Border Papers volume 1: March 1587

Pages 247-253

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

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492. Scrope to Walsingham. [March 2.]

I have received your letter of the 18th "heareof," with your opinion that the pay of these 50 horse should not exceed 12d. daily to each man, as usual in her Majesty's service. "Which, albeit yt be very scante, in respecte of the greate extremytie of thinges heare this hard yeare," I will take order for, so "as not to charge her Majesties purse further than I needes muste." Touching their disposal, which you wish to be done not to surcharge her Majesty more than needful, in respect of her excessive present charges in defence of her realm, I have divided and committed them to the leading of Captain Beckwith and a man of my own, to lie separate, but the expense to her Majesty will be no more than if all were together.

"Yt is very certaine that William Carre of Aucrom went uppon Frydaye laste was a sevenight unto Edenburgh, where he kept him selfe in secreate 2 or 3 dayes, and (as I am informed) spake with the Kinge, and hath obtayned his peace, as yt is thought. The same daye the Kinge dispached William Stewarde (brother to the late earle of Arren) unto the lordes in the north, with errandes of importance and speed, as is supposed. By one whom I sent unto Edenburgh (who returned to me yesternight) I am crediblie informed that James Steward late Earle of Arren, hath had secrett recourse and conference with Curselles, the French ambassadores secretarye in Edenburgh, at two severall tymes with [in] the[se] xen dayes. I understand that Maxwell expecteth the cominge of Roger Aston from the kinge, with his generall perdon to Maxwell and with a pettent of the office of the wardenshipp. Wherupon yt is thought that Maxwell shall take some great matter in hand. I lykewise heare that David Engleby was at the yonge larde of Drunlangrickes (within these foure dayes) neare unto Dunfreis." Carlisle. Signed: H. Scrope.

Postscript.—I now hear that Maxwell is to be at Aunan to-morrow and has appointed the whole country to meet him.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

493. Forster to Walsingham. [March 6.]

In answer to your letter of the 1st, that information has been given to her Majesty, of great spoils made by the Scots on her tenants, the Earl of Northumberland's and others, which is laid to my negligence in winking at thieves and loose persons—I have never done so, but have always been ready to punish them and cherish the good, ever since I took office—"and throughe myne industrie and care, have brought the evill disposed people within myne office in more obedience then ever they were, other in her Majesties tyme, her late sisters tyme, her brothers tyme, or her fathers tyme,—and so shall I justlye prove whensoever the matter shalbe equallie and with indifferent eares hard and examined."

Praying you so much to stand my friend, as to procure my attendance before her highness and council to prove the falsity of these charges by whomsoever made (her highness and council only excepted). As for her Majesty's tenants in Tynedale and Redesdale, they spoil others as they are spoiled, and suffer little harm—any other tenants have had justice done as far as I can. The Earl of Northumberland's tenants have been spoiled through some of themselves bringing in Scots, as lately proved, when the offenders were convicted and executed. I send you a copy under the constable's hand of other attempts on the Earl's tenants, whereof two are already redressed, and the residue are to be called "upon Thursdaye come viij dayes, beinge the xvjth of this instante Marche" at the meeting between the warden and me.

"What cawse I have had to winke at the attempts and spoiles comitted by the opposite borders, it is not unknowen unto your honour, havinge fyrst Sir George Heron that married my sister, and John Heron that married ane other sister, slaine, and also that which is the greatest matter of all, my Lorde Russell, who maried my doughter, slaine, of whome I made most accounte of anye in all the wordle, yf I might have attempted anye thinge for the revenge therof withowte prejudice of the breache of the peace and amitie betwene theis two realmes. . . . And yet to be burdened as thoghe things were to be imputed to my negligence, I thinke I ame verie hardlie rewarded for my trewe and dewtifull service, upon theis surmised informacions, except I maye come and answer the same before her Majestie and said Counsell."

As to the meeting with the Laird of Cesford, though he is thought a man well disposed, yet as he then had not his people in obedience, and the "owteragiousnes" of Lord Bothwell to a man of Sir Thomas Gray's, whom he had sent into Scotland to demand some horses—who said he would hang him because he was an Englishman—and at same time Sir William Steward and Robert Melvine late ambassador in England, were sent to the Borders by the King's commandment. "Wherof the Lard of Cesford dyd verie muche mislike, and so sent me warninge therof verie quietlie, which was onlie the occacion of showtinge of that meitinge, which I must beseche your honour to kepe secrete to yourself, for that yt toucheth him verie muche in credit yf yt should be disclosed." Since then the meetings have been "shott" by Cesford, not by me, as his letters here inclosed will show.

"Upon the mocion of the strikinge of the Queine of Scotlands head, I receyved lettres frome my lorde president to stande upon our guard for the defence of the Borders," and have caused watch to be kept and all men's goods to be brought from "the Border banke." But as I cannot live in quietness through my "unfrends," and false surmises put in against me to her Majesty, I am a humble suitor for licence to appear before her highness and Council to answer such charges. At my house nigh Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

494. Ballard to Walsingham. [March 6.]

"The Borderers one the Sckottisshe syde stande nowe at receyte, and in troth make all fisshe that comes to nett, so that except I will two dessperately and without reason hazarde my self, the case is so altred as I can not possibly gett into Scottlande. I hyred a messenger to goe to the Larde of Lesterrick for his safe conduct, but after iij dayes absence, my curreour retorned with report that he was gone to Edenbrough to the Kinge. Nowe yf I shoulde passe through Berwick, that course would quite overthrowe me, for yt is unpossible to keepe my self undiscouvered to the knight martiall, before whom yf I once growe in publique question and leave hym unsaticefyed, I must then ether remayne still under his commaunde, and so loose all oportunytie of further service, or else passe by his license, which will gyve cause of great jeliousye in Sckottlande. For that partie will thinke I coulde not bringe my conge from Berwick without a plott of some speciall mystery; and my olde frende Lawson dare not looke that waye for a thousande poundes—for sayeth he, the outlawes and loose persones will uppon this sodayne alteration, robbe and murder both Catholique and Protestant without respect; 'and yet,' sayth he, 'I can have newes out of Sckottland assone as any one man within Northumberland, especially yf I abyde about Warke or Cornill, I have lyttell blewe cappe laddes that will tell me howe the worlde goeth.' Yf I weare presently in Sckottlande, I can not see (as thinges are falne out), what good effect might nowe be wrought, since yt is unpossyble to delyver any occurrentes from thense, so sevearely are all passages kept, as lettres can not be sent to nor fro—and moreover, the cheef pointes of my directions have (by consequence) made overture of them selfes: for yt is manyfest that the Kinge taketh the death of his mother most haynously. That he geveth eare to forrayne nations, and namely to France is also certayne. Theise two apparances prove the thyrde, to weete, that he is unconstant in religion—for otherwise nether woulde he seeke theyre ayde, nether woulde they ayde hym: so that yt is to be supposed that he promyseth to undertake the Catholique cause, and under that pretext will attempt to sett the Crowne of Englande uppon his heade—from the which God longe keepe hym! Theare came a Sckott over the Twede at Warke, with a caste of hawkes to sell in England, who after he understoode that I was fled in to theyse remote places for my conscience, beganne to enter in to conference with me; and amongest other talke, he tolde me that one Friday last being the thirde of March, a messenger from out of France was landed at Leeth, and was convayed with great speede upp to Edenbrough—furthermore that the Earle of Marre and the Earle of Anguisshe weare come to the Kinge, and have offered hym theire loyall services to bee imployed in what course yt shall please hym to comaunde them. Which thinge was much marveled at, and thus censured amongest our subtile Papistes; they deemed that both theyse and the rest of the Protestant noble men of Sckottland, doe nowe see that the Kinge shall be assisted with forrayne frendes, and therefore they are content to showe them selfes plyant and ready in obedyence, becuase the kinges power will overtoppe them—but yf his strength consisted of Sckottlande onely, then woulde the(y) stande in tearmes with him as before. My Sckottisshe fawconer sweareth the Kinge is wantonly bent to warres. Yf the narrowe seas be roundely skouted, lettres will be intercepted and all secretes practised betwene other nations, and mannaged to the prejudice of England, will surely be bewrayed. The villanous Papistes have nowe begonne to sowe a seede of newe missechef, to bringe her Majestie to contempt amongest her subjectes. They saye she is nether by lymall dissent true Quene of this realme, nor legyttymate dawghter of Henry the viijth, for that Quene Cathryne was lyvinge and undevoursed from her father when she was borne. Thus horribly dare theyse monsters open theyre wicked mouthes, and with their lippes utter blassphemyes against God and his anoynted. Cry still unto her Majestie (for the Lordes sake) to laye a side her wonted princely magnanymytie, and not to venter her person in course of danger: for though the Sckottisshe Quene be deade, yet the self same dyvell that was, ys still lyvinge and rageth no less then before. God protect her! Tyvideale hath protested to enter the Englisshe borders with xvc horsse before syx dayes be expired, and the better to bringe them one, Tynnedeale and Ryddesdeale have sent them wourde, that they are false Skottes, and weare never true of promysse, and therefore woulde wisshe them to keepe theyre saying nowe for shame, which yf they will doe, they shall be as well wayted one home, as ever was any bragging Sckottes theise hundred yeares. Beleve me, sir, this tale made my hart leape to heare the good myndes of my northren countrey men, who (by report) are no lesse forwarde then perfect Englisshe; but sore opressed and mutch mated by Sir John Foster, whom in troth they hate,—yea they saye playnely he hath alwayes more estemed a Sckott then his owne nation, and so hath handled the matter with the Sckottisshe wardens, as his poursse is well lyned by meanes of his over mutch partiallytie that waye. I understande that Davye Ingleby was not longe since at Mount St John, a howse of one Mr Haringtons in Yorke shyre, but is nowe sneaked into North Wales, for he feedeth not longe in one pasture. I fynde by dayly experience, that theare is generally in England two Papistes for every Protestant. Trust me, they are mightely increased within theise two or three yeares—God lessen them yf yt be his good will! Yt is veary requysite that you make choise of dyvers faythfull keepers to goe the palewalke of Englande, and yf every one guarde his quarter right and diligently, yt is veary lykely that such as come by stealth to spoyle the game, will be founde by the foote, and made shorter by the heade. My Lorde Theausorer, the Earle of Huntingdon, your self, and Mr Davison, are grevousely threatened to be sent as speedely away as the Quene of Sckottes was—who the wycked ones say, had yet byn allyve, yf you fowre had not hastened her death. But amongest the rest, have a jelious regarde to your self, and trust not two much those Englisshe Sckottes that haunte London; for the veary matter that they are made of is falsehoode, covered with a vayle of fayth. Grant me lisence to gyve you one caviat more— yf theyre falle out occations of martiall matters and newe errections of companyes, sifte out all Catholique captaynes, who though they make never so great showe of loyaltie, yet trust them not, for in the ende they will prove lyke them selfes. Twelve dayes past, weare twentye shippes of Newcastell stayde at Newehaven in France, an I within theise fyve dayes, fowre more. I humbly crave that by the next post, you will voutsafe me the knowledge of your pleasure, ether for my going or not going into Sckottland, and yf your will be that I goe, then to sett me downe some course howe to advertyse, otherwyse the profytt of my journey can not be great; and for the more speedy recept of your lettres hearein, I will resort agayne to Mr Anderson about such tyme as by conjecture I may suppose your sayd lettres to be from you retorned. They are to be directed to John Fortescue, with chardge that he keepe them untill I come for them my self; for my man is sore hurtt at Warke with a falle of a horsse. The Lorde Jesue ever blesse you. From Newcastell, ready to retorne to Warke which is uppon the Tweedesyde, the vjth of March 1586. I meane shortly to see Sir Thomas Gray, for he is within twelve myles of me." A sign thus: II.

4 pp. No address or indorsement. Evidently from Ballard alias Fortescue to Walsingham.

495. Woddryngton to Walsingham. [March 7.]

"Thes inclosed I receaved at the handes of Robert Carvell the vijth of this instant, who being employed into Scotland by Mr Carye, brought hither also one pece of a roape and a libell which was hong at his chambre doore in Edenburghe, the 4 of this instant at night." Berwick. Signed: Henry Woddryngton.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

496. The Same to the Same. [March 8.]

Sending enclosures received from Robert Carvell that same day. Berwick. Signed: Henry Woddryngton.

¼ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

497. The Same to the Same. [March 10.]

On Monday last Mr Carye sent one of this garrison with a letter to the lord secretary, to know if the King would be pleased to send the Master of Gray and Sir Robert Melvin to meet him at Fowlden, a myle and a half from Berwick. Who replied that the King hath appointed Sir Robert Melvin and Sir James Hume of Coldingknowes, captain of Edinburgh castle, to meet him at Fowlden on Tuesday next the 14th; which Mr Carye hath told me he will observe. They are to have 24 on either side. He hath also informed my lord governor his father.

On Wednesday last the 8th it was proclaimed at the market cross of Edinburgh, "that no Scotesman should have any entercommyning with any Englishman, upon payne of lyfe landes and goodes, without speciall licence of the King."

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

498. Woddryngton to Walsingham. [March 14.]

"This inclosed I receaved the xiiijth of this instant at the handes of a frend belonging to Mr John Oglebye of elke (fn. 1) the younger, which came inclosed unto me in a lettre from Mr Richard Douglas, who requyred yt might be returned unto your honour with all expedition, for that it concerneth both ther Majesties services." Berwick. Signed: Henry Woddryngton.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

499. Forster to Walsingham. [March 18.]

I enclose the Laird of Cesford's letter appointing two meetings, which we have kept, and done great justice, showing his willingness as far as in him lies—"but William Ker of Ancrum, who is nowe verie greate in favour with the Kinge by my Lord Bothwells meanes, did come frome the Kinge at the presente tyme of our meatings, beinge then at my Lord Bothwells howse, and raysed and assembled v hundrethe men of Liddisdale and West Tevedale and was fullye bent to have roon a forraye within the Mydle Merches—but they were stayed onlye by the stormye and contageouse wedder, which did soddenlie fall at the same tyme." Cesford was ill pleased therewith. Our Borders were never more quiet than they have been since the death of the Queen of Scots till now, "the Kinge dothe write to the Lairde of Cesforde to do justice, and yet in the meane tyme he appoyntethe others to ryde and breake the bordors, and dothe winke therat." I mean to be at Newcastle on the 20th and make my lordli eutenant privy to these things. The East March is at present guarded by Sir William Read's company, and the West also guarded, but this March is very open, unless 100 men were laid at Harbottle, which would be some help in case of sudden invasion.

"I thinke your honour hathe knowledge that the Bishope of Glasgowe is restored by opyn proclamation at Edinbrughe to the said bisshoprick, and is appoynted by the Kinge to be his ambassadour in Fraunce as he was before in his late mothers tyme—and that the Bishope of Ros dothe presentelie come out of Fraunce, and is thoght he shalbe in greate favour with the Kinge. Sir William Stewarte is maikenge all the provesion he maye for his goinge presentelie in Fraunce." At my house nigh Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

"Postscriptum.—The ministers and relegeous men of Scotlande dothe greatlie mislyke these towe bishops, twichenge the relegion."

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

500. Scrope to Walsingham. [March 19.]

As I can get no redress for some of those under my rule, for "certaine heryshippes" long ago done by men of Liddesdale, of which they have lately complained to my lord lieutenant here at Newcastle, I send copy of my letter to my Lord Bothwell showing my demands. And pray you to signify, "what likinge her Majesty would have, yf I shall ryde uppon and bringe any of the principall offenders of that nation for thansweringe of those injuries, withoute hurte or annoyance to be done to any other good and quiet neighbour in that realme?" Newcastle. Signed: H. Scrope.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

501. Forster to Walsingham. [March 25. 1587.]

According to your letter of the 1st, the Earl of Huntingdon her Majestys lieutenant came to Newcastle, where I attended him. He did there "sifte and examine me" on the informations made to her Majesty of the spoils committed by the opposite borders; when I caused the keepers of Tindale and Ryddesdale, the officers of Tynemowtheshire, Hexhamshire, the barony of Langelye, and Bywell lordship, to declare before his lordship what spoils had been committed in their several offices—who could prove none except on the Tynedale and Redesdale men, who have as much to answer for, as they can demand. And I am thus acquitted before his honour, who I trust will advertise you and the council that these informations are as untrue as others have been before. "My lorde lieutenante used me verie honorablie, and examined my matters with greate indifferenice, but in the ende dyd use muche perswasions with me to geve up my office of wardenrye, in respect of my age and therby my unsufficiencye for the servinge therof, and that I would so wryte unto her Majestie and said counsell. Which I thinke I cannot doo with myne honestie and credit, consideringe I have served in the said office so longe tyme in peace and quietnes, and nowe when there is some doubt of troble and unquietnes, to seeke to geve yt over for feare or for doubt of unsufficiencie of my bodie—wherin yf I fealt anye suche insufficiencye or unablenes to exercise the same, I would wryte unto her Majestie and said Counsell therof. But notwithstandinge myne age, I hope in God I ame as able to discharge that office as others are, and have brought those within myne office in as good obedience, and menteigned them in as good quietnes and better then ever they were before my tyme, and therfore will not seeke to disable myself, felinge no suche insufficiencye in my bodie, so longe as yt pleaseth her Majestie to accept of my dewtifull service." At the last days of truce, held at Kyrknewton in England and Kyrkyettam in Scotland on the 16th and 18th instant, "I mislikinge to goo into Scotlande, for feare of some of their accustomed traiterous dealings," sent my deputy with the rolls to Kyrkyettam, where Cesford met him with a small company in peaceable manner, few of them armed. But at that time at the procurement of Lord Bothwell who was then at Krighton, 500 or 600 men of Eskdale, Ewesdale, Liddesdale, and West Tevydale mustered for the purpose of slaying me and my company if I had gone there—as can be proved through some of the best in this country who have perfect intelligence through those who are of chief counsel to Bothwell and Pharnihyrst. At my house nigh Alnwick. Signed: John Forster.

Postscript.—Though my lord lieutenant has written for 150 men to lie at Harbottle and Chipchace, I think they will not be needed long, for the "Scotts lye darkings" and can do nothing till the corn is off the ground.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.


  • 1. "That Ilk?"