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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on 9ih January he had written to Sussex in a very different strain,
begging him to take charge of the horses belonging to the Earl, " so that
if ever God in his Grace, or the Queene's Majestye in her mercy, call him
back to his former estate, that he maye have the same back agayne ;
for there was nothing or worldlye goodes he so much esteemed." —
State Papers.



according to such pore and humble request as I have a.d. 1570

moued the heid of this house (Henry Percy) to open

unto your lordships and unto the rest. Good my lord

remember my longe and tediose tyme I have been here ;

glad wold I have some comfortable tyme to refresh and

to recreat myself for a while, until I might obtayne the

Queene my sovereign's favor. I pray your lordship to

think of me for the old good-will which I have borne

unto you and to my Lord Greye ; for it is possible I

may stande you or some of yours in stead of service.

M I cannot use no great ceremonies, but referring my
cawse unto your good consideracion I commyt you to
Almighty God." J

These efforts were of no avail. Indeed after the
retaliation so recently inflicted upon the rank and file
of the rebel army, Elizabeth could not have extended
her pardon to the two principal offenders. Lady
Northumberland had, however, come to an agreement
with William Douglas as to the sum of money to be
paid for the Earl's ransom, and finding it impossible
to raise so considerable an amount in England, and
having some reason to fear that her own freedom was in
jeopardy, she determined to make a personal appeal to
the Spanish Viceroy in the Low Countries. 2 Embarking at
" Olde Aberdyne " with Lord Westmoreland and other of

1 State Papers. This letter, dated from Lochleven on June 18th,
appears to have been in the form of a circular addressed by Sussex to Cecil,
Leicester, and others. The absence of all admission of culpability or
expression of regret is remarkable. "While he sues for the Queen's
" favour," he does not once use the term " pardon."

2 Lord Morley writes to the Earl of Leicester on 3rd September,
1570 : "I have sought what I coulde to learne of my Lady
Northumberland her dissignments, and I cannot perceive that she
meant otherwise than to seke Her Majesty's favour, retyring herself out
of Scotland for very Penurye : being miserably entreated there, and
forced for her suertye from frende to without reste, fearing ever
to be spoyled by those barbarous people." — State Papers. At the time
this was written she had already crossed the seas.



a.d. the fugitives under the protection of Lord Seaton, 1 she

D ° reached Antwerp at the end of August, having " nether

penny nor half-penny," 2 and at once obtained an interview
with the Duke of Alva 3 who, receiving her with marked
consideration and courtesy, promised to use his influence
with the King to provide the means for liberating the
Earl. Philip, however, showed no disposition to exces-
sive liberality, and all that Lady Northumberland could
obtain was the promise of 6,000 crowns, 4 in acknow-
ledgment of which she writes to Alva : —

" My poverty is well known to all Catholic princes,
and in fulfilment of my duty towards God, I submit
without murmuring to the deprivation of my lord's
company, the absence of my children, banishment from
my country, and the loss of estate and property." 3

It was not until the middle of the following year that
the full amount of the ransom was forthcoming, the Pope
having agreed to a further contribution of 4,000 crowns.
These payments were, however, made conditional upon
the production of a guarantee that they should effect
their purpose, and this threw fresh difficulties in the way
of the negotiations ; for the Laird of Lochleven was on his
part equally unwilling to relinquish his captive before the

1 Sir Henry Cobham to Cecil, 4th September, 1570. Cotton MSS.

2 Lord Seaton to Queen of Scots, 19th September, 1570. Labanoff.

3 When, at a later period, the Court of Spain remonstrated with
Elizabeth for haying shown undue favour to the Prince of Orange, the
Queen reminded Philip of the protection he had extended to her rebel-
lious subjects in the Low Countries : " How was it that the Countess of
Northumberland was solemnly brought of late to the Duke of Alva by
one of his sons, and accompanied with a great company of English
rebels ? and suffered to make a solemn oration to him, which was said by
her and answered by the Duke, as they report to their comfort, to
persist in their evil disposition ?" — State Paters.

* " Et pour autant que touche l'assisiance de deniers que la dite
Comtesse demande pour mettre son dit mari en liberte, [je] vous en ay
aultres escripten espagnole, que [je] seroye content d'y employer jusqu'a
six mille e'scus, selonquoy vous potfvez regler." — King of Spain to Duke
of Alva, November 1570. From thz Archives des Pays Bas in Brassela.

5 Labanoff.



price was in his possession. To hiin, wearied of delays a.d.
and evasions, Lady Northumberland now addressed L S1°~ l 5l l
herself, using with womanly ingenuity every argument
calculated to persuade or convince him — now flattering
his vanity, now appealing to his sense of honour, now
working upon his avarice : —

" Albeit, my lorde's frendes have been hardly browght
to give eare to the sume which ys demanded, beyng so
greete, and so farre beyond ther expectacyon, (my lord,
his present state and condicion considered, who never
weyned thet such a Burthen wold have been lay'd upon
him in this case thet he ys in, and therefore thought that
a greate deale lesse would have served), yet I have
soe wrought yt with them as the sayme is redie to be
dysburssed, upon that Assurance, as they may persave
hym lyke to be sett free, and ther money not cast away.
And in this respect the staye hath beyne, and hath rested
off long tyme ; for to adventure so moche upon your
lordship's bare worde, beyng unknowne unto them
(althonghe, that the mo?iy were myne owue, I durst boldly
do it, for the good experyence of your honorable and
fatheful dealing) , they cannot be brought unto ; and
therefor desier such assurance of your Meanyng of
Performance as may occasion them not to doubt of
your honore in that Behalfe. And, good my lord, think
upone me one waye : that I most earnestlie wishe and
desier my Husbande's freedom and lybertie, so wold I
do all that I cold in the World to procure yt and bring
that to pass. . . . And seyinge the matter resteth in
your own powre to dispatche, and that no meanyng of
neither partie (as I take yt) but honorable just and
faithful, I shall besech you no longer to delay it, but soe
to open yourselff* unto them as, they being satysfied, a
frendlye eynde may be made in this matter, you to have
your money, my lorde all thir favores and kyndnes, and


a.d. they to enjoy his Presence and Company. And so pray-

J 5 2 J^57 2 ing your lordship to consider of this my request, what

hindrance this long delaye hathe bene, as well to your

lordship, as to my lord in his healthe, as otherwees, and

that I may resave your spedie answere ; wherby the bond

of kyndnes may be so knyt betweene my lord and you,

and your two Howses, as you shall have good cause

hereafter to thynke your favore at this tyme well

bestowed. Besiching you to give credit to this bearer,

in that he hath to saye ferther in this matter, with most

hearty comendacyons and thankes to my good ladie your

Bedfellow, I eynde. ,, A X t »

1 A. Northumberland.

Postscript. "... My lorde's trest is in your lordship
that as you have very honorably hitherto dealt for his
safetye, so you will not leave him untyll he may, by your
good meanes, be set free from Intertrapping or Mysad-
venture, that may come by Mallyce or Decepte of any
that may be laed or suborned to annoy him ; and may be
commytted to that fortune and adventure that himselffe
shall take and choise. Wherebye you shall syngularly
biend us -all unto you, and wynn unto yourself moch
honner, commodite and proffet, and beare awaye the
Glory, Lawd and Praise of that your honorable faetheful
and friendly intreatyng of him ; which cannot be at any
tyme left unremembred, whilst ether my lord, his
Posterite, Kynred or Frendes, may be able to acknow-
lege it to you and yours." l

To her husband she writes on the same day and again
on the day following : " Trusting that your lordship will
not impute any blame towards me, if your businesse have
not come to passe so sone as you wished, and myself gretlie
desired ; for by occasion of the greatness of the somme

1 Countess of Northumberland to the Laird of Lochleven, Mechlin,
27th January, 1571-2. Murdin, p. 186.




and the want of sufficient assurance (as your frendes do a.d.
thinke) the tyme hath been delayed, and upon that point J S7 I ~ I 57-
do they yet staye. Upon better evidence of performance
to pay the money, if it had been a thousande marks, or
under a thousand poundes, I wold not have doubted to
have procured that sume upon my credite, and to have
despatched it upon the lord's bare worde ; whose honor-
able and faithful dealing I do wel knowe and do credite ; '
but that other summe I cannot be hable to reache unto
with all the labour that I can make, without further
assurance ; so doubtful and scrupulous are* your frendes
to make the adventure, and have bene so often deceaved
upon trust before, as they alledge. I see, therefore, none
other remedye, but that you must ether procure the favor
at the lord's hanrdes to make them better assurance, as
may be to their contentacion, or ells that he will take
suche a summe as I shall be hable to provide upon my
credite, and to give you dayes, upon bonde, with sewerties
for the payment of the reste. And yet alwayes you
must remayne when that is done, under his credit, ....
for that by his frendshipp, and none other that I can
perceave, must you be garded, and brought to the place
where you shall desire for your most saftye and assur-
ance, for none ther is, in myne opynion, that is so hable
to serve your turne in that behalfe, or to do you that
pleasure, nor so justlie wold performe it, as the lord,
if he wold take it in hand.

"And so I ende, commytting your good lordship to the
custodie and protection of the Almyghtie, who send you
perfecte healthe with the enjoying of your hart's desire.
I"rom your lordship's most humble and obedient wif,

"A. N. 2
" Meklin, this 27 of January, 1572."

1 This letter was evidently intended for the eye of the Laird ; not
^o the following one. 2 Murdin, p. 187.




£' D \- " Your frends heare thinke it verey long to under-

stand how you doe, and to heare from you, for that they
have not hearde anything of you syns the departure of
your men. Syns whiche tyme with muche adoe, greate
importance and charges, myne owne travell, and the
travell of a nombre of others besyds, in th' ende the
tenne thousande corones is obteyned, and delyvered
theare, half, the 24th of this present, and the other half
the 26th of the same ; althoughe it is more than a yere
passed syns it stode with the King's Majesty's pleasure
that the sex thousande shoulde have beene paid ; and
more than half a yere syns His Holiness pleasede that
you shold have had the four thousande. The- Duke (Alva)
never gave me flatte denyall,but with fayre wordes delayed
me from tyme to tyme, and all upon feare lest the
money shoulde be cast awaye, and your personage not
delyvered or not evicted from perill, by reason of the
small assurance that was perceaved to be offered for your
deliverance ; or the enemy enriched thereby, by reason the
sum was so greate and so farre beyonde all reason, with
a number of other objections that were to longe to recite.
Whereunto I answered from tyme to tyme, shewing . . .
wherby the fear of that perill might be removed . . . but
all my allegacions and assurances, or the wordes of any
of our Nacion, were smallie credited or accepted to, untill
it pleased my Lord Seaton to affirmeall the same, and to

give his worde, whiche was taken and allowed

" And for your conveyance over, and other

treatie for your libertie, it is thought if vour brother be
there (as what to think of his being I cannot say, so
many contrarye tales wee heare) that he is the fittest
to advise you and to practise the same above all others ;

1 The passages here omitted relate to the mode of transmitting the
funds required for the Earl's liberation, and to the disposal of the



both for that Nature clothe binde him to be carefull and a.d.
circumspecte over the same, and his Wisdom and Experi- I57I ~ 72

ence is knowen most sufficient to deale therin

For myne owne Parte, being but a Woman, I can do no
more but pray for your good Successe and Spede, seeing
the Matter is too weightie for me to give Advise upon,
and too chargeable to intermeddle withal, being not able
to travell therein myself; but must remaine to do as shall
like you to commande, and none otherwise, and to signifie
what your Frendes Opinions are therin. Whereof Dr.
Sanders by his former Letters hathe written his ; and
your other wisest frende l dothe wishe that your Remayne
might be as shorte after your Inlargement as you could
in those partes, for sundry respects. His Opinion is that
you might with the least danger take shipping at Haber-
dine (Aberdeen) and passe into Denmarke, out of the
whiche you have not above three days' posting into this
King's countryes. Others are of Opinion that by the Erie
of Morton, or the Lord's Meanes, you might be passed
safelie by Thest Seas ; others, likewise, by the Capten of
the Castell : so as therin ther is Diversitie of Opinions,
which I thought o-ood to write.

" Likewise you may advise of all, and conclude of such as
shall appeare to you most likely ; ior to determine it liethe
in no man's head but your owne ; nor none will otherwise
herin say his mynde, but as an Opinion referred to your
owne Choise, to accept or to leave, bicause no man will
take upon him determinatlie to advise upon such an
Hazarde. Many there be (as you may perceave) that
have commytted themselfs to that hazarde, and have
passed hither by sundrye Wayes, both by Thest seas and
the West, who had neither the Oportunitie of Advise, nor
were hable to procure the Meane for their passage, with

1 Probably the LorJ Seaton.
Vul. II. 97 II


a.d. that Lykelihode of Safetie that you may have ; and yet,
__! God be praised, not one of all hath miscarried, but have
safelie arryved according- to their desires. And so may
you also, by His Almightie Healpe, if you commytte
yourself to him, abandon all Feare, and provide, by the
Advise of your Frends there, the Meane that you and
they can thinke upon to be most lyke to assure you
Safetie in your transporting. Wherin I thinke John
Swynborne were a man for your Lordship to advise
withall, and to accompany you, both bicause I am per-
suaded that he lovithe you dearely, is honest, wise, of
good experience, and well acquainted with the Natures
and Condicons of that Contry Men, wherby he is the
better hable to discern what Way or Meane is best
for you to take, and with what persone you may most
safeliest deale. . . ."

Of Sir Henry Percy the Countess evidently has her
doubts, although these are guardedly expressed.

" Heareare so many bruits of your brother's beino- and
cuming away, and so many imaginacions thereupon, both
by them that be wise and others, as it were good that
his frends understode partlie what they might aunswer on
that behalf. For myne owne parte, I am persuaded that
his doengs cannot but be as is convenyent towards you,
bothe bicause Nature will binde him thereunto, and
that his own wealthe and welldoeng- dothe stande
therupon ; in the contrary whereof he can reap no
benefite . . . ."

Here follow the names of certain of the adherents o(
the cause, who are proposed as fit persons to be de-
spatched for the purpose of assisting the Earl in his
escape from Scotland. Particular mention is made oi
" Dr. Knott, a Civilian, a Man of greate Gravitie and well
languaged ; Mr. Fenne, Master of Arts and Preste, a
Man verey eloquent, and wittie . . . and Dr. Alyn, the



most singuler Man in myne Opinion, next to Mr. Sanders, a.d. 1572
on this side the Seas ; if he might be hadde, I thinke
you could not have the choise of the like, whensoever
God should send you hither. ... I trust you do see to
get into your owne handes, or into safe custodie, as much
of your owne oute of England as you may procure.
Michaell and Witherington, as I writ to you before, best
knowethe where they are ; and how nedeful it will be for
you to have as much in store as you may get, being in
a strange Contry, I doubt not but you will consider.
For your Children, the best Meanes that I can imagine
to have them transported hither, were for a sewte to be
made to have them lycensed to cumme to see you, and
then, being left with the Lady Hume, or somme of your
other Frends, they may be transported hither, for other
Meanes I can perceave none ; for by the Ambassador
it is not to be sought, and to escape secretlie were too
greate Danger to them that hathe them in custodie, and
to passe them all togither I wold not wisshe, nor above
two at once, whereof the eldest of all I wisshe the rather,
bicause her Age is fittest to receave Instruction, and
most readie to -take knowledge now of the virtuous ex-
amples whiche here she could see and learne, and there
doth want altogither. When it shall please God to
make you readie to cume hither, besides that it is not
necessarie that eny more be privy thereunto, or do
accompanye you, than shalbe nedeful, so it is thought
that you do not drawe eny more after you from thence
until you shalbe here setled, and may judge of your owne
case ; but that such as you leave behinde be stayed there
with good words and hoape, untill you sende backe and
signine your Pleasure what your Will is for them to do,
as then by experience you shalbe hable to determyne, and
take for them the Direction that shalbe least hurtful to
yourself, and most for their commodite.

99 h 2


a.d. " I write this other Letter to you ■ that you may show the

152 ZL$1 2 same to the Larde (Laird of Loughlevin) if you think it
so good ; and for that I heare it from France, that the
Larde is perswaded that you should have from the Pope
and the King 10,000 Crownes towards your Redemp-
tion ; for whiche cawse he said (as I heare) he dyd exacte
the more, seeing it was to cumme out of their Purses ;

I do all that I can to have the same perswasion pulled
out of his Heade, and that he may be otherwise occasioned
to thinke, when he perceavethe that the matter fallithe
not furthe as he was perswaded to beleve ....
Tho' I have no Mistrust of his Truthe, yet I thinke it
not mete to have commytted the full Certentie to his
Knowledge, and wold do what I could to bring the
Larde to some reasonable Conditions. ... I do not
dowbte but that your Lordship will so foresee all Incon-
venience in the Choise of suche as you shall take to deale
for you, and in the Order of your Proceeding, as neyther
your Credite that way, nor any Perill by that Meane, may
falle upon you ; but that you will so resolve and work as
shall be most lyke to take your desired Effecte, putting
awaye all Feare ; and God, I trust, shall so strengthen and
assist you, as you shall be hable to atteyne to Thende ot
your desire. And touching the state of their Proceedings
here. ..."

The writer proceeds to set forth her views on
the political state of affairs, according to which

II England and Spayne must joyne togither, and patche
up an olde League, which is farre unlikely, or otherwise
will burste furthe into openne Warres." The Spanish
king, however, is represented as more interested in his
projects relating to Ireland, than in the fate of the
Scottish queen ; and " when the Lord Seaton, seeing

1 The letter immediately preceding.


this wold not serve his Mistres's Turne, wold have a.d. 1571
passed to Rome and into Spayne, he cannot be licenced
by this Duke (Alva), but is still kept with many good
Words." France is described as being " as muche
devided as England is, and looked daily when it should
fall out to an Inconvenience emongst them. 1 The Duke
of Guise hathe been here secretlie with this duke two
Moneths past, and it is thought that that House dothe
lynke with Spayne altogither." 2

" I ende with prayeng to our Lorde to be your Director,
and to send you good Spede and Successe in all your
Attemptes, that you may enjoy your Fredome and
Libertie, and be a Comfort to a Nombre which lyve in
daily expectacion of you, and pray for your Delyverance
and Welfare.

" This 28th January,

" You know by whom."

A few days later the Countess despatched an 3 Ist
emissary charged with credentials to the Earl of Morton,
to negotiate the final arrangements for her husband's

" The Experience past," she writes, " which I have
tried of your great Favor and Goodwill shewed to my
Lorde and Husbande in this his Miserie, dothe occasion
me to omytte no Tyme nor Opportunitie which shall be
offered for me to write and send to your Lordship ; and
therefore, having the Opportunity of this Shippe passing
thither, I thoughte good to dispatche this Bearer, my

1 The St. Bartholomew Massacre took place in the following year.

3 The Court of the Netherlands would at this time appear to have been
a nest of intrigue and conspiracy; and Lady Northumberland, while in-
defatigably employed in working for her husband's liberation, was also
keeping up a secret correspondence with Queen Mary of Scotland and
with the Bishop of Rosse, to whom, as he subsequently deposed, she
was in the habit of writing in cipher. — Murdin, p. 14.



a.d. Lord's Servaunt, as well bicause I have heard nothing of
i5 2 ^572 m y Lord's other Servaunts who passed before, as to hasten
the Signification of your Lordship's good Pleasure and the
Lards, in such Matter as I have geven to this Bearer in
Creditte to declare unto you ; without the whiche I am
not hable to proceede as shalbe to your satisfaction and
Contentacion, nor bring that to pass which is looked for
at my Handes ; beseching your Lordship to receave him
into your Protection, and that he may, by your good
Meanes, be permytted to have Accesse to my Lord and
Husbande, and to returne for the better understandinge
of his Pleasure, and treating of this Cause accordingly
as he hathe in Charge ; prayeng your good Lordship
to geve Credite unto him, and that I may still fynde the
Contynuance of your former Favor, wherby I acknow-
ledge myselfe most deeplye obliged to equalle the same
if ever my Power, Goodwill, and Travell may be applied
to stand you in Steade, whiche shalbe ever readie to
be imploied to serve your Lordship, or any of yours ;
hoaping that your Lordship will have that Care over my
Lord, as he, and all his, may be alwayes bounde to have
the like of you and yours, whiche, for my Part, I shall
ever advance to my uttermost, as knowethe God, who
kepe your good Lordship." *

There lived at this time in Antwerp one John Lee,
reputed to be a devout Catholic and an enthusiastic
adherent of the Scottish Queen, and who had cordially
welcomed the English fugitives, professing his readiness
to join and aid them in any enterprise calculated to
promote their common cause.

Gifted with a pleasing address, a glib tongue, and

1 From the Countess of Northumberland to the Earl of Morton.
M From Meklin this last of January, 157 1-2." Murdin, p. 193-



a ready pen, he soon became a prominent and a.d. 1572
trusted member of their party, which he himself
describes as "a lewd company of banisht English. " '
He was especially in the confidence of the Earl of
Westmoreland and Lady Northumberland, who more
than once made him the medium of their communica-
tions with England and Scotland, little suspecting that
every word they spoke, and every line they wrote, was
liable to be conveyed to the English Government. Lee
was indeed one of Cecil's most astute and active spies, and
each step in the negotiations for the delivery of the Earl of
Northumberland was by him reported to Lord Burghley.*

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 9 of 31)