« EelmineJätka »
and destruction of the forts in the vicinity of Cape St. Vincent on his return : Fenner has supplied that defect in the following letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, the original MS. of which is in the State Paper Office* :Tuomas FENNER TO Sir F. WalsyNGHAM.
1587, May 17th. Sythence my laste letters of the accidentes at Cales, some exploytes which hath happened in her Majestie's sarvice by our Generall and army, I thinke it my duetie to laie them downe as neare as God will geve me grace and favour in very truethe.
The second of Maye, some 15 leagues from Cape St. Vincent, a fflyboote of Dunkyrke of 150 tunnes, her lading being Spanishe goodes from fflaunders, and as I gesse of some good importaunce, I gather about ten thowsand powndes, and one other flybott laden with tymber sowld to the Spanyardes, of 140 tunnes, taken.
The 4th of Maye we drewe into the baie of Sawgust, where, in a sandy bay somwhat to the westwarde of the towne of Saugust, we landed about a thowsand men very early uppon the 5th of Maie, and so marched very neare three myles unto the towne as our march laye. There presented in sight of us divers troupes of horsemen, whearat nothing amazed, but allwayes bendinge uppon theire greatest troupes, with curtezie, gave us passaige ; so as, before we cam unto the towne, they were above 400 horse, which semed brave but bad masters. They suffred us to
* Several MS. letters of Captain Thomas Fenner are to be found in the State Paper Office, from which copies of three, relating to three different services, will be introduced herein, as exhibiting his epistolary talent, by no means inferior to the common run of the Elizabethan period.
marche before theire ffortress with our whole bandes, within muskett shott, where we exchainged some shott, and by vewe and surveighing the place fownde it, as nowe they have made it, of greate streinght and very warrelykely flanked, so that they had in vewe of us nyne platformes and flankers furnished with nyne auncients; which considered, we thought it more meate uppon some pause, the place being surveighed, honorably and treatablie to departe than raishly to attempte the hazard of our companyes, carienge ourselves in that course of streinghte that we made no estimate of theire fforces; two of theire horses slaine and one of theire horsemen, and so spent in standes expecting theire values the most parte of that daie before we drewe abourd and bourden in good sorte without the losse of any one man.
The fifte of Maye we drewe neare unto Cape Sacre, where we landed and marched towardes a castle with some companyes, some of our shippinge landing at a villaige some league to the eastward, wheare the houses and villaige weare presently fyred with some barks and botes. They of that castle made no longe abode, havinge in it sixe peeces of brasse, but fled unto another castle within one myle standing upon Cape Sacre, a place of greate streinght, but one way to come to it, with greate scope of grownd within it and fayer buyldinges, I gesse some hundred acres invironed with the sea, and a merveylous highe upright cliffe on three partes, the ffront only to approche which was about one hundred and eightie passes broade, with a walle batylmented of fortye fote of height, a gate in the myddest, a platforme at the corners and fower flanckes on every syde of the gate; God styrred the mynde of the Generall and his company to approche it, and somoned, whose answeare was, as he (the General) was to assaulte in the behaulf of his ladye and mistress, he (the Spanish officer) was to deffend in the behaulf of his lord and master. Whereupon, the weightynes and honor of the cause considered, in that it was meete
and most necessary for us to wyn the place for dyvers causes, both to geve succour unto ourselves in wateringe and roade for our fleete, and withall a greate pray against the enemy, resolutely resolved the attempte after some provitions of ffagotts to burne the gate, having no other meanes to attayne the entrye by reason of the greate streinght; and so began about one of the clock to assayle with small shott, so scouringe the loupes and fflancks that the gate was approched, and the assault so mainteigned that the gate was sett on fyer and relyved contynually, so as within some two howers theire capten was hurt in two places, and grewe to parly; with offer to delyver up the place, theyre lyves and baggaige savid ; which was graunted and perfectly performed-a place of such naturall and ingenyous streinght as a very myraculous matter ; but God, who is the gever of all good thinges, geveth streinght unto his, and stryketh with feare those whom he meaneth to chastice.
There weare in the castle neare about some hundred and ten men, besyde women and children, one canon peryer, one culveringe, one demy-culveringe, and fyve greate Portugall basses, with powder and shott.
The sixte daie the Generall marched to another castle of good streinght with some bases in it and toke it, and so the ffryery and castle of Cape St. Vincent, and tooke the same, wherin weare seaven peeces of brasse, and of greate streinght, having no waie to come unto yt but one ; which two castles he defaced, fyered, and brought away theyr ordynaunce, and burnt betweene Cape St. Vincent and fyve myles to the eastward of Cape Sacre, which I suppose to be nyne Englishe myles in leinght, fforty-seven carvells and barkes, some of 20, 30, 40, 50, and some of 60 tunnes, laden with pype, bourdes, whopes, twigges, owers, and such like; we burned also some 50 or 60 fisher botes, and greate stoare of nettes, to theire greate domaige. This beinge performed at the ffryery, we came againe, some howers before night, unto the brave castle of Cape Sacre, where weare three captens with theire companyes, untill our retorne, when, according to promes, our generall suffred the enemy to depart with theyre baggaige, and then prepared for fyer, and fyered the saine, dismounted theire ordynaunce, and threwe them over the cliffes, which weare not lefte there, but with greate paine and travell bourded into our bootes and brought away, and the same night bourded our companyes.
The seventh daie, in the morninge very early, we landed at the first castle, which we razed and burned, and brought away the ordynaunce. And notwithstandinge this contynuall sarvyce, in the meane tyme we watered all our fleete, and bourded all our ordynaunce; and than, by one of the clock, the hole fileete sett sayle to prosecute further accon.
These fower castles at the Capes defaced ys a matter of greate importaunce respecting all shipping that come out of the Straites for Luyzbourn or any part of the northward, anker there untill convenyent wynd sarve them; and so any that come from the North likewise anker there, beinge bownd for Andolozia or the Straightes. Thus desyring God to blesse our generall and us in Her Majestie's sarvice, to contynue in all duetye and love to doe what becometh the vassaylls of so worthy a prince, whom God presarve to the amaze of Her Majestie's greate and mighty enemyes, and by this handfull to encrease that feare which heareby we fynde them greatly touched withall. In all duety untill further occacon I comitt your Lordshipp unto the Allmighty. ffrom abourd Her Majestie's good shipp the Dreadnought, ffor Cape Sacre, the 17th of Maye.
Postscriptum.—The 10th of this instant moneth we cam in sight of Luyżbourne, and presented our selves before East Cales with our whoole fleete, many within shott. The Marques Ste. Crusse being hard by with 7 gallyes, who, being loose, bare upon theire ores, and never shott at us, but beate off many muskett shott all day longe. There beinge a very flatt calme the most parte of the daie, made his carvells runne agrownd, and other shipping upon the rockes, which he suffred without rescue or impeachment. The next daie we kept our selves loose in the openinge, but could see none to approche, but flyenge every waie. The eleventh, towardes the evening, the wynd being farr northerly, with a stiffe gale, we bare for Cape St. Vincent, and seised ankeringe within Cape Sacre the 12th, at one of the clocke, where we washed and purefied our shippes, washed and amended all thinges needefull, having the cuntrey in such awe that no man cometh neare us. Shipping we take daiely, which are bound with pipe bourdes and whoopes for Andolozia, which we burne, whereof they will have so greate want as to them a merveilous offence.
By intelligences we fynd the greatest provicions of streinght out of the Streightes—as from Cicilia eight gallions, and ffrom Naples fower galleasses, and dyvers gallyes out of Italy.
The provicions are so overthrowen and wasted as is wonderfull, for in Cales we brought away and burnt seven hundred tunnes of bread.
We hould this cape so greatly to our benefitt, and so much to theire disadvantage, as a greate blessinge, the attaining therof; ffor the Randevous is at Luyzbourne, where we understand of some 25 shippes and 7 galleis ; the rest we lye betweene home and them, so as the body is without the members; and they cannot come togather by reason that they are unfurnished of theire provicions in every degree, in that theie are not united togather.
As there hath byn a happie begynninge, so we doubt not but God will have the sequell such as it shall appeare unto the face of the earthe, that it is not the multytude that shall prevayle wheare it pleaseth Him to streich out his favourable and mercifull hand. God make us thankfull for his benefitts and blessinges. I assure your Honor there is no accoumpt to be made of his galleis ; twelve of Her Ma