Border Papers volume 2: May 1598

Pages 530-533

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

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936. Lord Willoughby to the Council. [May 2.]

I arrived here on Friday the 28th of April, next day assembled her Majesty's council here, and acquainted them with the substance of her Majesty's and your lordships' instructions directed to follow by letter. "For as mutch as tyll the next day beinge Sonday, I could not as the establishment injoyned me, properly take my oath, I forbare to proceede. That solemnized; on Monday followinge, it was thought meete that Mr John Carye who held the goverment the laste halfe yeare to our Lady day, and was to signe bills to that tyme, should call the musters with my consent, and at which I was allso present." Though they call them musters, I should rather name them "a bare veiu." The horsemen apart, and the foot by companies, passed by, each man answering to his name. But for any inquiry, "whether they wer Scotts, Irishe, Northumberland, Westmorland or Bishoprike, prohibited by the establishment," nor as in like cases, any private marks taken of the men's "parsonadges," no books shown by the clerks of entries and discharges, or their continuance in these bands—no note of the colour and marks of their horses, very necessary here, lest this muster proving them good, they should sell them to their Scots neighbours, and provide worse at the next. In other countries none may sell or make away his horse, once allowed good by muster, without the chief's assent. What I say as to the horse and foot, I may affirm for the pensioners, gunners and artisans, &c.

The pensioners' show was good, they may be "qualified" here for the country and captain's pays, as the establishment would have them, "but that apppeared not to me." The gunners were some of them "very poore soules: but the myserableste of all was the 42 foote, which they call scoriers, which poore wretches performe in unsemely weakenes, those dutyes of warre soldiours that shold that do may aptly be termed drudges, and the soldiours trwaunts."

For the artillery and munition; as your lordships, at the instance of Mr Musgrave master of ordnance here, directed a commission to certain gentlemen to view it, and I might therefore pass it over, yet in satisfaction of my oath and duty, I cannot but complain in general terms of the master, for the great want of necessary munition "he affirmeth wee are in any attempte daungerously subject to susteyne." A longer time is required to survey Mr Vernon's state of victuals: and passing from these matters to walls and fortifications, "I humbly desire pardon to deliver my conceite upon the "best workes, which may rather be termed beginnings. Ther hath bene infinite cost bestowed, and nothinge parfytted, and yet the whole might have in a manner bene stronge with halfe the chardg. The walles ar only buylt a lytle above the cordons, scanted in ther scarpinge, but in apparaunce stronge enoughe, the rampert to be raysed thereon wold bee 15 (fn. 1) paces thyck, skarpinge ynward 3, besides the highte from the walles foote to the toppe, 30 foote with the parapett: wheras yet there is nothinge raysed from the walls, and the whole hight but 21 foote ½, wherby it is ympossible for any of the garrison to answer alarumes and man the walls; but by the advauntage of the grounds without, they are all open for thennymeys to play uppon, and the enymyes without have many defences and shellters from us. All our ordinaunce planted upon the uufinishd bullwarks may in foure howrs by an enymy that were strong, be dismounted, havinge no merlons cannonieris nor gabions, the ditch unperfected, the counterscarfe altogether undonn, the rampert raysed lyke a sea banke, without scarpe pomario, or ground for a retrenchment; no cavalier about the whole fortyfication raysd, and yet hills round about to commaund yt: the portes but yndiferently flanked and but meanly for strenght placed.

"The roome the poulder and munytion placed so as it is subjecte to a shott of a feild peice from without the walles, and by trechery within the walls to be easyly sett on fyre and subject to harme. This is the state of the newe fortyficacion, the old much worse subject to surprize. And least my ignoraunce may not satisfy your lordshipps in a matter of such ymportaunce, I wold wishe some perfect skillfull man might be sent hether to survey the same more artyficially. In the meane season I gesse the chardge will not be so greate as it may appeare to be, the works ar all to be finished of earthe and turfe for the most parte; and two or thre practyzed pesaunts of the low countryes to lay them, wold do more service then 20 master masons att such highe rates by the day: and for laborers, soldiours burgers and all sortes should helpe. I feare me I may be thought impertynently tedious, and nycely double diligent. I am privy with what sincere serviceable devotion I doe yt, bound by bounty, allegiaunce and oathe, and yf my zeale in these make me fayle, I hoope to be excused, and shall learne to mend those faults soner then a fault in warre, wher I have learned non licet bis peecare." Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

pp. Holograph; as also address. Indorsed. Wax signet quartered (fragment).

937. Provisions at Berwick. [May 6.]

Note of all sorts of victuals, &c., remaining within the Queen's office of victuals 6th May 1598; viewed by Mr John Crane, comptroller, Robert Yaxley captain, and Rowland Myners.

Grain, cattle, fish, &c. [detailed].

"Acknowledged to be treue by me Robert Sparke debytie veteuler for Robert Vernon esquier—et examinatur per" signed: Johannem Crane, Robt. Yaxlee, Ro. Mynors.

1 p. Indorsed.

938. R. Musgrave to Burghley. [May 23.]

"Haveinge had tryall of sundrie inderect courses heretofore plodded againste me by the gentleman porter of Barwicke, and doubtinge that he may incense your honnour of some fordged informationes againste me, under cullor of her Majesties profitt, but mearely in perticuler practice to me": I thought it my duty to signify thus much, owing my place here to your honourable favour. Neither he nor any man living can charge me with dishonest or unworthy management or neglect of the Queen's service. And for trial I will refer my reputation to all men of account in this place except himself, who has brought like charges before, yet was ashamed to contest them further. I humbly desire your honour to stand my good lord, that with indifferent eyes it may be looked into how I have carried myself; and if well, that I may still enjoy her Majesty's grant of my place, with reputation as heretofore.

Her Majesty's commission under the Exchequer seal, being directed here to Mr John Carey "now marshall," the said gentleman porter, the comptroller of this town, and Captain Robert Yaxley (with others of Newcastle), especially to take my account; the said commissioners as the marshal, comptroller and Captain Yaxley, were ready to act, but the Porter utterly refused, though intreated by the Lord Governor, and thus execution is by him absolutely stayed.

And in further illwill to me, "I suppose he hathe signifyed unto my lord of Essix, how he would not execute the said commission (out of thexchequer) for that it might derogate from his lordship his office of Master of thOrdnaunce generall of Eingland, with further incensing his honnour (in what him lyeth), to procuer his lordships hard opinion against me, as if I should procuer the said commission in prejudice of him." If your lordship pleases, Mr John Carey can relate the Porter's proceedings herein. Berwick. Signed: Rychard Musgrave.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer signet (Musgrave).

939. William Selby to Burghley. [May 23.]

Whereas I received from my lords of the Council certain instructions for viewing the munition of Berwick, Newcastle, Carlisle, &c., in the north parts, and was resisted, as I certified your lordship in my letter of 20 November 1596: and on Mr Musgrave's coming to London, your lordship gave him my letter, whereto he answered, and gave the same to me to reply; as I did, and (at your request) left it, also the copy of my instructions from the Council, and of Captain Errington's bill "assigned" with you, but since have not heard your pleasure therein, as you then promised.

As he resisted those instructions, so he continues still resisting me as comptroller of the ordnance, not suffering me to be acquainted with anything of the office, as Captain Errington the comptroller before me, was—for the comptroller is appointed by her Majesty's bill expressly, and it is set down in the establishment here under her own hand, is to join with the master and be privy to the whole state of the ordnances within his office, present and future—and to keep books of the receipts issues and remains from time to time, also perfect "legiter bookes," together with the master, of all charges of the office, and entry and discharge of all artificers, workmen, &c., required therein.

On 1 July 1595, the master had 1689l. 10s. 9d. of munition out of the Tower. How much came here, or to Newcastle or Carlisle, I know not: nor how he employed 151l. 10s. 8d. then paid to him by the Tower officers; or the munition he received from his father when taking office.

He has neither "indented" for, nor accounted in his "remayne" in the store at Newcastle, for the following, sent there in 1588, viz., 105 armours, 540 pikes, 990 bills, 94 muskets, and 2 lasts, 5 half barrels of powder, as appear in Mr William Erington's reckoning, which I sent your lordship, signed by his own hand.

Other moneys for munition I see no account of, and yet I hear he is suing for a new supply of munition.

He brought hither an Exchequer commission directed to Mr John Carey, myself, Mr Dudley and Mr Lewyn of Newcastle, Mr Crayne and Robert Yaxley, or 5, 4 or 3, to view the munition here and at Newcastle, &c., but I forbore to deal therein, as he resisted me as controller. When the master makes his books of extraordinary charges, he sends it to me to sign: but I seeing the Queen put to needless charges, refused to sign unless he reformed some of them. Mr John Carey being made acquainted with same, said he was sorry he had signed, and would sign no more books till I had first approved them.

Unless I am obeyed, I can do the Queen no service in this office, but I am assured there is not an office in this part of England that has more need of controlment.

If your lordship please to examine the books I left with you, they will inform you better than I can write. Berwick. Signed: Will'm Selby.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed.


  • 1. Altered from "65."