Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 1
John Stile was English ambassador to Spain.
Stile went to Spain in 1505, on a diplomatic mission for Henry VII. He was ordered to stay there, making it a permanent position; this was the first England resident diplomatic posting,as opposed to a transient mission, at a secular court
Fuenterrabia,nr San Sebastián
On the fyveyth day of Awgust, yn Fowntraby. [Fuenterrabia,near San Sebastián]
Pleseyth yowr hyzghnys for to understand that my Lorde Markes and al other lordys and jantylmen here of yowr royal armey be yn bodely helthe, Almyzghty God be thankeyd, and so be al yowr other subjectys here, yn supstance; how be that, Severayn Lord, thay be not contenteyd yn thayr hartys and myndys, for that they have and do lye so long styl here wythe oute doyng any thynge to the purpose of thenterpryse of Ghyayne, acordeyng to the apoyntament made bytwyxt your grace and the Kyng yowr good fader. To the whyche effecte and purpose yowr sayd levetenant and hole armey alwayys have byn and be redy, acordeyng to yowr most royalyst ynstruxcyons. And as by other my sundry letters byfore thys y have certefyed un to yowr hyzghnys, that the Kyng yowr good fader's armey, the whyche schuld have joynyd wythe yowr armey here, was not nor hathe not byn asemblyd nor redy un to now of late; of the whyche defalte the Kyng yowr good fader exscuseythe hym self by the Kyng of Navar, sayeyng that he trustyd by fayre meanys and treatys for to have had a good and sure amyte for yowr grace and hym wythe the Kyng of Navar, and that at lengythe hys hyzghnys hathe persayveyd and fowned that the Kyng of Navar hathe dysemulyd wyth pasynge the tyme wyth wordys of dyssayte, by the dryfte of the Frensche Kyng, to thentent that when the Kyng yowr good fader's armey and yowrs had layde seage to the cety of Bayon, that the Navars myzghte wythe theyr powers cum on the backehalfe of yowr armeys, and do to theym dysplesures. And, for the exchuyng and avoydeyng of that danger, the Kyng yowr good faders sayeyng ys and hathe byn that ynno wyse he cannot a joyne hys armey wythe yowrs here, and for to goe strayzghte to Bayon acordeyng to the apoyntamente, un to the tyme that he have subduyd the King of Navar and schal have put that ream yn a suerty.
And as by my other letters byfore thys y certefyed unto yowr grace that the Kyng yowr good fader had wretyn unto my Lord Markes, yowr levetenant, desyreyng hym that he, wythe yowr armey, wold returne bacward towardys Castyl, and for to ajoyne wythe hys armey, so that bothe your armey and hys joyntly myzghte enter ynto Navar, and for to take the ream perforce, yn case that the kyng of Navar wold not put yn a swerty for to be yn amyte wythe yowr hyzghnysys; the whych yowr levetenant and cownsayle of yowr armey refuseyd so for to do for dyvers causys and consydoracyons. Oon, and hyt plese yowr grace, that they haveyng no suche enconmandament of yowr grace other than for thenterpryse of Ghyayn; another was, that dayly thay sawe the Frenschemen thayre ennemyes yn syzghte, for the whyche, yn case that thay schwld twrne backe from thayre sayd enymyes, hyt myzghte be reputeyd cowardy; and the thyrd, hyt ys not possybyl that any ordynace, vytualys, or other carryagys by cartys may pas or be convayeyd that waye, notwythestandeyng that the Kyng yowr good fader dyd cost and many men were set and wrowghte for to amend the sayd wayes, the whyche be so tedyus and long that hyt ys not possybyl to be don wythe oute grete layser. Upon the whyche the Kyng yowr good fader sent hys letters unto my Lord Markes, yowr levetenant, syngnyfyeng wn to hym and to yowr armey here that he thowzghte that hyt schuld be wel don that yowr armey schuld lye styl, and not for to remove, onles that they schuld have other yn conmandament from yowr hyzghnys yn the mayne tyme, and that your subjectys schuld not stragel nor put theym selfe yn danger of theyr enymyes un to the tyme that yowr armey and hys schalbe ajoynyd; sayeynge that the Duke of Alva, hys levetenant, wyth hys armey schuld ynmediately go yn to Navar, and, for to put that ream in a swerty; and that don, forthewythe the sayd hys armey schuld ajoyne wythe yowr armey, and so then by the grace of God bothe armeys jointly for to go to Bayon.
And thys letter was wretyn in Burgus, and asyneyd by the Kyng yowr good fader on the nynetyn day of July that last past. And on the oon and twenty day of the same the Duke de Alva wythe the armey of Spayne removyd from the cety of Vyctorya towardys Navar, and so the next day foloyng enteryd yn to the sayd reame wythe oute contradyxcyon or let. And on the fyve and twenty day of the same the Duke wythe that armey cam to the cety of Pamplona, cheyf of that ream, where they sayd Duke was receyveyd by the hole cety, and the keys of the cety delyverd un[to] hym. The Kyng and Qwyn of Navar wythe theyr chylder were thre or fowr days byfore that removeyd and departeyd from Pamplona, the Kyng to a toune sevyn legys from thens callyd Alumberry, and the Qwyn wythe hyr chylder to hyr cuntray of Byerne. And hyt plese yowr grace that, for as muche as that the Kyng yowr good fader nor the Duke of Alva wrate no letters un to my Lord Markes, yowr levetenant, nor to me, after hys letter, of the nyntyn day of July, and therefor my Lord Markes and y sent everyche of us a man wythe my Lordys letters and myn un to the Kyng yowr good fader, beyng at Burgus, and to the Duke, beyng at Pamplona, desyreyng that they wold plese for to geve knowlyche unto my Lord Markes and yowr royal armey of the good spede that the sayd Duke hathe had yn Navar, and when that your army and that armey of Spayne schal by Godys grace mete. And on the secund and thyrd day of thys present, the messengers that my Lord and I sent unto the Duke returnyd ayen wythe letters from the sayd Duke, yn the whyche he makeythe no mensyon of the day ne tyme when that yowr armey and thay schal mete, other then that he trusteythe for to have don schortely yn Navar, and so then for to ajoyne wythe yowr armey yn Ghyayne.
Yn lyke wyse, and hyt plese yowr grace, Rycheamonte yowr herrawt was sent by my lord Markes un to the Kyng yowr good fader wythe a letter that y wrate by the conmandament of my Lord Markes and the lordys and cownsayle of yowr sayd armey; the whyche yowr sayd herrawlt as yeterday returneyd ayen unto yowr sayd armey wythe a large letter of answer from the Kyng yowr good fader, and also wythe the copy of yowr sayd fader's mynd and wyl that hys Majesty wyl schalbe don and apoynted wythe the Kyng and Qwyn of Navar tucheyng that ream of Navar; wythe the whyche letter and answer of the Kyng yowr good fader the lordys and counsayle of yowr armey, nor the comunys, be nother contentyd ne plesyd, by cawse that the Kyng yowr good fader nor the Duke have not, by theyr letters, appointeyd no day certayne when that yowr armey schal set forthewardys for to ajoyne wyth the Kyng yowr good fader's armey yn Ghyayne; for, and hyt plese yowr grace, hyt greveythe yowr subjectys verry sore that they do ly styl here, and no do thyng, but lese the tyme and spend yowr tresore, and wynter and long nyzghtys be cum nere hand, that then men maye not lye yn the fyld as contynwally thay have don sythe thayre arryval ynto thys partys of Spayne, and vytualys some what dere, a lofe of the bygnys of yowr corte bred ys worthe here a peny sterlynge, and a gallon of malmasaye ten pens sterlynge, a galon of wyne secke and suche other hote wynys, at ayzghte pens sterlyngys, a galon of Rochel wyne at syx pens, a good muttun the carkas at thre schelyngys, lytel more or les, after that hyt wayeythe at a blanke an unce, that ys fowrtyn uncys for a peny sterlyng; a good ox ys worthe syx or sevyn docattys of gold. Yowr peny sterlyng here is worthe sevyn marvadyys, after ayzghte and twenty marvadys yowr grote; the whyche now, and hyt plese yowr grace, be wel knowen yn thys cuntraye; a fanege of barley ys worthe thre and twenty pens sterlyng, whych is a sore pryce.
Your sawldyers amongys theym saye that, for the derthe of vytualys, thay may not lyve wythe yowr waygys of syx pens of the day; and therefore y understand, and hyt plese yowr grace, by the lordys and cappytayns, that they desyre for to have ayzghte pens by the day, everry sauldyer, sayeyng that thayre clotheyng ys wasteyd and worne, and thayre money spent, and that therefore longer then hens to Myzghelmes next for no man thay wyl not a byde here. Verrely, soverayn Lord, hether unto thay have byn wel ruleyd, as for so grete an oste, and they have had as good and plenty of vytualys, after the furst thre or fowre dayes after thayre landeyng, as myzghte be possybyl yn any parte where so muche pepyl myzghte make so long abode, how be that hyt ys some what dere at the pryceys as byfore specefyed. And hyt plese yowr grace, the greteyst lacke of vytualys that ys here ys of bere, for yowr subjectys had lyver for to drynke bere then wyne or sydere, for the hote wynys dothe burne theym, and the syder dothe cast theym yn dysese and sekenysys.
And hyt plese yowr grace by the conmandament of my Lord Markes, and the cownsayle of thys yowr armey, here wythe y do send unto yowr hyzghnys the letters that the Kyng yowr good fader and the Duke of Alva sent now of late unto my Lord Markes yowr lyvetenant, to thentent that yowr grace by yowr most excelente wysdome and yowr most nobyl cownsayle may determyne and juge what ys to be thowzghte that the Kyng yowr good fader entendythe for to do, conserneyng yowr enterpryse of Ghyayne, for the onure and profyte of yowr hyzghnys; for as for the lordys and other of yowr armey here have lytel trust that the Kynge yowr good fader entendythe any other then hys awne profyte, sythe that he hathe not hether unto performeyd any promyse or apoyntement wythe yowr grace made, nother by the ze nor by land.
Verryly, soverayn Lord, the comeyng and beynge of yowr armey here was and ys the cause that the Frenschemen forsoke and lefte the Ytaly, the whyche nowe the Pope and themperowr peasabylly do enjoye, and that the Kyng yowr good fader hathe asureyd to hym the ream of Napullys and Cecylya, and now also the ream of Navar, as here after folowth the artykelys made by the Kyng yowr good faders mynd and plesur, that the Kyng and Qwyn of Navar schalbe bownden unto, sythe that they have for saken theyr ream, levyng the same at the Kyng yowr good faders wyl and plesure. The King yowr good fader sayeyng this:
"We, the Kyng of Arragon, of bothe Cycelyas and of Jerusalem etcetra, sythe that the sayd Kyng and Qwyn of Navar, our nevewys, have releceyd the sayd ream to be at yowr wyl and plesure, we thynke hyt nescessary that althe cetys, townys, and fortaresys of the sayd ream schalbe yn owr poscessyon, and al the subjectys of the same under owr subjeccyon and obedyence, unto the tyme that we and owre confederatys schal have by the grace of God endeyd the enterpryse by us taken in the defence of the Holy Churche, and to the dysstruxcyon of the Sysmatykys, and to the onor of al Crystendom; and after that don the sayd ream for to remayn yn owr handys at owr pleasure, for to kepe or geve unto the sayd Kyng and Qwyn, owr neveuys, yn case that they do observe and kepe suche thyngys as that they schalbe bownden unto; that ys, that the natwralys of the sayd ream of Navar schalbe bownden for [to] abbaye us and owr conmandamentys as the keper of the crowne of that ream; and he or that that yn anny wyse do contrary to the same schalbe taken as traytorys, and fal yn lyke paynaltys as thos that go or be ayeynst the Crowne Royal. Also declareyng owr sayd wyl by the vertu of the sayd capytwlacyons, and saye that owr wyl ys that the sayd Kyng and Qwyn of Navar schal forthewythe send unto the Marschal of Navar and unto the Cunde of Santy Stevan, and to Don John de Beamonte and to hys sons in the ream of Navar, conmandeyng theym that thay do abyde and dwel styl in Navar; to thentent that they go not towardys the partys of France, where they myzghte be constraynyd for to serve and helpe the Sysmatykys ayenyst thys Holy Lyage. Also that the sayd Kyng and Qwyn, our nevewys, schalbe bownden for to suffer al the naturalys Navarrys that now dwel yn the partyys of France, and wyl now com and dwel yn Navar, that they schal suffer them so for to do. More over declareyng our wyl, by the vertue of the sayd Capytulacyons, that the said Kyng and Qwyn, owr nevewys, haveynge the prynce theyr son yn the partyys of France, by the waye of colore of maryage or otherwyse, the sayd Prynce myzghte be put yn the Frensche Kyngys handys; therefore we wol that the sayd Kyng and Qwyn, owr neveuys, schal delyver unto us the sayd Prynce, and he for to [be] browzghte up yn owr corte, un to the tyme that by the grace of Almyzghty God al thyngys schalbe fynysschyd twcheyng the sayd enterpryse. Also that the sayd Kyng and Qwyn owr nevewys shalbe bownden that they schal not consent ne swffer by any maner of mean that by theyr lordschyp of Byerne that any maner of war or hurte may be don unto owr ream of Arragon, nor for to suffer any of owr ennymyys for to pas that waye for to do hwrte to owr sayd ream. And for that hyt schalbe manyfest unto al pepyl that thys ys owr wyl as above sayde, we have conmandyd thys presentys to be made and synyd wythe owre hand and selyd wyth owr seal. Date yn the cety of Burgus on the oon and threty day of July the yere of owr Lord Jhu Xpo a thowsand fyve hunderd and twelve."
And hyt plese yowr grace thys day y am cum hether to Sant Sebastyans, where y have hyreyd a pynas of syx and twenty tunys, the whyche ys callyd verry good wythe sayle and orys, to whom y have gevyn fourescore and syxtyn docatys of gold for thys vyage, by Godys Grace, for to convay yowr bojet wythe letters from hens to yowr postys and towne of Plymowthe, and there for to tary fyvetyn days for the answer of yowr hyzghnys.
And hyt plese yowr grace, as tucheyng to the Kyng yowr good fader and hys cownsayle, as ever byfore thys acordeyng to the trawthey have certefyed unto yowr grace that thayr wordys and wryteyngys be so delygent and so fayre, and thayr dedys so inmesureabyl sclacke, that y cannot juge, saye, ne wryte what that ys to be thowzghte or don; and contynwaly y do wryte acordynge to the conmandament of yowr grace to the Kyng yowr good fader; and always his Majesty by hys letters answerythe that he wyl performe everry thyng unto yowr grace, and that all the delayys of tyme hathe byn for the best avantage for yowr enterpryse of Ghyayne, that Navar schuld be furst put yn a suerty; the whyche suerty cowld not be had otherwys then hyt is nowe had. And of a swerty, Soverren Lord, at my last beyng wythe the Kynge yowr good fader y was so playne with hys hyzghnys that I never saw hys Majesty farther oute of pacyence then wythe me at that tyme, sayeyng that y belyeyd not him, his Majesty affyrmeyng wythe many otheys that al hys dryfte and entent was for the swerty and weal of the Holy Churche, and for yowr enterpryse of Ghyayn. And yn case, Soverrayn Lord, that thentent or pwrpose of his Majesty be otherwyse, hyt ys hard for to trust the otheys and wordys of a prynce or any other Crysten man, that so swereythe or sayeythe. Hyt ys evydently seyn and knowen that by hys polocy and longe dryftys he attayneythe many thyngys to other mens payneys. And as for horsemen, at that tyme hys hyzghnys wold not grante for to send any to yowr armey, unto that yowr armey and hys schal ajoyne to gethers, sayeyng that yowr hyznys and he schal not varry for the payment of the horsemen desyreyd by yowr grace. Verrely, Sovereyn Lord, had your armey had the horsemen, Bayon and the cuntraye there aboute had byn gotten or put yn a grete dysstres by thys day, whyche ys verry strong by the reson of fortefyeng and men. How be that they of Bayon do never usswe owte for to scyrmyssche wythe yowr subjectys that often go ynto that partyys. And as a spye that was taken thys other day sayde that Monser de Burbone was comyyng to Bayon, and that there be nyne or ten thousand men all redy yn Bayon, and syx hwnderd horsys, good [or] bad, and that the Frensche Kyng had conmandyd theym for to kepe the sayd cety to the next monythe schal be pasyd, for then he douteythe not but that the Ynglyche men wyl leve al and go home. The Kyng yowr good fader hathe by the mean of a pryst a secrete entellegens wythe the bysschopys of Bayon and of Ortyse, and wythe Monser de Egramonte, mayre of Bayon, and wythe a wodowe, dowzghter yn lawe to Monser de Egramont, and sche ruleythe hyr sayd fader yn lawe. The sayd pryst and another man have promysyd to me for to do grete servyse to yowr grace yn that mate[r].
The Kyng yowr good fader's armey now beyng yn Navar be numbryd twenty thowsand men and above, of the whyche be above syx thowsand horsmen; and y have seyn a letter that a supstancyal man of that armey secretely wrate unto a frynd of hys, that the armey of the Kyng yowr good fader schal cum forthe of Navar by Sant John Pe del Puerto, and enter yn Ghyayn bytwyxt Bayon and Sant John de Luce, and so pas by Bayon joyntly wythe yowr armey bytwyxt Bayon and Navar, and so go to Ax, and strayzghte to Burdyews, and to let Bayon alone bycause hyt is so fortefyed, the whych of force must yeld hymself when that the cuntray al abowte ys for yowr grace. Soveren Lord, whether that hyt be so apoyntyd or not, my Lord Markes, nor other of yowr armey, nor I, have no suche knowlyche other then by that letter, and the sayeyng of another man.
Of the Kyng yowr good faders artalary, whensover that they wyl remove y trust that yowr armay schal be redy. And hyt plese yowr grace, bycause that the Kyng yowr good fader's tresorer performeyd not yn tyme for to delyver to me money for to bye a hundard and forty moylys for the carryaje of yowr artalary, the sayd moylys beyng bowzghte, y was fayne for [to] leve a grete parte of them, and browzghte to Fowntraby, and there delyverd to Syr Harry Wylloby, master of yowr ordynance, thre score and fyvetyn moylys and oon hunderd oxen wyth theyr yockys for the caryage of yowr sayd artalary, for oxen ys les losys yn, and les charge for to kepe. Also y have alredy delyverd to yowr sayd maste[r] of ordynance above ayzghte hundred schot of yron stonys, and dayly mo be en makeyng to the number of twoosand (fn. 1) fully. Also y delyverd to the sayd master of yowr ordynance two moldys of coper and a mold of yron for yowr pellettes of led, and my servant ys ryden to Medyna del Campo and to Burgus for to cave fyve and twenty kyntallys of brymstone that y have bowzghte, for to be browzghte to Fowntraby; for now of late the Kyng yowr good fader, wythe myche callying and often wryteyng, hathe grantyd that y schal have here delyverd to me twoo hwndard kyntallys of salte peter; the whyche, and hyt plese yowr grace, cam hether to the porte of the Passage yesterday from Cadys. And the Bysschop of Segwence, the Kyngys deputy here, hathe promyseyd that there schal lacke no hyreyd carryageys when that yowr armey schal remove. Yowr grete cerpentyn ys al broken in to pecys, and to morne the mettel schal be tryeyd, and nyne kyntalys of coper more ys provydeyd for the same. Of a suerty, Sovereyn Lord, thys Almayne of yowr armey hathe dade the goolyyst mold that hathe byn seyn, and on the sevynthe or nyneythe day of thys present, by Godys grace schal be made, and muche better than sche was before tyme.
And hyt plese yowr grace, acordeyng to yowr hyzghe conmandament y have receveyd of the tresorer of yowr warrys the money that y payde for the frayzghte of the last barke that y sent, as wel as for thys. Besecheyng yowr hyzghnys, yn the most humyl wyse that y can or may, that y may have the knawlyche of yowr most gracyust plesure how that y schal order myself, other for to repayre unto yowr royalyst presence, or for to make myne abode yn Fowntraby or els where, or els for to goe forthe wythe yowr armey, as the desyre of my Lord Markes and other lordys here ys. For the whyche, and hyt plese yowr grace, y and my servantys be no thyng provydeyd, nor cannot be wyth owte grete cost; and y am contynualy at grete charge wythe rydeyng and goying, my self and my servantys, for everry thyng. The whyche yn most humyld wyse y beseche yowr grace that to me hyt may be remembryd, and that y may be ynmedyatly, by the conmandament of yowr hyzghnys, be socurryd wythe money, for my dayly exspencys of ten schelyngys by the day by yowr grace to me apoyntyd, begynynge on the oon and twenty day of Jenyver that last past, of the whyche then by the conmandament of yowr hyzghnys y receveyed oon hunder powndys. Peraventure, Soveren Lord, yowr grace wold not belyve the payne that y suffer here yn the servyse of yowr grace for to plese yowr subjectys, men that can suffer no pacyence, as here after at my comeyng unto yowr royal presence y schal schaw hyt to yowr hyzghnys and yowr nobyl cownsayle.
The Kyng yowr good faders armey by the ze be at the porte of Allaredy; and al redy, as they saye, for to pas towardys yowr cost of Yngland for [to] ajoyne wythe yowr armey there. On the coste of Portyngale and of Galysya there be dyverse Frensche men of war, oon capytayn Barnaldyno, knyzghte of the Rodys, and Perys Mogher, the whyche of late, and thys weke passyd, have taken nyne or ten schyppys bownd towardys the Andolosya, and oon towardys Lyxborne wythe grete ankers, for the Kyng of Portyngale. And here be grete crackys yn thys partys and sclack dedys, as knowythe Almyzghty God, who perserve yowr royalyst astate long for to endure; and everry man here ys desyrws for to have tydeyngys from yowr hyzghnys, for y nor they had but oons wryteyng from yowr grace, sythe the aryval of yowr armey here.
Wretyn yn Sant Sebastyans, the day above sayd by the most humyl servant to yowr grace,
Entirely in cipher.