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The border papers : Calendar of letters and papers relating to the affairs of the borders of England and Scotland preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office, London (Volume 2) online

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3 1833 03372 1835

Gc 942 B16b v. 2

Great Britain. General

Register Office (Scotland)
The border papers

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center



To be purchased, cither directly or through any bookseller, from

JOHN ilEXZIES i CO., 12 Haxover Street, Edi>-bukgh, and 90 West Nile Street^

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HODGES, FIGGIS, i Co., Limited, 104 Grafton Street, Dublin.

#*' o.S*-'"









A.D. 1595—160^

rruLisnED by the autiiop.itt of the lords commissioxehs

HEP. majesty'^ treasury, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF








The papers contained in this second volume embrace the
period from 1st January 1594-5 till 23rd February 1602-3,
thus ending a few weeks before the death of Elizabeth on the
24th of the follo^\ing month.

Since the work was first begun, the dispersed papers alluded
to in the Introduction to Vol. I. have been collected by
direction of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Kecords, and
restored to the series, which now consists of 41 MS. volumes of
nearly equal size, instead of the old number of 74. According
to this new arrangement, Vol. I. of this Calendar contains the
MS. volumes Nos. 20 to 30, and Vol. II. the remaining MS.
volumes Nos. 31 to 41. As all the papers calendared are in
strict chronological order, a reference to the running number
in either volume is sufficient to identify the corresponding
original when required for collation.

As in our first volume, while there are many allusions to
foreign affairs and personages of historical note, the chief interest
relates to the domestic affair's of the two countries. Though
Philip of Spain still prosecuted his designs against England
chiefly on the side of Ireland, where Tyrone by his aid obtained
some successes, he had now no soldier-diplomatist like Parma
to conduct his schemes ; and on his own death in September
1598, a disappointed man, the Spanish power ere long ceased
seriously to menace England. Yet the intrigues of the Scottish
Catholic nobles, Euntly, Errol, and others at the Spanish Court,
and the frequent reports of expeditions to be headed by the
banished Bothwell, to descend at one time in Scotland, at
another in Ireland, were sufficient to exercise all the vigilance


of Elizabeth's miuisters till the close of her reign. The Spaniards
•rained a slio-ht footing in Ireland, and Tyrone only made his
final submission a few days before her death. It is not an im-
probable conjecture that the intermittent fashion in which the
KiDg of Scots dealt with the Catholic party among his subjects,
now repressino-, and at another time overlooking, their actions,
was designed both to curb the unruly spirits of the Eeforraed
Kirk (or the " Religion," to give its international name), and to
show the Queen of England the urgent need of establishing
him definitely as her successor and firm ally, a matter in which
Elizabeth positively refused to commit herself till her last hour
was at hand.

Another source of anxiety both to the English commanders
in Ireland and to the Scottish Crown, existed in the turbulent
and warlike racesof the Western Highlands and the Hebrides.
When these clans, the i\IacDonalds, MacLeajis, and others, were
not at deadly feud, or separately fighting with the Scoto-Irish
MacConnels of Islay and the Glinns, tTiey were ever ready to be
" hounded out," in the language of the time, for a descent on
Ulster, either in behalf of Tyrone or for their own hand. Such
expeditions are more than once referred to in these papers,
the latest being a proposal by Gordon of Gicht, on behalf of
Huntly, that Donald Gorm, head of the northern MacDonalds,
his " household man," should lead a strong body of Highlandei-s
into Ireland to "trouble" Tyrone,^ — a curious ofler, if g'enuine,
from the leading Catholic nobleman of Scotland to the Protestant

With these few preliminaiy remarks, we proceed to consider
the wide field of domestic atF;urs contained in the present

Chancres soon took place in the officers of the Marches.
Hunsdon died in London while warden of the East March,' and
his son, Sir Robert Carey, then his deputy, was continued by
Elizabeth as locum tenens, without the full authority of warden,


his elder brother John holding the governmeut of Berwick on
the like footing. These arrangements gave great dissatisfaction
to both brothei-s, who made many complaints to the Lord
Treasurer and Sir Robert Cecil. The pertinacity of Sir Robert
Carey in demanding a patent of otiice, at last drew on him the
sharp rebuke by the Queen/ peremptorily ordering him to cease
writing and obey orders without further question, for she would
act as and when she pleased, knowing best what was fit for him.
The language is evidently her own. Both brothers were super-
seded by Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, who took office in April
1598, and held his troublesome post till his death.- Thereon
the ambition of John (now Sir John) Carey was so far gratified
by his receiving the patent of "Wardenry, which he held till the
Queen's death, though still without the emoluments, of which
he repeatedly complained to Cecd.'

The Middle March next claims notice. The long wardenry
of Sir John Forster ended in his dismissal with disgrace and
marks of the Queen's displeasure, in the autumn of 1595,* Ralph,
third Lord Eure, who does not seem to have been over desirous
of the otfice,' being appointed successor. Events justified his
fears, for after a troubled oSicial career of rather more than two
years, his efficiency crippled by the opposition of a powerful
body of the principal gentlemen of his March, most of them
allied to Forster, and the decay of able men into which Forster
had allowed the country to fall, Eure, being accused of misap-
propriating the pay of the extra force allowed him by the Queen,
besides other charges, which do not seem however to have been
substantiated, found it his best course to resign office early in

1 p. 337. - 25th June 1601.

' Pp. 783, 798. He was a man, like h'n brother Sir Kobert, who kept a sinyle eye
on his o«-n interest, which the Queen does not appear to have fonrarded by reason
ol relationsliip. Seeing her end approaching, and having little more to expect from
her, it is far from improbable that he w;is the anonymous Englishman who had, like
others, made overtures to James Vlth, and received from the King the letter of thanks
(Xo. 1548).

' Forster, if ninety-four in September 1595, as mentioned by Sir K. Carey, must
have been one hundred vears old at his .leath, on 12t!i January 1601-3.

' P. 54.


1598. Sir Robert Carey was now transferred to the Middle
March on the arrival of Willoughby at Berwick, and remained
as -warden till the close of the reign. Though constantly
seekino- leave of absence to prosecute his affairs about Court,
and complaining of his banishment to the cold and sunless
north, Carey proved himself an efficient officer, and performed
much food service. Some of the exploits which he relates in
his Memoirs will be found among the papers here.^

The West March continued under Lord Scrope's government
till the end of the reign. His disagreement with the Grames
of Esk and Leven noticed in Vol. I. was greatly aggravated by
their alleo-ed complicity in Buccleuch's daring enterprise against
Carlisle Castle, which forms the subject of long inquiry in this
volume, — and the hostility of the family of Carleton closely
allied with them, supported more or less covertly by the
Lowthers, who were related by marriage to the latter, and
were constantly opposed to Scrope,^ though Eichard Lowther
their head was styled cousin by him. Their opposition to
Scrope arose most probably from Eichard Lowther having been
warden for a short period on the death of Henry Lord Scrope,
whom he expected to succeed. But the policy of Elizabeth was
not to appoint local magnates as wardens, but men from a
distance, with oue notable exception, that of Forster, which
appears not to have been a successful one.

The Scottish West March, as before, was so often committed
to different men, that the Englisli warden complained of the
difSculties in redress thus caused. In 1595 we find Hemes
warden, succeeded, in August 1596, by Johnston, who in turn
o-ave place to Andrew Lord Ochiltree in December 1597, and
six months afterwards was degraded w-ith the usual grotesque
ceremonies, at the cross of Edinburgh, and banished, yet oddly
with James's request for his good usage." Angus then became
lieutenant of the Marches in December 1598, retaining
office till the close of 1599, when Sir John Carmichael was

Fp. 13ti-a0, 763-4.


appomted warden, who acted but for six mouths, being slain by
the Armstrongs near Langholm on 16th June 1600.' Herrics
then took temporary charge, till on 27th August of that year
the banished Johnston reappears as warden with commission
from the King and Council, and so remained till these papers

A new officer now appears for the first time formally amonj
the wardens — the keeper of Liddesdale, in the person of
Buccleuch, who on the downfall of his stepfather Bothwell, had
managed to secure this extensive part of the Hepburn possessions
with the Castle of Hermitage. Though his recognition as a
frontier officer was objected to by the English warden opposite,
who argijed that the keepers of Tynedale and Eedesdale should
be equally entitled to hold March meetings, his right, being
supported by James as a hereditary one, was eventually allowed,
and the keeper of Liddesdale met on equal terms with the
opposite wardens of the "West and Middle Marches.

Though his^father WiUiam was nominally warden of the
MidcUe March, and survived till 1600, Sir Robert Kerr younger
of Cessford, was in effect the chief officer. He, like his brother-
in-law Buccleuch, shared in the forfeited possessions of the
banished Bothwell. Besides Liddesdale, originally included in
this j\[arch, the Lairds of Buccleuch, Femiehirst, and Hunthill
were exempted from his jurisdiction."

The East M;irch as before remained under the wardenship of
Lord Hume, and deputies of his own name.

The Scottish wardens were appointed on a different principle
from those of England. Being local magnates, with a consider-
able following of their own surnames, it was expected they
would preserve order among the " broken men," or smaller clans
without heads, who were especially numerous in the 31iddle
;March, Liddesdale, and east borders of the West [Marches. The
expectation, however, was not always fulfilled, for those banditti
were a useful force in the hands of an unscrupulous warden, as


tools to execute raids or reprisals in which his more regular
followers did not appear, and could be disclaimed if expedient.

The chief domestic occurrences during the eight years con-
tained in this volume, were the well-known exploit of Buccleuch
at Carlisle for the rescue of Kinmont Will, which ended, after
Ion"- nefTotiations and inquiries, in his own delivery at Berwick ;
the hitrh-handed proceedings of his neighbour warden Cessford
within the English March, for which he in turn was compelled
to surrender himself to English custody ; the dark tragedy of
the death and forfeiture of the young Earl of Gowrie ; and, lastly,
the strange rebellion and violent death of Elizabeth's favourite,

Takinw these in order of date, the affair at Carlisle, when
considered in the light of the attendant circumstances revealed
by the lono- inquiry into them, turns out to be rather different
from the picturesque detail of the well-known ballad, and
though a remarkable feat, was by no means the unaided deed
.of Buccleuch, whose own letters go to prove the contrary.
Internal treachery, which is no unusual feature in similar cases,
played some part in the affair, if the various pieces of evidence
are impartially considered — and though chiefly from the English
point of view, there must be a certain amount of truth in them.
Long before Buccleuch's enterprise, there were many causes
of offence between Scrope and him. Both were fiery spirits in
the vigour of life, Buccleuch about 30 years of age, Scrope a
few years older. While he never held oflice as warden of the
West Marches, so far as the present collections show, though
stated in the latest Peerages, Buccleuch's new keepership of
Liddesdale, which placed him on equality with the established
wardens opposite, may possibly have made him somewhat
tenacious of his dignity, as noticed in iScrope's report to Lord
Buro-hley.' This paper contained an iuclosure (no longer here)
relatino- the reasons for Kinmont's taking and detention, one of
them beintf for his breach of assurance at a March meeting.


Another ground was that Kinmont, though a follower of
Buccleuch, lived within the jurisdiction of the warden of the
West Marches, who was the proper officer to demand his
restitution. This appears, from Euxe's reply to Burghley's in-
quiry, to have been the chief ground taken by Scrope.^ In
Scrope's letters to the CouncU and Burghley, on 14th April and
10th August following,- the first relating the event of the niorht
before, he refers to the missing inclosure, adding that Kinmont
had given an assurance that he would not break awav, thus
making it unlikely that, as the ballad says, he was confined in
fetters — which would have been a harsh proceeding to a prisoner
on parole. This report of Scrope, written on the morning after
Kinmont's rescue, contains a list of the principal assailants, and
the statement that Buccleuch himself was the fifth man to
enter the castle. ^ This, however, was more probably inclosed in
the anonymous letter to Scrope ten days later,^ for such a list
could hardly have been procured for him the morning after the
assault Scrope's suspicions at once pointed to the Lowthers
and Thomas Carleton, his ex-constable ; and the further dis-
"closures of his informant, Richie's Will — a Grame against whom
Buccleuch had some grudge — asserted the close complicity in
the outrage of several headmen of the Grames, besides the
Armstrongs of Langholm and Kinmont's own family. Scrope's
urgency against the Grames and their accomplices on both sides
of the March, is very apparent in the course of the long inquiry
that followed, during which six of the chief Grames were sent
up before the Privy Council and remained in London for many
mouths. He felt so strongly in the matter, that he repeatedly
demanded leave to resign office, unless they were condignlv
punished. But the Queen and Burghley, with calmer judg-
ments, sensible of the dangerous result of driving to desperation
so large a body of unruly subjects, took a more moderate view
than the warden, and the delinquents were sent back to their
country to make their submission and promise of future eood

24th April, p. 12G.-


conduct according to a carefully prepared form, which they did
after considerable hesitation, at Carlisle, on 21st January 1596-7.'
The elaborate pedigree of the Grames of Esk in the Appendix,
showincr their origin and intermarriages on both sides of the
Border, was evidently drawn out for Lord Burghley at this time
bv one who was well acquainted with his subject. The matter
thus ended so far as Buccleuch's assistants were concerned. But
his letter to some great man in Scotland, with the inclosure,
signed by him as admitting its truth,- frankly acknowledges
the indispensable help of the Grames of Esk and Netherby in
his exploit. Though Burghley appears to have doubted their
aenuineness, the plain assertion of Scrope that he had the
originals would seem to settle the question.^

The chief offender still remained to be dealt with, and
though a Commission of both countries had been appointed in
November 1596 to settle a number of matters concerning the
Borders, the offences of Buccleuch and Cessford, the two " fire-
brands " of. the :\Iarch, as they were styled, were expressly
reserved to Elizabeth's own arbitrement. The Commission,
after many sittings at Berwick and Carlisle, concluded a treaty
at the latter place on 5th May 1597,' containing among other
provisions, a clause for mutual delivery of pledges on each
side for the quiet of the Borders, a certain number of whom
were to be provided by Buccleuch and Cessford, failing which,
their own persons were to be entered into England. After
much correspondence, farther outrages by Cessford and "his
crew,"' and Buccleuch himself, even during their sittings at
Carlisle," which earned for the latter the epithet of Flagellum
Dei, and procured for him a brief warding at St Andrews,''
he and Scrope had a formal meeting for jNIarch justice at
Canobie Holme on 20th August 1597,Hrought about by the
aood ofBces of Sir John Carmichael. This, however, was apart

' 5th September, p. 305.
'■• Pp. -240-50, 20!)'



- 12th .h




' P. 213.

■ Pp,

. 318, 371.

^ P. 3N5.


from the main question of his own and Ccssford's delivery.
After an abortive meeting near Norham on 30th September
between the Commissioners of both countries, for exchange of
pledges, where the day was spent in idle discussion,' it was
adjourned for eight days, when the long-protracted business
was partly effected, Buccleuch surrendering himself, in de-
fa\dt of his pledges, to Sir William Bowes, and being thereon
escorted to Benv-ick by WiUiam Selby, the gentleman porter,
in whose custody he remained. Cessford, however, whose
turn came next to deliver his pledges or himself, was accused of
getting up a tumult, which in the growing darkness nearly pro-
duced a serious collision, in the midst of which he and his
followers, pledges and all, rode off the field. The accounts of
this affair by Eure, John Carey, and Sir "William Bowes, are very
curious and .show the risks incurred at such meetings.- One
singular point is mentioned, viz., an English pledge being dead,
his body was brought to the ground to satisfy the letter of
Border law. Buccleuch being thus secured while his neighbour
warden had for the time escaped, felt somewhat aggrieved, and
hostile letters passed between him and Cessford,^ which ended in
a challenge from the latter carried by the Master of Orkney to
Buccleuch.'' Though the officers of Ber's\-ick remonstrated at so
important a prisoner being kept there so near his own country,
and various inland places were named for his custody, it is
certain that he remained in Berwick for the whole time of his
capti-v-ity, from 6th October 1507 till 21st March following, as
his keeper's bUl of charges exists to show." The King having
interceded for his relief," and Buccleuch himself having wTitten
a straightforward letter to Sir William Bowes to be laid before
Elizabeth," offering fuU satisfaction if released on giving bis son
as a hostage, he was delivered to his own people at the west
ford of Xorham on 16th February, afrer executing an indent to
re-enter on certain condiiions, handincr over his son, described a.s

Pp. 409-12. -Pp. 409-1^. -Pp.

p. 491. ' P. J20- ' P. 4

20tli Jan. 150:-S. p. 50!.

xvi I^^llODUCTION.

" about 10 years old, a proper and toward child," to the Governor
of Berwick, and receiving a lecture from Sir William Bowes as
to his future conduct, to which he made a suitable reply.^
"We do not learn how long the boy remained at Berwick, but
these papers show that his father, whether profiting by Bowes'
advice or for some other reason, became a changed character and
concurred in border justice, with Scrope and Sir Robert Carey,
receivincf due acknowledgment from both, especially the latter,
for his demeanour. There is a tradition in the family that their
renowned ancestor was presented to Elizabeth, who was much
struck with his bold reply to her on the assault of her castle,
with which the Queen had charged him. As we have seen,
such interview could not have taken place during his stay at
Berwick- But two years after, we find Sir Robert Carey
writino- to Sir Robert Cecil," teUing him that Buccleuch had left
him at Alnwick on his way to London, was desirous to kiss the
Queen's hand, and that he well deserved this favour for his
late o-ood conduct. On this occasion the interview preserved
by family tradition might well have taken place. Buccleuch
was then probably on his way to the Low Countries to serve
with Count Maurice, and such an object would recommend him
to Elizabeth. This foreign journey is doubtless the reason why
he appears little more in this volume. With the remark that
he wrote a beautiful hand, evidenced by several holograph
letters, we may leave this redoubtable borderer, and notice the
doings of his brother-in-law Cessford.

He seems, from various unfavourable estimates given by the
Careys and Six William Bowes, to have been a man of much
more scheming character than the keeper of Liddesdale, and
shaped his course wiih a steady eye to his own interest.
After his evasive proceedings at Norham ford above referred to,
he thought it best to offer to come to terms, and next day sent
Lord Hume to Berwick with proposals, himself remaining at
the Bound road to hear the result. But the Commissioner,

1 Pp. 516-17. - i' >'ov. 15D9, p. 601.


takinc advice with Carey and Selby, resolved to hold no more
meetings with one who had thrice disappointed his expectation,
and to lay the matter before the Queen for her farther com-
mands.^ These caused some further delay, but in the end a
formal demand was made for his delivery, and his friend Lord
Hume handed him over to Sir Kobert Carey the warden, at
Berwick on 14th February, two days before Buccleuch's release.'
With the exception of a long report by Bowes to Cecil, a few
days after his delivery, which contains a curious estimate of
him, there is little about his stay in England, except a letter
from Sir Robert Carey to Burghley regarding his transference
to the keeping of the Archbishop of York.^ That he was sent
there is certain, for Strype (Annals) quotes two letters from the
Archbishop to- Burghley at this very time, as to the propriety
of the captive warden hearing sermons and attending other
public services, which might do him good.* He was apparently
still at York on 2nd April,^ but must have been released soon
after, for on 3rd June he delivered his pledges to LordWilloughby
near Norham, being himself e\-idently a free man, as he writes
from his house at Kelso.* These men, 1 3 in number, were forth-
with sent to York Castle, joined three months later by three
others for Buccleucb,' where all were kept for several years,
in which time some died. The others, being nearly starved,
made more than one desperate attempt to escape. On their
first attempt they were recaptured, but the second was more
successful, for two of Buccleuch's hostages, head men of the
Armstrongs and Elliots, got away. The rest seem to have been
gradually released in the course of the year 1602, not, however,
till some of them had been transferred to Benvick, where
several feU sick in Haddock's Hole, which must have been a
truly " loathsome ". place, as asserted by Sir John Carey and
others; for the prison of those days was a very different
lod^-^ from the weU-regulated houses which now detain even

: Pp 419 - 0 ■- Pp. 513-14. = iTth F.b. 159T-S, p. 518.

> These letters are doubtless in the HattieM Collection now bemg calen,ku-«l.
i p V-X4 » Pp. 504-37. • Pp- ■'i-*!. 562.


the worst criminals. From several incidents mentioned in these
papers, Cessford seems to have been a cruel and cold-blooded
man.^ Both before and after his elevation to the peerage as
Lord Roxburgh, he made proposals to visit the English Court
and kiss hands. But his object being suspected as merely a
desire to promote James's interests as successor to the Crown,
the Queen's advisers gave him little encouragement, and there

Online LibraryGreat Britain. General Register Office (Scotland)The border papers : Calendar of letters and papers relating to the affairs of the borders of England and Scotland preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office, London (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 145)