Venice: December 1558

Pages 1-4

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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December 1558

1558. Dec. 17. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 1. Il Schifanoya to Gabriel e Calzont, Chancellor of the Duke of Mantua at Brussels.
Last Wednesday I wrote to the Abbot of San Saluto and to the [Mantuan] ambassador, touching the obsequies of the late Queen, as you will have seen. Nothing has since occurred, except that Lord William Howard, Chamberlain of the present Queen, has been hourly expected to depart for the Court of King Philip, but some business of importance has detained him.
The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports [Sir Thomas Cheney, K.G.] died yesterday; he was old, but a very expert captain and soldier, and by his death two good offices will be vacant, the one Warden of the Cinque Ports, and the other Treasurer of the Household. This Queen therefore will have an opportunity for rewarding her servants.
The three principal dignities are still in her Majesty's hands, viz., those of the Lord Chancellor, (fn. 1) of the Privy Seal, (fn. 2) and of the Lord Treasurer, (fn. 3) and it is supposed that they will not be filled until the New Year or at the Coronation.
Some persons are of opinion that Dr. [Nicholas] Wotton, who is negotiating the peace at Brussels will be made Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Bedford Privy Seal. Others say that Paget will be confirmed in his post or be made Lord Chancellor, leaving only the archbishopric of Canterbury to Wotton. If Paget were able to transact business this would be possible, but he has a double quartan ague, which makes it doubtful. The vast political experience of the Marquis of Winchester causes it to be generally supposed that he will remain Treasurer, but as yet nothing is certain.
The affairs of the religion continue as usual, but I hear that at the Court when the Queen is present, a priest officiates, who says certain prayers with the litanies in English after the fashion of King Edward. I pray God to grant that worse may not happen. They then say Vespers and Compline in the old style.
Yesterday at the Court they began to dance a little before supper In two or three days the Court leaves the Palace, and will pass the holidays at Westminster.
London, 17th December 1558. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
Dec. 31. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 2. Il Schifanoya to Ottaviano Vivaldino, Ambassador from Mantua at the Court of King Philip in Brussels.
Until now I have believed that the matters of religion would continue in the accustomed manner, her Majesty having promised this with her own mouth many times; but now I have lost faith, and I see that by little and little they are returning to the [former] bad use (mat uso). On Christmas day the Bishop of Carlisle [Owen Oglethorpe] sang high mass, and her Majesty sent to tell him that he was not to elevate the host; to which the good Bishop replied that thus had he learnt the mass, and that she must pardon him as he could not do otherwise; so the Gospel being ended, her Majesty rose and departed, and on other days it has been so done by her chaplains.
On the same day in the church of St. Augustine, assigned to the Italian nation, two individuals (whom I will not call preachers, for they were mechanics and cobblers), followed by a very great mob, entered [the church] by force, breaking the locks of the doors. Both of them leaped into the pulpit, and, book in hand, commenced reading and preaching to the people one following the other, uttering a thousand ribaldries concerning the reign of the blessed memory of Queen Mary and of the Cardinal [Pole], and vituperating the people for the errors they had committed in believing their former teachers; so that never was there seen a finer metamorphosis than two rogues at once preaching in the same pulpit!
This took place in the morning, and in the afternoon they did the like in the church of St. Anthony, (fn. 4) which heretofore was assigned to the French nation, and also on St. Stephen's day. They meant to continue their practices on the other holidays, but were given to understand by the Queen that neither they nor any other persons were any longer to preach, for fear of greater scandal or of some insurrection, as many disputes and controversies had already taken place. Yesterday, therefore, her Majesty, by a printed public proclamation, commanded that no one of whatever grade or condition should presume to preach, say, treat, or teach in any other mode nor according to any other use than had hitherto been customary in the churches, nor to alter or change any ecclesiastical ceremony, except that they were to recite both the Gospel and the Epistle, and the Ten Commandments in English, not adding to them nor giving other interpretations, together with the Litany, in the mode used and practised in her Majesty's own Chapel, under penalty of punishment according to the offence.
I hear, nevertheless, that in the said Chapel they have commenced singing the hours and the whole office in English, and if God gives me life till to-morrow I will ascertain the fact, for business keeps me at home.
This proclamation remains in force till the meeting of Parliament, which will commence on the 25th January 1559, nor is there any doubt of things going worse, though hitherto everyone says mass and the office in the old way, and the friars and priests follow the usual ritual; but in certain places in the realm they have commenced going in procession without a cross, and saying the litanies used in the time of King Edward.
Yesterday evening Lord Grey arrived. He had been taken prisoner by the French at the capture of Guisnes, of which place he was Captain and Governor. He is supposed to have come upon parole, perhaps to find money for payment of his ransom, or for some other negotiation not yet announced.
The mission of Lord William, (fn. 5) her Majesty's Lord Chamberlain, to King Philip, has vanished into smoke, nor will he any longer go to Brussels; and it is also thought that he will not remain long in his office, owing to his usual insolences.
They are preparing here for the Coronation, and work day and night both on holidays and week days.
The Wardenship of the Cinque Ports has been given to a young gentleman called Master Carri (sic) (fn. 6); it became vacant through the death of the Lord Warden. The Earl of Arundel [Henry Fitz-Alan twenty-first Earl] is made Lord Steward as he was before, and the Treasurer [Sir William Paulett, K.G., Marquis of Winchester] is confirmed in his office; while the whole of the Marquisate and the Order of the Garter has been restored to the Marquis of Northampton [William Parr], and he has been made one of the chief members of the Council.
The Court is held at Westminster, and they are intent on amusing themselves and on dancing till after midnight.
The deanery of the late Queen's Chapel, which was held by Monsignor Hutchenson, is given to a priest by name Carey, Doctor in Divinity, late chaplain of her Majesty when she was Lady Elizabeth.
The household of Cardinal Pole will be entirely broken up to-morrow, all being dismissed to their homes except the Italians, some of whom depart for Italy, and others remain with Monsignor Priuli.
London, 31st December 1558. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
Royal Proclamation. [Copy, enclosed in preceding.]
Per Reginam.
Regia Maestas, intelligens quosdam esse, qui, olim in Ecclesia functi, nunc in proposito habent priori suo officio, quod ad prædicandum atque ministrandum attinet, uti, et partim idipsum aggressos esse (gregatim quasi convocantes populi ingentem multitudinem), præsertim in Iocis nonnullis civitatis Londinensis: qua in re inter communem plebem nedum infrugifferæ disceptationes publicæ pacis dissolvendæ exoriantur: secundum auctoritatem Mtieius commissam, eo ut omnes cuiusvis generis subditos suos pacatos redderet: existimavit idcirco necessarium esse jubere, atque adeo imperare, quemadmodum præsentibus Mtas eius jubet atque imperat, omnibus quibuscumque suis subditis, tam illis qui ad ministerium in Ecclesia utuntur, quam cæteris universis, ut prædicare vel docere, vel aures ullius sortis doctrinæ aut prædicationi abhibere cessent, aliæ quam Evangeliorum et Epistolarum, quas vulgo Evangelium et Epistolam dici nominamus, et Præceptorum Decern, in vulgari lingua, absque explanatione sive adjectione cujuscumque sensus, aut intellectus applicandi, aut adjiciendi, aut alio modo publicarum orationurn, rituum, vel ceremoniarum uti, præter eum qui jam nunc usurpatur et lege comprobatur, aut communem Littaniam receptam in præsenti in ejus Maestatis una Capella, atque Orationem Dominicam, et Simbolum Apostolorum, Anglice, usquequo consultatio haberi per Parlamentum poterit, per Maestatem eius atque tres suos Status hujus Regni, ob potiorem conciliationem atque concordiam ejusmodi causarum, ejusmodi in præsentiarum in rebus atque ceremoniis religionis monentur (sic). Cujus veram dignitatem, ad debitum omnipotentis Dei honorem, [ac] virtutis et pietatis, cum universali charitate et concordia, inter populum ejus incrementum, Mtas eius præcipue affectat, et effectu in animo habet, modis omnibus possibilibus, procurare et restaurare huic suo regno.
Ad quod, quemadmodum Maestas ejus instanter requirit omnes suos probos, fidos, et amantes subditos, ut debita hobedientia assensum præbeant atque invocent: ita si qui sese ad earn constringendam obstinate gesserint, Mtas ejus et debet et vult eosdem juxta debita afflictos videre, turn pro qualitate culpæ, turn pro exemplo omnium aliorum comptemptui habentium Mtis ejus rationi tam quadrans præceptum.
Datum apud Pallatium Matis suæ Wastmester Monasterij, xxvij. Decembris die, primo M. E. Regni anno.
Deus Reginam servet.
Impressum Londinj per Ricchardum Jugge, Impressorem Reg. Mtis.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.
1559. Jan. 1. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 3. Michiel Surian and Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassadors with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Michiel Surian presented his successor Paulo Tiepolo to King Philip, with whom Tiepolo condoled, in the name of the Republic on the Emperor's death and on that of his consort, and also on that of his aunt Queen Mary of Hungary; adding that he was commissioned by the Signory not only to preserve the peace and good


  • 1. Nicholas Heath.
  • 2. William, Lord Paget, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Lord Privy Seal.
  • 3. Sir William Paulett, K.G., Marquis of Winchester, Lord High Treasurer.
  • 4. This name is obscure in the original. The church of St. Anthony's Hospital, in Threadneedle Street, seems to be intended. See Dugdale's Monasticon, VI. 766; Smiles's Huguenots, 103.
  • 5. William, first Lord Howard of Effingham.
  • 6. This office was not filled up till 28th April 1559, when it was given to William Brooke, Lord Cobham. (See Patent Rolls, 1 Eliz. part 9.) A few days after the date of this letter, viz. on 13th January 1559, Sir Henry Carey was created Baron Hunsdon. (Ib. part 4.)