A short historical footnote about our 10th Great Grandfather Sir Thomas Chamberlayne. Sir Thomas was the English Ambassador to Spain during the reign of Henry VIII, his son King Edward and his half sister Queen Elizabeth. This put him squarely in play during the tulmulchious reign of Henry VIII as he quarrled with many of Europe's crowned heads and the Pope over border disputes and of course, marriage.
There is one letter from our 10th Great Grandfather that survives today. He wrote this letter to Henry VIII's son King Edward and the Privy Council (the King's Cabinet) in February 1553. The letter is diplomatic in nature and written in the English of the day. You'll find it difficult to read and understand, nevertheless an excellent document to have in our family history. The letter is below.
10th Great Grandfather
Sir Thomas Chamberlayne and Elizabeth Luddington
Edmund Chamberlayne adn Grace Strangeways
Edmund Chamberlayne and Eleanor Coles
Thomas Chamberlayne and Mary Wood
Rebecca Chamberlayne and John Williamson
Cuthbert Williamson and Elizabeth Allen
(?) Cuthbert Williamson and Susanne White
Matthew Williamson and Selina Dandridge Jeffries
George Matthew Williamson and Margaret Ann Willis
William Jonathan Williamson and Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima, Inez, Lille, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles and Maurice
SIR THOMAS CHAMBERLAYNE
TO THE PRIVY COUNCIL.
Please your most honourable Lordships to be advertised how that since the Emperor's arrival here hath occurred no matter of moment worthy to be certified, every man attending to hear wherefore the estates of these Low Countries were called; and on Tuesday last the same were assembled in Court, where the Emperor and his sister, the Lady Regent, were present. As I do learn, his Majesty, first of all, gave them all hearty thanks for the good towardness that he had always found in them to assist him in the defence of themselves and those countries, and so told them that he had no less confidence that at this time they would be as willing to give him aid in their defence against such an enemy as the French King is, who forced him to these wars when his Majesty least looked for the same; consequently, it is said that his Majesty's sister made a like demonstration, and, as it were, a declaration how obedient and willing subjects she had found them in his Majesty's absence; exhorting them so to continue.
Then, as it is told me, the President of the Estate made a certain rehearsal of the great charges the Emperor had been at in these Low Countries, giving to understand that such sums as had been levied were already consumed by the wars; reporting the same unto the Treasurer, then present, who affirmed the same, and, therewithal, the proportion for the purpose at this time, being put in writing, was by some of the Secretaries read unto the States there gathered, which, as I can learn, required for aid 6000 guilders of Brabant only, 9000 of Flanders, and 3000 of Holland, and of the other countries after like rate, whereupon the Commissioners of each country are departed home, for to make demonstration to the people, to see how the same may be levied, and so to make answer. The States of Brabant do remain here, setting about the levying of their part, which declares that the grant is made of the demand. The Spirituality, as I understand, must give the half of their revenues for this year, as they did the last; so that there is great likelihood that by this means, and by great loans made his Majesty of late in Antwerp, he shall want no money to make the French King a good war this summer to come, which the people do wish to be better than that is past hath proved.
I am informed that knowledge is come hither of certain conclusions lately taken by the Princes of the empire, at a diet by them holden; and amongst all other, it is said that the Count Palatine is appointed to come unto the Emperor for Commissary touching the same conclusions; and to require the Emperor, in the name of the rest, to be content (considering his present weakness, and lack of power to follow the wars himself) to allow the King of Bohemia for his coadjutor in the empire; and, upon that condition, they will be content to take the wars wholly upon them that way, and seek for to make the French King restore all that he hath wrongfully usurped since the beginning of these wars, belonging to the Empire; meaning that his Majesty should but defend these Low Countries, and keep the French King occupied this way, if he think good; and for this purpose it is said that the Count Palatine is looked for to be here very shortly.
A bruit goeth that the Emperor, by some intelligence out of Italy, is in great jealousy of the Venetians, who, as I am informed, have lately made the Duke of Ferrara their General; whereof I doubt not but Mr. Morysin, by his conferences, is able to certify your Lordships more than I can. The Emperor demands of these Estates payment of the one half at the end of this next month, and the rest within four months after, for which is great care taken, because there is so little money stirring. Somewhat like to part of the afore written, here is now a bruit spread that a son of the King of the Romans doth come shortly hitherwards. Which is the sura of our present occurrences; and, therefore, I will leave to be molestious unto your most honorable Lordships, beseeching Almighty God long to continue the same in health and honour. From Brussels, the 20th of February, 1553.
Your Lordships' most bounden at commandment,
Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, of Prestbury, in Gloucestershire, Knight; who, having served the late King in several foreign negociations, seems to have been now appointed to succeed Sir Richard Morysin as Ambassador-Leger at the Court of Brussels. In 1559—60 he was deputed to Spain by Elizabeth in the same capacity, but was revoked in October, 1561, after which time we have no intelligence of his public life.