Edward Barrington De Fonblanque.

Annals of the house of Percy, from the conquest to the opening of the nineteenth century (Volume v.2 pt.1) online

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On the other hand, William Douglas of Lochleven showed
so little reticence on the subject of his negotiations with
Lady Northumberland, that Hunsdon is able to inform his
court, on the Laird's authority, that " the Scotch Com-
missioners having made resytal of the chargis that the
Lorde of Lochlevyn hath byne att with the saide Erie . . .
th' Earle hath offered the Lorde of Lochlevyn 4,000
markes sterlinge to be paide presentlie to him in hande
to lette hym goe." 3

Meanwhile Lady Northumberland was kept in con-
stant anxiety by rumours of her husband's surrender to
the English Government :

11 There was a bruit that the Earl of Northumberland

1 John Lee to Lord Burghley, April 1571. State Papers.

2 On 9th November, 157 1, Lee writes that Seaton and Dacre are
determined to free the Earl of Northumberland, and that they mean to
enter the borders of England, certain of the sympathy of the northern
people, and of the support of all Norfolk and Suffoik ; adding that the
" Earle of Shrewsbury, through some effeminate desire, is wholly addicted
to the Scottish Queen." In the following April he writes that the
Pope had written to the Countess of Northumberland that he would
shortly send her 10,000 crowns and that " the Earl of Westmoreland
has signified to me that 8.000 crowns will be paid at same time to
procure the delivery of the Earl of Northumberland." — State Papers.

3 Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, 22nd November, 157 1. — -
Memorials, p. 326.



a.d. was delyvered to Berwick, which caused Lady Northum-
1528-1572 Lerland to send hyther in haste to learn the truth
thereof ; " ' whereupon she writes to her husband :

" The rumoris and brutis, here geven forthe, of your
Lordship's delivery into Englande, hath trobbled many ;
but for myselfe, and for them that be of the wyser sortc
and of more judgment, it coulde never synke into our
myndes that ever any of honor or credite wolde agree to
such a condicion ; especiallie in that nation that have so
often tasted of the love of their neighbours in cases like to
yours, and that hath so often neded thereunto ; or that the
Larde (who is of that honor and wisdome as he is taken
to be and hitherto hath showed himselfe), wolde lay upon
his house or honor such a burden ....

"Although we are not of that mynde but that your

enemyes do and will, by all ther meenes they can worke,

by worde, promyse and fayne gloses, practice what

they may to draw the Lard to agree unto thame, yet we

stande in no dowte of him, but that he hath that con-

sideracion over his own honor, and is of the wisdom, that

he will passe over their requestes in wyse order ....

of whom alone you are to seke your release ; and that

way to follow it that it may be granted with expedition ;

seeing we be prepared and readie to satisfie him, upon

the understanding of any sufficient assurance whereby

we may, upon the payment of the money, be secure

to have the possession of your body." After dwelling

on the danger of further delay, "whereby mine habilitie

will grow to be lesse, and your frendis wax weary," she

concludes by pointing out how advantageous it would be

for the Laird of Lochleven to accept her bribe instead of

trusting to any promises from the Queen of England,

1 John Lee to Lord Burghley, Antwerp, iSth March, 157 2. — Statt



and thus " have from us his benefite, with all benevolence, a.d-. 1572
favor, and commendacion." ■

This letter, while intended to encourage the Earl, and
to appeal to the honour and generosity — as well as to the
interests, of Lochleven, for whose eye it was evidently
written — betrays Lady Northumberland's growing appre
hensions and anxiety ; but, like her entire correspondence of
this period, is marked by a womanly devotion, tenderness
and unselfishness, 2 in striking contrast with the attitude of
Lady Westmoreland, who — directly instrumental though
she had been in the ruin of her husband — now reproached
him with the suffering he had brought upon her and her
children, endeavoured to vindicate herself at his cost,
and in her repeated appeals to Queen Elizabeth consulted
only her own security and comfort. 3 She succeeded
in obtaining the royal pardon, and in recovering a part of
the forfeited lands for her own use ; while the Earl
remained a condemned outlaw, dependent for his daily
bread on the precarious charity of the Spanish king. 4

1 Countess of Northumberland to her husband, 20th March, 1572. „

— Original State Papers.

3 "What travail My Lady hath taken for your delivery not only do
I know, who was a part of it, but all men see, because she was no
longer able to work by private means, but was forced to follow the Court,
and to press upon the Duke's Grace, even agaynst his will. God saw her
tears and heard her prayers ; but what say I ? hers ? He saw and heard
yours, which were so earnest that they also appearede in her. ... As
you have borne yourself well in adversity, so take care not to forget the
goodness of God if He send you prosperity, as I beseech Him to do." —
Dr. Richard Sanders to Earl of Northumberland, Louvain, 8th January,
1572. — Ibid.

3 See in the State Papers her letter to Cecil of 23rd March, 1570, in
which she prays to be admitted to the Queen's presence, " although My
Lords doings are such as must abase me so to do." In a letter to her
husband about the same date she urges him to submit unconditionally
to the Queen's mercy (which meant to lay his head upon the block),
and not to " forget the care which you ought to have of me and of my
poor children, now desolate and void of help, without the clemency of
the queen." There is an interesting account of the part she played in
the Rebellion in the Appendix to Sharpe's Memorials.

4 The last Earl of Westmoreland of the Neville blood died in exile



a.d. The knowledge of the advanced stage which the nc-

152S-1572 g 0t i at i ons f or the Earl of Northumberland's liberation
had now reached, served to incite Elizabeth to more
active measures for obtaining his surrender.

In April, Hunsdon urges Lord Burghley to take some
decided step, " because there is a time limited, whereby
they thinke that either Her Majestye wyll not resolve so
soon, or else wyll not gyve so moche for hym. Suerly, all
thynges consydered, Her Majestye had better gyve twyce
as moche than goe withowt hym. It is not for nought
that the Duke of Alba maketh meenes to have hym ; and
though his being at liberty could do noe harme, yet it
wolde not be honorable for Her Majestye to have it said
that she was offered hym for so moche, and refused hym.
Besydes, she will see thereby whether they will performe
their promise, and it will cause them not to be so clamor-
ous of hyr for money, having some among themselves to
borrow of. If she will have hym, I wish they might be
appointed to delyver hym at the Bound Road, and there
receive their money. If he shuld be delyvered in any
parte of Scottland there maybe crafte in UAnbigny. If
I once receive him, I trust to make Her Majesty a good
accompt of hym. His being in her handes will greatlye
daunt those in Northumberland, Yorkshire, and the
Byshoprycke, who live in hope of his liberty." "

at a very advanced age. He led a very poor life, even to histoid age
depending for his daily bread upon a slender pension from the Spaniard.
Meanwhile his wife flourished in affluence and favour at Elizabeth's court.

1 The old soldier had not always been of this opinion, for immediately
after the suppression of the Rising (29th December, 1569) he had written
to warn Cecil of the difficulty which, in the event of the Earl's capture
or surrender, would attend his passage through his own territories :

" It may be that whosever hath the karryage of him shall have some-
what to doo to brynge hym threw Northumberland, for he must be
karyed threw all his owne tenents, them that loves hym better than they
doo the queen." — State Papers. .

Nor was it long, ac wilt be seen, after Lord Hunsdon was chargea
with the custody of the Earl, before he recognised the full force of the
danger he here indicates.



The Regent Mar had now the option of allowing a.d. 1572
Lochleven to accept Lady Northumberland's proffered
bribe, and of conniving at the Earl's escape, at the. risk of
Elizabeth's displeasure, or of delivering him to England
for a pecuniary consideration, at the cost of the national
good faith and his own personal honour. He chose the
latter course, making it a condition that, to save appear-
ances, a formal demand should be addressed to the
Scottish Government for the surrender of his prisoner in
compliance with treaty obligations ' (which did not exist),
and expressing a wish that he might receive an assurance
that the Earl's life would be spared, which request the
English Commissioners might evade by pleading the
want of instructions.

The price being agreed upon, however, the same want
of confidence which the Duke of Alva and the papal
agent in the low countries had displayed towards the Laird
of Lochleven, — the same determination not to part with
the ransom from one hand until they held their prize in
the other, — now manifested itself between the English and
Scotch Governments, who, having for months past
haggled over the precise amount of blood-money,
could not trust one another's honesty to carry out
the disgraceful bargain. 3

1 What the Earl of Mar thus did for a paltry bribe of £2,000, the
Scottish Queen, to her honour, refused to do to regain her liberty and
her throne. In October 1570 Elizabeth had caused a treaty to be
drawn up, on the full ratification of which by Mary she was to be
liberated and restored to her kingdom. One of the articles, however,
to which she resolutely declined to agree was the surrender of the Earl
of Northumberland and the other rebels. She was willing to admit an
extradition clause for the future, but "'she cannot thinke that it maye
stande with her honour to delyver these who are come for refuge within
her countrey, as it were to enter them in place of execution." — Haynes,
p. 609.

2 "They mean to delyver hym very shortlie, but will not delyver him
without the money." — Hunsdon to Burghley, April, 1572, State Papers.
Even after the money had been paid, the recipients quarrelled and
fought among themselves over their respective shares, like thieves over


a.d. It was not till early in June that the surrender

1528-1572 actually took place : " yesternight came thyther unto me
the Larde of Cleishe, who had delt with me hertofore
about the Erie of Northumberland, who declared too
mee that he had brought the saide Erie to Coldingham,'
and was come to know what tyme I would recevc
hym thys daye at Aymouthe, as also, bycause it
would be tedyous to have the money towld there, that
he myght tell it here and seale it upp, and so upon the
receyving- of the Erie too delyver the money .... Upon
the recepte of hym, I delyvered the money and browght
him to this town .... I have had no greate talk with
hym, but trewly he seems to follow his old humors, reddyer
to talk of hawks and hounds than anything els, very
much abasht and sorrowful, and beyng in grete feere of
his lyfe, and yett reddyer to talke of these vayne matters
than otherwyse ... I wold be glad to knowe how I
should ease hym, and wold fayne be quigly delyvered
of him, yf ytt will please Her Majesty that I shall bring
hym upp." u

It had originally been intended to send the prisoner to
London in charge of Mr. Yaughan, a member of the
Council of the North, but Lord Hunsdon wrote to
remonstrate against this duty being intrusted to any
one but himself:

" Your Maiestie maye doe your pleasor, but sewrly yt

their plunder. The Laird of Lochleven's claim of ^1,000 for his
expenses in maintaining his prisoner was now disputed, and apparently
with some reason, since the Earl stated that he ''never stood him in
,£200 no kind of way," and that while in his custody he had " seldom or
ever had a morsel of good meat."— See Lord Hunsdon's letter to Lord
Burghley, June 7th, 1572. State Papers.

1 "The Earl had been embarked on the pretence that his host wished to
relieve the tedium of his imprisonment by a shooting expedition, and
for his share in this piece of treachery " the Laird of Claish, who only
by his great travail brought the Erie so quietly hither " (to Berwick)
demanded .£100. — Ibid.

2 Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley. — Ibid.



wyll touch meyne credytt to have any other man bryng a.d. 1572
him upp." '

To hold the Earl a prisoner in the heart of his own
territories and among his most attached tenants, was,
however, a far more arduous duty than escorting him to
London, as Lord Hunsdon soon discovered, for shortly
after he writes : —

" 1 look howrly for a discharge of the Erie, of whom
I am right weary ; for I assure your Lordship I have slept
few quiet sleeps since I had hym ; for as there is no
strong or safe howse to keepe him in, I am faine to keepe
watch and warde round the howse day aiid night."

And again more urgently a few days later : —

" I wonder no order is taken for the Earl of North-
umberland ; pray have him sent somewhere else. /
dare not undertake to keep him here ; so if he happen to
escape, it cannot be said that I have not warned you.
I am afraid some of my unfriends procure his abode
here, to procure me displeasure if he escape." 2

The outcry on the 'Earl's surrender was loud and
fierce on both sides of the border ; and found its main
expression in the only form that the popular voice could
then use with much effect : the ballad, which, sung from
door to door by village minstrels, ever served to keep
agitation alive, and in which public opinion now found a
vent for an^er and detestation at so eross a breach
of good faith and hospitality."

One Singleton, who describes himself as " a Gentle-
man of Lancashire, now prisoner at York for religion,"
thus denounces the act :

"The noblest Lorde of Percie kinde
Of honours and possessions faire,
As God to him the place assigned,
To Scottish grounde made his repaire ;
Who after promise manifold
Was last betraied for Englishe Gold.

' State Papers. * Ibid.



a.d. " Who shall hereafter trust a Scot ?

1528-1572 Or who will doe that nation good?

— That so themselves doe stayne and blott

In selling of such noble blood ?
Let lordes of this a mirror make,
And in distresse that lande forsake !

" Their Lordes and Limmours are forlorne,
Their people curst of each degree ;
Their faith and promise all too torne
And rumor rings it to the sky,
How they for money sold their guest
Unto the shambles like a beast !

" The Percies' stocke an ancient foe
To Scottish Lowndes in felde,
Yet did he still relieve their woe
If once the man did yelde
Unto his prince, and countrie praise,
As noblemen have noble ways ! " l

Another English writer, though professing to be no
friend of the Earl, or of any " rebel or papist," reproaches
Scotland with her shame in a long series of verses, oi
which this is one : —

" Fy on thee, Scotland, and thy seed,
Abone all realmes woe thee befall !
Thy lordes have done so shameful deid,
That traytours ay men will you call.
You are so gredie on English gold
That all your credit now is sold ! "

To which a Scotch poet replies, and, while denouncing
the actual offenders with a fire of invective and scornfui
eloquence of a high order, pleads to exonerate the nation
from all share of complicity in so foul an act : —

" Alace ! that ever Scotland should have bred
Sic to its ain dishonour, schame and greif ;
That qu'hen ane nobilman was thereto fled,
At neid to seik some succour and releif,

1 The original document is preserved in the British Museum, w" 1
r SS.. Calif*. B. iv. 241. There is a copy among the Alnwick MSS.

MSS., Calig. B. iv. 243. There is a copy



Sould have been coulpit twyse ! First, be ane theif ; a.d. 1572

Then be Lochlevin, quho did three yeir him keip, —

Quho gat greit gaine to save him for mischief,
Syne sould him to the skambils lyke ane sheip !

" That loving lord, so voyde of all dispyte,
Of vertevvs having sic pluralitie ;
In honest pastyme takand his delyte,
With manye rare and princelie qualitie ;
So nobil port, and liberalise ;
Sic hardiness, and hairt hcroical,
Deservit rather immortalitie,
Than to have had ane end so tragical ! .

Yet for your mischeant and mischevous deid
This countrye ought not for to beer the blame." *

Another anonymous apologist for the Scottish people,
says in his answer to the English ballad : —

" Although some traitours be amang us
In blaming all forsuith ye wrang us.

Thoch sum have playit Judas' pairt
In selling gud Northumberland,
Quhy suld they thoill for their desert
That faine would have that fact withstand?
Or yet the country bear the blame ?
Let them that sould him have the shame I

" Mar, and the devilishe Douglassis,
And namely Morton and Lochlevin ;
M'Gill and Orkney, Scottish assis,
And Cleishe, quhunto the gold was given.
Dumferling, that the Py prepared,
And lowse Lindsay, quho was his guaiide."

Two ballads long popular on the borders, " The Rising;
z« the North " and "Northumberland betrayed by

1 This and the preceding ballad will be found in Pinkerton's collec-
tion, under the head of Poems by Unknawin Makars ; but the latter is
attributed to John Maitland, Lord Thirlstone, a son of the Sir Richard
Maitland, whose ballads (thanks to the learned Bishop of Dromore,
*ho discovered them in MS. and published them) deservedly hold a
very high place in Scottish minstrelsy.

1 I I


a.d. Douglas" ' were evidently composed very shortly after
1528-1572 t j le events tjjey describe : —

" When he had in Lough-leven been
Many a month and many a day,
To the Regent 2 the Lord Warden 3 sent,
That banisht Earle for to betray.

" He offered him great store of gold,
And wrote a letter fair to see,
Saying, Good My Lord, grant me my boon,
And yield that banisht man tone!"

The ballad proceeds to relate how Morton's sister
warned the Earl against the meditated treachery, who
(and this trait is characteristic of his simple and con-
fiding nature) cannot bring himself to think so ill of
his host : —

"Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady,
The Regent is a noble lord ;
Ne for the gold in all England,
The Douglas wold not break his word.

"When the Regent was a banisht man,
With me he did faire welcome find ;
And whether weal or woe betide,
I still shall find him true and kind."

1 Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i.

a In his commentary on this ballad the editor of the Reliques names
James Douglas, Earl of Morton, as the Regent; Morton however
did not succeed to the Regency until several months after the Earl
of Northumberland's surrender, though, in concert with his cousin oi
Lochleven, he appears to have taken a prominent part in bringing it
about, and shared in the blood-money. The dishonour of the official
act rests with the then Regent, the Earl of Mar, whom Richard
Maitland addresses :

" Fie on thee, Mar ! that ever thou consentit
Ane nobleman so basely to dissave !

Judas, that sould our Saviour to be slaine,
Ane vyler draucht nor thou did never draw."

— Pinkerton's Maitland MSS,

3 Lord Hunsdon.

I 12


" And now that I a banisht man
Should bring such evil happe with mee,
To cause my faire and noble friendes
To be suspect of treacherie." '

" This rives my heart with double woe ;
And lever had I dye this day
Than thinke a Douglas can be false,
Or ever will his guest betray."

A.D. 1572

A shooting party being then arranged, under pretence
of which the Earl was taken off in a boat :

"When they had sailed other fifty mile,
Other fifty mile upon the see,
They landed him ; at Berwick towne
The Douglas landed Lord Percie."

No sooner had the unfortunate Northumberland been
delivered into Lord Hunsdon's custody at Berwick,
than the Queen gave orders for his execution. Two
days later, however, a respite was granted, " whereof,"
says Hunsdon, " I am not sorry, for trewly though he
have fully by law deserved to dye, yet, consydering
what loss Her Majesty srhall receive by his deathe, and
the syrcumstances how he was brought to the same, Her
Majesty hath and doth show as great mercy to a number
that as well deserved to dye as he, without any benefyt to

Whether Elizabeth felt the force of this argument,

1 Morton's complicity in the surrender was the more culpable from the
fact of his having enjoyed the Earl's protection and hospitality when him-
self a political fugitive in England ; a circumstance to which Camden
refers with the remark: " Sed quis calamitosis gratus repertus?" — ■
Annales, il p. 269. The historian Robertson makes some attempt to
extenuate the baseness of the surrender on the ground that Morton's
party depended upon Elizabeth for protection ; but he admits that " as
a sum of money was paid on that account and shared between Morton
and William Douglas, the former of whom, during his exile in England,
had been much indebted to Northumberland's friendship, the abandon-
ing this unhappy nobleman to inevitable destruction was deemed an
ungrateful and mercenary act." — History of Scotland.

' Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, rst May, 1572. — State Papers.



a.d. or that, as in other cases, she wished to make a show
1528-^572 Q f reluctance before consigning to the scaffold one who
had many powerful friends and adherents, the execution
was again deferred; and in the meantime Hunsdon was
instructed to induce the Earl to make a full confession,
the means for obtaining which are pretty plainly hinted
at by Elizabeth in this characteristic letter :

11 In the dealynge herein you may use such speeches
as may justly terrify him with all extremite of punish-
ment if he shall conceal anything ; and sometymes, as
you may see cawse, you may also comfort him with some
hope, so it be not in our name, nor by us warranted, if he
will utter the truth of every person, without regard to
any whatsoever they be, though he may think they be
in place of credite. As for any chargeable entertaynment
of his in his diet zee lyke not, consydering him as a person
attaynted; by over tender usage he may gather comfort to
persist in denyal of things to his knowledge!' x

With this letter Hunsdon received a series of interro-
gatories on" a variety of matters connected with the late
rebellion to which he was instructed to obtain the Earl's

• " I receyved your packet of the 5th, whereyn was the
articles to examyne the Erie of Northumberland ;
according to the which I went too hym, and took Mr.
Treasorer with me, and examined hym but of the one
halfe of them, as though ther had byn no more ; where-
unto he seemed to be very fearful to answer. Not butt
that he was very wylling to answer trewly to them, but
by cawse he should make so slender answer to many oi

1 Queen Elizabeth to Lord Hunsdon, 5th June, 1572, State Papers.
The Earl's position at this time was pitiable enough. On his
arrival at Berwick he had no money, and no clothes but the worn-out
suit in which he stood. A charge of £\z for providing him with
clothing is included in Sir Valentine Browne's Secret Service accounts
for this period. See State Papers.



[hem as those he answered trewly. Yett I wold hardly
bclcve hym, so with many syrcumstancys he answered
them, which having answered he requyred me presentlye,
as hys memory is short and that he wold not wyllingly
consele anythynge unutteryd, that I wold leve them with
hym that nyght, and lycence hym to have paper and
ynke, which I dyd.

" Trewly, my lord, he seemes to be very wyllyng to
Her Majestie yn everything he can; and yf hys con-
fessyon be trew the rebellyon was one of the strangest
matters that hath byn herd of ; and pryncypelly procurde
by old Norton and Markynyfrld, and ernestlye followed
by the two wyves, the Countessys. 1 Good my Lord, as
sune as you receve the Erles anser, procure my delyver-
ence of hym, that I may rid my handes of hym to
anybody else, and it shall be needful that he shall be
safely sent up, for he hath many frendes by the way." 2

On the following day he writes : —

Online LibraryEdward Barrington De FonblanqueAnnals of the house of Percy, from the conquest to the opening of the nineteenth century (Volume v.2 pt.1) → online text (page 10 of 31)