Border Papers volume 2: September 1599

Pages 620-625

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

In this section

1101. Sir William Bowes to [ ]. [Sept. 1599.]

"Sir, This lettre, wherunto her Majesty commaundeth me to deliver my opinion, consisteth in these 2 heads: the former, th'evill estate wherin the late commissioners for the Borders left the wardens bookes in the bills of th'East March: the latter, the validity of Sesfurds offers to make for her Majesties service."

The former of these is very important for her Majesty and her borders, and would require a larger discourse than can be here set down: only these few propositions may give her "some tast" of it, to be examined at her pleasure.

The last commission (1) fyled more bills than any 4 commissions then extant; (2) it concluded a treaty more "behoofefull" for the good of England than ever before written or practised; and (3) as caution for performance, pledges of every broken surname were delivered, both in payment of bills fyled, and security for future good order: failing which the pledges were to be executed, and new called for, to be a continual bridle to that broken people. This last point of pledges, gained to the Queen's great charge and my great labour and peril, has been hitherto the only means to surcease violence, ordinary justice on the West and Middle Marches having been little done since.

Though the wardens impugned the treaty, as straitening them, and I being sent hither laid their exceptions before the Council, "both by conference and writing in May was a twelvemonth," their lordships concluded the treaty was profitable for the realm, and should proceed. [He then describes his return to Berwick—joint letter to the three wardens with the Council's resolution to act therein—but nothing had followed. Neither had the wardens done anything to bring to a conclusion the business begun by the commissioners.]

Touching Cesford's offers: it is to be considered (1) Their quality; (2) the points of his danger; and (3) whether entertaining them will be better for her Majesty than to prosecute the case against him.

(1) He only promises future discoveries, nothing present. His ability to do this, and his willingness if released from present danger, may be conjectured by his former performance of promises to her Majesty. It is evident that neither the man's disposition in religion or good nature, or thankfulness to the Queen, will afford any trust: while his inwardness with the King, his youth, undertaking, and high conceit of doing great service in England for the King in time to come, will tie his ambitious conceit much rather to his King than to deserve well of the Queen, with hazard of his credit: and therefore whatsoever he pretend, he is like to prove "rather a cunning intimater of the Kings devises, than a true intelligencer to this estate."

For his justice: it is no more commanded on the East March, than it is exclaimed on in the Middle: and is more likely "turne-serviug," if not more fitly imputed to the "rondeur" and strength of his opposite by the bands of Berwick.

(2) The nature of his danger: he has engaged himself very far in the dishonorable attempt to break York castle to free his pledges, and sees that the gentleman whom he trusted in, has discovered his letters, and is likely to avow them by the sword, being in all points of encounter as able as himself. He knows that the King on his violent protestations, has written to the Queen with his own hand, "that Sesfurd desyreth no other then to be taken for a traytour to him, in case he be found guilty of that attempt." He cannot be ignorant that the King promised to me that Cesford should undergo an assise for his trial, the Scots to be named by her Majesty, the English by the King: and if not acquitted, thus "shalbe taken" as a traitor to his person. He knows how far he has entered with Ashfield and that his handwriting will testify it. He hears her Majesty accepts well of that service, and cannot hope "the now embassador" can salve the matter with slight discourses. He knows that he and his faction of the King's chamber "are hatefull to the kirk," and the greatest and best disposed of that nation. So if driven to undergo an assise, he shall either involve the King in a dishonourable partiality, or see his own ruin unavoidable.

I must leave the third point, whether to entertain or prosecute Cesfoid, to her Majesty's excellent wisdom: presuming merely to "present, by way of remembrance" that he may, without delay and "cautelous generalities, show his deserving well of her Majesty": namely in th'intelligence with Ireland—in the negociation of this French embassad—in th'intelligence with Spayne and Spanish Low Cuntries—with Denmark—with the Bishop of Glaskoe—and especially to discover the projects concerning Ashfeild, and what Scottish are the cheif instruments for every of these about the King." On the other hand, of what importance it may be to the common peace, and strengthening the better side in Scotland, and crossing the worse, that her Majesty proceed in the aforesaid assise, so as the persons by her therein named, being 8 or 10 of the soundest and honourablest of that nation (the more the better), her proofs well digested beforehand, her ambassador well informed of the diversity of the Scottish dispositions, aptly intimating (not at first, but in process) the case of Ashfield—and that not against the King, but against Cesford—may notably discover, cross, and impeach, the Romish plots, and both the haters and favourers thereof in the nation: a matter very proper for a longer and more leisurely digested discourse.

pp. Holograph of Bowes though unsigned. Probably addressed to Cecil or the Council.

1102. Sir Robert Carey to Cecil. [Sept. 8. 1599.]

I have this long time forborne to trouble you, for by report, yourself and the Council have had enough to do for the defence of our country against the Spaniard: but hoping that those affairs be something quieted, put your honor in mind of my last letter touching Rotherforth the pledge at York, and would gladly know whether I may have him or no?

This march is in good quiet and the Scots do not much trouble us: but I can get no redress of Sir Robert Ker, only delays and idle excuses, and I think he will do worse rather than mend of his fault: for he has of late given cause of quarrel to my deputy Harry Woddryngton, in charging him with a great untruth, whereto Mr Woddryngton has sent him an answer, but what will follow I know not, though I fear as much disorder as he can privately procure.

Having occasion to be at London towards the end of this next term, I humbly pray you to procure my leave. Alnwick. Signed: Ro. Carey.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1103. Willoughby to Windebanck. [Sept. 8.]

To requite your kindness, "I intertayne a smale occasion, which well handled, might have grown greate, but now throught the faint coldnes of some, is scarse worth the relatinge." This 14 days past there has been a bruit of a quarrel betwixt Sir Robert Kerr and Mr H. Wodrington: what it is you may see by the copies I send you. Sir Robert was at the place appointed; the other came not. Pray forget not my leave, I am now by a "late accident of a new disease worse then all my former sicknesses," forced to be more importunate and earnest. Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed by Windebanck. Signet quartered as before.

Inclosed in the same:—

(1) (Woodrington to Kerr.)

Whereas certain speeches are given out, that I said I was equal in authority and joined in commission with the Lord Warden of the Middle Marches: and I hear you are a reporter and affirmer, I let you know thus much, that these are "lyes," and if you have so reported them, "thou hast falsly and unhonestly belyed me." Bottel, 4th September. H. Widdrington.

(2) (Sir Robert Ker's answer.)

"I have received some lynes with the name of Henry Wodrington subjoined unto them, doubtfull in themselves, yet daringly sounds of dispite. They geive matter to draw answer, but far is yt from true magnanimity: so scorne I to follow the grounds they project, the rather of the forme used in their coming to my knowledg, having changed from one hand to another of the same basnes, who unclosed brought them unto me. Theyr smal sence joined to thy braving shew, the unclose coverance, bindeth me for avoyding the lik censur. To mak the matter short with the owner, gif thou dare claym them, I shall on Fryday morning next being the 7th of September, God willing, be att the Hayr Craggs on the March betwen England and Scotland by eight howers in the morning with an short sword and a whyniard, with a steel bonet and plate sieves, without any more weapons offensive or "defensive: wher I wish som spark of courag may mak thee appeare in the same forme. I shall have one boy only of the age of sixten yeers to hold my horse, who shall have no weapon, without any other body living neare me to my knowledg. Yf thou have anything to say to me, ther shall thou find me, for answer I will have none: fayth and honesty therby I promise, and hope for the like. Yf thou pay thy self with penning, and noe performance, I leave thee to the wordle to be judged of—a pratlyng coward—for things more publik, the princes will not tollerate. At the Freers the fift of September '99. Sr Ro. Kerr."

1 p. Copies by Willoughby's clerk. Indorsed by Windebanck.

1104. Willoughby to Cecil. [Sept. 12.]

I should be more troublesome "in this kind," but our quietness here affords no occurrents. There have arrived of late near Berwick, "divers Scoch gentlemen of good accounpt, returning from Italye, th'Earle of Athols brother, and th'Earle of Catnes brothers sonne," with others, and well attended. On my inquiries of the parts whence they came, they could say little "save the common brute of the Spanish fleet determined to assemble at Sleuse, and to persevere, and fortifie their enterprise begun against Ostend, (fn. 1) which I lightly touch, as better known to your selfe, then me," Berwick. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

p. Addressed. Indorsed. Wax signet as before.

1105. Sir R. Carey to Cecil. [Sept. 16.]

The inclosed to your honor and the rest of the Council, is to signify a day of truce to be held betwixt Sir Robert Kerr and myself on the 27th hereof. I hear credibly that the King has ordered the whole force of the three borders to attend him: and as we have a private meeting on the 21st, I will alter their determination if I can: if not, I desire your instructions how I shall meet him.

This place I hold is one where neither honour, profit, pleasure, nor contentment, can be reaped. If by your means I could procure some pension or other office, and be freed, you should bind me for ever. Alnwick. Signed: Ro. Carey.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1106. Emanuel Scrope to Cecil. [Sept. 17.]

You may wonder most honoured Sir, why I write to you so occupied; but I hope on considering the matter you will cease to do so. For when I see my most honoured father and myself in danger of losing (at other's hands) the rightful possessions of our ancestors, which he lately at London not only had confirmed by promise, but would have already redeemed but for his heavy and necessary charges this year: you will not wonder, if I seek through your goodness, that the lands received by my father from his ancestors may happily descend to his sou, whereby you will bind me for ever. Carlisle. "Tui semper amantissimus." Signed: Emanuell Scroope.

¾ p. Latin. Holograph; also address: "To the right honourable my very loving freind Sir Robert Ceicyls knyght," &c. Indorsed by Cecil: "Mr Emanuel Scroop to me from Carlile."

1107. Scrope to Cecil. [Sept. 17. 1599.]

I received your letter of the 9th, and not finding the book you wrote for, here, I have sent my servant to search my "evidence house" at Bolton, and if found, he shall bring it to you beginning of next term.

For the Grames' riding in Scotland; I never heard of it till your letter, marvelling it has been so close kept; but by public proclamation and private messages sent by some of my gentlemen, I have ordered them to desist, for the reasons you mention. For the aptness of the Earl of Angus to justice: it does not appear, for his broken people have made "refts" in Gilsland, and I have no redress, "notwithstanding my instance made both to him, the King and Nicolson." And taxing me with not meeting him is equally true: for I have been and am ever ready, and most desire it, if effectual.

Touching purchase of such parcels of St Agathe's lands as I have by leases: as I am presently to redeem Hambledon a lordship in Buckinghamshire, I have not the money now, but hope by means of such friends as yourself, to protract the day for passing these lands till I make the money, "wherabouts" I will send up one of my servants this next term. But if it cannot be delayed, I must make such hard shift for the money, rather than the land be taken to the overthrow of my house. With thanks for all your honorable favours, daily succeeding those received from my good lord your father, I hope a long day will enable me to requite them, and manifest my never ending love. Carlisle.

Postscript:—Good sir, be a mean to her Majesty to remember my dutiful service, "and Emanuell": that seeing we cannot now purchase St Agathes lands by reason of redeeming Hambledon, "and of my charges at the feast day of St George last past," the passing of these lands may be put off till I may procure the money.

If we had the soldiers, it would stay this country well. Signed: Th. Scroope.

Since writing I am credibly informed that Henry Leigh is ridden very secretly into Scotland, under pretence he asked my leave to go to the marriage of an aunt's daughter. If by her Majesty's or your leave, I am satisfied: if not, as I hear from you, "so lie proceede with him at his returne."

pp. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed.

Inclosed in same;—

I hear Lord Scrope has an old book, containing most of the tenures in this land, in the times of Kings Henry 3d and Edward 1st: made by one Kirbye then Lord Treasurer, who travelled into many parts of the realm to search for these. Sir John Fortescue has promised a gentleman, of all others most expert in these cases, to entreat Lord Scrope by letter to lend the book to the gentleman to copy, and then return it safe to him.

If this book were to be had, it were more meet for the Master of the Wards than any other, and by request of his honor Mr Secretary, it might soon be obtained.

½ p. In a cramped contemporary hand.

1108. Sir R. Carey to Cecil. [Sept. 23.]

This is but to inform your honor and the rest of the Council that Sir Robert Ker met me on the 21st, when we agreed well and I hope to have good justice. We concluded to meet on 5th October with 30 gentlemen of a side, and the great gathering is "layd a part." Alnwick. Signed: Ro. Carey.

(fn. 2) "I pray your honor let me heare from you, and procuer me my leave to "cum up this winter: for it is very could and far from the sun this onplesant place I nowe live in; which if ever I get free from with my credit, it must cum by your honors good meanes."

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1109. Sir R. Carey to the Privy Council. [Sept. 23.]

[To same effect as preceding letter, without the postscript.] Alnwick. Signed: Ro. Carey.

p. Addressed. Indorsed.

1110. One Year's works at Berwick. [Sept. 29.]

Brief of the works done between last of September 1598, and 29th September next following, and note of the authority for each.


Repairing the castle, making "corpes of guard, and sentinell houses" for the soldiers, &c., 298l. 8s. 8d.
Putting in "great joystes of great tymber into the longe bridge over Tweede, being in great decay, with the setting up of somme newe railes thereon," unfinished for want of timber 40l. 13s. d.
Making a new bridge of stone "over the stange or towne ditch without the Cowgate" 22l. 10s. 10½d.
Winning and hewing stones to mend a breach in the "White wall" under the castle. 112s.
Making up two breaches in the old town wall next Tweed, betwixt the Bridge gate and "Mason Dew," fallen down 115l. 7s. 2d.
Also a breach in the old town wall in the "Windmyll hoole" fallen down 44l. 8s. 11½d.
Repairing the long pier at the haven mouth, torn up by the storms and spring tides 21l. 12s. d.
A new gate and mending the bridge in the "Connygarthes" 20s. ½d.
Making a new drawbridge, and footing and mending the old town wall decayed and ready to fall, at Bedford mount 49l. 1s. d.
Mending the Marshal's prison 8l. 4s. 6d.
Holy Island:—
Repairing the ordnance platforms in the fort 67l. 18s. 8d.

The Lord Governor would have saved the Queen the third part of these works and more. Signed: P. Wyllughby.

pp. Indorsed.


  • 1. Willoughby adds on margin—"More likely Flushinge."
  • 2. What follows holograph.