CHAP. XIIII. Of the French Ambassadours entertainment and dispatch.
NOw the great long looked for Ambassadours are arrived, being in number eight persons of the Noblest and most worthy Gentlemen in all France, who were nobly received from place to place, and so conveyed through London to the Bishops Palace in Pauls Church-yard, where they were lodged, to whom divers Noblemen re∣sorted and gave them noble presents (especially the Maior of the Citie of London) as Wines, Sugars, Beeves, Muttons, Capons, wild Fowle, waxe, and other necessa∣ry things in abundance for the expences of his house.
They resorted to the Court being then at Greenewich on Sunday, and were received of the Kings Majestie of * whom they were entertained highly.
They had a Commission to establish our Kings High∣nesse in the order of France, to whom they brought for that intent a coller of fine gold, with a Michell hanging Page 54 thereat, and Robes to the said order appertaining, which were of blew velvet, and richly embroydered, wherein I saw the King passe to the Closet, and after in the same to Masse.
And to gratifie the French King for his great honour, * hee sent incontinently noblemen here in England of the order of the Garter, which Garter the Herauld carried into France unto the French King, to establish him in the order of the Garter, with a rich Coller and Garter, and Robes according to the same: The French Ambassadors still remayning here, untill the returne of the English.
All things being then determined and concluded con∣cerning the perpetuall peace; upon solemne Ceremo∣nies and Oathes contained in certaine Instruments concer∣ning the same. It was concluded there should be a so∣lemne Masse song in the Cathedrall Church of Pauls in London by the Cardinall, the King being present at the same in his traverse to performe all things determined.
And for the preparation thereof, there was a Gallery from the West-doore of Pauls Church through the bo∣dy of the same up to the Quite, and so to the high Altar into the Traverse. My Lord Cardinall prepared himselfe to sing the Masse, associated with twenty foure Miters of Bishops and Abbots, who attended him with such Cere∣monies, as to him were then due by reason of his Legative Prerogative.
And after the last Agnus the King rose out of the Tra∣vers and kneeled upon a Carpet and Cushions before the high Altar, and the like did the great Master of France chiefe Ambassadour, that here presented the Kings person * of France, betweene whom the Lord Cardinall divided the blessed Sacrament, as a perfect oath and bond for se∣curity of the said Covenants, of the said perpetual peace.
That done, the King went againe into the Travers, this Masse being ended, which was solemnely sung both by the Quite of the same Church, and all the Kings Chappell.
Then my Lord tooke and read the Articles of peace Page 55 openly before the King and all other, both English and * French, and there in sight of all the people the King put his hand to the gold Seale, and subscribed with his owne hand, and delivered the same to the grand Maste of France, as his deed, who semblably did the like; that * done they departed and rode home with the Cardinall, and dined with him, passing all the day after in consulta∣tion of weighty affaires touching the Articles and conclu∣sion of the said peace.
Then the King departed to Greenwich by water, at * whose departure it was concluded by the Kings devise, that all the Frenchmen should remove to Richmond and hunt there: And from thence to Hampton Court, and there to hunt likewise. And the Lord Cardinall there to make a Banquet or Supper or both, and from thence they should ride to Windsor, and there hunt: And after re∣turne to the King at Greenwich, and there to banquet with him before their departure.
This determined they all repaired to their lodgings, then was there no more to doe, but to make preparation in all things for the entertainment of this great Assembly at Hampton Court at the time appointed by my Lord Car∣dinall, who called before him all his chiefe Officers, as Stewards, Treasurers, Clarkes, and Comptrollers of his Kitchin, to whom hee declared his whole mind touching the entertainment of the French-men at Hampton court, to whom hee also gave command, neither to spare for any cost or expence, nor paines to make them such a tri∣umphant Banquet, as they might not onely wonder at it here; but also make a glorious report to the great ho∣nour of our King and this Realme.
Thus having made knowne his pleasure, to accomplish his commandement, they sent out all the Carriers Purvey∣ors and other persons to my Lords friends to prepare: Also they sent to all expert Cooks, and cunning persons in the art of cookery in London, or else where that might be gotten to beautifie the noble Feast.
Page 56 Then the Purveyours provided, and my Lords friends sent in such provision that it was a wonder to see it.
The Cooks they wrought both day and night in many curious devises, where was no lacke of gold, silver, or any other costly thing: the Yeomen and Grooms of his Wardrobe were busied in hanging the Chambers with costly Hangings, and furnishing the same with beds of silke and other furniture for the same in every degree.
Then my Lord sent mee being his Gentleman Vsher, and two other of my fellowes to foresee all things touch∣ing * our roomes to bee richly garnished, wherein our paines was not small. But daily wee travelled up and downe from Chamber to Chamber to see things fitted.
Then wrought Ioyners, Carpenters, Painters, and all other Artificers needfull, that there was nothing wan∣ting to adorne this noble Feast: There was carriage and re-carriage of plate, stuffe, and other rich emploiments, so that there was nothing lacking that could be devised or imagined for the purpose. There were also provi∣ded two hundred and eighty beds with all manner of fur∣niture to them, too long here to be related. *
The day assigned to the French-men being come, they were ready assembled before the houre of their appoint∣ment, wherfore the Officers caused them to ride to Han∣north, a Parke of the Kings within three miles of Hamp∣ton Court, there to spend the time in hunting till night, which they did, and then returned, and every of them were conveyed to their severall Chambers having in them good fires and store of wine, where they remayned till Supper was ready. *
The Chambers where they supped and banquetted, were adorned thus.
First the great wayting Chamber was hung with very rich cloath of Arras, and so all the rest some better then others, and furnished with tall yeomen to serve: There were set Tables round about the Chambers, Banquet∣wise covered: Also a Cubbard garnished with white Page 75 plate, having also in the same chamber foure great plates to give the more light, set with great lights, agreat fire of wood and coales.
The next Chamber was the Chamber of presence, richly hanged also with cloath of Arras, and a sump∣tuous cloath of State furnished with many goodly Gen∣tlemen to serve. The Tables were ordered in manner as the other were, save onely the high table was remo∣ved beneath the cloath of State, towards the midst of the Chamber with six desks of plate, garnished all over with fine gold, saving one paire of Candlesticks of sil∣ver and guilt, with lights in the same, the Cubberd was barred about that no man could come very neere it, for there were divers peeces of great store of plate to use, besides the plates that hung on the Walles to give light, were silver and guilt with wax lights.
Now were all things in readines, and supper fit, the principall Officers caused the Trumpets to blow, to warne them to supper. Then the Officers conducted * the Noblemen where they were to sup, and they being set the service came up, in such aboundance both costly and full of devises with such a pleasant noise of musique, that the Frenchmen (as it seemed) were wrapt up in a heavenly Paradice. You must understand, that my Lord Cardinall was not there all this while. But the French Monsieurs were very merry, with their rich fare and cu∣rious cates and knackes. But before the second course, my Lord Cardinall came in booted and spurred suddenly * amongst them, at whose comming there was great joy every man rising from his place, whom my Lord Cardi∣nall caused to sit still and keepe their places, and being in his riding apparrell, called for his chaire and sat him downe in the midst of the high Table, and was there as merry and pleasant as ever I saw him in my life.
Presently after came up the second course, which was above 100. severall devises, which were so goodly and costly, that I thinke, the Frenchmen never saw the like.
But the rarest curiosity of all the rest, they all won∣dred at (which indeed was worthy of wonder) were Page 58 castles with Images in the same like Saint Paules Church for the Modell of it, there were beasts, birdes, fowles, personages most excellently made, some figh∣ting with swordes, some with gunnes, other with cros∣bowes, some dancing with Ladies, some on horseback with compleat armour, justling with long and sharpe speares, with many more strange devises, which I can∣not describe: Amongst all, I noted, there was a ches∣board made of spice plate with men of the same, and of good proportion.
And because the Frenchmen are very expert at that sport. My Lord Cardinall gave that same to a French Gentleman, commanding, that there should bee made a good case to convey the same into his Country.
Then called my Lord for a great boule of gold filled with Hipocras, and putting of his cap said, I drinke a * health to the King my Soveraigne Lord, and next unto the King your Master. And when hee had drunke a harty draught, hee desired the grand Master to pledge him a cup, which cup was worth 500. Markes; And so all the Lords in order pledged these great Princes.
Then went the cup merrily about, so that many of the Frenchmen were led to their beds; then went my Lord into his privy Chamber making a short supper or rather a short repast, and then returned againe into the presence Chamber amongst the Frenchmen, behaving himselfe in such a loving sort and so familiarly towards them, that they could not sufficiently commend him.
And while they were in communication and pastime, all their livery were served to theirs Chambers, every Chamber had a Bason and Ewer of silver, & a great livery pot with plenty of wine and sufficient of every thing.
Thus furnished was every roome about the house, when all was done, then were they conducted to their lodgings.
In the morning after they had heard Masse, they stayed & dyned with my Lord, and so departed towards Wind∣sor: And as soone as they were gone, my Lord retur∣ned to London, because it was the midst of the Tearme.
You must conceive, the King was privy to this mag∣nificent Page 59 feast, who then intended farre to exceede the same, which I referre to the French mens returne. Now the King had given command to his Officers to provide a farre more sumptuous Banquet for the Strangers, then they had at the Cardinals, which was not neglected. After the return of these Strangers from Windsor which place they much commended for the scituation thereof, the King invited them to the Court where they dyned, and after dynner, they danced, and had their pastime till supper time.
Then was the Banquet Chamber in the little Yard at Greenewich furnished for the entertainement of these * Strangers, to which place they were conducted by the greatest personages then being in the Court, where they did both sup and banquet, but to describe to you the or∣der hereof, the variety of costly dishes, and the curious devises my weake ability and shallow capacity would much ecclipse the magnificence thereof. But thus much take notice of that although, that Banquet at Hampton Court was marveilous sumptuous, yet this Banquet ex∣celled the same as much, as gold doth silver in value. And for my part I never saw the like.
In the midst of the Banquet, there was turning at the Barriers of lusty gent: in compleat Armour very gorgious on foote and the like on horsebacke: And after all this, there was such an excellent interlude made in Latine, that I never saw nor heard the like, the Actours Apparrell being so gorgious, and of such strange de∣vises, that it passeth my poore capacity to relate them.
This being ended, there came a great company of Ladies and Gentlewomen, the chiefest beauties in the Realme of England being as richly attired as cost could make, or art devise to set forth their gestures propor∣tions or beauties, that they seemed to the Beholders, rather like celestiall Angels then terrestiall Creatures, and in my judgement worthy of admiration, with whom the gent: of France danced and masked every man choosing his Lady as his fancy served: That done and the Masquers departed; came in an other Masque Page [unnumbered] of Ladies and Gentlewomen so richly attired, as I can¦not expresse; These Ladies Masquers tooke each of them one of the French men to dance, and here note that these Noble women spoke all of them good French, which delighted them much to heare the Ladies speake to them in their owne language.
Thus triumphantly did they spend the whole night from five of the clocke at the night, unto two or three of the clock in the morning, at which time the Gallants drew all to their lodgings to take their rest.
As neither health, wealth, nor pleasure can alwayes last, so ended this triumphant Banquet, which being past, seemed in the morning to the Beholders, as a phanta∣stique dreame.
Now after all this solemne banquetting, they pre∣pared * with Bagge and Baggage to returne. And there∣upon repaired to the King, and in order, every man tooke his leave of his Majesty, and the Nobles, by whom the King sent his princely pleasure and commendations to the King their Master, thanking them for their paines. And after great communication had with the * great Master of that Ambassage, hee bad them adue.
Then they came to Westminster to my Lord Car∣dinall to doe the like, of whom hee received the Kings reward, which I shall hereafter relate.
First, every man of honour and estimation had plate, * some to the value of 2. or 300. pounds, and some of 400. pounds, besides the great guifts before received of his Majesty; As gownes of velvet with rich furres, great chaines of gold, and some had goodly horses of great value, with divers other guifts of great value, which I cannot call to remembrance; but the worst of them had * the summe of 20. crownes, and thus being nobly rewar∣ded my Lord after humble commendations to the French King bad them farewell, and so they departed.
The next day, they were conveyed to Dover to the Sea side, withall their furniture being accompanied with ma∣ny English yong gallants, and what report of their royall entertainement, they made in their owne Country I ne∣ver heard.