Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1541 Volume 16
1426. Marillac to Francis I.
(Almost the whole text.)
Received before this, by his cousin, the letters and instruction written from Fontainebleau, the 15th ult., which he has been unable to fulfil for want of the power. Has since received by the ordinary way the despatch of the 23rd, mentioning that two powers should be sent by the personage who shall come hither.
There is great need for dexterity, as almost all the language ever used by this King to Marillac has tended to set Francis at war with the Emperor.
Although Francis understands the trouble in this Court through these changes of Queens, there is one particular which one king may know of another, and which a servant ought to write to his master, viz., that this King has changed his love for the Queen into hatred, and taken such grief at being deceived that of late it was thought he had gone mad, for he called for a sword to slay her he had loved so much. Sitting in Council he suddenly called for horses without saving where he would go. Sometimes he said irrelevantly (hors de propoz) that that wicked woman had never such delight in her incontinency as she should have torture in her death. And finally he took to tears regretting his ill luck in meeting with such ill-conditioned wives, and blaming his Council for this last mischief. The ministers have done their best to make him forget his grief, and he is gone 25 miles from here with no company but musicians and ministers of pastime.
The Council remains here for the process of Durans and Colpepre; for that of the Queen, lady Rochefort, and the rest is deferred until the Parliament, which is summoned for the 15th prox. The personages beforenamed were, five or six days ago, brought from the Tower into the great consistory of London, called Illehale(Guildhall), where the Mayor first, and beside him the Chancellor, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the rest of the Council, in presence of all who chose to attend, made anew the process of the said prisoners, and read aloud the Queen's signed deposition of what she had done with Durans before marriage, and her conversations with Colpepre. After both had been heard and examined they were condemned, Durans for having not only kept the lady from the time he violated her at the age of 13 until 18, but for having since been of her chamber and brought thither the woman who had been his accomplice before, which is presumptive evidence that they continued in their first purpose, especially as the Queen had said to lady Rochefort that if Colpepre would not listen to her there was, behind the door, another “qui ne demandoit pas meilleur party.” Colpepre had like sentence, although he had not passed beyond words; for he confessed his intention to do so, and his confessed conversations, being held by a subject to a Queen, deserved death.
Many people thought the publication of these foul details strange, but the intention is to prevent it being said afterwards that they were unjustly condemned. Another strange thing has been noted, viz., that Norfolk was at the judgment, and even in examining the prisoners laughed as if he had cause to rejoice. His son the earl of Sure was also there, and the brothers of the Queen and Colpepre rode about the town. It is the custom and must be done to show that they did not share the crimes of their relatives. Awaiting the execution of the condemned, which is deferred until Parliament time, the old duchess of Norfolk has been brought prisoner to the Chancellor's house, and a sister of lord William and five or six other ladies are imprisoned apart, to be examined whether the evil manners of the Queen were known before the marriage. Meanwhile Norfolk is gone back to his house, 50 leagues hence, which makes people think ill, and at least that his influence is much diminished. There is no appearance that Madame de Cleves is to be restored, except common opinion and the absence of any bruit that the King intends to take another. Thinks nothing will be decided until Parliament. Docketed: “Par Henry.”
Headed: London, 7 Dec. 1541.