Spain: March 1547, 1-15

Pages 44-53

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

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March 1547, 1–15

March 6. Paris K. 1487. Juan Palacios to the General of the Order of St. Anthony.
Letter of intelligence gathered from a traveller met at St. Jean Pied de Port, and recently arrived from Paris.
The French were raising troops for the galleys fitting out a port near Rouen, because the King of England had sent a herald to demand the restitution of the castle of L'oie and the towns of Montreuil and Therouanne near Boulogne. The King of France replied that if he (the King of England?) came thither by sea the request should be granted, but he had better make haste or he would be too late . . . There is much talk here of the death of the King of England, but there is no certain confirmation of it. Talk of a coming marriage between M. de Vendome and Jeanne d'Albret. (The rest of the information is merely gossip of no importance or interest.)
St. Jean Pied de Port, 6 March, 1547.
7 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. Chantonnay (Perrennot) to the Emperor.
In accordance with what your Majesty was pleased to command, I made all haste on my road in order that I might arrive here at the earliest possible moment. But as the Queen was in Artois it was necessary for me to go round by way of Brussels, for sake of the posts. Her Majesty also detained me two days in Arras, in order that she might thoroughly inform herself of the events that had occurred with your Majesty and also to the mission with which I was entrusted.
The Queen, however, did not give me any further instructions beyond those that I bore, and I took leave of her and went to Calais. I was delayed there two days by the wind which was blowing dead contrary, so that it was not possible for me to arrive in this place (London), until yesterday. I found your Majesty's ambassador confined to his bed by gout, and he could not go to the King for two or three days, though his personal presence was not necessary, for the reason he wrote to your Majesty in letters of which he showed me copies, and which I need not trouble your Majesty by repeating.
Your Majesty will have learnt by these letters of the changes that have taken place here, and of the present manner of government, which, in good truth, is taking a strange turn, especially in the matter of religion, as the principal ministers favour the new sects, and order preaching and all sorts of farces in contempt of the bishops and ceremonies, even before the young King. Since the death of his father the images have been taken away from one of the churches and the walls have been simply whitened, the only ornament being a curtain upon which they have had painted the arms of the King. The Bishop of London has made complaints and remonstrances on the subject to the Council, but the only thing that has been altered is that a crucifix has been substituted for the royal arms, and after three months have elapsed the churches may be arranged as may be thought best.
The Duke of Norfolk is still alive, unless they have killed him during the last four days, which cannot be ascertained positively yet. At the King's coronation all those who had offended the King were pardoned except the Duke of Norfolk, who was excluded by name, and also Cardinal Pole (fn. 1) and the son (fn. 2) of the Marquis of Exeter, who had been a prisoner for a long time, since his father's execution. The brothers of the Earl of Surrey have also been forbidden to bear the title of Lord, and have to rank simply as gentlemen.
Sire, I will use every possible diligence here to fulfil your Majesty's commands and return with all speed to give an account of my mission.
London, 7 March, 1547.
7 March. Vienna Imp. Arch Chantonnay (fn. 3) to the Queen Dowager.
After leaving your Majesty I proceeded to Calais, where a contrary wind detained me for two days so that it was impossible for me to arrive in this place (London) earlier than yesterday.
I found the ambassador confined to his bed by gout, though he hoped to be free from it in two or three days, and I purpose then, Madam, to fulfil the mission entrusted to me by the Emperor to the King of England. Since the ambassador has communicated to me the letters he has written to the Emperor and to your Majesty, which contain all he has been able to learn here of what is going on, I need not repeat the intelligence. I will only report to your Majesty that the Duke of Norfolk has not yet been executed, unless it has been done in the last four days. The general pardon granted on the occasion of the coronation to all those who had offended the King, especially excepted the Duke (of Norfolk) Cardinal Pole, and the son of the Marquis of Exeter (Courtenay) who has been a prisoner for many years past.
I will diligently endeavour to carry out my mission here successfully and return as soon as I can.
London, 7 March, 1547.
March 7. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
I attended the obsequies of the late King at Windsor, where there were also assembled the old members of the Council and the several ambassadors of Scotland and France.
After I had fulfilled my duty in the ceremonies I was invited on the second day, in the name of the Protector and the Council, to attend between one and two o'clock in the afternoon at the Tower of London, for the purpose of accompanying the King from that place to Westminster in State. I arrived at the Tower before the time appointed, but nevertheless I found all the other ambassadors already there. I asked the French Ambassador whether he had not already saluted the King, and he replied that he had not yet done so, although he said he had been waiting there quite an hour. I was very much surprised at this, and more especially still to see that the place where I found the ambassadors waiting was not so honourable as is customary in such cases. There were, moreover, no members of the Council present to entertain the ambassadors, the members of the Council simply saluting them from afar off as they passed from their own Council chamber to the King's apartment.
When the King himself came out I bowed to him, and having commenced my greeting to him in French the Protector told me to address the King in Latin, which he said he understood better than French; but, truth to tell, he seemed to me to understand one just as little as the other; although the Archbishop of Canterbury had assured me that the King knew Latin as well as he (the Archbishop) did himself. The whole of the others present then paid their respects to the King, and he was carried with a great train of courtiers towards his palace at Westminster. There was, however, no very memorable show of triumph or magnificence.
On the road Paget accompanied Duke Philip of Bavaria, then came the Scottish Ambassadors with some other members of the Council. Captain Paulin was with the Great Master of the Household (Paulet) and the Ambassador of France was accompanied by the Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley), my companion being the Archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer) who acted the part of a dumb man all the way. After us there followed two or three personages apparalled in antique fashion, and then came the Marquis (of Dorset, i.e., Henry Grey) bearing a naked sword. After him there rode the old Lord Admiral (Dudley) with the Protector, who kept always nearest to the person of the King. The latter had still some suite about him, such as the Master of the Horse (Sir Anthony Browne) and the pages. We were quite four hours on the way from the Tower to Westminster, and we were then requested, in the name of the Protector, to take our leave of the King on horseback before his Court, (fn. 4) with as few words as possible, which we accordingly did.
On my way home I rode with the French Ambassadors, and in the course of talk Paulin asked me if I was going to attend the coronation ceremony on the morrow. I replied that if I was invited I should certainly go, for I was ready to do everything I could in order to show my desire to serve the young King, and to accede to the Council's wishes in all things. The French Ambassador expressed much surprise that I had not been invited to the coronation, as he himself had had some conversation on the matter with the Lord Chancellor arising from his having enquired of the latter whether the ceremony was to take place the next day, whereupon the Lord Chancellor had answered that it was fixed for the morrow between seven and eight o'clock, adding, “and you will be present,” although the French Ambassadors exhibited a desire to receive some other sort of invitation than this.
Nevertheless they attended the next day at seven o'clock; and long after the ceremony had commenced I was asked by an Italian servitor of the King (of England) if I was not going to the feast. It appeared to me, Madam, unadvisable that I should push myself further forward than politeness required in the absence of any special instructions from your Majesty, and bearing in mind that any blame in the matter was rather on their side than on mine, I therefore replied to the Italian that since I had received no invitation to attend the coronation I had no wish to appear intrusive. The Italian took this message to Secretary Paget, who gave him orders to return and bring me with him. But as by this time it was so late that if I had gone I should have arrived after the feast, I excused myself from going.
I have since been informed that the ambassadors who did attend were not treated satisfactorily, either in the opinion of the spectators or of their own: and I have heard this also from Paulin.
The King dined at a great table, at which there were also seated the Protector and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The ambassadors present had no separate places assigned for their accommodation, but were finally led to a table below, at which were seated some of the bishops and smaller gentlemen. This will show the scant respect they pay to their bishops here. The company at the table had already half finished their dinner, and the ambassadors had a great deal of trouble in obtaining seats at all. They say also that in this coronation ceremony there was not much largesse.
During the following two days joust and tournaments were celebrated, and I was asked to come and witness them after dinner; but I excused myself from going as the Ambassadors of France had been invited for the same day; so that I took no part whatever in the festivals. (fn. 5) Three days before the coronation the Lord Marquis (of Dorset) Lord Derby, Secretary Paget and Mr. (Sir Thomas) Seymour, the brother of the Protector, were made Knights of the Garter. Mr. Seymour was at the same time appointed to be Lord Admiral, whilst his predecessor (Dudley Viscount Lisle) was created Earl of Warwick and Lord Chamberlain. The Lord Chancellor was also raised to the rank of Earl of Southampton, near which town his property is situated. The brother of the Queen (William Parr Earl of Essex) was created Marquis of Colchester, (fn. 6) although this last peerage seems to have been granted more for the purpose of degrading the other Marquis, who has hitherto been the only one (i.e., Grey Marquis of Dorset) than of exalting this one. The Protector who before any of the other elevations, had been made Duke of Somerset, governs everything absolutely but acts entirely on the advice and counsel of Secretary Paget.
Neither Paget however nor any other member of the Council receives petitions, but they advise everyone for the best to submit them to the Protector who hands them to the Secretary as the late King used to do.
Since the triumph of the coronation these people have very busy arranging and setting in order the King's household and the future establishment of the Queen Dowager, who is very shortly going to reside in the suburb to which she belongs with Madam Elizabeth the daughter of the late King. Madam Mary's household has not been appointed yet, but it is said that she will be honourably treated, and some people are beginning to call her princess.
For the last three or four days the French Ambassadors have been much with the Council, as also have been the Commissioners from the (German) protestants; but I have been unable to discover anything of their business, except that on the day before yesterday the old Lord Admiral (Dudley) and the new (Seymour) together with the Lord Privy Seal (John Lord Russell) and Secretary Paget, went to dinner with the Ambassador of France, and it was noticed that Paget was carrying a great packet of papers. This may well signify, as I have been informed, that they have made some sort of secret treaty with the French for three years; but nevertheless I cannot believe that these people (the English) will ever bind themselves so firmly with the French or the Protestants as to alienate themselves from the friendship and treaties they have with the Emperor. It is quite possible, indeed, that this may be the very intrigue respecting which the late King gave notice to the Emperor by means of his ambassador, and through me to your Majesty. The object of this, as it seems to me, is simply to divert the attention of the King of France from Boulogne; and it was certainly not without some good reason that Paget lately reiterated to me those words I have already reported to your Majesty that I should find as true as gospel what he had always affirmed to me about their maintaining their friendship with the Emperor, no matter what appearance or rumour to the contrary might be made.
I have heard that the ambassadors of France have reported to this Council that the Turk had descended (upon Hungary) which is directly contrary to the intelligence which I conveyed to them. They (the French Ambassadors) have also brought forward the suggestion of the marriage of this young King with a daughter of the Dauphin, which the English counsellors are of opinion is merely a device to get them to writhdraw from Scotland. In any case, notwithstanding that the rumour is rife here that the King of France will commence war upon the Emperor, the English continue to make their warlike preparations both for Boulogne and against the Scots, they having already sent ten of their ships to Scotland, though, as I hear, the Scots have a still larger number of skiffs to meet and oppose them.
The Scottish Ambassadors in conversation with me at Windsor told me that their Governor (the Regent Arran) was sending envoys to your Majesty to treat for peace, and Paulin afterwards told me that this had actually been done. It seemed to me that the above conversation offered a good opportunity for me to repeat to the Scottish Ambassadors the complaints of the wrongs, outrages and injuries that their countrymen had inflicted upon the subjects of the Emperor, to such an extent, indeed, I said, that we had received greater damage from them (the Scots) than from the English, this being entirely at variance with the communications that had passed between us.
The subject of the inclusion of the Scots in the treaty of peace between the English and the French having been touched upon, I told them that the point appeared to have been very lightly dealt with, and that the French who had passed the treaty had been far from good attorneys to them. The companion of the Bishop of Ross began thereupon to dispute this matter with me, and I answered him that he had better keep his arguments to use against the English; but if he was anxious to have my opinion on the matter I would tell him that when I was present as he knew on the occasion that the subject had been debated, it, certainly seemed to me that his arguments had been effectively rebutted by the English, and that the wording of the clause in the treaty upon which he depended might be interpreted by the English to their advantage. The Bishop of Ross himself very highly approved of what I said, and thereupon his colleague entered into a heated dispute with him in their own language. I took my leave of them politely in the midst of it. One of them, I understand it was the bishop, left here yesterday for France I will do my best to discover the reason for his journey.
With regard to the Protestants I have been unable up to the present to find out what is being negotiated here with them. I understand that they are desirous of obtaining assistance in credit from the King of England, in order to enable them to raise money; which in my firm opinion they will not get quite so easily, having in view the character of the Protector, which is not by any means such as to make him lavish, but rather leads him to parsimony in everything, so that he may amass coin, the amount laid up in the Tower of London not being so large as is commonly reported.
It is quite true that the Protector and those principally' associated with him in the government are much attached to the sects, the result being that at present the common people, unrestrained by reason of the late King's death, publicly and undisguisedly confess their sentiments quite contrary to our religion, of which they make all sorts of farces and pastimes, above all of the good bishops. They blame more than any other the Bishop of Winchester, who is entirely out of credit, and some days ago retired to his house fifty miles away from London. They have also ordered some of the late King's old servitors formerly members of the Council, who are known to be opposed to any change in their ancient religion to withdraw to their homes. Amongst these is the Treasurer, Lord Warden, (i.e., Sir Thomas Cheyne, Treasurer of the Household and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports) the Comptroller (Sir John Gage) and others, but I hear that yesterday instructions were given to them and certain other gentlemen to remain in London for fourteen or fifteen days longer. There is preaching every day before the King, and the preachers seem to vie with each other as to who can abuse most strongly the old religion, he who excels the others in this respect being most highly favoured. Truly, Madam, I can see no way of remedying this, but it may well happen that by means of some dissension God's hand may work His way, for I hear that differences of opinion often occur amongst them. Duke Philip of Bavaria will shortly leave here for Germany, but I understand that he will retain his pension from this country.
M. de Chantonnay arrived here yesterday. Bellingham had previously returned here from his mission to the Emperor, as also had Meutys, another gentleman of the King's chamber who had been sent on similar mission to the King of France. I had not heard anything of M. de Chantonnay before his arrival, and as I am confined to the house by gout I sent a message to Secretary Paget excusing the delay of two days before we presented ourselves at Court, where when I go I will arrange everything according to your Majesty's instructions. I am writing to the Emperor the substance of the present letter.
London, 7 March, 1547, before Easter.
Postscript.—Madam. This letter being ready for despatch I have heard that the Lord Chancellor surrendered the Great Seal yesterday evening, resigning his office, as also has done the Great Master of the Household, Lord Saint John, of whom I will make enquiries to know more of the circumstances.
March 7. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I have fully informed the Queen of everything that has happened here, and have sent copies of my dispatches to M. d'Arras (Granvelle) not wishing to trouble your Majesty with the large number of details they contain.
Captain Paulin is still here, and envoys and despatches are passing daily between this country and France. It is quite possible that what I hear secretly may be true, to the effect, that they (i.e. the French and English) have arranged some new treaty together to last for three years. Nevertheless I cannot bring myself to believe that these people (the English councillors) will agree to anything prejudicial to the treaties that they have with your Majesty. This belief of mine is strengthened by the fact that the late King advised your Majesty through his own ambassador and through me of the French schemes; and Secretary Paget, who is the principal manager here now, has always assured me that they will never depart from the alliance and friendship with your Majesty, which he says I may believe as confidently as in the gospel itself, no matter what is said or done, et quod cum cretensibus esset cretissandum. It may be that for the sake of avoiding war and for diverting the King of France from Boulogne, they have entered into some ambiguous and feigned accord with him. So far as regards Boulogne the English are not slackening in sending every sort of provisions thither, and they are boasting that they mean to hold it tight.
They have also sent ten ships against the Scots, who are likewise said to be at sea with even a greater number of ships. One of the Scottish ambassadors left here the day before yesterday for France, for the purpose as they previously informed the Lords of the Council, of openly expostulating with the King of France for not having kept his promises to them, as these people (the English) maintain that they (the Scots) were not included in the treaty with France. But Paget referring to this, told me that the Council was not so simple as not to understand very well what they were aiming at, and that the going of this envoy could not be otherwise than suspicious to them. I will do my very best to learn how these people regard it.
Before the coronation of the King, which took place on the 20th of last month, the Earl of Hertford, who bears the title of Protector of the realm, was created Duke of Somerset, and the late Admiral Earl of Warwick and Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Chancellor Earl of Southampton, and Master Seymour, brother of the Protector, Lord Admiral, whilst Secretary Paget and other gentlemen were made Knights of the Garter. For the present, therefore, the Protector governs absolutely, but always on the advice of Secretary Paget. The worst of it is that the people are beginning to adhere strongly to the sects; and in addition to this they allow preachers infected by heretical opinions, who do nothing but attack the good bishops and all the worthy and ancient institutions, whilst those who are most violent and furious in their attacks are the most popular. The common people therefore are beginning to cry out against the Bishop of Winchester (Stephen Gardiner) who is so much out of favour that he has thought it prudent to retire to his diocese.
The Chancellor of the ex-Elector of Saxony and Dr. Brun still linger here, and, as I understand, are desirous of obtaining the aid of the King's credit to raise money. My own opinion is that they will get nothing here but fair words.
The household of the Queen (Dowager Katharine Parr) has been appointed, and she is retiring to the suburb (fn. 7) where she is to live with Madam Elizabeth, who will remain always in her company. Nothing has yet been ordered with regard to Madam Mary, although some people are already beginning to call her princess. I hope out of consideration for your Majesty that she will be treated more favourably.
M. de Chantonnay arrived here yesterday, but as I am ill with the gout we have thought better to defer our going to Court for a day or two as my accompanying him will give me a good opportunity of ascertaining from Paget how things are going on.
Baron de Saint Blancart has arrived here from France to condole with the new King on the death of his father.
London, 7 March, 1547.
Postscript.—When this letter was ready for despatch I learnt that yesterday the Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley Earl of Southampton) had given up the Great Seal and resigned his office, and that the Great Master of the Household, Lord St. John, had also resigned. I will enquire further into the circumstances of these changes, but I am assured positively that whether the resignations be voluntary or not, these noblemen are not unduly attached to the “sects,” as they have always belonged to the party of the Bishop of Winchester. I will do my best to discover whether this intrigue they are carrying on with France has anything to do with the changes.
7 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to Loys Scors.
I have written fully to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) all that is passing here, as you will see by my letters which the bearer Jehan Nieukirch, an honest merchant and my friend has promised to deliver to you, although he will have to go out of his way to reach the Queen. This he does in the hope that he may the more speedily obtain from her Majesty a letter of favour to certain officers of Geldres directing that he may have prompt despatch in his lawsuits against his debtors. The amount at issue is not so large that he can afford to suffer long delay, as he will explain to you if you are pleased to grant him the audience he desires. I recommend him humbly to your favour.
London, 7 March, 1547.


  • 1. Cardinal Pole had been condemned for high treason by Henry, but of course, was out of reach of punishment in Rome at the time.
  • 2. This was the unfortunate young Courtenay.
  • 3. It will be recollected that Perrennot Sieur de Chantonnay was the son of Charles' favourite, Franche-Comtois, secretary, and brother of the Bishop of Arras, afterwards Cardinal de Granvelle, also Secretary of State.
  • 4. The expression is somewhat obscure, but the meaning probably was that the King halted before the great courtyard of Whitehall, whilst those who had accompanied him on his progress through the city took leave of him.
  • 5. An interesting description of the coronation ceremonies and the subsequent rejoicings will be found in Leland's Brit. Ant., Vol. IV.
  • 6. This does not appear to have been correct, although it probably represents the intention at the time. He was then, or shortly afterwards, created Marquis of Northampton.
  • 7. Chelsea.