Border Papers volume 1: September 1586

Pages 231-234

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

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447. Scrope to Walsingham. [Sept. 8.]

"ThErle of Bothwell accompanyed with the Lard of Bucclugh and divers others of Tyvydale, hathe made one roade or forrey this weeke uppon the laudes and tenantes of the Earle of Morton in the daye tyme, takinge awaye with them to the nomber of 200 heade of cattell and above—whereat the cuntrey arysinge sought to rescue the goodes, and in chardginge of Bothwell have taken as I am informed, eleaven of Bothwelles men." On Tuesday last I met with Maxwell the opposite warden, and after conference, we agreed to hold days of truce for filing of bills and making redress for all matters on this border from a month before the late meeting of the Commissioners for the league at Berwick,—the taking of the Bells only excepted. It is reported by some of credit, that there shall be a great convention of the noblemen of Scotland at St Andrews about the 15th hereof. Carlisle. Signed: H. Scrope.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

448. Woddryngton to Walsingham. [Sept. 10.]

I received the inclosed from the Master of Grey this day, to be sent with expedition to your honour, as it contains a letter from the King to be delivered by Mr Archibald Douglas to her Majesty. I am credibly informed from the Court of Scotland that a great assembly of noble men and their forces is expected to assist the Earl Bothwell in his action against the prior of Coldingham, for Coldingham. These who have subscribed with Bothwell, are, the Lord John Hamilton, the Earls of Argyle, Crawfurth, and Glencarre, with many other barons and gentlemen to the number it is thought of 7000 or 8000. On the other side, the Lord Hume and (it is thought) the Earl of Anguishe, with others are to assist the Prior against Bothwell. These forces will be assembled in the Merse within 6 or 7 miles of this town, on the 16th instant. The King minds to be at Edinburgh about Wednesday or Thursday next, and all the noblemen are commanded to be there at a convention—some part of which it is thought is for restoring Captain James Steward on his Majesty's secret council, and preferring him to some higher vocation, as the Lord Hamilton and he are friends. Berwick. Signed: Henry Woddryngton.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

449. [Scrope] to Bothwell. [Sept. 12.]

I herewith enclosed do send to your lordship, so many of the attempts as are lately come to my hands, desiring you to appoint a convenient day for redress and receiving the offenders at "Crissope foyt," signifying the same unto me. So doing, your lordship shall yield great comfort to the true men, and no less terror to the malefactors receiving condign punishment. Carlisle.

½ p. Contemporary copy. Indorsed by Scrope's clerk: "To the Lorde Bothewell."

450. Scrope to Walsingham. [Sept. 27.]

I have this day received a writ of summons to parliament on 16th October. As I wish to employ myself as may best please her Majesty, in these ticklish times and troubles on the opposite Border, I pray you to take her Majesty's pleasure, whether I shall attend parliament or remain in my charge here. I hear that Bothwell on Saturday last proclaimed in Liddesdale that none in his charge shall aid or shew any kindness to Maxwell or his friends, on their allegiance, and commands them to attend him on a day's warning. Carlisle. Signed: H. Scrope.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

451. The Council to Huntyngdon. [Sept. . 1586.]

The Queen and Council having been informed of many outrages on her subjects in the Middle Marches committed by the disordered Scots, for which no redress has (it is said) been made—and that the lord warden neglecting his duty, and looking to his own private gain and security, little regards the protection of her subjects under his charge, even suffering the inhabitants of Redesdale, with his own privity, to be ransomed by the Elwoodes, with whom of late he is entered into a band, who are notorious murderers and spoilers—direct Huntyngdon to repair to the Borders and remain either at Newcastle or Durham—and to make known both to Sir John Forster the warden and the inhabitants under him, the cause of his coming, and after perusing the enclosed complaints and notes, with others that may be delivered by the inhabitants, to make inquiry into these, and on fully understanding the whole matter, to take such order as he thinks good—finally certifying them as to what has been alleged and proved on both sides—that they may take farther order.

pp. A fair copy. Addressed at foot: "E. of Huntyngdon, L. President in the northe." Indorsed: "M. from the L. to the L. Scroope."

452. Charges against Forster as warden. [Sept. 27. 1586.]

"Articles conteyninge certeyne abuses commytted within the Mydle Marche by the Warden there."

Contained in 13 heads—stated in some detail.

4 pp. Draft. Indorsed.

453. Abstract of Charges against Forster. [Sept. 27. 1586.]

"An abstract of the Articles exhibited against Sir John Forster knight, warden of the Middle Marches.

1. That contrary to the lawes and customes of the Borders, he hath taken uppon him to appoint sisars without the conference had with the borderers.

2. That he hath not put in execution the last orders taken at Carlisle 1583, namely, in the othe of the warden yearely—in the tytle of perjury—in the execution of loose persons three tymes fyled.

3. That contrary to the lawes and customes of the Borders, he holdeth his dayes of truce without the limittes of his March.

4. That he hath broken the lawes of the Marches in these points—yelding to Scottishmen new proofes after the filing of their billes—accepting of the principall without double from the Scotes, for spoyles don on English subjectes—yelding restitution to Scotes without taking their complainte orderly in rolles, or making the English subjectes acquainted withall.

5. That he used to spend the dayes of truce in calling for redresse of his own particular losses, and neglected hir Majesties tenauntes and the Earle of Northumberlandes and others.

6. That he hath frustrated the English subjectes of redresse, demaunding vower for knowen murthers and day forrayes, and spoyles of whole townshipes, which by the customes of the Borders doe avow them selves. And that when he hath sought redresse, he hath accepted of singles, and taken acquittall for forrayes made by above xxxte persons.

7. That in criminall causes he hath judged that to be march treason, which is not, and put hir Majesties subjectes to execution. That he hath for march treasons taken the forfaitures of mens goodes and converted them to his own use.

8. That he hath released knowen murtherers apprehended and brought unto him.

9. That he hath broken the lawes of the borders in not extending punishment upon such as committing disorders in one realme have escaped into the other, and after returned again.

10. That he hath often tymes don contrary to the lawes of restitution by equivalence, and yealded redresse to Scottishmen for thinges done in tyme of warre.

11. That his own cattle doe lye quietly, and others are robbed and spoyled, being in the same places. That the Elwoddes and knowen thieves of Tividalle have free and open accesse unto him.

12. That he hath kept no residence, nor appointed none to reside for him, in Harbottle castle, contrary to auncient custome.

13. That the spoyles of the Middle Marches have been so great, as gentlemen are forced to abandon their habitation."

pp. Official fair copy. Indorsed by Walsingham's clerk.

454. Replies by Sir John Forster. [Sept. 27. 1586. c.]

"Some notes of Sir John Forsters aunsweare to certeyne articles objected againste him."

1. If the aggrieved party demand "sysers," the warden may appoint them, but without this, he never "chosed" any.

2. He denies contravening the treaty of 1583, and reters to the rolls.

3. To this, he confesses having held meetings outside of his March, as other wardens have done before.

4 and 5. He denies these and refers to the rolls.

6. Denies this and knows of no such law.

7. Denies executions, unless by verdict of two juries, or that he took forfeitures of goods, though he might lawfully have done so.

8. Admits this was done for relief of English prisoners in Scotland, who would otherwise have lost their lives—and by consent of parties.

9. If he ever did so, it was for her Majestys service.

10. The same is untrue, as the warden's rolls and indents show—and he knows of no law as to "equivalens."

11. Denied. He hath lost more goods than others, and got no redress. And for divers reasons by virtue of his commission, Scotsmen may repair to him without impeachment.

12. Denied. His son Nicholas or his deputy has lain there all the time. The Queen has no house except Harbotle castle for the warden of this March to repair to for the days of truce, and this was considered in the time of King Henry the eighth in the exchange with the "Earle of Kyme,"—and Nicholas Forster and his deputy were then not merely to keep it, but to provide for the warden in coming to and fro on the days of truce.

13. To this he desires to know who these gentlemen are? "For he knowethe but onlye one, viz., Thomas Swinborn of Captheton who refused to joyne with the reste of the gentlemen of the countrye for revenge of spoiles."

pp. Indorsed by Walsingham: "Sir Jhon Fosters awnswer to the articles objected ageinst him."

455. Further answers by Forster. [Sept. . 1586.]

"The aunswere of Sir John Foster to the informacion of certeine spoiles expressed in a schedule and objected against him."

Under six heads:

First—All the great attempts and burnings by Tivedall or Liddesdall this 17 years past, and not answerable to prince or warden, have been redressed or order taken.

Second—For "pettye stouthes," he saith every particular bill must be redressed by three things viz., "by vowers, sysers, or the wardens honor"—without which no redress can be had by all the English wardens.

Third—For the Elwoodes said to be spoilers of "said villages" and in bond with him, he says, when they were "unaunswerable" he made a raid on them, cast down "Martins tower," and so spoiled their country, that a bill of 2000l. was sent in by the Scots to the Commissioners at Berwick, besides 18 prisoners taken—which brought them to stop their feuds with the gentlemen of this country, and avoided great bloodshed and charges to her Majesty—and also caused them to give bond to make no inroads on England.

As to ransoms to Liddesdale—order was taken thereon by the Commissioners at Berwick. Denies that he or his son have been privy to payment of any.

1 p. In same writing as last. Indorsed.