I have yet hard nothynge but that the tow packets sent from your L: sins my comyng over are lost in a shypp that was cast away about Alderney.

Lord Burghley, William Cecil

Lord Burghley, William Cecil

Lord Burghley (William Cecil). 1520-1598. Secretary of State, Lord Treasurer, chief counsellor to the Queen and virtual administrative head of government, was at the Queen’s side for forty years making it one of the most remarkable partnerships in English history. Over all else, he shared with the Queen the desire to create a strong and secure England. The dispatches that were lost on the ‘shypp that was cast away about Alderney’ were from Burghley to Sir John Norreys and would have concerned the conduct of the war in France.

Right honorable my very good L: Wythin five dayes after our arrivall at Granville, and that we had unladed all our provisions we were advised by the Count de Toweny who ther receaved us very honorably; to take some lodginge farther into the cuntry, wher more comodiously we might attend the comynge of the rest of our troupes and more easily receave such armes and other provisions as we had sent for at Caen: to thys effect we made ii dayes iorney to thys place and ther have remayned eleven dayes; in whych tyme, although the wynd hath been exceedinge fayr we have not hard one word of the Lowe Cuntry Soldiers; at Caen ther are arrived divers shyppes from Flushynge;some from London and hampton; at Granvylle are arrived tow of the barques, that were separated from our fleett in our fyrst passage, so that yt is most apparent that the stay of those companies is only caused by theyr negligens and carelessness in effactinge her Majesties servyce; whych I trust your L: Wyll see exteremely punished; the Duke hath very ernestly sent for us to come to [whom deleted] hym makinge all the hast and provission he can to joyn with the Prinse Comty before that the Duke of Mercures do levy the siege of Rochfort, yf we goe thether we shall make but evell mark to come into feeld wyth about 1500 men (wherof the most part can not tell how to use theyr wepons) agaynst neer 5000 Spaniards. yf we should refuse to march than all the disreputation of the levynge of the siege wyll be layd upon us, and the cuntry wylbe so weery of our idle lyinge upon them as they wyll ioyn wyth the Enemeyes to cut our throtes as they dyd the others before: yt may please your L: to favair us so much as to Induce her Majesty to have such care of her subiectes, as they may doe her servys wythe reputation, and not be prayes for the Enemyes to tryumph over: and further that your L: wyll assure her Majesty that when the companyes shalbe come out of the Lowe cuntreys, they wylbe so weakened wyth lynge abord, as 1000 men more at the least wyll but make up the number of4000 whych her Majesty hath promised: I am assured not to be believed nowe no more than I have been heer to fore, but yt shal sarve for my discharge that I have made her Majesty: acquaynted wyth our estate: yt is most certayn that warres must be made by men and not by opinions, and better yt ware not to begin them, then to lett them fayle for want of well maneginge: wherto is requysyte a contyunall care and foresyght: the K: of Spayne myght serve us far an example who wythin these five yeer hath sent above 5000 men to supply hys companies: wyth store of all maner of provisions for them: heer wyth I must also put you L: in mynd of our want of Money the [*] havynge advertysed that he hath none to supply us longher than tyll the xxiiii of thys moneth, whych is nowe past; heeropon I have used all the means that possibly I could to take up by exchange so much as sholde sarve us for thys Iorney: besechynge your L: to take such farther order for us as considering the difficulty of Convoyes the servys but not hydered for want. I must also recomend to your L: the dispach of our wynter apparell, whych we alredy fynd extreem want of. Lastely I must beseech your L: to hasten he Majestys resolution and aunswere to my former letters, wherof I have yet hard nothynge but that the tow packets sent from your L: sins my comyng over are lost in a shypp that was cast away about Alderney whych makes me remember to certify your L: that yt is most necessary that the companies of the Lowe cuntryes be directed to Caens: for they can not come to Granvylle wyth out extreem danger in thys wynter tyme; and thus recomendinge thys cause (beynge of no smaule importans) to your L: wysdome; I humbly take my leav; from ville Niven ** thys xxix of Nov: 1592

Your L: most assurdly to Commannd

J: Norreys:

* Appears to be a French name, ˜the Vicomte de”, but is unclear.
** This place can not be identified but should be some 30 miles from Granville.