Venice: June 1515

Pages 246-251

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2, 1509-1519. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1867.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


June 1515

June 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. xx. pp. 243–247. 624. Nicolo Sagudino, secretary of Sebastian Giustinian, Ambassador in England, to Alvise Foscaki.
Left Paris on the 30th March, and arrived, 4th April, at Boulogne, where they embarked on Easter Tuesday, expecting to cross in six hours, but they remained at sea 23 hours, owing to its roughness. On Wednesday arrived at Dover, much exhausted, and on the Wednesday following entered London. At a distance of 12 miles thence were met by a knight and doctor of laws, who had been sent by the King to the ambassadors, and came with 50 horse. Were afterwards joined by the merchants and other Venetians, and by the ambassador Andrea Badoer, so that on entering London they numbered more than 200 horse, by all of whom they were accompanied to their dwelling. On their arrival they received the Signory's letters of the 18th March.
The ambassadors immediately sought audience of the King, which was appointed for St. George's day, when the same two lords who met them on their arrival came to them with a numerous retinue, and escorted the three ambassadors in a large barge, followed by many others containing the merchants and the rest of the Venetians, to a palace on the Thames called Richmond. Landed with about 200 persons. On entering the palace, a collation, consisting only of bread and wine, was served to them, according to custom; which ended, they passed through some other chambers, where they saw part of the King's guard, consisting of 300 men, all very handsome and in excellent array;—never saw finer fellows.
At length they entered a room where the King was leaning against a chair covered with cloth of gold brocade, with a cushion of the same material and a large gilt sword, under a canopy of cloth of gold with a raised pile. The King was dressed as a Knight of the Gartter, of which order he is the superior, and wore a very costly doublet, over which was a mantle of violet velvet, with a very long train lined with white satin. On his head was a richly jewelled cap of crimson velvet of immense value, and round his neck he wore a collar studded with many precious stones, of which he (Sagudino) never saw the like.
Immediately on perceiving the ambassadors the King approached them, and after allowing his hard to be kissed, embraced them with the greatest possible demonstration of good will to the Signory. Then silence was proclaimed, and Ciustinian pronounced an elegant Latin oration, which was listened to with attention by all, especially by the King, who understands Latin very well. This address lasted a full hour, and the King caused a reply to be made by a doctor of laws, thanking the Signory, and asserting that the King had ever been the State's friend and protector This ceremony ended, the King invited the ambassadors and all their retinue to hear mass and dine with him; so they went to church, and after a grand procession had been made, high mass was sung by the King's choristers, whose voices are more divine than human; and as to the counter bass voices, they probably have not their equals in the world. The Queen was present.
After mass the King and the nobles with the ambassadors and their followers returned to the palace, into a hall, where a table had been prepared for his Majesty, and another for the knights of the Garter, the ambassadors and the merchants. After witnessing a display of gold plate of immense value, they sat down to table and dined. After dinner the King sent for the ambassadors, and addressed them partly in French and partly in Latin, and also in Italian, showing himself very affable. Then they took leave and departed.
The personal beauty of the King is very great, as Foscari doubtless has been informed by his brother, the Lord Frederick. He is also courageous, an excellent musician, plays well on the harpsichord, is learned for his age and station, and has many other endowments and good parts. Two such courts and two such Kings as those of France and England have not been witnessed by any Venetian ambassador for these 50 years, as is attested by the Magnifico Pietro Pasqualigo, who extols everything usque ad astra.
On the 1st of May the King sent two English lords to the ambassadors, who were taken by them to Greenwich, where the King was, for the purpose of celebrating May day. On the ambassadors arriving there, they mounted on horseback, with many of the chief nobles of the kingdom, and accompanied the Queen into the country, to meet the King. She was very richly attired, and had with her 25 damsels mounted on white palfreys, with housings all of one fashion, most beautifully embroidered with gold; and all these damsels wore dresses slashed with gold lama in very costly trim, and were attended by a number of footmen in excellent order. With this retinue the Queen proceeded to a wood two miles from Greenwich, in which they found the King and his guard, all clad in a livery of green, with bows in their hands, and about a hundred noblemen on horseback all gorgeously arrayed. In this wood were bowers filled purposely with singing birds, which caroled most sweetly, and in one of these bastions or bowers were some triumphal cars, on which were singers and musicians, who played on an organ, lute and flutes for a good while, during a banquet which was served in this place. On the journey homewards some tall pasteboard giants, placed on cars and surrounded by the King's guard, were conducted in the greatest order to Greenwich, the musicians singing the whole May, and playing trumpets and other instruments. It was an extremely line triumph and very pompous, and the King brought up the rear in great state, being followed by the Queen, and by such a crowd on foot as probably exceeded 25,000 people.
On arriving at Greenwich the King went to mass, after which the ambassadors had private audience. Then the King went to dinner. They dined in his palace with the chief nobility. After dinner they were taken into rooms containing a number of organs, harpsichords (clavicimbani), flutes, and other musical instruments, where the prelates and nobles were assembled to see the joust, which was then in preparation. The ambassadors told some of these grandees that he (Sagudino) was a proficient in some of these instruments. Was asked to play, and did so for a long while, being listened to with great attention. Among the listeners was a Brescian, to whom the King gives 300 ducats a year for playing the lute, and who took up his instruments, and played a few things with him (Sagudino). Afterwards two musicians, also in the King's service, played the organ, but very badly; they kept bad time, their touch was feeble, and their execution not very good. The prelates who were present said the King would certainly desire to hear him, as his Majesty practises on these instruments day and night. Therefore desires Foscari to send him some compositions of Zuane Maria's, whom he praises to every one, and some of whose music has been requested, in return for which they will give some of their own. Wishes also to receive a few new ballads.
The preparations for the joust being at length finished, the King made his appearance in very great pomp. On his side were ten noblemen on capital horses, all with housings of one sort, namely, of cloth of gold with a raised pile. The King's warhorse was caparisoned in the same manner, and in truth he looked like St. George in person on its back. The opposing party consisted of ten other noblemen, also in rich array and well mounted. Never saw such a sight. They jousted for three hours, to the constant sound of trumpets and drums. The King excelled all others, shivering many lances, and unhorsing one of his opponents. Did not expect to find such pomp. The King exerted himself to the utmost for the ambassadors' sake, and more particularly on account of Pasqualigo, who returns to France today, that he may be able to tell King Francis what he has seen in England, and especially of his Majesty's own prowess.
After the joust the ambassadors visited the Queen, whom Pasqualigo addressed in Spanish, in which tongue her Majesty replied. She is rather ugly than otherwise, and supposed to be pregnant; but the damsels of her court are handsome, and make a sumptuous appearance. They then took leave and returned to London.
Jack Madcap, the bearer, has behaved excellently on the journey, and kept them in constant laughter. Never saw a better boon companion.
London, 3rd May 1515. “Raptissime.”
June 8. Sanuto Diaries, v. xx. p. 257. 625. Motion made in the Senate by the Sages, and carried, for a letter to the ambassadors in England desiring them to present a missive to the King, thanking him fur having included the Signory in the league, &c. Instructions likewise for the ambassador Giustinian to use good offices with his Majesty, in conformity.
June 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvi. p. 120, tergo. 626. The Doge and Senate to Andrea Badoer and Sebastian Giustinian, Ambassadors in England.
In reply to the essential part of their letters, rejoice at the loving greeting given them by the King, and at his Majesty's reply demonstrating so excellent a disposition towards the Signory, and that he would write himself to the State announcing its inclusion by him in the new treaty with the most Christian King. For this they are to return thanks. Await the letters containing the nomination of the Signory, which they will ratify joyfully. For the fuller expression of their mind send the accompanying letter for the King, together with a copy for their own perusal, that their language may correspond when presenting it.
Have one important thing to add, namely, the reply to the King's promise of showing to the world how strong is the union between himself, the most Christian King, and the Signory. With regard to this, besides thanking his Majesty, desire Giustinian to use every effort for the maintenance of a good understanding between the two sovereigns.
Send summaries of letters from their ambassador on the eve of quitting Hungary, for communication to the King, that he may be acquainted with all the events of those parts.
[Italian, 31 lines.]
June 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvi. p. 121, tergo. 627. Doge Leonardo Loredano to the King of England.
Although the State's ancient observance paid to his Highness and his progenitors gave promise of his love and goodwill towards them and theirs, nevertheless, having very recently received letters from the Signory's ambassadors with him, fully detailing their gracious reception, cannot but experience extreme pleasure, which is increased by the recent account given him of the piety and religion, and of other rare corporal aud mental endowments, whereby his Majesty daily distinguishes himself more and more. Returns therefore most exuberant thanks, considering the office performed in favour of the State remarkable and most affectionate; and most willingly offers everything in the State's power for his Hahness's renown and glory. Congratulates him on his well being, and prays the Almighty to favour him, and most auspiciously to grant his wishes.
[Latin, 13 lines.]
June 15. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 29. 628. Andrea Badoer and Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Had received five letters from the Signory, dated 20th and 26th April, in accordance with which, on the return of the King (who was hunting at a distance of 25 or 30 miles from London), they would again thank him for including the Signory in the peace with France, and demand repeal of the two crowns (scudi) duty, levied in England on wines imported from Candia, but delay doing so until the State acknowledge the King's missive, announcing his alliance with Venice, which would additionally sanction their request. Doubt the good will of the Archbishop of York, and therefore anticipate difficulties, for he regulates such duties. It was reported that the King of France had marched towards Italy, followed by al France. Request the State to transmit news of the Levant and Italy, to give them an opportunity of visiting the King frequently, it not being customary in England to ask audience unless for the express purpose of announcing news, of which the King and court were very desirous.
Statement by Badoer of his pecuniary embarrassments. Was going to St. James of Compostella to fulfil the vow which he made when five of his servants died of the plague, while he himself escaped. If not at the public cost, would go at his own, provided his services during the last four years did not go unrewarded. The Lord of St. John's and other knights of Rhodes demanded the money which they had lent him.
London, 15th June 1515.
[Italian, 3 pages, or 78 lines.]
June 15. Sanuto Diaries, v. xx. pp. 284, 285. 629. Pelegrin Venier to his Brothers in Venice.
Palermo, 23rd May 1515.
The writer (scrivam) of the English bark had arrived there. Said that he had a crew of 44 men, and that a galley and a bark fired into his stern. That having an iron mortar-piece (una bombarda di ferro) on deck, he fired a shot, and greatly damaged those on board the galley; but at the second shot his mortar burst, so that the enemy with their hand-guns (schiopeti) killed and wounded everybody on board the English ship save 12, and thus captured it. It had a full cargo, 470 pokes (poche) of wool, 2,400 pieces coloured kerseys, 500 quintals (chantera) of tin, much lead, 500 pieces broad cloth, 1,000 dozen calf skins, and much other merchandise.
There were many kerseys for the Malipieri. Three English barks had arrived at Messina with much merchandise for Scio; and a Ragusan ship was following another ship of Ragusa with wines of Candia bound for London, having also reached Messina.
June 23. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta). File no. 4. 630. The Doge and College to Andrea Badoer and Sebastian Giustinian.
Give details of the war in the north of Italy with the Spaniards, which they may communicate to the King and to such other persons as they may think fit.
June 24. Patti Sciolti, no. 754. 631. Henry VIII. to Doge Leonardo Loredano.
Acknowledges the Signory's thanks for having been included by him in the peace between England and the late King of France, Lewis XII., as also in the recent agreement with the new King Francis. Is convinced of the Signory's friendship by many proofs, of which he considers the embassy of Andrea Badoer was not the least. Thinks highly of Badoer, and expresses himself in flattering terms of his successor. It only remains for the State to announce by letter its willingness to be comprised in the alliance; and that this may be done the more correctly, transmits a copy of the clause whereby the Signory is included with his other friends.
“From our palace at Greenwich, 24 June 1515.”
[Countersigned:] And. Ammonius. (fn. 1)
[Original, paper, Latin, 19 lines.]


  • 1. There is a transcript of this letter in Sanuto's Diaries, vol. xx. p. 397.