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A history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) online

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of Arbroath for Angus's bastard, George, they came to Court, and
were the first to vote for the siege of the castle. The bastard,
George Douglas, received the abbey, but had an uncertain tenure.
Later he was concerned in the murder of Riccio, and in 1574 he
became Bishop of Moray.* At the Convention in Stirling (June
2-1 1) the Douglases and other nobles renounced their bands with
England, and the " godly purpose of marriage " between Mary and
Edward VI. Arran nominally abandoned his claims to Mary's


hand for his son : hope, perhaps, he did not abandon. Twenty
peers were chosen to form a monthly series of Councils of Four.
Huntly accepted the Chancellorship, a " glorious young man," and
a rival of Argyll. It was proclaimed that none should aid and abet
the murderers in the castle. Wrecking of ecclesiastical property and
buildings was denounced.^ On July i Parliament met, and sum-
monses for treason were urged, but later dropped, against Brunston
and Macleod, who may have been intriguing with England. It was
shown later that the " Castilians," the murderers in the castle, had
failed to obey a summons for treason. Taxes were raised for the
expenses of the siege of St Andrews Castle, which was to be pros-
ecuted in turn by the forces of the kingdom arrayed in four
territorial divisions. Henry VIII. was urged not to abet the
murderers. Scotland desired to be included in the peace ol Ardres
(June 7) negotiated between France and England.^ This inclusion
does not seem to have been granted by Henry.'^

Henry, in fact, was intriguing with the murderers. At the
beginning of the siege in September he promised help, on the usual
conditions, to the Castilians, as they were called. By October he
was sending William Tyrrell, with six ships, to the relief of the
hold.^ In November the besieged sent to Henry an account of
their situation. The Government despatched to England Banter,
Bishop of Ross, and Adam Otterburn. The garrison sent Balnaves
and John Leslie. The French Ambassador suspected the Arch-
bishop of St Andrews and the Bishop of Ross of inclining to heresy.^
On December 20, Henry, observing that the Castilians were being
persecuted undeservedly, " straitly put at without desert," bade
Arran abandon the siege. The Castilians, he said, were ready to
forward the marriage of Mary with his son. While the whole force
of Scotland was camped round Beaton's castle on the cliff above the
Northern Sea, and was vainly battering walls and towers, or block-
houses, too strong for the weak and ill-served artillery, Arran was
constantly present at the leaguer from September 19 to December
17. The Government was still pleading with Henry VIII. for the
inclusion of Scotland in the peace with France, and apparently
they pleaded in vain.^*^ On November 26 Arran applied for aid to
France ; she was invited to insist, with threats of war, on the
Scottish inclusion in the peace, and to send guns, engineers, and
money. An English invasion was expected in February.^^

Presently Arran discovered, or was deluded into a belief in, the
futility of his attempts at a siege. For some reason, probably for


lack of ships, the sea la}' open to the English provisioning vessels.
The Scottish artillery from no point could command the castle,
then of much greater extent eastwards than could be guessed from
the existing ruins. On December 17, an armistice or "appoint-
ment " was arranged — Knox says treacherously, and accuses the
Laird of Mountquhanie, Sir Michael Balfour, father of the later
notorious Sir James.^^ In point of fact, provisions were failing the
garrison, hence their acceptance of a truce. The Castilians prom-
ised to hand over the castle as soon as a papal remission for the
murder arrived. Till then they were to keep the hold, with Arran's
son as hostage. Knox says that Arran's party did not mean to
keep these articles.^^ Certainly the Castilians had no mind to keep
their own word, and to hand over their fortress, as they frankly
told Henry. They only wanted time to revictual the castle, and,
with singular cynicism, asked Henry to move the Emperor to inter-
cede with the Pope " for the stopping and hindering of their

The truce rejoiced " the godly," who had been comforted by the
presence of the preacher, John Rough. During Arran's Protest-
ant fit (1542-43) Rough was chaplain to that nobleman. He was
" not of the most learned," Knox says, but his doctrine was
" well liked of the people." They were soon to be reinforced by
a yet more popular master of pulpit oratory, Knox himself By
betaking himself, with his pupils, to the castle (about April 10,
1547), Knox may have avoided the prosecution by the Archbishop
of St Andrews, but he also definitely chose his part in the religious

A few sentences may here be devoted to the obscure previous
career of a man who henceforward lives in the intensest light of
history. Concerning his birth, family, and all his life till 1546
Knox says nothing. We know, however, that he was born in 1505,
probably in the parish of Morham, near Haddington. From an
account which .Knox gives of his conversation with Bothwell in
1562, it appears that both of his grandfathers and his father "have
served your lordship's predecessors, and some of them have died
under their standards," the flag of the unruly Hepburns. Knox's
ancestors were probably small farmers, like the ancestors of Burns
and of many notable Scots. His parents educated him for the ser-
vice of the Church. He was almost certainly trained at Hadding-
ton grammar-school, receiving " the elements of religious education


from his bulk and prymar, and of Latin grammar from his
Donatus," before proceeding to higher studies. In his seventeenth
year he went up to the University of Glasgow, probably because
Major, a Haddington man, was Principal. He did not take his
Master's degree, and it is probable that at Glasgow he did not
study for more than a year or eighteen months. His Greek and
Hebrew were later acquired. From 1523, or thereabouts, till 1540
nothing is known about Knox. Documents of 1 540-1 543 prove
that he was "Sir John Knox" (one of "the Pope's Knights"), and
was acting as " minister of the holy altar," and as notary by
apostolic authority.^* He was also engaged in tuition at Samuels-
ton, near Haddington, and probably " combined the duties of
chaplain and of instructor of youth." ^^ We hear no more of Knox
till December 1545 and January 1546, when he acted as body-
guard to George Wishart. Whether this was the date of his first
acquaintance with Wishart, or whether he had met him in Brun-
ston's society earlier, we are not informed. Wishart's teaching fell
in fruitful ground already prepared, as Knox had been for some time
associated with Lothian lairds, who were " earnest professors of
Christ Jesus." After Wishart's death Knox was sought for by
the new x\rchbishop of St Andrews ("not yet desecrated" — i.e.,
consecrated), and he had thoughts of seeking safety in Germany.
At this period his ideas, like those of Wishart, were Lutheran
rather than Calvinistic : he was not an enemy of the order of
Bishops, though no believer in Apostolic Succession. We shall see
later that he only refused an English bishopric because of his "fore-
sight of evils to come " under Mary Tudor. Knox's ideas of the
obedience owed by subjects to kings were also at this time in
accordance with Luther's teaching ; he adopted later the revolu-
tionary doctrine of Calvin. ^^

In place of fleeing to Germany, Knox was moved by the Prot-
estant parents of his pupils to seek refuge in the Castle of St
Andrews. He "lap into the castle" at Easter (April 10) 1547,
during the truce. The pardon from Rome appears to have
arrived rather earlier. Meanwhile the castle and town held open
intercourse. The company of assassins displayed, as Mr Hume
Brown says, a " strange commixture of unbridled vice and earnest
religious feeling," a phenomenon familiar among the banditti of
Italy. "^// those of the castle . . . openly professed, by participa-
tion of the Lord's Table, in the same purity that it is now adminis-


tered in the churches of Scotland." ^"^ The ceremony called " fencing
the tables " must have been omitted, for, as Keith says, the " Cas-
tilians ran into all the vices which idle persons are subject to. . . .
Whoredoms, adulteries, and depredations with fire and sword " are
included. This " corrupt life," as Knox calls it, was not abated by
the sermons which he presently began to preach. He had already
catechised his pupils — " he read unto them a catechism " — in the
parish church of the Holy Trinity, in South Street. He also lec-
tured on the Gospel of St John in the chapel of the castle. He
was presently called on by John Rough, hitherto the chaplain of
the unruly castle congregation, to take on himself the ofifice of
preacher. He wept, under a sense of the solemnity of the occasion,
his "only consecration to his office," Next Sunday, preaching
before the University, he " identified the Church of Rome with the
Man of Sin, with Antichrist, and the Whore of Babylon." His
authority was the seventh chapter of Daniel and " the New Testa-
ment." The Archbishop bade Wynram, the sub-prior, interfere ;
but Wynram (the Vicar of Bray of Scotland) merely disputed feebly
with Knox, while a Franciscan friar collapsed under the logic and
eloquence of the Reformer. Henceforth he preached effectually on
week-days, the parish pulpit being occupied by " Baal's shaven sort"
on Sundays. But Knox's preaching cannot have lasted for more
than a month or two.

During the truce Henry VHI. had died (January 28, 1547), and
Francis H. had followed his old rival (March 31, 1547). On the
coronation of Henry II., d'Osel, or d'Oysel, was sent to Scotland ;
he was a secretis inulierum, says Knox — another stroke at Mary of
Guise. In England the Protector, Somerset, was still intriguing
with Balnaves, who was to bring over the Scottish nobles to the
English marriage of Mary. On March 11, at St Andrews, the fickle
Lord Gray came into the project. ^^ What Gray wanted was the
command of Perth, which he would hold for England. Broughty
Castle also he promised to betray to them. On the Border Wharton
had entrapped the Laird of Johnston, by burning Whamfray and
catching the laird in an ambush as he rode to the rescue. Three
spears were broken on his armour.^^ Langholm was Wharton's
hold ; an attack on the English in Langholm was, therefore, medi-
tated by Arran in March, while ships from Holy Island were re-
victualling the Castle of St^ Andrews, and English ships captured the
Lion, a Scottish vessel. In July Arran mustered a great army, " the


Starkest since Flodden," and marched to the Border. The absolu-
tion for the slayers of Beaton had arrived before April 2. The
besieged mocked at it ; " they would rather have a boll of wheat
than all the Pope's remissions."-*'*

But the end of the reign of the Castilians was at hand. While
Arran, with a great force, was operating round Langholm on the
Border, French galleys were passing northwards along the east coast
(July 6). Knox writes that these galleys came round the point
into St Andrews Bay " upon the penult day of June," and that the
siege lasted for a month. -^ But there must be some error. Knox
describes the papal remission as shown to the garrison on June 21.
We have seen that it was mocked at before April 2. The garrison's
technical objection, that the words " we remit the irremissible " were
not acceptable, may have been an afterthought, taken later, in June.
Knox avers that the Castilians successfully battered the galleons, and
that the castle was not invested by land till Arran arrived from the
siege of Langhope on the Border. " The trenches were cast,
ordnance was planted upon the Abbey Kirk, and upon St Salva-
tor's College, and yet was the steeple thereof burned." Pitscottie
says that an Italian engineer in the employ of the Castilians aban-
doned hope when he saw the French guns " coming down the street
alone," drawn by some mechanical arrangement of pulleys. Knox
demoralised the garrison by prophesying their fall, their walls "should
be but eggshells," "their corrupt life would not escape punishment
of God." On the night of July 29, he says, a great breach was
effected between the fore tower and the east blockhouse. The
castle was surrendered to Leo Strozzi, Prior of Capua, on the last
o. July, after an interview between Kirkcaldy and the French

The terms of capitulation are uncertain. Buchanan avers that
the garrison bargained only for their lives, " incolumitatem modo
pacti." To this Knox (who certainly ought to have known) adds
that they were all to be carried to France, while such of them
as desired not to "remain in service and freedom there" should
be transported to any country except Scotland. They would not
acknowledge Arran or any Scottish authority, "for they had all
traitorously betrayed them."- Mr Tytler does not think that the
terms of surrender were violated, and, though Knox ought to have
known, his version is frequently contradicted by contemporary
* See note at end of chapter, "The Absohition and the Siege," p. 20.


papers. The French razed the castle, lest it might fall into English
hands. The existing ruins represent the new castle built by Arch-
bishop Hamilton, whose cinqfoils adorn the wall. The contemporary
diarist declares that spoil to the value of ;^ioo,ooo was carried
away. Their chief captives the French warded in castles : Knox,
with the sons of the detested Laird of Mountquhanie (including
Sir James Balfour, later notorious), was sent to the galleys. The
adventures of Knox and his companions are later to be touched
upon ; meanwhile the chief English hold on Scotland was lost, and
the most ardent revolutionaries were out of the battle.

Yet Arran's burden was not lightened. He had to face black
treachery at home and open preparations for war on the part of
England. That Gray and Glencairn were already traitors we know
from their letters. Gray, whom the Cardinal had but recently
rewarded for his loyalty to the Church, had been bargaining, we
saw, to hold Perth for England, and to deliver up Broughty Castle
on the Firth of Tay. This important point, commanding the estuary
of Tay and the town of Dundee, was presently seized and long held
by England. Glencairn, in July, had offered to raise 2000 "assisters
and favourers of the Word of God " for English service.^^ There
were hundreds of "assured Scots" among the nobles and gentry,
and Arran knew it. On August 18 the Laird of Langtown wrote to
Somerset, " My Lord Bothwell, and many other lords, lairds, and
gentlemen, is in as much danger as ever, on account of a Register
book found in Master Balnaves' chamber in the Castle of St
Andrews, and now in the Governor's custody, with their names
and handwriting to support England." There were two hundred of
these patriots, all enrolled, including the Earl Marischal, Cassilis, Sir
George Douglas, Kilmaurs, and Lord Gray. Bothwell had offered
to betray Hermitage Castle in exchange for a rich English marriage.^*
So much for domestic treason among the godly and the worldly. In
England the despatches of de Salve show that great preparations
for war had long been making : on July 23 he describes the English
plan of campaign. 2^ Somerset was bidding Warwick to muster " the
army appointed to invade Scotland at Newcastle" on August 24.
Seventy or eighty ships and transports were engaged. The army
was of 15,000 men.-^ The traitor Ormistoun informed Somerset
that the priests were to send round the Fiery Cross as soon as
the Protector crossed the Border, a rare example of this Celtic
practice in the Lowlands. Arran, said Ormistoun, would make his


Stand at the Peaths, a deep ravine cutting the road north of Ber-
wick (September 2). Probably Ormistoun's letter arrived too late :
Somerset entered Scotland on the very day when the renegade
wrote.^^ But he did not find Arran guarding the dangerous defile.
His forces were summoned to Fala Moor for the last of August,
when, Glencairn says, but few came in. At this moment Angus was
promising to join Lennox and Wharton if they invaded by the west.
He did not join them : he fought for Scotland, and, months later,
when they returned, after renewed promises on his part, he helped
to defeat them.-^

Somerset prosecuted the rough wooing with a force of some
16,000 men, while a large fleet attended his progress along the east
coast, and Lennox with Wharton was gathering on the western border.
Under Somerset the leaders were Warwick, Dacre, Grey of ^Vilton, and
Sadleyr as treasurer. Sir Francis Bryan led 2000 light horse. Sir
Ralph Vane commanded 4000 cavalry. Sir Peter Mewtus was at
the head of 600 musketeers, or hackbut-men, on foot, and Gamboa,
a Spaniard (the Scots had no musketry), was captain of 200 mounted
musketeers. Fifteen pieces of heavy artillery were brought into the
field, with more than a thousand carts and waggons. The discipline
and commissariat were excellent. Yet Somerset "dreamed a weary
dream." He fancied that he returned to Court, and was heartily
welcomed by Edward, "but yet him thought that he had done
nothing at all in this voyage." His dream was fulfilled. He won
a great victory ; but, as far as his purpose went, — the subjugation of
Scotland and the marriage, — he did " nothing at all." ^^

It was on September 5 that the invaders reached "the Peaths,"
a deep and narrow ravine of six miles in length, which cut the road
at right angles. Direct descent and ascent were practically impos-
sible, a series of paths, worn by wayfarers, ran obliquely down the
southern and up the northern side of the dene. The Scots ought
to have held this defile; but either because they were not fully
mustered, or because Arran knew the treachery of the local barons,
they had merely tried to break the paths. The army crossed easily,
and were unopposed. On the 8th September Somerset was at
Prestonpans. On the 9th his cavalry cut to pieces the Scottish
light horse. The Protector then reconnoitred from Faside hill : he
saw the Scots camped, in four divisions, "like four great fields
of ripe barley," in an excellent position. On the. south they were
flanked by a great marsh, on the east the river Esk protected their


front. Their left leaned on the Forth. Somerset determined to
occupy with artillery the round hill crowned by Inveresk Church,
which commands the river. On his return to camp, says Patten, a
judge-martial who was present, Somerset met a Scottish herald, and
rejected a challenge from Huntly, and an offer, on Arran's part, to
let him retire in peace, on honest conditions. Now Pitscottie and
Buchanan aver that during the night Somerset offered to retire, if
the Scots would keep Mary at home till she was of nubile years, and
then let her choose if she would accept the English wedding. Arran
and Archbishop Hamilton, it is said, not only rejected the offer, but
spread a report of a provocative and truculent message. Thus their
wickedness caused the Scottish ruin at Pinkie. ^^^ This report, unless
Somerset changed his mind, is in contradiction with what Patten

The fatal battle of Pinkie Cleugh occurred next day, Somerset
being aided by his galleons at the mouth of the Esk. To tell the
story briefly : Somerset, moving early to occupy Inveresk hill, was
perplexed by finding the Scots across the Esk and nearer the
hill. Instead of merely holding it in force, they pushed forward to
cut between the English and the sea. The fire of a galleon from
the mouth of the Esk scattered the archers of Argyll on the Scottish
left, a very long, scarcely credible, range of fire, but well attested.
Somerset now hurried his cavalry, in two divisions, to his left, to
occupy Faside hill, while his foot, apparently concealed behind a
ridge, marched in the same direction more slowly. It was a race
for Faside hill between the English cavalry and the 8000 footmen
of Angus. The English horse gained the ridge, and charged across
a deep ditch and over ploughed land. The Scots met them in the
old formation of Falkirk, defeated them, slew many, and shook the
English confidence. Shelley fell, Lord Grey was wounded in the
mouth. The BuUeners (Boulogne veterans) were cut up : there was
a rout, the foot being broken by the flying horse. But the cavalry
were re-formed : the ditch in the Scottish front was lined by English
musketeers, the guns on Faside hill cut lanes through the Scottish
ranks, which were also galled by archers. Just when the Scots
gained a full view of the English infantry in position on the hill
and plain, they had to face a fresh charge of cavalry. Their forma-
tion being shattered by musket and artillery fire, and by their own
advance, they broke. The Highlanders were the first to flee.
Arran took horse, Angus hid till he found a chance of escape.


The whole army, throwing down weapons and "jacks," ran in
every direction. Some 10,000 were cut down : few prisoners were
taken, the nobles, except Huntly, not being distinguishable by their
dress. In Huntly, England had an important captive. Many priests
were slain, and their sacred banner, the Church supplicating Christ,
was given to Edward.

Never — no, not at Solway Moss — was Scotland so smitten and so
disgraced. As later, at Dunbar, they abandoned a strong defensive
position, and threw away the chance of destroying an invader.
Angus is said only to have advanced in obedience to a threat of
a charge of treason. In fact, the Scots thought that Somerset meant
to embark his infantry, and make a rapid retreat with his cavalry.
To prevent this they rushed on ruin.

Next day Somerset occupied Leith. The use he made of his
victory was to seize Broughty Castle from the sea, to fortify Inch-
colm, in the Firth, to ravage the country, and devastate Holyrood
Abbey. On the retreat, at the end of a week, Hume Castle was
taken, and Roxburgh Castle was repaired. Meanwhile, on the
west Marches, Lennox and Wharton ravaged Annandale, took the
church, which was defended, and burned the town.^^ As in his
dream, Somerset had practically done nothing : he had merely
strengthened the Scottish resolve never to accept the English
marriage, and had confirmed the French alliance. After the de-
feat of "Black Saturday" (September 10), Arran with the Arch-
bishop hastened to the queen-mother at Stirling. On September
16 (?), just before his retreat, Somerset ordered Norroy Herald to
carry proposals to the queen-mother and the Council. The Pro-
tector has only come to Scotland " to forward the godly purpose
of the marriage," and to say that if they will not yield to his amicable
proceedings, he will accomplish his purpose by force.^^ The queen-
mother now removed Mary to the Isle of Inchmahone, in the Loch
of Menteith, " half-way between Stirling and the Highlands." ^^
How long the child stayed there is uncertain, assuredly not later
than February 1548. Her " child's garden " has been commemor-
ated, but from October to January there is little opportunity for
horticulture.^* Mary was safe enough, despite attempts by Grey of
Wilton on the loyalty of Sir George Douglas, who, on October 9,
promised Grey that he would try to put Mary in his hands for a
reward.^^ Sir George was offering schemes for an English invasion,
but Somerset saw through his purpose of destroying the invading


force. By November 5 the Laird of Longniddry, a spy, informed
Somerset that the Scots had sent an envoy to France, and schemed
to carry thither the child queen.^^ Indeed by October 23 a French
gentleman had turned Arran and the queen-mother from a purpose,
negotiated by Glencairn, of accepting Somerset's proposals.^'^ While
French aid was being asked and prepared, the chief scenes of mili-
tary operations were Dundee, Broughty Castle (held by Warwick's
brother, Sir Andrew Dudley), and Buccleuch's country on the Border.
Between October 1547 and February 1548 many strange examples
were given of the mixture of Protestant piety, perfidy, and ambition.
On the whole, it seems that the populace, as far as it was touched
by Protestantism, remained staunch and single-hearted, while most
of the Reforming gentry and nobles were hypocritical self-seekers.
On October 27 the burgesses of Dundee, overawed by Dudley in
the adjacent Broughty Castle, bound themselves to be " faithful

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 60)