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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and trusty. The place is so important that I wish the Queen would take
order with Mr. Grey to have it in her own hands, and so put it in order,
that it shall not be in danger of being lost." — State Papers, Dom. Mary.
Addenda, p. 463.

3 Talbot Papers, i. 29.

4 "Some are brought to Glendale at moonlight, but other times lie
where in the dark there is as much danger, and more plenty of food." —
Earl of Northumberland to Privy Council, Dec. 21, 1557. State Papers,
Don. Mary.

5 Same to same, 13 Nov., 1557. — Ibid.



a.d. Scotch, " who should either be scourged with great armies,
152 JI! 572 for which the time of year is too late, or kept at bay by
great frontier garrisons." He considers that the force to
be maintained in the Middle Marches alone should be
raised to not less than 2,500 men : " footmen are not as
much service as horse, for they can do nothing in winter
but stay in holds and towns, otherwise they will be ready
to follow and fray."

In her reply to this communication the Queen says :
" You write so often and earnestlie that we have re-
solved to send now 1000 inland men for service on the
borders, 300 of whom to be archers on horseback, 400
light-horse, and 300 arquebusiers. . . . every soldier on
horseback is to have I2d. a day;" the Earl's own
retainers, " if they serve above ten days, to be allowed
6d. a day ; if less, a convenient reward." 1

In January the Earl, in compliance with the Queen's
commands, raised 1000 men to garrison Berwick
against a contemplated attack by the French "every
100 men to have two experienced leaders;" and in
the following April he writes : " Last Thursday I de-
vised with my brother to burn a town in the Merse,
called Langton, because it was a place of harbour for
their chief officer, and there was much corn there. . .
We crossed over with 1000 foot and 100 horse at
Norham, burnt the town and a large quantity of corn,
and divers villages thereabout, and took a great booty
of cattle. . . . Lord Hume and all the company, about
200 horse and 600 foot, so straightly followed, that my
brother, alter he had drawn the horse in order, was com-
pelled to light on foot, and after a long encounter the
victory was on your side ; ico Scots killed, 400 prisoners ;
English losses not above six, and as many taken."

1 Queen Mary to Northumberland, Nov. 1557. State Papers. Dom
Mary, Addenda, p. 461.


The employment of foreign mercenaries was at this a.d.
period much resorted to for the defence of the borders,
and the Queen now informs her Lord Warden that " 3000
Almaius are ready to be transported out of Flanders,"
and would arrive at Newcastle by the 26th June. She
requests that " As we are at great charge in entertaining
these men. . . . they may not lie still but be occupied
as often as may be to the damage of the enemy." '

Within a year after his restoration the Earl of North-
umberland had formed a happy marriage with the
Lady Anne Somerset, daughter of William, second
Earl of Worcester, and a long, prosperous and honourable
career seemed to lie before him. Affectionate and
single-minded, a warm friend, a jovial and hospitable
neighbour and a kind and generous master ■ devoted to
field sports and martial exercises and, although of an

[indolent and irresolute nature and possessed of little
intellectual power yet, by no means devoid of dignity, or
of a due sense of the responsibility attaching to him as
the head of his house and as a great Border chieftain,
what faith would have been placed in the prophet who
should have foretold that, within little more than twelve
years, this kindly and genial nobleman would have lit the
torch of civil war and passed, through penury and exile,
to an ignominious death on the scaffold ?

The two Earls, whose names were soon to be so
fatally associated, were at this time far from united.
Northumberland and his brother had more than once
complained of Lord Westmoreland's unfairness towards
them. In May the Council writes in reply to these
remonstrances: "You* have heard untrue reports that
the Earl of Westmoreland has, by letters or otherwise,
endeavoured to discredit your services, and complained

1 The Queen to the Earl of Westmoreland, June, 1558. State Papers,
■Dom. Ada", p. 497.


a.d. to us of you, which you think unkind. As lieutenant
152 _lf 572 he ought to find fault with any man about the service,
but he never did about you. Therefore we beg you will
not give credit to such false reports, nor listen to tale-
bearers, who cause unquietness, and hinder the service,
but consider my Lord-lieutenant your friend, and join
him in all amity." x The breach was not healed however,
for in the following month the Queen instructs the
Bishop of Ely, and the Master of the Rolls, " to examine
the causes of the division between the Earls of West-
moreland and Northumberland, and between the Lord
Eure and Sir H. Percy, and if possible appease the same,
or we must seek means of redress."

On the death of Alary a change at once came over the
Earl's position. The recipients of the late Queen's favour
were from the first viewed with suspicion by Elizabeth
and her counsellors. A minister who professed to believe
the holding of the Catholic faith to be incompatible
with loyalty to the Crown, 2 could hardly view without
mistrust the son of so zealous a papist as the attainted
Sir Thomas Percy, and who had moreover owed his re-
storation to the favour of Queen Alary. Elizabeth, more-
over, was disposed to pursue the policy of her father, and
to weaken the power which, within their own territories,
was still exercised by the ancient nobility of England.

A commission for the redress of grievances on the
border, of which, in 1559, the Earl of Northumberland
was appointed the chief, 3 was subsequently, when the
matters under discussion became complicated by the
introduction of questions relating to the claims of

1 State Papers, Addenda, p. 480.

2 " I cannot forget how your lordship dyd wyll me to holde y f for a
principle that popery and treeson went always together." — Lord Hunting-
don to Lord Burghley, 2S Dec, 1572. Ibid.

3 Appendix, I.



the Scottish Protestants, strengthened by the nom- a.*j$S*
ination of Sir Ralph Sadler, Chancellor of the Duchy
of Lancaster, who was at the same time appointed
Governor of Berwick. He was one of Cecil's most
trusted and most able agents, and the secret instructions
which he now received 1 imply suspicion either of the
loyalty or of the capacity of the Lord Warden, whom
Sadler in his letters loses no opportunity of disparaging,
sometimes by innuendo relating to the danger of his
religious opinions, at others by direct charges of in-
competence or untrustworthiness.

Thus he writes : — I

"As for Sir Henry Percy I saw him not yet; for he
hath not ben nere the frontiers synse I came hyther,
nor a good whyle before ; nor do I judge him a man of
such integryte as in any wyse may be comparable to Sir
James Croft. And the Earl his brother is, I assure you,
a very unmete man for the charge which is comytted
unto him here." 2

Again a few days later : " It is more than xx.
yeres ago syns I had som understanding of this
frontier, and yet dyd I never know it in such disorder
wherefore, if you woll have the frontiers well
ordered, you must appoynt such officers as can governe
better, which, in my pour opynyon, might be so chosen as
the Quene's majestie shoulde by them be a gret dele
better served than she is now, and with lesse charge." 3

And again on the 19th September, he reports that
Lord Dacre " woulde be very loth that the protestants
in Scotland, yea or in England, should prosper, if he
mio-ht lett (prevent) it. And even of the same sorte is
your Warden of the Est and Middell Marches here.

1 See Sadler State rapers, vol. L p, 387 et seq.

2 Sir R. Sadler to Cecil, 29th Aug., 1559. Ibid., p. 409.

3 Same to same 12th Sept., 1559. Ibid., p. 444-



a.d. . . . We suspect that th'erle of Northumberland is
I52 _l! 5 ' 2 advertysed, from tyme to tyme, by Alen, the clerke of the
counsail there, of all secret matiers, whatsoever they be,
that concernith hym or any other." '

Northumberland was however too powerful to be
openly set aside or made an enemy of, and an unworthy
arrangement was come to between Cecil and Sadler
under which, while he was nominally consulted by his
colleagues, secret communications were addressed to
Sadler by the minister on all matters submitted for the
consideration of the Commission. Confiding and simple-
minded as he was, the Earl could not long remain in
ignorance of these underhand proceedings, and of the
mistrust which they implied ; a mistrust quite unmerited,
for there is at this time no indication whatever of any
strong bias in favour of the Catholics on his part, and so
far from being apathetic we find him thus rebuking his
colleagues for want of zeal in the Queen's service :

" It seamyth the Ouene's Majestie's pore subjects is
rather further dreven off for the having of justice by our
last sytting in comyssion, than yf suche comyssion had
never ben sytt on. Therefore I wolde wish, and do
think it most convenient, you shulde take in hand, to
procede for the helpe and relieve of this pore countrye, as
ye were put in trust, when you cam in comyssion for
that purpose. For I am sure ye are not a mynded that
I shuld do any good, when ye kepe from me the
originall (?) that I shuld be directed by." 2

Sadler however persisted in his course of duplicity and
petty annoyance. Thus when the Earl had obtained the
Queen's permission that his brother-in-law Slingsby, the
keeper of Tyndale, should, for his greater convenience,

1 Sadler State Papers, vol. i. p. 453. The concluding sentence was
appended to the letter in cipher.

* Northumberland to Sadler, 12th Oct., 1559. Ibid., p. 497.



occupy a certain house at Hexham, Cecil, instigated by a.d. 1559
Sadler, did not rest until he had induced Elizabeth to
revoke her sanction, and goaded Slingsby into resigning
his office in disgust. 1 In like manner, Sir Thomas
Clavering, Deputy-Governor of Norham Castle, a
gentleman of unblemished honour, was denounced
as " a Scottish spy " and required to be displaced for
no other reason than that he held his post under, and
by the nomination of, Sir Henry Percy.

The wardenship of the Marches was at best an one-
rous and unprofitable post, and one now little coveted by
the nobles in the north. I ts duties had become doubly irk-
some to the Earl of Northumberland, serving as he was
undera Government which mistrusted, and with colleaeues
who irritated, thwarted, and deceived, him. In 1560 he
accordingly became " an humble suter " to the Privy
Council for permission to resign his office, and informs
Sadler that the Queen had consented to his beine "dis-
burdyned " 2 and authorized the employment of his
brother, or in his absence of Sadler, pending the
appointment of a new Warden. The Earl had admitted
his inability to give " sufficient entertainment " to his
deputies, and Sadler was not disposed to undertake the
duties of an office carrying no profits and for the dis-
charge of which he had " neyther menne, horse, nor
money." Nevertheless "though he was all wayes but

!slenderlie furnished for such a charge," he would accept
it, rather than that Sir Henry Percy should fill the post,
being convinced that neither he nor his brother was
"mete to have the rule of any of thes marches." 3

1 The lengthy correspondence upon this trivial subject, in which the
Queen herself did not disdain to take an active part, is published in the
Sadler State Papers.

3 The Queen's authority is dated 30 Oct., 1559.

3 Sadler to Cecil, 8 Nov., 1559. Sadler State Fapers,vc\. i., p. 5S5.



a.d. When in the following year Lord Grey ' was appointed

l 5 2 ^H 2 to the vacant wardenship, he complained of his nephew 2
having raised objections to his occupying Alnwick Castle
and " carried away the most part of the stuff there, and
broken up the brewing vessels and other necessary im-
plements of household. I cannot remain in the country
without a house to live in ; " to which the Earl replies :
" As for my house at Alnwick I am forced to preserve it
and all my provisions in the county . . . and must have
diverse reparations made there during my absence," for
which reason he begs to be held excused from allowing
his castle to be made the official residence of the Lord
Warden. 3

The reparations referred to were long in progress,
for when in the summer of 1562 he was required
to receive the young Scottish Queen, 4 he represented
his inability to entertain Her Majesty s the castle
being* " uterlie unfurnished and not so much as one
bed or any part of household stuff .... and I being
now in so grete want of money that I assure y r lordship

that I have not Forty Pounds and I cannot

sell part of my land without the Queen's licence, which

1 The thirteenth Baron Grey of Wilton.

2 Lord Grey had married a daughter of Charles, first Earl of
Worcester. The Countess of Northumberland was thus his niece.

3 Lord Grey to Privy Council, 6 Feb., 1560. Earl of Northumberland
to Lord Grey, S Feb., 1560. State Papers.

4 On her way to meet Queen Elizabeth at York.

s This reluctance to receive the Queen of Scots stands in strong con-
trast with his subsequent eagerness to be honoured with her presence ;
but at this time, and for several years later, the Percies assumed anything
but a friendly attitude towards Queen Mary, who had repeatedly com-
plained to Elizabeth of the detention of her kinsman, Lord Keith, who
had been made a prisoner by Sir Henry Percy in 155S, and was kept
in captivity notwithstanding his readiness to pay any reasonable ransom.
Another grievance, which formed the subject of a lengthy correspondence
between the two Queens, was the capture by the Earl of Northumberland
of a vessel which had been stranded within his territories, and which
contained a large sum of money sent to her by the Pope. See Ap-
pendix II.



if I colde I shoulde be parting willinglye in any Her *•*
Majesty's service." ■ He concludes by begging that if ' —
compelled to receive Her Majesty under his roof he
might be granted a loan of ;£ 1,000 towards his expenses.
In reply he was informed that he was not required to
entertain Queen Mary, but only to attend upon her
"because of the estate that you hold to be Earl of
Northumberland." The proposed meeting between the
two sovereigns, however, did not take place.

For the next few years the Earl is little heard of. In
1563 he was created a Knight of the Garter; 2 but his
name rarely occurs in the public correspondence on
northern affairs, and he appears to have passed much
of his time at Petworth, whence some letters of his of
this period are dated. His influence in the North how-
ever was still viewed with alarm by Elizabeth's agents.
In 1565 Throgmorton writes from Scotland :

"Let the Earl of Northumberland be stayed in
London ; from all I hear it is very necessary ; the papists
in these partes do stirr themselves ; look to yourselves
and to Her Majestie's safetie .... Sir Henry Percy is
dangerous." 3


In the following June the Archbishop of York, in
compliance with orders from the Privy Council, forwards
" a list of such as have the government of castles and
seignories within the county of York," with his comments
on their conduct and capacity. Under the head of
Richmondshire he quotes the Earl of Northumberland as
" too much given to pastime, and would be better fitted
at Court, " being " an open friend of Lady Lenox," and
11 giving the upper hand to Lord Darnley at table,"
besides being; " obstinate in religion." 4

1 Northumberland to Cecil, June, 1562. State Papers.

2 The installation took place on 23rd May, 1563.

3 Throgmorton to Leicester, May, 1565. State Papers. « Ibid.



a.d. According to his own views, however, the Earl was

I 5 2 _2[57 2 ver y f ar f rom being fitted for Court life ; the pastime
to which he was accused of being too much addicted
being found in hawks, hounds, and horses ; and a hunting
party, or a raid across the border, being more congenial
to his tastes, than heading a crowd of courtiers in the

Queen's palace at Westminster.

* *

In the spring of 1568, the Scottish Queen fled from
her distracted kingdom, and contrary to the urgent advice
of her most judicious friends determined to seek refuge
upon English soil, and to throw herself uninvited upon
the hospitality of her royal sister. 1

Landing at Workington 2 on the Cumberland coast,
she was met, on the 16th of May, at Cockermouth, by
Richard Lowther, the Deputy-Warden of the Marches
under his cousin Lord Scroop, w^ho on the pretext of her
being unprovided with a passport was constrained to
claim her as his prisoner, and with every show of respect
conducted her to Carlisle Castle, of which he was
Captain, there to remain pending Elizabeth's decision as
to her further disposal.

No sooner did these tidings reach the Earl of
Northumberland at Topcliff, than he reported Mary's
arrival to Elizabeth, stating that " for her enterteignment

1 " Maluitque se uuiri et Elizabeths tutelce, quatn avium fideicommittere "
says Camden. {Annales Rerum Anglicamm Reg?iante Elizabetha, vol. i. p.
159.) Lord Hemes had written to the Deputy- Warden of Carlisle Castle
to inquire as to the reception that Mary might expect in England ; to
which Sir Richard Lowther replied guardedly that if she came he would
meet and protect her until the pleasure of the Queen should be known. —

m Chalmers's History of Scotland. Mary had herself addressed a similar in-
quiry to Elizabeth, but did not await the reply before entering English

2 A small seaport to the north of Whitehaven, whence Mary wrote to
Elizabeth : " Je voussupplie, le plus tost que pourres, m'envoyer querir,
.or je suis en piteux estat, n'on pour Royne, mays pour gentillfame ; car
je n'ay chose du monde que ma pcrsoune com me je me suis sauvee." —
Prince Alexander Labanolf's Lett res etMemoires dela Reine Marie Stuart.



and saftye I have sent to myne officers and frendes
there diligently to attend upon the same untyl your
highness good pleasure be understanded in that behalf.''
In his letter to Cecil, of the same date, his anxiety to
be charged with the reception of Mary becomes more
marked, and he urges that " seeing she hath happened
unto my handes, I trust you, and other my dear frendes
there, will be meyne that my credit be not so much
impared in the face of the country as she should be taken
from me and delyvered to any other person in these
partes." '

Armed with an order nomine regina, which he had
succeeded in obtaining from the Council at York, he
hastened to Carlisle with an imposing escort, and on
the ground of her having landed within his liberties,
peremptorily demanded the surrender of Mary. Whether
acting under superior orders, or from mistrust of the
Earl's intentions, 2 or that he was unwilling to lose the
credit of the Queen's guardianship, Lowther refused to
transfer his charge to any person whatever, except on the
personal command of the Queen of England.

In vain the Lord Warden stormed and threatened ;
within his own garrison the Captain of Carlisle could defy
even the Earl of Northumberland, and he courteously,
but firmly, declined to surrender his prisoner. The
scene between the two (which forms a curious illustra-
tion of the arrogance which the great nobles could
display towards untitled gentlemen of social position
little inferior to their own), 3 is thus described by

1 Original State Papers, Record Office.

1 Sir John Bowes certainly mistrusted these, for he informs Lord
Scroope that he, foreseeing mischief, had done his best to dissuade the
Earl from his purpose of repairing to the Scottish Queen.

3 The Lowthers were at th ; s time already a wealthy and influential
family in Westmoreland and Cumberland. Sir Hugh de Lowther had
been Governor of Carlisle under Edward the Third (see Jefferson's

VOL. II. 17 C


a.d. Lowther in his report to Lord Scroope : — " Wherc-
T 5 2 ^57 2 U pon the Earl used some rough wordes towards me,
adding too that I was too mean a man to have such a
charge, and that he marvelled how I dared take it in
hand. . . . Afterwards he sent for me to his Iodgging,
and growing into some heate and anger, gave me great
threatening, with many evil wordes and a like language,
calling me a varlet, and such others, as I had neither
deserved at his handes, neither at any mans, for the
servyce of the Prynce."

Sir Francis Knollys, whom Elizabeth had at once
despatched to the North with instructions as to the
custody of Mary, gives a graphic account of his meeting
with the Earl : — '

M My Lord of Northumberland hearing of my arrival
came from his house at Topcliffe to meet me on the way
a' this side of Boroo-hbriQfOfe • and with him Sir Nicholas
Fairfax, Sir William Fairfax, his son, Mr. H ungate and
Mr. Vavasor, being all unsound in religion!''

He proceeds to state that the Earl complained of
Lowther's refusal to give up his charge, alleging, as his
only reason for desiring to have the custody of the
Scottish Queen, that " the Deputy Warden was too base
a man for such a charge," and that, as he himself held
the authority of the Council for her surrender into his
custody, it was Lowther's duty to submit; "but I told his
lordship, although the Council of Yorke had forgotten

History of Carlisle), and his descendant, who now held that office, was
described by Dacre in a letter to his brother (State Papers) as
"that proud Lucifer Lowther who thinks that none can go against him
and that he can rule the North."

He had twice been High Sheriff of Cumberland, and was subse-
quently appointed Lord Warden of the West Marches ; but finally lost
Elizabeth's favour in consequence of his having permitted interviews
between the Duke of Norfolk and Queen Mary of Scotland, while &x
latter was in his custody.

1 Sir Francis Knollys, Vice-Chamberlain, to Cecil; 27th May, 156S.
State Papers*



themselves, inasmuch to appointe the assistance of the
shier to any other than to the Deputye Warden, or to
allow of the repair of your lordship to the Queen of
Scots, before her Highness special pleasure knowne in
that behalfe ; yet, nevertheless, Mr. Gargrave l utteriie
denied this giving of authoritye to your lordship to
interrupt the Warden in any part of his chardge, and he
saith further, your lordship maid your repaire firste, and
had their allowance and letter of assistance sent after
you ; because they understoode by your letters that the
Queen of Scots was arrived at a house of yours beino-
an inconvenient place for her safety if her enemies
should pursue her." He adds that the Earl complained
that Lowther had refused to admit him into the castle to
see the Queen " with any more companie than his page,
not only to his dishonor, but as though he had been a
stranger and a suspect person;" but that he (Knollys)
had fully justified the Deputy Warden, and " informed
his lordship that he had overshott himself very much to

(the discontentment of her Highness."
There is nothing on record to explain why, or the
precise period when, the Earl of Northumberland con-
ceived his strong attachment to the Queen of Scots, 2 nor
! certainly is there the slightest reason for attributing

this sentiment to anything but religious sympathy. The
story of his having fallen under the spell of those
charms and blandishments which had proved fatal to
so many of her supporters, may be dismissed as purely

1 Thomas Gargrave, Sheriff of Yorkshire, afterwards knighted for his
services in the suppression of the Northern rebellion.

John Leslie, Bishop of Rosse, when a prisoner in the Tower in
I 57 I , deposed that Queen Mary, shortly after her landing in England,
nad assured him that " she had mony good friendis in the countrey
that did favour her and stick to her, such as th'erle Northumberlond
and his Lady, be whom she had mony intelligences and messages." —
Murdm's Burghky State Papers, p. 52.

19 C 2


a.d. imaginary ; for the Earl had never seen Queen Mary

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 2 of 31)