The miraculous victory atchieved by the English Fleete, under the discreet and happy conduct of the right honourable, right prudent, and valiant lord, the L. Charles Howard, L. high Admirall of England, &c. Vpon the Spanish huge Armada sent in the yeere 1588. for the invasion of England, together with the wofull and miserable success of the said Armada afterward, upon the Coasts of Norway, of the Scottish Westerne Isles, of Ireland, Spain, France, and of England, &c. Recorded in Latine by Emanuel van Meteran, in the 15. Booke of his history of the Low Countreys.
Hauing in part declared the strange and wonderfull euents of the yeere eightie eight, which hath bene so long time foretold by ancient prophesies; we will now make relation of the most notable and great enterprise of all others which were in the foresaid yeere atchieued, in order as it was done. Which exploit (although in very deed it was not performed in any part of the low Countreys) was intended for their ruine and destruction. And it was the expedition which the Spanish king, hauing a long time determined the same in his minde, and hauing consulted thereabout with the Pope, set foorth and vndertooke against England and the low Countreys. To the end that he might subdue the Realme of England, and reduce it vnto his catholique Religion, and by that meanes might be sufficiently reuenged for the disgrace, contempt and dishonour, which hee (hauing 34. yeeres before enforced them to the Popes obedience) had endured of the English nation, and for diuers other iniuries which had taken deepe impression in his thoughts. And also for that hee deemed this to bee the most readie and direct course, whereby hee might recouer his heredetarie possession of the lowe Countreys, hauing restrained the inhabitants from sayling vpon the coast of England. Which verily, vpon most weighty arguments and euident reasons, was thought would vndoubtedly haue come to passe, considering the great aboundance and store of all things necessary wherewith those men were furnished, which had the managing of that action committed vnto them. But now let vs describe the matter more particularly.
The preparation of the Spanish King to subdue England and the lowe Countreys. The Spanish King hauing with small fruite and commoditie, for aboue twentie yeeres together, waged warre against the Netherlanders, after deliberation with his counsellers thereabout, thought it most conuenient to assault them once againe by Sea, which had bene attempted sundry times heretofore, but not with forces sufficient. Vnto the which expedition it stoode him nowe in hand to ioyne great puissance, as hauing the English people his professed enemies; whose Island is so situate, that it may either greatly helpe or hinder all such as saile into those parts. For which cause hee thought good first of all to inuade England, being perswaded by his Secretary Escouedo, and by diuers other well experienced Spaniards and Dutchmen, and by many English fugitiues, that the conquest of that Island was lesse difficult then the conquest of Holland and Zeland. Moreouer the Spaniards were of opinion, that it would bee farre more behouefull for their King to conquere England and the lowe Countreys all at once, then to be constrained continually to maintaine a warlike Nauie to defend his East and West Indie Fleetes, from the English Drake, and from such like valiant enemies.
And for the same purpose the king Catholique had giuen commandement long before in Italie and Spaine, that a great quantitie of timber should be felled for the building of shippes; and had besides made great preparation of things and furniture requisite for such an expedition; as namely in founding of brasen Ordinance, in storing vp of corne and victuals, in trayning of men to vse warlike weapons, in leauying and mustering of souldiers: insomuch that about the beginning of the yeere 1588. he had finished such a mightie Nauie, and brought it into Lisbon hauen, as neuer the like had before that time sailed vpon the Ocean sea.
A very large and particular description of this Nauie was put in print and published by the Spaniards; wherein were set downe the number, names, and burthens of the shippes, the number of Mariners and souldiers throughout the whole Fleete; likewise the quantitie of their Ordinance, of their armour, of bullets, of match, of gun-poulder, of victuals, and of all their Nauall furniture was in the saide description particularized. Vnto all these were added the names of the Gouernours, Captaines, Noblemen and gentlemen voluntaries, of whom there was so great a multitude, that scarce was there any family of accompt, or any one principall man throughout all Spaine, that had not a brother, sonne or kinseman in that Fleete: who all of them were in good hope to purchase vnto themselues in that Nauie (as they termed it) inuincible endlesse glory and renowne, and to possesse themselues of great Seigniories and riches in England, and in the lowe Countreys. But because the said description was translated and published out of Spanish into diuers other languages, we will here onely make an abridgment or briefe rehearsall thereof.
The number and qualitie of the ships in the Spanish Fleete, with the souldiers, Mariners, and pieces of Ordinance. Portugal furnished and set foorth vnder the conduct of the duke of Medina Sidonia generall of the Fleete, ten Galeons, two Zabraes, 1300. Mariners, 3300. souldiers, 300. great pieces, with all requisite furniture.
Biscay, vnder the conduct of Iohn Martines de Ricalde Admiral of the whole Fletee, set forth tenne Galeons, 4. Pataches, 700. mariners, 2000. souldiers, 250. great pieces, &c.
Guipusco, vnder the conduct of Michael de Oquendo, tenne Galeons, 4 Pataches, 700. mariners, 2000. souldiers, 310. great pieces.
Italy with the Leuant Islands, vnder Martine de Vertendona, 10. Galeons, 800. mariners, 2000. souldiers, 310. great pieces, &c.
Castile, vnder Diego Flores de Valdez, 14. Galeons, two Pataches, 1700. mariners, 2400. souldiers, and 380. great pieces, &c.
Andaluzia, vnder the conduct of Petro de Valdez, 10. Galeons, one Patache, 800. mariners, 2400. souldiers, 280. great pieces, &c.
Item, vnder the conduct of Iohn Lopez de Medina, 23. great Flemish hulkes, with 700. mariners, 3200. souldiers, and 400. great pieces.
Item, vnder Hugo de Moncada, foure Galliasses containing 1200. gally-slaues, 460. mariners, 870. souldiers, 200. great pieces, &c.
Item, vnder Diego de Mandrana, foure Gallies of Portugall, with 888. gally-slaues, 360. mariners, 20 great pieces, and other requisite furniture.
Item, vnder Anthonie de Mendoza, 22. Pataches and Zabraes, with 574. mariners, 488. souldiers, and 193. great pieces.
Besides, the ships aforementioned there were 20 carauels rowed with oares, being appointed to performe necessary seruices vnto the greater ships: insomuch that all the ships appertayning to this Nauie amounted vnto the summe of 150. eche one being sufficiently prouided of furniture and victuals,
The number of mariners in the saide Fleete were aboue 8000. of slaues 2088. of souldiers 20000. (besides noblemen and gentlemen voluntaries) of great cast pieces 2650. The foresaid ships were of an huge and incredible capacitie and receipt. For the whole Fleete was large ynough to containe the burthen of 60 thousand tunnes.
A description of the Galeons. The Galeons were 64. in number, being of an huge bignesse, and very stately built, being of marueilous force also, and so high that they resembled great castles, most fit to defend themselues and to withstand any assault, but in giuing any other ships the encounter farre inferiour vnto the English and Dutch ships, which can with great dexteritie wield and turn themselues at all assayes. The vpperworke of the said Galeons was of thicknesse and strength sufficient to beare off musket-shot. The lower worke and the timbers thereof were out of measure strong, being framed of plankes and ribs foure or fiue foote in thicknesse, insomuch that no bullets could pierce them, but such as were discharged hard at hand: which afterward prooued true, for a great number of bullets were founde to sticke fast within the massie substance of those thicke plankes. Great and well pitched Cables were twined about the masts of their shippes, to strengthen them against the battery of shot.
A description of the Galliasses. The Galliasses were of such bignesse, that they contained within them chambers, chapels, turrets, pulpits, and other commodities of great houses. The Galliasses were rowed with great oares, there being in eche one of them 300. slaues for the same purpose, and were able to do great seruice with the force of their Ordinance. All these together with the residue aforenamed were furnished and beautified with trumpets, streamers, banners, warlike ensignes, and other such like ornaments.
The great Ordinance, bullets, gunpoulder, and other furniture. Their pieces of brasen ordinance were 1600. and of yron a 1000.
The bullets thereto belonging were 120. thousand.
Item of gun-poulder 5600. quintals. Of matche 1200. quintals.
Of muskets and kaleiuers 7000. Of haleberts and partisans 10000.
Moreouer they had great store of canons, double-canons, culuerings and field-pieces for land seruices.
Their prouision of victuals and other things necessary. Likewise they were prouided of all instruments necessary on land to conueigh and transport their furniture from place to place; as namely of carts, wheeles, wagons, &C. Also they had spades, mattocks and baskets to set pioners on worke. They had in like sort great store of mules and horses, and whatsoeuer else was requisite for a land-armie. They were so well stored of biscuit, that for the space of halfe a yeere, they might allow eche person in the whole Fleete half a quintall euery moneth; whereof the whole summe amounteth vnto an hundred thousand quintals.
Likewise of wine they had 147. thousand pipes, sufficient also for halfe a yeeres expedition. Of bacon 6500. quintals. Of cheese three thousand quintals. Besides fish, rise, beanes, pease, oile, vineger, &c.
Moreouer they had 12000. pipes of fresh water, and all other necessary prouision, as namely candles, lanternes, lampes, sailes, hempe, ox-hides and lead to stop holes that should be made with the battery of gunshot. To be short, they brought all things expedient either for a Fleete by sea, or for an armie by land.
This Nauie (as Diego Pimentelli afterward confessed) was esteemed by the King himselfe to containe 32000. persons, and to cost him euery day 30. thousand ducates.
A Spanish terza consisteth of 3200. souldiers. There were in the said Nauie fiue terzaes of Spaniards, (which terzaes the Frenchmen call Regiments) vnder the commaund of fiue gouernours termed by the Spaniards, Masters of the field, and amongst the rest there were many olde and expert souldiers chosen out of the garisons of Sicilie, Naples, and Terçera. Their Captaines or Colonels were Diego Pimentelli, Don Francisco de Toledo, Don Alonço de Luçon, Don Nicolas de Isla, Don Augustin de Mexia; who had eche of them 32. companies vnder their conduct. Besides the which companies there were many bands also of Castilians and Portugals, euery one of which had their peculiar gouernours, captaines, officers, colours and weapons.
It was not lawfull for any man, vnder grieuous penaltie, to cary any women or harlots in the Fleete: for which cause the women hired certaine shippes, wherein they sailed after the Nauie: some of the which being driuen by tempest arriued vpon the coast of France.
The generall of this mightie Nauie, was Don Alonso Perez de Guzman duke of Medina Sidonia, Lord of S. Lucar, and knight of the golden Fleece: by reason that the Marques of santa Cruz appointed for the same dignitie, deceased before the time.
Iohn Martines de Ricalde was Admirall of the Fleete.
Francis Bouadilla was chiefe Marshall: who all of them had their officers fit and requisite for the guiding and managing of such a multitude. Likewise Martin Alorcon was appointed Vicar generall of the Inquisition, being accompanied with more then a hundreth Monkes, to wit, Iesuites, Capuchines, and friers mendicant. Besides whom also there were Phisitians, Chirurgians, Apothecaries, and whatsoever else perteined vnto the hospitall.
Ouer and besides the forenamed gouernours and officers being men of chiefe note, there were 124. very noble and worthy Gentlemen, which went voluntarily of their owne costs and charges, to the ende they might see fashions, learne experience, and attaine vnto glory. Amongst whom was the prince of Ascoli, Alonzo de Leiua, the marques de Pennafiel, the marques de Ganes, the marques de Barlango, count de Paredes, count de Yeluas, and diuers other marqueses and earles of the honourable families of Mendoza, of Toledo, of Pachieco, of Cordoua, of Guzman, of Manricques, and a great number of others.
The preparation of the Duke of Parma to aide the Spaniards. While the Spaniards were furnishing this their Nauuie, the Duke of Parma, at the direction of king Philip, made great preparation in the low Countreys, to giue ayd and assistance vnto the Spaniards; building ships for the same purpose, and sending for Pilots and shipwrights out of Italy.
In Flanders hee caused certaine deepe chanels to be made, and among the rest the chanell of Yper commonly called Yper-lee, employing some thousands of workemen about that seruice: to the end that by the said chanel he might transport ships from Antwerp and Ghendt to Bruges, where hee had assembled aboue a hundreth small ships called hoyes being well stored with victuals, which hoyes hee was determined to haue brought into the sea by the way of Sluys, or else to haue conueyed them by the saide Yper-lee being now of greater depth, into any port of Flanders whatsoeuer.
In the riuer of Waten he caused 70. ships with flat bottomes to be built, euery one of which should serue to cary 30. horses, hauing eche of them bridges likewise for the horses to come on boord, or to goe foorth on land. Of the same fashion he had prouided 200. other vessels at Nieuport, but not so great. And at Dunkerk hee procured 28. ships of warre, such as were there to be had, and caused a sufficient number of Mariners to be leuied at Hamburgh, Breme, Emden, and at other places. Hee put in the ballast of the said ships, great store of beames of thicke plankes, being hollow and beset with yron pikes beneath, but on eche side full of claspes and hookes, to ioyne them together.
Hee had likewise at Greueling prouided 20. thousand of caske, which in a short space might be compact and ioyned together with nailes and cords, and reduced into the forme of a bridge. To be short, whatsoeuer things were requisite for the making of bridges, and for the barring and stopping vp of hauens mouthes with stakes, posts, and other meanes, he commanded to be made ready. Moreouer not farre from Neiuport hauen, he had caused a great pile of wooden fagots to be layd, and other furniture to be brought for the rearing vp of a mount. The most part of his ships conteined two ouens a piece to bake bread in, with a great number of sadles, bridles, and such other like apparell for horses. They had horses likewise, which after their landing should serue to conuey, and draw engines, field-pieces, and other warlike prouisions.
Neere vnto Neiuport he had assembled an armie, ouer the which he had ordained Camillo de Monte to be Camp-master. This army consisted of 30. bands or ensignes of Italians, of tenne bands of Wallons, eight of Scots, and eight of Burgundians, all which together amount vnto 56. bands, euery band containing a hundreth persons. Neare vnto Dixmund there were mustered 80. bands of Dutch men, sixtie of Spaniards, sixe of high Germans, and seuen bands of English fugitiues, vnder the conduct of sir William Stanley an English knight.
In the suburbes of Cortreight there were 4000. horsemen together with their horses in a readinesse: and at Waten 900. horses, with the troupe of the Marques Del Gwasto Captaine generall of the horsemen.
Vnto this famous expedition and presupposed victorie, many potentates, princes, and honourable personages hied themselues: out of Spaine the prince of Melito called the duke of Pastrana and taken to be the sonne of one Ruygomes de Silua, but in very deed accompted among the number of king Philips base sonnes. Also the Marques of Burgraue, one of the sonnes of Archiduke Ferdinand and Philippa Welsera. Vespasian Gonsaga of the family of Mantua, being for chiualry a man of great renowne, and heretofore Vice-roy in Spaine. Item Iohn Medices base sonne vnto the duke of Florence. And Amadas of Sauoy, the duke of Sauoy his base sonne, with many others of inferiour degrees.
The Popes furtherance to the conquest of England, and of the low countries. Likewise Pope Sixtus quintus for the setting forth of the foresaid expedition, as they vse to do against Turkes and infidels, published a Cruzado, with most ample indulgences which were printed in great numbers. These vaine buls the English and Dutchmen deriding, sayd that the deuill at all passages lay in ambush like a thiefe, no whit regarding such letters of safe conduct. Some there be which affirme that the Pope had bestowed the realme of England with the title of Defensor fidei, vpon the king of Spaine, giuing him charge to inuade it vpon this condition, that he should enioy the conquered realm, as a vassal and tributarie, in that regard, vnto the sea of Rome. To this purpose the said Pope proffered a million of gold, the one halfe thereof to be paied in readie money, and the other halfe when the realme of England or any famous port thereof were subdued. And for the greater furtherance of the whole businesse, he dispatched one D. Allen an English man (whom he had made Cardinall for the same ende and purpose) into the Low countries, vnto whom he committed the administration of all matters ecclesiasticall throughout England. This Allen being enraged against his owne natiue countrey, caused the Popes bull to be translated into English, meaning vpon the arriual of the Spanish fleete to haue it so published in England. By which Bull the excommunications of the two former Popes were confirmed, and the Queenes most sacred Maiestie was by them most vniustly depriued of all princely titles and dignities, her subjects being enioyned to performe obedience vnto the duke of Parma, and vnto the Popes Legate.
But that all matters might be performed with greater secrecie, and that the whole expedition might seeme rather to be intended against the Low countries, then against England, and that the English people might be perswaded that all was but bare words and threatnings, and that nought would come to effect, there was a solemne meeting appointed at Borborch in Flanders for a treatie of peace betweene her matestie and the Spanish king.
A treatie of peace, to the end that Englad and the vnited prouinces might be secure of inuasion. Against which treatie the vnited prouinces making open protestation, vsed all meanes possible to hinder it, alleaging that it was more requisite to consult how the enemie now pressing vpon them might be repelled from off their frontiers. Howbeit some there were in England that greatly vrged and prosecuted this league, saying, that it would be very commodious vnto the state of the realme, as well in regard of traffique and nauigation, as for the auoiding of great expenses to maintaine the warres, affirming also, that at the same time peace might easily and vpon reasonable conditions be obtained of the Spaniard. Others thought by this meanes to diuert some other way, or to keepe backe the nauy now comming vpon them, and so to escape the danger of that tempest. Howsoeuer it was, the duke of Parma by these wiles enchanted and dazeled the eyes of many English and Dutch men that were desirous of peace: whereupon it came to passe, that England and the vnited prouinces prepared in deed some defence to withstand that dreadfull expedition and huge Armada, but nothing in comparison of the great danger which was to be feared, albeit the constant report of the whole expedition had continued rife among them for a long time before. Howbeit they gaue eare vnto the relation of certaine that sayd, that this nauie was prouided to conduct and waft ouer the Indian Fleets: which seemed the more probable because the Spaniards were deemed not to be men of so small discretion as to aduenture those huge and monstrous ships vpon the shallow and dangerous chanel of England.
Her maiesties warlike preparation by sea. At length when as the French king about the end of May signified vnto her Maiestie in plaine termes that she should stand vpon her guard, because he was now most certainly enformed, that there was so dangerous an inuasion imminent vpon her realme, that he feared much least all her land and sea-forces would be sufficient to withstand it, &c. then began the Queens Maiestie more carefully to gather her forces together, and to furnish her own ships of warre, and the principall ships of her subiects with souldiers, weapons, and other necessary prouision. The greatest and strongest ships of the whole nauy she sent vnto Plimmouth vnder the conduct of the right honorable Lord Charles Howard, lord high Admirall of England, &c. Vnder whom the renoumed Knight Sir Francis Drake was appointed Vice-admiral. The number of these ships was about an hundreth. The lesser ships being 30. or 40. in number, and vnder the conduct of the lord Henry Seimer were commanded to lie between Douer and Caleis.
Her Maiesties land-forces. On land likewise throughout the whole realme, souldiers were mustered and trained in all places, and were committed vnto the most resolute and faithfull captaines. And whereas it was commonly giuen out that the Spaniard hauing once vnited himselfe vnto the duke of Parma, meant to inuade by the riuer of Thames, there was at Tilburie in Essex ouer-against Grauesend, a mightie army encamped, and on both sides of the riuer fortifications were erected, according to the prescription of Frederike Genebelli, an Italian enginier. Likewise there were certaine ships brought to make a bridge, though it were very late first. Vnto the sayd army came in proper person the Queens most roiall Maiestie, representing Tomyris that Scythian warlike princesse, or rather diuine Pallas her selfe. Also there were other such armies leuied in England.
The principall catholique Recussants (least they should stirre vp any tumult in the time of the Spanish inuasion) were sent to remaine at certaine conuenient places, as namely in the Isle of Ely and at Wisbich. And some of them were sent vnto other places, to wit, vnto sundry bishops and noblemen, where they were kept from endangering the state of the common wealth, and of her sacred Maiestie, who of her most gracious clemencie gaue expresse commandement that they should be intreated with all humanity and friendship.
The preparation of the united prouinces. The Prouinces of Holland and Zeland, &c. giuing credite vnto their intelligence out of Spain, made preparation to defend themselues: but because the Spanish ships were described vnto them to be so huge, they relied partly vpon the shallow and dangerous seas all along their costs. Wherfore they stood most in doubt of the duke of Parma his small and flat-bottomed ships. Howbeit they had all their ships of warre to the number of 90. and aboue, in a readinesse for all assayes: the greater part whereof were of a small burthen, as being more meete to saile vpon their riuers and shallow seas: and with these ships they besieged all the hauens in Flanders, beginning at the mouth of Scheld, or from the towne of Lillo, and holding on to Greueling and almost vnto Caleis, and fortified all their sea-townes with strong garrisons.
Against the Spanish fleets arriual, they had provided 25. or 30. good ships, committing the gouernment of them vnto Admirall Lonck, whom they commanded to ioine himselfe vnto the lord Henry Seymer, lying betweene Douer and Cales. And when as the foresaid ships (whereof the greater part besieged the hauen of Dunkerke) were driuen by tempest into Zeland, Iustin, of Nassau the Admiral of Zeland supplied that squadron with 35. ships being of no great burthen, but excellently furnished with gunnes, mariners and souldiers in great abundance, and especially with 1200. braue Musquetiers, hauing bene accustomed vnto seafights, and being chosen out of all their companies for the same purpose: and so the said Iustin of Nassau kept such diligent ward in that Station that the duke of Parma could not issue foorth with his nauy into the sea but of any part of Flanders.
The Spanish fleete set saile vpon the 19. of May. In the meaane while the Spanish Armada set saile out of the hauen of Lisbon vpon the 19. of May, An. Dom. 1588 vnder the conduct of the duke of Medina Sidonia, directing their course for the Baie of Corunna, alias the Groine in Gallicia, where they tooke in souldiers and warlike prouision, this port being in Spaine the neerest vnto England. As they were sailing along, there arose such a mightie tempest, that the whole Fleete was dispersed, so that when the duke was returned vnto his company, he could not escry aboue 80. ships in all, whereunto the residue by litle and litle ioyned themselues, except eight which had their mastes blowen ouer-boord. One of the foure gallies of Portingal escaped very hardly, retiring her selfe, into the hauen. The other three were vpon the coast of Baion in France, by the assistance and courage of one Dauid Gwin an English captiue (whom the French and Turkish slaues aided in the same enterprise) vtterly disabled and vanquished: one of the three being first ouercome, which conquered the two other, with the slaughter of their gouernours and souldiers, and among the rest of Don Diego de Mandrana with sundry others: and so these slaues arriuing in France with the three Gallies, set themselues at liberty.
They set saile from the Groine vpon the 11. of Iuly. The Spaniards come within kenning of England. Captain Fleming. The nauy hauing refreshed themselues at the Groine, and receiuing daily commandement from the king to hasten their iourney, hoised vp sailes the 11. day of July, and so holding on their course, till the 19. of the same moneth, they came then vnto the mouth of the narow seas or English chanel. From whence (striking their sailes in the meane season) they dispatched certaine of their smal ships vnto the duke of Parma. At the same time the Spanish Fleete was escried by an English pinasse, captaine whereof was M. Thomas Fleming, after they had bene aduertised of the Spaniards expedition by their scoutes and espials, which hauing ranged along the coast of Spaine, were lately returned home into Plimmouth for a new supply of victuals and other necessaries, who considering the foresayd tempest, were of opinion that the nauy being of late dispersed and tossed vp and downe the maine Ocean, was by no means able to performe their intended voiage.
Moreouer, the L. Charles Howard L. high admiral of England had receiued letters from the court, signifying vnto him that her Maiestie was aduertised that the Spanish Fleete would not come foorth, nor was to be any longer expected for, and therefore, that vpon her Maiesties commandement he must send backe foure of her tallest and strongest ships vnto Chatham.
The L. Admirals short warning upon the 19. of Iuly. The lord high Admiral of England being thus on the sudden, namely vpon the 19. of July about foure of the clocke in the afternoone, enformed by the pinasse of captaine Fleming aforesaid, of the Spaniards approch, with all speed and diligence possible he warped his ships, and caused his mariners and souldiers (the greater part of whom was absent for the cause aforesayd) to come on boord, and that with great trouble and drfficultie, insomuch that the lord Admiral himselfe was faine to lie without in the road with sixe ships onely all that night, after the which many others came foorth of the hauen. The 20. of Iuly. The very next day being the 20. of Iuly about high noone, was the Spanish Fleete escried by the English, which with a Southwest wind came sailing along, and passed by Plimmouth: in which regard (according to the iudgement of many skilful nauigators) they greatly ouershot themselues, whereas it had bene more commodious for them to haue staied themselues there, considering that the Englishmen being as yet vnprouided, greatly relied vpon their owne forces, and knew not the estate of the Spanish nauy. Moreouer, this was the most conuenient port of all others, where they might with greater securitie haue bene aduertised of the English forces, and how the commons of the land stood affected, and might haue stirred vp some mutinie, so that hither they should haue bent all their puissance, and from hence the duke of Parma might more easily haue conueied his ships.
But this they were prohibited to doe by the king and his counsell, and were expressely commanded to vnite themselues vnto the souldiers and ships of the said duke of Parma, and so to bring their purpose to effect. Which was thought to be the most easie and direct course, for that they imagined that the English and Dutch men would be vtterly daunted and dismaied thereat, and would each man of them retire vnto his owne Prouince and Porte for the defence thereof, and transporting the armie of the duke vnder the protection of their huge nauy, they might inuade England.
It is reported that the chiefe commanders in the nauy, and those which were more skilfull in nauigation, to wit, Iohn Martines de Ricalde, Diego Flores de Valdez, and diuers others found fault that they were bound vnto so strict directions and instructions, because that in such a case many particular accidents ought to concurre and to be respected at one and the same instant, that is to say, the opportunitie of the wind, weather, time, tide, and ebbe, wherein they might saile from Flanders to England. Oftentimes also the darkenesse and light, the situation of places, the depths and shoulds were to be considered: all which especially depended vpon the conuenience of the windes, and were by so much the more dangerous.
But it seemeth that they were enioined by their commission to ancre neere vnto, or about Caleis, whither the duke of Parma with his ships and all his warrelike prouision was to resort, and while the English and Spanish great ships were in the midst of their conflict, to passe by, and to land his souldiers vpon the Downes.
The Spanish captiues reported that they were determined first to haue entred the riuer of Thames, and thereupon to haue passed with small ships vp to London, supposing that they might easily winne that rich and flourishing Citie being but meanely fortified and inhabited with Citizens not accustomed to the warres, who durst not withstand their first encounter, hoping moreouer to finde many rebels against her Maiestie and popish catholiques, or some fauourers of the Scottish queene (which was not long before most iustly beheaded) who might be instruments of sedition.
Thus often aduertising the duke of Parrna of their approch, the 20. of Iuly they passed by Plimmouth, which the English ships pursuing and getting the wind of them, gaue them the chase and the encounter, and so both Fleets frankly exchanged their bullets.
The 21. of Iuly. The day following which was the 21. of Iuly, the English ships approched within musquet shot of the Spanish: at what time the lorde Charles Howard most hotly and valiantly discharged his Ordinance vpon the Spanish Vice-admirall. The Spaniards then well perceiuing the nimblenesse of the English ships in discharging vpon the enimie on all sides, gathered themselues close into the forme of an halfe moone, and slackened their sailes, least they should outgoe any of their companie. And while they were proceeding on in this maner, one of their great Galliasses was so furiously battered with shot, that the whole nauy was faine to come vp rounder together for the safegard thereof: whereby it came to passe that the principall Galleon of Siuill (wherein Don Pedro de Valdez, Vasques de Silua, Alonzo de Sayas, and other noble men were embarqued) falling foule of another shippe, had her fore-mast broken, and by that meanes was not able to keepe way with the Spanish Fleete, neither would the sayde Fleete stay to succour it, but left the distressed Galeon behind. The lord Admirall of England when he saw this ship of Valdez, and thought she had bene voyd of Mariners and Souldiers, taking with him as many shippes as he could, passed by it, that he might not loose sight of the Spanish Fleet that night. For sir Francis Drake (who was notwithstanding appointed to beare out his lanterne that night) was giuing of chase vnto fiue great Hulkes which had separated themselues from the Spanish Fleete: but finding them to be Easterlings, he dismissed them. The lord Admirall all that night following the Spanish lanterne in stead of the English, found himselfe in the morning to be in the midst of his enimies Fleete, but when he perceiued it, he cleanly conueyed himselfe out of that great danger.
The 22. of Iuly. The day folowing, which was the two and twentie of Iuly, Sir Francis Drake espied Valdez his shippe, whereunto hee sent foorth his pinasse, and being aduertised that Valdez himselfe was there, and 450. persons with him, he sent him word that he should yeeld himselfe. Valdez for his honors sake caused certaine conditions to be propounded vnto Drake: who answered Valdez that he was not now at laisure to make any long parle, but if he would yeeld himselfe, he should find him friendly and tractable: howbeit if he had resolued to die in fight, he should prooue Drake to be no dastard.
Don Pedro de Valdez with his ship and company taken. Vpon which answere Valdez and his company vnderstanding that they were fallen into the hands of fortunate Drake, being mooued with the renoume and celebritie of his name, with one consent yeelded themselues, and found him very fauourable vnto them. Then Valdez with 40. or 50. noblemen and gentlemen pertaining vnto him, came on boord sir Francis Drakes ship. The residue of his ship were caried vnto Plimmouth, where they were detained a yere and an halfe for their ransome.
Valdez comming vnto Drake and humbly kissing his hand protested vnto him, that he and they had resolued to die in battell, had they not by good fortune fallen into his power, whom they knew to be right curteous and gentle, and whom they had heard by generall report to bee most favourable vnto his vanquished foe: insomuch that he sayd it was to bee doubted whether his enimies had more cause to admire and loue him for his great, valiant, and prosperous exploites, or to dread him for his singular felicitie and wisedom, which euer attended vpon him in the warres, and by the which hee had attained vnto so great honour. With that Drake embraced him and gaue him very honourable entertainement, feeding him at his owne table, and lodging him in his cabbin.
Here Valdez began to recount vnto Drake the forces of all the Spanish Fleet, and how foure mightie Gallies were separated by tempest from them, and also how they were determined first to haue put into Plimmouth hauen, not expecting to bee repelled thence by the English ships which they thought could by no meanes withstand their impregnable forces, perswading themselues that by means of their huge Fleete, they were become lords and commaunders of the maine Ocean. For which cause they marueled much how the English men in their small ships durst approch within musket shot of the Spaniards mightie wooden castles, gathering the wind of them with many other such like attempts.
Immediately after, Valdez and his company, being a man of principal authoritie in the Spanish Fleete, and being descended of one and the same familie with that Valdez, which in the yeere 1574 besieged Leiden in Holland, were sent captiues into England. There were in the sayd ship 55. thousand duckates in ready money of the Spanish kings gold, which the souldiers merily shared among themselues.
A great Biscaine ship taken by the English. The same day was set on fire one of their greatest shippes, being Admirall of the squadron of Guipusco, and being the shippe of Michael de Oquendo Vice-admirall of the whole Fleete, which contained great store of gunnepowder and other warrelike prouision. The vpper part onely of this shippe was burnt, and an the persons therein contained (except a very few) were consumed with fire. And thereupon it was taken by the English, and brought into England with a number of miserable burnt and skorched Spaniards. Howbeit the gunpowder (to the great admiration of all men) remained whole and vnconsumed.
In the meane season the lord Admirall of England in his ship called the Arke-royall, all that night pursued the Spaniards so neere, that in the morning hee was almost left alone in the enimies Fleete, and it was foure of the clocke at afternoone before the residue of the English Fleet could ouertake him.
At the same time Hugo de Moncada gouernour of the foure Galliasses, made humble sute vnto the Duke of Medina that he might be licenced to encounter the Admirall of England: which libertie the duke thought not good to permit vnto him, because hee was loth to exceed the limites of his commission and charge.
The 23. of Iuly. Vpon Tuesday which was the three and twentie of Iuly, the nauie being come ouer against Portland, the wind began to turne Northerly, insomuch that the Spaniards had a fortunate and fit gale to inuade the English. But the Englishmen hauing lesser and nimbler Ships, recouered againe the vantage of the winde from the Spaniards, whereat the Spaniards seemed to bee more incensed to fight then before. But when the English Fleete had continually and without intermission from morning to night, beaten and battered them with all their shot both great and small: the Spaniardes vniting themselves, gathered their whole Fleete close together into a roundell, so that it was apparant that they ment not as yet to inuade others, but onely to defend themselues and to make hast vnto the place prescribed vnto them, which was neere vnto Dunkerk, that they might ioine forces with the Duke of Parma, who was determined to haue proceeded secretly with his small shippes vnder the shadow and protection of the great ones, and so had intended circumspectly to performe the whole expedition.
This was the most furious and bloodie skirmish of all, in which the lord Admirall of England continued fighting amidst his enimies Fleete, and seeing one of his Captaines afarre off, hee spake vnto him in these wordes: Oh George what doest thou? Wilt thou nowe frustrate my hope and opinion conceiued of thee? Wilt thou forsake me nowe? With which wordes hee being enflamed, approched foorthwith, encountered the enemie, and did the part of a most valiant Captaine. His name was George Fenner, a man that had bene conuersant in many Sea-fights.
A great Venetian ship and other small ships taken by the English. In this conflict there was a certaine great Venetian ship with other small ships surprised and taken by the English.
The English nauie in the meane while increased, whereunto out of all Hauens of the Realme resorted ships and men: for they all with one accord came flocking thither as vnto a set field, where immortall fame and glory was to be attained, and faithfult seruice to bee performed vnto their prince and countrey.
In which number there were many great and honourable personages, as namely, the Erles of Oxford, of Northumberland, of Cumberland, &c. with many Knights and Gentlemen: to wit, Sir Thomas Cecill, Sir Robert Cecill, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir William Hatton, Sir Horatio Palauacini, Sir Henry Brooke, Sir Robert Carew, Sir Charles Blunt, Master Ambrose Willoughbie, Master Henry Nowell, Master Thomas Gerard, Master Henry Dudley, Master Edward Darcie, Master Arthur Gorge, Master Thomas Woodhouse, Master William Haruie, &c. And so it came to passe that the number of the English shippes amounted vnto an hundreth: which when they were come before Douer, were increased to an hundred and thirtie, being notwithstanding of no proportionable bignesse to encounter with the Spaniards, except two or three and twentie of the Queehes greater shippes, which onely, by reason of their presence, bred an opinion in the Spaniardes mindes concerning the power of the English Fleet: the mariners and souldiers whereof were esteemed to be twelue thousand.
The 24 of Iuly. The foure and twentie of Iuly when as the sea was calme, and no winde stirring, the fight was onely betweene the foure great Galleasses and the English shippes, which being rowed with Oares, had great vauntage of the sayd English shippes, which notwithstanding for all that would not bee forced to yeeld, but discharged their chaine-shot to cut assunder the Cables and Cordage of the Galliasses, with many other such Stratagemes. They were nowe constrained to send their men on land for a newe supplie of Gunne-powder, whereof they were in great skarcitie, by reason they had so frankely spent the greater part in the former conflicts.
The same day, a Counsell being assembled, it was decreed that the English Fleete should be diuided into foure squadrons: the principall whereof was committed vnto the lord Admirall: the second to Sir Francis Drake: the third, to Captaine Hawkins: the fourth, to Captaine Frobisher.
The Spaniards in their sailing obserued very diligent and good order, sayling three and foure, and sometimes more ships in a ranke, and folowing close vp one after another, and the stronger and greater ships protecting the lesser.
The 25. of Iuly. The fiue and twenty of Iuly when the Spaniardes were come ouer-gainst the Isle of Wight, the lord Admirall of England being accompanied with his best ships, (namely the Lion, Captaine whereof was the lord Thomas Howard: The Elizabeth Ionas vnder the commandement of Sir Robert Southwel sonne in lawe vnto the lord Admirall: the Beare vnder the lord Sheffield nephew vnto the lord Admirall: the Victorie vnder Captaine Barker: and the Galeon Leicester vnder the forenamed Captaine George Fenner) with great valour and dreadfull thundering of shot, encountered the Spanish Admirall being in the very midst of all his Fleet. Which when the Spaniard perceiued, being assisted with his strongest ships, he came foorth and entered a terrible combate with the English: for they bestowed each on other the broad sides, and mutually discharged all their Ordinance, being within one hundred, or an hundred and twentie yards one of another.
At length the Spaniardes hoised vp their sayles, and againe gathered themselues vp close into the forme of a roundel. In the meane while Captaine Frobisher had engaged himselfe into a most dangerous conflict. Whereupon the lord Admirall comming to succour him, found that hee had valiantly and discreetly behaued himselfe, and that hee had wisely and in good time giuen ouer the fight, because that after so great a batterie he had sustained no damage.
The 26. of Iuly. For which cause the day following, being the sixe and twentie of Iuly, the lord Admirall rewarded him with the order of knighthood, together with the lord Thomas Howard, the lord Sheffield, M. Iohn Hawkins and others.
The same day the lord Admirall receiued intelligence from Newhauen in France, by certaine of his Pinasses, that all things were quiet in France, and that there was no preparation of sending aide vnto the Spaniards, which was greatly feared from the Guisian faction, and from the Leaguers: but there was a false rumour spread all about, that the Spaniards had conquered England.
The 27. of Iuly. The Spaniards ancre before Caleis. The seven and twentie of Iuly, the Spaniards about the sunne-setting were come ouer-against Douer, and rode at ancre within the sight of Caleis, intending to hold on for Dunkerk, expecting there to ioyne with the Duke of Parma his, forces, without which they were able to doe litle or nothing.
Likewise the English Fleete following vp hard vpon them, ancred just by them within culuering-shot. And here the lord Henry Seymer vnited himselfe vnto the lord Admiral with his fleete of 30. ships which road before the mouth of Thames.
As the Spanish nauie therefore lay at ancre, the Duke of Medina sent certaine messengers vnto the duke of Parma, with whom vpon that occasion many Noblemen and Gentleman went to refresh themselues on land: and amongst the rest the prince of Ascoli, being accounted the kings base sonne, and a very proper and towardly yong gentleman, to his great good, went on shore, who was by so much the more fortunate, in that hee had not opportunitie to returne on boord the same ship, out of which he was departed, because that in returning home it was cast away vpon the Irish coast, with all the persons contained therein.
The duke of Parma being aduertised of the Spanish Fleetes arriual vpon the coast of England, made all the haste hee could to bee present himselfe in this expedition for the performance of his charge: vainely perswading himselfe that nowe by the meanes of Cardinall Allen, hee should be crowned king of England, and for that cause hee had resigned the government of the Lowe countries vnto Count Mansfeld the elder. The 28. of Iuly. And having made his vowes vnto S. Mary of Hall in Henault (whom he went to visite for his blind deuotions sake) he returned toward Bruges the 28. of Iuly.
The 29. of Iuly. The next day trauelling to Dunkerk hee heard the thundering Ordinance of either Fleet: and the same euening being come to Dixmud, hee was giuen to vnderstand the hard successe of the Spanish Fleete.
The 30. of Iuly. Vpon Tuesday which was the thirtieth of Iuly, about high noone, hee came to Dunkerk, when as all the Spanish Fleete was now passed by: neither durst any of his ships in the meane space come foorth to assist the sayd Spanish Fleete for feare of fiue and thirtie warrelike ships of Holland and Zeland, which there kept watch and warde vnder the conduct of the Admirall Iustin of Nassau.
The foresayd fiue and thirtie shippes were furnished with most cunning mariners and olde expert souldiers, amongst the which were twelue hundred Musketiers, whom the States had chosen out of all their garisons, and whom they knew to haue bene heretofore experienced in sea-fights.
This nauie was giuen especially in charge not to suffer any shippe to come out of the Hauen, not to permit any Zabraes, Pataches, or other small vessels of the Spanish Fleete (which were more likely to aide the Dunkerkers) to enter thereinto, for the greater ships were not to be feared by reason of the shallow sea in that place. Howbeit the prince of Parma his forces being as yet vnreadie, were not come on boord his shippes, onely the English Fugitiues being seuen hundred in number vnder the conduct of Sir William Stanley, came in fit time to haue bene embarked, because they hoped to giue the first assault against England. The residue shewed themselues vnwilling and loath to depart, because they sawe but a few mariners, who were by constraint drawne into this expedition, and also because they had very bare prouision of bread, drinke, and other necessary victuals.
Moreouer, the shippes of Holland and Zeland stood continually in their sight, threatening shot and powder, and many inconueniences vnto them: for feare of which shippes the Mariners and Sea-men secretly withdrew themselues both day and night, lest that the duke of Parma his souldiers should compell them, by maine force to goe on boord, and to breake through the Hollanders Fleete, which all of them iudged to bee impossible by reason of the straightnesse of the Hauen.
The Spaniards vaine opinion concerning their own fleet. But it seemeth that the Duke of Parma and the Spaniards grounded vpon a vaine and presumptuous expectation, that all the ships of England and of the Low countreys would at the first sight of the Spanish and Dunkerk Nauie haue betaken themselues to flight, yeelding them sea roome, and endeuouring only to defend themselues, their hauens, and sea coasts from inuasion. Wherefore their intent and purpose was, that the Duke of Parma in his small and flat-bottomed shippes, should as it were vnder the shadow and wings of the Spanish fleet, conuey ouer all his troupes, armour, and warlike prouision, and with their forces so vnited, should inuade England; or while the English fleet were busied in fight against the Spanish, should enter vpon any part of the coast, which he thought to be most conuenient. Which inuasion (as the captiues afterward confessed) the Duke of Parma thought first to haue attempted by the riuer of Thames; vpon the bankes whereof hauing at his first arriuall landed twenty or thirty thousand of his principall souldiers, he supposed that he might easily haue woonne the Citie of London; both because his small shippes should haue followed and assisted his land-forces, and also for that the Citie it-selfe was but meanely fortified and easie to ouercome, by reason of the Citizens delicacie and discontinuance from the warres, who with continuall and constant labour might be vanquished, if they yeelded not at the first assault. They were in good hope also to haue mette with some rebels against her Maiestie, and such as were discontented with the present state, as Papists and others. Likewise they looked for ayde from the fauorers of the Scottish Queene, who was not long before put to death; all which they thought would haue stirred vp seditions and factions.
Whenas therefore the Spanish fleet rode at anker before Caleis, to the end they might consult with the Duke of Parma what was best to be done according to the Kings commandement, and the present estate of their affairs, and had now (as we will afterward declare) purposed vpon the second of August being Friday, with one power and consent to haue put their intended businesse in practise; the L. Admirall of England being admonished by her Maiesties letters from the Court, thought it most expedient either to driue the Spanish fleet from that place, or at leastwise to giue them the encounter: The 28 of Iuly. and for that cause (according to her Maiesties prescription) he tooke forthwith eight of his woorst and basest ships which came next to hand, and disburthening them of all things which seemed to be of any value, filled them with gun-powder, pitch, brimstone, and with other combustible and firy matter; and charging all their ordinance with powder, bullets, and stones, he sent the sayd ships vpon the 28 of Iuly being Sunday, about two of the clocke after midnight, with the winde and tide against the Spanish fleet: which when they had proceeded a good space, being forsaken of the Pilots, and set on fire, were, directly carried vpon the King of Spaines Nauie: which fire in the dead of the night put the Spaniards into such a perplexity and horrour (for they feared lest they were like vnto those terrible ships, which Frederick Ienebelli three yeeres before, at the siege of Antwerpe, had furnished with gun-powder, stones, and dreadfull engines, for the dissolution of the Duke of Parma his bridge, built vpon the riuer of Scheld) that cutting their cables whereon their ankers were fastened, and hoising vp their sailes, they betooke themselues very confusedly vnto the maine sea.
The galliasse of Hugo de Moncado cast vpon the showlds before Caleis. In this sudden confusion, the principall and greatest of the foure galliasses falling fowle of another ship, lost her rudder: for which cause when she conld not be guided any longer, she was by the force of the tide cast into a certaine showld vpon the shore of Caleis, where she was immediately assaulted by diuers English pinasses, hoyes, and drumblers.
M. Amias Preston valiantly boordeth the galliasse. And as they lay battering of her with their ordinance, and durst not boord her, the L. Admirall sent thither his long boat with an hundreth choise souldiers vnder the command of Captaine Amias Preston. Vpon whose approch their fellowes being more emboldened, did offer to boord the galliasse: against whom the gouernour thereof and Captaine of all the foure galliasses, Hugo de Moncada, stoutly opposed himselfe, fighting by so much the more valiantly, in that he hoped presently to be succoured by the Duke of Parma. In the meane season, Moncada, after he had endured the conflict a good while, being hitte on the head with a bullet, fell downe starke dead, and a great number of Spaniards also were slaine in his company. The greater part of the residue leaping ouer-boord into the sea, to saue themselues by swimming, were most of them drowned. Howbeit there escaped among others Don Anthonio de Manriques, a principall officer in the Spanish fleet (called by them their Veador generall) together with a few Spaniards besides: which Anthonio was the first man that carried certaine newes of the successe of their fleet into Spaine.
This huge and monstrous galliasse, wherein were contained three hundred slaues to lug at the oares, and foure hundred souldiers, was in the space of three houres rifled in the same place; and there were found amongst diuers other commodities 50000 ducats of the Spanish kings treasure. At length when the slaues were released out of the fetters, the English men would haue set the sayd ship on fire, which Monsieur Gourdon the gouernor of Caleis, for feare of the damage which might thereupon ensue to the Towne and Hauen, would not permit them to do, but draue them from thence with his great ordinance.
The great fight before Greueling the 29 of Iuly. Vpon the 29 of Iuly in the morning, the Spanish Fleet after the foresayd tumult, hauing arranged themselues againe into order, were, within sight of Greueling, most brauely and furiously encountered by the English; where they once againe got the winde of the Spaniards: who suffered themselues to be depriued of the commodity of the place in Calais rode, and of the aduantage of the winde neere vnto Dunkerk, rather then they would change their array or separate their forces now conioyned and vnited together, standing onely vpon their defence.
And albeit there were many excellent and warlike ships in the English fleet, yet scarse were there 22 or 23 among them all which matched 90 of the Spanish ships in bignesse, or could conueniently assault them. Wherefore the English shippes vsing their prerogatiue of nimble stirrage, whereby they could turne and wield themselues with the winde which way they listed, came often times very neere vpon the Spaniards, and charged them so sore, that now and then they were but a pikes length asunder: and so continually giuing them one broad side after another, they discharged all their shot both great and small vpon them, spending one whole day from morning till night in that violent kinde of conflict, vntill such time as powder and bullets failed them. In regard of which want they thought it conuenient not to pursue the Spaniards any longer, because they had many great vantages of the English, namely for the extraordinary bignesse of their ships, and also for that they were so neerely conioyned, and kept in so good array, that they could by no meanes be fought withall one to one. The English thought therefore, that they had right well acquited themselues, in chasing the Spaniards first from Caleis, and then from Dunkerk, and by that meanes to haue hindered them from ioyning with the Duke of Parma his forces, and getting the winde of them, to haue driuen them from their owne coasts.
The Spaniards that day sustained great losse and damage hauing many of their shippes shot thorow and thorow, and they discharged likewise great store of ordinance against the English; who indeed sustained some hinderance, but not comparable to the Spaniards losse: for they lost not any one shippe or person of account. For very diligent inquisition being made, the English men all that time wherein the Spanish Nauie sayled vpon their seas, are not found to haue wanted aboue one hundreth of their people: albeit Sir Francis Drakes shippe was pierced with shot aboue forty times, and his very cabben was twise shot thorow, and about the conclusion of the fight, the bedde of a certaine gentleman lying weary thereupon, was taken quite from vnder him with the force of a bullet. Likewise, as the Earle of Northumberland and Sir Charles Blunt were at dinner vpon a time, the bullet of a demi-culuering brake thorow the middest of their cabbin, touched their feet, and strooke downe two of the standers by, with many such accidents befalling the English shippes, which it were tedious to rehearse. Whereupon it is most apparant, that God miraculously preserued the English nation. For the L. Admirall wrote vnto her Maiestie that in all humane reason, and according to the iudgement of all men (euery circumstance being duly considered) the English men were not of any such force, whereby they might, without a miracle, dare once to approch within sight of the Spanish Fleet: insomuch that they freely ascribed all the honour of their victory vnto God, who had confounded the enemy, and had brought his counsels to none effect.
Three Spanish shippes suncke in the fight. The same day the Spanish ships were so battered with English shot, that that very night and the day following, two or three of them suncke right downe: and among the rest a certaine great ship of Biscay, which Captaine Crosse assaulted, which perished euen in the time of the conflict, so that very few therein escaped drowning; who reported that the gouernours of the same shippe slew one another vpon the occasion following: one of them which would haue yeelded the shippe was suddenly slaine; the brother of the slaine party in reuenge of his death slew the murtherer, and in the meane while the ship suncke.
Two galeons taken and caried into Zealand. The same night two Portugall galeons of the burthen of seuen or eight hundreth tunnes a piece, to wit the Saint Philip and the Saint Matthew, were forsaken of the Spanish Fleet, for they were so torne with shotte that the water entered into them on all sides. In the galeon of Saint Philip was Francis de Toledo, brother vnto the Count de Orgas, being Colonell ouer two and thirty bands: besides other gentlemen; who seeing their mast broken with shotte, they shaped their course, as well as they could, for the coast of Flanders: whither when they could not attaine, the principall men in the ship committing themseluds to their skiffe, arriued at the next towne, which was Ostend; and the ship it selfe being left behinde with the residue of their company, was taken by the Vlishingers.
In the other galeon, called the S. Matthew, was embarked Don Diego Pimentelli another camp-master and colonell of 32 bands, being brother vnto the marques of Tamnares, with many other gentlemen and captaines. Their ship was not very great, but exceeding strong, for of a great number of bullets which had batterd her, there were scarse 20 wherewith she was pierced or hurt: her vpper worke was of force sufficient to beare off a musket shot: this shippe was shot thorow and pierced in the fight before Greueling; insomuch that the leakage of the water could not be stopped: whereupon the duke of Medina sent his great skiffe vnto the gouernour thereof, that he might saue himselfe and the principal persons that were in his ship: which he, vpon a hault courage, refused to do: wherefore the Duke charged him to saile next vnto himselfe: which the night following he could not performe, by reason of the great abundance of water which entered his ship on all sides; for the auoiding wherof, and to saue his ship from sincking, he caused 50 men continually to labor at the pumpe, though it were to small purpose. And seeing himselfe thus forsaken and separated from his admirall, he endeuored what he could to attaine vnto the coast of Flanders: where, being espied by 4 or 5 men of warre, which had their station assigned them vpon the same coast, he was admonished to yeeld himselfe vnto them. Which he refusing to do, was strongly assaulted by them altogether, and his ship being pierced with many bullets, was brought into farre worse case then before, and 40 of his souldiers were slaine. By which extremity he was enforced at length to yeeld himselfe vnto Peter Banderduess and other captaines, which brought him and his ship into Zeland; and that other ship also last before mentioned: which both of them, immediatly after the greater and better part of their goods were vnladen, suncke right downe.
For the memory of this exploit, the fbresayd captaine Banderduess caused the banner of one of these shippes to be set vp in the great Church of Leiden in Holland, which is of so great a length, that being fastened to the very roofe, it reached downe to the ground.
A small shippe cast away about Blankenberg. About the same time another small ship being by necessity dtiuen vpon the coast of Flanders, about Blankenberg, was cast away vpon the sands, the people therein being saued. Thus almighty God would haue the Spaniards huge ships to be presented, not onely to the view of the English, but also of the Zelanders; that at the sight of them they might acknowledge of what small ability they had beene to resist such impregnable forces, had not God endued them with courage, prouidence, and fortitude, yea, and fought for them in many places with his owne arme.
The 29. of Iuly the Spanish fleet being encountered by the English (as is aforesayd) and lying close together vnder their fighting sailes, with a Southwest winde sailed past Dunkerk, the English ships still following the chase. The dishonourable flight of the Spanish nauy; and the prudent aduice of the L. Admirall. Of whom the day following when the Spaniards had got sea roome, they cut their maine sailes; whereby they sufficiently declared that they meant no longer to fight but to flie. For which cause the L. Admirall of England dispatched the L. Henrie Seymer with his squadron of small ships vnto the coast of Flanders where, with the helpe of the Dutch ships, he might stop the prince of Parma his passage, if perhaps he should attempt to issue forth with his army. And he himselfe in the meane space pursued the Spanish fleet vntil the second of August, because he thought they had set saile for Scotland. And albeit he followed them very neere, yet did he not assault them any more, for want of powder and bullets. But vpon the fourth of August, the winde arising, when as the Spaniards had spread all their sailes, betaking themselues wholly to flight, and leauing Scotland on the left hand, trended toward Norway, (whereby they sufficiently declared that their whole intent was to saue themselnes by flight, attempting for that purpose, with their battered and crazed ships, the most dangerous nauigation of the Northren seas) the English seeing that they were now proceeded vnto the latitude of 57 degrees, and being vnwilling to participate that danger whereinto the Spaniards plunged themselues, and because they wanted things necessary, and especially powder and shot, returned backe for England; leauing behinde them certaine pinasses onely, which they enioyned to follow the Spaniards aloofe, and to obserue their course. The English returne home from the pursute of the Spaniards the 4 of August. And so it came to passe that the fourth of August with great danger and industry, the English arriued at Harwich: for they had bene tossed vp and downe with a mighty tempest for the space of two or three dayes together, which it is likely did great hurt vnto the Spanish fleet, being (as I sayd before) so maimed and battered. The English now going on shore, prouided themselues foorthwith of victuals, gunnepowder, and other things expedient, that they might be ready at all assayes to entertaine the Spanish fleet, if it chanced any more to returne. But being afterward more certainely informed of the Spaniards course, they thought it best to leaue them vnto those boisterous and vncouth Northren seas, and not there to hunt after them.
The Spaniards consult to saile round about Scotland and Ireland, and so to returne home. The Spaniards seeing now that they wanted foure or fiue thousand of their people and hauing diuers maimed and sicke persons, and likewise hauing lost 10 or 12 of their principall ships, they consulted among themselues, what they were best to doe, being now escaped out of the hands of the English, because their victuals failed them in like sort, that they began also to want cables, cordage, ankers, masts, sailes, and other naual furniture, and vtterly despaired of the Duke of Parma his assistance (who verily hoping and vndoubtedly expecting the returne of the Spanish Fleet, was continually occupied about his great preparation, commanding abundance of ankers to be made, and other necessary furniture for a Nauy to be prouided) they thought it good at length, so soone as the winde should serue them, to fetch a compasse about Scotland and Ireland, and so to returne for Spaine.
For they well vnderstood, that commandement was giuen thorowout all Scotland, that they should not haue any succour or assistance there. Neither yet could they in Norway supply their wants. Wherefore, hauing taken certaine Scotish and other fisherboats, they brought the men on boord their ships, to the end they might be their guides and Pilots. Fearing also least their fresh water should faile them, they cast all their horses and mules ouerboord: and so touching no where vpon the coast of Scotland, but being carried with a fresh gale betweene the Orcades and Faar–Isles, they proceeded farre North, euen vnto 61 degrees of latitude, being distant from any land at the least 40. leagues. Heere the Duke of Medina generall of the Fleet commanded all his followers to shape their course for Biscay: and he himselfe with twenty or fiue and twenty of his ships which were best prouided of fresh water and other necessaries, holding on his course ouer the maine Ocean, returned safely home. The residue of his ships being about forty in number, and committed vnto his Vice-admirall, fell neerer with the coast of Ireland, intending their course for Cape Clare, because they hoped there to get fresh water, and to refresh themseiues on land. The shippe-wracke of the Spaniardes vpon the Irish coast. But after they were driuen with many contrary windes, at length, vpon the second of September, they were cast by a tempest arising from the Southwest vpon diuers parts of Ireland, where many of their ships perished. And amongst others, the shippe of Michael de Oquendo, which was one of the great Galliasses: and two great ships of Venice also, namely, la Raita and Belahzara, with other 36 or 38 ships more, which perished in sundry tempests, together with most of the persons contained in them.
Likewise some of the Spanish ships were the second time carried with a strong West winde into the channell of England, whereof some were taken by the English vpon their coast, and others by the men of Rochel vpon the coast of France.
Moreouer, there arriued at Neuhauen, in Normandy, being by tempest inforced so to doe, one of the foure great Galliasses, where they found the ships with the Spanish women which followed the Fleet at their setting forth. Of 134 ships of the Spanish fleet, there returned home but 53. Two ships also, were cast away vpon the coast of Norway, one of them being of a great burthen; howbeit all the persons in the sayd great ship were saued: insomuch that of 134 ships, which set saile out of Portugall, there returned home 53 onely small and great: namely of the foure galliasses but one, and but one of the foure gallies. Of the 91 great galleons and hulks there were missing 58. and 33 returned: of the pataches and zabraes 17 were missing, and 18 returned home. In briefe, there were missing 81 ships, in which number were galliasses, gallies, galeons, and other vessels, both great and small. And amongst the 53 ships remaining, those also are reckoned which returned home before they came into the English chanell. Two galeons of those which were returned, were by misfortune burnt as they rode in the hauen; and such like mishaps did many others vndergo. Of 30000 persons which went in this expedition, there perished (according to the number and proportion of the ships) the greater and better part; and many of them which came home, by reason of the toiles and inconueniences which they sustained in this voyage, died not long after their arriuall. The Duke of Medina immediatly vpon his returne was deposed from his authority, commanded to his priuate house, and forbidden to repaire vnto the Court; where he could hardly satisfie or yeeld a reason vnto his malicious enemies and backbiters. Many honourable personages and men of great renowne deceased soone after their returne; as namely Iohn Martines de Ricalde, with diuers others. A great part also of the Spanish Nobility and Gentry employed in this expedition perished either by fight, diseases, or drowning before their arriuall; and among the rest Thomas Perenot of Granduell a Dutchman, being earle of Cantebroi, and sonne vnto Cardinall Granduell his brother.
Vpon the coast of Zeland Don Diego de Pimentell, brother vnto the Marques de Tamnares, and kinseman vnto the earle of Beneuentum and Calua, and Colonell ouer 32 bands with many other in the same ship was taken and detained as prisoner in Zeland.
Into England (as we sayd before) Don Pedro de Valdez, a man of singular experience, and greatly honoured in his countrey, was led captiue, being accompanied with Don Vasquez de Silua, Don Alonzo de Sayas, and others.
Likewise vpon the Scottish Westerne Isles of Lewis, and Ila, and about Cape Cantyre vpon the maine land, there were cast away certaine Spanish shippes, out of which were saued diuers Captaines and Gentlemen, and almost foure hundred souldiers, who for the most part, after their shipwracke, were brought vnto Edenborough in Scotland, and being miserably needy and naked, were there clothed at the liberality of the King and the Marchants, and afterward were secretly shipped for Spaine; but the Scottish fleet wherein they passed touching at Yarmouth on the coast of Norfolke, were there stayed for a time vntill the Councels pleasure was knowen; who in regard of their manifolde miseries, though they were enemies, wincked at their passage.
Vpon the Irish coast many of their Noblemen and Gentlemen were drowned; and diuers slaine by the barbarous and wilde Irish. Howbeit there was brought prisoner out of Ireland, Don Alonzo de Luçon, Colonell of two and thirty bandes, commonly called a terza of Naples; together with Rodorigo de Lasso, and two others of the family of Cordoua, who were committed vnto the custodie of Sir Horatio Palauicini, that Monsieur de Teligny the sonne of Monsieur de Noüe (who being taken in fight neere Antwerpe, was detained prisoner in the Castle of Turney) might be ransomed for them by way of exchange. To conclude, there was no famous nor woorthy family in all Spaine, which in this expedition lost not a sonne, a brother, or a kinseman.
New coines stamped for the memory of the Spaniards ouerthrow. For the perpetuall memorie of this matter, the Zelanders caused newe coine of Siluer and brasse to be stamped: which on the one side contained the armes of Zeland, with this inscription: GLORY TO GOD ONELY: and on the other side, the pictures of certeine great ships, with these words: THE SPANISH FLEET: and in the circumference about the ships: IT CAME, WENT, AND WAS. Anno 1588. That is to say, the Spanish fleet came, went, and was vanquished this yere; for which, glory be giuen to God onely.
Likewise they coined another kinde of money; vpon the one side whereof was represented a ship fleeing and a ship sincking: on the other side foure men making prayers and giuing thanks vnto God vpon their knees; with this sentence: Man purposeth; God disposeth. 1588. Also, for the lasting memory of the same matter, they haue stamped in Holland diuers such like coines, according to the custome of the ancient Romans.
The people of England and of the vnited prouinces, pray, fast, and giue thanks vnto God. While this woonderfull and puissant Nauie was sayling along the English coastes, and all men did now plainely see and heare that which before they would not be perswaded of, all people thorowout England prostrated themselues with humble prayers and supplications vnto God: but especially the outlandish Churches (who had greatest cause to feare, and against whom by name, the Spaniards had threatened most grievous torments) enioyned to their people continuall fastings and supplications, that they might turne away Gods wrath and fury now imminent vpon them for their sinnes: knowing right well, that prayer was the onely refuge against all enemies, calamities, and necessities, and that it was the onely solace and reliefe for mankinde, being visited with affliction and misery. Likewise such solemne dayes of supplication were obserued thorowout the vnited Prouinces.
Also a while after the Spanish Fleet was departed, there was in England, by the commandement of her Maiestie, and in the vnited Prouinces, by the direction of the States, a solemne festiuall day publikely appointed, wherein all persons were enioyned to resort vnto the Church, and there to render thanks and praises vnto God: and the Preachers were commanded to exhort the people thereunto. The foresayd solemnity was obserued vpon the 29 of Nouember; which day was wholly spent in fasting, prayer, and giuing of thanks.
Likewise, the Queenes Maiestie herselfe, imitating the ancient Romans, rode into London in triumph, in regard of her owne and her subjects glorious deliuerance. For being attended vpon very solemnely by all the principall estates and officers of her Realme, she was carried thorow her sayd City of London in a tryumphant chariot, and in robes of triumph, from her Palace vnto the Cathedrall Church of Saint Paul, out of the which the ensignes and colours of the vanquished Spaniards hung displayed. And all the Citizens of London in their Liueries stood on either side the street, by their seuerall Companies, with their ensignes and banners: and the streets were hanged on both sides with Blew cloth, which, together with the foresayd banners, yeelded a very stately and gallant prospect. Her Maiestie being entered into the Church, together with her Clergie and Nobles gaue thanks vnto God, and caused a publike Sermon to be preached before her at Pauls crosse; wherein none other argument was handled, but that praise, honour, and glory might be rendered vnto God, and that Gods name might be extolled by thanksgiuing. And with her owne princely voice she most Christianly exhorted the people to doe the same: whereupon the people with a loud acclamation wished her a most long and happy life, to the confusion of her foes.
Thus the magnificent, huge, and mighty fleet of the Spaniards (which themselues termed in all places inuincible) such as sayled not vpon the Ocean see many hundreth yeeres before, in the yeere 1588 vanished into smoake; to the great confusion and discouragement of the authors thereof. In regard of which her Maiesties happy successe all her neighbours and friends congratulated with her, and many verses were penned to the honour of her Maiesty by learned men, whereof some which came to our hands we will here annexe.
Strauerat innumeris Hispanus nauibus æquor,
Regnis iuncturus sceptra Britanna suis.
Tanti huius, rogitas, quæ motus causa? superbos
Impulit Ambitio, vexit Auaritia.
Quàm bene te ambitio mersit vanissima ventus?
Et tumidos tumidæ vos superastis aquæ
Quàm bene totius raptores orbis auaros,
Hausit inexhausti iusta vorago maris!
At tu, cui venti, cui totum militat æquor,
Regina, ô mundi totius vna, decus,
Sic regnare Deo perge, ambitione remota,
Prodiga sic opibus perge iuuare pios,
Vt te Angli longum, longum Anglis ipsa fruaris,
Quàm dilecta bonis, tam metuenda malis.
The Spanish Fleet did flote in narrow Seas,
And bend her ships against the English shore,
With so great rage as nothing could appease,
And with such strength as neuer seene before:
And all to ioyne the kingdome of that land
Vnto the kingdomes that he had in hand.
Now if you aske what set this king on fire,
To practise warre when he of peace did treat,
It was his Pride, and neuer quencht desire,
To spoile that Islands wealth, by peace made great:
His Pride which farre aboue the heauens did swell
And his desire as vnsuffic’d as hell.
But well haue windes his proud blasts ouerblowen,
And swelling waues alayd his swelling heart,
Well hath the Sea with greedie gulfs vnknowen,
Deuoured the deuourer to his smart:
And made his ships a pray vnto the sand,
That meant to pray vpon anothers land.
And now, O Queene, aboue all others blest,
For whom both windes and waues are prest to fight,
So rule your owne, so succour friends opprest,
(As farre from pride, so ready to do right)
That England you, you England long enioy,
No lesse your friends delight, then foes annoy.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51