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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should have his tryal. She gave me great chardge to
wyll your lordship to have great and spetyall care to
have yt substancyally donne, least there be some packing

and partyal favor shewyd she being perswaded

that none hath more deservyt than he, consydering alway
hertofore her favour and goodnes shewyd toward him,
and that none hath answered her dewty agen with more
dyssimulation. ' In any wyse,' sayth she, ' byd my Lord
Treasorer shew himselfe as he shuld doe in this case of
Percye's .... least some may think to please Burley,
for that he hath matched with hym, lett him deal with
the Attorney and my learned Counsel the more ernestly,
that they may perceve that he lookes only to my service.'
Besyde, she said, she was informyd that Sir Hary

1 Edmund Powell to Lord Burghley, 20th February, 1572. Original
State Papers, Record Office. Vol. 85, No. 48.

IS 2


IVrcye had, as yt werr, the liberty of the Tower, and a.d.
walked openlie uppon the Hill at his pleasure, and who I5 _L
|yst talked with hym .... 'This manner of specyell
favor shewyd to him above the rest ' (sayth she) ' wyll
cawse some folks to thinke that it is for Burleigh's sake ;
ihcrefore lett'him havespecyall care to give chardge, both
to my learned councell and the judges, to have good
regard to the Proceedings with him ; for I think,' quoth
she, ' his faulte as grete as any man's, though yt be no
hie treeson.' Suerly I find she lookes to have Sir Henry
Percye secretly ' dealt withal, and the more for that yt
toucheth not his lyfe." 2

After the lapse of eighteen months the prisoner was
brought to trial, as appears from the following record :

" Henry Percy, late of Tinmouth in the countie of
Northumberland, knight, was indicted in the terme of
Easter, in the fourteenth yeere of Her Majesties raigne,
for that he, with divers others, did conspire for the de-
livering of the Oueene of Scottes out of the custodie of
the Earle of Shrewsburie ; upon which indictment the
same Henry Percie did confesse the offence ; and did put
himselfe to the Queene's mercie, and thereupon judge-
ment was after given by the Court that the saide Henry
shoulde pay to the Oueene for a fine for his said offence,
five thousand marks, 3 as appeareth bi the Recorde
thereof in Court. 4

As the sentence did not in itself involve imprisonment,

' So in the printed text ; but in the original MS. the word is, with
exception of the two first letters, obliterated, and the context points
to " severely " rather than secretly.

* Eari of Leicester to Lord Burghley, ist November, 1572. Murdin,
p. 228.

J Only a fraction of this sum appears to have been paid, for in April,
* 594, the 9th Earl of Northumberland petitioned for a remission of the
fine imposed upon his father, and in the following December a warrant
*•»* issued, discharging him of ,£3,132, or within ^200 of the total
' ; -».m. State Papers. 4 Proceedings of Privy Council.



a.d. Percy's detention in the Tower to the end of the year
I53 !l! 5 5 was probably the result of the non-payment of the fine.
On being- then released, however, Sir Henry Percy was
required to take up his permanent abode at Petworth,
and prohibited from approaching- within ten miles of the
metropolis. On the 12th July, 1573, the Privy Council
informed him that " at the humble suit of his wife, beir>' r
with child, Her Majesty for more ease permits the Earl
of Northumberland to come to London or thereabouts,
using- himself circumspectly, and that he should not
depart above one or two miles from thence till her
highness's pleasure were known." l

Although in this document he is styled Earl of North-
umberland it was not until three years later that he was
summoned to Parliament under that title. 2

His past offences seem now, however, to have been
forgiven by the Queen, who indeed showed him some ex-
ceptional marks of her personal favour, 3 and on one occa-
sion is said to have honoured him with a visit at Petworth.'

1 p r i V y Council Journals.

2 Journals of Parliament, iSth Elizabeth.

3 In his evidence before the Star Chamber in June 1585, Sir
Christopher Hatton says of the Earl that at this time " No man of his
qualitie received greater countenance and comfort at Her Maiesties
handes than he, inasmuch that in all exercises of recreation used by
Her Maiestie, the Earl was always called to be one ; and whensoever Her
Maiestie showed herself abroad in publique she gave to him the hon'.-r
of the best and highest services about her person, more often than to
all the noble men of the Court." — See a pamphlet in the British Museum
entitled, A true and summarie rcporte of the declaration of some parte oj
the Earle of Northumberland' ' s Treasons. In redibus C. Barker, London,
1585. The names of the Earl and his Countess appear regularly from
1577 to 1 5 S3 in the lists of the donors and recipients of Royal New
Years' Gifts, printed in the Calendar of State Papers.

* Sir William Cornwallis writes that, " When Her Maiestie shall ha\e
had experience of the roughness and inequality of the Roads, she wolu
not thank them that hath persuaded her to this progress." — State
Papers, Add', p. 113.

As Nicholls makes no mention of this visit, in his Progresses ff
Queen Elizabeth, it is probable that the state of the roads may have
prevented its accomplishment



The following letter belongs to this period :

" My Veregood Lorde and cossene, wheareas my Lorde
a nd grandfather dyd make a mareage betvvext his sone
the Lorde percy, my uncle, and the earlle of Shrowsberes
daughter, your Lo.'s awnte ; and the sade covenantes of
mareage as I suposse to be w th yowe ; I amc occassioned
for sundere causses to seke for the sade covenantes, wyche
I cane not, as I suposse, come by the same w th out your
L. good meanes. Also as I persave my sade grandfather
dyd make ane estatte of his landes in the 4 yere of H. 8.
or there a bowttes, and dyd leve fines of the same put-
ynge your L. grandfather in truste, as a spessiall feftore
thare of I ame nowe hartyly to dessire your L. if yowe
cane helpe me, ether to the one of thes, or bothe, that I
may have your favore hearein for that the thinges wolde
stand me in great stede ; not that I mynd to have theme
out of your L. handes, but a seight of theme ; wyche wolde
do me great plessure, and I shalbe redy w' any thinge I
cane to requitt your L. cortesie. And thus w th my moste
harty comedassions to your L. and my good lady your
wyffe, I wyshe unto youe bothe as to my selffe. Frome
my howsse in sancte martenes, this 19 of may 15S1.

" Your L. moste assured frend and Cossene,
" Northumberland.'

"To the righte honorable ray verie good
I~ and Cosin thearle of Shrewsburie
Earle Marshall of Englande."

It is evident that, while personally acceptable to the
sovereign, the Earl continued to be viewed with suspicion
as a sympathiser with the Catholic cause, and a supporter

1 From the original letter, in possession of the Marquis of Bath at




a.d. of the claims of the Scottish Queen to the succession. It
I5,3 !l! 5 * was doubtless on these grounds that he remained under
prohibition to appear among his people in the North,
where the influence of his name was as powerful as
ever, and where his adherents made frequent efforts to
re-establish him in their midst. 1

He affects, it is true, to be reconciled to his exclusion
from public life, and to his enforced retirement at Petworth,
where he describes himself as " living like a rustike and
very well contente therewith, for although it is solitary,
yet it is quiett ; " 2 but his active and scheming mind must
have chafed under so tame an existence, and yearned for
scenes and pursuits more congenial to his adventurous

The following letter, though he still professes to be
completely submissive to the Queen's will, betrays his
anxiety to take part in the affairs of his native province.

" My vere good Lorde,

" I have resavyd your letter, and do hartyly thanke your
lordship for your good advyse consarnynge my boy. I
have resavyd a lettre from my lordes of hir maiisties
privie counsell touchenge one attainder served against
sartine gentellmene in Northumberland, and a copye of
my answare I sende to your L. herewith. My lorde, I
am much urged to prosicute this attainder, bothe in defense
of my honor and inheritance, for I have resavyd as greet
injurie at there handes as may be, and they have done as
foulle facte in passinge the verdict againste Sir Cudbarte

1 " I fear that the Lord President (the Earl of Shrewsbury) entertains
designs against the queen, and draws too many persons to his side. If
we had such an one as the Earl of Northumberland planted in these
parts it would draw most people from him, and we should find a sure
piliar to lean on." — Sir Christopher Rokeby to Lord Burghley, September,
1580, State Papers.

2 Lansdoicne MSS. 28, 19.


Hjpwijjj! - -




Mi- -



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. y.


















- ^^fc^^i^*^^^^,^-. . ^


(Cuthbert) Colyngwode as almost might be, to the evill
cxsampel of that rude contrie; 1 and for my selffe, my lorde,
I am too outrageously usyd in all thinges apertanyne to
me and those under me, having charge in that contre, as
they be put in danger, so unsevell are thare doings
against me. My parkes and chases be contenually
hunted, as well in the nyghte as in the day, allmost
distroynge all the game I have, and yet not so contentyd,
but beatte my servantes and setting up the heades of
the deer where they have kylled them in disspitte of me
and my omssors.

" If I were a traittor or an abjecte, they cowlde do no
more uttrage unto me than they do ; and to complane, I
knowe it wyll come before my enimies, who wyll but
laughe to see me so usyd ; and I am ashamyd, to tell your
Lordship the trowthe, they showlde understand of my


" Your L. knoweth that it is hir maiesties plessure that
I am restraned from those partes, whereby I cannot make
suche redresse to my causes as if I were there, nor geve
countenance to the same being absente ; My Lorde, in
good fathe I repine not at the restrente of my lybertte ; for
I knowe it good reason that hir Maiestie command the
bodies of all hir subgects ; but nowe, My Lorde, I make
my mone to you, my singuller good Lord and frende, as to
one whome, the worlde knowth, loves to ha vejustis and

* Such was the exhausted state of Northumberland towards the end
of the sixteenth century that the greater part of the country had been
thrown out of cultivation, and entire districts, ravaged by the bcots,
were deserted by the inhabitants. In his report for the year 1563,
Mr. Stockdale, one of the Earl of Northumberland's auditors, writes :
" I praye you be a meanes to preferre these lj Robsonnes, for we could
have neytner horse nor man in all the Lordshipp of Prudhow the
Manor of Newborne and Shibottle, to help to guide his Lordship s
Treasure to Topcliff, but onelie them ; who wilhnghe lefte house, wytl
and children, put on their Steele cappes, and made themselves readie
and brought us saffe to Topcline, with the two horse-loads of money. —
From the original MS. penes Com. Northumbria. Alnwick MSS.





2-° 8 ^° OC * orcIer m i n y s tered in all countries, and to all men,
-^ wherefore I crave of your good L. if you can by any good
meanes to causse the furious doynges of these dissordered
parsonnes against me to be tamed, and I shall think
me. greatly beholden to your L. for the same ; otherwyse
I shall be without remede, yet determyned with passience
to beare all thinges ; for if I showlde attempte sutte in
lawe, I shall not have justis in those partes. If I showlde
deffende my causse with forsse, I finde it dangerous, con-
sideryng the enymiss I have ; and therefore I knowe not
what waye to turn me, but to beare whatsoever shall
hapene. One thinge I am much afrade of, that is of
Sir Coudbarte Collyngwode, who is my ofhssor, that
his lyffe is in great perelle in that contrie, for the
enmythie they bear him, as also he being my offissor for
esecutinge my directyones. I marvele greatly your L.
and the reste of the counselle have not hearde of such
matters as are betwext him and others of that contrie.
If hir maiestie lose that man, I speake it without affection
or parsiallytie, she loseth the truest gentleman, and one of
the moste able to sarve hir, that is that contrie. I dessir
your L. to pardone me in trobellynge your L. so myche
in this matter, and thus I comytte your L. to God,
wyshenge you all honor and happenes. From my howsse
at Petworthe, this 13th of September, 1581.
" Your L.,

" most assurid cossene to comand,

" H. Northumberland." '

The position in which the Earl now found himself
placed was, above all others, calculated to tempt one of

1 Earl of Northumberland to Lord Burghley. Harl. 3/SS., vol. 5,
No. 6993, fol. 5.

This letter, as well as the one that follows, is throughout in the
handwriting of the Earl.



| it temper into complicity in fresh plots. Had he been
wtloyed in foreign wars he would doubtless have clone
■/country good service; but England was now at
cace, and although the clouds were gathering over her
,.:sts, some years were yet to pass before the storm
. trst forth. Or had he been restored to full liberty, and
rmitted to assume his hereditary position in the north,
it is probable that a regard for his personal interests would
have induced him to justify the confidence placed in him
by the Queen. Not only, however, was he condemned to
m inactive life in an enlarged prison, but, as he was well
aware, Elizabeth still viewed him with suspicion, while
her agents watched him with offensive vigilance, and
eagerly seized upon every pretext to cast doubt upon
his loyalty. It is impossible to hazard an opinion as to
whether he was at this time already engaged in Catholic
intrigues, but the prolonged visit of an agent of the
French Government under his roof, which he thus ac-
counts for, might not unreasonably excite the misgivings
of the Court :

" I have hearde of latte that the Oueene's Maiestie
showlde be offendyt with me for the being heare ofJl/ons.
de Bex; 1 and yet I may not take knowlyche of this
for that the same is uttered to me in secrett by a frende.
My Lord, I wolde be lothe to do that wyche myght
offend hir highnes any way ; and for that I wolde
dessire your Lordshipp's opinione what were beste for
me to do herein. I thought good to make knowne to
. "iir Lo. not onely the comynge of Mons. cle Bex hether,
' -it allso the causse of his long stay in this plasse. My
koye in France hathe beine in great extremyte of siknes
and clanger of lyffe, and being advertysed thereof I sent

1 Seigneur de Preveaux, a Gentleman of the Chamber to the Duke of
i, and at this time acting as secretary to M. de Marchemont, the
: ' c h ambassador in London.




a.d. one of my sarvantes to Mons. Marchemonde, as well to
1532-15 5 understande if he had any worde in what cass my boye
was in, as also to require him to reseve from me one
hundrythe poundes, and to causse so myche mony be
delyvered to my boye with all the expedissione he
myght ; for that I knewe his tyme of siknes wolde be
chargeble unto him, and lothe I were that he showlde
prove any of that contree for his wante. Hereupon my
sarvante delyvered one hundrythe powndes in angelles
to Mons. Marchemonde as in way of exchange, who had
resavyd at that instante letters frome my sone of summe (?)
his recoveryre of helthe ; and being withall determyned
to geve me knowlyche of his departure and to bide me
farewell, sent Mons. de Bex unto me, both with the letters
and message.

" The ferste nyght of his comynge hether he was
summe thinge sicke ; the next daye he wolde have
borne it forthe, and wente a hunting with me into my
parke and kylled a bucke ; but at super his foode towke
him .... and sense that tyme he never wente forthe
of my howse untill yesterdeye in the afternowne, and this
daye is he departed towarde the courtte. If any dout
that he was not sike, master doctor Jhonssone who was
with him contenully cane wytnes the estatte of his body : »
I have ussed hime well I did not lowke for blame at h:r
maiestis' handes therefore, for that favour wyche I
showed hime vas cheffly for her hyghnes' causse, and
secondly for the honour of my contrie and my owne,
hapeninge that acsedente in my howse wyche fell unto
hime. Otherways I have no nede to any of France.
nor have occassione to deall mych with theme of that
nassione. Some frende of myne advysses me to come to
the courtte to purge myselfe of this suspessione. I a" 1
of contrary mynde, for that there is an owlde provcrbe.
who comes uncalled to excusse himcseljfe, comes otu'tj'



1 1 aciusse himeselffe, and I protest by God and his a.d.
lies, I ame a cleare man to hir maiestie and my I573 ~ 4

ntrir in all my doings, and require but triall with thos
thai shall informe aganste me." 1

In the course of the following year the Earl became
implicated in Throckmorton's conspiracy, but here again
there is no evidence to establish anything beyond fair
grounds for suspicion. That he had held conferences
with some of the conspirators is certain, but these had
been his friends in former times, and his reception of
such persons at Petworth, and even his general sympathy
with their cause, is compatible with his innocence of
complicity in their more criminal designs. The testi-
mony adduced against him is of the most feeble char-
.scier. One man deposed that he had been employed
by the Earl to carry a pack from Petworth to Arundel
which was " so weighty that it almost spoilt his horse ;"
another that " on the day that Arthur Shaftoe's house
was searched, the Earl lent his white creldinsf " to a sus-
pected person ; and a third stated that among the con-
s>irators he had " seen somebody disguised in a white
Iri'jze jerkin, who might have been the Earl of North-
umberland." 2

Notwithstanding the absence of incriminatincr evi-
(*<nce, however, the Earl (as well as his kinsman Lord
Arundel) was for seme time confined to his house
m London and closelv watched, and in the following:
't-'bruary, on pretence of further revelations having been
made, he, Lord Henry Howard, and Throckmorton 3
w cre committed to the Tower, Popham, the Attorney-

I'-arl of Northumberland to Lord Burghley, Petworth. 25th September,
'5 s *- Jffarkian MSS. vol. v. No. 6993, fols. 16* and i6 b .

Original State Papers ; Record Office.
_ J hree applications of the rack had extorted no confession inculpatorv
' ' :rs from this unfortunate man. To the fourth he yielded, but, when
; '"-' scaffold, he retracted the wonis wrung from him in his agony.

V01 " n. 161 m


a.d. General, having reported that he could trace Throck-
i532-i5 s 5 morton's conspiracy ;< for the liberation of the Scottish
Queen and the toleracion of religion " to the Earl oi

After repeated examinations, however, no serious
charges could be proven against him, and he was once
more set at liberty.

Elizabeth, it must be allowed, had good grounds for
resentment against one who, after full pardon for former
offences, and the exceptional favour she had shown him,
had chosen his associates from among her avowed
enemies, and openly expressed his sympathy for the
cause of her hated rival, the Scottish Queen. Though
the proof of actual guilt was wanting and the law could
not convict, his sovereign was certainly now justified in
declining to retain him in her service, and in requiring
him to transfer the custody of so important a post as
Tynemouth Castle to other hands.

Against this command he offered the following remon-
strance : —

" The Erie of Northumberland most humblic
beseechethe her Ma tie to pardon him in
not yeilding to deliuer ouer to S r Fra.
Russell, knighte, the charge of the Castle
of Tinmouthe &c. for the reasons fol-
lowing —

" Firste in respecte that his estate of living is but small
to maintaine the Countenance of an Earle, being charged
w th ten children, and the benefitte of th'ofhce of Tin-
mouthe a good portion of his living, w tb out the w ch he
should be so straightned, as not hable to sustaine th'or-
dinarie charge of his housekeeping and education <
his children.

"Secondlie, that by th'office of Tinmouthe he mam



uinethe xx. of his old seruaunts suche as haue serued a.b. 15S4

I m some xxx. some xx. and some x. yeeres, being pro-

uKlcd of no other meanes to feede and relieue them but

by that office ; and that (if they shoulde be displaced by

his relinquishing thereof) they wolde be lefte in case to

bcgge their breade, as men neuer trained vpp in anie

trade to gett their living but by seruice, wherof bothe

hono' and honestie doe binde him to have speciall care

and consideration.

" Thirdlie, the disgrace and discredite that will growe
vnto him in his owne countrey, by the remooveing of
him from the office, w ch he tendrethe asmvche as his life ;
and therfore he desirethe her Ma" 8 to haue tender con-
sideration thereof, and that leaving aside the conceipte
of his past disgrace it maie please her gratiouslie to call
to her remembrance the faithfull seruices he hathe
formerlie don bothe to her Ma ue , and to Oueene Marye
her sister, w ch he intreatethe maie speake for him in this
time of his hardest fortune.

" Lastlie, that it maie please her Ma tie not to forgette
that at her Highnes instance he resigned to the L.
Hunsdon the Castle of Norham w th the benifitte thereof,
worthe in value vnto him by the yeere 400 li. at the
leaste ; w ch not long before had coste him a greate
sume of money, and that he sought not th' office
of Tynmouthe, then laide vppon him by her Ma tie w th
promise of better preferrement in lieu of Norham,
^nd of his willing resi^nin^ thereof at her Ma ty
fequeste." r

I he Queen was obdurate ; she rejected the appeal,
superseded him in the governorship, and in the following
December, notwithstanding Lord Burghley's intercession,
»e was once more arrested on charges of complicity in

1 Record Office. Calendared in State Papers ; Addenda (1580-1625),
>' '34-

l6; M 2


a.d. rebellious plots. " Yesterday," writes Walsingham, " the
1532-15 5 j7 ar } Q f Northumberland was committed prisoner to
his own house, under the charge of Sir S. Leighton,
for conference with Charles Paget. He confesses the
conference, but denies that he knew of any cause for
Paget's return to England except to confer with his
brother, Lord Paget, on private affairs ; but others sin-
that the Earl knew more than this. The Earl of Arundel
was also charged with the matter, but denies it. Charles
Pao-et is a most dangerous instrument, and I wish, for
Northumberland's sake, he had never been born." r

To which Stafford (then Elizabeth's ambassador in
Paris) replies :

" I am sorry to hear of enterprisers against Queen
and State [Northumberland and Arundel]. One I have
honoured for himself; the other for nearness of nature:
yet if guilty, I wish him (Northumberland) more punishol
than the other, for he (Arundel) can plead lack of wit
for an excuse." 2

That the object of Throckmorton and his accomplices
was to effect the Scottish Queen's liberation by the aid
of French invasion to which the Due de Guise had
pledged himself, would appear to have been conclusive!;.-
established. That Lord Paget and his brother Char!<>.
as well as the Earl of Arundel, were more or less parti':-
to some such plot is beyond question; but it is note-
worthy that throughout the repeated examinations ol
numerous witnesses and (which is even more conclusive
throughout the intercepted correspondence of those con-
cerned, nothing transpired that could fairly be said to
implicate Northumberland, except the unsupported (and

1 Secretary Walsingham to Sir E. Stafford, 16th December, 15":
State Papers ; Addenda ( 1 580-1 625 ) p. 131.

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 14 of 31)