The Diary of Thomas Burton: 10 January 1656-7

Pages 334-337

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Saturday, January 10, 1656–7.

The Grand Committee of the House sat upon the said additional Bill, concerning the Excise and new Impost, but I was writing most part of the time in the office.

In the painted chamber sat the Committee upon Mr. Scot's petition. (fn. 1) Mr. Bampfield had the chair, but was very sick of it, and some reflections between him, and Mr. Bodurda, and Colonel Carter upon it.

The lady did appear, and disappeared again; only presented a petition for longer time, in regard Mr. Finch, her counsel, was out of town. She wanted alimony to defend the charge. Mr. Scot would allow her none, and she hoped the Parliament would assign it, if she had but time to apply herself.

Her petition, though collateral to the matter, held a long debate, and could come to no question, which caused the reflection aforesaid.

Colonel Carter, Mr. Bodurda, Lord Strickland, Colonel Grosvenor, Mr. Lister, Colonel Fitz-James, and Mr. Waller, were much for the lady, but the greater part against her.

Mr. Scot's counsel observing this long debate, wished him to offer 20s. a day to procure counsel for her. Her simple husband could not utter his mind in a word of sense, but the counsel propounded this.

It was thought by some an unseasonable offer, to have a fee to retain counsel, and no time for it. Time was desired by Mr. Waller and others, and came to a question; but at last the Committee went on to proof of the petition, notwithstanding there was one Mr. Lea, who came with her to deliver the petition, who was a counsellor, and took notes for her, but denied that he was retained.

The first witness produced for the petitioner was Mr. Timothy Rookes, who, it seems, is, and has been, an ancient servant at Scot's Hall. He ripped up the whole course of her elopement from her husband.

He said they were married about twenty-five or twentysix years ago. Her father, Lord Goring, was to have given 3000l. portion with her, but only 1500l. are paid. She lived with her husband about two years, till, desiring one time to go to London, to stay but a month or three weeks, to see some friends, she stayed there three years, till she was brought home by some of her friends. Another time, she pretended to go to see her brother, who had a sore foot, promising to stay but three weeks, yet stayed three years. Another time, she asked leave to go to London for a month, promising, upon her honour, to return within six weeks, but stayed out the former time.

Still the poor man was content, from time to time, to receive her and all her faults, and sent to one Mr. Best, in London, to pay her 40l. to accommodate her for her journey home; but she having received the griggs set sail another way, for Oxford, where she was all the time of the siege, playing all her casts.

She came again to London, and there agreed with five or six lusty fellows, whom she had to a tavern, and gave them 15l. ill hand, promising them 100l. when they had done their work.

These five or six blades, by the conduct of one of her servants, who, for fear of suspicion, stayed half a mile short at a park side, came to Sir Edward Scot's house, father of the petitioner. They pretended to be of Colonel Rich's regiment, and desired the civility of the house, to afford them a cup of beer. They had both beer and some wine. These blades, watching their opportunity, single out the petitioner, and take him, walking in the court, with a hawk on his fist, and throw the hawk from him, and clap him up behind one of them, without boots, &c. and hurry him away to London; where he was kept in obscurity, till, by General Cromwell's order, he was set at liberty, and the blades, some of them, caught.

This witness did not declare the end of bringing him up to London; but it is conceived it was to lock her and him together, that the bold-face might have the more colour for fathering upon him those children, which, in all probability, were gotten in adultery, they having lived so long asunder.

It seems there is one boy very like the Gorings, and it is her drift that boy might inherit Scot's estate, which is a brave estate in Kent, as I take it; and one part of the petition prays that her children may not inherit his estate, and that he may be divorced from her.

The second witness was one Major Riswick, a German, who had been a major in the Parliament's army, but very poor, and upon crutches. He evidenced two remarkable passages of her life, but one could scarce understand him, for he spoke pitiful English, insomuch that Mr. Waller desired he might be set aside till the last witness, that he might bring his interpreter, for he professed he could not understand a word, but the Committee thought the motion too light for their gravity. The witness went on. (fn. 2)

It was a great Committee; there were above one hundred people present, besides pickpockets, which, by report, were also there. They said one was under the table, and Colonel Fiennes drew his sword and vapoured hugely, how he would spit him; but the fellow escaped, if there were any such.

This served the Committee for one night, and indeed it was past eight, so we adjourned till Saturday, to hear out the rest of the evidence. Six witnesses more are to be sworn.

I believe the petition will prove but too true, for I talk with nobody of it, but they cry out upon the Lady Katherine Scot for a very common, &c. as can be. (fn. 3)

I took not much notice (nor nobody else) what other Committees sate.


  • 1. See supra, p. 297.
  • 2. His evidence is here omitted, as not proper for publication, however such a recital may have been requisite for the purposes of justice.
  • 3. See supra, p. 205.