Venice: December 1530

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1871.

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, 'Venice: December 1530', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533, (London, 1871) pp. 265-273. British History Online [accessed 23 May 2024].

. "Venice: December 1530", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533, (London, 1871) 265-273. British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024,

. "Venice: December 1530", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533, (London, 1871). 265-273. British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024,

December 1530

Dec. 1. Parti Secrete, Consiglio X. Filza 3. 636. Divorce Case.
Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta for a letter to the Bailiff (Podestà) of Padua, Giovanni Vitturi.
The Imperial ambassador with the Signory (fn. 1) having several times requested them to allow Doctor Pietro Paulo Parisio, principal professor of civil law in the University of Padua, to give counsel's opinion in the English divorce case, they assent. Vitturi is to send for the aforesaid Dom. Pietro Paulo, and tell him that they permit him to give opinion in the case, enjoining him, however, to keep the most profound silence as to this their permission, save to the Imperial ambassador; and for the Signory's greater security, to swear Parisio upon oath, to observe the aforesaid injunction.
Vitturi to confer in the same secret manner with Dom. Marco da Mantoa, (fn. 2) who lectures on canon law in the University of Padua, and to tell him, in the Signory's name, to have a complete copy made for them of the opinion given by him (fn. 3) in said divorce case, with the name of the doctors who signed it; Vitturi to send the same enclosed in his letters addressed to the Chiefs of the Ten; said Dom. Marco being in like manner enjoined to keep silence, and not to tell any one soever, either of his having been asked for said copy, or of its having been delivered; and to this also Vitturi is to make him take oath; giving notice to the Chiefs of the execution of this order. (fn. 4)
Ayes, 20. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 3.
[Original draft, Italian.]
Dec. 2. Sforza Archives, Milan. 637. Augustino Scarpinello to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.
On the 17th ultimo, I wrote account of current events here, and most especially of the recent arrest of Cardinal Wolsey. Subsequently the King, having determined on his removal to this castle of London, sent Captain Kingston with his guard to effect it. On arriving at a place (fn. 5) sixty miles hence (sic) he found the Cardinal very ill, and in bed, so that the day before he had confessed and communicated; and although the captain exhorted him to hope for the best from his King's clemency, declaring that he was to convey him at his entire convenience, and that he might remain where he was so long as he pleased, yet at the end of two days he departed this life, at the close of which he drew a deep and loud sigh; and some six hours afterwards there was put into the earth that personage who had prepared for his remains a more costly mausoleum than any royal or papal monument in the world, so that the King intends it to serve for himself, post multos et felices annos, having caused the Cardinal's arms to be erased from it.
It is said that his right reverend lordship's indisposition was preceded by two very bad symptoms. When first arrested, owing to mental depression, he would take no food, nisi coactus and then came flux, and he could not retain anything in his stomach. According to report, his mind never wandered at the last, and on seeing Captain Kingston, he made his attendants raise him in his bed, where he knelt; and whenever he heard the King's name mentioned he bowed his head, putting his face downwards. He then asked Captain Kingston where his guards were, and being answered that lodging was provided for them in several chambers on the ground floor of the palace (palaccio) he requested they might all be sent for into his presence. So as many having entered as the place would hold, he raised himself as much as he could, saying that on the day before he had taken the sacrament, and expected soon to find himself before the supreme judgment seat, so that at such an extremity, he ought not to fail speaking the truth, or leave any other opinion of him than such as was veracious; adding, “I pray God that sacrament may be to the damnation of my soul, if ever I thought to do disservice to my King.”
The noblemen, however, who are at the head of the government say (without entering into any detail) that great (grande) were the causes which induced his Majesty to order the arrest of the Cardinal, together with whom they seized a physician in his service, a Venetian, by name Messer Augustino, (fn. 6) and immediately at the commencement, having brought him to London to the house of the Duke of Norfolk and examined him without any violence, he found great favour (which he still enjoys) with said Duke, who gives him a good character; so it is supposed that his deposition justified the capture of the Cardinal, and it certainly may be supposed that his Majesty would not have acted thus without strong causes. It is undeniable that a few days before the arrest, certain letters from the aforesaid physician, Maestro Augustino, which contained a few lines in cipher, were intercepted. According to the report of some people, they were addressed to the French ambassador [Passano?] who was at Dover building a hermitage on a rock in the sea. (fn. 7) It is also said that the letters were addressed to the ambassador, for delivery by him to other persons; and that the cipher merely contained a request for some favour and intercession on the part of his most Christian Majesty with King Henry.
Moreover, in order not to omit acquainting your Excellency also with the common reports concerning this matter, I have to add that amongst the vulgar, some say that the Cardinal meditated escape to Scotland, others to France, both which opinions I consider frivolous, as the Cardinal could not suppose that for his sake the most Christian King would renounce so valuable a friendship as that of the King of England, the same consideration being applicable to the King of Scotland. Others declare that he had treated about going to Rome, and gave the Pope advice about the mode he should adopt to thwart the proceedings of the English Government against him (the Cardinal), and for the diminution of the ecclesiastical authority in England; so that all, in ignorance of the truth, go guessing what he might have machinated. (fn. 8)
Such at leuerth was the end of the man who boasted that he ruled the whole world.
It is said that the King somewhat regrets this catastrophe, most especially as a few days before he ordered this arrest, when discussing and debating certain important affairs with his Privy Council, he exclaimed, “Daily do I miss the Cardinal of York” (omne giorno mi manca il Cardinale Eboracense).
Concerning other affairs in England, there is nothing new. His Majesty is staying at Hampton Court, where he resides willingly. For the present, nothing is done or heard in London about the divorce, all the proceedings and acts taking place in Italy. A few days ago the King proclaimed to all the magnates (magnati) and magistrates (sindici) of the kingdom, the opinions and sentences of the doctors and universities in favour of his suit, so that this intelligence might circulate amongst the vulgar and the populace.
Some while ago, his Majesty requested the Pope to create two of his servants cardinals, naming the reverend Auditor [Ghinucci, “auditor di Camera” of Pope Julius II.], and the Prothonotary Casal, now ambassador at Venice. His Holiness having hitherto delayed doing so, and as Christmas is approaching, the King has now urged his request through two couriers, so that should the Pope be of opinion that he cannot gratify him with regard to the more important affair, he may not fail to oblige him by promoting the aforesaid individuals, or at least one of them, namely the Auditor, his Majesty making a declaration to that effect in his petition.
I have nothing else to mention in this letter, save to continue my petitions to your Excellency for some benign and merciful recollection of my plight, which assuredly deserves the commiseration of my Lord, to whom I pray God to grant long and good health, and to second all his wishes.
London, 2nd December 1530.
Signed: Your most Illustrious and most Excellent Lordship's humble servant, Augustino Scarpinello.
[Original, Italian.]
Dec. 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p. 180. 638. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Signory.
The Pope is determined to accept the Council, and will go to Bologna in Lent. The most Christian King exhorts him to consent to the Council, but wishes it to be held at Turin. The Pope told him (Surian), that the King of France purposes coming to take the Milanese, by the advice of his mother, who says he has many children and must obtain territory for them; and the Pope has sent word to the Duke of Milan to marry speedily, even should he have to take a peasant wench (una vilana) because, having children, he will rid many persons of their designs upon his duchy.
News from England that the King has sent Cardinal Wolsey to the Tower (in fondi di torre) some say on account of having found letters written by him to the Pope to be re-appointed legate in England; some in order yet more to facilitate (favorir) the divorce from the Queen [by intimidation?].
Rome, 6th December. Registered by Sanuto, 10th December.
Dec. [8?]. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p, 251. 639. Lodovico Falier to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey died on the 1st (sic) at — 25 miles (sic) from London (fn. 9); he became dropsical, and flux supervened, so that he died in — days. His obsequies were performed very unostentatiously, (fn. 10) and the King has had all his effects conveyed to his (the King's palace.
With regard to the divorce, some placards in English have been posted over London; encloses one of them, which Sanuto will perhaps transcribe, if able to obtain it. The King therein narrates his reasons for choosing to be divorced from the Queen, the Emperor's sister.
The King has written to the Pope to make two cardinals at his request, viz., the Bishop of London [Stokisley], who was at Venice for his Majesty, and the resident ambassador, Prothonotary Casal.
London, (8?) December. Registered by Sanuto 11th January 1531.
Dec. 10. Parti Secrete, Consiglio X. Filza 3. 640. Divorce Case.
Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta by the chiefs, for a letter to the Captain of Padua.
The Council having heard what took place concerning counsel's opinion in the case of the English divorce, and as it is fitting to comply with the request of the Imperial ambassador:
Put to the ballot, that a letter be written to the Signory's Captain of Padua, desiring him to summon Dom. Pietro Paulo Parisio, and desire him to attend the Doge and the chiefs of this Council, who will acquaint him that, notwithstanding the prohibition which he received some months ago, the Signory permits him to give opinion in the English divorce case according to the dictates of his conscience; the Captain to enjoin profound silence to said Dom. Pietro Paulo, administering to him an oath to that effect.
Ayes, 24. Noes, 4. Neutral, 1.
A letter was composed in execution of the foregoing decree.
[Original draft, Italian.]
Dec. 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p. 225. 641. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
On the . . . December the Archduchess Margaret died in 24 hours at . . . . . (blank in manuscript), on the . . December. She had a cutaneous sore (fn. 11) on her leg, and chose to have it cauterized, and she expired. She leaves as heir the Emperor, who, including silver vessels and jewels, will have . . . . . thousand ducats, and an annual revenue of 60,000 ducats, namely 30,000 derived from her paternal property, and 30,000 received by her from the Emperor for the government of Flanders. The French regret this death extremely, because they thought the archduchess would have been a good mediatrix to remodel the articles stipulated about the affairs of Burgundy, and the Emperor declares he shall insist on their punctual observance.
Negotiations are on foot for the marriage of the Princess of England to the Dauphin, and of the daughter of the Queen widow of Portugal to the Duke of Orleans. Owing to this death of the Archduchess Margaret, it is supposed that the interview between the Kings will not take place.
The English ambassador [Sir Francis Bryan] (fn. 12) has announced the death of Cardinal Wolsey; he meditated escape to Scotland, when the King desired his chamberlain (fn. 13) to arrest him, so he went with 1,500 horse, the Cardinal having 300. When they met the chamberlain desired him to dismiss his retinue, as he was the King's prisoner. The Cardinal requested a delay of two days, and taking from his pouch a phial containing a certain electuary (un certo electuario) he swallowed it, and died.
Melun, 14th December 1530. Registered by Sanuto 5th January 1531.
Dec. 16. Sorza Archives, Milan. 642. Augustino Scarpinello to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.
By my last of the 17th ultimo and 2nd instant, I announced first the arrest, and then the death of the late Cardinal of York, nor did 1 omit the various opinions concerning the causes of his capture and and infirmity, and the mode of his demise.
It has since been ascertained by his writings and letters, and also by the deposition of Messer Augustino, his physician, that in the state to which he was reduced he could not refrain from labouring to recover that which he enjoyed formerly. To effect this he attempted to induce the most Christian King, and the Pope likewise, to assist and favour him, for which purpose he gave them sundry hints and suggestions, with regard to certain ways and means but slightly advantageous or satisfactory to his own sovereign. Some say that he proposed a plan to the most Christian King, or rather promised him, that on his (Wolsey's) return to his former post, he would cancel the debt due from France to England; whilst to his Holiness he demonstrated how he ought and might retain summum jus in ecclesiastical matters in England. But the serpent being dead, his poison also died; he has at length disappeared, nor is there any longer remembrance of him. (fn. 14)
Subsequently, on the 10th instant, I received your Excellency's letters of the 29th October, writen from Venice, (fn. 15) which comforted me uncommonly, as they are of rare occurrence; and most especially as they also announced your great satisfaction at the loving and honourable demonstrations of good will made by the most Illustrious Signory towards you. I pray God that they may produce the earnestly desired effect, and firm and perpetual friendship.
Concerning the loan through the Earl of Wiltshire, your Excellency will have heard the reply in the negative. Your instructions had prescribed recourse to Wiltshire alone, whose assistance was feeble, but no better result could have been obtained had any other course been pursued.
Little is being done here about the divorce, as of late they have been endeavouring to obtain favourable votes and opinions from many universities, and other learned private individuals, partly in France, and partly in Italy and other countries; and after collecting them in great number they exhibited them to the Pope, and at length a work was compiled by the convocation of Primates (per convocatione di primati) so that these votes and opinions might be generally known by the English people. To confute this work 3,000 copies have been distributed of a pamphlet (operecta) in the English tongue, entitled “The Practyse of Prelates” (la Pratica di Prelati) in which the aforesaid votes and opinions were attacked. This was answered by a public edict, printed and posted in all the most conspicuous places, in such tenor as by the enclosed Italian translation—for the purpose of answering the aforesaid “Practyse,” etc., and circulating these votes and opinions, for the comprehension of all men. It may be inferred that the King's Government are firmly resolved to accomplish what they have hitherto attempted. At the next meeting of Parliament, which is to take place at Candlemas, the result of the matter may possibly be known.
The author of the aforesaid work, entitled “Practyse of Prelates,” (Pratica di Prelati) by name Tindaro sen Tindal, is an Englishman, and for some while (et he parechj giorni) has lived, and is at present living, in Germany, and is said to be a man magnœ doctrinœ. His brother, together with certain other persons, who went about circulating this work in vulgus were lately paraded through London, along the public thoroughfares (per plateas publicas) with pasteboard mitres on their heads, bearing an inscription, thus, Peccasse contra mandata Regis and the book suspended from their necks; and having completed the circuit of the thoroughfares, they were ordered to cast the pamphlet into the fire prepared for that purpose.
Two days ago a king-at-arms, called Guienne, arrived here from his most Christian Majesty, to announce the tournament and joust which is to be held at Paris in honour of the French Queen's coronation, and to invite all the knights-jousters. It is supposed that the English King will not fail to send personages thither in his name, and to encourage other knights to attend the ceremony
His Majesty is still at Hampton Court, enjoying his usual sports (sportj) and royal exercises, and the Queen remains constantly with him, nor does she at all omit to follow her lord and husband, so much reciprocal courtesy (mansuetuline) being displayed in public that anyone acquainted with the controversy cannot but consider their conduct more than human.
The Lady Princess [Mary] is always apart, at a distance of 10 or 15 miles, with a suitable establishment, and is heard to be already advanced in wisdom and stature (graude et di corpo et di apiritu).
It merely remains for me humbly to recommend myself to your Excellency's good favour, and pray you to provide for me, as graciously promised by your letters, for it is now impossible for me any longer to maintain myself.
London, 16th December 1530.
Signed: Augustino Scarpinello.
Addressed: To the most Illustrious and most Excellent Lord Duke of Milan.
[Original, Italian.]
Dec. 17. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p. 229. 643. — to the Marquis of Mantua.
The Emperor arrived this evening an hour before sunset. It is supposed that by the death of Madame Margaret he will inherit an annual rental exceeding one hundred thousand crowns, besides ready money, jewels, and costly furniture to a great amount. They will now occupy themselves with the election of the King of the Romans, (fn. 16) and take the Flanders journey sooner than was expected, as it is argued that the Emperor's presence at the King's coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle is unnecessary and unbecoming.
Cardinal Wolsey and his physician, by name Messer Agostino degli Agostini, a Venetian, have been arrested in England, and they are expected to fare badly.
Cologne, 17th December. Registered by Sanuto 5th Jan. 1531.
Dec. 17. Parti Secrete, Consiglio X., Filza 3. 644. Divorce Case.
Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta by the chiefs.
The Imperial ambassador resident here having requested the Signory to be allowed to have a copy made of the counsel's opinion given by Dom. Marco da Mantoa, concerning the English divorce case, which opinion by order of this Council was sent hither by the Signory's governors of Padua, said ambassador not being content with the mere recital of said opinion, which the Signory offered to have read him one and more times:
Put to the ballot, that according to the request of said magnifico the Imperial ambassador, he be allowed to have a copy made of the counsel's opinion given by said Dom. Marco in the matter aforesaid.
Ayes, 19. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 3.
[Original draft, Italian.]
Dec. 22. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p. 204. 645. Antonio Suriax to the Signory.
With regard to the Council, the Pope has prorogued it from the 1st of September to the 1st of November, to be held in Italy in the place mentioned, and he sends the Prothonotary Gambara to the Emperor. The Pope has received letters from Flanders, announcing the death of Madame Margaret, and Sir Gregory Casal writes to him from Bologna that Cardinal Wolsey is dead. The affair of the divorce continues, and it is expected that sentence will be passed in favour of the Queen. The King having persuaded the Pope at his request to confer the grade of Cardinal on Ghinucci, auditor of the chamber, who favoured this divorce, the Imperial cardinals opposed the nomination, so that nothing was done.
The Pope said to him (Surian) that should the French come into Italy to take the Milanese, the Signory must assist the Duke. Replied that the Signory will observe the articles, which pleased the Pope. His Holiness has written to the King of England, to nominate some other Englishman, whom the Pope will create Cardinal. The Queen is now called “Mistress Katharine.”
Rome, 22nd December. Registered by Sanuto 27th December.
Dec. 28. Sanuto Diaries, v. liv. p. 322. 646. Lodovico Falier to the Signory.
The Pope has written a brief concerning the divorce, authorizing the appointment of judges, but neither the King nor Queen are agreed about the choice of them.
London, 28th December 1530. Registered by Sanuto 5th February 1531.
Dec. 28. Deliberaziotii Senato Seereta. File no. 10. 647. The Doge and Senate to the Governors of Padua.
In reply to their inquiries about the mode to be observed by them on the entry into that city of Cardinal Pisani (fn. 17), should the ambassadors of the King of England and the Duke of Milan be present, the Bailiff (Podestà) is to accompany the English ambassador, taking precedence of him, (fn. 18) and explaining with all modesty; and the Captain is to do the like by the Milanese ambassador, they, the governors, preceding, as they personally represent the Signory.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 49. Neutrals, 10.


  • 1. Rodrigo Niño. (See Andrea Movosini, vol. i. p. 366.)
  • 2. Marco Mantova, alias Benavidio, a Paduan, born in the year 1489, and who died at the ape of ninety-three. He was one of the most celebrated jurisconsults of his period, and there is a very line bronze bust of him in the museum attached to St. Mark's Library.
  • 3. “De quanto 1'ha conseglià.”
  • 4. The draft is headed by an order for the “Bailiff” to read the letter alone implying that he was not even to communicate its contents to his colleague, the “Captain” of Padua.
  • 5. Qy. Sheffield Park. (See Cavendish, p. 186.)
  • 6. Concerning the betrayal of Wolsey by Agostini, alius Dr. Austin, see Cavendish, pp. 175, 179, 181, and 182.
  • 7. “Il quale era in Dobla, ad fabricare uno certo hermitagio in uno scoglio di mare.”
  • 8. “Di modo che ciaschun non sapendone la verità., va ariolando quello ha possuto machinare.”
  • 9. Cardinal Wolsey died at Leicester abbey, ninety-eight miles from London, on the 29th November 1530. (See Cavendish, and Ellis's Letters, vol. ii., p. 19.)
  • 10. “Molto ferialmente.” Cavendish writes (p. 202), “and about three of the clock, he was buried of the abbot with great solemnity.”
  • 11. “Una lova” (Lupus?).
  • 12. See “State Papers,” vol. vii., part v., p. 271.
  • 13. Not the Chamberlain but the Constable of the Tower, Sir William Kingston; or Mr. Walter Welch, or the Earl of Northumberland. (See Cavendish).
  • 14. “Et verum morto il serpe morto anco suo veneno; tandem evanuit et non est amplms de eo memoria.”
  • 15. In Sanuto's Diaries (vol. liv.) there is an account of the Duke of Milan at Venice, in October 1530, and amongst the regulations concerning his reception is an edict from the Council of Ten, forbidding poor noblemen to ask alms of him.
  • 16. Ferdinand I., brother of Charles V. was elected King of the Romans on the 5th January 1531.
  • 17. Cardinal Francesco Pisani was elected Bishop of Padua in the year 1524.
  • 18. That is to say, placing the ambassador on his left hand.