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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guides, Richard Davyson], did, with great haste and more
fear (as by plucking off, and leaving a great number of
white crosses, and the small spoil, or prey of cattle by them
seized, did appear) departe home into Scotland, before
• we could in order come to them. Which considered (by
the discreet advice of the gentlemen whose good con-
formity and forwardness in service, I cannot but of good
cause much earnestly commend unto your Lordship ;
whom I shall much humbly beseech further, to commend
and advance the same, upon this my just report, as may
tend to their more encouragement of service hereafter) I
did enterprise to invade the country of the Merse ' in
Scotland, where was burnt sixteen towns, and won a
booty, or spoil, of two hundred four score neat, and iooo
sheep, besides many horses, and some prisoners. " 2

The merciless and destructive character of these raids
is indicated in this letter from Henry Percy to his
brother :

" We determined to burn Massington, Wrangham

1 The part of the ancient Berwickshire south of the Tweed

a From Lodge's Illustrations of British History, vol. i. p. 252. The

spelling of this and the succeeding letters of Sir Henry Percy lias been




Hill, etc., which was done as we wished. . . The con- a.d. 1557
liict was sharp and many Scots were slain, but we brought
c.ur men off. The corn burnt is said to be ivorth two
thousand marks. We took thirty prisoners, two' hundred

horses, and thirty or forty nags So good a

service, without loss of one man, has not been known a
long time. I would have given my best horse for you to
see the manful service at the water side." '

Queen Elizabeth on her accession had conferred the
governorship of Tynemouth 2 upon Sir Thomas Hilton,
at whose death, however, she re-appointed Henry Percy
to the post, and now further marked her appreciation
of his military capacity, by conferring upon him the
command of a large body of light horse, to be equipped
"like Black Harness of Almaine, otherwise called
the Swart Rutters (Schwartze Ritter), and armed with
corselets and two dagges (pistols) apiece." 3 He led

1 State Papers.

3 " We did the last sommer appoynt Sir Henry Percy, knight, uppon
the death of Sir J. Hilton, to take the charge of Tynmouth, being a
place necessary to be well guarded and sene to." — Queen Elizabeth to
the Duke of Norfolk, 10th January, 1559. State Papers. The following-
establishment was at this time fixed :

•' Fee per annum j£66 13 4

The annuytie for the same

One Master Gunner at 12a 7 . per diem .
Light Gunners at 6a 7 . per diem each
Eleven household servants, every one of
them at J~6 8s. 4a 7 . per annum . .

" Granted by the Queene's Maiestie yt now
is, sum

See Thos. Brand's History of Newcastle, vol. ii. p. 113.

Tynemouth Castle was used as a state prison, and here in 1563-4
limes Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell — afterwards Queen Mary's third
'•u^band — was confined under Henry Percy's charge. See Sharpe's
Memorials, p. 352.

'Queen Elizabeth to Duke of Norfolk, 25th December, 1559.
' '■"•' inal State Papers. With her habitual attention to detail the Queen
v -'-iircs that on the conclusion of the campaign the "'dagges " should be

VOL. II. I29 K














a.d. these against the French auxiliary forces, who under

x 53-_^i 5 General d'Oyzelle had captured and garrisoned Leith

and other Scottish strongholds, and won a signal victor)-.

" I write to let your Honour understand," says the
English Commissioner, "how worthily Sir Henry Percye
behaved himselfe the hrste day of the metinge of our
enemys. I wolde be lothe to wryte unto your Honour
more than trothe ; I never sawe man do better, sense I
was borne." x

" I thinke you have herde ore now," writes Maitland, a
fortnight later from the camp before Leith, "of the ex-
ploits done at Dunbarre by Sir Henry Percy, the Lord
Ruthven and Lord of Grange, wherat at least fifty were
taken and kylled ; and two Capteynes, one of Horsemen
and one of Footmen, taken. Yesternight was a nombre
of Frenchmen deffact in the very dytches of the town
and all cut in pieces." 2

The Oueen thus acknowledges this service :

" For our trusty and faithful servants that be with you,
we pray you give them for their service our comfortable
thanks ; and specially let them which adventured them-
selfs so worthily at the approche at Lethe be remem-
bred by name, that they may think their service well
bestowed. For indede we hear muche comendation of

collected and returned into the public magazines, "lest they fall into
the hands of the people."

1 Randolph to Cecil, ioth April, 1560. Original State Papers, Scot-
land. Record Office.

2 Maitland to Cecil, 28th April, 1560. Ibid. The French com-
mander of the garrison of Leith was required on his capitulation
to sign a treaty, one of the articles of which provided for the Kings
and Queens of France relinquishing the title and arms of England
and Ireland. That practice of publishing false reports of their military
operations, which in modern times became so notorious through the
Moniteur, seems already at this time to have prevailed; for the English
ambassador in Paris informs his Government that the French authori-
ties had represented the action before Leith as a signal victory on their
part, in which Sir Henry Percy, the English commander, had been slam.
— Throckmorton to Cecil, 2Sth April, 1560. Ibid.



diverse, as of Sir Henry Percy, your own son, Barnabye, a.d.
Knevet (of whose hurt we be very sorry), and of others of I55 _Zf 5
the horsmen." 1

Here is Sir Henry Percy's own despatch, from which
it is clear that he was not disposed to allow others to
reap the credit of his achievements :

" After most humble and hearty commendations I have
received your letter bearing date the xiiij" 1 of this Instant
howbeit it was the xxiij th or it came unto my hands.
Sir, your letter is to me no small comfort, and I wish
of God that I may be the man which shall do my country
service ; And also that I may deserve the continuance
of your good will ; I mean not, for your authority sake.
And where you will me not to faint in my doings for any
frownings here, I assure you the body shall not be spared
at any time for the honour of the Queen, the service
of my country, or the pleasure of my friend ; for as a
true man needs not to fear the accusements of theft, no
more do I think that envious persons can hurt them
who be not able to accuse their own conscience. 3
As for the exploit that was done the last day at Dunbar,
whereof I am assured you be advertised, whatsoever any
man doth write, I will not find fault at it ; but, if you
will credit me, there was no man living privy to that
draught but the Lord of Grange and my self, and as for
Scotchmen there was not xx in the field. The Lord
Ruthven was at it by chance, wherefore let not the Lord of

1 The Queen to Lord Grey, 14th April, 1560. Haynes, p. 289. _ It
appears that Sir Henry Percv was summoned to a personal interview
with the Queen, who writes to the Duke of Norfolk on 17th May, " We
have herd Sir Henry Percy declare dyvers things to us of the proceed-
ings, and present state of our army, at his comyng from before Lethe ;
and in most of things requiring consideration and supply from hence,
we have gyven immediate order for the same." — Original State Papers,
Scotland. Record Orhce, p. 3x1.

; This appears to refer to Lord Grey and Sir James Crofts, who had
written in unfavourable terms of both the Percies.

HI K 2


a.d. Grange lose his well doings. There was taken Captain
1 532-i5 8 5 Hayes and Captain Perrot, xlvj French footmen taken and
slain and xij horsemen. Our purpose was for that them
of Dunbar troubled such as passed betwixt our Camp and
England. The Lord of Grange and I made xij of our
soldiers to pass by Dunbar at ix of the clock in the morn-
ing, and we ourselves were laid the night before in a
secret place by Dunbar so that when our xij men
passed in the morning, Captain Hayes with a dozen horse-
men issued out after them, and Captain Perrot with l tie
footmen to relieve him. Our English men as we had
commanded them did fly, and the French horsemen and
footmen pursued them very fast. So when they were a
mile and a half from Dunbar, I and thirty of my charge,
with the Lord of Grange chiefest, broke and cut betwixt
them and the town, and at the first charge overthrew the
footmen and drove the horsemen into a house called
Inverwick ; whereat we alighted and with our arquebusiers
on horseback and such arquebuses as we had won of the
French footmen, we besieged the house and won it.
Where you would have me to advertise you of our occur-
rents here, I desire you to hold me excused therein ; for
as to the things under my charge, although they be but
small yet shall I be glad to advertise you ; and as for other
men's doings it will be better declared unto you than I
can be able to do. For you know the phrase of my rude
writing, not being meet to make discourse of such
weighty affairs as here be. I have written heretofore
unto you and my Lady your wife, most humbly desiring
you to let me understand whether they came to your hands
or not. And as for mine own affairs which I have long
troubled you in, I mean Tynemouth, I pray you let me
not be burthened with so weighty a place as I am, and
so small commission to rule the same by. For you
know I have kept it this twelve months almost at mine

1 12


own charges, which is too sore a burthen for a younger a.d.

brother of my ability. I will not trouble any further, o;> D

but desiring you to make my hearty commendations
to my Lady your wife, thus I wish the daily increase
of your honour. From the Camp the last of April,
1560. 1

Lord Grey, who was in chief command of the ex-
pedition, appears to have acquired an unenviable repu-
tation for severity towards his prisoners and, as appears
from the following report, General d'Oyzelle, when com-
pelled to capitulate, paid Sir Henry Percy the compliment
of desiring to surrender his sword to him as a more
chivalrous enemy :

" May it please your grace to be advertised that,
according to your grace's commandment by Sir George
Hay ward, I have spoken with my Lord Grey and upon
the same sent my trumpeter to Mons. d'Oyzelle, where
at his coming he was well received with fair words, as by
meats and drink also. . . . My man was called to Mons.
d'Oyzelle, who said unto him. . . . ' You know very well
that I have borne good will to your Master, and seeing that
we be presently in distress, not in victuals, I assure you,
and so tell your Master (of mine honour), but being now
in despair of our recourse (? succours) from France, and
hearing of your army coming forward, which makes us to
think that by time you will overcome us, therefore I was
desirous to speak with Sir Henry for this cause, that know-
ing the ill treatment of our soldiers by my Lord Grey,
as also by the uncourteous language to our messengers, I had
rather we, the nobility, should fall into the hands of Sir
Henry, then to taste of the cruelty of my Lord Grey,
w/iick is not unknown unto us; for we have had experience
of the mercy which your Master hath shewed in victories

' Sir Henry Percy to Cecil. Original State Papsrs, Scotland. Record
Office. Vol. iii. p. 59.


a.d. against us, so are we assured of the violence that the Lord
1 532-i5 s 5 Grey can do unto us, whose Reports come to us daily.
Therefore I sent my drum the last day for to show
your Master this matter if he would speak with me ;
and if so be it that I durst come forth of the town
unsuspected to the soldiers and noblemen, I assure
you I would be glad to speak with Sir Henry ; but if
he would come into the town, I would make him what
assurance or pledge he would desire for his safe
return." r

Sir Henry Percy appears to have been less considerate
towards his Scottish prisoners of war. In March, 1565,
the Earl of Moray writes to Leicester and Cecil, begging
them to intercede on behalf of "the Master of Mare-
chall " (Lord Keith), a prisoner of the Earl of North-
umberland, and in the immediate custody of Henry
Percy, " by quhome, as we ar informit, he is in sic
rigorous maneir handilyt as we esteyme not fytt nor
convenient for ye present tym of peac." 2

The English Commissioners at the Scottish court
write to Cecil in the same strain : " Sir Henry Percy,
who would gyve my man noe aunswer, but said he would
send his aunswer himself to the Queens Majestye, sence
has flatly refusit to the said Maister to lett hym upon
any Scotchman his bond. . . . Some moderation
shold be usid in such caases, and if men be not in their
demaunds temperate, thay wold be reducit ad arbitrium
boni viri?

Shortly after her accession the Queen had appointed Sir
Henry Percy her Commissioner to conduct negotiations
with the Scottish Congregationerss who at this time

1 Sir Henry Percy to the Duke of Norfolk (then Lieutenant-General
of the North), 6th June, 1560. Original State Papers, Scotland, vol. iv.
No. 3.

2 Jbid.,\o\. x. Nos. 23 and 25.

3 See Camden's Annates, vol. i. p. 57. So staunch a Protestant was

1 34


contemplated the establishment of a Protestant alliance a.d.
with England. His correspondence with John Knox ^j^S
and William Kircaldy of Grange 1 is on record to attest
ihe ability and tact with which he acquitted himself of
this delicate mission ; and his report to the President of
the Council deserves quotation as an historical document,
as well as an evidence of Sir Henry Percy's diplomatic
capacity :

" After my right humble commendations, this shall be
to let you understand that I have conferred with the
Duke of Chatelherault, otherwise called the Governor
of Scotland, whom I do find overmuch desirous of
the amity and friendship of England, with a great
number of the nobility of Scotland as his friends and

" First, I did break with him, what injury he was like
to receive for his title to the crown by the marriage with
Prance : who answered, That he could take no damage so
long as the title were not present in his hands : But that
if it should chance the title to fall unto him, he doubted
not, but his friends would with their lives and goods
defend his title against the French King, if he should
attempt it, and trusted to have the Queen our mistresses
favour in the same.

" Secondarily, I declared unto him, that by means of the
forts and strengths that they had suffered the French to
possess, they were not able to make resistance against
them, but lived under their thralldom : so that if they
minded any displeasures of the French, for the saving of

Sir Henry Percy at this time that he acted as one of the Commissioners
to administer the oath of allegiance and conformity imposed by Elizabeth
' ; pon all ecclesiastics (Fcedera, xv. 611-612) ; a duty only conferred upon
those who had openly conformed to the new doctrines.

' The original letters are in the Record Office. They are calendared
"i the Scottish Series of State Papers, a.d. 1509-1603,- vol. i. p. 110
f/ sc 7 .



a.d. their inheritances, being- under the governance of their
I53 lIJ! 5 5 strengths, they durst not attempt any thing to them
prejudicial : So that I could not see, if the Queen our
mistress was minded to assist them, that it would be-
any thing beneficial to them. To this he answered,
That as for the forts they had in their hands, it was not
greatly material. First, considering they were not able
to maintain those places without victual, munition and
other necessaries which could not be had but by their
assistance. Therefore, to have the strengths and forts
of a realm, and not a country to maintain them withal,
they would in short time be more weary of keeping
those places, than they annoyed these maintaining them.
So that they doubted not but that they would be glad
to have a safe-conduct to depart : and principally that if
the Oueen of England would assist the nobility of Scot-
land there was not that Fort in their hands, but in a
short time would be glad to render it, or at leastwise by
force to leave it.

11 Thirdly, I declared unto him, That I could not under-
stand by what means it were possible, that the Queen
our mistris, would or. could assist them of Scotland :
considering the warrs that lately were levied by them,
and the maintenance of the French our Queen's enemies,
who be daylie annoyers unto our Realm and likely to
oppress and put you to ruine.

" To the which he answered : I confess very well these
warrs betwixt us and your Realm were begun by our
Queen dowager of Scotland and some nobility who
would seeme to follow the Queen's mind therein, partly
trusting to have a recompense for the same ; and some
others for mere Flattery provoked her to that folly : l' :L
if you would call to remembrance what little attempts
have been offered by us, the chief of Scotland ; as i-""
example at our last army, which should have been U-r



th<< winning of Wark, you understood and knew it very a.d.

well, altho' the Queen on the pain of our allegiance had I5:> ! 5

commanded us to come to the Frontiers, which we
could not of Duty have denied : and then coming
hither on the Frontier, it was proposed to us, that we
should attempt the winning of Wark and the invasion
of England which, all that time we knew very well, you
were not provided nor furnisht for us. Yet answered we,
the whole nobility, that to defend our country we were
there and to spend our lives : but for attempting any
tiling in England or invasion of the country, we would
not do, not understanding by whom, or for what cause,
the war was begun. Wherefore our Queen dispersed
her camp in great choler, and partly against her honour.
Therefore may you see, what minds we have of our-
selves to do you of England any annoyance ; and since
that time we have not attempted anything against your

" Fourthly, I said: My Lord, as I have not authority to
debate or resolve of these weighty affairs, yet for the
good zeal I bear unto my country, and with the unity
and peace among Christians, in my opinion it were a
goodly matter to have assured Friendship, [and to con-
sider] in what subjection our Realm was in by our late
marriage with the King of Spain ; and what incon-
veniences did follow, as by the intangling us in wars and
other like things. And in like case, [of] your Realm,
which at this present is not void of the like incumbrance,
as now ours clearly is. Methinks, in my opinion, it were
a goodly matter, if it could be so brought to pass, that
you might be clearly out of the subjection of France,
[so] as to live, as you have done heretofore, as a realm
of yourselves.

11 To which he answered : As for the incumbrance you
aad by your marriage, and now presently we have, it is



a.d. a thing we wish gladly were amended, and yet it is not
i53*-*5 8 5 m our power until such time as God hath sent the same
Fortune unto us as hath lighted upon you ; altho' we
would much rejoice, if God would send us the same
hap. But as for the Christian amity you would be-
twixt our realms, you may be assured, that you be no
more desirous to have an unity, peace, and quietness
between these realms, than we be. Therefore if it can
be devised, by what means to set a tranquillity betwixt
our two realms I, and all my friends, shall be as much
lead thereunto, as if I were a subject of England.

" Fifthly, I said : My Lord, seeing God hath sent a true
and Christian Religion among you, as now the same, I
doubt not, but shall take effect with us, how could it be
better for the maintenance of God's word, than to join
with us of England, and we with you, in such sort that ii
the French King, who is of the contrary, would attempt
anything prejudicial to our Realm, and go about to bring
your Realm into such subjection that of yourselves you
could neither command nor direct, that then we should
be so confedered together, that his folk were not able to
attain anything that unto us should not seem well ? To
the which he answered :

" Sir Henry Percy, this is the first time that I have
spoken with you, but it is not the first conference that
has been betwixt us by message; and both for the House
you are come of, and credit that all men have of you,
I will speak my Fancy plainly unto you. You shall
perceive, that if I should attempt anything against our
Queen of Scotland, now being Heir, it were not possib<<-
that I should prevail, altho' I have many Friends. And
moreover, it should be a great hindrance to my •
Therefore I will promise you, as partly I have done

1 A blank in the MS.


heretofore, my friendship in these things. First, I a.d.
would by no means for my part that there shall any I55 _li 5 °
war continue betwixt you and us. Secondly, if the
French King will inforce us to make any invasion upon
you, it shall not be done to his contentation. Thirdly,
if there be any attempts moved, either to Berwick or
your Realm, of any great Importance, it shall be unto
you certified. And if you invade us, the French King
having any power in Scotland, we shall be glad to do
our endeavour, that you have the advantage of them.
And lastly, if the means can be found, that there be an
abstinence taken betwixt us and you, the French King
shall not be able to break the same, if you will so con-
tinue it. Therefore, as I know it hath been moved unto
you the taking of an abstinence, I would wish the same
might take effect. And as I have professed Friendship
unto you, you shall be assured of the continuance thereof,
unto the uttermost of my power, and more than I will
speak, if occasion shall serve.

" And thus he willed me most earnestly, if I had
credit (as he supposed I had) that his lawful friendship
should unto the Realm of England be made known,
both in the advancement of the Honour of the Realm,
and the maintenance of the word of God, which he sup-
poseth shall be by the Queen's Majesty set forth. Also
he requireth me for the safeguard of his honour, that his
friendship and goodwill might not be known to any more
than one. The which I thought I would impart to you,
most humbly desiring you would consider the state and
honour, and my poor honesty, which lyeth only in the
secret usage of this matter. I doubt not but you will
let the Queen's Majesty understand the contents of this;
the which I would have done myself, if it had not been
the lack of uniform writing, that is in me only, who have
never written to any so high and mighty princess. And



a- d - as for my espialls, which be sundry, you shall understand
153 !l! 5 5 that I have had ^reat conference with them of late, the
whole sum whereof is to the effect of an abstinence ;
so that it is too tedious for me to make you understand
the whole sum ; but as well as I can you shall perceive
by this Letter, sent unto you and Sir William Cecil.
Thus I daily wish the increase of your worship." '

Public office under Queen Elizabeth was not over
profitable to the recipients of her favour, and as a
rule only the great and wealthy nobles could bear
the expense involved in the exercise of the higher
commands. Sir Henry Percy, ambitious as he was of
distinction, found military employment in the North
too costly for his means, and had to pray the Lord
Treasurer "to have in remembrance my pore estate.
and how little I am able to mantayne myselfe in the
Queen's Majesties affaires." 2 He had been thought
unfit for the office of Deputy Warden of the marches,
because of being " soe slenderlie furnished for such
a charge ; " 3 and, as we have seen, 4 he had previously
remonstrated against being required to maintain the
governorship of Tynemouth at his own expense, as being
" too sore a burthen for a younger brother." 3

Henry Percy, however, had succeeded in considerably
improving his financial position by marriage with his
cousin, Catherine Neville, the eldest daughter of John,
the last Lord Latimer of his name ; 6 a man of so

1 Sir Henry Percy to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Norham Castle
22nd January, 155S. Cotton MSS. Caligula, B. x. The orthography

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 12 of 31)