Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 14 Part 2, August-December 1539. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.
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HENRY's fear of a European combination against him had begun, as we have seen, somewhat to abate soon after the arrival of the new French ambassador, Marillac. Pole's second legatine mission had proved a failure, almost like that of two years before. The Emperor and king Francis, it was clear, were not yet prepared to take joint action against a schismatic king. Francis, indeed, was not unwilling if the Emperor would have taken the matter up; but the Emperor's interests were vulnerable in many places throughout his widely-extended dominions. The Venetians, disgusted with the slender help they had received last year from Andrea Doria, (fn. 1) were making truce or peace with the Turk, with whom the Waywode of Transylvania had been driven to purchase a peace not very long before. (fn. 2) The Lutherans in Germany were not less dangerous than they had been. The young duke of Cleves claimed the duchy of Gueldres, which had always been a thorn in the Emperor's side. And, finally, an alarming conspiracy had broken out in Ghent, where some of the leading burgesses had offered to deliver their town to Francis, I.; but Francis, loyal to the new amity, not only refused the offer, but sent full information of it to the Emperor. (fn. 3)
There had been much talk, towards the close of 1538, of an Imperial expedition against the Turks; there had also been some talk of the Emperor going into Italy, and thence to Germany. The Emperor's main reasons for not listening to Pole's propositions had been the proposed expedition against the Turks, and the necessity of settling the affairs of Germany. The Emperor's presence seemed to be requisite in several places at once. But now he was not going to Turkey, and he was not going to Italy (fn. 4); he was going direct to the Low Countries. And though it was generally said that he would go thither by sea, there were rumours, even as early as April, that, taking advantage of the new amity, he would go through France. (fn. 5) The report that such a thing was in contemplation filled Henry's ministers with dismay; and though the French ambassador knew nothing whatever of the matter, they were not reassured. Still less did they derive comfort from the news, which arrived just about the same time, that terms had been made at the diet of Frankfort by which the religious peace of Germany seemed to be secured for 15 months to come. (fn. 6)
The death of the Empress, at the beginning of May, was another matter that, as Marillac reported, gave the English much to think of. (fn. 7) All the world saw that it enabled the Emperor, if he thought fit, either to make some new alliance, or to strengthen an old one by a second marriage. Accordingly, there was a talk in Flanders of reviving the very old project put forward before his first marriage, for a match with the Princess Mary; and the Pope had serious misgivings that he might reconcile himself in this way to the great enemy of the Church. (fn. 8) This would have completely soaked the gunpowder in the papal bull of December 1538, which had never yet been published, for want of means to put it into execution; and seeing that, even as matters stood already, the utmost that his Holiness could expect for the time was merely "to keep the thing alive" (fn. 9) till the Emperor and Francis could agree in united action, it is hard to say what would have become of the authority of the Holy See at all after such a humiliating blow. But no such project could have been mooted on the part of Henry, who had already bastardised his daughter; and in England the fear undoubtedly was that the papal policy would be strengthened, not weakened, by some new matrimonial scheme of the Emperor.
The rumours that he would pass through France seem to have had their origin at Paris, where it was ardently hoped that the new amity would thus receive conspicuous illustration. There is no doubt that the invitation came from the French court; (fn. 10) and probably the death of the Empress rather delayed its acceptance, for she might have been made Regent in Spain in her husband's absence, while her son Philip was only twelve. It is said, moreover, that many of the Emperor's councillors, and especially the Spanish grandees, were against his thus placing himself in the hands of a newly-reconciled enemy. (fn. 11) The Emperor, however, was assured of the chivalrous good faith of Francis, of which he had recently received such a remarkable proof, and in September he showed himself much inclined to accept the invitation. (fn. 12)
Thus, however laborious a business it might be for the Pope "to keep the thing alive," the prospect for Henry was still serious enough. If the amicable relations of Francis and the Emperor were ripening so fast, the tardy vengeance of outraged Christendom might fall upon him yet at no very distant date. But, as we have seen, he had got his parliament well in hand. He had roused the loyalty of his own subjects, by musters and arrays, to resist foreign invasion. He might be trying to form an Anglo-Protestant league abroad, but he had convinced everyone at home that orthodoxy had nothing to fear from a prince who passed such severe laws against heresy. The forced surrenders of monasteries were still going on, and the people might not approve; but they saw no reason to desert their sovereign, especially when there was no one to take the lead against him. So that at home he was tolerably safe if he could only ward off danger from abroad, and weaken the hands of his possible future adversaries. For the means of doing so, he could only look to diplomacy, intrigue, and the chapter of accidents.
Under the last head came a piece of rather exciting news from the East. In October of the preceding year Andrea Doria and his fleet had taken from the Turks the important seaport of Castelnuovo, (fn. 13) situated on the Gulf of Cattaro, in the Adriatic, a little way beyond the entrance of that gulf. Unfortunately, the place was not so easy to hold after it was won, for it was commanded by the neighbouring heights, and in the following spring the Turk sent a great army by land to recover it. (fn. 14) On the 17th July Barbarossa came before it with a fleet of 200 sail, while a land force of 30,000 infantry occupied the heights, and set up great bastions near the walls. A continuous bombardment was kept up for over a fortnight and more vigorously towards the end of the month; but on Sunday the 3rd August it rained so furiously that artillery on both sides was useless. This was distinctly favourable to the besiegers, who now gave the assault, and on the 7th the place was taken by storm. (fn. 15) Emboldened by his success Barbarossa then sailed up the gulf to Cattaro, which belonged to the Venetians, and demanded of the "rector" or governor there, first a place called Risano and afterwards Cattaro itself. The rector said the demand was a violation of the truce between Venice and the Turk, of which Barbarossa seemed at first to make little account; but afterwards more prudent counsels prevailed and he retired. (fn. 16)
Henry was so well supplied with news from various agents that he knew of the capture of Castelnuovo two days before the French ambassador, to whom he communicated the fact with comments of his own. But the incident hardly served his purpose much; for the succeeding attempt upon Cattaro tended to alienate the Venetians from the Turk and make them look to the Emperor once more. Certainly it did nothing to promote disunion in Christendom, which was the king of England's particular aim.
But if Henry gained little from the chapter of accidents, he gained even less from intrigue. In July he had a conversation with Marillac, in which he informed him that he had received a secret of such importance that he did not know whether to keep it to himself or com- municate it to Francis. But though there were strong reasons for silence, he was willing as a friend to reveal it to the French king, if the latter would write him a letter under his own hand promising not to communicate it except to confidential ministers, from whom he should exact a similar promise of secrecy. Francis at once wrote the desired letter, and Marillac, presenting it, obtained the precious secret. A Milanese nobleman, the King said, named the marquis of Marignano, had offered to deliver into his hands the very important towns of Parma and Piacenza by means of some of his relations, if the King would put in sufficient garrisons to protect the Marquis and his friends against the Emperor. This offer Henry did not wish to accept himself, as neither Francis nor the Emperor might relish his attempt to secure a prize which was in contention between them; but he had kept it open till he should know how it would suit Francis. And in any case he desired that it might be kept strictly secret so as not to injure the Marquis. (fn. 17)
Could this have been the very secret offer communicated to Wyatt in Spain—the "excellent practice" to kindle a fire in Italy (fn. 18) —which he could not write, but must be allowed to go home to reveal to the King by word of mouth? It seems not unlikely. And if, as we have surmised, the scheme also embraced a project against Cardinal Pole on his return to Italy, that part of the business was very naturally kept back. Francis politely declined Henry's offer, but promised to keep the secret. (fn. 19)
Neither accident nor intrigue, therefore, benefited Henry greatly at this time. His sole refuge was diplomacy, and his principal aim was to strengthen the German Protestants against the Emperor. Of his policy in this matter we have already spoken. (fn. 20) And it was not proceeding badly on the whole, for Burchart since his return to Germany had been loud in the King's praises, (fn. 21) and a joint embassy from Christian III. and the German Protestants had been under consideration, (fn. 22) though the sending of it was attended with some difficulties, when the news of the passing of the Act of the Six Articles considerably abated the zeal of the Germans for the proposed alliance. What could the German Protestants think of a statute so severe being passed3 against some of their own leading tenets? Two English bishops had felt compelled to resign in consequence of its enactment. Latimer had fled to Gravesend and was captured, it was said, at Rochester, brought back and put in the Tower. (fn. 23) Whether Shaxton was imprisoned does not appear. He had notified to Cromwell privately his desire to resign, and had been told at first to keep his resignation secret. (fn. 24) Cranmer, of course, did not love the Act, but he could do nothing to prevent its passing. He and Barnes, who had been in Germany themselves, might sympathise with German Protestantism, but to the English people at large the name of Lutheran was abominable, and they were all the more anxious, after the severe measures used in putting down the Northern Rebellion two years before, to receive good assurance that the King's policy did not tend to Lutheranism.
Barnes was still labouring on the Continent—flitting about between Denmark and Germany, to promote a league between England and the Protestants for mutual protection,—when the Act of the Six Articles was passed; (fn. 25) but he returned home shortly afterwards. On his return the King declined to see him, and he was much discouraged, though he communicated the substance of his negotiations to Cromwell. (fn. 26)
He had been useful enough in some ways, and chiefly in securing the goodwill towards England of Christian III.; but if the Germans looked upon him as the representative of the religious views, either of his King or of his countrymen, they were very much mistaken. Nor, indeed, would his mission have been much more fruitful even if Henry had favoured Lutheranism more than he actually did; for the Emperor's ambassador at Frankfort had successfully insisted that no new confederates should be included in the religious truce then negotiated (fn. 27) —a provision which, there was no reasonable doubt, was specially intended against England. But this did not stop the negotiations with the duke of Cleves; with whom, if Henry could only establish a political alliance, he could give the Emperor quite as much trouble as by making common cause with the Protestants in religion.
Although the elector of Saxony had even in February expressed approval of the match and had afterwards recommended it to his brother-in-law of Cleves, (fn. 28) the latter, after the Diet at Frankfort, did not seem quite to clutch at the proposal, and his chancellor Olisleger in conversation with the English envoys Wotton and Berde made some excuses for procrastination, which they thought a little strange. He also mentioned in confidence a circumstance which at first seemed to render further conference useless, that the old duke of Cleves had made an arrangement with the duke of Lorraine for the marriage of his daughter Anne to the son of the latter Duke. But he explained that that arrangement had been made only between the fathers, and as the parties themselves had not given their consent, Anne was still free. Further, although he at first said it would be a matter of difficulty, he assured the envoys that he would urge his master to send an embassy to England to conclude the match, and that he had no doubt the Duke would do so. (fn. 29) 2
Some time was allowed to pass by, during which a correspondence seems to have taken place upon the subject between the dukes of Cleves and of Saxony. This was natural enough, as the latter had a contingent interest in Cleves in case of his brother-in-law dying without issue, and was bound, under his own marriage settlement, to assist the marriages of his wife's sisters. (fn. 30) But in August Wotton was assured that the Elector was going to send some of his Council to the duke of Cleves expressly for the King's matter, and that on their arrival the ambassadors of the latter would at once start for England with them, with powers to conclude everything and offer a decent dowry. Their names were Dr. Henry Olisleger, Chancellor of Cleves, and the Duke's Hofmeister, William ab Haff. (fn. 31) Wotton, however, asked for a copy of the covenants between the old duke of Cleves and the duke of Lorraine, and was promised that one should be delivered either to him or to the King, with full explanation of the reasons why the matter had not taken effect. In communicating this information to the King, Wotton gave him a little account of his intended bride, which was long ago printed by Sir Henry Ellis. She had been brought up by the duchess her mother, a wise lady who looked carefully after her children, and was "in manner never from her elbow." Her gentleness was universally spoken of. Her time was chiefly spent in needlework. She could read and write her [own language]—we must here supply gaps made by the mutilation of the letter—[but as to] French, Latin, or any other language she [had no]ne, nor could she sing or play upon any instrument—accomplishments which, strange to say, were not held becoming in a lady by the Germans in those days. She was very abstemious in diet; and as for her appearance, Holbein had already taken admirable likenesses of her and her sister Emily, by which the King would be able to judge. (fn. 32)
A servant of Burchart, the Vice-Chancellor of Saxony, immediately afterwards reached London with a message to Cromwell, who was asked to re-despatch him immediately (fn. 33); and on the 4th September the Duke despatched from Düsseldorff his two ambassadors commissioned to conclude the match, in company with Burchart and another sent by the duke of Saxony. (fn. 34) They reached London without delay, and seem to have forwarded their letters to the King, which Henry received on the 17th. They were kept waiting a few days till the Count Palatine's reception was over; and on the 26th the King wrote from Windsor—or rather prepared a letter to the Duke, which it appears was not signed or sent off—urging that the matter should be concluded before winter set in. (fn. 35) This letter he had proposed to despatch by a sea-captain, who was to ascertain the best port on the other side of the Channel to which the King might send ships for the conveyance of the lady. But the ambassadors had sufficient powers to settle everything in England; and they preferred her being sent by land to Calais, lest a long sea voyage should injure her health and spoil her complexion, besides involving some danger of her being captured by Dutchmen rather too loyal to the Emperor. (fn. 36)
The chief questions, of course, were about the "dote" that the lady was to bring to her husband and the dower he was to give her in return—matters on which Henry had obtained, for his guidance, the terms of the previous covenant of Lorraine, and of the marriage contract of the Elector. The ambassadors hoped that the King would not demand more than had been given with her elder sister. Their master, indeed, could not afford to pay it, being a young prince just newly succeeded to his dominions and forced daily to make preparations against enemies. The argument was irresistible, and as the advantages of the alliance to Henry were not in money, he was content with a "dote" on parchment. It was settled by treaty on the 6th October at 100,000 florins, but under a formal written promise by Cranmer and the other plenipotentiaries that, as it was understood the money was not to be actually paid, they would obtain a formal acquittance for it under the King's hand and seal as soon as the lady came to England. (fn. 37) The conditions of the match, however, were kept a very close secret. (fn. 38)
On this the ambassadors at once took leave of the King to return to the Duke and conduct the lady to Calais. The conclusion of the match was made public very soon after, and in the latter part of October the towns through which the new queen was expected to pass on her way from Dover had begun making preparations for her entry. Ships also were painted and armed to conduct her across the Channel. Possibly some idea was still entertained of conveying her by sea in case a safe conduct were not obtained from the Emperor for her conveyance to Calais. But this the Emperor freely granted, although he certainly did not love the alliance. (fn. 39)
It was thought now that she would arrive in the latter part of November. But some delay seems to have been caused by mismanagement of the posts, (fn. 40) which retarded arrangements generally. On the 2nd December the earl of Southampton, the lord Admiral, crossed over to Calais (Cromwell's son Gregory being in his company) to receive her and convey her across the Channel. Sir Thomas Cheyney, Warden of the Cinque Ports, at the same time gave orders to have all things ready for her reception at Dover; while Wotton sent from Antwerp a list of the suite that were to accompany her, with some curious information about German marriage customs. (fn. 41) The Admiral and his suite spent about nine days in Calais before her arrival, filling up the time in part with tournaments and other amusements. (fn. 42) When it was ascertained that she was expected on Thursday the 11th he drew up a rather unscientific table of the hours of high tide at Calais for eight or nine days following, which showed that the afternoon tides during that period were unfavourable to her crossing by daylight except on the very first day, Friday the 12th, and then it depended on the wind; while the morning tides for some days, apparently, were inconveniently early, and would have involved embarkation in the dark. (fn. 43) The Friday afternoon would have been preferred; but the weather proved so rough that it was in vain to think of crossing at that time, and the lord Admiral entertained her on the Saturday by showing her the ship prepared for her passage, with the other ships in the harbour, gaily decorated and with men on the tops, shrouds, and yard-arms. Guns, of course, were shot off in her honour, and after a banquet there was jousting. In the evening the lady asked him, through her interpreter, Olisleger, to play with her at some game of cards which the King was accustomed to play. The lord Admiral taught her the game of "Sent," which she played with a very good grace. (fn. 44)
The lord Admiral had calculated the tides to Sunday the 21st. On that day he wrote to the King a letter which is now lost, but which seems to have intimated that a contrary wind still made the passage tedious and unadvisable. (fn. 45) He had already written to the same effect on the 16th. (fn. 46) The weather, indeed, continued very unpropitious; but on Saturday the 27th she succeeded in crossing.
She landed at or in the neighbourhood of Deal, (fn. 47) where she was met by the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, who accompanied her to Deal Castle. After a repast she proceeded to Dover, where she remained till Monday. Her baggage was unshipped in Dover harbour, and was not all landed till after 11 o'clock on Monday morning. That, too, was a rough and boisterous day; but in spite of wind and hail, which beat continually in her face, so anxious was she speedily to meet the King that she would delay her setting out no longer. So she rode on and entered Canterbury in the evening, where she was received by the mayor and citizens by torchlight and with a good peal of guns. The Archbishop also met her and made a suitable address, some other bishops and gentlemen of Kent standing by. She was welcomed to her chamber by 40 or 50 gentlewomen with velvet bonnets, and at supper she seemed to have quite forgotten all the fatigue and foul weather of the journey. That day Cranmer received by special messenger from Cromwell 50 sovereigns, to which he hoped the town would add 50 angels more, all to be presented to her in one cup next morning before she left for Sittingbourne. (fn. 48) Here the record of her progress for the present ends, to be continued in the next volume of this Calendar.
The progress of this alliance, it is needless to say, was viewed with profound dissatisfaction by every friend of the Emperor, for all knew well with what object it was planned. (fn. 49) Vaughan also wrote that it was one of the reasons which induced Charles all the more to cultivate his new amity with Francis, and cordially to embrace his invitation to pass through France on his way to the Netherlands. (fn. 50) For it was evident that in addition to the support which the Protestant Princes generally would now derive from England the claims of the duke of Cleves on Gelderland would be more powerfully maintained, while the rebels of Ghent would in all likelihood receive encouragement from the duke of Cleves, who would derive support from them in return. So secretly had the match been planned, that when the news of it first reached Rome (through the French Ambassador) the Imperial Ambassador Aguilar would not believe it, having had no warning of the fact from Chapuys, then in the Low Countries, or the Archbishop of Palermo (Carondelet), President of the Council in Flanders. (fn. 51) Afterwards, when the fact was beyond a doubt, the Pope was extremely mortified, not only because it gave such encouragement to Lutheranism but because it made the chastisement of Henry's enormities a more hopeless object than ever. (fn. 52)
Was it partly to throw cold water on any negotiations with Cleves before they had gone too far that Frederic Count Palatine, duke of Bavaria—the Palsgrave, as the English called him by a corruption of his German title—who had been lately in Paris, crossed to England in September on a visit to Henry VIII.? His arrival at once gave rise to a good deal of 'political speculation, and excited much curiosity abroad. The most obvious interpretation put upon it was that it was with a view of reviving the project of Henry's marriage with the duchess of Milan, who was his wife's sister; and Henry himself, who was as ignorant as anybody else of his object till the Count was admitted to his presence, affected to believe that this was the matter in question, and hinted that the Imperialists would find it was too late to seek him now. (fn. 53) It suited him well to suggest such a thing when the embassy from Cleves was daily expected in England, and it really helped the matter on by stirring up some anxiety in the duke of Cleves himself, who at once despatched further envoys on hearing of it. The Count was received with royal hospitality at Windsor, where he had a two hours' interview with the King on the 24th September. (fn. 54) But it very soon appeared that his mission had not been a success. Even at his coming, indeed, he was not shown quite so much honour as was at first intended; for a body of gentlemen who were to have gone to meet him were countermanded, and he was allowed to enter London with no other escort besides that of lord Lisle, the deputy of Calais, who, having long before desired to come over on his own affairs, had got leave to bring him to England, and crossed the Channel along with him. But Cromwell the day after his arrival showed him all possible courtesy, and tried to discover his secrets to inform the King beforehand. In this he was unsuccessful, for the Count would disclose nothing but to the King. After his first interview with Henry, however, it was clear that very little attention was paid to him; and if, as was suspected, he had a message to deliver from the Emperor, the failure of his mission was the more manifest when the neglect shown to him was contrasted with the warm reception given to the ambassadors of Cleves. He left disappointed in the beginning of October. His professed object had been to ask aid for his father-in-law Christiern II. against the new king of Denmark. (fn. 55)
As early as September, the Emperor had replied to the invitation of Francis to pass through his kingdom that he would be glad to do so if his affairs permitted, but could not then fix a time. (fn. 56) On the 8th October his ambassador at the French Court (Bonvalot, abbot of St. Vincent) wrote to him how warmly the matter was pressed, both by Francis and by Montmorency, and while hesitating to give his own opinion on a matter of such high importance, expressed his belief in the good faith both of Francis and his ministers. (fn. 57) Charles took the same view, and feeling that his early presence in the Low Countries was more urgent even than the affairs of Germany or resistance to the Turk, he determined to accept the invitation. He even seems to have hastened his plans, at first proposing to set out on the 8th or 10th November; afterwards, to leave Burgos on the 3rd. As soon as his answer was received, Francis, who was then at Compiegne just recovering from a serious illness, departed southwards to meet him, and instructed Marillac, in England, to go in company with the Imperial Ambassador, Majoris, to intimate the Emperor's proposed journey to Henry VIII. as a proof of the cordiality of the two allies. (fn. 58) This Marillac and his fellow ambassador did, to the great disgust of Henry's Councillors, the King himself being the only one who succeeded in dissembling his annoyance. Yet, shortly afterwards, disappointment somewhat gave way to incredulity, and bets were freely laid at the English Court that the Emperor had changed his intention, and would never go the length of putting himself in the power of a former enemy. (fn. 59)
This incredulity was not justified by the event. Early in November Paris was already excited at the expectation of his coming. The Great Master left the city on the 8th with 300 men to meet him, followed shortly afterwards by the Dauphin and the duke of Orleans; while Francis arrived from Compiegne on the 11th, entering his capital on a litter. (fn. 60) Even before his arrival (fn. 61) there had been great preparations made for the event—a gallery built with glass windows in the Faubourg St. Antoine, not far from the famous Bastille, while guns had been brought to the fortress itself for a salute (rather dangerous, one would think, to the glass windows), and preparations had been made for a grand ceremony at the Tournelles, and for the Emperor's lodging at the Louvre, where a gallery was erected the length of Greenwich Hall. But we need not dwell upon the details of the Emperor's progress and reception by Francis I., as they are mostly to be found elsewhere, and the documents in this volume relating to the subject are unfortunately very mutilated. (fn. 62)
That Henry looked upon all this with more outward composure than his councillors was owing merely to the fact that he was less taken by surprise. Unpleasant as the news unquestionably was to him also, it was not really much more than he had been all along prepared to expect. The Emperor's determination, indeed, must have been partly due to his dread of Henry's own alliance with Cleves, which threatened to keep the Low Countries generally in a state of insubordination; so it was an evidence of weakness rather than of strength in the quarter from which danger was most to be apprehended. But of course it suggested the necessity of some counter move, either to sow jealousies between the two friends who were for the moment drawn so close together, or to strengthen still further the alliance with the Protestant princes in Germany. And steps in both directions seemed practicable; for though the Lutheran divines were unanimous in regarding Henry as a godless hypocrite, (fn. 63) the Lutheran princes—and even their theologians as well—were perfectly conscious that in an evil world one must strengthen one's self as one may by the power of mutual self interest. So with the view of ascertaining what hope there still was of separating the two allies even while they were close together, the accomplished Wyatt was again sent abroad to take his old place as resident ambassador with the Emperor; but with instructions, in conjunction with Bonner, who filled the like place at the Court of Francis, to visit each of the two Sovereigns, and express, with delighted countenances, the King's most sincere gratification at their very cordial agreement. (fn. 64) The real object of his mission was not set down in his instructions, but he discharged one part of the task committed to him by writing when the Emperor arrived at Chatellerault. Having managed most dexterously to get the start of the French king and his suite, he waited on the Emperor with a discourse in praise of the new amity, enlarging on the evils of war and discord; nor did he forbear, after the Dauphin and the duke of Orleans had entered the Chamber, to resume his discourse and express a hope that the Emperor would likewise maintain his treaties with Henry, as Henry, for his part, would do nothing against them in his new alliance with Cleves. This touched a delicate point at once, and the Emperor said he hoped Henry "would rather counsel Monsieur de Juliac" (so he called the duke of Cleves) "by the example of his own subjects than aid him against his Sovereign." The shaft had evidently gone home, and the Emperor added: "What "hath Monsieur de Juliac to do with Gueldres? I assure "you, Monsieur l'Ambassadeur, I shall show him that he "hath played but the young man." And when Wyatt told him that he had no commission to speak on that subject, but hoped that the Duke would be reasonable, "Yea," replied the Emperor, "he shall so. Monsieur de Juliac shall do me reason. I say he shall." (fn. 65)
It was a triumph to have excited such an outburst of feeling from a monarch so generally reserved and imperturbable. Wyatt was satisfied that Gueldres was more to the Emperor than Milan or all Italy, and that Henry's alliance with Cleves was the chief cause that brought him out of Spain. He was afraid, however, that this speaking out implied a fuller understanding with France than either side expressly admitted; for both sides gave out that the making of treaties was deferred till after the conclusion of the Emperor's journey. It was so; and Wyatt was further cheered by secret information that he obtained at Orleans that the Constable and Chancellor of France had been disappointed with the result of a three hours' conference with Granvelle. Moreover, he himself took note that the Emperor was very careful not to ask favours of the French, for fear of putting himself under needless obligations to them. He knew pretty well the ways of the Imperialists to win time, so as "to have a colour to start out"; and as Charles was putting matters off till his meeting with his brother Ferdinand in the Low Countries, he believed (not untruly) that he was preparing to escape from his engagements to Francis as soon as he had fairly got out of French territory. Still, he would not wish the King to be too secure, but would rather have him "doubt the worst"; that is to say, that a treaty would really be concluded against his interests. (fn. 66) Henry himself was much of the same mind.
On the 8th December there arrived in London another mysterious visitor from Germany, Philip duke of Bavaria, a nephew of the Count Palatine who had been in England in September. No one knew for what he had come, and though Marillac after a time discovered the secret, the King and his Council did their best to keep it quiet. He had really come by the King's invitation, and, in deference to Henry's wish, with the least possible company; but he had come promptly, in spite of the dangers of the journey and the bitterness of the weather, to ask a high favour, which he had been told there was some hope of his obtaining—the hand of the King's daughter Mary. (fn. 67) Whether this had been whispered to his uncle, the Count Palatine, when he was in England, or how the intimation was conveyed, does not appear. Neither is it recorded what passed between him and the Council for a week after his arrival; but on the 17th Wriothesley presented himself at Hertford Castle, where Mary was then staying, and delivered to her a token from the King with a very special message. Her answer, as reported by him in a letter to Cromwell, was "that albeit the matter were towards her of great im- "portance, and besides, of such sort and nature as, the "King's Majesty not offended, she would wish and desire "never to enter that kind of religion, but to continue "still a maid during her life; yet, remembering how, "by the laws of God and nature, she was bound to be "in this and all other things obedient to the King's "Highness, and how, by her own bond and obligation, "she had heretofore, of her free will, according to her "said bond and duty, obliged herself to the same, "though she might by frailty be induced in this so "weighty a thing to cast many doubts, and to take great "stay with herself; yet wholly and entirely, without "qualification, she committed herself to his Majesty, as "to her most benign and merciful father and most "gracious Sovereign Lord." And this she promised to write with her own hand for greater assurance. (fn. 68)
In short the Princess declared that she was ready to marry, though sorely against her own will, a husband of the King her father's choosing. For she had been well schooled, by this time, in filial duty, and knew the utter hopelessness of attempting any kind of resistance. And apparently she even wrote to the King in her own hand to signify her compliance in accordance with the promise that Wriothesley had extracted from her, though to Cromwell she contented herself with dictating to a man servant a very brief note to which she attached her signature, excusing herself for not having written to him in her own hand also,—she was so weary, she said, with writing the other letter. (fn. 69) No wonder she was weary with such distasteful business. Matrimony was a "kind of religion (fn. 70) " which she certainly had no mind to enter, especially as she evidently feared that her doing so under these circumstances would be an additional hindrance to the cause of religion itself. For the match, in fact, was only another alliance by which the King hoped to strengthen himself with the aid of German princes against the Emperor; and the treaty, by which Philip engaged to take Mary as a bastard incapable of claiming any inheritance by the laws of England, was to be confirmed by his brother, Otto Henry (afterwards Elector Palatine), and his two uncles, Louis, the present Elector Palatine, and his brother Frederic, the Count Palatine, who had been so recently in England. (fn. 71) These princes would thus be committed to a repudiation of the Pope's authority in regarding Mary as a bastard.
With Mary's submission the betrothal was easily arranged; but the matter was still kept secret. She and the Duke met secretly in the gardens then adjoining the abbey of Westminster, and the Duke went so far as to kiss her—a thing which no lord of the Kingdom had dared to do since the execution of the marquis of Exeter. (fn. 72) Finally it came to a mutual declaration, in which the Duke promised to take her as his wife, provided that she found his person agreeable, and the Princess declared her willingness to obey her father. (fn. 73) And so the matter rested at the end of the year 1539.
We now turn from political matchmaking and foreign policy to matters relating to the internal condition of the Kingdom. The great work of the suppression of monasteries was in this year nearly completed. But there was a break in the process during summer, so that the business during 1539 was divided into two parts. Along with a number of the monasteries properly so called all the remaining houses of friars had surrendered in the spring. The first agent in the field was Dr. London, who, on the 3rd January, took the surrender of the Black Friars of Derby. (fn. 74) From Derby he went to Northampton, where he found still in prison a Black Friar committed before All Saints for some unguarded utterance which he himself denied, and as the poor man suffered much in the bitter weather, and was said, besides, to be really learned and an enemy to superstition, he desired to know what to do with him. (fn. 75) He also gave a sad report of the decayed condition of the town of Northampton, where houses were left to fall into ruin, and the bailiffs, even by exacting heavy tolls, had difficulty in paying the onerous fee farm. Matters he thought might be ameliorated if the inhabitants were relieved of the "candle rents" paid to the dissolved abbeys, and if the friars' buildings were granted, not to strangers, but to worshipful townsmen, who could use them for cloth-making. (fn. 76) Thence he proceeded to Coventry to take the surrender of the Cathedral priory, which the city and the Bishop, Roland Lee, in vain entreated might not be altogether suppressed, but merely altered in its constitution. He dissolved it and made an inventory of its relics; after which he likewise dissolved the Carthusian priory there. (fn. 77) He then proceeded to Combe Abbey and took its surrender also; and to Thelesford, where he despatched the friars—a very poor house—and arranged for payment of their debts. He next descended upon the nunnery of Polesworth, which likewise yielded to him. All this he accomplished in January; and on the 5th February he took the surrender of two houses of friars at Nottingham. (fn. 78) But here the record of his achievements is interrupted for a while.
During the same month of January Sir George Lawson and the other Commissioners for the Northern monasteries (fn. 79) received the surrenders of the four Orders of Friars at Newcastle and of the Grey Friars at Richmond, of the priories of Tynemouth in Northumberland, Newburgh and Bolton in Craven in Yorkshire, and apparently of Cocker- sand Abbey in Lancashire; (fn. 80) while, in the South, Drs. Peter and Tregonwell were at the same time taking those of Pulton, Marlborough, Bradestock (or Bradenstock) and Laycock in Wiltshire and of Keynsham in Somersetshire. (fn. 81) In February these last continued the work, and, proceeding gradually westward, took the surrenders of St. John's hospital at Wells, of Bridgewater hospital, of the Abbey of Athelney, the nunnery of Buckland, the priory of Taunton, the Abbey of Donkeswell, the abbess and convent of Canon Leigh, the prioress and convent of Pollesho or Poleslowe, St. John's Hospital at Exeter, the abbeys of Hartland, Torr, Buckfast, and Buckland, and the priory of Bodmin. (fn. 82) In March, returning nearer the southern coast, they continued the work at Plimpton, St. German's, Tavistock, Forde, Newham, Milton (or Middleton), Abbotsbury, Tarent (a nunnery), Bindon, Cerne, Witham, Sherborne, Montague, the great abbeys of nuns at Shaftesbury, where there were fifty-seven sisters, and at Wilton, where there were thirty-three, and the monastery of Edington in Wiltshire, whose head was called the "rector." (fn. 83) At the nunnery of Amesbury (or Ambresbury), however, they met with a repulse; for the prioress, Florence Bonnewe (inaccurately called abbess by the royal commissioners), could not be brought "to any conformity." She protested that if the King commanded her to go she would go and take no pension, though she should beg her bread; but surrender her trust she would not on any account. (fn. 84) What came of so much heroism we shall see presently.
In January, one John Tavernor of Boston, who had shown himself a zealous enemy of superstition, (fn. 85) wrote to Cromwell that the priors of the Black, White, and Austin Friars in that town were impatient for some one to take their surrenders, as they were reduced to such poverty they knew not how to live. The devotion of the people was "clean gone," and they would have sold the very lead of their houses if Tavernor had not prevented it. (fn. 86) Cromwell was not long in sending relief. He despatched into Lincolnshire our old acquaintance the Bishop of Dover, who first took on his way the house of Austin Friars at Huntingdon, then the four houses of Friars at Boston, and afterwards the four houses at Lincoln. He then went on to Grantham, Newark and Grimsby, at each of which places he received a house of friars. From this he wrote that he intended to go by Hull and Beverley (fn. 87) to Scarborough and from that to Carlisle and Lancaster, and he probably fulfilled his programme; for shortly afterwards at Scarborough he took three additional houses of friars into the King's hands, making in all sixteen convents on this particular expedition, and on the 1st April when he was back again in or near London he wrote that he had taken 26 houses in the North. (fn. 88)
On the 1st April Dr. Peter, who apparently had parted company with Dr. Tregonwell, took the surrender of Bruton in Somersetshire. (fn. 89) He seems also to have taken that of Hyde near Winchester at the end of the month, as he signed the pension list for that house on the 29th. (fn. 90) He no doubt returned to London shortly after, and it was probably then, passing on into Kent, that, along with other commissioners, he took the surrender of Dartford priory and assigned pensions to the nuns, the first half yearly payment of which was to be at Michaelmas following. (fn. 91) 3 But now, with the exception of two surrenders in South Wales, (fn. 92) we find a very remarkable pause in the work until the month of July. Was it owing to the King's serious fear of invasion that he was anxious not to increase disaffection within the realm at the very same time ? Or was it that his agents were required for other work in Parliament ? At all events, not a single surrender was taken in May or June. But in July the work was resumed by Dr. London in Lincolnshire, where he received for the King the priory of Kyme and the four nunneries of Irford, Nuncotton, Fosse and Haynings (fn. 93); then passing on into Nottinghamshire he took also the Charter House of Beauvale and the priory of Newstead. (fn. 94) Coming to Bedfordshire in August he next received the surrender of another nunnery—Elstowe, (fn. 95) in which Gostwick, the treasurer of First Fruits, went down from London to assist him. (fn. 96) Then in September he was down in the Midlands, where he took the surrender of Nuneaton in Warwickshire and of the priory of Ulvescroft in Leicestershire; and four days after leaving the latter place he was in Buckinghamshire close by the Thames, where he took the surrender of Burnham Abbey, another nunnery. (fn. 97)
When we think of the shame in which Dr. London ended his days, a few years later, committed to the Fleet for perjury, not to mention other stories against him (fn. 98); and when we consider that Cromwell himself, the year before this, had been obliged to pay some regard to the abbess of Godstow's remonstrance against his conduct towards her and her companions, (fn. 99) it might seem strange that the task of suppressing nunneries should have been more specially committed to him than to any other. But perhaps indelicacy was rather a recommendation for the kind of work that was to be done. Pressure had to be brought to bear one way or other to bring about formal surrenders which in law might pass for spontaneous acts; and when a lady like Florence Bonnewe refused to surrender her trust, it was easy to supersede her. Dr. John Incent and Dr. Legh went down to Amesbury in August furnished with letters from the King and Cromwell, and they desired Florence to resign the office of prioress. Against such authority it was needless to contend, and she resigned. She did not, however, repeat her former language, but wrote that she hoped the promises made to her would be performed and a living secured to her. (fn. 100) She seems, however, to have been taken at her original word. Incent and Legh at once declared the monastery void, and urged the nuns to "compremysse" the election into Cromwell's hands. A new prioress was soon obtained, and a surrender was procured before the end of the year; but though pensions were given to thirty- four sisters, the name of Florence Bonnewe was not among them. (fn. 101)
Of pressure being applied we have express evidence in other cases, as at the Carthusian priory of Henton in Somersetshire, where the prior at first refused to surrender to the King's Commissioners, saying that he and his brethren had given no cause why they should be put down; but in reply to a remonstrance from his own brother to avoid the King and Cromwell's displeasure, he would endeavour to get the monks to conform. (fn. 102) The abbot of Winchcombe also wrote in August to Cromwell, saying he hoped that he had not done anything against the laws of God or the King to merit the suppression of the monastery. (fn. 103) Of course the utmost that came of such pleadings was but a little delay. In some quarters special commissions were sent down to take a particular surrender, as at the important monastery of St. Osith's in Essex, which surrendered on the 28th July, (fn. 104) and Haughmond in Shropshire which did so on the 9th September. (fn. 105) In the latter month three Yorkshire nunneries—Swinhey, Nunkelyng, and Maryke—fell to John Uvedale and Leonard Beckwith, the King's Commissioners, (fn. 106) and the nunnery of Grimsby to John Freeman, John Hennege, and John Wyseman. (fn. 107) About the end of the same month, probably, Dr. London took into his hands the college of Ashridge and the abbey of Missenden in Buckinghamshire, assisted as regards the first by Dr. Tregonwell, and in both by William Cavendish, auditor of the Court of Augmentations. (fn. 108)
Early in the same month (6th September), Dr. Layton dissolved the nunnery of Clerkenwell, placing it in the custody of a servant of the duke of Norfolk. (fn. 109) Writing that day to Cromwell to notify what he had done, he said he would be at Reading on the following evening and afterwards repair to Cromwell, who was apparently at the time with the King at Ampthill. (fn. 110) What was the thing to be done at Reading ? Thomas Moyle, who a few days later was appointed one of the general surveyors of Crown lands, (fn. 111) was there before him, and in company with a Mr. Vachell, a resident at Reading, who had been very useful last year in preserving the lead and other valuables of the house of the Grey Friars to the King's use, had begun to "peruse" the monastery and make an inventory of the plate, the tapestry, the copes, and all other property and furniture. Layton, however, joined them on the 7th, and assisted in the work. The debts of the house were also computed, and the sum that would be required for pensions. (fn. 112) The house and demesnes were seized and handed over to Sir William Penizon on the 12th. (fn. 113) But no surrender was taken, and whether any pensions were given does not appear. The abbot, in all probability, declined to give up his monastery. Just a year before this he and the monks had been disquieted by the presence of Dr. London, who came thither to suppress the Grey Friars, and who, in writing to Cromwell at that time, gave it distinctly as his opinion that while both the abbot and the monks professed to be entirely at the King's command, they would be very loth to surrender. (fn. 114)
Reading was not the only great abbey that offered resistance to the King's pleasure. Secret messages apparently had passed between the great monasteries still left through the medium of a blind harper named William Moore (fn. 115); and no doubt the heads encouraged each other not to yield. It may have been that this had just been discovered before Layton and Moyle were at Reading; for it was certainly discovered not long after, and the fact of its being already known would account for a very remarkable epistle written at this time by Layton to his patron Cromwell. It would also account, perhaps, for a letter which he wrote in conjunction with Richard Pollard and Thomas Moyle, and dated Glastonbury, 15th September, when it is pretty certain that, although they were all three at Glastonbury a week later, they were all at Reading on that particular day. (fn. 116) They were at Reading, but affairs of Glastonbury already filled their minds, and Pollard had just brought Layton a message from Cromwell which did not seem to make him comfortable. How came it that in that visitation of his four years ago, when he managed to rake up so many scandals against monks and abbots, he had actually reported highly of the abbot of Glastonbury to the King, and given him a very good character ? And yet this abbot appeared "neither then nor now to have known God, neither his prince, neither any part of a good Christian man's religion!" Dean Layton (for he was by this time dean of York) felt it needful to show humility. He was a man, he wrote, and might err like other men, having no means of knowing the inward thought of a monk, fair to all outward appearances. They were all false, flattering hypocrites, and he begged Cromwell to pardon his folly; he would be more circumspect another time. For he acknowledged that, but for Cromwell's goodness, he would never have been more than a basket-bearer. (fn. 117)
He and his friends arrived at Glastonbury on Friday the 19th, examined the abbot at his house at Sharpham, a mile from the monastery, then searched his study, and found a book against the King's divorce from Katharine, divers pardons and bulls, and a printed life of Becket, but nothing very compromising in the way of letters. However, they examined him again on articles drawn up by Cromwell, then had him sent up to the Tower "though a weak man and very sickly," and proceeded to discharge the monks and servants, and secure the plunder. A first survey revealed over 300l. in money and an indefinite quantity of plate, among which were a gold chalice and other articles that the abbot had judiciously hidden from all previous commissioners—strong evidence, as Pollard and his friends conceived, of untruth to the King. (fn. 118) By the 28th they had discovered more money and plate stowed away in walls, vaults, and other secret places, and they expected to find more still in a fortnight. (fn. 119) They also had ascertained that many valuables had been conveyed away into the country. They accordingly committed to jail, "for arrant robbery," the two treasurers of the church, and with them two clerks of the vestry, who were laymen; for the treasury, when they first entered it, contained hardly sufficient plate and jewels for a poor parish church, but by careful inquiry they found an amount of no small value. They described the house as most princely—they had never seen the like; and with its four adjoining parks, the furthest not four miles off—the great mere of five miles' compass within a mile and a half of the house, well stocked with pike, bream, perch, and roach—the four great manor houses within three miles' distance, and another in Dorsetshire, 20 miles away, all belonging to the abbot—there was no doubt that it was a property "meet for the King and no man else." They discharged the servants with half a year's wages, and the monks with rewards and pensions. (fn. 120)
On the 2nd October the commissioners wrote to Cromwell that they had discovered certain treasons committed by the abbot, of which they forwarded an account, with the names of his accusers. (fn. 121) This account or "book" of his treasons, unfortunately, seems to be lost, and the nature of the charges on which Abbot Whiting was condemned can only be a matter of speculation. The book found in his study against the King's divorce and the printed life of Becket had been, of course, the justification of his committal to the Tower. But at first it was supposed that he was to be tried in Parliament, which had been prorogued in June to 3rd November. It was known, however, to the French ambassador, on the 25th October, that there would be a further prorogation till after the arrival of Anne of Cleves—in fact, till the 14th January (fn. 122) —and the trial of the abbot, as he very naturally presumed, would not take place till then. (fn. 123) The King and Cromwell, however, had more summary proceedings in view.
Among Cromwell's numerous papers of "remembrances" we meet with one certainly written in October, beginning carelessly: "For the indictment against the "abbot of and other. Item, a commission of oyer deter " miner into Berkshire for his indictment and trial." (fn. 124) The mention of the county shows that the Abbot of Reading was intended, and a commission of oyer and terminer for Berkshire was actually issued on the 27th October, clearly for the very purpose. (fn. 125) The memorandum immediately following is:—"Item, certain persons to be sent to "the Tower for the further examination of the Abbot "of Glaston." But, whatever might be elicited by examinations or trials, the ultimate issue was fully determined beforehand. For we read in the very same paper a little lower down: "The abbot Reading (sic) "to be sent down to be tried and executed at Reading "with his complices. Item, the Abbot of Glaston to "be tried at Glaston, and also executed there with his "complices. Counsellors to give evidence against the "abbot Reading, Mr. Hynde, and the King's Attorney. "Counsellors to give evidence against the Abbot of "Glaston, Richard Pollerd, Lewis Forstew, Thomas "Moyle. Item, to see that the evidence be well sorted "and the indictments well drawn against the said Abbots "and their complices." (fn. 126) In other "remembrances," probably a few days later, we find memoranda "for "proceeding against the abbots of Reading, Glastonbury, "and other in their countries," and further memoranda about the plate, ready money, copes and year's revenue of the latter abbey. (fn. 127)
The sequel, as regards Glastonbury, appears in two letters written from Wells on the 16th November by Lord Russell and Richard Pollard. The old abbot was arraigned on Friday the 14th, and was next day executed on Tor Hill, a short distance from the monastery, with the two monks (fn. 128) who had been treasurers of the abbey, and who had been condemned on a charge of robbing it. The abbot was beheaded and quartered, the quarters being sent to Wells, Bath, Ilchester, and Bridgewater, and his head set upon his own abbey gate. (fn. 129) At the same time the Abbot of Reading, whose name was Hugh Cooke, though he was sometimes called Hugh Farringdon (perhaps from his birthplace) (fn. 130) underwent a similar fate at Reading. On what accusations these men were put to death was a point so little understood that the French ambassador, even on the last day of the month, had been unable to discover it. (fn. 131) Two Reading priests named Rugge and Onyon or Eynon, suffered with the abbot.
Another great abbot, meanwhile, was being caught within the meshes of the law. Thomas Beach, otherwise called Marshall, had become head of the abbey of Colchester in 1533, just about the time that Anne Boleyn was proclaimed Queen; but he had been no admirer of the King's proceedings, either at that time or since. It was probably, however, his known aversion to surrender (fn. 132) that caused inquiry to be made about his utterances. About the 23rd or 24th October he went up to London, when he gave to a confidential servant, named Edmund Trowman, a trussing coffer containing spoons and money to take care of, adding that he wished he had at hand, and in pence, to distribute to poor people, a sum of 40l. which he had committed with other valuables to Trowman's custody a year before. He had in like manner lately entrusted to Trowman six printed books and three albs for a priest, which Trowman delivered to his wife. On the 31st Trowman was called before Cromwell, along with the abbot's chaplain and one John Laurence, and was examined about his master's property in his possession. He naturally felt very uncomfortable, and said afterwards that he only remembered the money he had in London. What inquiries were addressed to Laurence and the chaplain we do not know; but apparently they were all allowed to wend homewards next day. They were stopped, however, at Brentwood, where Sir John Seyntclere with two other gentlemen examined them again, some "confession," as it was called, having been meanwhile elicited from the abbot himself in London which they did not know about; and Trowman, after revealing a few things more about his master's property, underwent yet another examination as to his master's words and conversation. He would not admit all that was imputed to the abbot in the questions put; but he did admit that he had said the King could not lawfully suppress monasteries that were over 200l. yearly value, that he had protested he would die sooner than surrender his house, and that he wished every other abbot was of his mind. He owned that he had heard the abbot express pity for the deaths of Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More and the monks of the Charter House, calling them learned and wise men. He had also hoped the world would amend, and at the time of the Northern rebellion he had expressed a wish that the rebels could only have got hold of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer), the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Privy Seal, and then they would have a "merry world again." (fn. 133) These things alone were almost sufficient to condemn him under the existing laws as they were then administered. But other witnesses added that the abbot had alleged the King only forsook the Pope that he might be divorced from Katharine and marry Anne Boleyn, and that when the supremacy was treated in Parliament he had declared he could prove the Pope to be supreme head of the Church and that those who made the King so were heretics. He had also said that if all the water in the Thames flowed gold and silver it would not slake the King's covetousness. (fn. 134) These charges the abbot himself in a paper under his own hand partly denied and partly endeavoured to explain away, as, in the case of the last, by saying that he had spoken of covetousness in the abstract as insatiable, without pointing at the King. (fn. 135) But there could be little doubt of their general truth and as little of what would be the issue. On the 20th November the Abbot of Colchester is named in a list of prisoners then in the Tower. (fn. 136) He was executed, according to Hall, on the 1st day of December.
Of course, these examples did not encourage resistance, and surrenders of monasteries now came with a rush. In London and the neighbourhood Dr. Peter and others under special commissions had taken possession of the nunnery of Holywell, the hospital of St. Bartholomew, and the priory of St. Mary Overey before the end of October, and of Sion before the end of November. (fn. 137) In the latter month Dr. Peter further took the surrender of the abbey of Bury St. Edmund's and of the nunnery of Barking; (fn. 138) while in the North Dr. Leigh took that of the Carthusian priory of Hull. (fn. 139) Special commissioners altered the cathedral priory of Winchester into a chapter, granting pensions to some of the monks, and to the nuns of St. Mary's, who surrendered also. (fn. 140) The abbey of Burton on Trent, at the same time, surrendered to Dr. Leigh, who also received the nunnery of Hampole, the priories of Nestlehoo or St. Oswald's and Pontefract, Fountains Abbey and St. Mary's Abbey by York. (fn. 141) Like a few other surrenders taken, especially those of cathedral priories, that of Burton-on-Trent was only a first step towards its conversion into a new kind of establishment—in this case a college. (fn. 142) Leigh's colleague, Layton, at the same time received the surrenders of Kirkstall Abbey and the nunneries of Kirkeleys and Arthington in Yorkshire; (fn. 143) and on the 1st December Layton and Leigh together took that of St. Leonard's Hospital at York, (fn. 144) of which, however, they only changed the monastic constitution, leaving it still a hospital. (fn. 145)
In November also Sir John Williams, master of the King's Jewels, took the surrender of four Oxfordshire houses, the priory of nuns at Studley and the abbeys of Thame, Oseney, and Godstowe, the last likewise a house of nuns. (fn. 146) In the same month the cathedral priory of Ely was altered by Dr. Tregonwell, who, joined with others, also took the surrenders of Ramsey, Peterborough, and Thorney, retaining at Peterborough seventeen of the monks with a view to their conversion ultimately into a cathedral chapter. (fn. 147) To complete the record of November, Robert Southwell, the legal agent of the Augmentation Office, along with Dr. Carne, Dr. London, and two others, took the surrender of Christchurch Twynham in Hampshire on the 28th, where they defaced a monument of Caen stone prepared by the countess of Salisbury for her burial. (fn. 148)
In the last month of the year no less than 32 monasteries fell, Leigh and Layton being still busy in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, (fn. 149) assisted, as to the two Gilbertine houses of Watton and Malton (fn. 150) by John Uvedale, who was secretary to the bishop of Llandaff, the head of the Order, in his capacity of President of the Council of the North. St. Alban's seems to have been dissolved by special commissioners. (fn. 151) Some Lincolnshire houses fell to Philip Parys, Dr. Tregonwell, and John Hughes, who then took others in Leicestershire, Huntingdonshire, and Bedfordshire, being joined by Gostwick at Dunstable. (fn. 152) In Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire the business was managed by Southwell, Carne, Gwent, and Dr. London. (fn. 153) By the end of the year, with the exception of Westminster Abbey and two or three other larger houses in the country, not a single monastery had been left.
As to other matters connected with religion it was only natural that while many were shocked by the King's proceedings others thought that he had not gone far enough. A proclamation was issued on the 26th February for the observance of all ceremonies not yet abolished, and urging the clergy to explain their right use to the people. (fn. 154) It may also have been about this time that the project of a new code of ecclesiastical laws came first under consideration. (fn. 155) But as this led to no practical result it is immaterial. In January one daring priest was arraigned at the Ipswich Sessions for keeping up the "service of Thomas Becket," and declaring that he would do so until forbidden by his bishop; and up and down the country at other times we find various parsons accused of sedition, besides Griffith, vicar of Wandsworth, who, with another priest and two friars, suffered the penalties of treason in July. (fn. 156) Sometimes a clergyman zealous to put down "idolatry" would invade a neighbouring parish church and give information about an "erroneous table" beside a crucifix. (fn. 157) Miles Coverdale was impatient at the toleration of popish books and observances in Berkshire, especially of "images," (i.e., pictures) of Thomas Becket in glass windows; (fn. 158) while one John Marshall in Nottinghamshire was glad to say the people were getting reconciled to the putting down of abbeys and to having the paternoster in English, though they did not freely use the King's gracious liberty to eat white meats in Lent, nor was preaching kept up in a manner to satisfy the King's injunctions. (fn. 159) Who can wonder that bitter controversies broke out about religion, sometimes, as at Bristol, finding the most loathsome forms of utterance? (fn. 160) There was even a report that some men of Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, had complained of their bishop (Longland, of Lincoln) to the lord Privy Seal for not praying for the King or speaking against "the bishop of Rome," and that he had escaped prosecution by bribes. (fn. 161)
On the 13th August depositions were taken before the Lord Mayor of London about a sermon preached by Dr. Crome on Relic Sunday (13 July), just after Latimer and Shaxton had resigned their bishoprics, in which he deprecated the outcry against their teaching. (fn. 162) Another examination taken also by the lord mayor the very same day was about a renewal of the eccentric preaching of John Harrydance, the inspired bricklayer, who apparently was another sympathiser with the two unpopular bishops, and discoursed from his own window, as he had done two years before, to a crowd in the street, between 10 and 12 at night. (fn. 163) A few days later, one George Constantyne, a married priest, who had got into trouble in Wolsey's time as a purchaser of several copies of Tyndale's New Testament, and had consequently been obliged to fly from England and spend a year or two in the Low Countries, (fn. 164) having journeyed from London to Bristol, walked from that town to Westbury on Trym in Gloucestershire, where he supped with the dean of Westbury, John Barlow, the brother of the bishop of St. David's. The dean questioned him eagerly about the news in London, and he told him what he had heard (some of it certainly erroneous) about the resignation of Latimer and Shaxton, and the return of Barnes from Germany. It was then arranged that Constantyne, after going back for one night to Bristol, (though he actually made it two) should accompany the dean to Slebech in Pembrokeshire, about five miles from his own home, which was at that time at Lawhaden, the castle of the bishop of St. David's. He overtook the dean before he had reached Chepstow, and much further conversation passed between them about the dangers of the Act of the Six Articles (a matter of common sympathy), on which they agreed that it was well there was no commission out to enforce it, also of the King's approaching marriage (with some amusing reasons why that with the Duchess of Milan was broken off)—of the King's sore leg, which Constantyne (who had practised during his exile in Brabant as a physician) was sure that he could cure by quaiacum—and of the execution of Anne Boleyn three years ago, and those who suffered with her. On the last subject he had been personally interested at the time, being then in the service of Harry Norris, one of Anne's supposed paramours. In short, he said at least twenty times as much, on a great variety of subjects, as would have sufficed to get him into trouble, unless he had been speaking to a very trusty confidant; and the dean of Westbury was no such person. Besides, the dean's brother, Thomas Barlow, a prebendary in the same church, was also a companion on the journey. But the dean, who had once had some misunderstanding with Constantyne, which the latter innocently thought was forgotten, informed against him, and in September Constantyne was brought from Wales and lodged in the Tower. (fn. 165)
The little storm by which Adam Damplip in the preceding year had disturbed the religious peace of Calais (fn. 166) was renewed this year with greater vehemence. Even in 1538 it had threatened to involve Cranmer's Commissary Butler, to whom Lisle, in the name of the Council of Calais, had given a serious warning that he would be held responsible for having allowed Damplip to preach. The Commissary was protected for the time by Damplip himself going over to England to answer for himself in person before Cranmer; but his accuser, Dove, the prior of the White Friars at Calais, went thither also, no doubt to prevent a one-sided inquiry. Cranmer, after hearing Damplip, reported to Cromwell that he had not denied the Real Presence but only Transubstantiation, in which particular the Archbishop held that he was right, and thought his accuser should not be allowed to return to Calais. Dove, in fact, seems to have got the worst of it at the time, a set of interrogatories being prepared for him to answer, to which his replies were taken down by Richard Morison. (fn. 167) Owing, no doubt, to Cranmer's interest, the matter then slept awhile; and further complaints from the Council of Calais, accompanied by depositions against the Commissary and Adam Damplip in the spring of 1539, only brought down a letter of rebuke from Cromwell for their want of charity, telling them the King was too busy to attend to the matter and that the charges seemed to him by no means weighty. (fn. 168) This letter was written on the 27th May. But the Bishops and the Council were even then much occupied in debating the Six Articles; and Cromwell, quite conscious of the direction in which the current was setting, soon felt himself compelled to explain away what he had said, admitting that the charges against Damplip were "very pestilent" and that those against the Commissary deserved the most serious inquiry. In the end, the Commissary and some other Calais heretics were brought before the Council and committed to the Fleet; the priest of Our Lady Church in Calais was ordered to preach in the market place there and make a public recantation; one Ralph Hare, and a Flemish barber at Marke, were enjoined to bear faggots at Calais and Marke respectively; and the Commissary was forbidden to return to Calais till Easter following without special licence, in order that the charges against him might be fully investigated. (fn. 169)
That Ireland has been scarcely mentioned in these Prefaces for some years has been due partly to the insularity of the subject, partly to want of space for its adequate treatment. Nor can we afford to say very much at present. There are years when Irish affairs seem to have less to do with the current of English history than affairs of the Grand Turk, and there are crises when the Irish question is of supreme importance. One such crisis had occurred, and a very acute one, in 1534. (fn. 170) But since then the efforts of Skeffington and of his successor, lord Leonard Grey, as Deputy, had been on the whole highly successful in subduing the country and reducing it to general obedience. Even in 1536, his first year as Deputy, lord Leonard had obtained the submission of the Northern chieftains, Phelim and Con O'Neil, (fn. 171) and, going southwards, had reduced Ferns and captured the formidable strongholds of O'Brien in Limerick and Tipperary. (fn. 172) Next year he planned the reduction of the province of Leinster (fn. 173), and made a successful, though not a permanently effective expedition into Offaly against O'Connor and the Cavenaghs. (fn. 174) In 1538 he invaded both Munster and Connaught, even to Galway (fn. 175); and if the results of all these expeditions were not always very permanent, it was certainly from no lack of severity on his part, or of efficiency as a commander.
The problem, in truth, was sufficiently arduous if it had depended on nothing but good, hard fighting. But it seemed sometimes like fighting with the sea to make a few Irish chieftains submissive, then go and punish others in a country difficult of access, and hand over their strongholds to disaffected brothers, sons, or kinsmen too likely to become in their turn a new source of trouble afterwards. (fn. 176) Still, steady persistance might have set all things right but for disputes among the Irish Council and the want of adequate material support from England. The problem, moreover, was, of course, further complicated by the King's quarrel with the Pope. Irish chieftains, no doubt, cared as little for the Pope as Henry did himself—indeed, rather less; but when there was a chance of getting foreign aid against English government, their respect for the Holy See increased materially. It was quite as necessary for the King to exclude papal jurisdiction and prohibit papal bulls being published in Ireland as in England; but it was a more difficult business, and after all it produced very little effect on the people. What was the use of archbishop Browne publishing the King's injunctions or preaching his supremacy in sermons from Dublin to Wexford, Waterford, or elsewhere? (fn. 177) He could not induce any others to preach after his fashion, even in the diocese of Dublin. (fn. 178) Exhortations and threats were wasted. No one would erase the Pope's name in the service books as the King commanded unless the Archbishop sent his own servants to do it. Dissolution of monasteries was not a difficult matter, for the Irish chieftains themselves were not over respectful to sacred buildings. (fn. 179) But the people at large depended mainly for spiritual comfort on the ministrations of those wandering friars who had been put down by the strong hand in England with so great ease. Men who had neither lands nor goods nor permanent houses could not easily be crushed in a country not one quarter of which was really subdued.
Archbishop Browne, moreover, could not govern his own clergy. Bishop Staples of Meath "railed at him as a heretic and a beggar." Prebendary Humfrey, of his own cathedral of St. Patrick's, sang mass at St. Owen's, Dublin, in defiance of him, and, when imprisoned by the Archbishop for so doing, was released by the lord Deputy. (fn. 180) Lord Leonard, in truth, did not share the Archbishop's zeal against Popery, and there was no love lost between them. (fn. 181) The Deputy, doubtless, had enough to do with the temporal government of the land without lending himself to the coercion of refractory clergy; but he was preparing trouble for himself by disregard of officious reformers. Already his administration had been criticised from another point of view as needlessly expensive, and commissioners had been sent over to report. No doubt it would have been more expensive still if he had set himself earnestly to put down Popery. But it was dangerous to make new enemies, who could say that he did not love authorised changes in religion.
As the prospect of a European confederacy against Henry became serious, so also did that of an Irish confederacy against him. Young Gerald, heir to the earldom of Kildare (the brother of that "Silken Thomas," (fn. 182) as he was called, who, with his five uncles, had been hanged at Tyburn in February 1537), although at this time a mere boy of thirteen, was likely to be the source of great danger. In March 1538 he was said to be in Connaught; (fn. 183) but more probably he was in Thomond, the modern county of Clare. His uncle the lord Deputy intrigued to get him into the King's hands. (fn. 184) But his aunt, Eleanor Fitzgerald, widow of Donough McCarthy Reagh, carried him off through Thomond and Connaught into Ulster, whither she went herself to be married to Manus O'Donnel. (fn. 185) At once it was evident that if the O'Neils and O'Donnels gave him succour, and the Fitzgeralds of Desmond also took up his cause, the whole North and South of Ireland (if not the West also) might rise against the King's government; and further aid might very likely be had from Scotland, whither it was for some time feared young Gerald might have gone himself for succour. (fn. 186) The claimant of the earldom of Desmond, in fact, seized the forfeited lands of Kildare in Limerick, (fn. 187) while the Deputy for a while entertained some faint hope of luring O'Neil and O'Donnel, who both affected to desire the King's pardon, to a meeting at Dundalk, and getting young Gerald into his power. (fn. 188) The Irish chieftains agreed to come, but did not keep their appointments. In fact, they broke promises to this effect more than once; and in the spring of 1539, when danger lowered everywhere round England, the danger in Ireland seemed not the least considerable. (fn. 189)
The word had passed everywhere among the Irish chieftains that the King was a heretic, and had lost all his rights in the country by his disobedience to the Pope. O'Neil and O'Donnel had allured numbers of lesser chieftains in the North to join them, and also a multitude of Scots; never was seen such a combined host. Yet another large force from the West was to come up and meet them on the 1st September. But Lord Leonard, collecting the forces of Dublin, Drogheda, and the Pale, defeated the northern levies and the Scots, and effectually prevented the meeting. (fn. 190) The King was delighted at the news; (fn. 191) but the English strength in Ireland had much need of reinforcement, and Sir William Brereton was despatched thither from Cheshire in October. (fn. 192) For new trouble was brewing in the South, where James Earl of Ormond (who had just succeeded to the title on the death of his father Piers) complained grievously of the Lord Deputy for trusting Geraldines and handing over Munster to the rule of James FitzJohn, the claimant of the Earldom of Desmond. Complaints against Lord Leonard by others had been long collecting; but for the present he was indispensable. Ormond seems to have received a hint not to be too querulous. The King, however, determined not to recognise James FitzJohn as Earl of Desmond, but his cousin James FitzMaurice, who had been some time at Court. The Lord Deputy left Dublin in November, and brought a force into Munster in aid of Ormond against O'Brien and James FitzJohn. James FitzMaurice was restored to his grandfather's inheritance "according to the King's letters upon James FitzJohn," and Ormond wrote to assure Cromwell that his differences with Lord Leonard, which he saw had been fanned by others, should not be renewed on his side. (fn. 193) So there was a gleam of sunshine at the end of the year.