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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the Castel is very weke and not able to resist and the enemy is

within 54 miles."
_ Chalmers, in his History of Scotland, states that the Countess of
Northumberland had previously made an attempt to gain access to
Mary at Wentworth in the disguise of a nurse, hoping to be able to
' nange clothes with her, and thus effect her escape. She is said to have
borne personal resemblance to the Scottish Queen.



a.d. reflecting that the thing might cause bloodshed they
152 J^57 2 passed it over." 1 The more daring and reckless spirits,
seeing the hopelessness of vigorous action and despairing
of success under such leaders, determined to disperse.
" every man to provide for himself," and, despite the tears
and reproaches of the Countess of Westmoreland, they
departed — Dacre repairing straight to London, where,
divulging the conspiracy, he prayed the Queen for a
command against the rebels, and others to their houses
or beyond seas. Northumberland was now once more
disposed to submit, but on the representation that if he
deserted them his allies would be sacrificed, he con-
sented to go to Alnwick and there collect forces against
future contingencies. The remaining rebels objected to
his leaving them ; but he represented that it would not
become him " to go under my Lord Westmoreland's
standard without any force of mine owne, saving eight
servants which I had with me," and on the following
morning started for his castle, Lord Westmoreland
escorting him on his way for a mile or two.

After he had bid him farewell he was overtaken by the
Nortons and several others, who urged him to return. His
infirmity of purpose is best described in his own words : —

" Walking up and downe there, till the sun was sett,
riding nether one way or other, notwithstanding their
great perswasions ; they seeing I could not be brought
unto it, one of my said Lord's servants, named Wightman,
came hard behinde me, and said I shoulde not choose
but goe. ' Then,' quoth I, ' if it be so, have with you ! '
My servants shewed unto me afterwards, if I had not

1 From Northumberland's "Confession," or, more properly, his replies
to a series of interrogatories, for the full text of which see Calendar vj
State Papers ; also Sharpe's Afemorials of the Rebellio?i in the North, and
the two volumes of Burleigh State Papers, respectively edited by Murdin
and Haynes. A summary of the Earl's evidence will be found in the
Appendix, III.



turned back at the firste time, some of the others meant a.d. 1569
me a displesure."

Returning to Brancepeth the two Earls, at the head of
500 horse, marched to Durham, expelled the heretic
bishop, had high mass celebrated in the cathedral, and
inaugurated the new order of things by a bonfire of
Protestant Bibles and prayer books. 1 A messenger from
Sussex found them thus employed. To his final appeal
to their good sense and loyalty, Northumberland returned
for answer that further persuasion was useless, and that
" they must now seek all the ways they could to serve
their turn ... for seeing their lives in danger they were
determined to lose them in the field." 2

* * *

Once committed to open defiance of authority, the
Earls set to work to justify their 'action, and to bid for
popular support and co-operation by means of a series of
proclamations. The first of these, dated 15th November, 3
makes no mention of the Scottish Queen, 4 but deals ex-
clusively with. the religious questions ; but another, issued
two days later at Richmond or Darlington, enters more
fully into the subject of their grievances. This ad
captandum vulgus appeal, which Bowes describes as " the
most effective they did," and the authorship of which is at-
tributed to Marmaduke Blackston, a pamphleteer of some

1 " Ubi sacra Biblia, et Liturgise libros lingua Anglica, in ecclesii
repertos dilacerant et proculcant." — Camden, Annates, vol. i. p. 194.

2 State Papers, Add 3 . (1566-79), p. 107.

3 See Appendix IV.

4 Camden refers to this omission, which he attributes to the influence
over Lord Westmoreland of the Duke' of Norfolk, who, being in the
Queen's power, was sensitively apprehensive of any action on the part
of his allies and supporters that might appear to connect him with their
cause. At this time Norfolk was already trimming his sails, for on
1 2th December he had written to Elizabeth that — "Now that I see how
unplesant this matter of the Quene of Scotts ys unto your Majestie I
never intende to dele furder trerin," and expresses his readiness to
many such other " fytte person " as " may best content your Hynesse."
—Haynes, p. 571.



a.d. reputation, 1 deserves to be quoted as showing the first

^ 2 _" pretexts for the rising - : —

" Thomas, Earl of Northumberland, and Charles, Earl
of Westmoreland, the Queen's most true and lawful
subjects, and to all her Highness people sendeth greet-
ing. Whereas, divers newe sette upp nobbles about the
Ouene's Majestic, have and doe dailie not onlie goe
about to overthrow and put down the ancient nobilitie of
this reelme, but also have misused the Oueene's Majesties
personne, and alsoe have by the space of twelve years
now past, sett upp and mayntayned a newe found religion
and heresie, contrarie to God's worde ; for the amending
and redressing whereof divers foren powers doo purpose
shortlie to invade thes realmes, which will be our utter
destruction if we do not ourselves speedilie forfend the
same. Wherefore we are now constreyned at this tyme
to go aboute to amende and redresse it ourselves, which
if we shold not do and forerenners enter upon us, we
sholde be all made slaves and bondsmen to them. These
are therefore to will and require you, and euery of you,
being above the age of sixteen yeares, and not sixty, as
your dutie towards God doth bynde you for the setting
forthe of his trewe and catholick religion, and as you
value the commonwealth of your contrie, to come and
ressort unto us with all spede, with all such armour and
furnyture as you, or any of you, have. This faile you not
herein, as you will answere the contrarye at your perills.

"God Save the Queen." 2

Elizabeth, now alive to the uselessness of further

negotiation, determined to strike a powerful blow before

the rising should assume more formidable dimensions.

The Earl of Warwick, and Lord Clinton and Save, the

1 "One Marmaduke L'lackston was a principall wrytor of things." —
Deposition of Hamelyng, Haynes, p. 594.

2 HarL MSS. No. 6. 990, fol. 44.



Hi°h Admiral, were each required to levy a force of 4,000 a.d. 1569
men for service in the north ; ships were sent to the coast,
at once to intercept reinforcements from abroad, and to
cut off the retreat of the insurgents, and Commissioners
were despatched to Scotland, to induce the Regent to
bring a powerful army to the frontier in aid of the royal
forces in the north. Nor was the use of political weapons
neglected. Sussex was ordered to circulate counter-pro-
clamations, and, above all things, to expose the " pretext
of religion " on the part of the Earls. 1 He accordingly in
the Queen's name proclaimed them as traitors 2 " who had
never had care of conscience or respected any religion,
but continued a dissolute life 3 till they were driven to
pretend a popish holiness to put false colour upon their
manifold treasons." 4 At the same time political writers and
even ballad singers 5 were subsidised to blacken the cha-
racters and discredit the pretensions of the rebel leaders.
Sir Thomas Smith in a vituperative pamphlet, 6 says : —

1 Elizabeth to Sussex, 15th November, 1569, Haynes, p. 553.

3 Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. part ii. p. 319 (Edition

8x824). In this proclamation a general pardon was promised to all (the
leaders excepted) who should at once return to their homes and give in
[their submission.
3 This charge could only have applied to Lord Westmoreland, who,
says Speed, was "a person utterly wasted by looseness of life." The
private life of Northumberland, on the other hand, was irreproachable.

4 The Earls replied to this manifesto by their " Protestacion," in which,
with reference to Mary Stuart, they claimed it as their lawful duty " with
diverse others of the ancyent nobilitie," among whom they named the
Duke of Norfolk and the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel, "to
determyne to whom, of meere right, the true succession of this Crown
apperteyneth."— See Appendix Vi

5 The following entry from a churchwarden's account, dated in
January 1570, is quoted in the British Magazine for April 1863, p. 417 :
" Item for vij Bally' s [Ballads] consarning the Rebells to be soung, ij d ."

Preserved in the British Museum. Strype speaks of this composi-
tion as " a Sermon, in Six Parts, against Wilful Rebellion," written by order
01 the Archbishop of Canterbury. — (See Annals of trie Reformation, vol. i.
I art 11. p. 3 2 2.) It was probably the joint production of clerics and laymen.

Among the Reprints of Rare Tracts published by Richardson of New-
castle (Biographical, vol. ii.), there is a copy of a Black Letter Metrical
1/act, entitled, " An Answere to the Proclamation of the Rebells of the
North, 1569."



a-d. " He that considcreth the persons, states and conditions
"__ of the rebels themselves, the reformers as they take upon
them of the present government, he will find them the
most rash and harebrained men, the greatest spend-
thrifts ; that they lewdly wasted their owne goodes and
landes to be over head and ears in debt Arc-
not these mete men, trow you, to restore the common-
wealth, who have so spoilt and consumed all their own
wealth and thrift ? and very like to mend other men's
manners, who have so vile and vicious and abominable
condicion themselves ? "

Another of Elizabeth's agents, Thomas Norton,
barrister, addressed an appeal " to the Queenes poore
deceived subjectes " ' in which this passage occurs :

" The name of Percies and Nevilles have long been
honourable and well beloved among you. Some of you
and your forefathers have bene advanced by them and
their ancestors ; some perhaps be knit in kinred, some be
tenauntes, some be servauntes, some be, with like reason,
with like causes, allied and bound to the meaner Captaines.
Great things be these to move love and good neighbour-
hed, 'and of great importaunce and efficacy to drawe
honest true and kinde-harted men, to sticke by their lordes
and frendes in all warres against the prince's enemies.
and in all honest quarrels and perilles. Yet small matters
they be, yea no causes at all, to drawe any man to stande
with any man in rebellions and treasons. Is Percy more
ancient, more beloved and dearer unto you than your
naturall Soveraigne Ladie, the Oueene of England ? . . .
Trow you this match be well made ? A corner against a
reelme ; a handful against hundreds of thousands ; want
against plentie, follie against policie, wickedness against
truth, one or two doltish heads against the old nobilitic.

1 A curious old pamphlet in 12* black letter : " Imprinted at London.
by Henrie Bynneman, for Lucas Harrison, a.d. 1569." — British Museum.

4 s


a few rebels against all subjects ! " The writer concludes A . D . r5 6 9
by warning the people against " those good men, your
Hrle of Westmoreland and the other, in whom no lewd-
ncsse lacked but rebellion, which they have now added
to make up their heepe of iniquity."

On 24th November the Queen issued her " Decla-
ration setting forth the treasons of the Earls " in which
ishe takes care to expose their want of pecuniary means : —
" But as to the reformation of any great matters, they
were as ill chosen two persons, if their qualities were
considered to have credit, as could be in the whole realm.
For they were both in poverty ; one having but a very
small portion of that which his ancestors had left, 1 and the
other having wasted almost the whole of his patrimony." 2
Three days later the degradation of Northumberland
from his order of the Garter 3 was proclaimed in these
terms :

" Elizabeth R. 27 die Nov r . 1569.

" Be it knowne to all men that, whereas Thomas Earle
of Northumberland, Knight Companion of the Moste
Noble Order of the Garter, hathe not onely commytted
and done high treasone againste the Queene's most ex-
cellent Majestie, Sovereigne of the sayd most noble
Order of the Garter, compassynge and imagininge moste
traiterouslie and most rebellyously in manner of warr,
not onely in his owne person, agaynste our moste dread
Sovereign Lady the Queene, but also hathe procured a
greate multytude of others, moste trayterously and re-
bellyously to follow him in his moste traytorouse purpose,
intendinge therbye, if he myght, to subverte the whole

' From which it is clear that of the lands which the sixth Earl of
Northumberland had vested in the crown in trust for his future successor,
only a small portion had been given back on the restoration of the
Earldom. 2 Strype, Annals of tlie Reformation, vol. i., part ii., p. 316.

: In a window in the old chapel at Petworth there may yet be seen
the Earl's arms empaled with rhosc of his wife, surrounded by the
<j:irtt-r and the names Percy and Worcester.

VOL. II. 49 E


a.d. good order and commonwealth of this Realme ; for the
152 -l! 572 which detestyble offence and High Treason the sayd
Thomas hathe deserved to be disgraded of the same
most noble order and expelled out of the same
companye, and not worthie that his armes, ensignes or
hatchments should remayne amongst virtuous and ap-
proved knights of the said moste noble order. Where-
fore our most Rightyous Oueene, Supreme and Souer-
aigne of this moste noble order, with the companyons
nowe present at the same, Wyll and Comaund that the
armes, ensignes and hatchments of the said Thomas be
taken awaye, and thrown downe and he to be putt clean
from his order, and from henceforth to be non of the
number thereof; that all others, by his example, maye
ever more hereafter beware how thay comytte or doe
lyke crime, or fall in like shame.

" God Save the Oueene." '

The order was promptly carried into effect.

" On the Saturdaye after (the date of the proclama-
tion), being the 27th daye of November, Thomas Earle
of Northumberland was disgraded of his knighthood of
the Garter which was done in this manner :

" Firste, Chester Herrold of Armes, with the Queene's
Coat of armes on his backe, came to the backeside of the
Stalls of the same Earle and, with a ladder beino- sett
up agaynste his hatchments, ascended to the toppe of the
ladder. Then Garter and Clarentyeulxe, ii Kinges of
armes, Richemond, Rouge Draggon, and Rouge Crosse.
Pursovants of armes, came out of the Cloyster, havinge
the Queene's Coate of armes on their Backe's, (Wave
being made by the Knighte Marshall and his men)
directly againste the Stalle of the said Earle, and
Chester being on the other side, came upon the ladder
and strode by the hatchements. Then Rouo- e Crosse

1 Cott. MSS. Vesp. C. xiv. 583.


made with a loud voyce the Queene's proclamatyon of a .d. 1569

the Earles degradinge which was under Her Ma tie ' s hand ;

(the coppy herafter followeth) this beinge reade over

againste the stakes, Chester did hurle downe with

violence the Earles banner of armes to the ground ; then

his sworde and after his creste and disappor (?) and after

his helme and mantle, and after beinge all throwne downe

they w r ere with lyke violence spurned from that place out

of the windowe of the same chappell of Windsore by

Garter King of armes aforesaid ; and after he had spurned,

fyrste the Banner of armes, then the swoard, then the

helmete and mantles, and laste the creste and dissoper,

which creste and dissoper was not only spurned out of

the weste door of the same chappell, but cleane out of

the ottermoste gates of the castle." ■

Neither the royal resentment nor the ridicule and
invective showered upon the two rebellious earls by
Cecil's hired scribes had much effect upon the sturdy men
of the north. The policy of the Tudors had broken the
feudal power, but had not yet succeeded in destroying the
personal attachment existing between lord and vassal.
No sooner had Northumberland and Westmoreland set
up their standards in Durham, than men of all classes,
from nobles and knights, accompanied by their tenants,
mounted and equipped for war, down to unarmed
labourers, bringing only their stout hearts and goodwill,
rallied around their natural chiefs, 2 want of allegiance to

1 Harl. MSS. No. 304 (4S), Fol. 84". Fenelon, in one of his despatches,
describes this scene, and relates how " les Armoyries du Comte ont e'te
degradee's et oste'es publiquement, et mis as bas avec ignominie, follees
aux pieds, et puys jecte'es aulx fossez." — Recucil des Dipcches.

* The Earls seem to have exercised their authority in right royal
fashion, as witness this passport, the original of which is preserved in
the Cotton MSS. (Calig. B. ix. 405). t: To all and every the sen-ants,
tcnents and adherents of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmore-
land their ffrvndes confeyderates and allies :

" Theis shall be to will and command you to permytte and suffer this
berer Jelberd Havers to passe and repasse from place to place where his

51 E 2


a.d. whom in the hour of danger they would have scouted as

1528-157* the worst f disloyalty. 1

The imagination of the poet thus depicts the opening

scene in the Rebel camp :

" ' Rise, noble Earls— put forth your might,
In Holy Church and people's right ! '
The Norton fixed at this demand
His eye upon Northumberland,
And said : ' the minds of men will own
No royal rest while England's throne
Is left without an heir. . . _.
Brave Earls, to whose heroic veins
1 Our noblest blood is given in trust,

To you a suffering State complains,
And ye must raise us-from the dust.
With wishes of still bolder scope,
On you we look with deepest hope,
Even for the altar, for the prize
In heaven, — of life that never dies.
For th' old and Holy Church we mourn,
And must in joy to her return.' "

The banner which he had borne in the Pilgrimage

of Grace being then unfurled by Francis Norton :

" ' Uplift it ! ' cried once more the band,
And then a thoughtful pause ensued.
1 Uplift it ! ' cried Northumberland ;
Whereat from all the multitude
Who saw the banner raised on high
In all its dread emblazonry,
A voice of utmost joy broke forth. . . .

Now was the North in arms ; they shine
In warlike trim from Tweed to Tyne
At Percy's voice ! "

busynesse lyeth, without lett or trouble of you or any of you, as you will
answer to the contrarye at your perill. — From Durham, 15th December,
1569. Northumberland. C. Westmoreland."

1 The strength of this attachment, even at a time when the rank and
file of the insurgents were being hanged by hundreds for their loyalty to
the chiefs who had abandoned them, is testified by all their adversaries.
Thus Sir Robert Bowes informs Sadler that " The olde good wyll of the
peple is deepe graftyd in their heartes to their nobles and gentlemen ol
this country, which tied " {Memorials, page 179); and Lord Hunsdon
states that after the flight of their leaders the Northumbrian men re-
mained loyal to the cause, and that they would "recognise no Prince
but a Percy." — Letter to Cecil, 31st December, 1569. Slate Papers.



The attitude of "the North in arms " was less favour- a.d. 15^9
ably represented by the prosaic testimony of Elizabeth's

I agents. Bowes estimates the number of the insurgents

shortly after the outbreak at not more than one thousand,
of whom the greater part are "footmen unarmed and
imdrilled" and constantly deserting for want of money, 1
and Sussex describes them as "pore rascalls that come
slowly on the one day, and go away apace willingly the
other." 2 He was fully alive however to the danger which
example and impunity might beget in kindling the re-
ligious zeal of the people into such a flame of fanaticism
as would spread over the country and penetrate even to
his own ranks.

As early as on the 15th November he had reported to
the Queen that "the Earls will make religion their
ground, and I am not sure how many will in that case
go against me in my own force ; but I have great cause
to doubt much of them ; whereas if they escape there is
great feare of their enlisting foreign aid. It is for your
Majesty to consider whether it would not be better
policy to pardon them. AIL the wisest Protestants think
you should offer mercy before y 02c draw the sword!' 3

And aeain on the same day to Cecil : " He is a rare
bird that has not some of his with the two Earls, or, in
his heart, wishes not well to their cause ; and I heartily
wish that her Majesty would quench all this fire at the
beginning by pardon or force. The Earles are old in
bloode and poore in force, in any other cause but this." 4
In the report of the Council of 16th November it is
stated : " The people like so well of their cause of
religion that they do flock to them (the Earls) in all
places where they come, and many gentlemen show
themselves readie to serve your Majestie, whose sons
and heirs, or other sons, be on the other side."

* Memorials. ' Stale Papers. 3 Ibid. * Ibid.



ad. On the 17th November, Bowes writes to Sussex: —

5 5 " The matter groweth very hott, and sure in my opinion

requireth to be expedited ; as what with feare, fine
speeche, or moneye, they drawe awaye the harts of the
people." He adds that the Earls use her Majesty's
name in their proclamations and that Northumberland
"beareth a guydon before his troope." A week later
Bowes writes to Sussex : " Daylie the people flee from
these partes to the Earles, and I knowe not what should
be done to staye them ; for I have notifyed their unloyall
and rebellious dealings, and with fayre speech and bes-
towal of money used them that came in the most gentle
manner I could ; but it avayleth nothing, for they still
start after them."

Sir John Forster says : " My Lord of Northumber-
land hath in this country (Northumberland) lands of the
yearly rent of one thousand pounds, whereon he hath
many tenents, as many of them gyven to the evill as to
the goode ; so as when they understand that such as
beare either dewty or trew service to her Majesty ys the
better parteye, they comme, and wyll be obedyent ; but
yf their master should retourne and enter with the evill
countries of England and Scotland, they are not to be
trusted. The common people in this sudden hurl are
dangerous to trust." 1

This is fully confirmed by Sir Ralph Sadler: "We
cannot trust the papists, for if the father comes to us with
ten men, his son goes to the rebels with twenty " ; 3 and

1 Forster to Cecil, 24th Nov. 1569, State Papers. A sturdy
Northumbrian soldier with a keen eye to his own interests. He
could claim forty years of good service in border war, when he was
appointed Warden of the Middle Marches. According to an ancient
ballad :

"Sir John was gentle, meik and douse,
But he was hail and hott as fyre."

* Sadler to Cecil, 6th Dec, 1569, Sadler Papers, vol. ii., p. 55.



again: "There be not in all this countrey x gentilmen a.d. 1569
that do favor and allowe of Her Majesties proceedings
in the cause of religion ; and the common people be ... .
altogether blynded with tholde popish doctryne."

No reliance can be placed on the various and contradic-
tory reports, by Elizabeth's local agents, of the numbers
of the insurgent forces. Gargrave, the sheriff of York,
puts them at 20,000, " for all the inhabitants of the
Byshopryche of Richmondshyre, a few only excepted, are
rebels ; x " but he can hardly have meant to convey that
anything approaching those numbers were at any one time
under arms. Lord Hunsdon's 2 estimate is probably the
most accurate. At the height of the rebellion he quotes
the footmen, of whom " the greater part are artificers
and the meaner sort of husbandmen," at less than 4,000,
and the Light Horse, "mostly gentlemen and their
dependents," at 1,700. The superiority both in numbers
and equipment of the horsemen was universally admitted.
Sir Francis Leeke informs the Privy Council that they
were " better furnished than I have ever seen, for besydes

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 5 of 31)