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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their staves, there was few of them without a case of
pistolets." 3 Fenelon in one of the reports to his Court
describes them as '■' en aussi bon equipage quil sen peult
trouver en Angleterre" and Sussex more than once
expresses his inability to take the field against so
formidable a body as the Rebel Horse. Of the footmen
a large proportion were untrained and unarmed men,

! x See Lord Huntingdon's Report on the Northern Rebellion, September
1573, in the Appendix to the Memorials.

2 Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon, who played a prominent part in the
suppression of the rebellion, was a son of Anne Boleyn's sister, there-
fore first cousin to the Queen. He was a brave soldier, whose honour-
able and straightforward character forms a pleasing contrast to that of
too many of Elizabeth's agents. " Far from the practice of my Lord of
Leicester's instructions," says a contemporary, "he was downright; a
fast man to his Prince, and firm to his friends, and as he lived in a
ruffling time so he loved sword and buckler men." — Fragmenta
Regalia, by Sir Thomas Naunton. 3 State Papers.

} 55


a.d. entirely dependent upon their employers for the means
l S 2 ~^Si 2 of daily subsistence. Their zeal might reconcile them to
fighting without pay, but the supply of food was an
indispensable condition of continuous and effective
service, and this the Earls were unable to provide.
Westmoreland had long been a very needy man, and so
poor at this time was Northumberland that his stables
contained "scarcely sufficient horses for his family." 1
He himself states that his collar of the Garter had been
"laid in gage for ^"6o," that he had pledged a part of
his plate before the outbreak, and that when he took the
field he had only ^"120 in his possession. 2 On the
other hand the northern garrisons had, owing- to
Elizabeth's accustomed parsimony, been allowed to
dwindle to less than one-third of their nominal strength.
The entire available force under Sussex on the out-
break of the rebellion did not exceed 2,000 foot and
500 horse, who were in arrears of pay, and short of
ammunition and pikes ; 3 nor was their loyalty to be
relied upon, for he expresses a fear that they would
" fyght but faintly," while the population is described as
being " hollowe-harted and unwilling to bring victuals to
the camp." He was thus condemned to inactivity, which
at such a time could not fail to afford encouragement
to the insurgents.

1 Thomas Gargrave to Cecil, November 1569 ; State Papers. In his
pamphlet (See ante, p. 47) Sir Thomas Smith says that Northumberland
then possessed "only a small portion of that which his ancestors some-
times had and lost, and that his daily sales and shiftes for necessitie,
even then when he had less charge than to maintain an army, both in
Sussex and elsewhere, we all know."

3 See his " Confession." Christopher Norton states that the Earls had
given him ^20 to distribute among the foot soldiers assembled at
Ripon, but as these were above 1000 in number, and as he thought
it was not possible to give each man less than one shilling, he had
demanded additional funds ; " but they said they had no more." — State
Papers, 1566-79. Add*, xviii. 35.

3 Sussex to Cecil, 26th November, 1569, State Papers.

56 "


With increasing numbers, however, the Earls felt only a.d. 1569
more severely the strain upon their narrow resources,
and they now turned anxiously to their allies for the
material support which had been promised them. In
the common cause to which princes and nobles, church-
men and soldiers, had pledged themselves, they alone had
hitherto borne the brunt of battle. The time had now come,
they declared, when all true friends of the ancient faith,
when all who wished to see the succession to the English
throne assured in the person of the legitimate heir to the
crown, should avow themselves. But Elizabeth's watchful
eye seems to have paralysed the malcontents, who, as
Northumberland complained, answered his appeal " with
such coldness as misliked him." For the two leaders,
however, there was now no alternative but action. They
were hurried on by a power stronger than themselves, and,
nominally the leaders of the rebellion, now found them-
selves unable to stem, or even to direct the violence of its
course. The conduct of the ensuing campaign, if a series
of desultory marches and purposeless manoeuvres, 1 can
be dignified by the term, does not admit of explanation
upon any principle of the art of war. Within a few
days after the foolish demonstration at Durham, the
insurgent force had swelled into a body of over 2,000
foot and 1,200 horse, with which the Earls advanced
southward halting at Darlington, where they " lewdly
heard mass and besprinkled the soldiers with holy
water"; 2 and thence to Richmond, Northallerton, and
Ripon, meeting with no opposition, and steadily in-
creasing their numbers, till on reaching Clifford Moor,
near Wetherby, 3 on the 23rd' of November, the force

1 " They know not what to enterprize by their straggling in this sorte."
— Cecil to Bowes. Memorials. x Holinshead.

3 On 17th November the Council of York report to Cecil that the
insurgents were at Richmond, "where the Earl of Northumberland is
the Queen's officer (steward) and the Countess his wyfe is gone thither



a.d. amounted to 6,000 men. Here it was that a messenger
i5 2 S-i572 f rom j-hg Q Lieen f Scots brought Northumberland "a
rynge of gold enamel, requyring hym to remember his
promise." x

They had succeeded in dispersing the levies in course
of formation for the Queen's service, had captured a
body of 300 horse at Tadcaster, and cut off communica-
tion with York, where Sussex lay with a garrison not
exceeding 2,000 men, " whereof not past 300 horsemen.''
A vigorous assault would have placed him and the city
at their mercy, but at the eleventh hour, to his great
relief, they suddenly fell back upon Durham, 2 and
proceeded formally to lay siege to Barnard Castle, in
which their old antagonist, Sir George Bowes, had
taken refuge. 3 Sussex was anxious to send him
reinforcements, and, if possible, to raise the siege, but
found himself too weak to spare any of his troops for
this purpose. After a prolonged and gallant resistance,
the place fell, 4 owing to the treachery of a great part

to them." On the next day they are reported to be at Ripon. — State

1 Deposition of W. Hamelyng, Haynes, p. 594.

3 " The rebells are returned into the Bishoprycke The Earl of

Northumberland thinketh to have all, or most part of, Northumberland
at his devocion, for which he hath used greete practice." — Sadler to
Cecil, 30th November, 1569. Memorials, p. 83.

3 " Dowting what might happen to myself and whom they greatly
menace, I have put myself and my household only in Barnard Castle." —
Sir George Bowes to Sussex, 12th November, 1569. Ibid.

4 " They every daye come to offer schrymishinge, and beareth in our
Scoutes and Screwagers, but we take no alarom but keepeth close." —
Bowes to Cecil, 29th November. Ibid. The refusal of Bowes to quit
his vantage-ground in answer to challenges to single combat or to
" skrymaging," gave rise to these lines in an old ballad still known in
the North : —

"Coward, a coward of Barney Castell
Dare not come out to fight the battell."


Bowes ultimately obtained honourable terms of capitulation, a:ul
marched out with 300 horse.



of the garrison, who, dropping over the walls by the score, a.d. 1569
deserted to the enemy. Its capture was of no strategical
importance however ; and the time wasted in the siege
had enabled Sussex to place York in a state of defence,
and to treble his own force, 1 while Warwick and the
I . High Admiral had advanced unopposed with an army
of 7,000 men to Wetherby. The Earls had now been
under arms for five weeks, and the only material advan-
tage they had gained was in the seizure and occupation of
Hartlepool ; which Cecil apprehended " will brede some
longer trouble," 2 as that place might serve them as a
convenient port for receiving reinforcements or supplies
from the Continent, or, these failing, for facilitating their
own escape across the sea. The rebellion was, however,
crushed before they could turn their acquisition to any
profitable account.

On the 20th of November Sussex writes to Cecil : —
"Although at the beginning of these matters the
people were so affected to the Earls for the sense they
had in hand that what was had for the Queen's service
was got out of the flint, and those that came, save a few
gentlemen, liked better the other side; . . . now the
discreet begin to mislike, the soldiers wax more trusty,
and the wealthier are more afraid of spoil . . . their
force is like to decline, and their credit will utterly
decay." 3

Constable, a spy of Cecil's, bears similar testimony,
stating that he had seen the men deserting " by dosens yn

1 " The Earls mistrusted themselves, and while they wasted time and
strength in besieging Barnard Castle an army of the South under Lords
Warwick and Clinton arrived at Doncaster."— Holinshead, History of
Scotland. J J

3 Cecil to Sussex, State Papers. Hartlepool was taken at the
suggestion of the Duke of Alva, who promised to despatch a body of
Spanish troops if a secure landing-]- lace were provided. — See Deposition
ot the Bishop of Rosse, Murdin, p. 42.

3 State Papers.



a.d. severall companyes, complening they wolde be hanoyed
I 5 2 j^572 at ^omg or (before) theyretorned agayn to sarve withowt
wayges ; " 2 wages, be it understood, meaning food.

The attachment of the mass of the people in the
North to the Earls, and to the cause which they repre-
sented, continued, however, unabated, and the gaps in
their ranks caused by desertion were rapidly filled by
new recruits. 2 Money for the supply of arms and
provisions was the crying want on the side of the
insurgents, and to obtain this the Earls now made a
final appeal to their various foreign and domestic allies.
It has already been shown what came of the promises of
the former in the hour of need ; 3 the latter were busily-
planning their line of retreat.

The tone of the following circular, which the insurgent
leaders addressed to each of those nobles upon whose
aid they had reckoned, certainly indicates a previous
understanding ; more especially as they had not hitherto
thought fit to repudiate the introduction of their names in
the " Protestation," 4 (copies of which accompanied these
letters) as supporters of the rebellion : —

" Our verey good Lord, — *

" We have thought good to make you privie to our
goode and Vertuous Intente, for what Cawses we have
assembled our selves in Amies, and howe we procede for

1 Sadler Pafers, vol. ii. p. 63.

a " Many gather to the rebells from places nere to them and farre
from us, and many come from them in places nere to us." — Sussex
to Cecil, State Papers. "The inhabitants of Cleveland, Allerton?h;re
Rychmondshyre and the Bishoprycke are all hollie gone to the Earls,
such is their affection for the cause of religion, by means whereof they
have given to the force of grete nombres but yet confused without order
armour or wepon.'*' — Sadler to Cecil, Ibid.

3 Northumberland states (see his "Confession") that as late as during
the siege of Barnard Castle he had received assurances from Alva
of aid in men and money in a very short time. The message was
sent to him direct by a special messenger from the Spanish ambassador.

* Appendix V.



the benelite of our Stats and Sevvertie of the Crowne of a.d. 1569
Englande, which we send you herinclosed in the verey
forme of our Proclamacion.

" And for the great confidence and trust we have in
your Lordship's vertuous meaning and religion, with the
care your Lordship hath of the Preservacion of the
Queen's Majestie and the quiet of this Commonwealth,
the maintenance of God's true Religion, and the con-
serving of the ancyent nobilitie, with the Safety of
your Friendes and their howses, we ar most hartily
to require you for the causes aforesaide, to rayse your
Lordships powers to joyn with ours, and also to procure
such ayde and assistance in all parte of your Lordships
Territoryes, as maybe more terror to effect our godly
and honorable Enterprises. And bycawse we knowe
your Lordship is wise, we forbeare to perswade with
you howe necessarie this warre is, which indede ys a
peace, to the performance of our dewties. And there-
fore, good my Lord, lett us, according to the hope we
repose in your Lordshipp, receyve an assurence of your
good meaning and forwardnes herein, and tp heare from
you againe with spede. And so we most hartilie take
our leave of your good Lordship. At Ripon this 27th
daye of November 1569.

" Your good Lordships
- " assured and lovingf Friends

" T. Northumberland
" C. Westmoreland." *

Whatever chances of success the Rising in the North
may once have possessed had now vanished ; and the
Earl of Derby determined not only to dissociate him-
self from " the two Rebeles," but to repudiate their
confidence and to expose their designs. He accordingly

1 Haynes, p. 564.


a.d. sent the " Protestacion " and its covering letter to the

I S 2 _^S7 2 Queen, declaring that he had perceived "the matter to

swarve so farre from the dutie of any good subject," and

" besechyng God long to prosper your Majestie and to

make you Yictoriose over your Enemyes." '

Leicester had already made his peace by urging upon
Elizabeth a more severe treatment of the Scottish
Queen ; while Arundel and Pembroke, fresh from the
experience of the Tower, overwhelmed their Sovereign
and her Minister with assurances of unalterable attach-
ment to the throne and of abhorrence of the rebels and
their cause. The Duke of Norfolk, too, in whose behalf,
to a great extent, the sword had been drawn, had lost no
time in writing to the Queen from his prison to assure
her " of my poor honestie that I never dealt with any of
those rebellious persons, either for the matters of re-
ligion, (wherein I abhor theirs) or else for the matter ol
title, or casting any dangers with them for this doubtful-
ness of the succession to the crown." 2

The northern rebellion was as foolish as it was
criminal ; unjustifiable in its origin, feeble in its conduct,
contemptible in its collapse. Yet the attitude of " those
simple Earls " appears dignified by contrast with that of

1 The Earl of Derby to the Queen, Lathom, 29th November, 1569.
Haynes, p. 563. It was not a time for the Queen's Government to reject
proffered allegiance from so influential a quarter ; but Cecil was pretty
well informed of the actual state of things, and knew the value 01
Lord Derby's professions. One of his agents writes to him : — " Con-
syderyng the late facsyons which have within the last few yeares growed
in that country (Lancashire) as well for folyshe opynyons of relygyon,
as other comon acsyons betwene the Erie of Derby and others, ytt
resteth doudtful that all the keyes of Lankashyer do not presently
hange at the Erie of Derby's owlde gyrdell." — Sir Francis Leeke to
Cecil, December 20th, 1569, Original State Papers, Record Orhce.

2 Norfolk to the Queen, 3rd December, 1569, Haynes, p. 567. The
abject tone of Norfolk's letter to Elizabeth would seem to justify
the terms in which the Spanish ambassador refers to him : " mat liebra
que Ie<jn."


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their English and foreign x allies, who in turn incited and a.d. 1569
ignored, supported and repudiated, their dupes, as the
chances of success rose or fell.

Sussex was now in a position to take the offensive.
On the Sth of December he writes to Cecil : — " My horse-
men I think be fewer in nomber than the rebels, but the
most of those I have be now well appoynted, savynge
for pystollets, and my fotemen begin to frame metely
well." Three days later he reports that he is advancing
on Allerton, and hopes shortly to effect a juncture with
the Southern army.

The Earls still made a show of resistance however.
On the 11th of December they issued a proclamation
addressed to the bailiffs and governors of Richmond,
who are required " in the Queen's Majesty's name" to
appear at Staneydrop on a given day, " with all able
men between xvi. and lx. years as be within Richmond
with such furniture of horse armour and wepon as any of
you have," together with " victuals for six dayes to serve
with all." 2

On the following day they served a notice upon the
tenants of " the supposed Bishop of Durham " requiring
them (still in the Queen's name 3 ) to pay their rents on



1 The ignoble conduct of the Spanish King was surpassed by
the duplicity of the French Court as revealed in the Recueil des
D'ep'cches. Before and throughout the insurrection the King and the
Queen-mother had warmly encouraged the Earls by promises of money
and armed support. After its suppression (January 14th, 1570), Fenelon
is desired to convey their Majesties' sympathy to the Rebel leaders, and
at the same time to express to Elizabeth their satisfaction at their defeat,
which the King assures Her Majesty he had always expected, and which,
^ as a punishment of men who rise against their anointed Sovereigns, he

considered " a just judgment of God."

3 Original State Papers, Record Office.

3 To the adherents of Mary Stuart, the name of the Scottish Queen
may have appeared to be the authority thus invoked, but as she had
only been proclaimed as the future successor to the throne, it is to be
doubted whether the Earls had any such meaning in their proclamations.



a.d. a given day to officers to be appointed by the Earls, ' and
5 2 __*57 2 then, learning that Sir John Forster was marching upon
Durham from Newcastle, they determined to advance
against him, and to risk a pitched battle. The two
armies met at Chester-Dean ; but whether, as he stated.
because of the impracticability of crossing the inter-
vening streams with his ordnance, or that he found
himself unable to cope with the rebel forces, Forster
fell back unmolested after some harmless skirmishing. 2

The rebellion was now virtually at an end ; 3 and
on the 1 6th of December the Earls disbanded the
bulk of their army, 4 and with only a few hundred
horsemen fled precipitately to Hexham, pursued by
Forster with a thousand light horse, 3 Sussex himself''

1 Harleian MSS., No. 6990, 45.

a A description of this bloodless encounter will be found in Holins-
head's Chronicles of Scotland.

3 Not so the elements which had composed the danger. On 29th
December Hunsdon bids Cecil, whose sagacity in gauging popular feeling
had been strangely at fault throughout this movement, "advise her
Majestye to look well to herself, and not to thynke all golde that glysters,
for yt wyll falle owt to be the greatyst conspyracy that hath byne yn thys
reelme thys 100 yeres." On the following day he tells the Queen that
" there is a great sort of noblemen, and a nombre of others, that are in
thys conspiracy that wold have begun sune yf thys had not burste ow t
before the tyme, and is not unlykely to fowle owt yet, yf hyt be no:
foreseen." — Memorials, pp. 123 and 125.

♦ " The Lord Rebelles at one of the clock of this present daye, have
EnVen warning to the comon people to make shifte for themselves, and
therefore have themselves departed with a grete number of horseim:..
westwards as is reported." — Valentine Brown (Treasurer of Berwick) to
Cecil, 16th December, 1569, State Papers.

s Sussex to Cecil, 17th December, 1569, State Papers. In the
same letter he reports the evacuation, by the rebels, of Hartlepool. Sir
Henry Percy joined in the pursuit. See Secretary Cecil's letter to Sir
Henry Norris, Cabala, p. 159.

6 " I intend God willing to set forwardes towardes Esham to-morrow -
at four in the mornyng, and wyll remove them of their lodgynge or make
them paye dearly for it ; and so wyll followe ther footsteppes, whersever
they five, over hylles, wastes or waters, untell I have ether geven then
the overthrewe or put them owte of the realme." — Sussex to Cecil,
19th December, 1569, State Papers.



following with fifteen hundred horse and six hundred A.D.J569
arquebusiers, while Warwick and Clinton, leaving the
Foot-Men at Ripon, advanced rapidly with their cavalry
and six guns.

Driven from Hexham, 1 the two Earls, with the Countess
of Northumberland, Richard Norton, one or two of their
confederates and a greatly reduced force of horsemen,
made towards the Borders, and sought refuge with
Leonard Dacre at Naworth, who not only refused to
receive them, but made a show of joining .in the pursuit
of his defeated allies. 2

Continuing their headlong flight northwards, they
crossed the frontier, and threw themselves upon the
hospitality of the notorious thieves and outlaws of
Liddesdale. 3

1 Northumberland's intention of throwing himself into the strongholds
of his own county where, surrounded by a population devoted to him, he
might long have defied his enemies, had been defeated by the seizure of
Warkworth and Alnwick Castles by Sir John Forster, who had placed
garrisons in both places, holding them on the part of the Queen. An
account of this proceeding is given in Holinshcad's Scotland. Sir John
Forster's stewardship was subsequently thus described by Hunsdon :—
" Yt ys grete pytty too see how Alnwyck Castel and Warkworth are
spoyled by hym and hys. . . . And for the Abbey that standes in Hulne
Parke he hathe left neyther lede, glase, irrne, nor so much as the pypes of
lede that conveyed the water to the howse, but he hathe browght yt to
hys owne howse ; and as I am credibly informed he meanes uterley to
deface bothe the uther howses, Warkworth and Alnwick. ... Yt was a
happy rebel/yon too hym, and no man howsever he ys opprest dare com-
playne."— Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, April 1572, Memorials.
Sussex repeatedly makes similar complaints of the spoil and oppression
of the Lords Warwick and Clinton while their armies were in the

3 Notwithstanding the urgent appeal of Edward Dacre, who writes
to his brother : — " Do not forget to send to comfort Lady Northumber-
land, to whom you are so very much bound ; for surely if there were ever
honour, goodness and virtue in any woman, they are in her." — State

i "The 16th hereof they broke up their sorry army, the iSth they
entered into Northumberland, and on the 19th into the mountains.
They have scattered all of their footmen, willing them to shift for them-
selves, and of one thousand horsemen there fled but five hundred. Ly
this tune they be fewer, and I trust either taken or fled into Scotland,

VOL. II. 65 F


a.d. " What a fond and foolish end these rebels have made

i5 2 8-i57 2 f their traitcrous rebellion ! they always fled before us
after we came within xii miles of them, and we followed
after them as hard as we might, without rest. Never-
theless you see how they bee escaped, which they might
easily do in this wast and desolat country." z

Elizabeth, apprehensive of the effects which the es-
cape of the Earls to the Continent might produce upon
her relations with foreign powers, 2 now made vigorous
efforts to induce the Regent Murray to join with her in
hunting down the rebel leaders. To this end, flattery,
bribes and menaces were lavishly employed by her
agents; and Murray, intent upon his own ambitious
schemes, would have had no scruple in conciliating
Elizabeth by the employment of military force for the
interception of the fugitives. Border custom, however,
had given to this right of asylum all the force of inter-
national law, no less than of a recognised claim to
hospitality ; and he hesitated to face the storm of public
indignation which an overt breach of this ancient practice
would have aroused. 3

where the Regent Murray is in good readiness to chase them to their
ruin." — Cecil to Sir Henry Norris, 24th December, 1569, Cabala, p. 159.

1 Sadler to Cecil, Memorials, p. 114.

2 " The Erles rebells and their principal confederats do lurk and hide

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 6 of 31)