Border Papers volume 2: April 1599

Pages 596-603

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

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1050. E. Stanhope to Sir John Stanhope. [April 1. 1599.]

"Good brother, I receyved your last blancke packet, wherin was one from my honorable good lord th'Erle of Essex, which though it were short, it was very sweete, purporting her Majesties allowance and good acceptance of my diligence and care to prevent thes Scottishmens pretended escape, wherin I take as much comforte as of any good that might befall me."

Yet I was not satisfied with their capture, but desire to find out the contrivers of the "platt," which, however boldly denied by them, it seems certain was laid in Scotland, and should have been executed unless we had found out by Canby; for "(if we had had Argus eyes)" we could not have found out, seeing we thought them secure in locked chambers, "with duble boltes of the outside; but truely they are men of great strength, and to ther strength they had gotten one or two ingens, wherby they burst downe walls, doores, and iron wyndowes in a moment, which workmen could not have done in halfe a daye"!

That it was intended from Scotland, how to be done, and who should escape, will appear by Mr Henry Bowes' discovery, who came hither post, the instant we had set the watch, also by William Selby of Newcastle's letter since from London: copies of both which I inclose you.

The only means to make further discovery since, was through James Dargon late a smith here and served long under Thomas Percy on the borders, who Canby told us, resorted much to them, was to provide horses, and afterwards by his direction, a boat, lest they got too far. Dargon fled to Hull next day: I sent to stop his ship, and he made for Westchester, whither I sent to Raphe Mansfeild who knew him, and "to my lord" (fn. 1) against his coming. I sent also to Thomas Percy at Alnwick, as I had told him now untrustily his man Dargon had dealt, "notwithstanding he acquainted him with it the daye before, and then being discoraged, came to me a quarter of an hower before they were taken, and yet as I saye fledd the next morning." But haply being rejected by them who were to take him to Westchester, he ran straight to Alnwick where Mr Percy apprehended him and sent him to me here on Sunday last. I took his examination, but "though a trecherous fellow," having dealt with some of them, yet find nothing from Scotland. Herein I have taken care both with him, and conference with the pledges, to ask nothing about Sir Robert Ker or any other, but dealt in general terms, thinking it not policy that any knew themselves suspected, till we can detect them. I think if Mr Selby were sent for and charged to deliver his "tales" or learn his "talesman," it might be discovered. "He is an alderman of Newcastle and so is his father, and a great man of lyving. He was very great and conversant with Bodwell when he haunted into England. If he be still at London, any of your northren gentlemen in Court know him, for he is a proper man and hath much resorted to the Court.

"I sent my foote man yesterday to West Chester, with lettres to my lord of Essex, letting him know that I had taken Dargon, and the copie of his examinacion likewise, as I have now sent it you, and Canbyes also, that you may be acquainted with the whole proceedinges of this matter.

"There is lately taken in Lancashier one Dudley graundchilde and heire in blodd to old Richard Dudley of Yenwith in Westmerland, who is not onely a semynary of viij or ix yeres contynuance in this cuntry, but knowne to be a very notable practiser in matters of State. I had a speciall note given me in February wher to be sure to take him in Easter weeke, at one Mrs Damportes in Lancashier, and I had laid platt for it: but the sheriffe of Lancashier hath very happely prevented me, taking him by chance upon the hie waye within a myle of that house." York. Signed: E. Stanhope.

"My lorde wrytes nothing concerning the booke for which I wrote, which is a great mayme to our servyce, and doth small pleasure ther. They that have it may discrybe Dudley (who is now sent up) and his hauntes, but I would I had it for thos that be untaken."

2 pp. Closely written. Addressed: "To the right honorable his very loving brother Sir John Stanhope knight, Thesaurer of her Majesties chamber, and master of all her highnes postes, at the Court be this delivered." Indorsed by Cecil's clerk. Wax signet as before: broken.

Inclosed in the same:—

(Dargon's examination.)

25th March 1599.—Examination of James Dargon of the City of York locksmith, taken before Edward Stanhope esq., &c.

Being examined as to his dealings with the Scottish pledges or any others for their escape: he says about a quarter of a year since or more, one George Davydson an Englishman, brought 20l. and some letters to the pledges in same bag, from their friends in Scotland, to Mr Thomas Percy constable of Alnwick castle, requesting him to see it conveyed to York: who sent this examinate then serving him therewith to York, to take the Archbishop or Mr Stanhope's directions. The latter being "at the terme," the Lord Archbishop opened and read the letters, and sent one of his men with this examinate to the castle, where in Mr Redhead's presence, he gave the money and letters to the Scotsmen, and then returned to Alnwick, having little acquaintance with any of them. Further, returning to York about Christmas on other occasions, he went to the pledges, making acquaintance of William Hall, who in secret talk told him, if all the City of York was his, he would give it all to be at home: and asked if he could "make meanes" with his brother Hobby Hall to bring him one or two horses for himself and another pledge to get away after escaping. He answered that he knew Hobby well, as he was " prisoner with his master Mr Thomas Percie at Warkwith castle, till the house was sett on fyer," when he released him on bond: but knew not how to speak with him. Then Hall said his "sister" widow of another brother, was married in Kirkebymoresyde to a "merchant, petty chapman, or pedler," and if the examinate would get her to go "over the fell" to see his brother Hobby about horses; and named her husband, but he remembers it not. He answered he would tell her what "her brother William Hall required"; but he never spoke with her, returning to Alnwick a day or two before Christmas, where he was butler to said Thomas Percy, and remained till his master came to York about 5 weeks since. He waited there with leave to follow Mr Raphe Mansfeild, who expected a charge of horse into Ireland, and was but once in the castle, the week before the escape, to see one Burrell of Bransburton, a prisoner for debt, at request of one John Dakyns whose father the examinate had served; and the second time, on Monday before they escaped, being sent to Christopher Hamond by Mr Percy on Hamond's request, who told him he would not trouble Mr Percy till Easter term, unless he went to London. At this time (by Canbye's means) he "layd his pistoll to gage to the tapster of the house for iijs."

Next day, Tuesday, he redeemed his pistol: and being in Canbye's company told him "he hard saye" he had gotten a lease of his life: who answered it was not so, and he doubted he should die at the assises unless he escaped, and he wondered the Scottishmen had not escaped before. This examinate then told him William Hall's saying about York; when Canby asked him if none of them had " been in hand with him"? and he replied as to William Hall's scheme for a horse or two. "Naye," said Canbye, "if I go with them I will have viij or ix of them, and I will dye before I be taken": whereon William Hall came in, and then Canby said to this examinate: "You must do something for us," "What is that"? said this examinate: "Marry," said Canby, "You must get us a boote in St Georges close within thes iij or iv nightes," which he promised to do in Hall's hearing. Then Canby took him up into the gallery, and showed him from the window, the place where to tie the boat on Wednesday night between 9 and 10 o'clock. Further speech with them he had none; but that same Tuesday hearing Mr Mansfeild had written to his wife to come to West Chester, and hoping to accompany her, he thereon rode to her at Sheriffhutton, when she willed him to wait for her at York with his friends till Saturday. Next day Wednesday, Mr Percy stopped for an hour on his return from York, wishing the examinate to remain with him: but he told him he must needs go to York, and on his asking "Whie and wherefore"? confessed what he knew of the Scotsmen's plot to escape that night. Whereon Mr Percy said, "Thou villaine, wilt thou hang thy self, and discredytt me, whom thou hast served, by dealing traterouslie to the Quene and thy cuntry? I charg the thou do yt not, but go presentlie to Yorke and reveale yt to Mr Stanhope, that he may prevent ther escape." He thereon came with Mrs Mansfeild to York, spoke with Mr Wetherall at Mr Stanhope's house, who said his master was gone to the Manor to supper, "but the gates being locked," he waited, "for the porter wold not let him in till Mr Stanhope came fourth": when he told him his message, &c., but he seemed to give little heed, telling him to go about his business, whereon he went to bed at his mother's house before 9 o'clock, "and one Nedd that workes in his mothers shopp laid in a bedd by him all that night." Next morning, he went to Hull to see his brother " that served Mrs Tirwhitt as her cooke; on Satterday he returned to Yorke with one Mrs Dakyns that had bene his maistres, and layd at one Cpokes in the Thursday markett with Mrs Dakins man; upon Sondaye morning crly he came to wydow Elwickes to Mrs Mansfeild to have wayted on her to Mr Mansfeild, whome he had served: who answered she might not have him with her, for she harde he was in suspecion for the intended escape of the Scottish men." He told her he would go to his old master Mr Percy, whither he came on Wednesday late, was ordered into custody that night, and sent next morning with two men to Mr Stanhope "wher he came this Sondaye about ix of the clocke."

Protests the substance of this examination is true, and that Mr Percy willed him to come and "discry" the matter to Mr Stanhope, and to take the whole blame on himself: for he knows in respect of his own dwelling so near Scotland, if they knew be wished Dargon to reveal it, they would seek either to kill him, or fire his houses and do him a mischief. James Dargon. Vera copia. Signed: E. Stanhope.

pp. Closely written. Indorsed.

1051. The Bishop of Durham to Cecil. [April 3.]

"Even nowe Mr James Hudson brought me this inclosed," for a speedy convoy to your honor: also a letter from the King, only with his "earnest requisicion to have the difference betwene Mr David Fowles and Mr Robert Bowes determined."

A conspiracy against my life has been lately detected, "mischevously plotted by certaine notorious recusantes and famous theeves:" I cannot write now thereof, for Mr Hudson calls for the dispatch of his pacquet. "Only therfore this the whyle Sir, that a Jesuite (whome I am in hope shortly to talke with) or a seminarie priest, hath a Bull to pardon and reward him or them that shall kill me, poore gowne man! and some other of highe calling . . . The Lorde of lyfe blesse and protect her Majestie, and be gratious to her trew subjectes his faithfull servantes, and compasse her highnes and them rownd about with a fyrie walle, as the Prophet speaketh." Bishop Awkland. Signed: Tobie Duresm.

½ p. Holograph; also address: " To . . . Sir Robert Cecyll knight principall secretarie . . . Cancellor of the Duchie of Lancaster." Indorsed. Wax signet (Mathew).

1052. Sir R. Carey to Cecil. [April 4.]

Recommending the bearer Jerom Mason, who has been long in the Queen's service, and is of honest and good behaviour, who has been moved by some of his friends in Yorkshire to solicit for the post of overseer and surveyor of armour fit for service in that shire, hitherto greatly neglected—that the Council would be pleased to further his suit, and order allowance fitting. York. Signed: Ro. Carey.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1053. Willoughby to Cecil. [April 5.]

"I have receavd your letters for Captain Boyers repaire as is said by her Majesties commaund." You know the express charge given me by her Majesty's self for the guard of this place, the strength of which consists in the dutiful assistance of the captains: "all is hurs, and our obedience is hur due: yet the times seme to require the fulfillinge of hur first injunction, rather than this latter: wherein it is here geven forth that Boyers imployement is by some others for horses and other sutch Persian and Turquish stuffes. Always your hand shall be my warrant: who, destitute of my proper helpes in a place of sutch accustumed careles government as this showes it selfe to be, may be excused of that which is not my owne fault."

Therein I refer myself and them to superior power, "and commend my selfe to your frendshippe, which you daigne to call (poore) but out of your vertuous power I cannot but esteme and value as the wordle doth you." Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

I send you an advertisement come, but will not avouch its credit till farther inquiry, nor conceal it, lest "time should ripen it to disadvantage." You may compare and esteem it with your own intelligences. "The party is of good qualyty, a man of note, desireth conference with me and assurance by retrait here in England, if matters fal out ill." I desire to know her Majesty's pleasure: or I shall soon answer them and quit me of trouble.

1 p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed. Quartered wax signet: broken.

1054. Sir R. Carey to Cecil. [April 13.]

Pardon my again importuning you for full enlargement of Mr Woodrington and Mr Fenwick, who are evil spared from their offices—for though they have more liberty than when with my lord of Durham, they are restrained from any public affairs, and stir not from their own dwellings. The cause why I keep them not here, but suffer them to be prisoners in their own houses, is knowing their many enemies in Scotland and late practises against their lives, the house I lie in is so weak, I dare not hazard them in it: besides which, there is not almost a borderer in Scotland but knows every corner of it as well as myself, and specially these that "deadlyest hate" these gentlemen. But remaining as they do, they give me no assistance, and for the country's good I most earnestly beseech their release: besides having great occasion to be at London this term, if they were at liberty, I might be better spared for 3 weeks or a month. In good faith it is more than half my undoing, if I be not at London this term. I have written to my lord Admiral and my lord Chamberlain to get my leave: assist them I pray you. Alnwick. Signed: Ro. Carey.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1055. Woodrington and Fenwick to Cecil. [April 13.]

We thought we could do no less than give your honour our dutiful thanks for your goodness in our trouble. We are now by your means come to Alnwick, nevertheless remaining prisoners in my lord warden's house, having no power to do the Queen service or aid the people under our charges, who have had divers losses since our imprisonment, besides these done to ourselves and our friends. We therefore humbly beseech your continuance of favour in procuring our full liberty. As for the cause objected to us, we shall always be ready to answer it as her Majesty appoints; trusting she will remember it fell out merely for her service, and she will not make us an example. It is bruited hereabouts that our enlargement shall free the Scots pledges at York, which causes the people to murmur very sore against us, without cause: for we know how it would be the undoing of the country. And though men naturally desire liberty, yet we protest, that rather than our country should receive "so unspeakable" a loss, we can be content to remain prisoners for life. Alnwick. Signed: Henry Woddringtun, Will'm Fenwicke.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wax signet: a quartered shield, over all a ribbon dexter. Crest: a bird's head.

1056. Richard Lowther to Cecil. [April 14.]

Lord Scrope having appointed me his deputy warden, I thought it my duty, as I once promised my special good lord your father a monthly advertisement of the state of this border—to signify to your honor that it stands in reasonable good order, saving of late, that on some "particuler," one of the Grames has sore hurt another, likely to cause trouble among them. Also that on Thursday last, there was some contention at Brampton among the officers, as to the authority and course of keeping courts; yet though many guns and "dagges" were shott, yet (God be praised) small or no harm was done among the people assembled. Carlisle. Signed: Richard Lowther.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer signet.

1057. Sir W. Bowes to Cecil. [April 18.]

By your letters received the 17th hereof at night, I understand her Majesty's resolution to employ me to the Scottish King for one month only; thus declaring her princely consideration in tendering my estate, and your own favour therein.

Hereto please to receive for answer: that in all services wherein her Majesty is pleased to employ me, I shall do my uttermost. My only fear is that her princely disposition may overvalue my weak ability for so weighty affairs, or that an infirmity lately happened to my hearing might hinder or blemish that service; this in due reverence I mention, without purpose of further excuse.

Since your last letter to this purpose in December, howsoever I have been pressed, either for my health a little to withdraw from the coldness of this place, or for my works, whereupon depends my chief livelihood, or upon the great occasion ef the revolt of my wife's tenants in Derbyshire, by the late entry made by Francis Foljamb to those lands: yet have I not been one day absent from hence, awaiting her Majesty's commands; except some fourteen days in the beginning of Christmas, when (notwithstanding the bitter storms wherein I got this continuing cold in my head) by the cross dealing of the receivers disappointing me of my pay at the ordinary time, whereby I was forced to strain both my health and credit; which attendance here I must state more precisely, because I find in your letter a suspicion of my less residence here than meet. Which my just excuse, I rely on your continuing favor to notify to her Majesty.

I must shortly dispatch my servant to attend you, both for the 1000l., part of the receiver of Yorkshire's allotment to this half year's pay; which as I could not receive it last year, your noble father delivered to me out of Exchequer: also some other occasions very importantly concerning my private estate, wherein I trust to depend on your favour. Berwick. Signed: Will'm Bowes.

pp. Holograph; also address. Indorsed. Wax signet (Bowes): an indistinct object at side.

1058. Willoughby to Cecil. [April 18.]

Mr Treasurer in some haste, returning the post that came with your letters, I would not slip the occasion to thank you for your honorable remembrance, having no other matter worthy. I pray you sir, receive into your care the state of this garrison, whose ancient walls have made ruins and breaches already, and whose weak ports open themselves to any little force. The whilst we are slenderly provided of good counsel and captains: of the first sort there is none here but Sir William Bowes who I fear we shall not long hold for his other affairs—for the second sort I am well fitted with "honest antient jentlemen," such as on any sudden business, cannot far outrun my slow motion: which howsoever "the wordle" stands, shall ever be sure. But for my infirmities I should the less miss these helpers, and better answer her Majesy's service both in the town and wardenry, which I am fain to neglect in the latter: yet thank God, I have now quiet and good neighbourhood with both Marches. Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

I hope by your good means when they be returned, I may have some [leave] for my necessary affairs as they, which I left very "rawly" on my hasty coming hither.

1 p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed. Wax seal of 8 quarters—good impression.

1059. Warrant for Lord Hume. [April 20.]

The Governor commands her Majesty's posts, &c., to provide Lord Hume travelling southward with 7 servants, with 8 sufficient able posthorses and a guide, at reasonable and accustomed prices. Berwick. Signed: P Wyllughby.

½ p. Addressed at foot: "To all and singular her Majesties postes or their substitutes, all maiors," &c.

1060. Passport for Lord Hume. [April 21.]

Licensing "the bearer heerof the Lord Hume, with seven or eight (fn. 2) other Scotes men his servantes riding upon their owne horses," presently going to London on their lawful affairs, to pass quietly to and fro. Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

½ p. Addressed at foot: "To all justices of peace," &c.

1061. Willoughby to Cecil. [April 22.]

Though unwilling to be importunate, yet necessity enforcing me to write to their lordships of the Council, I have received no answer. I submit to your wisdom, the risk of leaving a place of importance, "a keye of a countrye," as this is called, where her Majesty has bestowed infinite treasure, and is daily at so great a charge, without necessary supplies: desiring your favourable respect as inheritor of your worthy father deceased, who was an honorable patron to this place.

The bearer Mr Musgrave a gentleman of many good parts, can best present the wants of his office, and will attend your convenient leisure. I entreat your favour in dispatch of his suits: for the place, besides other necessaries, requires the presence of men of his quality—especially now, Mr Marshal, the gentleman porter, divers captains, &c., being absent. When they have all had their pleasures and returned, I hope to have by your means the like favour, for a short time on my private affairs, which (hastened hither) I left in such "rawe" sort, as has been greatly to my hindrance. I have not a clamorous fashion to cry out of my wants. Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1062. Willoughby to Cecil. [April .]

"My very honorable good knight," I entreat you to satisfy her Majesty that in my late advice to you of the Scottish proffer, I merely advertised what I received: and as I desired to have no more intermeddling with such matters, I hunted after no more than they were pleased to make overture of. This "made me not to name the party, who at that instant was no otherwise described to me than in those titles of the Scotish facion geven him." But for my respect of duty I would at the very first have shaken it off, knowing her Majesty's judgment of their humours,—"perfit in that point as in all things els"—but consulting with Sir William Bowes, we concurred it was fit to advertise it, being but the labour of writing, letting it live or die in her Majesty's liking. I confess myself weak to manage such matters, and if it stand with her Majesty's pleasure, shall refer these to her ambassadors or agents. Yet as I am wholly hers in all duty, I shall be ready to obey hur to my best power: "sory that my infirmyties should be let to any sarvice I ow her Majesty (as in dede they be) . . . I have since learned it is the Master of Glames a man better knowen I am suer to hur Majesty and you than to him selfe: yet accounted as they tearme it, undertaking and fascheux. For my part therein I have not since medled nor inquired after it: he may happely loke I should send him answer to the project—but unles I am thereto commanded or directed, he gets none from me. And I had rather it were anothers office than mine: who am an ill travailer, (fn. 3) too plaine a dealer: and a very bad relater of sutch matters." Signed: P. Wyllughby.

1 p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed.


  • 1. Essex.
  • 2. "Or eight" added by Lord Willoughby.
  • 3. The rest written lengthwise on margin.