Venice: June 1520, 21-30

Pages 72-79

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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June 1520, 21–30

June 21. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix.pp. 24–25. 91. Giovanni Badoer and Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Signory.
Some days previously, the most Christian King mounted on horseback early, with only 10 attendants, and went to Guisnes to see the King of England, who embraced and thanked him, and took from his own neck a collar of precious stones and gave it him. The most Christian King took off jewelled bracelets of great value and gave them to the King of England, who thereupon departed and came to Ardres, to the Queen of France, where there was a masquerade and a ball. The most Christian King dined with the Queen of England, and danced and conversed with the ladies. Towards evening the Kings departed, and met midway, the King of England being with some 30 companions, masked and dressed in the Greek and Albanian cavalry fashion, their apparel being of cloth of gold and velvet. On meeting the most Christian King he unmasked, and after laughing awhile together they proceeded on their way.
On the morrow the King of England came to see the most Christian King in bed, and afterwards dined with him. After dinner they went to the lists to see the jousting, and the most Christian King sent for six very beautiful chargers, and gave them to the King of England, who was much pleased with them, as his stable is not well stocked.
Subsequently Cardinal Wolsey gave a banquet to the bishops, abbots, and foreign ambassadors at the Courts of France and England, in number 20. The guests ate off gold, and drank from golden vessels. After dinner, they arranged for his right reverend Lordship on Saturday to sing a mass in the valley of the conference, and there to build and endow a chapel dedicated to “Nostra Dona de la Mirte” (sic) (fn. 1) at the joint expense of France and England.
Cardinal Wolsey gave a small cross of precious stones, containing wood of the [true] cross, to Madame.
Madame returns to Paris with the Queen, who has entered her ninth month of pregnancy, and the most Christian King. The King of England goes to Gravelines to confer with the Emperor, who is now at Brussels.
Lys [Linck?], 21st June. Registered by Sanuto, 6th July.
June 20. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix. p. 23. 92. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador with the King of England, to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey sang mass, and then gave a splendid banquet to many French and English noblemen. The three Venetian ambassadors, and those of the Pope and of the most Christian King, were present. All ate off gold. The Cardinal spoke of the love between the Kings, and said the Emperor must not aspire to greater power in Italy, nor molest the most Christian King or the Signory, whom he praised vastly
An interview is to be held between the Emperor and the King of England. On the site of the conference of the two Kings a church, with the title of “St. Mary's of the Parliament,” to be built and endowed.
—, 20th June. Registered by Sanuto, 6th July.
Juno 25. Mantuan Archives. 93. Soardino, Mantuan Ambassador at the Court of France, to the Marquis of Mantua.
On the 19th the two Kings tilted, and the two Queens were present. The two bands of the Constable and of Bonavalle also tilted. (fn. 2) In the afternoon the most Christian Queen went to Guisnes with the Queen of England, and banqueted there, and afterwards returned to the camp.
On the morrow and next day the bands fought with swords, the same method being observed as at the jousts.
On Saturday, St. John's Eve, the following ceremony took place in the morning: (fn. 3)
A chapel had been prepared on the field, opposite the stage from which the jousts were viewed. It was very large, with a lofty tribune, on which was the altar, most sumptuously furnished with ten very large silver-gilt images of saints and two large golden candlesticks, all exquisitely wrought; also a large jewelled crucifix entirely of gold, and a large golden bason and two golden vases, the one for the wine and the other for the water.
On this spot Cardinal Wolsey sang high mass, with the following ceremonies.
Two enclosures, side by side, had been prepared with tapestries and cloths of gold, in the centre of the stage opposite the chapel. In* one the two Kings knelt, the most Christian King on the right hand and the English King on the left; in the other were the two Queens, the most Christian Queen on the right hand. In the same enclosure, behind, there were also Queen Mary, Madame [Louise of Savoy], the Duchess of Alençon, the Duchess of Nemours, and an English “Madama.”
In the enclosure of the Kings there were the Duke of Alençon, the Constable [Bourbon], the Duke of Suffolk, the Duke of Lorraine, and Messieurs de Yendome and de Navarre. Along the stage to the right of the most Christian King were all the other French ladies and damsels, and maids, and the lords and gentlemen; and on the other side of the stage, to the left of the [English] Queen, were the English lords and ladies.
Above, on the platform, where the chapel was prepared, there were beautiful hangings of satin, and silk, and cloth of gold.
To the right of the altar was a canopy, beneath which sat Cardinal Wolsey, who sang the mass, and was served by two English bishops; one said the Epistle, the other the Gospel. Some eight other bishops, all English, and also apparelled with mitres on their heads, were likewise in attendance, constantly accompanying him when he went to the altar, and standing before him whilst he was seated.
A little below Wolsey's canopy was a second canopy, beneath which the Legate, De Boissy, sat in his cardinal's robe and cape.
Lower still by one step were seated the Cardinals Yendome, Albret, and Lorraine.
Next sat some 12 French bishops, apparelled, and with their mitres; and they remained thus in pontifical array, without performing any other service at the mass.
All the ambassadors resident with the two Kings were likewise placed on this stage, there being seats for them, although not ranged according to degree.
The choristers of the two chapels of France and England sang this mass; the music by Perino, accompanied by an organ, with trombones and cornets. (fn. 4)
Cardinal Wolsey gave both the Gospel and the “Pax” to be kissed, to the two Kings and to the Cardinal de Yendome. The most Christian King kissed them first, then the English King, then the most Christian Queen. After the Queens had kissed, he wished to present the Gospel and “Pax” to Madame, but out of respect for the Queen she declined kissing them.
Thus the mass ended, the bishops, in serving Cardinal Wolsey, having observed all such ceremonies as could possibly have been used with the Pope.
On the conclusion of the mass, one Master Richard [Pace], the English King's chief secretary, turning himself towards the two Kings from the stage where the mass had been sung, said aloud, in substance, that plenary indulgence was proclaimed for all those who had been present at this mass; not only for those who had confessed, but also for such as had not confessed, but who intended to confess themselves at the appointed seasons; and he commenced his speech, which was also in Latin, thus:—
“Certain is it that friendship may be easily contracted in absence, but subsequently it increases through presence, and, by means of colloquies and familiar conversation, becomes greater. Then again, it augments when accompanied by the prayers and blessings of the servants of God who have authority to bless, such as the Right Reverend Legate, not only in the realm of England, but in all places where his most serene King lays claim to jurisdiction. He therefore now blesses the two most potent princes, and, by the authority of our Lord Pope Leo, grants plenary indulgence, absolution, etc., to all present, beseeching each individual to pray God to maintain the friendship contracted between the two sovereigns, to the praise of the Christian faith, and for the stability of the holy Apostolic See,” &c. &c.
The Legate then gave the benediction, and, this ceremony terminated, the two Kings dined together on the spot, as also did the two Queens, and all the other lords and ladies, French and English, at common cost. After dinner the combatants fought on foot, but the two Kings did not fight, and on that day the contests ended.
On the morrow, Sunday, St. John's Day, final interview between the two Kings. Account of their banquets and masqueings. Cardinal Wolsey was present when they took leave of each other. The King of England was going to Calais, and would not depart until he had spoken with the Emperor at Gravelines. On the last day but one, when the combats ended, the Master of the Horse [San Severino] tilted on a jennet, with a very heavy spear, from a saddle, without a rim or any other rest.
Ardres, 25th June 1520.
June 26. Mantuan Archives. 94. Soardino, Mantuan Ambassador at the Court of France, to the Marquis of Mantua.
When the interview was arranged, the fame of “the tent” [of the King of France] having reached England, from rivalry, and with a view to being equally well lodged in a different fashion, the construction of “the house” [of the King of England] was devised. Describes the very large diamond-shaped panes of very white glass; the external covering of oiled cloth, painted lead colour, and so marked as to give it the appearance of the [slate?] roofs of the houses in France; and the entrance hall, extending the whole length of the building, 100 paces, its breadth 17 paces; which, as the length was disproportioned to the breadth, had been divided into two by tapestry. On the left-hand side of the principal entry are two halls and a chamber for Cardinal Wolsey, the first very large, hung with silken tapestry, without gold, of astounding beauty; the second tapestried in the same fashion. In the chamber are most beautiful tapestries of gold and silk, and a very large bedstead with gilt posts, and a canopy of cloth of gold; the counterpane (which reaches the ground) and pillows being of the same material; the curtains of crimson satin. On the right hand of the entry were two other halls and a chamber for Queen Mary. The first hall was hung with very exquisite tapestry of gold and silk as above; the other with crimson velvet and gold tissue, the velvet being embroidered with the letters M.L., within a gold knot: and in certain other places were embroidered sundry porcupines, the hangings having been made when she was the wife of King Lewis. In the chamber was a bedstead with canopy and curtains of gold brocade; the hangings, like those of the halls, being of gold and silk. In the middle of the long entrance hall a small building was added, containing two oratories for the King and Queen, looking down on the very large church below, where high mass was occasionally celebrated. Describes the ornaments of the altar. Believes them to be the same as were used at the mass sung on the field by Cardinal Wolsey. Mentions the large organ. In the centre of the Queen's oratory there was a large shield bearing the arms of England and Spain. On the ground floor were offices and a very large cellar, most excellently stored with every sort of good wine—malmsies and other wines, the best that could be found in Flanders and France. In the long hall were prepared two large cupboards of silver-gilt vases, constantly used by persons drinking; and the Englishwomen never gave those bowls and flasks any rest. Then when the most Christian King banqueted there, the eating and drinking witnessed were incredible, and the odour of the viands very noisome; and on those occasions there was an additional and marvellous display of costly and beautiful plate, as mentioned in the description of the first banquet given to the most Christian King. As usual in England, the wooden floors of the hall and chambers were strewed with rushes, so that the planks could not be seen. Account of the statues, fountains, and kitchens, which last communicated with “the house” by means of—. (fn. 5)
The French King's tent was pitched outside the walls of Arclres, near his dwelling house. The tent and pavilions remained up four days only, on account of the wind and rain, so that it became necessary to strike them, to the very great regret of the most Christian King and of all the French nobility, as they were the pride of France; who thus counterbalanced the English pride generated by the house above described.
So far as can be ascertained hitherto, no one has received any mark of honour for the jousts and sword fighting.
The two Kings exchanged presents of chargers, but the “Mozaurca” mare alone, of those given by the most Christian King, was worth all the horses received by him from the King of England. On the day when the King of France went unexpectedly to Guisnes, the King of England gave him a jewelled collar, and placed it round his neck. In the centre of the collar is a pendent balass, (fn. 6) in the shape of a heart, supposed by some to be a carbuncle.
The Queens made presents to each other; the most Christian Queen gave the English Queen a litter of cloth of gold, with its mules and pages; receiving in exchange hobbies and very beautiful palfries, well trapped. Madame gave Cardinal Wolsey a jewelled crucifix, worth 6,000 crowns; and from the most Christian King he received gold vases to the amount of 20,000 crowns. To the Admiral the King of England gave a jewel worn by him in his cap, worth about 4,000 crowns, and gold vases worth 10,000 crowns. To the Master of the Horse, who in his presence at Guisnes wielded his heavy sword and other weapons, he gave gold vases to the amount of 1,800 crowns, and a jewel worth some 1,000 crowns. To Madame de Chateaubriand he gave a crucifix worth about 2,000 crowns. To Mons. de L'Escu a gown of cloth of gold, lined with beautiful sables. To the Constable a gold cup, studded with many and beautiful jewels, worth about 6,000 crowns.
Cardinal Wolsey gave the Admiral a very large salt-cellar, all of gold, studded with a number of very beautiful jewels, and surmounted by a St. George.
Other presents of horses, etc., were made, the particulars of which cannot be ascertained. The King of England gave 2,500 crowns for the French household (curia). Does not know what the King of France gave in return.
Liscen [Linck ?], 26th June 1520.
June 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix. p. 40. 95. Badoer, Giustinian, and Suman, Venetian Ambassadors to the Kings of France and England, to the Signory.
After the mass celebrated by Cardinal Wolsey, the Kings and Queens and others dined on the spot. Then they fought with pikes and long swords, and both Kings comported themselves valiantly. The next day each went to the lodging of the other, being invited by the Queens to most sumptuous banquets; and they were disguised in costly apparel. After they had amused themselves, the Queen of France gave the prize and honour of the joust to the King of England, namely, a diamond and a ruby in two rings; the Queen of England doing the like by the most Christian King. In the evening the two Kings took leave, and Madame [Louise] told the writers that they did so with tears. She also said that besides the chapel they meant to build a palace on the borders, with the intention of visiting each other frequently there.
Yesterday the most Christian King departed to Terouenne; the Queen and Madame to Boulogne.
Dated 26th June. Badoer,—Giustinian,—Surian.
Registered by Sanuto, 12th July.
June 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix. p. 47. 96. Francesco Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Signory.
Conference between and the Emperor the King of England appointed for the 8th of July. Cornaro was going to Antwerp to provide horses.
Dated 26th June. Registered by Sanuto, 18th July.
June 28. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix. p. 47. 97. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador with the King of England, to the Signory.
An Imperial envoy arrived yesterday to arrange the interview between the Emperor and the King. He announced that the retinue of the Emperor, of his brother Don Ferdinand, and of the Lady Margaret, would number 300 gentlemen, and requested that 150 chambers might be assigned them, each chamber to accommodate two gentlemen. The number appearing great to the English, they hinted that it should be diminished. Notwithstanding this, great preparations had been made and were still making for this visit.
The King of England is building a house of canvas and timber, and hung with tapestry, like the one made lately for the reception of the most Christian King.
On Wednesday next, the 4th, the King will go to Gravelines and cross the boundary stream to visit the Emperor within his own territory, and reciprocate the confidence displayed by the Emperor when he landed in England. On the Friday the King will return to Gravelines to accompany the Emperor to Calais, where they are to remain together only three days, namely, from the 7th till the 10th, when the Emperor will return to Flanders, and the King to England.
Calais, 28th June 1520. Registered by Sanuto, 18th July.
June 28. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxix. p. 47. 98. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador with the King of England, to the Signory.
The King of England had arrived there, and would hold a conference with the Emperor, who was expected.
Had been told by Cardinal Wolsey that he relies on making peace between Spain and France.
Calais, 28th June. Registered by Sanuto, 18th July.


  • 1. Cf. pp. 55,60.
  • 2. See Mr. Brewer's Calendar, vol. iii. p. 313.
  • 3. The celebration of this mass has been omitted by Hall, and as it displays the pompous manner in which Cardinal Wolsey officiated on the Field of Cloth of Gold, I translate in full the details of the ceremony, which is alluded to by Mr. Jerdan in a note at p. 46, Rutland Papers (Camden Society publication, A.D. 1842).
  • 4. “E la musica de Perino, tromboni e cornetti.”
  • 5. “Per el mezzo de Coalinie;” query soterranee, subterranean passages.
  • 6. “Balastes the Sanher.” See Hall, p. 620.