Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic Henry VIII Volume 16 1540 1541 is in Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic Henry VIII.
29 May 1541. 868. Marillac to Francis I.
What has here happened since he wrote last, on the 22nd, gives matter to write. To begin with, a case more worthy of compassion than of long letters, the countess of Saalberi (67), mother of Cardinal Pol (41) and the late lord Montaigue (49), was yesterday morning, about 7 o'clock, beheaded in a corner of the Tower, in presence of so few people that until evening the truth was still doubted. It was the more difficult to believe as she had been long prisoner, was of noble lineage, above 80 years old, and had been punished by the loss of one son and banishment of the other, and the total ruin of her house. Further reflections upon this. The manner of proceeding in her case and that of a lord who was executed at the same time (who is not yet named, but is presumed to be lord Leonard de Clidas (62), formerly the King's lieutenant in Ireland) seems to argue that those here are afraid to put to death publicly those whom they execute in secret. It may be added that yesterday all the heads which were fixed upon the bridge of the river which passes by this town were taken down; in order that the people may forget those whose heads kept their memory fresh, if it were not that this will people the place with new, for Marillac hears from a good place that, before St. John's tide, they reckon to empty the Tower of the prisoners now there for treason.
The talk of going to the North continues, and provisions are already being sent; which are the greater as the company will be 4,000 or 5,000 horse, as well because the King (49) wishes to go with more magnificence (as he has not yet been there) as to be secure against any seditious designs. They will be gentlemen of these quarters of King (Kent), whom he trusts most. The 50 gentlemen of the house will each have tent and war equipment, as also will several other young lords; so that it will be rather like following a camp than going to the chase.
As instructed in last packet of the 20th, will write to no one of affairs here. Would not have done it in the past had he known Francis's pleasure, but was only written to to address all he wrote to Francis, not that he should not write to others. Will write affairs concerning war or peace to Mons. de Vendosme, as long as he is in Picardy, and in his absence a word to M. du Bies, to prevent them thinking better or worse in the absence of news. Is not spoken to about the Cauchoide nor about the conversation he wrote last in cipher.
10 Jun 1541. 897. Chapuys (51) to the Queen of Hungary.
If the affair is mentioned, will follow her instructions in her letter of the 28th ult. Expects to be summoned before the King (49) two days hence. Is vexed at not having received the copy of her answer to the King, referred to in his despatch of 26 May. The news since that date is that on the 27th three of the chief conspirators in the North — an abbot and two gentlemen — were hung and quartered. About the same time took place the lamentable execution of the countess of Salisbury (67) at the Tower in presence of the Lord Mayor and about 150 persons. When informed of her sentence she found it very strange, not knowing her crime; but she walked to the space in front of the Tower, where there was no scaffold but only a small block. She there commended her soul to God, and desired those present to pray for the King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. The ordinary executioner being absent, a blundering "garçonneau" was chosen, who hacked her head and shoulders to pieces. A most virtuous lady nearly 90 years of age. When her death was resolved on her nephew (grandson) (21), the son of lord Montague (49), who had been allowed occasionally to go about within the Tower, was more strictly guarded. It is to be supposed he will soon follow his father and grandmother. London, 10 June 1541. Original at Vienna.
02 Jul 1541. 954. Chapuys (51) to the Queen of Hungary.
Almost immediately after Chapuys's return the King (50) gave the people of Dunkirk permission to buy here a quantity of wood for their own use for curing herrings, and he has frequently reminded Chapuys of the favor, saying he was surprised that the town had not sent a deputation to say how much wood they required. The deputation has arrived, and now, after being kept 13 days without an answer, they have been told that it is mere loss of time to solicit such things till the Queen has promised to release the harness, copper, and war ammunition purchased by the King some time ago at Antwerp.
On St. Peter's eve lord Leonard (62), uncle of the Marquis of Osceter (24) (Dorset) and of the Chancellor's (53) wife, was beheaded in front of the Tower. Hears he was accused of letting his nephew (16), the young earl of Kildare, escape to France and thence to Liege.
That afternoon two gentlemen were hung, one of whom had an income of over 12,000 ducats a year, and was the handsomest and best bred man in England, only 25 years old and married to a niece of the Duke of Norfolk (68). He was sentenced for having belonged to a set of eight rakish youths, one of whom had killed a poor old man in an unpremeditated fray. For the same cause lord Dacres (26) also, son1 of the Duke of Norfolk's (68) sister (71), and cousin of this Queen (18), 23 years old and possessing a property of about 5,000 ducats a year, was hung from the most ignominious gibbet, and for greater shame dragged through the streets to the place of execution, to the great pity of many people, and even of his very judges, who wept when they sentenced him, and in a body asked his pardon of the King. But the thing which astonished people most was, that, the same day lord Dacres was hung, another young man (28), son of the Treasurer of the Royal household (56), who was one of those present at the old man's death, was freely pardoned, though he had been already tried for some like misdemeanour.
At the same time in the North, Sir John Neville (53) and about 60 more, among whom at least 25 were ecclesiastics, were executed for the conspiracy of which Chapuys wrote some time ago. Has just heard of the arrival of a Polish gentleman with eight or ten servants. Will endeavour to discover who he is and what he comes for. London, 2 July 1541. Original at Vienna.
Note 1. Thomas Fiennes 9th Baron Dacre Gilsland 1515-1541 (26), Lord Dacre, was the grandson of Anne Bourchier Baroness Dacre Gilsland 1470-1530 (71) who was the maternal half-sister of Thomas Howard 3rd Duke Norfolk 1473-1554 (68); Anne and Thomas' mother was Elizabeth Tilney Countess Surrey 1444-1497 (97).