Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1, 1509-1514. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1920.

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'Preface', Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1, 1509-1514, (London, 1920), pp. vii-xxv. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "Preface", in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1, 1509-1514, (London, 1920) vii-xxv. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

. "Preface", Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1, 1509-1514, (London, 1920). vii-xxv. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,



Introducing this second edition, it is the Editor's first, sad, duty to call to mind the death of his friend and teacher, Dr. James Gairdner, who did the spade-work of the first edition and subsequently, as Mr. Brewer's assistant and successor, saw the whole series of twenty-one volumes prepared and printed. Dr. Gairdner's literary work is well known and the reader should consult especially the preface to the fourth volume of his Lollardy and the Reformation (edited by Dr. Hunt) for an account of his life and writings. Let it here suffice to say that after Mr. Brewer's death in February 1879, all the volumes of this Calendar, from the fifth onwards, were edited by Dr. Gairdner; and that the ardent desire of his later years was to see a new edition of this first volume, which had long been out of print and was not only marred by faults of haste and inexperience, but also, in the light of later discoveries, defective. Most of the manuscript of the present edition was seen and approved by him, but only about a hundred pages had been passed for press when failing eyesight compelled him to resign his responsibility for the work.

Seeing that the documents, described in the first edition number apparently 5,790 and those in this edition, including appendix, only 3,643, it may well be asked how the increase in bulk is to be explained and the claim of enlargement established. The answer is that owing to an error in numeration after No. 2099 the number of entries is really 900 less than 5,790, namely 4,890, and of these about 3,530 are "Grants" (fn. 1) which are now, following the practice of later volumes of the series, taken together at the ends of the months, each group counting only as one number. Documents other than "Grants" described in the first edition number about 1,360. In this edition they number about 3,564, and, moreover, the groups of grants include some 200 new entries from Confirmation Rolls and Charter Rolls. Some of the other new entries, too, describe many documents under one heading, for instance, No. 3613 describes 468 separate papers.

The only innovation upon the system hitherto followed is the taking of the commissions of the peace separately in the Appendix and the giving of marginal references to documents preserved in the Public Record Office. When the first edition appeared, the work of arrangement of the Public Records had not proceeded far enough to permit of this and they were simply indicated by the letters "R.O." (meaning Record Office, as "B.M." meant British Museum). "Adv. MS." which appears frequently in the margin of these pages, and also in Vols. II. and III., is now the only reference requiring explanation. It refers to a book in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, known as "MS. 35, 5, 9 ii." containing copies of a large number of letters from and to James IV. and James V. between the years 1505 and 1524. A much faded note on folio 2 shows that the book was made before the year 1566. "This bwike pertenis to Jhone Blakater of Tilliallen, lent be him out of Tilliallen ye ... day of Jan[ivere ?] ye zeir of God lxvi ... yer ***." Several copies (fn. 2) are extant, in later handwritings, of a collection of the most important of these letters, a collection which was printed by Ruddiman in the year 1722 as Epistolœ Regum Scotorum, Vol. I. I may here take the opportunity to correct an omission. "Adv. MS." also contains copies of the following letters in this volume, Nos. 12 (Adv. MS. 241), 13 (Adv. 243), 29 (Adv. 298), 105 (Adv. 266), 281 (Adv. 274), 299 (Adv. 233), and 305 (Adv. 256, dated Edinburgh, 2 Aug. 1509).

It was at first intended simply to reprint such abstracts as had appeared in the first edition, and for the first hundred pages or so this has been done; but it soon appeared that many errors would thus be perpetuated and therefore all the subsequent entries were carefully revised. The original wording of Mr. Brewer's abstracts has however been retained as far as possible. A key to all the entries in the first edition will be found in Part 3, page lxxv.

The "Notes and Errata" at the end of Part 3 should not be overlooked.

An index to work so highly concentrated as these Henry VIII. calendars is necessarily large, but it is sometimes asked "What is the use of the masses of references following such headings as "Charles," "France," "Henry VIII.," or "Louis XII.?" The simplest way of explaining this use is to take one or two examples. Suppose an undated copy of No. 742 is found and it is desired to know whether the letter is in the Calendar. Consulting the Index, under "Ferdinand" we find a long list of "letters from" and under "Henry VIII." a still longer list of "letters to." Common to both lists are numbers 21, 166, 556, 742, 1011, 1369 and 2459. The letter in question, if calendared, must be one of these, and we might look them up one by one; but there is an additional clue, the name "Carroz." Under "Carroz" we find another long list of references, but of the above seven numbers only four, 556, 742, 1011 and 1369, are in it. Further, the Moors are mentioned, and turning to "Barbary" we find another long list which, however, contains only two of these four numbers, 556 and 742; so that our undated letter must be one of these two. Take another common form of enquiry. What references have we to Julius II.'s dealings with the Swiss cantons? Under "Julius" we find rank upon rank of figures; under "Switzerland" the like; but common to both lists only 333, 366, 402, 562, 714, 754, 982, 1101, 1127, 1141, 1312, 1352, 1491, 1568, 1953, 2029, 2242; and only these need be looked up for the information desired. The above examples, taken at random, show how the ranks of figures which at first sight appal the hurried enquirer may quickly be converted to his service; and, although to some the matter may seem too simple to need explanation and others may think the explanation might be carried further, we will leave it here as a reminder that even in the using of an index there are degrees of proficiency.

A historical introduction to the documents described in this volume is supplied by Brewer's preface, reprinted in Part 3. It may, however, be useful to state briefly that the period embraced extends from Henry VIII.'s accession on the 21st April 1509, to the end of the year 1514, when peace with France was supposed to be finally secured by the marriage of the King's sister Mary to Louis XII. At the beginning of the new reign, war with France was inevitable. The English nation expected of their King that he should prove his title to the throne by recovering the realm of France which their grandfathers shed their blood to win—and lost. Preparations for the war guided Henry's policy until the actual outbreak of hostilities in the spring of 1513; and a war followed in which the English leaders seem to have had no other aim than to display their individual prowess and were only saved from disaster by the folly of their adversaries at Guinegate and Flodden. In the following summer the war was ended by Wolsey's inauguration of the new policy of an alliance with France, for which the people of England never forgave him. Through it all moved the sinister figures of the King's allies, Ferdinand the Catholic, darkly intent on thwarting his son-in-law's aims, and the needy Emperor Maximilian thirsting for his money.

This period coincides with the phenomenal rise of Wolsey from the position of a King's chaplain to complete ascendancy in the King's Council. Among men who have attained extraordinary eminence under the English Crown, Wolsey stands alone. After his downfall he writes to Gardiner that he never set store by riches save as a means of declaring his King's honour, doing good deeds and helping his servants and kinsfolk (fn. 3); but beyond his son, Thomas Winter, we know none of his kin. If George Wolsey, who had been his servant and was hanged by the Lincolnshire rebels in 1536, Robert Woolse (fn. 4), priest, and Fairchild (fn. 5) were relations they were of even humbler origin than himself. His father is never named in Nathaniel Bacon's Annals among the many men who held office in Ipswich. Family influence gave him no start in life, and although he enjoyed the confidence of his sovereign he was never a favourite in the sense that applies to Burghley under Elizabeth or Buckingham under James I. By his own exertions he rose and by ecclesiastical position rather than by royal favour he held in later years the place of a second king in the realm.

One Robert Wolsey of Ipswich made a will (fn. 6) and died early in October, 1496, directing that his body should be buried in the church of St. Mary, Newmarket, that 6s. 8d. should be given to the high altar of St. Nicholas' church in Ipswich and 40s. to the painting of the archangel there, that his son Thomas, if ordained priest within a year, should sing for his soul by the space of one year and receive ten marks as salary, otherwise some honest priest should be engaged to do it and have the salary, that his wife Joan should have his houses in Ipswich and lands in South Stoke "to give and sell," that his other goods should be disposed of at the discretion of his executors, who were to be his widow, his son Thomas and Thomas Cady, and that Richard Farrington should have the supervision of the will and he and Cady take 13s. 4d. each for their pains. We infer from this that Robert Wolsey came to Ipswich from the neighbourhood of Newmarket, that he was a grazier and butcher (fn. 7), that he had only one child, Thomas, who was then about 25 years old (the earliest age for being ordained priest) and that he was what we should call "fairly well to do," ten marks being equivalent to nearly 70l. of our money. Stoke is the southern suburb of Ipswich and from Bacon's Annals we learn that Cady was bailiff of the prior of Ely's manor there. (fn. 8) Of Farrington we know nothing.

Thomas Wolsey was ordained priest, by the bishop of Lidda, at Marlborough, 10 March 1497–8, half a year too late to earn the ten marks, he being then a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford (fn. 9), where he acted as junior bursar of his College in 1498–9 and senior bursar the following year. (fn. 10) In the winter of 1496–7 a Venetian ambassador lodged at Magdalen College (fn. 11) and the fact is interesting in connection with the mention in this Volume (fn. 12) of a "friend of Venice," whom we may certainly identify as Wolsey. He was presented by the Marquis of Dorset to the rectory of Limington in Somersetshire and inducted in October 1500. When his mother died we do not know; but she was dead in December 1509 (fn. 13) and Wolsey must already have had the command of large sums of money when he was able to purchase the bull of 3 November 1501, granting dispensation of all ecclesiastical sentences and penalties with licence to hold two cures or incompatible benefices and be non-resident from both, provided that he reside in any place of study or other benefice with or without cure of souls (fn. 14). Under this bull he held the rectories of Limington (valued in the Valor Ecclesiasticus at 21l. odd) from 1500, Redgrave in Suffolk (25l.) from 1506, Lydd in Kent (55l.) from 1506 and Great Torrington in Devon (58l.) from 1510. Among the last payments made by Henry VII. we have, in the week following 25 February 1509, "Item to Master Fisher and Master Wolsey, for 2,000 masses to be said at London for the King's Grace, at 6d. the mass, 50l." and on 13 March following, "To Master Wolsey in full payment of 8,000 masses to be said for the King's Grace at Oxford and Cambridge, at 6d. the mass, 150l." (fn. 15) Wolsey and Richard Fisher were then chaplains of Henry VII., the former being already dean both of Lincoln and Hereford. (fn. 16)

With Henry VIII.'s accession began that long game of intrigue in the King's Council which lasted until his death and gives to the history of the reign a peculiar interest; for although other councillors doubtless played it under earlier kings the records are too meagre for us to follow the moves, while for similar intrigues in later courts the details we possess are too full and complicated to let us see the game clearly. Circumstances now compelled all great men of the realm to take sides in this game; for the King was a youth of 18 and unmarried and his brother Arthur's death had been ascribed to early marriage. In the not unlikely event of Henry's death, the question of a successor was yet undecided, and all knew what it meant to be on the losing side in a disputed succession. The late King's mother, Margaret countess of Richmond, naturally took foremost place in the first doings of the reign. Polydore Vergil, who was on the spot, says she chose the new councillors; and, if so, she made little change save in the substitution of Marney for Darcy as Captain of the Guard and Vice-chamberlain. That change, however, seems to indicate something; for Darcy was the early friend of Wolsey (fn. 17) and a partisan of Bishop Fox. (fn. 18)

By the advice of the new Council the King's marriage with Katharine of Aragon, his brother's widow, was hastened and the Coronation of King and Queen held on the 24th June; but hardly were the festivities over when Countess Margaret died. It is remarkable that Wolsey, who appears as a King's chaplain at the funeral of Henry VII. (fn. 19) is not named in the Coronation list. (fn. 20)

The Earl of Surrey, as Lord Treasurer, and Bishop Fox of Winchester, as Lord Privy Seal, now divided the Council, Archbishop Warham, the Chancellor, who was, however, a scholar rather than a politician, siding with Surrey. But the young King very soon showed that he meant to be master in his own Council. When a French ambassador, arriving in August 1509, announced his coming as in response to the King's letter asking Louis XII. to be his friend, Henry sternly turned to those about him and asked "Who wrote this letter? I ask peace of the king of France, who daren't look at me, let alone make war!" (fn. 21) The letter—the customary announcement of a king's accession—must have been written in the early days of the reign, but we may well imagine that those who could would improve the occasion by disclaiming responsibility in the matter. Edenham who had been Almoner to Henry VII. had given place to Hobbes, 21 July 1509, (fn. 22) and now when Hobbes died, shortly after this outburst, it was, doubtless, Fox's influence that put in Wolsey as Almoner, who thus took his place at the Council Board, 8 November 1509. (fn. 23)

Meanwhile Archbishop Bainbridge of York had been appointed to carry news of Henry's accession to Rome and now received commission to act as ambassador there and take over the duties of English agent or solicitor of English causes in that Court, (fn. 24) an office which had hitherto been performed by Jerome Bonivisi and Christopher Fisher. (fn. 25) One of Bainbridge's first duties was to protest against an encroachment upon the Royal prerogative in the appointment by Pope Julius II. of a collector of Papal dues who had not first been nominated by the King. For many years Cardinal Adrian de Corneto, bishop of Bath and Wells, had held the office of Collector for England, assisted by Polydore Vergil, the historian, as sub-collector. Adrian was out of favour with his Holiness, and, although Henry VII. had obtained a reconciliation between them, seems to have thought it prudent to reside outside the Papal States; and Julius had at the end of the year 1508 sent Piero Griffo to supersede both him and his assistant. This Griffo, who was afterwards bishop of Forli, wrote a History of Peter's Pence in England which has hitherto escaped the notice of writers on that subject. (fn. 26) Bainbridge left England about 30 Sept. 1509, commending his affairs here to the care of Chancellor Warham. (fn. 27) He was a masterful man and proved himself a churchman congenial to the warlike Pope Julius, who subsequently (10 March 1511) promoted him Cardinal and commander of his army when the allies of the League of Cambray left off trying to destroy Venice and fell to fighting among themselves. (fn. 28) This promotion, however, deprived England of his services as agent and when an embassy to the Lateran Council, summoned for 19 April 1512, was required, Silvester Giglis bishop of Worcester, among other delegates, was appointed to go to Rome and remain as ambassador. (fn. 29) The early sittings of the Council were unimportant and Giglis does not seem to have appeared at Rome until the following year when Julius II. was dead and Leo X., a Pope of very different stamp, reigning in his stead. (fn. 30) Under Leo there was no work for a warrior cardinal, so Bainbridge lived quietly at Rome assisting the ambassador and promoting English affairs. Englishmen in Italy resorted to him, (fn. 31) and, among others, Richard Pace and John Clerk who had been studying law together at Bologna. Cardinal Adrian now came to Rome, where he held the office of Cardinal Protector for the Emperor and had recovered that of Collector for England. He, too, was expected to promote English affairs; but before a year had passed the two Cardinals and the ambassador were all at open enmity with one another.

We left Wolsey taking his place in the King's Council as Almoner in November 1509. A further step was gained in April 1510, when he replaced Secretary Ruthal as registrar of the Order of the Garter. Fox was then chief minister, his rivals being apparently suspected of French sympathies and held responsible for the unpopular treaty with France signed on 23 March 1510. A year now passed which was spent by Pope Julius in scheming to engage Henry in a Holy League against France. He began in April 1510, by sending as nuncio, with a consecrated rose, Christopher Fisher, whom we have already mentioned and who apparently bore Bainbridge a grudge. (fn. 32) The mission was a failure, from the Pope's point of view, and on his return to Rome, Fisher fell into disgrace. (fn. 33) His late co-solicitor, Jerome Bonvisi, who followed him to England as nuncio at the end of the year, having been suborned by the French on the way hither, turned traitor, as his letter written under the pseudonym "Abbatis" clearly shows, (fn. 34) and, being detected, narrowly escaped with life. (fn. 35) Like the ambassador Giglis, this man was a native of Lucca. We hear little of Wolsey as yet, but his growing influence is seen in the appointment of Darcy to command an expedition in aid of Ferdinand the Catholic against the Moors (March 1511) and Warham's jealousy of it in the advice he gives Darcy (fn. 36); for it is hardly to be doubted that "him he writes of" means Wolsey. That jealousy shows also in the Chancellor's note upon No. 784, § 44, "Istae literae expediuntur pro eo quod Dominus Wulcy retulit Domino Cancellario Angliae literas predictas ex mandato Regio, ut asseruit dictus Dominus Wulcy." Apart from the councillors, and even more powerful in the government of an absolute sovereign, were the young King's personal companions headed by William Compton, who held the confidential post of chief gentleman of the Chamber and groom of the Stole. His influence is seen in such allusions as we find in No. 734 and the way he used it in No. 474. Here the Howard faction had a decided advantage for a time in the possession of such a champion as Surrey's second son, Sir Edward Howard,—witness No. 880, which however, shows that the Treasurer himself was not in favour. The year 1511, passed in joustings and disguisings, was their opportunity; but 1512, when actual deeds of war were to be done and prepared for, saw the Howards scattered on active service and their rivals installed in the work of direction at the King's side, work in which Wolsey proved himself indispensable. (fn. 37) Meanwhile he obtained a third deanery, that of York (19 February 1513) and resigned Hereford. The war of 1513 completed his ascendancy until, in August 1513, it could be said that all things passed at the will of "two obstinate men," Wolsey and Brandon. (fn. 38)

Ministers in the 16th century were accustomed, nay even expected, to make their incomes out of the necessities of others by the wholesale taking of presents which we should call bribes. The methodical accounts of Thomas Cromwell mention innumerable well-filled purses and gloves left in his apartments by eager suitors (fn. 39); but that was in the zenith of his career, when the name of Cromwell was a password to all preferments. Wolsey's method, as shown in this volume, was on a grander scale. In 1513, we find the sister of the unfortunate Edward Earl of Warwick, herself long afterwards, as Countess of Salisbury, to suffer the same fate, giving him, "pro bono concilio et auxilio ... preantea impenso et imposterum impendendo," an annuity of 100 marks,—far more than any of Cromwell's suitors ever gave. (fn. 40) Wolsey, too, was one who knew how to make the promotions of the church supplement the emoluments open to a layman, as the following story of proceedings at Rome will show.

Early in 1514, Wolsey was advanced to the rich bishopric of Lincoln, and already aspired still higher. Polydore Vergil, who left for Rome in February 1514, (fn. 41) carried a secret commission to his master, Cardinal Adrian, to propose a Cardinalate for Wolsey. (fn. 42) Polydore arrived at Rome just when matters were reaching a crisis between the three English representatives. Ammonius, with Giglis as his patron, was supplanting Cardinal Adrian in the collectorship, (fn. 43) Bainbridge denouncing Giglis to the King as a traitor. (fn. 44) Bainbridge's last letter, 8th June 1514, was a complaint to the King that his servants at York were harassed by Thomas Dalby (fn. 45), archdeacon of Richmond, who acted for Wolsey in the deanery there. (fn. 46) Shortly afterwards, about 13 July, Cardinal Bainbridge died (fn. 47) under circumstances which suggested poison. (fn. 48) At the instance of John Clerk, his chaplain, Richard Pace, his secretary, and William Burbank, his house steward, an Italian priest who filled some menial office in his household, was attached on suspicion and confessed that Giglis had paid him to administer the poison. Having made this confession the priest committed suicide. (fn. 49) A report at once spread that the late Cardinal had been poisoned by his cook at the instigation of some prelate in England (fn. 50); and to hush up this story of an instigator the Pope had the priest's dead body hanged and quartered and appointed Giglis (as proof of his innocence) to celebrate mass for the Roman Court in honour of the peace just made between France and England—although his Holiness did not himself attend it. (fn. 51) He expressed himself convinced of Giglis' innocence and promised to send the King a copy of the "process," when complete. (fn. 52) The report about a "prelate in England," taken literally, should indicate Wolsey, but probably the Roman public hearing that a bishop was implicated whose see bore the barbarous name of Worcester were only explaining it by calling Giglis "a prelate in England." As Clerk and Pace persisted in attributing the crime to Giglis, he retorted that the priest was well known to have been mad (fn. 53) and laid a countercharge against Pace, being executor, of embezzling the deceased Cardinal's property (fn. 54)

No sooner had the news of Bainbridge's death reached England than Wolsey stepped into the vacant archbishopric of York (fn. 55) and wrote to Giglis to sue out the necessary bulls (fn. 56) for this and for the administration of the diocese of Tournay in the absence of its bishop who was a French subject. (fn. 57) Giglis seems already to have been aware of Wolsey's desire to be made Cardinal and legate a latere (fn. 58); and the King himself wrote to the Pope on the subject on 12 August 1514. (fn. 59) Giglis and Pace, being both now in need of Wolsey's favour, were equally eager to earn it and lost no time in getting the required bulls expedited. (fn. 60) They also obtained promise of the Cardinalate at an early date. (fn. 61)

But to complete the story we must now follow it briefly beyond the period of this volume. Early in January 1515, Pope Leo wrote to Henry that he was unable to send the "process," but was forwarding a bull of absolution which the College of Cardinals, in view of Giglis' excellent character and the frivolity of his accusers, had passed unanimously. (fn. 62) Burbank and Clerk had then returned to England and been received into Wolsey's favour, while at Rome, Pace's reconciliation with Giglis was obtained. (fn. 63) About April 1515, Pace also returned to England and was made Wolsey's secretary and subsequently the King's. Cardinal Adrian and Giglis continued at Rome, where Wolsey apparently employed them to spy upon each other until the former's implication in the Cardinals' Plot against Leo in 1517 led to his deprivation and his bishopric fell to Wolsey 28 August 1518. Cardinal Campeggio, on his return from England in 1519, took Adrian's place as English agent at Rome.

Giglis remained ambassador and seemed to retain the Pope's confidence (fn. 64) until 1520, when it became necessary to bring pressure to bear upon his Holiness to get Wolsey's legateship confirmed permanently and secure him another bishopric (Badajos). Following the plan most favoured by the diplomacy of the age, which was to wrap up the real object desired with some demand which the other party could neither grant nor safely state a reason for refusing, Henry wrote, on 20 January 1520, requesting Giglis' advancement to the Cardinalate at the next creation, and the continuance of Wolsey's legateship for the Pope's lifetime. (fn. 65) With such an introduction, Giglis of course eagerly pressed his own claims. (fn. 66) The Pope countered by deferring the creation of Cardinals (fn. 67) and then by hinting doubts of Giglis' faithfulness (fn. 68) and extending Wolsey's legateship for two years. (fn. 69) The King persisted and at last Leo had to say flatly that he would not make the creation desired and if further pestered would tell Giglis the reason plainly, for he was quite "resolved not to incur this infamy." (fn. 70) What these last words of Leo's should mean must be left to the reader. History is not told by the written word of State Papers but must be read between the lines. Whether Giglis was guilty or innocent, Wolsey had put the Pope in a false position and exacted much; and would, apparently, have exacted more had Giglis lived longer As things turned out he got all that Leo could give, who died long before the two years were ended. Wolsey's answer seems to have reached Rome by 4 March 1521 (fn. 71) and the Pope softened a refusal by granting the bull of 1 April 1521 (fn. 72) which conferred quite exceptional powers upon Wolsey for the last two years by which his legateship had been prolonged by bull of 6 January. (fn. 73) Giglis wrote to Pace on 29 March, being then apparently in good health, albeit a little apprehensive of the coming of his old accuser, Clerk, to supersede him as ambassador (fn. 74); yet, on 10 April Campeggio writes that Giglis is dying (he died on the 18th) and puts in a claim for the bishopric thus about to be vacant. This claim Campeggio continued to press in frequent letters until the following June when word came to Rome that on 21 May the King had nominated Cardinal de Medici to it. No letters of Clerk, who reached Rome on 20 April 1521, are extant until those of 9 July following, and we have no mention of the manner of Giglis' death.

It remains to point out a few other matters brought forward in this edition. The first hint of a divorce from Katharine of Aragon, significantly synchronises with the demand for Wolsey's legateship. (fn. 75) New light is thrown on the morality of Courts, as shown in the affair of the Duke of Buckingham's sisters (No. 474) and the letter, numbered 3163, from a young lady who seems to have taken for King Henry in Flanders the part played by Constance to Scott's Lord Marmion. Her handwriting is execrable and style obscure, but she makes out a claim for a goodly sum of money when reminding Henry that he had said "cest (si ?) je me marioie et je estoie sy saige de le vous fere savoier qui (qu'il) me vaudroit dis mille escus voir dix mille engelos." The young King was generous in these wedding gifts, yet Margaret Bryan, the future Lady Carew, got only 500l. (fn. 76) The organization of warfare by sea and land appears in detail in the paymaster's accounts (fn. 77) which also tell us much about the dress of the period. It must of course be remembered that long accounts such as those for Henry VII.'s funeral (fn. 78) and Henry VIII.'s coronation (fn. 79) or the Treasurer of Calais (fn. 80) contain many more details than can even be indicated within the limits of an abstract; and, generally, such abstracts of accounts as are given in this calendar can but faintly hint at the wealth of detail in the originals. In this connexion it may be well to state that the abstracts here given of letters which have been already described in the Spanish and other calendars are not intended to supersede, but to call attention to these calendars and also (in the margin) to the actual letters, where copies of them exist in this country. The Pardon Rolls (fn. 81) reveal many facts of interest to the genealogist and biographer hitherto unknown. Many of the letters from James IV. and James V. are new to history and also some of the details of the battle of Flodden. Warham's letters in his controversy with Fox and the other bishops about probate of wills have long been in print and yet gain something of interest by being placed in the sequence of other papers of the period; and the same may be said of the extracts from the correspondence of Maximilian with his daughter Margaret which are here given as directly concerning English affairs. Mary's trousseau for her marriage with the elderly and decrepid Louis XII., the poetic effusions of Pierre Gringore called forth by that occasion, (fn. 82) or the embarrassment of the bridegroom, being "a sickly body," by the presence of his wife's "Mother Guildford" at all their interviews, (fn. 83) will doubtless interest different readers.

Little that is new is to be learnt of the case of Empson and Dudley. Dudley's treatise, The Tree of Commonwealth, (fn. 84) composed in prison, was probably never seen by the King. It is written in powerful English and shows a mind far in advance of his time. As an example of the English language of that day, an extract from it may form a fitting conclusion to this preface. I quote from Add. MS. 32,091 (f. 72d.); for the copy printed in 1859 is exceedingly faulty. Likening the Commonwealth to a tree with several roots producing five kinds of fruits with "parings" and "cores" (all named and described) he says of the fruit "Profitable Tranquillity," with its wholesome paring "Timely Exercise," that its core "Lewd Enterprise," before coming to us sends his pursuivants "Discontent" and "Arrogancy."

"The first of these two messengers is Discontentation or Murmur. This messenger will induce you to grudge or make some inward displeasure in doing your duty, as in paying your farm rents for houses and lands to them that ye be bound to pay, or to do some other particular service that to your tenements belongeth to do; or to murmur at payments of Taxes or Quindicimes when they be granted for causes necessary. He will also induce you to grudge or disdain to be in such obedience or subjection to your superiors or betters. Beware of this messenger, for he must fetch to you your own mischief if ye to him consent.

"And if ye reverently receive this fellow, then cometh the second messenger, in a gay gilt coat to inveigle your 'synne' with pride, the most perilous spectacle that the commonalty may use. Foul is it in all men but worst in the poorest. The name of the second messenger is called Arrogancy, nigh cousin to Pride. His very nature and property is to entice you to enable yourselves to such things as nothing beseemeth you to do,—such things as you can nothing skill on. He will show you that ye be made of the same metal and mould that the gentles be made of. Why then should they sport and play and you labour and till? He will tell you also that at your births and at your deaths your riches be indifferent. Why should they have so much of the prosperity and treasure of this world and ye so little? Besides that he will tell you that ye be the children and right inheritors to Adam as well as they. Why should they have this great honours, royal castles and manors with so much lands and possessions and ye but poor cottages and tenements? He will show also how that Christ bought you as dearly as the nobles, with one manner of price which was his precious blood. Why then should ye be of so poor estate and they of high degree? Or why should you do them so much honour and reverence, with crouching and kneeling and they take it so highly and stately on them? And percase he will inform you how, concerning your souls and theirs, which make you all to be men, for else ye were all but beasts, God created in you one manner of nobleness without any diversity, and that your souls be as precious to God as theirs. Why then should they have of you so great authority and power to commit to prison, and punish and judge you? But ye, good commoners, in anywise utterly refuse these messengers; for though they show the truth to you they mean full falsely, as afterward you shall well know. And if you once savour of these things then cometh your Lewd Enterprise, the core of your fruit of Tranquillity, and he will you encourage to play the men, and bid you remember well the monstrations and showings of this messenger Arrogancy. He will bid you leave to employ yourselves to be subdued of your fellows. He will promise to set you on high and to be lords and governors, and no longer to be churls as you were before; or at the least he will promise you to make you fellows in bodies as God made you in souls, and then shall there be a royal rule in this realm. And to put you in further comfort he will assure you that some of the chivalry will take part openly or privily, or else at the least to give you sufferance, prove as ye may. He will also display unto you his banner of insurrection and say 'Now set forward; your time is right good.' But woe be that man that will fight there-under! He will promise you to want no treasure to perform your purpose; for he will say some of the Clergy will comfort you right well and largely with money, for they 'have herefor many a day'; the merchants and farmers, and the graziers, that be rich, into this market will bring their bags that they have kept so long; and as for the old widows and wives also will ransack their forcers (fn. 85) and their knotted clouts to the last penny they can find,—and, rather than fail, their girdles, their beads and their wedding rings. Thus wisely they will them bestow! And as for men, he promiseth you innumerable. Yet ye, good commoners, for your own ease, deal not with this false core but be contented with the fruit of Tranquillity." * * * Behold what the commoners of the West part of this land wan? Any honesty or profit by their Lewd Enterprise, with their captain the blacksmith? (fn. 86) I pray "God save this realm from any such captain hereafter!" * * * "Yet cast not away this enterprise of your core; for it may fortune to be to you a chief friend. Therefore keep him close within you unto the time ye may lawfully use him." (For it may be used with the fruit "Honour of God" and then shall be called "Noble Enterprise," etc.)


Public Record Office.

April, 1916.


  • 1. These formal documents are very briefly described. Most of them will be found by the Index classified under such headings as Assent, Commission, Exemption, Licences, Livery, Pardon, Protection, Wardship.
  • 2. Among others, Adv. MS. 35, 5, 9 i, Adv. MS. 35, 5, 9 iii, Adv. MS. 35, 5, 9 iv, Royal MS. 13 B II.
  • 3. Vol. IV, 6182, printed in Singer's Cavendish, p. 472.
  • 4. Page 1528.
  • 5. Vol. II, 1368.
  • 6. Printed in Singer's Cavendish, p. 502.
  • 7. The lands in Stoke would be pasture, as there is no mention of buildings, and the poet Skelton who calls him a butcher was an Eastern Counties parson and ought to know.
  • 8. Annals of Ipswich, p. 153.
  • 9. English Historical Review, IX, 709.
  • 10. Magdalen College Register, New Series, I, 29, 30.
  • 11. Ib., and Italian Relation of England, Camden Soc., 1847, p. 22.
  • 12. Nos. 322 and 1216.
  • 13. No. 381 (69).
  • 14. Rymer XII, 783.
  • 15. L.T.R. Misc. Books, 214, pp. 325, 327.
  • 16. No. 438, pp. 239, 245. For further notices of Wolsey's early life the reader may consult English Historical Review, III, p. 458.
  • 17. No. 2576.
  • 18. No. 157.
  • 19. No. 20.
  • 20. No. 82.
  • 21. No. 156.
  • 22. K.R. Memoranda Roll, I Henry VIII., communia Mich., ro. 14.
  • 23. No. 257 (31).
  • 24. No. 190 (33).
  • 25. No. 165, and Roman Transcripts in R.O., I, p. 109.
  • 26. No. 1235.
  • 27. No. 187.
  • 28. No. 720.
  • 29. Nos. 1083 (5), 1170 (1).
  • 30. No. 1746.
  • 31. No. 2607.
  • 32. No. 493.
  • 33. No. 734.
  • 34. No. 793.
  • 35. Polydore Vergil.
  • 36. No. 725.
  • 37. Nos. 1286, 1327, 1912, 1965.
  • 38. No. 2141.
  • 39. Vol. XIV. ii. 782.
  • 40. No. 1987.
  • 41. No. 2674.
  • 42. No. 2932.
  • 43. No. 3158.
  • 44. No. 2926.
  • 45. No. 3015.
  • 46. No. 1653.
  • 47. Nos. 3072, 3076.
  • 48. Nos. 3183, 3197, 3203.
  • 49. Nos. 3203–4, 3212–3.
  • 50. No. 3203.
  • 51. Nos. 3206, 3236, 3302, 3312.
  • 52. No. 3312.
  • 53. No. 3220.
  • 54. Nos. 3219–20, 3261, 3265, 3303–4.
  • 55. No. 3101.
  • 56. No. 3197.
  • 57. No. 3284.
  • 58. No. 3132.
  • 59. No. 3284.
  • 60. Nos. 3204, 3260–1, 3265, 3275–9, 3304.
  • 61. No. 3300.
  • 62. Vol. II, 13, 91.
  • 63. Vol. II, 151.
  • 64. Vol. II, 2361, 3394, etc.
  • 65. Vol. III, 600, 762.
  • 66. Vol. III, 680.
  • 67. Vol. III, 647, 993. The abstract given in Vol. III, 647, is wrong, and should run "The Pope expressed his good opinion of Giglis, but said that at present there was no urgency for the creation of Cardinals. The writer, therefore, did not press the matter but followed Wolsey's orders with regard to the King's letters."
  • 68. Vol. III, 853 (written evidently to the Nuncio in England), 1123.
  • 69. Vol. III, 1123.
  • 70. Vol. III, 1080, 1209.
  • 71. Vol. III, 1187.
  • 72. Vol. III, 1216.
  • 73. Vol. III, No. 1124.
  • 74. Vol. III, 1204. His words are hardly as in the abstract given in Vol. III. They read "I desire to be conjoined in all love and benevolence with the dean of Ely (sic) when he arrives; but please do something on your side, by your letters, so that from good may always be born good."
  • 75. No. 3206.
  • 76. No. 3419.
  • 77. See Index, under Daunce and other titles.
  • 78. No. 20.
  • 79. No. 82.
  • 80. Index, under Conway, Sir Hugh.
  • 81. Nos. 438, 1803.
  • 82. No. 3417. It is a pity that the "n" has dropped out of the author's name in our text; but this is the poet whose character is travestied by Victor Hugo in Notre Dame de Paris and whose earliest work, Le Chateau de Labour, with the contemporary translation by Alexander Barclay, was in 1905 edited by A. W. Pollard for the Roxburghe Club.
  • 83. No. 3416.
  • 84. No. 560.
  • 85. Coffers.
  • 86. Thomas Flamoke, a lawyer, and Michael Joseph, a smith, "men of high courages and stout stomachs, took upon them to be captains of this ungracious flock and seditious company" (viz., the Cornish rebels, in 1497)—Hall's Chronicle.