TURMOIL: THE ABJECT LIFE OF A PORTUGUESE ALIEN
IN ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND
It is the contention of this paper that Dr. Hector Nunes’ mean spirited reaction
to William Fox’s petition to the Lord Chancellor of England, Sir Christopher Hatton
in 1588, can be attributed to the weight of financial losses and debts incurred since
1569. In particular, this paper will emphasize specific events that led to his negative
mood in the Court of Chancery: arrest and seizure of goods in Spain; losses based on
embargo restrictions; goods seized in the Canary Islands; monies owed to creditors;
inability to collect outstanding debts in England; governmental actions against his
property due to ethnic origin; and loss on the high seas. These factors contributed to
his venomous reply in Chancery when he declared, that if the defendant, a London
draper, currently residing in Fleet Prison for debt since 1576, “hath no goods left to
him, he would bring execution upon his body for all the said two hundred note.” (1)
Nunes was an embittered creditor. Years of unpaid debts and losses had finally taken
In February 1570, Dr. Nunes, a Portuguese merchant and physician, was in an
expansive mood. English merchants trading in Spain sent a petition to the Privy
Council on behalf of his brothers-in-law, Peter Freire and Barnard Luis, Portuguese
merchants. They sought permission for both men to “enjoy their debts, goods and
merchandise here; the said Peter is a good friend to the English in this trouble, some
times aiding their persons and conveying their goods out of the country.” (2) It was
signed by twenty eight merchants and three future London aldermen, William
Masham, Thomas Pullison, and Thomas Starkey. (3)
The euphoria surrounding this petition was a temporary reprieve from reality.
On August 31, 1568, Nunes went before the High Court of Admiralty seeking 2,000
pounds sterling due him from George Diaz and Patrick Gough. (4) It is argued that
Nunes’ inability to collect the money had an immediate impact on his ability to repay
a debt of 100 pounds sterling owed to John Marsaal and John Nicholson, London
drapers. He defaulted on the debt and was jailed in Marshalsea prison in 1569. (5)
Dr. Nunes’ run of losses did not end there. On April 22, 1569, he went to the
Admiralty Court seeking to recover a Barbary vessel, the Venus of Flanders, and her
goods seized and taken to Devonshire. He claimed losses of 7,000 pounds sterling. (6)
The money could have bought 7,000 cart horses.
Nunes did not allow these debts to deter him from further commercial activities.
In 1570, he planned a trip to the Canary Islands with Bartholomew Bayon, a Portu-
guese pilot. However, Nunes’ past indebtedness prevented him from purchasing two
vessels from a man named Wilkinson. Therefore, he convinced William Curtys, a
London pewterer, to guarantee a payment of 600 pounds sterling. (7)
The planned venture was doomed from the start because Spain had accused
Bayon of piracy in the West Indies. In 1568, the Spanish ambassador, Diego de
Silva, sought to procure his arrest. (8) His successor, Guerau de Spes, appealed to
the Privy Council for aid in preventing Bayon’s planned voyage to the Canaries.
However, they told him that it would be unfair to prevent “people from making
voyages, especially as they are informed that no danger will be done to Spanish
In March 1571, Spes approached Bayon attempting to convince him not to go.
Bayon agreed if he were paid 4,000 ducats and was allowed to send the cargoes to
Spain. (10) But, his offer was refused. The Spanish government sought to punish
Bayon and Nunes. Within a month, Spain took action against both of them.
On April 17, 1571, King Philip II wrote to Spes indicating that he had “ordered
the detention if possible of their ship in Ayamonte.” (11) Also, on August 5, 1571,
the king again wrote to Spes informing him that the “necessary measures had been
taken here in the matter of Bayon, and Dr. Nunez, in conformity with your advices.”
He added an ominous statement that could have had a direct bearing on Nunes’
intelligence center: “If you think that anything could be done in Flanders in respect
of the connections which Dr. Nunez had there, you will advise the duke of Alba in
order that he may take such steps as he may consider necessary.” (12)
The voyage became a financial disaster for Nunes. On November 27, 1571, he
acknowledged a debt of 2,000 pounds sterling to Curtys. (13) Prompt repayment was
not possible because of his extensive losses in the ill fated venture with Bayon. This
contention is supported by the testimony of Zacharye Undhall, London yeoman and
former Bayon servant. In the midst of a lawsuit brought by Roderigo Lopas against
Nunes in the Court of Chancery on April 11, 1572, for unpaid debts, a by-product of
the Bayon fiasco, he stated that Nunes ventured and lost between 2,500 and 3,700
pounds sterling on the voyage. (14) Surviving documentation does not explain
whether Nunes was able to resolve these lawsuits.
The hammer blows dealt by the disastrous Canaries venture came on the heels
of Admiralty actions on behalf of Robert Christmas, an English merchant, whose
ship and goods had been seized in Lisbon. On February 8, 1570, Lord Admiral
Clinton issued an Admiralty warrant, ordering Dr. David Lewes, Admiralty judge,
to recompense Robert Christmas whose ship and goods were seized in Lisbon, by
taking from “Dr. Nunez out of goods and merchandise of subjects of the King of
Portugal to the value of 530 pounds sterling, 14 shillings and 9 pence.” Further-
more, “If these are not paid and delivered to Robert Christmas within three
months, Hector Nunez wherever he may be and kept in safe custody until the
530 pounds, 14 shillings and 9 pence is paid.” (15) Although surviving records
do not indicate if he was imprisoned, I would suggest that he was held hostage
until full payment was made by Portuguese subjects resident in England.
This contention is confirmed by an Admiralty citation dated October 7, 1570.
Clinton ordered Judge David Lewes to ensure Nunes’ appearance in court so that
“merchandise in his hands or in any other subjects of the King of Portugal may be
arrested to recompense Christmas.” (16) Clinton’s actions failed. On April 18, 1571,
Christmas was once more in the Admiralty Court seeking compensation. (17) As late
as June 10, 1575, Christmas was frantically pursuing monies owed him, (18) but
surviving Admiralty records does not reveal if he was successful.
Nunes continued commercial operations in the Iberian Peninsula despite losses
in the Canaries and alleged seizure of his goods in the Christmas case. The futility of
these efforts can be seen in a Privy Council letter sent to Sir William Cordell, Master
of the Rolls, Dr. Thomas Wilson, Master of Requests, the Attorney General, Dr.
Awbrey, Judge of Admiralty, Thomas Egerton, and Thomas Heton, governor of the
Merchant Adventurers, on December 2, 1571. They were asked to examine the com-
plaints of Robert Tindale, John Frampton, Thomas Kinge and Dr. Hector Nunes,
regarding their losses. The petitioners were told that once “proofes of goods con-
cealed during the time of the restraints were provided,” the commissioners would
compensate them for their losses. (19) Council efforts were unsuccessful.
On January 9, 1573, the Queen sent a royal directive to all her Justices of the
Peace as well as other justices of the Common Bench, seeking to provide Nunes with
a year’s protection from his creditors. (20) The directive also applied to his factors and servants, but debtor protection was a failure. Thus, on March 25, 1573, the Privy Council granted him a patent to search for “spanische goodes as have not byne
revealed unto the Commissioners whereby he may be satisfied for such goods as were
taken from him by the King of Spain in the Isles of Canaria.” The value of the
arrested goods was not comparable to his loss of 2,600 ducats. Therefore, he was
given the option of making up the difference through his own diligent search of
goods belonging to Spanish subjects. These goods were to be “valued and kept safe
by her Majesty’s officers.” (21) His efforts were fruitless. The Council responded by
sending a letter dated July 11, 1573, to the Lord Mayor, the Master of the Rolls, and
Dr. Thomas Wilson, requesting them to send for the creditors of Dr. Hector and
“intreating them to forbeare him and his suretye for two years upon such bonds as
they have, offering to pay them the principal and ten percent profit.” (22) It is
argued that Sir Francis Walsingham, the Principal Secretary of Queen Elizabeth I,
Nunes’ patron at court, was present when the Council met that day in Greenwich.
However, I would suggest that their efforts failed in light of his imprisonment in
Marshalsea Prison for debt in 1576.
The precariousness of Nunes’ financial situation was revealed on February 27,
1576. Robert Smythe, an Essex clothier, represented by Ralph Slater, came to the
Court of King’s Bench with a bill of debt. Nunes owed him 33 pounds, 6 shillings, and
8 pence based on a signed bond. Presently, Nunes was in the Marshalsea for …“many
debts.” (23) It is argued that Nunes would not have been in the Marshalsea if he had
been able to collect a 3,000 pound sterling debt owed him and a Portuguese colleague,
Salvador Nunez, in the Admiralty Court on February 23, 1576. (24) Furthermore, even
earlier in January 1576, he had written a desperate letter to William Cecil, Lord
Burghley, and Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, requesting their aid with Lord
Admiral Clinton. He wanted them to use their influence in persuading Clinton to
nullify his signed bond that had prevented Bayon from sailing to “any place prohibit-
ed by the Kings of Spain and Portugal.” (25) In order to dramatize the urgency of his
request, Nunes revealed that one of his servants was jailed in Seville with a loss of
1,700 ducats. Another servant was robbed of 200 ducats in Bilbao. (26) The loss was
approximately 630 pounds sterling.
Nunes’ letter led Burghley and Leicester to utilize the Privy Council’s influence
in order to provide immediate assistance. First, a memorial was sent to the commiss-
ioners for Spanish causes on January 20, 1576.The lords of the Council required them
not to make any further claim on him for “reimbursement of his proportion towards
the restitution to subjects of the Low Countries.” Nunes had claimed losses of 632
pounds sterling and 16 shillings based on goods stayed in Spain. (27) The second
attempt occurred four days later when the Council sent a letter to the commissioner for
the dividend and restitution of Spanish goods. They sought his aid to restore goods
taken from Nunes before the embargo between England and Spain was relaxed in
1576. (28) The futility of their efforts became apparent on May 20, 1576. Admiral
Clinton, the Earl of Lincoln, sent a testimonial on Nunes’ behalf. He claimed that
Nunes should be able to receive restitution for seized goods based on his residence
in England for approximately thirty years and loyalty as an English subject. (29)
Surviving documentation does not reveal if any goods were returned to Nunes.
On December 2, 1576, the Council tried again to help Nunes. They sent a
letter to the Lord Mayor, Sir John Langley, goldsmith, requesting him to call
“certain arbiters before him” in order to resolve an assurance matter between
Dr. Nunes and “certain merchants of the city.” The arbiters were directed to
“give sentence or else advertise hither the cause to the contrary.” (30)
Official records do not indicate if this was successful.
Additional losses on the high seas were revealed on July 13, 1579. Nunes’
name appeared on a list of English subjects who had been spoiled by French
pirates since 1562. His losses were due to the seizure of the Prodigal Child.
(31) The extent of his loss was not revealed in the citation.
This loss may have contributed to Nunes’ dramatic letter to Lady Walsingham in 1580 (?), in which he sought her aid in convincing Sir Francis Walsingham to grant him a new wool patent for 10 or 12 years, at the expense of Andrea de Loo, a Flemish merchant. (32) Nunes based his request on three factors: his 1577 wool patent (33) was unprofitable due to the “troubles in Flanders;” he had very influential friends in court including Lord and Lady Burghley; and finally, his losses in Ireland totaled 2,000 pounds sterling. (34) Nunes felt that he deserved to receive this new patent; De Loo did not. However, his effort was unsuccessful.
The period between 1580 and 1583 seemed uneventful based on surviving
documentation. However, this changed a year later. Nunes was forced to contend
with a “wrongful legal action” in the Court of King’s Bench brought by Richard
Persey, a London merchant (?). His action caused Nunes to write a letter to Dr.
Julius Caesar, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, on October 30, 1584. Dr.
Nunes complained that he had to spend money fighting Persey’s use of a writ of
prohibition, issued by King’s Bench, which sought to prevent his suit from
continuing against him. He demanded that Persey “put in a bond for 3,000 livres
(pounds sterling) as security that he shall not remove the matter into any other court
but to be tried before your honour…” (35)
Dr. Nunes did not receive any satisfaction from Judge Caesar. He wrote another
letter to him on November 2, 1584. Nunes wanted Caesar to write a letter in the
Queen’s name to the Lord High Justice and Admiral Howard on his behalf. Also, he
wanted him to contact Walsingham. (36) Documentation does not reveal if Nunes
Nunes achieved his goals. Furthermore, it is unclear why Persey sued him in King’s
Bench. Possibly, he was a creditor seeking repayment.
In 1585, Nunes had to contend with disgruntled creditors once more. Horatio
Palavicino, a Genoese financier closely connected with powerful Italian banking
firms, whose family handled the Papal monopoly in alum, an important element in
English cloth production and trade, wrote a letter to Walsingham on March 5, 1585,
seeking his support to encourage Nunes to repay debts owed his brothers. Horatio
told him that he would “free Dr. Hector of his debt, and would even do more if
commanded, but this doctor has tried to get the start of me, and cries out before he is
hurt.” He sought “good security in case Nunes died and his property scattered. If he
will provide this, the rest shall be at his pleasure.” (37) Nunes did not respond with
any payments or the requested security. It is my contention that Nunes did not feel the
need to repay the outstanding debt since he nestled in the warm embrace of his patron,
Confirmation of this contention can be found in the contents of another letter
written by Palavicino on August 5, 1585. He told Walsingham that “My brothers’
affairs with Dr. Nunez need new favour, as the last of July has passed without his
paying anything or giving the required security.” Palavicino told him that Nunes
will not offer any repayment “unless your honour can induce him to it, as I pray
you do.” (38) His letters did not result in any payment by Nunes.
Dr. Hector Nunes did not possess the funds to do so. Testimony given by his
brother-in-law, Bernal Luis, on November 21, 1585, before the High Court of
Admiralty, clearly substantiates this contention. Luis declared that “Nunes had sent
several parcels nof commodities from England to Martyn de la Serra in Seville. When
Martyn died about a year ago, “he had in his hands 626 pounds sterling and 11
shillings for goods supplied by Dr. Hector.” In addition, Serra received the sum of 45
pounds sterling from “Fernandes, a Portuguese in Faro for the account of Hector.”
Also, Serra received from Robert Burle “pieces of tapestry which cost 30 pounds
sterling for the account of Hector.” Luis declared that these sums “still remain in
the hands of the executors of de la Serra’s estate.” (39)
Luis’ testimony also revealed the economic impact of the embargo upon Nunes.
He told the court that Dr. Hector had “60 pounds invested in Portugal 10 or 12 years
last past which money was given to Peter Freire, the witness’ brother and Nunes’
brother-in-law, in Lisbon. However, “Dr. Hector is unable to recover this money.” Furthermore, “Last summer Dr. Hector sent goods to Lisbon in the John Baptiste to Lisbon to the value of 291 pounds sterling consigned to Peter Freire who had acknowledged their receipt by letter.” Freire however, was unable to send goods of comparable value to Nunes in London due to the embargo between England and Spain. Also, Luis declared that “This summer ships have arrived in Lisbon from the Indies to the value of 300 pounds for the account of Dr. Hector which are still in
Lisbon.” In summary, Luis stated that in Spain and Portugal, “goods and debts
belonging to Dr. Hector amounted to 1,452 pounds sterling and 11 shillings.” (40)
Financial instability continued to plague Nunes in 1586. He appeared in the
High Court of Admiralty on November 15, 1586, seeking to recover 2 ½ chests of
sugar taken from the Portuguese vessel, the Fraunces, by Captain Fenner. Present-
ly, the sugar was in the hands of William Arrowsmith. He was ordered to pay
Nunes 3 pounds sterling, 13 shillings, and 4 pence in restitution. (41)
The Arrowsmith case was a mild pinprick to the financial misfortunes of Dr.
Nunes in light of the devastating impact of the Red Lion of London’s voyage to
Lisbon in December of 1586. The Nunes family had convinced London merchants
to send goods to Lisbon in the names of Peter Freire and Bernal Luis, Dr. Nunes’
brothers-in-law. Both men claimed to have received a license to export English
goods to Lisbon despite the existing Spanish prohibition. The license was issued
by Alvaro de Bazan, Marquis de Santa Cruz, the head of Spain’s naval forces in 1583. He was also the architect of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
William Wilson, a London cloth worker and former servant of Bernal Luis,
declared that “Lewes and Frere had favor with the Marquis de St. Cruse and other
influential men under the King of Spain.” (42) These words convinced Richard
Richard May, a London merchant taylor, to allegedly venture approximately 20,000
pounds sterling of cloth on the voyage to Lisbon. What really happened to his goods
Testimony given by witnesses during the lengthy lawsuit initiated by May’s
widow, Mary, against Mrs. Elinor Nunes, the executrix, in the Court of Chancery,
between 1591 and 1599, concerning the voyage, remain contradictory. However, it is
agreed that on January 25, 1587, four days before Richard May died, Bernal Luis
delivered a bond from Nunes for 4,645 pounds sterling, 2 shillings, and 4 pence. (43)
Once her husband died, she demanded an accounting and repayment. When Nunes
demurred, she began legal action against him in the Court of King’s Bench on March
20, 1588. (44) It is plausible to assume that the enormity of the debt occupied his
thoughts until he died in September 1591.
Before Dr. Nunes could rest in peace, he had to contend with debtors in the
Court of Chancery on October 15, 1587 and January 23, 1588. The first case had
been lying dormant since December 11, 1577. Roger Norwood of Devon had acknowledged that he owed Nunes 2,000 pounds sterling. The debt was due to the seizure of a Portuguese vessel, the Joane of Lisbon with a cargo of woad (dye),
on the high seas by a man of war of Barnstable with letters of reprisal. Freire
testified that Norwood and other merchants had taken goods from the vessel and
“divided the merchandise amongst themselves.” Nunes advised him to have the
men arrested and initiate a suit in Chancery to recover the goods. (45) However,
Nunes not Freire, began the legal process to retrieve the goods in the Court of
King’s Bench. Freire was not conversant with the language nor English law and
On January 10, 1578, Norwood appeared in Chancery and complained that
Nunes’ negative actions would “utterly ruin him.” In particular, the issuance of
writs which ordered him to appear in court to show cause why the “said Hector
should not have the execution of the bonds.” In reply, Norwood declared that the
writs had been issued in Middlesex but he lived in Devonshire. Therefore, he did
not have any knowledge of them. Yet, he was penalized for not being there. The
court had declared that Nunes “could have execution of the bonds to levy two
pounds.” Norwood criticized the court’s actions as being against all “equity and
According to testimony given by Dr. Nunes before the Court of Chancery on
October 15, 1587, the “suit was stayed and a commission was issued by the Privy
Council to Judge Caesar of the HCA and other doctors of civil law requiring them
to deliberate on the case.” Norwood was ordered to appear before them and to
“take a bond for performance of any sentence that might be agreed.” He refused to
do so and was imprisoned. Documentation does not indicate which prison. However,
once imprisonment had occurred, Norwood relented and agreed to post a bond for
his appearance in Chancery. But, he appeared only once more contrary to court
demands. Nunes requested that Norwood should forfeit his bond. (47)
It is the author’s contention that Nunes was unsuccessful in his suit because
of English prejudice against aliens. Norwood appealed to those feelings in an
undated Chancery document. He declared that Nunes was an “alien who favored
the subjects of Spain more than is convenient, commenced a suit against him and
others in the name of Peter Freire in King’s Bench and other places before com-
missioners.” Norwood sought to establish the image of an alien favoring the
the subjects of the King of Spain due to his birth in Portugal. The implication being,
annexation of Portugal by Spain in 1580, caused Nunes to transfer his allegiance to
them.Furthermore, Norwood argued that he had fulfilled the conditions of the bond
and Nunes should be “stopped from further proceedings,” (48) He had achieved his
goal of painting Nunes as an alien, an advocate of Spain, and as a by product, also
seemed to imply that Dr. Nunes was a despised Jew. Ironically, the picture that
Norwood had successfully drawn regarding Nunes’ alien status was patently untrue. In
1579, he became a denizen, a subject of England through the actions of Queen
Elizabeth I, (49) but he did not have the rights or status of a natural born subject like Norwood.
At this point in his life, an old man of 66, Dr. Nunes was consumed with anger
anger and hatred. He had provided free medical treatment to Lord and Lady Burghley,
Sir Francis Walsingham, Dr. Thomas Wilson of the Privy Council, and Sir John
Perrott, Lord Deputy of Ireland. (50) In addition, Nunes had conveyed intelligence
data concerning Spanish activities in the Low Countries, Portugal and Indies, to
Burghley and Walsingham since at least 1578. (51) Also, he had given them evidence
of Armada preparations in Spain in 1587. (52) Finally, from late autumn 1585 to
March 1587, he had sought to reach an agreement concerning the future of the Low
Countries, with Anthony de Castillo, the former Portuguese ambassador to England,
a loyal supporter of Philip II of Spain, as Walsingham’s representative. (53) Yet, in
1587, the alien trump card was utilized in an English court of law to deprive him of
monies owed since 1577. It is argued that Nunes vowed that this would not happen again.
Dr. Hector Nunes did not have to wait too long to vent his anger and seek
retribution. On January 23, 1588, William Fox, a London draper, imprisoned in
Fleet Prison since 1576 for debt, sent a bill of complaint concerning Nunes, to the
Lord Chancellor of England, Sir Christopher Hatton. In 1567, Fox had agreed to
pay Nunes 100 pounds sterling if his goods were lost at sea. Fox was paid 7 pounds
sterling for his insurance services. Once he heard that the two vessels had sunk,
Fox hastened to sign a bond that would pay Nunes 200 marks (approximately 135
pounds sterling) for the loss and other unpaid debts. However, Fox was unable to
fully repay the total amount; only part. (54) This did not satisfy Nunes. Possibly,
years of court battles ensued, although surviving documentation does not indicate this.
In his petition to Hatton, Fox accused Nunes of being very “cruel and unreason-
able.” Nunes did not have pity for him knowing that he did not have any remaining
goods to repay the bond. Dr. Nunes has caused him to sink into abject poverty without
any money for bread. As a result, he has been forced to “beg at the gate of the prison
to the want of his wife and four children now ready to perish.” In utter desperation,
Fox asked the court to issue a writ of subpoena that would force Nunes to appear
before the court to answer this bill.” (55) In addition, he wanted the court to prevent
Nunes from enforcing the terms of the bond that could have jailed him for life.
In rebuttal, Nunes told the court that this bill has “only been exhibited for
malice and to delay payment of just debts which have been due for the past 21 years.”
He did admit that Fox had partially repaid the existing debt. Nunes however, rejected
the notion that he was too poor to repay the debt. He insisted that Fox remained in
prison solely to thwart his efforts to recover money from him. Furthermore, he had
“heard it reported by men of credit and honor that the plaintiff has lands, tenements,
goods and personal property, sufficient to discharge the debt.” Somehow, he calmed
his anger and became less belligerent. Nunes told the court that he had “always been
prepared to be honest and reasonable to the plaintiff.” (56)
On January 26, 1588, Dr. Nunes had a change of heart. He was no longer
willing to be flexible and sympathetic to Fox’s bill of complaint and plea. Nunes
declared, that Fox possessed an “evil mind to trouble the said defendant and to
delay recovery of his just debt…and to put him to wrongful cost, charge and
expense in the law.” Therefore, if the “said complainant had no goods at all left
to him, he hoped to bring execution upon his body for all the said two hundred
note.” (57) This could mean that Fox would be imprisoned for the rest of his
Incredulously, within an instant of his verbal diatribe, he changed course
in midstream. His anger dissipated, Nunes proceeded to tell the court that “He is
always willing to observe any award that the court should make but prayed to
be discharged out of this court with his reasonable costs and charges wrong-
fully sustained.” (58)
It is my contention that Nunes curbed his anger because he knew that
Englishmen considered Portuguese residents enemy aliens. This rang true despite
his denization in 1579. If he needed a verbal reminder, the opening sentence of
Fox’s bill of complaint, described him as “hector Nunez of London, merchant,
stranger…” (59) Furthermore, Nunes had to cope with English hysteria concern-
ing a potential Spanish invasion of her shores. He did not want to bring unwelcome
attention to himself, his wife, and family. In this context, I would argue that public
intrusion could have revealed the religiosity of the Nunes family. (60) This could
only result in imprisonment and torture but worst of all, deportation to the land of
his birth and the open arms of the Inquisition. Therefore, it is contended that this
reality led Nunes and his lawyer to accept a resolution of the case which meant
freedom for Fox and additional monetary losses.
Dr. Hector Nunes’ predicament was an illustration of the quandary that many
Iberian Jews found themselves since the dispersion from the Peninsula. Hounded by
the Church, they desperately searched for a safe haven. Nunes also fled the clutches
of the Portuguese Inquisition. He immigrated to England in approximately 1546. Dr.
Nunes knew that he had to earn a living or be deported. Foreign commerce became
his livelihood. In a religious context, he had to secretly observe Jewish practices and
customs. Publicly, he became a parishioner at St. Olave’s, a Protestant church on Hart
Street in London. Yet, to his dismay and chagrin, noted accomplishments in medicine,
commerce, diplomacy, and intelligence, did not provide a path to increased social
mobility nor acceptance. He remained a Portuguese alien and stranger in the eyes and
minds of Englishmen. This was a source of constant frustration and anger. His wrath
came to the surface in the proceedings before Hatton. However, Nunes came to his
senses quickly. He hastily retreated from his severe stance. Nunes feared that the
power of the English government would come hurtling down upon him resulting in his
immediate destruction. In abject defeat, he retreated hastily to the safety of his home
and family in utter disarray. Once more, the inhospitable Christian world had dashed
the hopes of an upstart Jew.
1 National Archives, Court of Chancery 2 Elizabeth I, f.1/32
23 January 1587/8
2 National Archives, State Papers 15/14, f. 149r, 1 February 1569/70
3Alfred A. Beaven, The Aldermen of the City of London, I & II (London:
Corporation of London, 1908 & 1913), I: 48, 64, 92, 115, 123, 139, 157,
192, 200, 208, 218, 338 & 344. II: 39-41, 43, 48, 173, 230.
4 National Archives, HCA EXEMPLIFICATIONS 1567-1568,
High Court of Admiralty 14/8, f. 90, 31 August 1568
5 National Archives, Court of King’s Bench 27/1232, n. 86D
5 February 1569
6 National Archives, ADMIRALTY WARRANTS, 1565-1571,
High Court of Admiralty 38/7, 22 April 1569
7 National Archives, Court of Chancery 4/104, m. 3,
11 April 1572
8 Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth,
1566-1569, 592 # 2721.
See also: Julian S. Corbett, Drake and the Tudor Navy, I (New York:
Longmans, Green & Co., 1898), 151.
9 Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English Affairs, II.
Elizabeth. 1568-1579, 295 #238.
See also: Julian Paz, History of Spain: Catalogue of the Collection of
Unedited Documents, II (Madrid, 1931), 33 & Calendar of Letters and State
Papers Relating to English Affairs. Archives of Simancas. II. Elizabeth.
10 Ibid., 300 # 241.
11 Ibid., 304 # 248.
12 Ibid., 326 # 269.
See also: Historical MSS Commission. Salisbury Mss, XIII, 205;
National Archives, State Papers 89/1, F. 254, N. 89, 14 October 1582;
& Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English Affairs, IV.
Elizabeth, 1587-1603, 326 # 331.
13 National Archives, LC4/191, f. 239v, 27 November 1571
14 National Archives, Court of Chancery 24/104, m.3, 11 April 1572
15 National Archives, HCA Exemplifications, 1569-1570,
High Court of Admiralty 14/10, f. 50, 8 February 1570
16 National Archives, HCA Exemplifications, 1569-1570,
High Court of Admiralty 14/10, f. 106, 7 October 1570
17 National Archives, HCA Exemplifications, 1569-1570,
HCA 14/11, f. 251, 18 April 1571
See also: Elizabeth Ralph, ed. The Great White Book of Bristol (Bristol:
Bristol Record Society, 1979), 91-92.
18 National Archives, High Court of Admiralty 14/15, 10 June 1575
19 Acts of the Privy Council, New Series, VIII, 1571-1575, 160.
20 National Archives, Court of Chancery 66/1096, m. 30, 9 January 1573
See also: G.D. Ramsay, The City of London in International Politics
at the Accession of Elizabeth Tudor (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 1975), 59.
21 British Library, ADD. Mss.32323, ff. 56, 56v & 57, 25 March 1573
See also: Acts of the Privy Council, New Series, VIII, 1571-1575, 92 &
British Library, ADD. Mss. 48018, ff. 102v/103, 1575.
22 Acts of the Privy Council, New Series, VIII, 1571-1575, 128.
23 National Archives, Court of King’s Bench 27/1264, m. 79,
27 February 1575/6
24 National Archives, HCA Admiralty Warrants, 1572-1578,
High Court of Admiralty 38/8, 23 February 1575/6
25 Calendar of Manuscripts of the Marquis of Bath, C: Talbot, Dudley,
and Deveraux Papers, 1533- 1659, (1980), 195.
See also: Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English
Affairs, II. Elizabeth. 1568-1579, 239 # 183.
27 Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, 1575-1577, 230 # 577.
28 Privy Council Register, PC 210, p. 430, 24 January 1576
29 National Archives, HCA Exemplifications, 1576, High Court of Admiralty 14/16, n. 418, 26 May 1576
See also: The Publications of the Huguenot Society of London, VIII-1893:
Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England,
30 Acts of the Privy Council, New Series, IX, 1575-1577, 238.
31 Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, XIV,
1579-1580, 13 # 10.
32 G.D. Duncan, “Monopolies Under Elizabeth I, 1558-1585,” Ph.d.,
Clare College, University of Cambridge, August 1976, 158-162.
See also: British Library, Lansdowne Mss. 114, f. 133r, 1578 (?),
Lansdowne Mss. 24, ff. 18r, 19v-20r, 21r & Lansdowne Mss. 38,
f. 143r, 1578; National Archives, Court of Chancery 66/117,
m. 12-13, 1578; Lawrence Stone, An Elizabhethan: Sir Horatio
Palavicino (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956), 258-260 & Calendar
of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, XXI, Part II.
June 1586-March 1587, xxv-xxvii, 24-25, 40, 45, 56-57, 60, 101,
103-104, 130, 253, 385, 403, 420-421, 509, 520-521& 545.
33 National Archives, Court of Chancery 66/1151, m. 2-4, 25 June 1577
See also: Duncan, 151.
34 National Archives, State Papers 12/146, f. 116r, 1580 (?)
See also: Duncan, 160-162 & Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, East
Indies, China and Japan, 1513-1616, 67 # 157.
35 British Library, Lansdowne Mss. 145, ff. 455r, 456v, 30 October 1584
36 British Library, Lansdowne Mss. 145, ff. 453r, 545v, 2 November 1584
37 Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, XX,
September 1585-May 1586, 712.
See also: Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth,
XXI, Part I, June 1586-June 1588, 90-91 & Stone, 246 & 259.
38 Ibid., 714-715.
39 National Archives, High Court of Admiralty Examinations, High Court of
Admiralty 13/25, ff. 280v-281r, 21 November 1585
41 National Archives, HCA ACT BOOKS, 1583-1586, High Court of Admiralty
3/19, 15 November 1586
See also: National Archives, HCA ACT BOOKS, 1587-1590, HCA 3/20, n.d. 42 National Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, p. 19, 26 January 1596 See also: National Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, p. 2, 22 January 1596; Court of Chancery 24/250, 23 January 1596; Court of Chancery 24/250, p. 34, n. 1, 6 February 1596; British Library, Egerton Mss. 1512, f. 44b, 15 December 1593; & National Library, State Papers 94/2, n.71, 30 September 1586.
43 National Archives, Court of King’s Bench 27/1331, n. 313, 20 March 1588
See also: National Archives, Court of King’s Bench 27/1331, Michaelmas 36-7,
Elizabeth 1594, n. 307, 1594; National Archives, Court of Chancery 33/89,
Chancery-Decrees and Order, 1594-5, p. 577, 29 October 1595; National
Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, Town Depositions, Interrogatories, Q. 14,
January 1596, Court of Chancery 24/250, Town Depositions, Interrogatories,
Q. 21, 1596, Court of Chancery 24/250, Town Depositions, Interrogatories,
Q. 22 & 23, January 1596 ; National Archives. Court of Chancery 24/250, f. 23,
p. 6, n. 22, January 1596; National Archives, Court of Chancery 33/94, Chancery-
Decrees and Orders, p. 622, 14 June 1599; James Spedding, The Letters and Life
of Francis Bacon (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1890), 32-33; Lucien
Wolf, “Jews in Elizabethan England,” Transactions, Jewish Historical Society of
England, XI, 1928, 20 & C.J. Sisson, “A Colony of Jews in Shakespeare’s
London,” Essays and Studies, 23, 1938, 41-43.
45 National Archives, Court of Chancery3/ 227/72, 15 October 1587
46 National Archives, Court of Chancery 3/227/72, Chancery Proceedings. Series II,
20 July 1587
47 National Archives, Court of Chancery 3/227272, 15 October 1587
48 National Archives, Court of Chancery 227/72, n.d.
49 C 66/1176, Patent Roll, 21 Elizabeth 1579, Part 2, m.23, 4 June 157950
British Library, Lansdowne Mss. 27, f. 88, n. 43, 23 January 1584; Ashmolean
Mss. 1441-357, n. 1197 ( n.d.); Lansdowne Mss. 40/2, 1584 (?); Lansdowne
Mss. 43/45, 22 January 1584 (?) & Sir Harris Nicholas, Memoirs of the Life and
Times of Sir Christopher Hatton (London: Richard Bentley, 1847), 340.
51 Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Salisbury, Part II (1888),
p. 206, n. 605; Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth,
July 1579-July 1580, 45; Historical Manuscripts Commission Reports,
Salisbury Mss., II, 205; National Archives, State Papers 89/1, f. 254,
n. 89, 14 October 1582; Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of
Elizabeth, May-December 1582, 386 # 393; Lucien Wolf, “Jews in
Elizabethan England,” Transactions, Jewish Historical Society of England,
XI, 1928, 30; Conyers Read, Lord Burghley and Queen Elizabeth (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), 334; State Papers 12/204, f. 33,16 October 1587 &
Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, XXIII, January-
July 1589, 34.
See also: List and Analysis of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth I,
II: July 1590-May 1591, 391 # 694; National Archives, State Papers 94/4, f. 15,
n. 5, 11 August 1591& Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth,
1598-1601, 20 # 110.
52 Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English Affairs, IV. Elizabeth,
1587-1603, 221 # 229.
See also: 326 # 331.
53 Conyers Read, Mr. Secretary Walsingham and the Policy of Queen Elizabeth, III
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925), 125-126; National Archives, State Papers 94/2,
n. 60, ff. 134r, 134v, March 1585/6; National Archives, State Papers 94/2, n. 61,
f. 136r, 23 March 1585/6; National Archives, State Papers 94/2, ff. 155r, 155v, 30
September 1586; & National Archives, State Papers 94/2, n. 63, f. 140r, March
See also: Read, 125-6 & 447; P. Geyl, The Revolt of the Netherlands, 1555-1609
(New York, 1958), 131 & 161; Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Reign of
Elizabeth, September 1585-May 1586, 472-3 ; Calendar of State Papers, Foreign
Series, Reign of Elizabeth, September 1585-May 1586, 308, 473-5, 508 & 712-5;
Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English Affairs, III, 1580-1586,
72-3, # 59; Calendar of Letters and State Papers Relating to English Affairs, IV.
Elizabeth, 1587-1603, 221 # 229; Alan Haynes, Walsingham: Elizabethan
Spymaster & Statesman (Phoenix Mill, England: Sutton Publishing, 2004), 118;
Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, Reign of Elizabeth, XXI, Part II.
June 1586-Mar4ch 1587, 384 & Stone, 259.
54 National Archives, Court of Chancery2/Elizabeth I, f.1/32, 23 January 1587/8
56 National Archives, Court of Chancery2/Elizabeth I, f.32, 16 January 1587/8
57 National Archives, Court of Chancery2/Elizabeth I, f. 32, 26 January 1587/8
59 National Archives, Court of Chancery2/Elizabeth I, f.1/32, 23 January 1587/8
60 National Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, f. 23, p. 6, n. 22, 1596 See also: Lucien Wolf, “Jews in Elizabethan England,” Transactions,
Jewish Historical Society of England, XI (1928), 9 & 20; National
Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, p. 6, n. 22, 1596; National
Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, p. 20, 26 January 1596; National
Archives, Court of Chancery 24/250, Town Depositions, Interrogatories,
Q. 21, 1596; C.J. Sisson, “A Colony of Jews in Shakespeare’s London,”
Essays and Studies, 23 (1938), 41-51 & Calendar of Letters and State
Papers Relating to English Affairs, IV, 1587-1603, 326 # 331.
Society For Crypto Judaic Studies