'Impious Itineraries' is a seminar series retracing the routes of people and objects between the Iberian Peninsula and the British Isles in the early modern period. Organised by the Warburg Institute with the support of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Gobierno de España.

Session 1: 'Diplomatic Itineraries'

Chair: Mark Hutchings (University of Salamanca)

'English perambulations of the Count of Villamediana in 1603' - Berta Cano Echevarría (University of Valladolid and Warburg Institute)

After twenty years without diplomatic representation due to the prolonged hostilities of the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604), Spain made the first move towards peace by sending an ambassador, Don Juan de Tassis, Conde de Villamediana, to congratulate King James for his accession to the throne of England. His arrival in Dover with an entourage of one hundred and fifty men as “his house” was a sensation according to Relacion muy verdadera del recebimiento y fiestas. Villamediana’s audience with the king kept being postponed due to a number of unanticipated circumstances related to the plague, so the ambassador had to wander around the south of England with all his train until he was finally received in Winchester in October 1603. The journey of the Spanish ambassador is considered in this talk as a source of debate about the need and convenience of sizable retinues as part of embassies, the inconveniences they endured but also the prestige that could be won by sheer number.

'A Travelling Court and Household for the Prince of Wales: The troublesome jornada to Santander of September 1623' - Anunciación Carrera de la Red (University of Valladolid)

This is the first complete account of Prince Charles’s jornada to Santander of 9-22 September 1623, on his return trip to England from the Spanish court. Using fresh sources from Spanish national and local archives, the talk reconstructs the itinerary as well as the composition of the Prince of Wales’s court and household. Counsellors and ambassadors, administrators of justice, provisions, and accountancy, lords and gentlemen rode their way from El Escorial to Santander, with harbingers, grooms-in-waiting, chandlers, pottingers, farriers and dozens of lesser officers and servants advancing on foot ahead of them. The talk unveils the tensions that surfaced among counsellors and high officers in their effort to keep an itinerant household functioning, while struggling to entertain and feast the Prince, always in haste and visibly displeased, along a most uncomfortable journey.