Border Papers volume 2: February 1595

Pages 12-18

Calendar of Border Papers: Volume 2, 1595-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.

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22. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 3.]

Having occasion to send a packet of letters out of Scotland "by Mr Bowes his man" to his master, I have to excuse my fault in reporting the King's capture by Cesford and Buccleuch, which arose out of a great fray in Edinburgh that day "betwene the Master of Montrosse and Sir James Sandelaudes—wherin were great partes taking, and many men on bothe sides—so as it is thought, ther was very neare an hundreth pistol shott, shott amongst theme. Sir James Sandelandes him self is shott in three severall places, twoe in the head and one under the pappe," but is not thought in danger of death. The fray grew so great that the town rose in arms and all the ports were shut. Then I take it, some country men seeing the tumult, and not knowing the matters, brought the report about the King to Lord Hume. Other things might help it, "as thErle of Argyle, Tullybarne, Grant and the shreiffe of Eyres being commytted to the castle of Edenbroughe, and Athell, Lovat and MacKennye, being commytted to Lythcoe: who albeit they are for other matters commytted, yet thes sturres wold suffice to bread contrary rumors and reportes." Wherfore I pray you pardon "my over haistie advertismentes," for Lord Hume upon them went to Court, which "the easylier" deceived me. But whoever writes of Scottish affairs must sometimes write either very "tarde," or sometimes false, "so uncerten are there actions." Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

23. Verxon to Burghley. [Feb. 9.]

I perceive by your honour's letter of the 3d instant, received this day, that "they of Hull" have been with your lordship for money for their provisions, though the most part is not yet delivered, and while the Mayor would needs have payment on the last day of January, yet the most of them were content to wait till the "nexte audicte," which I assured them should be the furthest day.

I have been troubled with an ague and dare not venture to ride post, but on my own horses, craving pardon for the delay in attendance on you. But by the grace of God, I intend setting forward to-morrow morning.

I answered your honour's former letters, and how the money due to me at Michaelmas last was disposed of, and trust you have received it with my humble petition, wherein I pray your honour to stand my good lord with the Council, and doubt not if now relieved by your good means, that I will never trouble you with the like, and be thankful for the same during my life. Berwick. Signed: Robert Vernon.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer armorial signet.

24. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 10.]

At Mr Vernon's request I send his letter inclosed, and also explain to your lordship why I have not yet answered your letter of 10th January signed by yourself and Sir John Fortescue, regarding the matters disputed between the customer and farmer here. Your letter was not delivered to me by Mr Fairley till the 3rd instant, whereupon I called the Mayor and customer before me, and restored the former to the execution of the custom, taking bond of them under the town seal for 200 marks, to make good to her Majesty all that they remit to the merchants from Christmas "forward" till your farther pleasure.

The farther delay in certifying your lordship of the customer's books (of which you sent me copies to be "tryed" with the original) was, first the Mayor required to confer with his brethren, and they could not find a "wise man" among themselves to represent them, but sent to Newcastle for Mr Sanderson or Mr Felton, which I think is only to win time, for any "indifferent man" would do. I have chosen for her Majesty Mr Comptroller and myself only. Their man is not yet come.

I am out of hope of amendment in the victualler's office, it gets daily worse and worse. His presence here does no good, for beer that used to be 15s. a hogshead, is raised to 20s. "readye monye, or none to be had." There is no great fault in this, for he need not brew strong beer unless "he list." But the brewing of this strong beer to get ready money for his own use, hinders the soldiers getting their small beer as they should. So they are forced either to buy his strong beer, or the ale brewed in the town, "which bothe caryes the price of ijd. the quart." As for the horse corn and other provision, "we are fedd only with hope." Nothing else comes.

For Scottish news—the King has been 5 or 6 days at Dunglas and Spott, and I hear is about returning home. Hercules Steward and two other of Lord Bothwell's men have been taken by means of Mr John Colville and William Hume. But I think it shall prove "smallye" to the hurt of Hercules Steward. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer signet: a swan.

25. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 11.]

Now that I have written on her Majesty's affairs of this town, your lordship will give me leave to bewail a little my own estate, for I have none but her Majesty and you to trust to. I have been here now almost two years as my father's deputy, by her Majesty's appointment, which I willingly accepted, having ever had a "thristing" desire to be employed anywhere to do her the best service in my small power, which showed itself in coming hither, leaving wife and children "at all adventures," besides selling all I could, and making honest shift to maintain myself here. Then my wife borrowed money to come to me: but how or in what state my children are, I know not. I left besides "all my small litle" to the trust of servants, to my great losses, regarding it not for her Majesty's service. I have had nothing from my father but what he gave to my brother William Carey, who lived here at little or no charge, viz., "the demaynes of Norrham" and captainship of 100 men, which he bestowed on me for my maintenance here under him. Now "I understand by my brother Sir Robert Carey, that my lord hathe bestowed upon himself, not onlye the tythes of Norrham, which he had by lease from the Deane and Chapter, but also the captenship and demaynes of Norrham with all the royalties therof." And as my lord had this last but at pleasure, Sir Robert has made him move and get a grant from her Majesty (as he writes to me): which if it be so, I beg your honour to procure my revocation, as I cannot do her Majesty service, if my maintenance is taken. If it be not "alreadye past," then I request that I may hold what I have in possession. It would be a disgrace to me serving her Majesty here, to have it "pluckt owt of my handes (and especially by myne owne brother, at whose mercie I must be if he have yt) whether I shall at any tyme ryde over the bridge or noe (for over the bridge all is his"). You see how hard the world goes, when he must seek so far, and can find nothing but what his own brother has!

"Pardon my rudenes (good my lord) being touched to the quicke with this, and much worse which I will conceale." Praying your wisdom may cover my follies spoken in grief, and find me a remedy to relieve or return me home, where I can shape my life and living, and to hear from you as soon as may be. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed. Swan wafer signet.

26. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 15.]

Having opportunity by means of sending "Mr Bowes his pacquett," it is my duty to certify that Mr Sanderson of Newcastle is now come whereby I hope with expedition to advertise the truth of the controvers on the customs, having waited all this time at the Mayor's request.

I received this day by Cuthbert Armorer a letter from the King of Scots which seems to confirm what Lord Hume said to me about the conference. The principal under the King's hand I have sent to my lord my father, not to offend him, for he is very angry with me for some other causes "best knowne to himself," and therefore ask your lordship's pardon for sending only the inclosed copy.

I also pray for some answer to my last touching Norham: for I have taken too great pains and ended too many causes, to be turned out without just cause.

For Scottish news: there is likely to be great quietness, as it is said the Earls of Huntly and Arrell are to leave the country by 1st March—but I think it a mere report. The King is to go to Stirling on Monday next to solemnise "the natyvitie" of the young Prince.

Hercules Steward has been twice examined by the Council, but confessed very little. Many make great means for his life, and he is not thought in peril.

The Duke was looked for in Edinburgh on Friday last. He has protected most of Huntly's friends, as Cloynnye, Geithe, Abbergeldy, &c., if the King like the composition.

The Queen and the Chancellor are made friends, and on Thursday or Friday he kissed her hand, and had familiar speech.

Bothwell is still in Caithness, but if Hercules Steward who had gathered some money for him, had not been taken, he would ere this have left the country. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed. Swan wafer signet.

Inclosed in the same:—

(The King of Scots to Carey.)

"Traist freind we greit yow hairtly weill . . . we have thocht meit and expedient conforme to the conference betwixt our trusty and welbelovit cosen the Lord Humme and yow at your last meiting, upon some maiters concernyng the advancement of our service, to desyre yow maist eirnestly to gyve credyt to him thairin as to ourself. And whansoever he or any in his name shall crave your assistance for the furtherance therof and effectuatting of that which may bread our speciall contentment, that ye wilbe ever readye to concurre with him, either by yourself or those whome chefely yow may command. Thus trusting ye will doe, as we shalbe ever maist willing to doe yow whatsumever pleasure may be craivit of us, we commyt yow to Godis most holy protection. From our palece of Halyruidhowse the xijth of Februar 1594. Your very loving freind, James R."

1 p. Copy by Carey's clerk. Addressed: "To our trusty freind John Carye esquyer governor deputy of Barwick." Indorsed.

27. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 20.]

Having on the 18th hereof got together before myself and the Mayor, the farmer of the custom, and her Majesty's officer the customer, with Mr Saunderson for the farmer, and Mr Crane comptroller, for the customer, we opened the original books and the customer's copies sent down by your lordship; "trying them thorow worde by worde" to the end. We found no great difference in the entries of the quantities and kinds of cloth. But in the rates we found great differences—Mr Customer putting his values a great deal too high, as the following rates will show. First,—"broadclothes and carseyes" set down at full rates, without allowance to the merchant, as usual in other English ports, or any regard to "the former and auncyent customes and priviledges of this towne ever heretofore allowed (as appeares by there auncyent bookes of the custom howse)."

He has also "rated his freseadoes" at 6s. 8d. the half piece, viz. every 12 yards, while by the book of rates it is but 3s. 9d. So in every pack of "single freseadoes" his value is 23s. 4d. too much.

He also rates "fustians" at 3l. a piece, while in the rate book "Millan fustian," the best, is rated but at 20s. So his rating is 40s. too much.

He also rates all "Scotes linnen clothe" at 6l. the hundred, while in the rate book, through all England, "Holland clothe" is but 5l. the hundred, "Kentishe clothe" 48s., and "Crest clothe" but 40s., and here they affirm that the former officers never rated Scottish cloth above 40s.

It is further found that for every pound set down in his book as received "in the nete" by the farmer, he has only had it "after xij Atchisons to the shilling," losing in every pound 4s. of exchange, the shilling being at 15 "Atchisons" here, which is but 16s. in the pound to him.

Further he charged in his book 4 trunks and 10 packs, some of which were passed by Thomas Fowlys and Robert Jowsey for the King, by your warrant to me; and others for Lord Hamilton and the Laird of Wiemes—all passed by warrant without paying custom to the farmer.

All which sums when cast up, greatly diminish his book valuation. The farmers also are in great fault from not observing your directions in the book of orders, which I hope they will amend if continued.

In reply to your lordship's question, whether the custom should be resumed by her Majesty or left at farm? I have little skill in these matters. Yet I will say that the farmers by their diligence have increased the rent greatly—and I am sure of this, that whoever comes here to take the uttermost of the Queen's due under the book, will shortly get very little. For such is the misery of the Scottish merchants, that during this "litle contraversie," the farmer asking them to make the money he receives "currant," and instead of 12 "Atchisons" to the shilling, to make the rate 15, they utterly refuse, and tell him to let it alone, or they will find some other way. You will see little has come this last quarter—whether the Queen gets the benefit elsewhere, I know not.

I pray your lordship to let me hear touching Norham—if it is passed or not. For if passed, I must be a suitor to the Queen that she or my lord will give me some other allowance. For it is not 244l. a year "thrice tolde" that will keep me here in her service. If not gone, then that I may keep it as I do now, not wishing it out of "my lord's" hands. Sir Robert Carey living so far of, can hardly attend to the daily trouble of the causes among them which I have to determine. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

3 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

28. Crane and Sanderson to Burghley. [Feb. 20.]

Reporting their examination of the customer's books as in the preceding letter,—under seven heads. Berwick. Signed: John Crane, He. Sanderson.

2 pp. Written by Crane. Addressed. Indorsed.

29. John Hardinge to Burghley. [Feb. 21.]

Defending his high valuation of Scots linen cloth, and offering to prove he is right. Also accounting for the diminution of custom in last quarter—and that the Queen sustains no loss thereby. Berwick. Signed: Jo. Hardinge.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

30. The Mayor, &c., of Berwick to Burghley. [Feb. 22.]

Your lordship has heard from Mr Governor and the two gentlemen who examined the books, of the customer's overcharges, and other errors, done to prejudice us. His "troblesome questions" as we hear, have driven merchants to find other ways over the Borders, which is very likely, for since Christmas neither he nor we have received "one grote." And though the surveyors agreed to write to your lordship,—after hearing the discussion in the office between us and the customer, that the Queen's certain gain would arise by continuing us in the "ferme," as you have been pleased to do with an improved rent—yet Mr Blande and "this customer" dream of a better course, viz., to resume our liberties and disappoint us of the benefits of the statute 22 Edward IV. "(which God forbide)." If they could, her Majesty's profit would pass over the March, or be put in the purse of corrupt officers, and the town brought to nothing. The wardens have certified our services on the border by ourselves and friends at our common charge, and we sustain other losses, as 20s. on every barrel of salmon for the Queen's household, and 100l. yearly by want of our pasture grounds in the victualler's hands. We have obeyed your lordship's orders not to prejudice any other port, or meddle with sea traffic, and the occasion of the great rise last half year was the baptising of the Prince of Scotland, as formerly mentioned.

We shall also observe the orderly keeping of the books hereafter, and in all things humbly refer ourselves to your lordship's wisdom. Berwick. "The Maior and aldermen." Signed: Thomas Parkinson maiour, Will'm Morton, Edwarde Mery, Thomas More, Jhon Denton, Thomas Hogge, (fn. 1) George Mortoun, Henry Rugge, Crastofar Morton, Hew Feuell.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

31. John Carey to Burghley. [Feb. 23.]

I have received your letter of 15th and am greatly bound for your favour. You forbear dealing in my private cause till you have "some second speciall direction," fearing lest in doing me good you cause greater offence than you can remedy.

Thus then it stands—when I came here, my father gave me the domains of Norham, which my brother William had from him. I have ever since taken such pains there (more than with Berwick) in deciding their controversies and doing justice among all in Norham and Islandshire, that there is such love among them to me, and such knowledge of their causes in me, that I am more perfect in doing them good than any other can be "a great while." But I know not why, unless on some displeasure or wrong information, my father has without my privity, taken it from me and given it to Sir Robert Carey, who I hear has also her Majesty's grant. Now my humble request is this, that your lordship would stay her Majesty's hand from passing it till she hear more. And that it may be kept secret, that I have no farther displeasure.

There is little stirring in Scotland. Hercules Steward the Earl Bothwell's brother, and one William Syms his butler, both taken by Mr John Colville and William Hume (who promised them their lives) were notwithstanding hanged lately in the market place at Edinburgh. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

32. Bland and Dawse to Burghley. [Feb. 26.]

Profit of custom in the port of Berwick for the half year ending Michaelmas 1594.

"Copie."—On Mr Chancellor's signification of your pleasure to us yesterday, we have considered the points of Mr Carey's letter to your lordship on the controversy between the farmer and customer of Berwick, and finding that the customer's entries touching the quantity and quality of the goods, &c., are true, we have for your satisfaction rated the same according to the custom of London and other ports, and find that for all the goods inwards and outwards, it amounts to 1045l. 4s. 5d., besides the goods for the King and others discharged by your warrant, not exceeding 35l. 5s. 10d. The said sum of 1045l. 4s. 5d. arises chiefly by the custom of cloth carried by the Scots from London and other places in England, not by fustians or linen cloth—the custom of which in the half year ending Michaelmas last, comes but to 57l. 10s. 3d. towards the above total. And so, like Mr Carey, we leave the determination to your lordship's consideration. Wm. Bland, Jno. Dawse.

By the customer's book the half year at his rate comes to . . . . . 1097l. 4s. 11d.
As cast up by the surveyors here, only . . 1045l. 4s. 5d.
So the difference of their rating is . . . 52l. 0s. 6d.
1097l. 4s. 11d.

"This was prepared for Mr Chauncellor, but for haste sake I send it to you."

1 p. Copy. Indorsed: (as title).

33. Custom of Berwick. [Feb.]

Note of alterations in the rates charged on long and short cloths, corn, hides, and sheepskins.

Sum for the half year and quarter, 153l. 5s. 2d.

1 p. Indorsed: "The accownte which is to be charged Feb. 1594."


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