In the spring of 1574, Lord Morley, Henry Parker, was a desperate man. The pension he then received from Philip II, as did many English refugees, did not compensate for the suffering of past and present times. His involvement in the Rising of the North, and the haste with which he had been forced to abandon England in search of a safe haven in the Spanish Low Countries, had not allowed him to make any preparations with which to alleviate the pains of exile. All had been left behind: estates, wealth and a family that in May 1574 was forced to face the rigour of English law as applied to the relatives of those who counted as traitors abroad and to practising Catholics:

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and at midday the officers of justice from the Court entered the house of Lady Morley, the wife of Lord Morley, who recently went over to Flanders. They found her hearing mass, and seized the priest, all dressed in his vestments as he was. They took the image of Our Lady from the altar and carried it on the shoulder of a sergeant before the priest, who they took through the streets to the Lord Mayor’s house amidst a great outcry from the populace. They took the good lady prisoner too, with her maiden daughter, her second son, and her daughter-inlaw, who are still detained in some of the aldermen’s houses. 1

Morley was then in Madrid. An urgent matter had taken him there after a long stay at Louvaine, where the main group of English exiles in the Low Countries resided. Those had been hard days. The lack of family ties, settling in a foreign land, and, above all, the scant monetary means allowed to somebody who had been used to a bountiful existence, had converted those years into a harrowing experience. A letter written to Secretary Zayas from Brussels in October 1572 had made it clear that the pension he then received of 50 ducats a month – even if considered excessive by some, like the Duchess of Feria – did not accord with his rank, that of an ‘English grandee, descendant of princes and a relative of the emperor’. The haste with which his escape had been carried out had deprived him of income that could easily amount to 10 000 ducats, ‘the same amount his Majesty distributes yearly among the exiles’, and it was the reason that ‘our enemies laugh now at our misery’. 2