Cecil Papers
December 1593, 1-15


Institute of Historical Research



R. A. Roberts (editor)

Year published





Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Cecil Papers: December 1593, 1-15', Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 4: 1590-1594 (1892), pp. 428-437. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=111600 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)

December 1593, 1–15

The Lieutenant of the Tower to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 2.You may perceive by this enclosed how willing the priest is to break his prison, and for that purpose he will spare for no money, whereof it seemeth he hath at his commandment great store. Although I fear not my own servant, yet I must needs stand in doubt of others, that I look now every day for to come to lie in the Tower, next adjoining to this prison, where heretofore prisoners were wont to be lodged, and it is one of the best and safest prisons in the house. All this summer it hath been void, by reason of the sickness of London; but now there will come shortly to the town Mr. Folkes and his wife with his family to be there, and although I think Mr. Folkes may be trusted, yet I may not trust to his men and maid servants, that must of necessity pass and repass always by the priest's prison. All the safest prisons are so neighboured by the officers of the ordnance, that I am some times much troubled to lodge a prisoner of charge committed to me. The officers have great resort coming to them, so that there is continual going to and fro, near to the prisons, and at all times of the day until 8 of the clock in the night. Your Honour can consider how dangerous this resort may be, and how troublesome to me that must have care to avoid all dangers, and they being a people that I may not control. If your Honour have as much as you desire of this priest, I mean to return him to some other place, where I may hope to avoid the coming of any to confer with him, a thing I can hardly do, for the causes before recited. I beseech your Honour to direct me with your opinion herein. Yesterday in the evening I received the two angels your Honour sent to Doffild, by a servant of Sir George Carew, and I have delivered them accordingly.—From the Tower, 2 December, 1593.
Signed. Holograph. Seal. 2 pp.
Anthony Tyrel, “the Priest,” to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 5.Most humbly beseeching that in consideration of extremities of injuries that are offered me by reason of my imprisonment, to the utter undoing of me and my poor wife for ever, and the great rejoicing of all papistical enemies that are glad and triumph of this my downfall and overthrow, you would be a mean unto her Majesty in my behalf, and that her Highness would pardon that unadvised attempt which, by the persuasion of him that craftily betrayed me (promising me security safely to go and return) I unhappily undertook; and if I be found guilty of any other heinous or capital crime, then do I crave neither mercy nor favour. As I have been already sufficiently punished, not only by the loss of 10l. taken from me by cosenage, but also two months' imprisonment unto my far greater charge and hindrance, so if I escape with this punishment, it shall be a warning unto me by God's grace while I live.—From the Prison at the Marshalsea, 5 December, 1593.
Signed. ½ p.
Benjamin Beard to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 5.Remaining here in a place and hourly conversant, where (if I endeavoured myself thereunto) I might have good means to do Her Majesty and my country service, calling to mind many, at last I thought good to proffer my service unto your Honor, making Mr. Ashley the means thereof, who effecting the chiefest mean whereby I might bring to pass some matter of worth, and sending hither your warrant for the discharge of Mrs. Shelley from close confinement (by whose means I grew presently in great league with the chiefest of that sect in this house). The Warden of the Fleet at his coming from the term, much grieved at me for procuring her liberty, being then more gainful to him than now it is, did not only without any warrant debar me the liberty of the house, due to every prisoner having paid for it as I have done, but also of very malice whispered into the ears of the gentlewoman that I should be a man procured of purpose to work her overthrow, and that she knew not the mystery of this her late enlargement, and that it was but given her for a time, to the interest that I (whom he affirmed to be the instrument of all) might the more easily bring her in question both for life and living, all which he protested unto her he uttered for goodwill, and to prevent such practices as to his knowledge are devising against her. And moreover at her first release from close imprisonment, he being at St. Albans at the term, caused one Parry to write from thence a letter unto her, purporting all this in effect, which she hath, and they since have sought to get from her. Notwithstanding all which devices, the gentlewoman, having in the time of her close imprisonment been sundry times peeled of her moneys at all times of receipt, rightly aiming at his purpose, conceiveth rather that the warden doth this because he would always keep her as a ward, and to make again of her, than for any good meaning towards her otherwise, and that he thinketh he can no way better effect his will than by making her think evil of me. He hath likewise, on no ground but malice, given items to divers of the papists in this house with whom he knew me familiar, that I was a dangerous person, and no doubt feigned religion rather to betray and deceive some of them than of any zeal, and hath not shamed to give out in secret wise that he could shew my own letters to the Council and to Mr. Justice, before I came to this place when I was in the Compter, where in truth since my coming to this place I never wrote any but to Mr. Ashley, whose wisdom I know to be such as not to prostitute any such matter to a man of so vain and light a disposition as this under-warden is. But he hath not hitherto prevailed aught to my discredit. Albeit he hath prevented my endeavours and the accomplishing of such service as I might have very well effected. If you send some man unto me whom you may trust you shall not only have the letter from St. Albans, but also understand from the gentlewoman's own mouth much more than I have written. After you have sent one to confer with me, I think it fit you send for the warden, to whom you may use your discretion according to his desert, but so as not to cause me to be had in any suspicion, I will lose my own life (if my direction be followed) if I do not between this and the next term, deliver unto you two of the most notable traitors that ever came from beyond the seas. But the Warden is not to be trusted.—Fleet, 6 December, 1593.
Holograph. Seal. 1½ pp.
Ballet v. Skipwith.
1593, Dec. 6.Undertaking, by order of the Earl of Essex, that Richard Skipwith, one of Her Majesty's Ecuyers, shall tomorrow pay to John Ballet 40l., and 140l. more immediately on the discharge of one Howe, the surety for Skipwith's debt, and that Ballet shall deliver up to Skipwith, all such bonds and obligations as do concern a debt of 130l., and such debts as are set down in Ballet's book.—Signed by them both in the presence of E. Reynoldes.
The King of Scotland to the Queen.
1593, Dec. 7.Madame and dearest sister, Since your receipt of my last letter, I have received two from you, one of your own hand, another with a postscript only of your hand, the former being an answer to my last, the other a letter of credit to your ambassador. As to the letter of your own hand, it contains specially an advice concerning those three noblemen delated and suspected of practising with Spain; and surely, Madame, I cannot deny but your counsel in that matter is most wise and honorable, and, if I be right remembered, contains two special points. The one, that if they should receive any favour or benefit, their confession of a fault in some sort must precede, otherwise it can neither be sure nor honorable for me to bestow any benefit upon them; the other is that such sure and substantial order should be taken with them (in case they should receive any benefit) that not only I might see a surety for the estate and religion in this country by their leaving and renouncing their former profession and avowed service, but also that all other foreign princes professing this religion might see a surety for themselves and their estates by their dutiful behaviour in all times coming. Now, Madame, I trust, if you will consider what I have done and am to follow forth in this turn, you shall find it also conformable to your counsel as the estate of this case can permit; for they long since have confessed two faults. First, they confess all three hearing of mass and receipt of jesuits and seminary priests. Next, two of them (to wit) Angus and Erroll, confess their blanks to have been directed to sundry foreign princes for craving payment of such debts as they allege to have advanced to sundry of the jesuits that were into this country and are gone back again, namely, Master William Crichton, and that since they are into their dominions they may make them to pay according to their promise and due debt. I speak of these two lords only in this point, because Huntly constantly denies to have had any practising or dealing with any foreign nation since the bridge of Die; for although, as he says, he subscribed these blanks, yet. neither were they directed to any such end as he alleges, nor yet was any other subscription on them when he subscribed them, but that he ordained them to be directed to his uncle, Master James his superiors, to testify that his said uncle would be compelled to depart out of this country sooner than they had directed him to do, for fear of the straitness of my laws, and that the ministers had made him so odious as he durst remain no longer, and likewise recommending to them his said uncle's poverty and how he had been at so great expenses here; and says that he has his uncle's bakeband to shew, subscribed before honest witnesses of barons, that these blanks should be employed to no other use; in the break whereof, he says, he was foully abused. But as to their practising for the bringing in of Spaniards, either in this country or yours, that is the point which they all three utterly deny and for the which they offer themselves to all kind of trial, so as for that part of your counsel they offer to satisfy so far forth as this their confession may avail. The doubt then resting upon their not confessing of the great crime, I assembled my estates to deliberate upon the surety of the estate and religion, which being at length reasoned upon, it was found perilous to grant them a trial in respect of their so constant denying, and that the last Parliament went so near clenging [cleansing] of them, if it had been put. to their votes. And therefore went to the next part of your counsel, to see a surety for the estate and religion in times coming, as well by laying great and sure bonds upon them, as the Act bears, as likewise divers strait conditions; as, namely, in case they violate hereafter the least point that by that act is enjoined unto them, in that case the penalty of treason and of that great crime that they were delated of shall with all rigour be executed upon them. And in case they accept and observe the said act, this great crime and memory thereof to be abolished, because of the uncertainty and peril to try the same. And thus are both the parts of your counsel, as far as the nature of that case will permit, in my opinion followed. For their acceptance of this act they have to advise themselves between [now] and the first of January, and until then it remain as actum non actum and having no strength to work; and, therefore, have I despatched this present unto you that before the said day I may have as well your advice in this which is thought meetest to be done for the surety of my estate, as also what surety ye would have provided for the part of you and your country, wherein you may assure yourself I shall be as careful as for myself, praying you not to think that what I write in this turn of their confession I do it as a thing I will affim to be certain, but only as they give it out and whereof I am not able to prove the contrary by . . . . As to the contents of your last letter of credit, I have heard the . . . . . . . two points; the one this same purpose whereof I have been urging, the other concerning the late attempt of Liddisdaille, for the further satisfaction whereof to both our honours, because the attempt was so heinous, I have caused deliver to your warden the principal offender himself, called Will. Eliot. Thus fearing to offend you with too long a letter in wearying you to read the same, and committing all other particulars to your ambassador's letters, I commit you, Madame and dearest sister, to the protection of the Almighty.—From my palace of Holyrood house, 7 December, 1593.
P.S. I must once again pray you, Madame, to hasten your answer before the 1 January for the causes above specified, and in the meantime not to trust any false reports, but to think of me in the old manner, as I shall ever deserve at your hands.
Holograph. Signed. 3 pp. A small portion has been torn off.
[Bruce, in extenso, p. 95.]
The Lieutenant of the Tower to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 7.I send you hereinclosed more matter that hath passed between the priest Eoste and Doffild, and a letter of Doffild's to you, and also a letter of the priest's written to a friend of his, the which he delivered to my man, that keeps him, to be conveyed. The priest is persuaded that he hath won my man to do for him all he can; he has promised to give him 100l. to set him out of prison, the which my man hath promised to do, upon receipt of the money, or upon assurance thereof made to him : the letter is for the procuring of the money. The men do serve the young Viscount Montagu : there is a brother of the said Viscount's that he doth make great accompt of; it is Mr. Francis Browne, as I remember. When your Honour hath perused the letter, if you think it good that it be delivered, I think it will get 100l., and thereby you may know who be the friends that he doth esteem of.—From the Tower, 7 December, 1593.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p.
Benjamin Beard to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 18.It is very requisite that you should control the warden in his abuse of me, and likewise Parry, after such a manner as no suspicion may grow. Notwithstanding that he hath mightily babbled of me to divers of the papists in this place, with whom I was hourly conversant before his shutting of me up, yet hath he hitherto not gained any their hard conceit of me, but that they hourly visit me as near as they may come (which is but to a grate,) and do still advertise me of all his and his factor's secret reports, whereof it behoveth me after some discreet manner to purge myself. [Relates how he endeavoured to refute the reports of the warden concerning letters to Mr. Justice Young ottering to betray certain Catholics when he, Beard, was in the Compter; how he wrote to Mr. Young, who received his letters very friendly in show and promised to come, but never came nor wrote; and how he obtained information for Mr. Young from one Darques, a Frenchman, a fellow prisoner, and also about another prisoner in the Compter, one Dingley.] The warden maketh now his colour of thus shutting me up for that he is afraid I should escape, which when there was five times as much against me, was not thought of. Only there remaineth an account of 200l. upon me, which I will discharge this weeek, and another execution of 80l. at Mr. Treasurer's suit. I cannot easily be brought out of credit with the chiefest of the Papists here for that there is a question of a marriage between myself and one of Tregion's daughters, and is so far proceeded in that my father-in-law and my mother are expected to come up hither about it. The one of them is already married to my cousin-german and Mr. Yates, my mother's sister's son. The matter doth stand but in these points, that if my mother and my uncle Benjamin Tychborne will be bound that if I die before my own living come out of extent, her jointure shall be performed out of my mother's land. I was with Roscarock continually private in his study, and might have effected something ere this but that T did await matter of greater importance. Touching Mrs. Shelley (by whose means I shall do acceptable service), for that I shall presently be discharged myself hence, I think it very fit that she be released upon bond and confined to some place near London, lest she purchase her liberty by some other means, having great friends, and so I shall not have so good means to effect anything, purposing to be continually abiding with her, etc. [Suggests that one Thompson, a Papist, who has applied for his help, should get his discharge through his, Beard's, intervention, as it would gain him great credit among them.] Thus almost wearied with writing, being forced to write by night, being lodged in a loathsome place amongst rude people, I most humbly cease, etc.—Fleet, 8 December, 1593.
Holograph. 4 closely written pp.
Mrs. Jane Shelley to Benjamin Beard.
1593, Dec. 9.I and the rest of your friends are heartily sorry that the warden should use you so hardly; he doth use the vilest reports of you, both to me and openly likewise at the table, as, if it should be true, it were pity you should live. I cannot think that Sir Robert Cecil, being an honourable gentleman, would set you on, or that you yourself would so much discredit yourself among all your friends and kindred, being of worship and good calling, as to be procured to do any such villany, either to me or any other. I hope you will proceed notwithstanding all this, as you have promised, to get my liberty, that I may be appointed to some place near London where you told me you would yourself provide me a house, and likewise get the 200l., which Her Majesty doth allow me yearly, paid out of the Exchequer and not from Mr. Bainham, of whom I can never get it but in such sort as it never doth me good, and one quarter day doth come and is often past before I can have the other. You promised me that before this time I should have had my apparel from Mr. Eustace Young who hath been at my lodging and made stay of all my trunks. I shall think myself beholden to you if you procure that I may have it, but you must deal wisely and secretly lest the Warden and Young prevent you, who, as it should seem, do envy you greatly.—This Sunday morning, 9 Dec.
Endorsed :—“1593.” Holograph. Seal. [Probably enclosed in Beard's of 12 Dec.]
Benjamin Beard to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 12.I have this night received your letter and have delivered to your servant divers notes in writing and by word touching the means of performing such services as by my former letters have been promised. Your honour shall henceforth, I hope, find such effect thereof as you shall have no cause to misdoubt me, albeit for the present the Warden, Parry, and Justice Young have used mighty means to discredit me among them in this place. I was always of opinion that these men durst not have opened their mouths in such sort as they have had they not been set on by Mr. Young, which now I am assured to be true, both by some light given me by the Warden's words, as also in that having assured means to draw Mr. Young hither that I might speak with him, I cannot receive so much as an answer from him, but rather think that he hath sent my letters to the Warden or at least shewed them to him : which if he hath done, he hath very ill requited me for my honest and faithful dealing with him in time past. This day the Warden of his own head caused me to be let out, and coming amongst them, I presently] understood of all their reports which hitherto [hath done] little harm to my purpose. After dinner this day, being in the alley at bowls with Mr. Tregion and others, the same Parry came amongst us, terming me to become a papist to betray them, and wished them to take heed of me, whereat some marvelled at his boldness and some answered that in their consience they thought he belied me, whereupon he replied that the Warden was able to shew letters under my hand to prove it, which the Warden refused to justify, and so after many expostulations, we fell both together by the ears, whereupon they brought me back again by force to my dungeon, not shutting the other up at all. The Warden doth mightily labour to procure Mrs. Shelley to go to his house at Kensington, promising to procure her liberty out of hand, who as yet will not hearken unto him but continueth constant. If she do not procure her liberty before my enlargement, which by God's help shall be before the holidays, I make no doubt but to do you that service which shall be to your good liking. In the meantime it is very requisite for the better confirming of her to me that three or four comfortable lines be written to her or me, controlling the Wardens and others' abuse and putting her in some hope of that she desireth. I have sent you the petition of Thomson. Your letter to any of the Commissioners will discharge him, which done, I shall hereafter have good means to do some good. The more acquaintance I have of them abroad, and the more any of them is for any benefit obliged to me, the greater means I have to work upon them. But I think it not fit that you should write to Mr. Young about him, for he (now that he doth malice me, thinking that it cometh by my means) will cross it what he may. Yet by his petition you may see the cause of his imprisonment is not dangerous. These courses used, and that you do presently charm Mr. Young and the rest, I will lose my own life if I do not, before the end of the next term, do you that service as you will thank me for, notwithstanding all these past broils. For Thompson I would pray you to dispatch that matter forthwith, and to give heed that Mrs. Shelley get not out but by my means nor before I am discharged : also for special cause there must be some controlment used to the Warden for stopping of his and Parry's mouths. And then you shall see me frame my course soundly. There must likewise be a warrant sent to Mr. Young to deliver Mrs. Shelley her trunks and apparel, which will be a means to confirm her unto him. I have also sent you Parry's letter, written from St. Albans the next day after Mrs. Shelley was released from close imprisonment, the riddle whereof he hath since in plain terras unfolded to her, as may appear by her letter written to me at my first being clapt up. I seek neither gain or reward, but your good favour in any honest cause if I deserve it.—Fleet, 12 December, 1593.
[P.S.] At my first coming to this prison from the compter Mr. Young moved me to sound Mrs. Shelley touching the matter she was accused for, affirming that he would deal with the Warden so as I should have a chamber near her, as I might confer with her at pleasure, which I refused to do, or any that the Warden or any of his men should understand or be privy unto, for that I never was acquainted or knew the condition of them, alledging that base knaves would not stick in such a place as this is to whisper secretly to pick a thank, howsoever secret or forward in shew they seemed to be, and this hath he my handwriting to shew, sent him immediately after his motion made, since which time I never heard of him till now of late I wrote unto him and devised some scheme to draw him hither, that I might know whether he had delivered any letters of mine unto the Warden or not; which he hath done, for that he thinketh I have gotten Mrs. Shelley's liberty to the intent to do some service to her Majesty; and because he could not have the credit thereof himself, now he seeketh all means possible to prevent my purpose. I protect I had so soundly complotted and fortified myself with their favours and good opinions on every side, before this last matter came to pass, as I had been able to have done her Majesty such service as I think few in these causes could have done the like. Because Mr. Tregion and divers else will perhaps be at me to see what you have written to me touching the Warden, it were not amiss your Honour did write a colourable letter in this form herein closed, which shewed unto them may put many suspicions out of their heads.
Endorsed with a minute of the contents of the letter.
Holograph. 3 pp.
Enclosure. The copy of the letter which Beard suggested should be written to him by Sir Robert Cecil to allay suspicion, “11 December, 1593.” ½ p.
Thomas Elstone and Charles Pagett to the Queen.
1593, Dec. 12.Petition for a lease in reversion of the parsonage of Tewkesbury in reward for services.
Note by J. Herbert that the Queen grants the petition.—Hampton Court, 12 Dec., 1593.
1 p.
Ro. Bellott to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 13.Am sorry to understand by your letter that the thing was gone before my former letter came to hand, but if you may have the w[ardship] and the lease for 900l. I doubt not but you shall double the money, for that his land is every way 150l. per annum at the least, and if it be, as I am informed, there is no question but a w[ardship] wilbe found, if there be no indirect means used to defeat her Majesty, wherein there ought be good regard in the choice of the commissioners. Mr. Wilbram of Weddean nor one of his friends should be one; for that his daughter should have been married to the w[ard] if the father had lived till morning, and is yet intended if the interest be not in Her Majesty. There is speech spread that the infant must be ward to Sir John Savage and Sir Hugh Cholmondeley (Chomleay), which is the policy of the country, not only to cause the 2 knights to countenance the cause, but also to appal the jury; therefore I would not wish you to part with any money till the office be found for her Highness. I wrote heretofore for a stay of the son and heir of Mr. Calvelly, the which I hope you will not omit. And if you might also procure a stay of Sir William Brurtons (?), Mr. Wilbram's, Mr. Edgerton's of Ridley and Mr. Gravenor's of Eton, it were not amiss, for that if any of them should fall, the worst would be better than 1,000l. I note them the rather for that their children be but young and some of them sickly. There is one John ap Edward of Wrexham in the co. of Denbigh, yeoman, sick, and not like to recover. I wish the w[ardship] of his son to one of your grooms of the stable. He is a late purchaser and his land be worth 20l. per annum.—Bersham, 13 December, 1593.
Holograph. 1 p.
[Benjamin Beard to Sir Robert Cecil.]
1593, Dec. 13.In continuation of former letters, relative to the Warden of the Fleet, Parry, Mrs. Shelley and Thompson. Will lose his life if he deliver not up Fennell and Pixter before Candlemas, etc.
Undated. Holograph not signed.
Endorsed :—“13 Decem : 1593. From Mr. Beard,” with a minute of the contents.
1 p.
The Queen to [Francis Cotton and John Munns.]
1593, Dec. 13.Informing them, that as she receives daily advertisement that there are many practices intended against the shipping of Portsmouth, and the pier itself, being a place of no small importance, she has, in the sickness and absence of the Earl of Sussex, sent down Sir Charles Blount to remain there, for securing the town against all attempts and practices, and has also sent Sir George Care we, Lieutenant of the Ordnance, to take note of the remain of all her store and see it delivered by inventory to Sir Charles Blount.—Hampton Court, 13 December, 36th Eliz.
Draft or Copy. Endorsed :—Mr. Francis Cotton and John Munns, Lieutenant under the Earl of Sussex of the town of Portsmouth,” etc.
Decayed through damp. 1 p.
Sir Charles Davers to Lord Hunsdon and Lord Cobham.
1593, Dec. 13.Having received by your letters Her Majesty's pleasure for my commitment hither, where I remain close prisoner, I have resolved with all patient humility to bear my misfortune, neither purposing now to extenuate the fault, nor presuming to think that my punishment can be extraordinary, seeing in cases where so high a Majesty is offended, no apology ought to be admitted; nam indignatio principis mors est. Only my humble suit to you is that by your favourable report Her Majesty may know my wound, and by your mediation may be moved, when my punishment shall fortune to have his end, that her favour may have his beginning, the eclipsing whereof is to my mind more grievous than the prison wherein I live can be to my body which was destined to be sacrificed for Her Majesty's will and service. I have never, I trust, before willingly offended Her Majesty, and yet have, to my friends' cost, lived in Courts, where one of good judgment might have tripped. I confess now I have gone in the rash way of a young man, more greedy in desire by seeming much, to grow more able for my country's use, than haply remembering that ill must not be done that good may come of it. And therefore, though former precedents and other examples did encourage me, never having rendered myself, by any thing formerly, suspected in the least scruple, yet do I now only appeal to Her Majesty's favour, whom I desire to assure that although no power can multiply my duties to her, yet hath these 'sights' for which I am chastised, inflamed for ever my malice to her enemies, of which my blood shedding should give testimony up on any occasion. I could say, moreover, that my poor fortune will be by this utterly shaken with my parents, but that being my second care, I leave it to God's pleasure. And so do humbly take my leave, from a noisome prison, surrounded by corrupt neighbours, the 13th December, 1593.
Signed. Holograph. 1 p.
The Earl of Derby to Sir Robert Cecil.
1593, Dec. 15.Intreating him to move his father to renew the Earl's former suit, and name him to supply the place of Chamberlain at Chester.—“Lathom, my house,” 15 December, 1593.
Signed. 1 p.