Border Papers volume 1: October 1583

Pages 112-115

Calendar of Border Papers: Volume 1, 1560-95. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

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177. Forster to Walsingham. [Oct. 11.]

Since I met you with the gentlemen of the Middle Marches on your way to Scotland, and on your return, when Lord Scrope and I met you at Durham and opened the state of our Marches, the Scots have laid waste a great part of the West Marches, and are now entered to spoil the Middle Marches—the chief doers being "Annerdale, Ewsdale, Easdale, Lyddesdale and West Tyvidale." I am forced to tell you that the Scottish warden keeps no meetings, and having had the King's writ served on him by William Karr to go to Edinburgh, has gone and left the Borders open, which encourages the thieves, and if not soon prevented will put her Majesty to great charges. For there is none of the wardenries like to this office, but are more bailiwicks in respect of it, all the evil countries of the West and East of Scotland lying upon it. I made you privy that I was forced to assure with divers surnames of Scotland to answer for themselves in the warden's absence, or the Borders had been broken long before this. If you had laid some strength here as you agreed to do at Durham, it would have brought them to a better stay, but now "they sett nother by prince nor warden." At my house nigh Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

178. Bowes to Walsingham. [Oct. 18.]

On receipt of your last of the 11th, I conferred with "Mr Governor" and the Mayor and his brethren, as to the late proclamation published here and on the Marches, that all wares passing between Scotland and England or vice versâ, by sea or land, should be customed at Berwick or Carlisle. And as we see that the same, touching land carriage, "shold litle or nothynge greive the burgesses in Scotland or others there well devoted to her Majestie," we have taken orders that her Majesty's letter of 4th August to Lord Hunsdon, shall be put in execution here and on the Marches.

Next, on consideration of your letters to the Mayor and me, we have taken order and I have signified to the Provost of Edinburgh, that by her Majesty's favour,—the well affected burgesses and others may bring their wares by sea to England, although they do not custom them at Carlisle or here. The Mayor and his bretheren are sending their solicitors to inform you more fully of all these matters.

The King came to Stirling on Saturday last, when the commissioners for the General Assembly presented sundry petitions to him, which I delay signifying till I have more certainty. Berwick. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

179. Forster to Burghley. [Oct. 21.]

Humbly requesting on behalf of "Robert Lislie of Felton esquier," who is defendant in a suit before the Court of Wards and Liveries, that a commission may be appointed to receive his answer to the adversary's bill, or to hear and determine the suit. At my house nigh Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed: "Delivered ultimo Octobris 1583." Wafer signet: a right arm holding the truncheon of a spear; "I.F." at sides.

180. Forster to Walsingham. [Oct. 30.]

I thank you for your letter of 22d, and giving me notice of matters which may be called in question hereafter. I have replied to her Majesty's letter as to the revoking the levy in Yorkshire and other things with which I was charged. Not being accustomed to write to her highnes, "it may be that I have not written in suche decent order as I showlde have done"—wherein I desire your honour to help to excuse me. "For we that inhabite Northumberland are not acquaynted with any lerned and rare frazes, but sure I am I have uttered my mynde truly and playnely, as your honour will hereafter here, for I have almost to the same effecte written to my lordes of the Privie Councell,—as gret cause I had, for trust me, it was and is no small greife unto me to be charged with suche intollerable offences without any just cause, but God I trust in his good tyme, will reveale the truthe. I am accomptted a necligent officer, an oppressor, a man enclyned to private gayne and lucre, a destroyer and not a maynteyner of the Borders, a bearer with Scottes and their actions, and a maynte[yne]r of them ageynst my native countrith men, contray to myne othe and alegeance—God forbid that any one of them cowlde be proved ageynst me! I thanck God I have the testemoney of a clere conscience for my defence, and in that respecte I was emboldened to open my mynde fully unto her Majestie." I must stay any revenge on the Scots as ordered in the latter part of your letter, till I know what justice the warden offers at the day of truce which will be soon. "But because I am thought to use percialitie towardes the Scottes, I have sent your honour herein closed a letter from the lord warden of Scotland, in the contrary of some of our borderers, which have visited his shepe, which matter I over see—therfore there can no man justly condempe me to be a favourer of Scottes. And where as I am wonderfully charged with aboundance of catell fedinge and bredinge uppon the Borders, as is aledged—I assure your honour I never solde non, nor meane to do, they are but only for the provysion of my howse, and are fedde in myne owne growndes—for God be praysed for it, it is not the fee of myne office that will maynteyne my howse by five hundrethe markes by yere. Over and besides which expences, I maynteyn in her Majesties service ever when occasion serveth, thirtie hable men mounted uppon good geldinges to attende uppon me,"—without wrong to the Queen's tenants or any man. "God forbid that every mau sholde be so thought of for his longe contynewance in service." Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

Inclosed in the foregoing:—

(Cesford to Forster.)

"I resavit your lettre the xxj day of this instant daitit frome Aunik the xvij of the same, understanding thairby that Johnne Ker sone to Corbett, and Blak Jok Ker, with thair complices hes tane fra Ildertoun x scoir of hoggis, pertening to your cousing Robert of Roddum. I have writtin to the Laird of Corbet according to your informatioun, and hes willit him, as caus is, or can be fund in ony of his, to mak restitutioun agane, wtherwayis to abyd the danger of the law. I hoip gif they be foule, they will tak ordour thairwithe. Alwayis I am in the auld maner gif utherwayis it can be prowen, myndfull to do justice. Your men the Halls of Gristounsteill hes sum of my scheip, and sayis they sall nocht want als lang as I haif. I desyr cnelie your lordschipis favour in my adois as ye sall luik for the lyke." Halyden, 21 October 1583. Signed: Cesfurde.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

181. Forster to the Privy Council. [Oct. 30.]

I understand by your honours' letter of the 22d, that her Majesty's purpose to levy horsemen in Yorkshire is altered, as she thinketh her Borders strong enough in themselves, and have written at large unto her Majesty in answer.

According to your directions I gave notice to the opposite warden to meet not only for redress of the slaughters when Mr Secretary was in Scotland, but also for other old matters. After delays from his absence at Court, he hath now sent me word that he will meet at Helterbourne the 5th of November, where I will look for justice ("God sent it)."

We are now in hand with the musters, when I will inform you of the strength of the Borders—but they are delayed "by reason of the plauge which is lately begon at Tynmowthe and is entred into Newcastle, and is sprynkeled here and there in many places of Northumberland." Whereby gentlemen are terrified and averse to any concourse of people, till it abates. The number already mustered are very few and simply furnished, but not impoverished by me or devoured by feeding my cattle, as alleged in your former letter. For my store that I keep or breed, is only for my house and tillage of my ground, and I grieve that such information is made against me without cause. Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

182. Scrope to Walsingham. [Oct. 30.]

I received yesterday your letter of the 22d with her Majesty's decision to stay the levy of horsemen in Yorkshire, as these Borders are strong enough. I know of no weakness in this March but Bewcastle and Gilsland, lying opposite Liddesdale, which has always been reckoned stronger, especially of late, for the reasons lately sent you—but if these are seen to, this wardenry was never in better state.

As to the charges, that the foot from Berwick have done little service here, and that I have been forced to cause some of the horsemen to dismount for service—Captain Carvell and his men, with my own horsemen and John Dalston's, repelled a Scottish foray, rescued the goods taken, and brought away 300 head of cattle from the Scots, which has so scourged these thieves, that they have since kept out of the March between this town and Cockermouth, and stolen from their countrymen. Farther if the soldiers had not been at Kirsopefoot, "the Scottesmen wolde there have buylded their sheeles this laste sommer," and come farther into Gilsland to its desolation—whereas during the last 20 days, nothing has happened but the stealth of two nags. Neither I nor any of my officers or men have ever been forced to light on foot for service, and if it please you to certify who has been the informer, I shall discharge myself particularly. Although Cesford delays meeting, and indeed will not appoint any day, I stay any revenges by your good advice, till I hear farther—we are always able with these foot to do them three or four ill turns for one. For the Liddesdales stand more in awe of them, than of three or four hundred countrymen, "who have great regarde least they sholde entre into fead," which the soldiers think nothing of. Carlisle. Signed: H. Scrope.

3 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

183. Scrope to Walsingham. [Oct. 30.]

"On Monday last the Larde Johnston and I mete upon conference . . . and indede having cause to demaunde of me at least foure foulde of that I have to requyer of him in redresse, he offred to entre a gentleman of Scotlande to remayne with me, tyll he sholde throughlie make redresse for all attemptes to be fyled upon any within his office synce his acceptacion thereof," if I did the like. To which I agreed, if he would enter another gentleman, till Cesford should do the same for Liddesdale as he offered. He said he had nothing to do with Cesford, who must answer for himself. I offered Johnston to proceed with redress, "in valewe for valewe," not thinking it good otherwise to deal with him, having so much more to demand of me, and I to be behind hand for Liddesdale, where I have ten times more to demand, and cannot get it. So it rests for the present. I pray you with speed to certify me of the informer of the other contents of your letter. Carlisle. Signed: H. Scrope.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer signet: a falcon.