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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from his estates and the subsequent sequestration of his
revenues, led to frequent losses, and had involved him in
long and costly litigation. In 1609 he complains to the
Judges of Assize in the North that the country people
had combined to withhold his rents " by colour of tenant
right," 2 and four years later he retains Serjeant Hutton
" by means of a yearly fee, to issue out of my manor of
Spofforth, of one piece of gold ; " as his standing counsel
in actions relating to disputes with the tenantry.

Among other cases there had been a long pending
suit between him and his kinsman, the Earl of Cumber-
land, to whom he now writes in these terms : —

11 Noble Lord,

" Your owen Tyme shall satisfye me, for the End-
ing of that Business in Controversy between us. A few
Months will brede but a smaule Alteration in a Matter
that hath been so Ions: in concluding.

" I wish it had been sooner ended for both our Sakes ;
but, since that Time past cannot be recalled, we must
make of Necessitie a Virtue.

1 See Cabala, p. 328.

2 Earl of Northumberland to Sir James Altham, 14th August, 1609.
State Pafsrs. In this year his accounts show payments for la*
costs to Mr. Cartwright, his solicitor, to the extent of 500/. — RoUi
at Syon.

1 ->{>


" For the Satisfaction that shall rise to both of us, I a.d.
cannot doubt but it must needes be good when the l6o 5~ l6.
Mediators shall be such as ourselves ; boeth born with
Honour and Justice in our Myndes, or else are we not
worthy of the Style we are cauled by. Besides the Near-
ness and Friendship can but promise a noble Proceeding
and an honourable and kind Ending."

The prisoner in the Tower seems to have retained
some interest in the outer world, and even in its social
pursuits, for he concludes his letter —

" Your Lordship is determined not to be here till
Easter Time ; but I think you will be called upon
sooner, if that go forward that is intended, or at least
said to be intended : I mean a Parliament. This is all
I can tell you for the Present, but that there is a Maske
towards (in progress) for this Christenmas ; and soe
with my best wishes, I rest

" Your Lordship's Friend and Cousin to dispose of,

The Earl maintained a constant correspondence with
his various officers; with Sir Henry Slingsby, Robert
Delavall, 2 and John Astell, his Receivers ; Henry Taylor,

1 Earl of Northumberland to Earl of Cumberland, 13th Dec, 1614. —
Syon MSS. ''The principal subject of this letter seems to have been
the long arrears of rent due from the Cliffords for the ancient rents of
the Percy fee in Craven. These amounted to about 250/. per annum,
and had been originally paid to the Crown ; but Queen Mary, when she
restored the titles and estates of the family to Sir Thomas Percy, grand-
father of this Earl, granted these rents to him ; and they were, therefore,
payable from that time by the Cliffords to the Earls of Northumberland.
But I find, from the Skipton Papers, that Earl George was one time
twenty years in arrear, and I strongly suspect that this sum, or a great
part of it, remained unpaid in 16 14. and drew from the Earl this dignified
though delicate expostulation." — Whitaker's Craven.

2 Who writes from Alnwick Castle on 2nd May, 1609 givine the
Earl this curious account of the ceremony of the keeping of St. George's
Day at Berwick :

"The Earle of Dunbar kept S f . George his feast at Barwicke ; wheath r
he did sumon most p'. of all the prynsypall gent, of Northumberland,

vol. 11. 237 z


a.d. Clerk of the Kitchen, Edmond Powton, Steward of the
*5 4r| o 2 Household, and John Hippesley, Gentleman of the Horse.
Most of these letters refer only to details of management/
but their tone is characteristic : —

" It is well done of you," he writes to one of these, " to
deliver to me your Opinion at large, for I expect it ; al-
though sometymes you and myself shall differ in the form
of Proceeding, more especially we being so far asunder,
and not able to communicate all our Reasons by Letter.
Having instructed me with your Opinions, you are then to
follow my Directions. If I have found Faults, Neglects.
or Errors in my Instruments, it is enough that I correct
them, without publishing to the World either the Punish-
ment or the Connivance. There is nothing done without

to bear him Componie. There was w*. him of Scotsmen 2 Earls and
6 Barrons, the rest Knights and gent, to the number of some 24,
besydes English Knights, and gentlemen to the number of manye. He
contynewed the feastinge of all his Componye 3 dayes. w th . great Plentye
and store of good faire, observinge the Scotshish fassyon, ahvayes after
dynner and supper was downe, befor any men rise from the Table,
w c was w*. a Ciiapter of the Bybell, or some p*. of the readinge Salmes,
red by one of his Chaplens ; and Immedyately after, such as lysted to
Drinke, had readye sett them uppon the Table in Severall glasses, wiij
several wynes, w^ 1 . is Called the graese drinke. He laye in the Pallice,
?' ./, and did goe from thence to the Church, beinge verye neare halie a

quarter of a mylne in his Robbs. There did goe befor him, first S r . W '•
Bowers Componie of foot, marching w th . there piks and muscuts, next to
them 12 great horses foure w lh . foot clothes, and the rest w th . rich Sadies ;
then his men in Blevvcots, in number So ; next to them, the maire of the
towne and the Aldermen, then S r . W m . Bower and his Son ; gent, ushers in
ranke togeath r , S r . VV m . haveinge his ledinge state in his hand, ami
then himselfe. w th . all the noblemen and gentlemen after him."
Alnwick ATSS.

1 The Earl's coal mines are a subject of frequent correspondence. In
March, 1607, he conditionally accepts an offer of "twenty marks a p •'
for his mines in Northumberland : but twelve years later expressi
regret at not having worked them himself, and authorises the sale of 4- J
tons of coal from Lemmington mines at 6y. ^d. the ton. He let his
"fishings and fowlings " in Yorkshire for 22/. a year; and insists u
all the inhabitants of Alnwick using " the common bakehouse for '•
benefit of the farmers of the same," directing that unless they k& •
off baking their own bread, all the ovens newly built should '<■ -



my Direction, or Debate, by all those whom I trust. a.d.
In matters of the Rent, there has been, it is true, l6 ° 5 ~' 6:
Neglect which has caused so many months' Delay, but

the Defaulters have heard of it Go you forward

in your honest Courses ; there is better meant than you
are aware of." '

Of the Earl's generosity and kindheartedness his
correspondence affords repeated proof. Among other in-
stances may be quoted his intercession with the Judges
of Assize in Sussex on behalf of a man who, under the
pressure of extreme want, had been guilty of stealing
a silver bowl oft" a table in the hall of Petworth :

" I will not meddle with the Manner of the Fact, for
that will appear to you upon his Examination. Only I
will heartily desire that, if he should stand with no other
Crime than this, there mi^ht be a favorable Proceeding
against him, to which Request of mine, legally limited, if
you please to give your Help, I shall acknowledge it as
a Favour." 2

Here is a businesslike letter to some of his Alnwick
tenants, on the subject of the Grammar School in that
town, which the Earl's ancestors had founded and en-
dowed, but the requirements of which had outgrown
its dimensions :

"I have receaved your Petition of 12 Nov r . I am
very glad to decerne your Forwardness in doeing soe
good a Work as to drawe Learning into your Towne, and
soe, by consequent Civilitie, my Hands shall not be tyed
from giving Helpe to your Purposes, since it is so good an
Ende. But, Pray God, I fynd it not with you as I found
of them of Rothbury for repayring their Church, whiche,
when I had condissended to contribute largely, the Reste

1 Earl of Northumberland to Mr. R Astell, May. xGi^.—AInzvick

2 To Sergeint Crewe, November, 1620. — State Papers.

339 7. 2


a.d. of the Country would doe just nothing. I would hope
15 ll! 32 for better Success in this, and that is the Cause why I
will sette down under myne owne Hande what I will
- give towards this charitable Worke ; that it may be a
Witnesse againste yourselfes if you proceed not therein.
Whatsoever it be that any Man shall give towards the
Buylding of the Scoule, or hathe given, I will give as
much, if not more. Whosoever shall bestowe any yearly
annuite for the Maintenance therof herafter, bona fide, I
will give twice as mutche. The Nominating of the Scoller
(master) I intend to have, in which I know I shall be as
careful as yourselves to choose a fitt Man. The Ground
Plott of the W T ork intended I desier to see in a Draught,
for soe shall I guess what will be your Charges in the
Building therof, and Mens Helps will be drawn on
therafter. Now you know my Mynde I will reste, and
wish this Matter good Proceeding. When I shall perceave
the Foundation of the Worke begunne to be laid, then
shall my Contributions beginne. This 30th daye of
November, 16 10.

His long captivity does not appear to have materially
affected the Earl's health, or, if it did, he made no com-
plaints beyond occasionally alluding to his failing
eyesight. In a letter, in which he claims his ancient
privilege of nominating one of the Burgesses for York,
he says : " my eyes are evil, and it is painful to write
with spectacles ; so I must either have your letters, to
let me know what you do, or yourself to inform me."
There could hardly have been a greater calamity to
one of his studious habits, and his employment of

1 From Tate's Barony, Town, and Castle of Alnwick, vol. ii. p. So.

3 State Papers. The writer prays "the continuence of your love ana
consent for Henry Taylor, Clerk of my Household," as his nominee for
the representation of York.




" Readers " was doubtless owing to the necessity of e a.d
sparing his eyesight.

He had given much time and attention to the educa-
tion of his two sons ; but with his contemptuous estimate
of the intellectual requirements of women, he would not
have been likely to trouble himself with the mental training
of his daughters, who as they grew towards womanhood,
however, became to him a cause of much anxiety. His
distaste for the coarse dissipation of the Court of James,
aggravated by a sense of injustice, led him to desire their
exclusion from the royal festivities. 1 Lady Northumber-
land, however, whether from policy, or a love of pleasure.
was not disposed so to isolate herself, or to deprive her
daughters of the social advantages of the Queen's
countenance. 2

!" There is whispered that Count Henry of Nassau
hath a month's mind for my Lord of Northumberland's
daughter, which, if it should fall out, would be a great
match for her." 3 . . . . " Lord Burleigh woos the Earl
of Northumberland's daughter which may bring about
her father's release." 4 . . . .

This gossip relates to the Lady Dorothy Percy, who
without her father's knowledge, but, as it seems, with her
mother's connivance, was in 16 16, privately married to

1 The Earl once quoted it as a proof of his indulgent treatment of his
wife that he had allowed her to take his daughter to Court lest "neglect
or stubborness " might be imputed to him. See his Letter to Lord
Knollys, Appendix XV. p. 36.

2 In an account of the festivities on the occasion of the Princess
Elizabeth's marriage to the Count Palatine Frederick, in 16 13, we read
that " the Lady Northumberland was very gallant ; " and an idea may
be formed of the extravagance in dress, which Anne of Denmark had in-
troduced, and which the King encouraged, from the statement that "Lady
Wotton had a gown that cost 50/. a yard the embroidery," and that
"the Lord Montague had bestowed 1,500/. in apparal for his two
daughters." — Birch's Court and Times of fames I.

3 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, August, 1613. — State Papers.
* Same to same, December, 16 14. — Ibid. This Lord Burleigh was the

eldest son of Robert Cecil, first Earl of Exeter, Salisbury's elder brother.



a.d. Robert Sidney, Lord Lisle's eldest son, and afterwards
15 lli 32 the second Earl of Leicester. The marriage was not
publicly announced until the following year, for what
reason is not apparent ; since the alliance was on both
sjdes a very suitable, and proved an exceptionally happy
one. The Earl's second daughter, the Lady Lucy, was
a source of yet more trouble to him ; for no sooner
had she appeared at Court than her beauty attracted a
crowd of ardent admirers, and suitors for her hand. Most
conspicuous among these was the Lord Hay, 1 the least
unworthy perhaps of James's favourites ; and whose
handsome person, fascinating manners, together with
a reputation for fabulous wealth and munificence, were
well calculated to dazzle a young girl on her introduction
into society.

" . . . A Masque will be given at Lord Hay's, where
the Countess of Bedford is to be Lady and Mistress of
the Feast, as she is of the managing of his love to the

1 James Hay, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, " though of no more noble
extraction than the immediate son of a Scotch merchant, an appellation
which some under a stall would scorn to patronize, who it is said
bestowed more trimming in the varnish of a waistcoat than any of h;s
masters ancestors did in clothing themselves and their families." —
Osborne's Traditional Memoirs of James the first. He had in early life
served in the Scottish Guards of the King of France; handsome,
accomplished, and of fascinating manners, James showered wealth and
favours upon him ; made him a Privy Councillor ; employed him in
several important embassies; and created him successively Baron Hay,
Viscount Dqncaster, and Earl of Carlisle. His extravagance was bound-
less ; and in his entertainments he appears to have been anxious to
emulate the senseless and ostentatious luxury of Lucullus. Weldon
states that he imported live sturgeon from the Black Sea, which were
served whole at his banquets; that his suppers consisted of a rapid six-
cession of the most costly dishes, the greater part of which pasc-ed
untouched to his servants, one of whom was seen devouring a pie. com-
posed (among other ingredients let us hope) of "ambergris, magisterial 1 f
pearl, and musk," and which cost 10I. Wilson relates that on his
entry- as Ambassador into Paris, the horse he rode had. like the mule <■
the Empress Poppea, silver shoes slightly tacked to his hoofs, which, ■
fast as they were dropped for the mob to scramble for, were replaced
by others, by an officer in attendance for that special duty. — See 2s i- •
Progresses of James /., vol. iii. p. iSj.



Earl of Northumberland's younger daughter, with whom a.d.
he is far engaged in affection ; and finds such acceptance, l6o 5~ l6 - 2
both at her hands and her Mother's, that it is thought it
will prove a match." l . . .

In encouraging his suit Lady Northumberland doubt-
less had in view the services which such a son-in-law
might render towards effecting her husband's release ; but
the Earl received the announcement with scorn and
indignation. He would sooner die in prison than owe
his release to a Scottish adventurer at the price of his
daughter's hand, and suspecting her affections to be
engaged, he took his own measures to separate the lovers.

The "Masque," referred to by Chamberlain, had oc-
cupied " the workmanship and invention of thirty cooks
for twelve days," at a cost exceeding 2,200/. . . . . " but
the ill luck was, that the chief and most desired guest was
away ; for the young Lady Sidney, with her sister, the
Lady Lucy Percy, going, some two or three days before
the feast, to visit their father in the Tower, after some few
caresses he dismissed his daughter Sidney to go home
to her husband, and to send her sister's maids to attend
her ; for that he meant not to part with her, but that she
should keep him company ; adding withal that he was a
Percy, and could not endure that his daughter should
dance any Scottish jigs ; and there she remains for aught
I hear." 2

.... "The Earl of Northumberland still keeps
his daughter, Lady Lucy Percy, in the Tower, to secure
her from the addresses of Lord Hay." 3 . . .

But the Lady Lucy had inherited something of her
father's strength of will ; even the gates and bars of

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 22nd February, 161 7. — Birch's
James the First, vol. i. p. 459.

3 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, Sth March, 1617. — Ibid. vol. i.
p. 463.

3 Sir G. Gerard to the same, 20th March, 161 7. — State Papers.

1 1 *•


6 A '- D i6 2 tllG Tmver were no security against her girlish love for
— the handsome courtier, and the gossiping letters of the
time chronicle the progress of the courtship and its
ultimate conclusion in marriage.

. . . . " The Earl of Northumberland could not divert
his daughter Lucy from Lord Hay, for while he had
her in the Tower, giving her leave daily to visit the
Countess of Somerset, thereby to have the better
access himself, she encouraged the match ; and there-
fore the matter was so plotted, that where he thought
he had her safest, there he lost her ; and so was fain
to send her away, seeing he could prevail no more
with her." l

. . . . " The Lord Hay will use all possible means to
get the Earl of Northumberland's good will with his
daughter, and to have the 20,000/. he promised her if
she would be ruled by him ; but he may cast his cap at
that, seeing the Earl so incensed, not only against her,
but against his fair lady of Somerset, for procuring and
persuading of the match." 2

.... "Lord Hay has returned from Scotland, and
lives in a little house in Richmond Park, to be near Syon,
where his fair mistress stops." 3 . . .

. . . . " Your Lordship's friend, my Lord Hayes, is not
yet married, nor will never get my Lord Northumber-
land's good will to it." 4 . . .

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 24th May, 1617.— Original State
Papers. This Countess of Somerset, a daughter of the Earl of Suffolk.
had in 1606 married Lady Northumberland's nephew, the young Earl of
Essex, from whom she was divorced in order to confer her hand upon
her lover, James's latest favourite, the infamous Robert Carr ; who. as
well as herself, was now under sentence of death for Overbury's murder.
They obtained the royal pardon however. Contrast this leniency
towards two convicted poisoners with the treatment which the Eari
of Northumberland had met with at the hands of the King.

3 The same to the same, 5th July, 161 7. — Ibid.

3 G. Gerard to D. Carleton, 5th July, 1617.-7/'///.

« Lord Eorbcs to Earl Norton, 9th August, 1617. — Ibid.



. . . . " The Lord Hay thinks it long till the King's a.d.
coming, that he may consummate his marriage ; for the l °^Zl
King hath promised to give the bride. He is wonder-
fully observant and obsequious to her and her mother ;
and spends most part of his time there, having taken
Sir Francis Darcy's house, by Syon, where he makes
solemn feasts twice a week at least, with that cost and
expence that the Lady of Northumberland dares not so
much as once invite him, by reason of his curiosity "
(fastidiousness ?) ; " though he be commonly in her house
from morning till dinner, from after dinner till supper,
from after supper till late in the night." ' . . .

. . . . " On Thursday the Lord Hay married his
mistress the Lady Lucy Percy, and that night the King
and Princess honoured his wedding supper with their
presence at the Wardrobe." 2 . . .

" The bride knelt while the King drank her health,
and she drank his." 3 . . .

And so while the poor Earl lay fuming in his prison,
his enemies made merry, " ate the wine possett, threw the
left shoes, ran at the ring, with other fooleries," in honour
of his daughter's marriage with King James's Scotch

favourite. 4

* *


In the following year the Countess of Northumber-
land died at Petworth. 5 Her untiring efforts to effect her

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 9th August, 1617. — Birch's^/ames
the First, vol. ii. p. 27.

2 The same to the same, 5th November, 16 17. — Original State Papers.

3 Sir G. Herbert to Dudley Carleton, Sth November, 161 7. — Ibid.

4 The Earl for a long time obstinately refused to recognise his son-in-
law, and on prospects of his speedy liberation being held out to him,
informed his daughter that he would scorn to accept freedom by means
of the upstart whom she had degraded herself by marrying. " Pride was
indeed a leading feature in the character of Northumberland, which mis-
fortunes seem to have had the effect of aggravating:, rather than softening. "
■ — Aikin's Memoirs of James I.

5 "August, 1617. Dorothie, that thrice honorable and right vertuous



a.d. husband's liberation had been not a little thwarted by the
1564-1632 unC ompromising attitude which he had maintained in the
face of the King and his favourites ; but he was of too
generous a nature not to appreciate the affection she had
displayed towards him throughout his adversity. His
contemptuous estimate of women, and her own violent
and imperious temper, must ever have been a bar to
domestic harmony between them ; but as years went by
their relations appear to have improved, and we are
told that after her death his friends found it necessary
" to remind the Earl of his former disputes with his wife,
in order to lessen his grief at her loss." '

* *


Immediately on the birth of his first-born son, 2 the
Earl, conscious of the disadvantage of his own deficient
training in that respect, had commenced the compilation
of a code of 4i Instructions " relating to the management
of large estates. The document had been left "Incom-
plete, but during the weary years of captivity in the
Tower he supplemented and revised this MS., 3 and
finally added another treatise entitled, " Advice to my
Son on his Travels." 4

Of the former composition he thus summarises the
objects :

" First, that you understand yowr Estate generally
better than any of yowr Officers.

lady the Countess of Northumberland. Her corps was interred in the
Chappell on the 14th of this month." — Petworth Register.

1 See a letter from Sir Gerard Herbert to Dudley Carleton, ictli
August, 1 61 9.— State Papers.

2 He was born in 1597, and died in September of the same year.—
See extract from register of St. Clement Danes, London. Alnwick MSo.,

vol. xiii. ,

3 The original document is preserved in the library at Petworm.
The MS. was transcribed by Mr. Malone, and is printed in full »'
Arc/ucolo^ia. vol. xxvii. p. 306.

* Published in the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. iv. p. 374.



" Secondly, that you never suffer your Wyfe to have a.d.
Poore [power] in the Manage of yowr Affaires. 1605-1622

" Thirdly, that your Giftes and Rewardes be yowr
owen, without the Intercession of others." l

The writer proceeds to lay down elaborate rules under
each of these heads, illustrating them by arguments and
demonstrations, marked by much shrewdness and worldly
wisdom, but blemished by the cynicism inseparable from
the doctrine that self-interest is the actuating motive of
man, together with an utter disbelief in the moral or
intellectual perfectability of women.

His misfortunes had doubtless tended to embitter his
feelings, for he speaks with a painful conciousness of the
change that had passed over his mind since in happier
times he began to compose his " Instructions."

" Wonder not at the Alteration of the Style which
perhaps you may fynd ; for ether I have got mutche since
that Tyme in looking after other Matters more of greater
Weights, or loste mutche Forme in Phrase, which Youth
commonly pleaseth itselfe with." . . .

Attributing his early pecuniary embarrassments to
the want of training and experience in the arts of
"governance," and dwelling emphatically upon the
shamefulness of incurring debt, " the Mynd being over-
wearyed with the Sutes of poore People whose Goodes
I had, and I could not satisfy, — a Disease that haunteth
an honest Mind," and upon the shifts and sacrifices he
had to make in order to extricate himself, 2 he pro-
ceeds to lay down rules for his son's guidance in the

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 29 of 31)