account the Venetian and papal ambassadors find these doings very ill, and are unable to refrain from saying so. As for me, Sire, I maintain that the King has acted in the very wisest manner to make quite sure of recalling his ambassador from England. Carneseque also told me that the King of France was going to leave all the ambassadors at Compiegne on my account, and had said to the Venetian ambassador that he could not take the others with him and leave me behind alone, for that would be declaring himself too openly; meanwhile the others are begging to be allowed to go as far as Amiens. It is true the King has as yet said nothing to me about my remaining in this place, and I suppose he will not do so until he is on the point of departure, which they say will be in four days, and that then he will proceed to Amiens.
Compiegne, 8 August, 1549.
Aug. 13. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 5)
I wrote in my last letter to your Majesty that I was putting off going to court until Controller Paget should come and talk with me as he had sent to say he greatly desired to do. Last Thursday he came to dine with me and told me, among other things, that he had made a good report (of his mission to the Emperor) to the King and Protector, and given them such good assurance of your Majesty's affection that the King in particular was overjoyed to hear it. His reason for wishing to speak with me before I met the Protector was that your Majesty, among several general statements, had gone into some detail on one or two points, namely the administration of this kingdom and the change in religious policy, in order that he might bring the Protector to a more reasonable attitude. It seemed to me that your Majesty had made an impression upon him regarding the scant observation of the late King's will manifest in recent innovations which are to blame for the trouble the English are having with their subjects, and also in the disrespect shown to the Lady Mary, but I was not pleased with the Protector's trick of giving no reply on these questions. Therefore I told Paget how the Protector had treated me in his absence, that he had taken back his word on three separate points, and that it was unseemly in one who was pretending to rule to promise and then contradict himself without any regard for truth. Thus I could not hide from Paget that I considered him personally to blame for all the evil that had befallen this kingdom, since he had been the principal instrument in setting us up a Protector who would certainly never do any good. In reply to this Paget said: “He has a bad wife.” And I rejoined that that amounted to a confession of his unworthiness, since he allowed himself to be ruled by his wife. We finally came to the conclusion that Paget should secretly inform the Protector of the bad opinion I had formed of him because of his conduct of affairs, and that I should show no sign of it, for Paget said to me: “He thinks very highly of you, and may perhaps take care to conform his actions more to your desire.”
Since then the Protector has sent Secretary Mason to tell me that the passages have been closed because war was being declared on France, and all the Frenchmen here were arrested the same night. Noticing that communication was continually being held with the French ambassador, I demanded audience yesterday in order to find out what was happening, and stayed very late with the Protector, who appeared to be well-pleased with what the Controller had brought back with him, and repeated it all to me, saying: “Finally the Emperor has shown me such favour that I shall remain obliged to him all the days of my life, and would gladly serve him with my person and property, for he has spoken in such a manner that my father himself could not have shown me greater affection. This I would willingly repay with my service, and I beg you to thank his Majesty most humbly on my behalf.” To this I said that I would have liked to see his government more successful because of the affection I knew your Majesty held for the King, the kingdom and even for him, and that he might remember I had frequently gone so far as to admonish him not to allow himself to be deceived by these new apostles who were enemies of the mass. He answered that they had retained the mass, and there was no change beyond the fact that it was said in English and without consecration unless communion were to be held. After long arguments he confessed to me that he also was of opinion that there would be no harm in one person, namely the priest, communicating alone, and did not deny having said formerly that he was sorry things had gone so far. In the same tone he owned that what they had done had been for the purpose of putting down the perverse sects that existed here, which had contaminated certain of the foremost men in the kingdom, so that in order to avoid a worse thing they had been forced to take these measures. At last he said that he would send me the Bishop of Rochester (i.e. Nicholas Ridley), a most learned man. I replied that he well knew the said bishop to be a great clerk but of the new religion, and I had no desire to dispute with him, being no theologian but contenting myself with God's grace and a firm resolution to remain in his holy Catholic faith; but the Protector still insisted that he should come to me. Thus, Sire, I can but think the Protector would like to see these innovations consented to, but greater moderation preserved as for the rest, as he has seen the result of their doctrines, and I saw clearly that he wished to unbend to me, for he admitted that I had always given him friendly advice. After this conversation I exposed to him what your Majesty had again commanded me to say touching letters to safeguard the Lady Mary, and also about the bulwark that is being thrown up near Gravelines, the rents of the Knights of Rhodes, Sebastian Cabot, and the private affairs of your Majesty's injured subjects in general.
As for safeguarding the Lady Mary, the Protector said there would be no need to do so, for he would allow her to live in the practice of her religion now as before, and he could not forget that she was the daughter and sister of kings and a near relative of your Majesty, besides the desire he had to serve her in every way in his power. When I said that your Majesty would not be satisfied, for the causes given, unless she were insured in every respect, he said he would do all he could to please your Majesty, would think the matter over, and then talk to me again.
Touching the bulwark, he did not think anything had been done to your Majesty's hurt, but if your Majesty cared to send two commissaries to examine the place he would do the same, for he was unwilling to do anything that might infringe your Majesty's rights. However, he desired to beg your Majesty to allow him to hold the bulwark for some short time, even if it were found that the English had been in the wrong, because of the present state of affairs between England and France, and he would give surety that it should afterwards be destroyed at your Majesty's pleasure. Speaking of the request of the Knights of Rhodes, he begged to be excused, and that your Majesty might see that he could not reasonably diminish Crown revenue, to which the late King had applied the said rents, whilst some of them had been sold and transferred into several hands so that there was no possibility of putting the matter straight before the King's coming of age. Cabot, he said, was old and infirm, and did nothing but pray that he might be allowed to remain in this kindgom. This, Sire, is pure deceitfulness, for Cabot came to me only four or five days ago and begged me as hard as he could to get your Majesty to take him out of this country, but I dissembled with the Protector to save Cabot's face, and the Protector ended by saying that if your Majesty cared to write him a word or two to the effect that you would send Cabot back, he would allow him to go. As for private matters he will appoint two commissaries within two or three days to dispose of them, and granted me several petitions on the spot.
This finished, he said to me: “I wished to speak to you to tell you how we stand with France. The French ambassador came to me a few days past and, after a long harangue about his desire to see amity between the King his master and ours, declared that he had been recalled by his same master, who was also going to send our ambassador in France to Calais, because he was unable longer to endure the outrages the English were perpetrating.” The Protector replied to this that he was quite amazed at hearing such remarks from the ambassador at the very time when he had expected that they would hit upon some settlement of their differences, as they had resolved to do. But as the King of France thought to take them by surprise now that they were having trouble with their own subjects, and their own King a minor, and without any just cause, he hoped that with God's help they might defend themselves and that punishment might overtake him who was the cause of this, for they for their part had put up with many grievances (which he specified) and all to avoid war. But as the Protector maintained that the ambassador, having come to England with letters from his master, ought to be recalled in the same manner, the matter was postponed until the Protector should give a reply after consulting with the Council. So Controller Paget went to the ambassador with a repetition of the Protector's reply: that if the King of France would give surety that their ambassador in that country should be allowed to reach England without hindrance, they would do the same here for the Frenchman. Among other remarks, the French ambassador said reproachfully to Paget that, when the deputed commissaries were going to meet to settle English and French difficulties, he had gone over to the Emperor to arrange some hostile combination against France and treat of the closer alliance by means of a marriage, adding another point that the Protector forgot to tell me about. Paget replied that he had attempted to negotiate nothing to the prejudice of France, for the English desired to remain friends with the French, as they had had a good chance of seeing by the many injuries the English had suffered in the hope of avoiding war, and it seemed to him that all the ambassador said proved that he knew much more about his (Paget's) mission and instructions than he knew himself. “And so,” said the Protector to me, “we are expecting a declaration of war from hour to hour, and it is being made precisely for the reasons I have exposed to you.” We had some talk on this subject, and I said that perhaps the French were boasting and threatening in this way in order to see if there was anything to be got out of the English. He returned that they were quite mistaken on that score, and added that nine French galleys and two or three great ships had fallen in with five English ships near Guernsey, and he was informed that the French had lost over 1,000 men and over 150 drowned, but that they had landed and burnt several houses. Also the French were fortifying an island (fn. 6) near that place which had always been deserted and the English claimed as their property. He begged me to inform your Majesty of all these occurrences. Four days ago the Privy Seal met the Cornishmen who had been besieging Exeter, and split up their force and defeated them, so that over 2,000 peasants were killed and about 300 taken prisoners, and the Privy Seal only lost fifteen men on his side, though more were wounded. So Exeter was relieved, and they hope here that the danger is over.
The Earl of Warwick with 8,000 or 9,000 men that he levied in Wales is marching against the Norfolk rebels, and my Lords of Derby and Shrewsbury will come up from another quarter with a great force of their vassals to surround and starve out the insurgents, who are now dwindled in numbers; for since the Cornishmen were defeated many come in and make their submission every day. I will let your Majesty know everything I hear of this matter from day to day. There are no news from Scotland except that the Protector has complained that the peasant's revolt has prevented him from building a fort on the coast which he could easily revictual, so that he might abandon Haddington which it is hardly possible to hold.
London, 13 August, 1549.
Aug. 13. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 1. Edward VI. to the Emperor.
Three or four days ago the King of France declared war on us through his ambassador resident in our court, of which it has seemed good to us, by the advice of our dear and well-beloved uncle the Duke of Somerset, governor of our person and Protector of our realms and dominions, and of the remainder of our Council, to inform you, and to declare to you as our good and perfect friend that the said King is actually our enemy, and that we hold him as such. Thus by the provocation of our adversary, who hopes to take us unawares, we are forced to take up arms in defence of our kingdoms and subjects. We confidently hope to find on this occasion that the friendship of so long standing between the two houses will endure, and that in accordance with the treaties passed between our father of good memory and you, you will aid us to bridle our enemy's insolence, as we would never fail to do in a similar case for you.
London, 13 August, 1549.
Aug. 15. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 32. The King and Queen of Bohemia, Regents of Spain, to Simon Renard.
You will already have heard of damage and siezure inflicted by subjects and vassals of the King of France upon our subjects in the past, and how all possible steps have been taken for the recovery of stolen property and the prevention of such conduct in the future. But though we cannot believe that the Christian King intends to injure us deliberately, we have heard that a few days ago certain subjects of his made a pretence of being Scots, to seize and rob many ships belonging to our vassals in Flemish waters and also on the way to and from the Indies, and that they are continuing so to do in earnest. According to information received through the consuls of Burgos, during the last two months they have taken nine of ten ships belonging to that corporation and laden with iron, cloth and other goods, and other injuries have been received from them to the amount of 500,000 ducats. As this appears to be and is a violation of the treaty, amity and alliance between us and the Christian King, which amity it has been our constant aim to preserve and foment in the past, as we also intend to do in the future unless we are forced to adopt another course, we have decided to write to you the present letters and command you to speak to the Christian King on our behalf and give him the letter that shall accompany these in your credence. You will request him to give orders that the seized ships and property be restored at once to the men of Burgos, their owners, because these are persons whom we particularly wish to favour because of the good service they have always rendered us, and that all property that has been stolen by subjects of his, whether they pretend to be Scots or not, may be returned to other of our subjects who have thus been victimised. Also tell him that as we believe him to desire peace and the preservation of the alliance now existing between us, we trust he will take steps to prevent a repetition of these acts of violence, and will refuse to allow the Scots that shelter in his ports, the granting of which has encouraged them to commit most of these depredations. Make known to him how glad we shall be to see all this done, and we make sure that you, being so faithful a vassal of ours, will do your best to bring it about, and remind the King of it as often as you may judge it be to necessary. If satisfaction is not given it will be impossible to prevent our subjects' just resentment from breaking bounds and causing the French to be used as they have used us, which we should be very sorry to witness. You will do us great service and pleasure by advising us of whatever action may be taken in this matter.
Valladolid, 15 August, 1549.
Aug. 15. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 7)
Sire; the day before yesterday I wrote my report of occurrences here to your Majesty. Since then I have received your Majesty's letter touching the arrest of two ships laden with alum belonging to your Majesty's subjects, the commands expressed in which I have already executed, as I have explained at greater length to M. d'Arras. These two days have brought nothing new, except that all the gentlemen to be found in this town have been sent to join the Earl of Warwick, who is to arrive near the Norfolk rebels' camp the day after to-morrow. These insurgents are still holding out obstinately, though some of the more important peasants have left their ranks and, as I hear from some who have been in the field, most of them are now nothing but young serving-men and riff-raff. However, they still hold a large number of gentlemen prisoners and intend to put them in the forefront when they fight. Orders were given here that everyone should lay in provisions for one month, but since the Cornishmen were defeated this was repealed, though I hear that matters in Cornwall are not progressing as well as they say here, and that the peasants were not so badly beaten but they assembled again in arms, in order to guard the road to their country, after the Privy Seal made his way into Exeter. So, though these gentry make parade of great joy, nothing is being said about victories in Cornwall, which makes me suspect that everything is not to their liking. Neither does anyone at court or out of it say anything about the expected war with France, which I cannot explain otherwise than that they are waiting for a reply to what the French ambassador here wrote to his master in consequence of the conversation he had with Controller Paget, though this conversation can hardly have been otherwise than as the Protector told me and I wrote to your Majesty. Still, Sire, I cannot help thinking there must have been something more, and that the English will do everything in their power to avoid war, though without consenting to anything against their treaties with your Majesty, for in this I do not suspect them of lack of good faith.
London, 15 August, 1549.
Aug. 20. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire, I have it from a good quarter that the King and Council are sorry they undertook this war and followed the gossip's (i.e. the Constable's) advice, because of the way the English are going about the defence of Boulogne and their forts, and the difficulty the French will find in reconnoitering the places they imagined to be pregnable, in the short time that remains before winter sets in. They have had a foretaste of what a sudden change to cold, wind and rain may mean, in the bad weather that has prevailed here for the last ten or twelve days, which these dainty Frenchmen do not find at all pleasant for sleeping on the hard ground. And now that they have reconnoitred the forts more thoroughly than before, and seen that Boulemberg is in good repair they are in suspense whether to abandon their first plan or to besiege Boulemberg and other places, all of which are garrisoned with soldiers, as their eyes now tell them is the case. They have had some practical experience of this fact too, for these last days M. de Rochepot's company, led by his lieutenant M. de Rochebaron charged some soldiers who had made a sally from Boulemberg to fetch timber, from a wood (fn. 8) that stands not far from the fort for the purpose of repairing the same, when it was surrounded and charged in its turn by more soldiers from the fort with such good effect that besides a number of killed, reckoned at about 200, M. de Rochebaron himself was wounded, and M. de Dampierre and two other gentlemen whose names I could not discover were killed. This event has not encouraged the French, and has demonstrated to them irrefutably that there are people in the fort. It also caused the King to leave Amiens on Tuesday the 14th instant, though he had intended to remain there over the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady; and so he went to Abbeville, and from Abbeville to Montreuil. He then visited the forts, and afterwards returned to Montreuil, whence he sent the Chancellor and his Privy Council back to Amiens, and nothing is seen but couriers rushing to and fro to hurry on the companies, men-at-arms and legionaries that have been levied in Gascony, Perigord, Tours-en-Touraine, Orleans and elsewhere, for the French were unable to get together enough men without having recourse to the legionaries. Also, Sire, disguise the exploit I have reported to your Majesty as they will, it is true the Prior of Capua attempted it off the Norman coast and lost 200 or 300 men over it, among them Colonel Melun, who has died of his wounds at Rouen. The common saying runs that it is bad to attack when you are being attacked, but it seems to be the fashion here to publish victory even when you are beaten. The King has been advised that the garrisons in the English forts have been changed, and that Spaniards, Italians and some cavalry that your Majesty allowed to pass through your dominions, have been placed in them. The King is greatly astonished at this, and it is said the Constable knew all about it. It is repeated here that the captain of Calais has been to your Majesty and crossed the French frontier to do so, and the French are very suspicious of him, though I suppose the captain, if he really did go at all, only went to salute your Majesty; but the French are confused in their deliberations by the overpowering fear they have of your Majesty. . . .
I am sending to your Majesty two newly-published edicts on the reform in dress, and the value of gold coinage in which neither the Flemish crowns of two deniers and fifteen grains weight nor the au soleil crowns nor yet the taupez (?) of forty-two and a half sols have been forgotten. It is believed that the King is thus raising the price of gold and will subsequently send it down to its former value in order to make his profit on merchandise, which is swelling the hatred his people and merchants already bear him, and rousing foreigners to discontent, because his meddling will prevent foreign bankers and dealers from doing any business.
After finishing my letter, Sire, I have heard from the silversmith that the King is sending Germanicus Saphrenain, a relative of the nuncio and papal ambassador in the King's court, to make plans for the erection of certain forts which the King desires to throw up between Boulemberg and the wood near by, in order to prevent timber being supplied to Boulogne and the English forts, and to attack and finish off Ambleteuse before attending to Boulemberg, for the King has noted that the error in Boulemberg's fortifications has been made good. The said Germanicus departed to-day, having been solemnly admonished by the nuncio to use all his industry, wit and knowledge in the King's service. I have made inquiries about Germanicus' special qualities and experience, and heard that he is from the Friuli and has always applied himself to the study of military science and fortification. He was banished from Venetian territory for manslaughter, and has a brother called Giulio Saphrenain who is still in the Venetian service, a man of great wit, judgment and renown, according to the account of him given me by Ambassador Contarini's secretary.
The Marquis of Mantua, brother of the Duke of Mantua, arrived to-day in this place on his way to pay the Dauphin a visit, and before going to St. Germain where the Dauphin now is he came here to salute the Queen and the Lady Margaret with thirty-five horse in his train.
Compiègne, 20 August, 1549.
Aug. 27. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire; since my last letters to your Majesty the King has been unable to refrain from visiting his camp, where he still is at the time of writing. He made his entry there on the 19th instant, clothed in a coat of Louviers cloth, and then returned to Montreuil, where he stayed one day, and the next went back to the camp. He then moved his army a league nearer the fort (i.e. Ambleteuse) and on the 24th besieged a small fort called the Garden, which his men entered while the captain was treating with the Constable for terms, and once inside they let the Englishmen they found there go without harm. On the same day he marched to Viltrefort, not far from Ambleteuse, which is called le Paradis, and which surrendered without a blow; and my man tells me that the Englishmen in it had heard nothing from the Protector for a long time, and there was no likelihood of their being relieved.
At about the same time the Prior of Capua (i.e. Leone Strozzi) took an English ship loaded with women and children, which had slipped out of Boulogne harbour by night. The King has decided to besiege Ambleteuse, which it is thought he will take, and has left before Boulemberg 3,000 or 4,000 men in order to prevent the garrison from sallying forth, for he decided not to besiege Boulemberg after having reconnoitred it more thoroughly. Now he is trying to devise some means, with his Council's advice, of surprising Boulogne; but if he is unable to accomplish its downfall this year he will erect the fort, of which I wrote to your Majesty, between Boulemberg and the wood. The captain told me that the Council of War was considering the making of a floating fort composed of three vessels bound together, which could be used as a battery and yet not be battered itself, but he said this was not yet certain, for it might possibly be rendered useless by artillery or artificial fire.
The French are making as much fuss about the taking of these two forts as if Boulogne had fallen, and they are puffed out with joy and boastfulness, heralding their King's greatness as if he had won an important victory. In truth, Sire, if he succeeds in this enterprise the Frenchmen's hearts will grow half as big again, and he will make an enormous profit out of the voluntary contributions to which his subjects are consenting because they have been persuaded that it is entirely necessary to the welfare of France that Boulogne be taken. I leave it to your Majesty to think whether or no the Frenchmen are preventing couriers from carrying the news of the King's good fortune to Italy. My man tells me that the nuncio has the King's permission to keep a secretary at the camp, and here am I shut out for the reasons I wrote to your Majesty. Two days ago a messenger arrived from Rome to inform the King of the reply given by the Pope to your Majesty touching Piacenza and the revenue your Majesty was willing to grant in the kingdom of Naples in recompense. And I have heard that the Pope refused absolutely to treat about Piacenza except it be restored to him, and that before going further with the Council (of Trent) he wishes to realise the reformation that he has long been proposing, for he desires to be the first to reform himself. I leave it to your Majesty once more whether this is is not meant to deceive the storks. (fn. 9) It is true the Pope has given the King permission to levy infantry and cavalry in his dominions as often as he needs them, and that the King has had money changed for Italy as surety for the captains and payment of the troops, but I have been unable to ascertain whether the sum amounts to 300,000 crowns. And though Carneseque gave me information to the contrary, as I wrote to your Majesty, he himself has now told me to assure your Majesty that it is true the Pope has given the King permission to raise troops, and that this was the principal point of the Cardinal of Ferrara's commission when he was sent hither by the Pope. There was also the matter of the pontifical election, but the Pope has not dared to contract an open alliance with the King for fear of exposing his partisanship. Carneseque also said the King had news that Don Fernando (Gonzaga) had taken Roccabianca, which the Pope formerly held near Parma, and which originally belonged to the house of Pallavicini, and that the Pope was levying troops to send in that direction. The King has sent the English ambassador to Langres because he suspected that certain merchants in Paris were negotiating with him. . . .
The silversmith told me that the Queen received letters yesterday by special messenger from President Bertrandi announcing that Ambleteuse castle had been taken, and that those within had declared to the King that if he besieged Boulemberg he would take it easily, for they had neither ammunition nor provisions to hold out long.
Sire; just as I was about to close my letters the Queen sent me her maître-d'hôtel, M. de Morette, to inform me that she had had letters from the King by a gentleman of his privy chamber that told of the taking of Ambleteuse fort and castle by capitulation, and how the English garrison had left carrying the white rod. She affirmed she had been instructed to communicate this to all the other ambassadors, but I perceived that it was a put-up game, and that the King had ordered the other ambassadors to be informed for my sake. The poor gentleman was so out of breath that he could scarcely speak. The King's plans will largely depend upon his success in this campaign.
Compiègne, 27 August, 1549.
Aug. 28. Simancas E. 80. Deposition concerning Piracy.
In the town of Aviles and on the 28th day of August of the year 1549, Juan de Las Salas, corregidor (King's officer) of the said town appeared before the most noble Alvaro Cuerbo, judge of the said town and its district, and said that it was true and a matter of public knowledge in the said town of Aviles . . . that in the month of May last Licenciado Pedro Alvarez de Valdes, King's officer's lieutenant of this principality (i.e. Asturias) and by virtue of a patent from their Highnesses (i.e. the King and Queen of Bohemia, Regents of Spain) ordered the said Juan de Las Salas to fit out, arm and man a galleon of 100 tons, and with her go in search of a certain prize of cloth and other property belonging to Spaniards, which the patent stated to have been taken by a French corsair off the coast of Galicia near Cape Finisterre. The said Juan de Las Salas in obedience to the orders contained in the patent and to what the said lieutenant commanded him by virtue of the same, armed and fitted out the galleon, put forty men on her, and sent her in search of the prize, as is certified by a public writing drawn up at the time, to which the said Juan de Las Salas appealed, and stated that the galleon, while searching for the prize, was driven out to sea by great storms and gales. Compelled by the gale to run to the Irish coast, the galleon fell in with two heavily armed ships of which Tommy (fn. 10) (Tomasin) of Calais and Captain Brown were in command. These ships boarded the galleon, which was unable to escape, and the Englishmen made a furious attack and took possession of her, robbing the captain, mate and sailors and ill-treating them. They seized the galleon, together with everything they found on board, and are still detaining as prisoners her captain, Hernando de Las Salas, and an artilleryman called Guillén Giron, for whom they are demanding 1,000 ducats ransom. The said Juan de Las Salas asserted that without counting the 1,000 ducats demanded for ransom, he had lost 3,000 ducats and more, the cost of the galleon, her and the sailors' outfitting and equipments, without reckoning private property in arms and other things belonging to the men to the value of over 600 ducats more. Of all the above the said Juan de Las Salas desires that an account may be given to his Majesty and their Highnesses, and begs that what is due to him in reason may be paid. For this purpose he requests the judge that information be obtained from various witnesses whom he has produced. . . . (There follow several depositions all of which repeat the above account with more or less additional detail.)
Avilés, 28 August, 1549.


  • 1. All but the first few lines of this letter is written in cipher.
  • 2. Oye (Lat. Anseria) is a small place on a stream of the same name between Marck and Gravelines. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it and its surroundings constituted a county.
  • 3. This fort is usually referred to in modern books as Boulogneberg, but as Boulemberg is the form almost invariably used in the documents, and is probably nearer the pronunciation, I adhere to it.
  • 4. This letter, though dated 8 August, was obviously written over several days, as was often the case.
  • 5. This letter is written in cipher.
  • 6. This island is Sark.
  • 7. With the exception of the first few lines, this letter is written in cipher.
  • 8. The valley of the little river Selaque, that joins the sea at Ambleteuse, is still wooded in parts, and it seems more probable that this is the wood referred to rather than Boulogne forest, which is some five or six miles distant.
  • 9. Doubtless a reference to the fable of the frogs who elected King Stork in place of King Log.
  • 10. For more information about this person, who was celebrated in his day, see the letter from the Marques de Cortes to the Emperor, dated March, 1549. His name may have been Thomason, which is still a Cornish name.