Venice: June 1520, 1-5

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1869.

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'Venice: June 1520, 1-5', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526, (London, 1869) pp. 37-47. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

June 1520, 1–5

June 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 517. 57. A Letter from the Court of France.
On the preceding day King Francis arrived at Ardres, and the King of England at Calais. The latter immediately despatched Master Volante [Sir Richard Wingfield?] (who was English ambassador in France when the writer arrived there) to acquaint King Francis that he had arrived at Calais, together with the ladies, who, like himself, were fatigued and unwell after the sea voyage; so that he had been unable to reach Guisnes on that day, according to his promise; but should King Francis be dissatisfied with this excuse, he would proceed immediately on post horses. Thereupon the most Christian King despatched St. Marceau, together with the above-mentioned Volante [Wingfield?], very civilly informing the King of England that he by no means wished him to take the trouble of going to Ardres, as yesterday; but he besought him not to fail being present at the appointed place, on the day named for the interview.
On the day of the letter's date, the King of England was about to send Cardinal Wolsey to Ardres, where he was expected within an hour. The demonstration was considered very great, as the Cardinal governed the realm of England as quietly and absolutely as his own archiepiscopal see. The Emperor had been for three or four days in England; he arrived there very ill attended, and departed three days before that date.
Ardres, 1st of June. Registered by Sanuto, 20th June.
Note by Sanuto that the original letter was in French, that it was translated, and addressed to Rome.
June 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 498. 58. Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
King Francis had been doubtful whether his interview with the King of England would take place, by reason of the conference held with the Emperor. On the 30th May, the Emperor took leave of the King, went to Sandwich, where his fleet was, and embarked for Flanders. On that same evening King Henry arrived arrived at Dover, and on the morrow, the last of the month, embarked and crossed to Calais with the Queen.
On that day (1st of June) the ambassador of King Henry came to acquaint King Francis with his passage, and to announce the coming of Cardinal Wolsey, who set out in the afternoon. The most Christian King sent the Admiral [Bonnivet] and Mons. de L'Escu as far as Calais to meet him; and at the distance of half a league from Ardres, he was met by the brother-in-law of King Francis, the Duke of Alençon, by the Duke of Bourbon, and by Mons. de Vendome, all of the blood royal, besides other gentlemen and archers. Then King Francis in person, riding a mule, went alone with some mounted bowmen to the gate of Ardres, the archers remaining outside; and when the Cardinal approached, the King passed the gate and went to meet him, and embraced him; great compliments being exchanged mutually, and the Cardinal remaining cap in hand. They then rode together to the palace, where a lodging had been prepared for his lordship, and after a few words they separated, having arranged a conference for the morrow. The Cardinal was accompanied by 60 gentlemen, dressed in crimson velvet, with gold chains, and mounted bowmen all dressed in red. His lordship wore crimson satin, and rode a she mule; a second she mule being led before him very well caparisoned.
The Queen of France and Madame [Louise] were at Montreuil, and were expected at Ardres on the morrow. King Francis would confer with the King of England, and everything take place precisely as stipulated by the articles.
Linx, (fn. 1) 1st of June. Registered by Sanuto, 16th June.
June 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 518. 59. Cavalter Della Croce to —, at the French Court.
On the preceding day the Emperor and the King of England went together half way across the Channel, the King going to Calais and the Emperor to Flanders, with some 80 ships, but not armed.
On the day of the letter's date Cardinal Wolsey went to the most Christian King at Ardres. He had with him 100 gentlemen dressed in crimson velvet, with gold chains round their necks, and a fine band of archers with embroidered doublets. The Admiral, accompanied by many gentlemen, went as far as Lingue [Linck?], an English castle, to meet him, and a great number of cannon were discharged during the Cardinal's passage. At the distance of three bow-shots from Ardres the Cardinal was received by Mons. d'Alençon, the Constable [Bourbon], and the Marshal De Chatillon. On his arrival the most Christian King mounted on horseback, and, preceded by the Switzers and followed by the archers and 200 gentlemen on foot in two ranks, with a crowd of princes and nobles, went to meet him at the gate. On perceiving the King, the Cardinal gave his hat to one of the attendants, and cap in hand came towards his Majesty. After greeting each other, they entered the town, the King on the right and the Cardinal on the left, cap in hand; but the King made him cover thrice. The Cardinal supped at Ardres, the King providing for his expenses.
Guisnes, 1st of June. Registered by Sanuto, 20th June,
June 3–8. Mantuan Archives. 60. Gioan Joachino, Secretary of Octavian Fregoso (Governor of Genoa), resident at the French Court.
Description of the interview between the Kings of France and England, dated Ardres, the 3rd of June.
The interview with the King of England will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday; our King is going to Guisnes, to banquet with the Queen of England; and on the same day the King of England will come here to Ardres to banquet with our Queen [Claude]. Subsequently the Kings will banquet together, and there is nothing but good will between them. They are a short four Italian miles asunder.
Ardres is an open village which the English burnt some four years ago, about the size of Urbino. Guisnes is even larger and stronger. The lists are in the midst, between the two places, within the English Palo, where they have selected a large plain, 400 paces in length and 200 paces in breadth, round which they have dug a ditch, and with its earth have formed a bank or bulwark nine feet high' enclosing “the Field,” as they call it.
To this there are two entries, one at each extremity, opposite to each other; the lists, 150 paces in length, being between them, and well arranged. On either side there are stages cm which the ladies and everybody will be placed to see the entertainments, which will commence on Monday the 11th instant, and will last some eight or ten days. The jousters on both sides, some 220 men-at-arms in all, are in excellent condition.
Persons who have been to Calais tell wonders of the English pomp, and of the King's tent measuring some 0,000 yards (aune) of cloth of gold, and exceeding that of his Majesty here, which cost about 150,000 ducats or more.
5th of June, from Ardres.
Last evening the King of France came hither from Marquise, and the King of England arrived at Guisnes, three short Italian miles from this place. Tomorrow the first interview or visit of these two sovereigns will take place at 1 p.m., between this and Guisnes, in the open country. This first embrace will be unaccompanied by any other display. On Thursday and Sunday banquets and entertainments will be given by both parties. On Monday the jousts, which will last about a week or more, commence.
Could I describe the fortress-house raised at Guisnes by the King of England for his banquet (festino), you would be surprised to hear of its architecture, but you would be more delighted to behold such a structure, built to last a day, and no longer. It appears to be that which it is not, and it is that which it does not appear to be.
At a bow-shot's distance from the castle of Guisnes, in the direction of Ardres, is a palace well nigh square, with four ranges of buildings, connected and uniform. Two of them, being 160 paces in length, are opposite to each other; and the two others have a frontage of 80 paces. Each of the four ranges measures 30 paces in depth.
This palace has a round tower at each corner, and a lofty portal, wide and magnificent, in the direction of Ardres, placed in the centre of the façade between two handsome round towers, like a fortress, as high as the palace; they are built entirely of bricks, with loop-holes (finestrate) and battlements defended by statues of armed men, in the act of discharging stones from the “scapetti,” and iron balls from the cannons and culverins. At a distance of some twelve paces from these two towers are two beautiful painted fountains representing images of Bacchus, with very large and handsome basins, into which wine is to flow constantly, in abundance.
The internal and external walls of this house are about 50 feet high, with battlements all round, but of wood, though so well arranged that they appear to be brick. The building has a slanting roof, made apparently of lead, on which a beautiful scale pattern (occhi di pavone) on brass (et de otonc), the slope being such as required.
The wall is built as follows:—To the height of 15 feet it is of brick, in the Italian fashion. On this wall rest 22 feet of painted boards imitating the brick-work, of which they form the continuation.
At the summit of this elevation of about 37 feet, is a range of double glass windows inside and out, divided solely by wooden pilasters, representing columns 1½ foot in diameter. (fn. 2)
Above the internal and external windows is a cornice, surmounted by a second frieze, with a blank space about five feet deep between the two, on which space T believe there will be either paintings or inscriptions, the roof (which has battlements as aforesaid) resting on the second cornice.
Having passed the entrance gate, you enter an atrium or vestibule, 100 paces in length and 30 paces broad, fronting which is a handsome covered stair in the Italian fashion, of the same width as the atrium.
After ascending 15 steps, the stair winds, and having mounted about as many more, you arrive at a great door, and enter a hall 160 paces in length, and 30 paces broad.
Throughout the building, at a distance of two feet below the windows, is a handsome gilt cornice whereon to hang the tapestries, which are all most magnificent.
The other three compartments (corpi) of the building are divided into chambers and chapels, their floors being tastefully gilt, but the floor of the hall is of alternate checquers of white and yellow taffety intersected by red roses.
Beneath these floors are the cellars, kitchens, and offices, with very handsome gratings before the windows, arched, and apparently of iron, though in reality they are of painted wood, and being placed opposite to each other, and with great regularity, they give additional grace to the quadrangle.
The palace is surrounded by a large square measuring a good GO paces in width, with a moat; and beyond the square and moat is a barrier of beautiful brocade, with two entries opposite to each other, leading to the hall, at one extremity of which is a long corridor connecting it with the castle of Guisnes, distant some 400 paces.
Each compartment has a large lantern (una grandissima lanterna) in the centre, in the form of a crown, with octagonal windows, more for ornament than for light, as the windows all round, inside and out, render the halls so luminous that, when within them, it is like being in the open air.
It is said that this palace will be completed on Thursday, or thereabouts, but the English gentlemen charged with its construction and custody receive these French gentlemen with the utmost civility, and to all they give drink in large gilt cups (coppe) holding seven pints of wine each.
Here nothing is attended to but these pageants (triumphi). Today the tent of the King of France was pitched in a field near this place, where are also a great number of other tents, the English also having pitched their tents outside Guisnes, but ours [the French] are the handsomer. Altogether they will amount to some 2,000; and they are still in the act of putting them up. The tent of the King our lord is a magnificent affair (una grandissima com). From the ground to its summit, on which is a gigantic St. Michael, it measures 60 paces (sessanta passi;) the poles which support it are tall masts lashed together to increase their length, which is such that it would certainly suffice for a ship of 400 butts. The diameter of this tent in its centre (in fondo) is sixteen paces, and all round it is a corridor, eight paces broad and some 20 paces in length.
The whole tent and its corridor have an external covering of very costly gold brocade, with three circular stripes of azure-coloured velvet with golden lilies in relief, each circle being the whole breadth of the velvet, which forms a very beautiful ornament. At the feet of the St. Michael, which has for pedestal a large golden ball, twelve zig-zag rays dart, as from a beam of light, the rays being made of the same azure-coloured velvet, with golden lilies in relief, and the rays descend from the summit of the tent downwards, in length a good 10 paces. The ropes or cords of the tent are of wove hemp tricoloured, white, tawny, and black, the King's colours, and the principal ropes are so thick that they might serve as cables for a ship of 300 butts or upwards. The internal lining will be of azure-coloured velvet, with gold lilies.
Adjoining this tent are four other smaller ones, which, although large, appear very small in comparison with the chief tent. They measure 30 paces in circumference, and 20 in diameter. They are placed in front of each other. They are to be covered with the same cloth of gold, with an internal lining of the same material, and are to be striped laterally, like the large tent, which they surround; and adjoining there will be 12 tents of suitable size which will, it is said, be covered externally with crimson satin and lined with some other satin, though from what I hear, they will not be ready for four days. These 12 tents are distant some 50 paces from the large one.
The building destined for the banquet is a rotunda, its circuit measuring about 240 paces, and will be covered like a tent, with azure-coloured cloth with painted golden lilies, decorated with very handsome tapestries, and not with cloth of gold, as stated.
The interview took place, not on Wednesday, but yesterday, in the most loving form possible, at 6 p.m.
The meeting lasted for two hours, and during three-quarters of an hour their Majesties were alone together, and seemed unable to tear themselves away from each other, and had it not then been half an hour after sunset, their loving conference would have lasted longer.
Beyond the “field” or “lists” is a place situated between this place and Guisnes (from which it is distant rather more than half a mile), in the form of a valley, where the King of England pitched a handsome tent of figured gold brocade without, and tapestried internally with very costly arras, embroidered in gold and silver. The tent was small but elegant, and adjoining were two awnings to correspond, which served as chambers.
Some 80 paces distant from this tent were two other canvas tents, well supplied with most excellent wines.
The King left Ardres at about 4h. 30m. He was preceded by the gentlemen of the princes, lords, and barons of France, a good 1,000 in number, the chief of whom were Mons. de Gamadria (sic) (fn. 3) and Mons. de Malaure (sic); (fn. 4) and also by the gentlemen pensioners, in number some 140, who were commanded by Mons. de la Roche Guyon. Next followed the archers of the guard and the princes, in number about 400, all on foot, with halberts and battle axes, and the salamander and other emblems. Then came the 100 Switzers of the guard, in satin doublets of the King's colours, and hose to match, the plumes in their bonnets being of the same hues,—black, tawny, and white. After the Switzers came all the heralds of France; all the trumpeters and fifers; all the door-porters; all the esquires of the body; and the gentlemen of the chamber immediately preceded the King, who rode a great bay courser, with a half surcoat of embroidered cloth of gold.
The King wore a cap of black velvet with feathers of the same colour, and some large jewels in it very well set, which the King estimates at 2,000 ducats. His doublet was embroidered with gold knots, the shirt protruding from the slashes, the tags of which were most beautiful jewels. His breast was bare, and he had sleeves (manegetti). Over the doublet was a cloak of cloth of gold embroidered; at the back of the cloak a certain bit of cloth of gold slashed, looking like a half cape, or well nigh a half mantle, fastened over the left shoulder, which half cape or mantle was costly and ornamented with large jewels. On his legs, he wore white boots (burzachini bianchi). Before the King was the Lord Constable [Bourbon], on a large courser, whose surcoats were of cloth of gold, and the Constable himself wore an embroidered cloak of cloth of gold, with the sword of state in his hand. Beside the King were, Alençon, Vendome, the Duke of Lorraine, St. Pol, the Admiral [Bonnivet], the Lord Steward [De Boissi], Aumale, Lautrec, La Valle, Chateaubriand, and in short, all the princes, lords, and barons of France, not one of whom was missing. All the knights of the order [of St. Michael] were present, wearing the large insignia and tabards of cloth of gold; all the lords and barons being likewise in cloth of gold, and many gentlemen, all the household and officials, and, in fine, everybody. There were at least 300 persons clad in cloth of gold, and a great number in velvet. The ambassadors from the Pope, Spain, Venice, Mantua, and Ferrara, each accompanied by some great personage, were also there.
When this large company reached the hill which overlooks (causa) valley, all ranged themselves in line within the barriers placed there, distant 50 paces from the tent below, but these barriers were [merely] signals, [viz.,] pikes driven into the ground along the ridge of the hill for the distance of a mile, at intervals of 100 paces.
On the opposite hill the English company was ranged in like order, and had arrived first on the ground, on reaching which the French music ceased. After a short pause the English instruments struck up, and the French responded. When they had been silent for a few moments, the two Kings, who were opposite to each other, moved forward on horseback, each accompanied by two mounted attendants. With the English King were Cardinal Wolsey and the Constable [Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset]. With the King of France the Admiral and the Constable. Both the Constables bore the swords of state aloft unsheathed. As the space had been well divided, the two Kings arrived simultaneously in the centre of the valley, where a spear had been planted, distant some 100 paces from the tent. Before arriving at the spot, when at a distance of 30 paces from their respective companies, which had remained behind at the barriers, the two Kings at one and the same time uncovered, saluting each other bareheaded, and then, hastening forward, they embraced thrice on horseback, always cap in hand; after which they both dismounted in such haste that it could scarcely be distinguished which was the first, but the King of England was the first. Accompanied each by two running footmen (staffieri), they then again embraced so lovingly, that but few on our side could avoid shedding tears of joy or gladness. Such were the embraces that J know not whether closer could be imagined, and they were upwards of 20 in number. They then walked slowly towards the tent, the King of England placing the King of France on his right hand, and with their heads bare they remained a good while under so scorching a sun, that it could not have been hotter in St. Peter's at Home. Their Majesties were accompanied into the tent by the Cardinal and the Admiral, the two Constables remaining outside walking up and down and the running footmen of the two Kings and of their four attendants, being mounted on horseback and a long way off, rode to and fro, first in the direction of the English company and then of ours, but kept their ranks.
After their Majesties had been a quarter of an hour in the tent, they dismissed the Admiral and the Cardinal, who, to avoid the sun, went into the two tents where the wine was. On the expiration of half an hour, wine was taken to their Majesties in the tent, where the Admiral and Cardinla drank again and served their Majesties, who drank the same wine out of one and the same cup. Having drank, the Cardinal and the Admiral came out of the tent, their Majesties remaining alone. At sunset the Cardinal and the Admiral went back into the tent, and said it was late; so the two Kings gave orders for their chief nobility to come and pay their respects reciprocally. From the English company, some 22 came forth, headed by the Duke of Suffolk, and upwards of 40, led by Monsr. d' Alençon came from the French side. Their Majesties went forth to receive them; and when the entire French company saw this, they all descended in like manner, regardless of any prohibition; whereas the English never stirred from their ranks, and thus exhibited very great discipline and good faith. (fn. 5)
Whilst outside the tent, the two Kings embraced each other repeatedly, as if they had then met for the first time, addressing each other in such language as to leave it doubtful whether they were more brothers than friends, or friends rather than brothers. The one said to the ministers and noblemen of the other, “there is now no farther need of trouble for my brother and I will see to our own interests.” And then, when the Cardinal being already on horseback said, “Sire, it is too late, most especially as the King your brother is the farthest off from his lodging; may it please your Majesty to take to horse:” the King of England replied, with a hearty laugh, “You may go yourself, but I choose to remain with the King my brother;” and again did they embrace. At length, after a great struggle, they both mounted on horseback, taking leave first in the act of mounting, and again when mounted. But it would be long to repeat the loving words uttered by the King of England to the French nobility, to whom he said that he would devote his money, realm, and person to the service of the King his brother.
Today the Cardinal and the Duke of Suffolk and all the English nobility are here at Ardres; and a great part of ours are at Guisnes.
The entertainment will take place on Sunday should the apartments here be completed, our King going to Guisnes to the Queen of England, and the King of England coming to the Queen of France at Ardres.
The King of England wore a very handsome and costly doublet of cloth of silver, with a girdle and apron (traversa) or “sbarra
from the cincture to the shoulder, of cloth of gold studded with very beautiful jewels, and a black velvet cap with jewels and black feathers; and he rode a very handsome bay courser with a “trapper” (fn. 6) embroidered in gold.
The English gentlemen and ours were on horseback unarmed, having only swords, but the display (pompa) of this side [the French] far exceeded that of the other [the English]. Both French and English wore very large gold chains.
The jousts will commence on Monday or Tuesday, and will last about 10 days.
On the entry of the Kings into the tent with the Admiral and the Cardinal, this last read to their Majesties the articles and conventions stipulated between them, and when he came to the words “Henry King of England and of France,” his Majesty said, laughing, “Expunge this title,” (levesi questo titulo,) and turning to our King, added, “They are titles given me which are good for nothing.” Our King desired that the reading might nevertheless be continued, and at its close, said, “Mon Frere, now that you are my friend, you are King of France, King of all my possessions, and of me myself; but without friendship I acknowledge no other King of France than myself, and thus, with the aid of our Lord God, do I hope to be able to defend and preserve this kingdom for myself and my successors.” To this, the King of England (having risen and embraced him) replied, “Mon Frere, I swear to our Lord God, although I have been very deeply in love, that I never had so strong a wish and desire to gratify any of my appetites, as that of seeing and embracing you, and I promise God, who has granted me this grace, never to love anybody so much as I love you; and should you ever find me fail in this love, and that I do not love you above everything, and do not perform such office as becomes a true and perfect friend, I am willing to be accounted the most base and sorry prince and gentleman in the world:” (fn. 7) whereupon he again embraced our King, who made a suitable answer, returning thanks, and promising the like to his Majesty.
Dated at Ardres, 3rd–8th June.
[Italian, copy.]
June 3. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 517. 61. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador at the English Court, to the Doge and Signory.
The Emperor departed [from Canterbury] on the 30th May, for Sandwich, to embark for Flanders. The King of England accompanied him a distance of five miles. They conversed by the way on horseback, and did not allow any of the ambassadors to attend them.
The King and Queen and his Majesty's sister then went to Dover for their passage, to effect the interview arranged with the King of France.
He (Surian) arrived at Boulogne in a violent storm, together with the Papal ambassador. Many ships had been wrecked in crossing.
Calais, 3rd June 1520. Registered by Sanuto, 20th June.
June 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 510. 62. Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The most Christian King had held various colloquies with Cardinal Wolsey, who offered to arrange the disputes between his Majesty and the Emperor.
Linck (Linches), three leagues from Ardres, 4th June 1520.
Registered by Sanuto, 19th June.
June 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 510. 63. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador accredited to Henry VIII., to the Signory.
The King had crossed with the Queen and his sister. He (the ambassador) encountered a storm on his passage and nearly perished. The negotiations between the Emperor and the King had been very secret, and their purport was not known.
Calais, 4th June. Registered by Sanuto, 19th June.
June [4]? Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 511. 64. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador at the English Court, to the Doge and Signory.
The King and Queen, with the King's sister and Cardinal Wolsey and other lords, had crossed the Channel in great pomp. He (Surian) with the Papal ambassador made their passage subsequently, and well-nigh perished in a storm, and some ships were lost. He had intended going to Calais, but landed at Boulogne. The Pope's ambassador in France told him he was there to discuss the Turkish affairs. Suspects his object is to secure an honorable place for the Pope, in the event of any treaty between the two Kings.
Boulogne,. . . . Registered by Sanuto, 20th June.
June 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxviii. p. 511. 65. Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Signory.
The King [of France] is extremely satisfied with Cardinal Wolsey, and says he is a most estimable personage, eloquent and prudent, and worthy to rule England. He (the King) promised himself much from him.
On the 5th or the 6th the two sovereigns will meet, and the King of France will go and dine with the King of England.
The Queen and the King's mother were to arrive there [Linck ?] on the morrow.
[Linck ?], 4th June. Registered by Sanuto, 20th June.


  • 1. Probably Linck, a fort near Bourbourg, and not far from Ardres.
  • 2. “Sono dentro e fori vedriate, alte 15 palmi, tutte continuatc, de modo che fra Puna et l'altra sono solo piastri pieni di legno, in forma di colone larghe circa doi palmi.”
  • 3. Qu. Mons. de Gammaches? See Mr. Prewer's Calendar, vol. iii. p. 313.
  • 4. Qu. Count de Maulevrier, seneschal of Normandy ?
  • 5. “Nel che monstrò obedientia et fede grandissima.”
  • 6. “Sopraveste,” surcoat Hall writes “trapper.”
  • 7. “Voglio esser detto il più lachio (lâchc ?) e più mechiante (méchant?) principe et gentil-homo del mondo. Et qui un altra volta l'abbracciò; ma a queste parole il Re nostro signor rispose quanto convenia, ringratiandosi (sic) et promettendosi (sic) il medesimo a S. Mta.”