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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themselves in the woodds and deserts of Lyddesdale, but if they tarry
on the borders there is good hope to have some of them or it be
long. The greatest feare is of their escape by the sea. . . . There is
no doubt but that the Regent will do all he can to get those rebelis
into his own handes." — Sadler to Cecil, 24th December, Sadler Papers,
vol. ii. p. 7c. "The vermin be tledd into a forrayn covert, where
I feare theves and murderors will be the hosts and mayntenors of our
rebells." — Cecil to Sadler, 25th December, ibid. p. 73.

3 So strong was popular feeling in Scotland on this point, that
Elizabeth's local agents became very doubtful of the Regent being
ultimately as able as he was willing to surrender the guests of the nation.
Lord Hunsdon writes to the Queen on 30th December in his usual
honestly blunt style :—" Generally all sortes both of men and women
crye out for thelibertye of the countrye, which is to succor banysht men,
as themselves have been received in England nat lang sins ; and is the



To refuse compliance with the English demand was
attended with equal danger, for to attain her end the
Queen would not have hesitated to violate Scottish
territory with her own armies. Murray, therefore, de-
termined to get possession of the persons of the leading-
insurgents by stratagem, as a preliminary to further and
perhaps more favourable negotiation for their surrender ;
and in one Hector Armstrong he found an agent worthy
of the service to be performed.

Lord Northumberland had, with his Countess, found
shelter under the roof of an outlaw named John of the
Syde, 1 in "a cottage not to be compared to any dogge-
kennel in England," 2 writes Sussex.

The Regent now employed an influential Liddesdale

man to urge the danger incurred by their community in
harbouring rebels ; whose expulsion would not only be an
act pleasing to the authorities, but afford a rare oppor-
tunity for plunder. These arguments prevailed, and the

freedom of all countries as they alledge. ... I doubt whether the
Regent dare deliver the Erie. . . . Your Majesty shall perhaps hear of
some objections whie they should not as well kepe your rebelles, as
your Majestie to kepe their Queene being fled from them." — State

On 13th January following he writes to the same effect: — "The most
parte of the nobylette of Scotland, and especyally a' this syde Edenburro,
thynkes yt a grete reproche and ygnomminy too the hole country, to
delyver any banysht man to the slaughter; accounting ytt a lybertye
and freedome, yncydent to all nacions, too succor banysht men." — State
Papers. Sir Ralph Sadler expresses the same views. See his letter of
Sth January, 1570, to Lord Clinton. Sadler Papers, vol. ii. p. 97.

1 '"'He is well kend, John of the Syde,

A greater thefe did never ryde." — Maitland.

"The Earls rebelles. with their principal confeyderates and the
Countess of Northumberland, did, the 20 th of the present in the night, flee
mto Liddesdale with about 100 horse ; and there remaine under the
conducion of Black Ormstone, one of the murtherers of the Lord
Harnley, and John of the Syde and the Lairds Joke, two notable
''"•ves of Lidesdale."— Sussex to the Queen, 22nd December, 1569.
Original State Papers. Record Office.

67 F 2


a.d. Earls and their followers were driven forth. 1 The story

15 . 2 is told in the native dialect of a contemporary writer, who

appears unconscious of its shame : — 2

" Upoun the xxv day of the said moneth of December,
my Lord Regent convenit with Mairtene Eliot that he
soulde betralse Thomas Erie of Northumberland, quha
wes fled in Liddisdaill out of Ingland for refuge, in this
maner ; that is to say the said Mairtine causit Heckie
Armystrong 3 desyre my Lord of Northumberland to
cum and speik with him under tryst, and causit the said
Erie believe that, efter speiking, gif my lord Regent
wald persew him, that he and his freindis sould tak
plane pairt with the Erie of Northumberland. And
when the said Erie come with the said Heckie
Armystrong to speik the said Mairtine he causit certane
licht horsmen of my Lord Regentis with vtheris his
freindis to ly at a wait, and quhen thay sould sie the said
Erie and the said Mairtyne speiking togidder, that they
suld come and tak the said Erie ; and sua as was devysit,
sua come to pas.

" And the said Erie being tane under traist, as said is,
certane of his assistaris followed, and persewed the said
Martine and his company, purposing to have releivit
the said Erie ; and in their perforce, Capitane Johne
Borthwick, Capitan of my Lord Regentis horsmen, was

1 " In the end Marten Elwood (Elliot) sayd to Ormston he wold be
sorry to enter dedly fewde with him by bloodshed ; but he would
charge him and the reste before the Regent, for keping of the rebels of
England, yf he did not put them owt of the countrye. . . . Whereupon
the Erles were dm en to leave Lvdesdall, and to fly to one of the
Armstrongs upon the Batabk (neutral ground) between Rydsdale and
England." — Sussex to Cecil, 22nd December. Jfe/noria/s,p. 114.

a "Diurnai of remarkable Occurrents," published in the Transactions
of the Bannatyne Ciub, 1833. See also Historie of James 'the Sext,
republished in Edinburgh in 1804.

3 This man's treacl.jry was doubly base, since he had himself, while
a fugitive in England, enjoyed the protection of the Earl of North-



slane, and the remanent raid to Hawick ; quhairto they vn.
brocht the said Erie, and thairefter to Jedburgh, quha ! 5°9-»S?
gat na presens of my Lord Regent quhill the xxvij day
of December, at the quhilk tyme thay wer cumand to

Well might Sussex in conveying this intelligence to
the Queen " perceive howe redie and willing the Regent
of Scotland is to do your Majestye all the service he
may. ■

On his expulsion from Liddesdale, Northumberland,
reluctant to expose his brave w r ife to further dangers
or privations, and believing probably in the fallacious
proverb that there is honour even among thieves, in-
trusted her to the care of her lawless hosts. No sooner
was his back turned, however, than they set to work
to pillage their guest, 2 Black Ormestone 3 setting the
example by " spoulzieing" her of her jewels, money,
and clothing, and the others appropriating the horses
left for her and her attendants.

Thus Lady Northumberland, deprived of the means of
seeking refuge elsewhere, penniless, and with only the
clothes she wore, remained in the nest of robbers, while

1 Sussex and Sadler to the Queen, Hexham, 25th December. State

2 "The same daye the Lydesdale men stale my Lady of Northumber-
I land's horse, and her two women's horses, and other horses ; so that

when the Erles went away, they left her and all the rest that had lost

their horses, on foote at John of the Syde's house such is their

present mysery." — Memorials, p. 115. Sir Richard Maitland's quaint
description of these men deserves quotation : — ,

" Of Liddisdaill, the cornmoun theifis,
Sa pertly steilis now and reifis,
That nane may keip, hors, colt, nor sheip,
Nor yet dar sleip, for thair mischiefis."


3 " The Laird of Ormestoune spoulzeist the Erie of Northum-
berland's house, and his wyrT of all her jeweliis, her ckithing and
poise." — Memorials, p. 343.

6 9


a.d. the chief of the Percies, under an assumed name, and in
1 5 28-15 7 2 t h e garb of an outlaw, 1 wandered forth to fall into the
trap prepared for him.

On the 8th of January, 1 569-70, Sadler writes to the
Lord Admiral : — " The Erie of Northumberland is in the
custodie of the Regent, and the Countess of Northumber-
land, Erie of Westmoreland and others be receyved, ayded,
and mayntayned, agenst the Regent's will, by the Lord.
Hume, 2 the Lord of Farnyherst, the Lady of Bucleugh
and others." 3

About the same time Lord Hunsdon writes to the

Regent : —

" Upon Thursday night last the Countess of North-
umberlande was brought by Farnehurst toward Hewme
Castell, and was fayne to staye by the wave att Rocks-
borrowe, by the soreness of the wether (being a greate
storme) ; so as it was eight of the clock on Fridaie
morning or she came to Hewme, and is ther yett, onlesse
this Daie she be convoyed to Fauxe Castell.

" Your Grace knowes well that the Ouenes Maiestie
cannot take this well at ther hands; espetially at my
Lord Hewmes, with whom she may easelie be quittaunce,
and make him repent his follie, as I doubt not but
she will." 4

1 "The Erles have changed their names and apparell, and ryde
lyke the outlawes of Lyddesdale."— Sadler to Cecil, Sadler Papers.

ii. 71. . . c ., ,

2 This noble Scot was among the most prominent champions ot tne
national right of asylum, and according to Maitland, in reply to the
demand for the surrender of his guests, " said he would rather give his
head, or he sould do so vyil a deid." Lady Northumberland appears
subsequently to have made a convert of him, for Sir Thomas Gargravc
on 2nd March, 157 1, informs Cecil that "Lord Hume has forsaken
religion (i.e. become a Catholic) and hears two or three masses daily
with Lady Northumberland." — State Papers.

3 Sadler Papers, ii. 97.

♦ Lord Hunsdon to the Regent of Scotland, 9th January, i57°>
Haynes, p. 573.



Ready as the Regent had hitherto shown himself, to a.d. 1570
allow the right of asylum to be violated in the persons of
those included in the Act of Attainder for participation in
the late rising, 1 Elizabeth's threats did not deter him from
affording shelter to Lady Northumberland.

" I deme you will not think it strange," he writes,
11 although it sal be reported that the Countesse of North-
umberland is in Hume Castell ; for then it is that at my
being in Jedburgh, hearing of her great miserie, and
inhuman usage be the outlawes and theves, I declared
to the Countrymen that I wolde not take it in evill
parte, whosoever resett (received) her, making me privie
thereto." 2

The position of the Earl of Northumberland and his
wife was indeed at this time such as to excite sympathy
rather than resentment, as appears from a letter 3 now
written by Alan King to Sir Henry Percy : —

" My Lord of Northumberland is in Edenbrough and
not in ward, but in the keeping of my Lord Regent, who
hath gyven my Lord licence to lye in the town of
Edenburgh with a garde of the Regent's men, and my
Lord hath of his owne men seven principal. . . My
Lord's request is by Robert 4 to you, who is both in grete
distresse and miserye at this present, cleane without
apparell or money, of your brotherlynes to extend your
liberalitie to releve him withal at this his present neces-
sitie ; and also he desyreth you to write, or send him word
of such newes as you may impart him withal ; first what
lykeing the nobility hath of his trouble ; secondly, how

1 The list contained 57 names, and included that of the Countess of
Northumberland, but not of Lady Westmoreland who had taken so much
more active a part in the rebellion. See Appendix VI.

2 The Regent of Scotland to the Earl of Sussex, 14th January, 1570,
State Papers.

3 The letter is published in Wright's Life of Queen Elizabeth.

4 Robert Shafto, a servant of the Earl of Northumberland.


a.t>. and in what case his frendes, men, and those that were
1528-1572 w j t h hi m are use( j . thirdly, of his children.

" My Lady of Northumberland hath her heartily
commended unto you, who craveth and desyreth of your
counsell in the behalf of my Lord. My Lady lyeth as yet
at Fernyhurst, but the Lord Hume hath written lycenc
for her to come to hym, which she wyll. She might have
accesse to my lord to Edinburg, but she thynketh not so
good as yet, till she have some more warrent from the
Lord Regent ; for that she being at libertye, she is able to
make some shifte for my Lord now, and hath alreadye sent
home to her frendes,. as to my Lord of Worcester. Her
request also is, that if you wolde send some trustye man
of your owne to my Lord and her, you might pleasure
them very much, and they would discourse unto him of
such things as are yet in safetie, which might be now to
their releves, or at the least it might come toyourhandes.
Farther my lady wolde that you should understand, that
disagrement that was amongst them chiefly was the cause
of this their mishappe and ill fortune to sever and flie ;
also for my Lord Dakers breach, which hath been
aforetime, he hath showed himself a sorrowful man,
who is as yet thought, and no otherwise knowne to my
lady, but that he will assiste them if they will cumme into
England, or when they cumme. 1

" At my Lord of Northumberland's first cumming into

1 Leonard Dacre had by this time turned against the English Queen,
and openly defied Sussex, who, attacking him at Naworth on February
20th, sent him " flying across the border like a tall gentleman, and I
thinke never looked behind hym tyll he was at Lydesdale," and thence
over the seas, to hatch fresh treasons in the Low Countries. See Lord
Hunsdon's spirited retort on the capture of Naworth in Sharpe's
Memorials. To do him justice, however, Dacre only took to flight
when overcome by numbers, and after a desperate resistance. Camden
says: "Pugnatum sane utnnque acriter, et Leonardus (gibbosus licet)
nihil non fecit quod in duce fortissimo requiratur, sed, plurimis suoruin
! caesis, victoriam haudquaquam laetam Hunsdonio reliquit, et in Scotiam

proximam se recepit." — Annates. See also Appendix VII.


Scotland the Regent did not, nor wolde not, talk with
him in three dayes together ; but after they had mett
and talked, they otherwyse agreed and many times

" My Lady Northumberland hath sent to my Lady
(Percy) and earnestlye desyreth her to send her some
apparell, as she is destitute both of wollen and lynnen."

If true information was furnished to the unhappy Earl
upon the three points on which he expressed himself
anxious to be enlightened, it could not have added to his
peace of mind. The nobility were far too busily engaged
in making their own peace with Elizabeth to occupy
themselves with him or " his trouble " ; the " frendes and
men and those that were with him " had been ruthlessly
slaughtered, and his poor children were exposed to the
hardship of a Yorkshire winter without food or fuel.

" Passing by the younge ladys," writes their uncle,
" I founde them in harde case, for nether had they any
provisions, nor one penny to relyve with, but some lyttel
things from me. They would gladly be removyde ; their
want of fire is grettc, whose yeres may not suffer that
lacke." 1

The part played by Sir Henry Percy throughout these
proceedings will be treated of in the chapter devoted to
the story of his life. It need here only be mentioned
that he had from the first dissociated himself from the
cause of the insurgents ; as soon as the rebellion broke
out he placed his sword at Elizabeth's disposal, and when
only the work of retaliation remained to be done, he had
written to Sussex declaring himself " holly devoted to
_ Her Majesty, and reddy with all my force to move against
the rebels." 2

A.!-. I

1 Sir Henry Percy to Earl of Sussex, 9th January, 1570, State Papers.
Ihe eldest of the four daughters was only in her twelfth year.
The same to the same, 7th January, 1570, Ibid.



a.d. There is something suspicious in the anxiety he

1 5 2 ^-i57 2 showed to signalize his loyalty, all the more so since he
does not appear to have used the influence he had over
his brother to turn him from his fatal course. Indeed
the appeal which the fugitive Earl now makes to his
" brotherliness " met with a very feeble response.
A strong feeliiigf o( indignation and resentment had

o o o

been aroused among Scotchmen of all classes by the
proposal on the part of the English Government that
the insurgent chiefs who had sought their hospitality
should be surrendered.

" I have some cause to doubt," writes Sir Ralph
Sadler to Lord Clinton on the 8th January, " whether
the said Erie (the Regent) can or will delyver the said
rebells. I conceive, by that I have heard, that few or
none of the nobility will agree to it." x

Constable, an impoverished member of an honourable
family and one of the most shameless and unscrupulous
in the large army of spies employed by the Government, 2
whom Cecil had despatched to Scotland to watch the
refugees, and more especially to worm himself into the
confidence of Westmoreland, with whose house he was
connected, relates how having entered a place of public
entertainment, and sat down to play at " hardheads " with
the people there assembled, " I heard, vox populi, that the
Lord Regent could not for his own honor, nor for
the honor of his countrye, delyver the Erles if he had
them bothe, unlest it were to have the Queen (Mary)
delyvered to him ; and if he wolde agree to such, that
change, the Borderers would start up in his countrye and
reave both the Oueene and the Lords from him for the

1 Sadler Papers.

a In a letter to his chief this man proclaims himself prepared "to
trap them that trust in me, as Judas did Christ," and with amusing
impudence ■ claims exceptionally high wages on account of his gentle
birth, since he " cannot beg as others do." — Cabala, p. 160.



like shame was never done in Scotland." He adds that a.d. 1570
the indignation at the treachery of Hector Armstrong '
was universal, and that some of his companions had
expressed a wish " to eat his head at supper."

Elizabeth was determined, however, at all hazards to
obtain possession of the persons of her rebellious lords,
and was advised to place strong garrisons upon the
Borders, " to the ende that if those proud Scots will not
delyver the said rebells they may be persecuted by Her
Majesty's forces, and have their houses, landes, and
goods overthrown, wasted, and destroyed by fyre and
sword with all extremyte." 2

Sir Henry Gates, who had been sent to Scotland with
instructions peremptorily in the Queen's name to demand
the surrender of the two Earls, and of " the other rebels
recepted in Scotland," appears to have succeeded in over-
coming the scruples of the Regent, who had hitherto
wavered between apprehension of Elizabeth's displeasure
and a regard for his own reputation and the national
honour. 3 " He shewed us, in very hastie speache, he wolde
gladlie of himself accomplish anie thing that lawfully
might be in his power to pleasure the Queen's Majesty
in that or anie other thing, but that, for the matter was
weightie, he thought better to deale in such sorte as
offences should not be taken at his doings." 4

A delay was accordingly granted to enable him to
obtain the assent of the Council, which he appears to have
done ; but on the day preceding that fixed for signing
the treaty, the bullet of an assassin saved the Earl

1 "To take Hector's cloak" passed into a proverb for betraying a
friend. See Mailland's JMSS. (Pinkerton), p. 132.

2 Sadler Papers.

3 The liberation of Queen Mary, whose prolonged captivity in
England had become a cause of embarrassment to Elizabeth, was one
ot the conditions of the proposed surrender.

4 Sir Henry Gates to Cecil, January aotfa, 1570, Original State
1 apers.



a.d. of Murray's name from the blot of the contemplated

D °' act ol dishonour. 1

* *

Meanwhile a terrible tragedy was in progress at the
theatre of the late insurrection. Elizabeth was resolved
to strike terror into the hearts of her Catholic subjects,
and to crush with a hand of iron all sympathy for the
Scottish Queen, all hope of a restored church, all reliance
upon the aid of her foreign enemies. Although the
movement had hardly risen to the importance of re-
bellion (except at Barnard Castle, where the casualties
were trifling, the Queen's forces and those of the two
Earls had never met in actual conflict) 2 any degree of
severity might have been justifiable towards the leaders
who had been defeated in the attempt to incite the popu-
lation of four counties to rise in arms against the authority
of their sovereign ; and who had appealed to the aid ot
foreign powers to plunge their country into civil war.
It was not upon these, how r ever, that the edge of the
sword of justice now descended. The most repulsive
feature in the retaliatory measures now adopted by
Elizabeth and -her agents, is the cold-blooded calculating
spirit in which wholesale executions were inflicted upon
11 the meaner sort," while those were spared who were
able to ransom their lives. The gentlemen and sub-
stantial yeomen who fell into the hands of the authorities
were allowed to escape the penalty of their offences by a

1 " By direction of the Regent they (the English Commissioners)
attended at Edenborough for aunswer to be given the day of his death ;
which is now, as our lawyers call it, sine die." — Cecil to Sir Henry
Norris. Cabala, p. 160. The Regent Murray had been shot on
22nd January, and died on the following morning.

3 " In the besieging of Barnard Castle they killed five men, three
within and two without. That night the skirmish was, they hurt with
arquebus shot three score and seven within the Castle. These were the
greatest spoils and outrages they committed, so far as I know.'
Memorials, p. 1S7.



money* payment; while the poor peasants — to most of a.d. 1570
whom implicit obedience to their local chiefs was second
nature — were consigned to the gallows by hundreds.

As early as on 20th December, while the Earls were in
full flight from Hexham, Cecil wrote to Sadler:

"It were pittie but some of those rascalls were hanged
by martialle lawe ; but the rye her wold be bttt taken and
altaynted, for otherwise it is doubtfull how the Queue's
Majcstie shall have any forfeiture of tlier landes or
goodesl' * Sussex was, however, too well acquainted
with the Queen's ruling passion to require any instruc-
tions on this point : " I had resolved before receipt of
her Majestye's letter not to execute martial law against
any that had inheritance or greate wealth, as I knew the
law in that case."

At the same time he submits the first list of rebels
whom he proposes to execute in the county of Durham ;
these are 314 in number, and he promises "a like exe-
cution in Richmondshire when the Marshall has finished
this ; as also at Allerton, Topcliffe and Thirske, besides

1 Sadler Fa/>ers, vol. ii., p. 69. Sussex had suggested that in view
of the large forfeiture likely to accrue in Durham, the Bishop, to
whom these would fall, should be translated to another see, so that,
sede vacanie, the Queen derive the benefit ; and in recommending
convicted rebels to mercy he never failed to make use of the argument
most certain to convince Elizabeth. Of one man he writes : " He has
many children, has married a widow that has children ; was of honest
behaviour and was gieatly lamented ; his land was assured to his wife so
that the Queen will lose by his death." Of another : " By his death the
Queen will lose, but not by his life." — Again of one Sayers, " A verye
younge man a servant of the Erie of Northumberland, and the son of
loyal parents ; I have compounded for his pardon for the fyne of Five
Hundred Pounds if the Queen's Majestye be pleased, which if he shoulde
be executed she shold have nothing. I have talked with others in like
sort, and if Her Majesty allows thereof I will proceed, but have made
no promise to any one that hath either freehold or wealth, nor do I mean
that the common householders shall escape without fine, as by many
littles a great sum will rise. I think the like commodity was never
raised to any prince in any rebel'ons that shall be in this, if no man
restrains me in my office." — Sussex to Cecil, 8th January, 1570.
Slate Papers.



a.d. which there shall be no town whence any man who wr-it
3 " — 3 ' to serve the Earls, and continued after a pardon proclaimed
but one or more shall be executed for example." *

The tone of this letter would certainly not seem to
indicate any disposition to undue leniency ; but the Queen
is not satisfied and writes : " We marvel that we have
heard of no execution by martial law, as was appointed, of
the meaner sort of rebels in the north. If the same be

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 7 of 31)