BHO

Border Papers volume 2: February 1600

Pages 638-642

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

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1146. Scrope to Cecil. [Feb. 7.]

I have some special business in London shortly, requiring my presence, and heartily pray your favour for my most gracious sovereign's leave, that about the 3d of March I may take my journey to London.

This wardenry is quiet, watches all in order, and nights waxing short. I have appointed Mr Richard Lowther my deputy, as most acceptable to her Majesty. Sir John Carmichael opposite warden still continues at Court and no certainty of return to his wardenry. I hear the King has commanded Lord Heris and the Lairds of Dunlanrige and Johnston to appear before him and the Council to subscribe "a general band and submission, or all bloods, lands, and goods hertofore fallen forth amongst them." Carlisle. Signed: Th. Scroope.

1 p. Holograph; also address. Indorsed. Wafer signet, Garter, &c.

1147. Scrope to Cecil. [Feb. 18.]

I have even now received the inclosed letter, that a strange ship is on the West "coste" here near Wolstie castle: 5 of her men were taken as they came on shore with the boat. To-morrow I intend "to goe and see whats in it," when you shall hear more with speed. Meantime direct me what to do with ship and men: for I will keep them till I hear. I have asked none for my leave but you, and hope to have it shortly: have appointed Mr R. Lowther my deputy, "and on Monday come a sevenight sets forwards towards London having som busines in the waye": where as I get leave so I shall proceed. Meantime let me hear in the premises. Carlisle. Signed: Th. Scroope.

1 p. Holograph; also address. Flyleaf with address, &c., gone.

Inclosed in the same;—

(William Chamber to Scrope.)

"A straundge sliipe ys dreven out of hir course so as she hathe ridden upon ancker upon the myd see betwixt Ereland (?) and Skottland, and v of hir men ys comed aland": which I have in safe keeping to wait your pleasure.

"I cannot git anye to goe to the shipe wheles tornorrowe, for theare ys not wattcr to bring hir over the sand ryge." She has been off Wolstye castle since yesterday morning. In haste, craving your lordship to take my "reud" letter iu good part by the bearer my son. Wolstye Castle. 18th February. Signed: Willyam Chamber.

¾ p. Holograph; also address. Indorsed.

1148. Sir John Carey to Cecil. [Feb. 19.]

Being intreated by Master Nicolson to address this inclosed letter, I thought good to certify the King of Scots' progress to these border parts. "Whoe meanes to be on Freydaye next at Lawder that night, a plase in Lodyan: and uppon Satterdaye in Halleyden Ser Robert Keres, wher he meanes to tarrey Sundaye all daye, and uppon Mondaye he goes from thens to Storkstrother, wher he meanes to hunt, and so that nighte to Kelsey, wher he meanse to remayen, howe longe I knoe not." His farther progress yet undetermined. Berwick. Signed: Jhon Carey.

½ p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed. Wax signet: a swan.

1149. Scrope to Cecil. [Feb. 21.]

You heard in my last of the strange ship cast by our boisterous winds on shore within 5 miles of Wolstie castle. It was "hoovering therabouts" a whole day before I heard of it on Monday last at 7 p.m. Next morning I rode thither 16 miles from this, arriving "at 8 houres before noone," and on examining the 5 mariners landed in the boat "for fresh watter," I found they were Flemings, the ship Leethe of Emden, coming from Portugal, "fraught" with salt, apples, and oranges, though some think there is better "welth." They intended to sail either for Emden or London. The master of the ship is a rich merchant partner of the wares, whose factor is resident in London: by whom when I get his name and send it, we may learn whether they are the Queen's friends or no. There was but the master and 4 mariners with a lad, left on board. Of the 5 landed, I suspect one is an Englishman, "and to conterfet his tonge"—some think they were lor Ireland, to relieve "Tiron," which I refer to your better knowledge. The 5 men shall be kept as they are at the castle till I hear the Queen's pleasure, which pray let me have with speed, for "Monday come sevenight I start for London.

"The same day the Scotts borded the ship, before my men for the vehemencie of the windes could with the boate com at her, and convoyed the same awaye. But by the hands of Nicolas Curwen esqr. I have writen unto Sir Thomas of Orcharton, a Maxwell, brother to the Lord Heris, and viceadmiral for that coast, requesting that he wil take order nothing be stired of it, til our sovereigne her gratious pleasure be kuowen touching the same, seing the men proteste to bee her friends"; whose answer shall be sent to you. Yet if the men of "the Abey hom" had done their part, they might have taken her before the Scots. Carlisle. "Your deare frende." Signed: Th. Scroope.

pp. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed. Wafer signet, &c., as last.

1150. Scrope to Cecil. [Feb. 25.]

My man is now returned from viewing the ship in Scotland, and finds it of "seven score tunnes" burden, laden with salt, as by the inclosed note appears. I think she should have better stuff in her, but the Scots would not suffer her to be searched. This is all I can do about her.

This day sevenight, I set hence towards London, hoping meantime to hear of my leave. Richard Lowther my deputy comes hither about that time. Carlisle. Signed: Th. Scroope.

1 p. Holograph. Flyleaf and address, &c., gone.

Inclosed in the same:—

"The shipe is of Emden, loden with salte at Sainct Touis (?) in Portugale a towne a litle distante from Lysbourne, taken by Mr Herberte Maxwell of the Cavins in Gallowaye and his associates, and the said Mr Maxwell haith receyved commandemente from the Larde of Loughinver admirall, that noe spoile be taken of her till the Kinges pleasure be knowne."

In a clerk's hand.

1151. Willoughby to Cecil. [Feb.]

I am deeply beholden to you for your courteous answer returned by my man: and beseech you now the term is ended, before other occasions of more weight "divert you," the Berwick matters may have a day of hearing: the place I wish may be at your house. "There may peradventure some questions arise about the works and treasure, which it may be my lord Treasurer will loke to be acquainted withall; I shall yeld him what respect is due, but he maintaineth a felon publique in his house that did manslaughter a kinsman of mine very fouly in my gates. For many reasons dependinge thereof, I would be loth to repaire to any house but the Court, or yours . . . And so desiringe to have my plainenes excusd, which is rather a fault of nature than artifice, since I cannot dissemble, I rest." Signed: P. Wyllughby.

"Before any generall metinge, I pray you Sir, do me the favour that at your best layzure I may attend you privatly, to acquaint you with those matters concerne that sarvice."

1 p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed.

1152. Memorial by Willoughby to Cecil. [Feb.]

(1) "A shorte relation to bee considered of for the East wardenry and gouverment of Barwick."

As to fortifications in convenient places, to cut off forayers when returning "tyred" and laden with baggage: the expence to be provided for by disposing of her Majesty's lands, farm rents and impropriations, for chief rents reserved, which I recommend to be done under "the statute of Philip and Mary" under advice of the Queen's learned counsel: also that condemned arms be put in the country mens' hauds at reasonable rates, to be maintained for their defence, who are at present "altogether naked." The East wardenry—a "baliwick" compared to the rest, having scarce 1000 men able to confront the Merse, the strongest part of Scotland—had need of all advantage. Military discipline must be revived—the wardens being now confined to Scottish matters, and the rest of the government commanded above the warden, by justices of peace, thus detracting from that officer's credit, who as Dux limitaneus should be chief commander.

(2) I thought good to send you again what I formerly set down regarding the East March [as above], and now as summarily as I can, the state of the garrison.

The Establishment of Berwick should be reviewed, what is good maintained, what is doubtful cleared, and what is impertinent or superfluous, taken away.

The Governor's voice should prevail in all questions, as a general in the field,—and it were better that a weak governor were removed, than to learn his power by displacing councillors who oppose him, and appointing others.

The distinct privileges should be cleared—of a deputy governor, a marshal, a treasurer, a gentleman porter (which I should suppose a sergeant major) a master of the ordnance (which title I never heard afore in a garrison, but either commissary or controller). "(By the waye) high titles is gunpoulder to mens mindes, and streches the stringes of prynces purses! Duringe the siege of Berghes (fn. 1) wee had none. In Millan nor in France, ther is no suche; that chardge consistinge on the Gouvernors lief, for it is his head must answeare the towne, and not the others." But after this digression, the question is, whether we should rank them after the old English form, or since we have begun (though imperfectly) to embrace a new—"as the Romanes lernd to better the Greekes"—we should proceed after the modern manner, to know what to do when differences fall out, as not unlikely they will.

Though as an Englishman I love not the Spanish nation, yet their martial laws are the best, and "if chardge and triall may breed perfectnes, they have had it in a more royall manner then any nation, savinge our nation of late." Their discipline is much grounded on the Civil law, and with pardon, I like it better when a man can justify himself by law and reason, than in an "antique visard" of some custom, whence derived, unknown. There is no man so "silly" that has been in the Low Country wars, or those of Hungary against the Turk, who would not receive such law and reformation as a "puritane" soldier: it may be some borderer has a better method—but I would every man knew his own right and conformed himself. If a tempest come, it is no great matter to lose the pilot, but it is all to lose both ship and goods.

As for the other officers, their petitions show their wants, and it is my part to present them, leaving higher discretion to decide. What they ask, they need: the difficulty is to grant it without increasing the Queen's charges. The foot captains' pay is but 2s. a day: and all have officers as companies of 150, yet are but 50. I speak not of the Marshal or Sir William Reade, who have 100 a piece, and other "ayudas de costas." If the others were placed in whole companies and reduced from 6 to 3, their means would be increased, and they contented.

For the constables of horse: though a captain of horse is commonly placed before foot, yet neither their denomination, their squadrons (being indeed but a corporal's charge), nor the custom of the garrison, gives them other place, and I reckon them as I find them. These leaders' pay is small, their squadrons' much less, being but 8d. a day "for man, horse, armes, and adventures, which will scarce feed a wretch with bread and water to susteyne lief; yet are they daily call'd on, some tyme to convoye letters, for dayes of trues and conventions, as well for the Midle wardenry as my East chardge, very often sent to recover theftes, followe roades, make long cavalcados, skory the fieldes, and as manie other toyles as any creatures of that nature can doe": and much need some help. And if it were thought fit as advancement for those that "turmoyle and venter" their lives, only at such times to be allowed 16d. a day, I dare undertake with the council of Berwick, it should not cost the Queen above 200l. in all—80l. supplied if they were reduced to an orderly company under the governor's orders, their rightful commander—who would not ask a penny for them—the rest of the 80l. would be easily supplied out of the 1500l. yearly lying in the treasurer's hand for works. Here my duty binds me to this caveat—that she pays usance for her own money above a third; "viz., a noble in a pounde, 300 in 900." None of them can deny this: and this 200l. saved would supply the poor horsemen. Here who found fault would merit a Berwick "libell"; but well I know I have seen greater works done "better cheape." And for that, let my French journey and carriage in the Low Countries witness. But if I try to mend suddenly, "all the tyles and stickes" would light on my head, and no good ensue. It requires credit and countenance to alter an old habit: this I say is for her Majesty's advantage, being myself content with her grace and bounty.

I should now speak for the cannoneers: but leave it to their petition, which deserves to be hearkened to.

"But there is a kinde of poore catifes, that wee call the Queenes watche, nowe tyed to the garde of the castle, a place of some 700 paces circuit, scarsely defended with so good a wall as an antient monasteries orchard! Theis may bee in number some 42 persones, which heeretofore kept the whole towne, whilst ther was, God knowes, what watche in the towne of the rest that tooke her Majesties paye! nowe indeed drawne by mee to garde that place, wher to saye truth, ther was litle garde or none at all, before. Theis have but iijd. a daye to live withall, most of them poore impotent aged creaturs: yet are they forced in miserable wether and terrible nightes, to stand 16, 17 or 18 howers sentiuelles." Some of them should be put in hospitals in the shires adjacent, and their places supplied: I will not ask "increasment" to them, but think some idle "manuell" officers as bowyers, fletchers, &c., might be "converted" to relieve others. "I will now conclude with the moste impotent man of the garrisone—my self." I would ask for enlarged instructions, so as on emergency, men may be drawn from Yorkshire, Durham, the Middle Marches, &c., a commission dormant to lie by me. Farther that no man be admitted lieutenant or captain unless he have 3 testimonies at least from generals whom he has served, of his deserts, or be a man of good livelihood and unreproachable behaviour. For it is not fit to trust the keys of such a garrison with every ordinary tall fellow, who has been "some honest serviuge man." Lastly: if any could tax me with neglect of duty, I would it were charged when I am present, and have as I deserve. Most of these are propounded as considerations only: if there be a desire to mend them, I can justify every point—but if not, keep it to yourself till a fit time, "and reserve mee from the poyson of aspes," unless to do good, when I will refuse no condition, fearing nothing but God, her Majesty, and dishonour.

Pardon me that I have troubled you thus much: it was because I thought you able to judge of me and mine, thereout taking the "best creame" for the Queen's service, and that you would bear with the "thynn whey" of the rest: for it is the yield of my best devotion, though I might have set more lustre on it. Let plainness prevail with you, "since the emptiest barrelles gives the moste sounde." Signed: P. Wyllughby.

I beseech you forget not her Majesty's warrant for my yearly repair home for some convenient time as others of the Council do.

I send you the plot of the town, that you may see we "poynt at" fortification, though this season's charge restrains soliciting.

pp. Indorsed: "For the most honorable Sir Robert Cicell principall secretary to her Majestie." Noted on margin by Cecil and clerk.

Footnotes

  • 1. Bruges?