Calendar of Border Papers: Volume 2, 1595-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.
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The papers contained in this second volume embrace the period from 1st January 1594–5 till 23rd February 1602–3, thus ending a few weeks before the death of Elizabeth on the 24th of the following month.
Since the work was first begun, the dispersed papers alluded to in the Introduction to Vol. I. have been collected by direction of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, and restored to the series, which now consists of 41 MS. volumes of nearly equal size, instead of the old number of 74. According to this new arrangement, Vol. I. of this Calendar contains the MS. volumes Nos. 20 to 30, and Vol. II. the remaining MS. volumes Nos. 31 to 41. As all the papers calendared are in strict chronological order, a reference to the running number in either volume is sufficient to identify the corresponding original when required for collation.
As in our first volume, while there are many allusions to foreign affairs and personages of historical note, the chief interest relates to the domestic affairs of the two countries. Though Philip of Spain still prosecuted his designs against England chiefly on the side of Ireland, where Tyrone by his aid obtained some successes, he had now no soldier-diplomatist like Parma to conduct his schemes; and on his own death in September 1598, a disappointed man, the Spanish power ere long ceased seriously to menace England. Yet the intrigues of the Scottish Catholic nobles, Huntly, Errol, and others at the Spanish Court, and the frequent reports of expeditions to be headed by the banished Bothwell, to descend at one time in Scotland, at another in Ireland, were sufficient to exercise all the vigilance of Elizabeth's ministers till the close of her reign. The Spaniards gained a slight footing in Ireland, and Tyrone only made his final submission a few days before her death. It is not an improbable conjecture that the intermittent fashion in which the King of Scots dealt with the Catholic party among his subjects, now repressing, and at another time overlooking, their actions, was designed both to curb the unruly spirits of the Reformed Kirk (or the "Religion," to give its international name), and to show the Queen of England the urgent need of establishing him definitely as her successor and firm ally, a matter in which Elizabeth positively refused to commit herself till her last hour was at hand.
Another source of anxiety both to the English commanders in Ireland and to the Scottish Crown, existed in the turbulent and warlike races of the Western Highlands and the Hebrides. When these clans, the MacDonalds, MacLeans, and others, were not at deadly feud, or separately fighting with the Scoto-Irish MacConnels of Islay and the Glinns, they were ever ready to be "hounded out," in the language of the time, for a descent on Ulster, either in behalf of Tyrone or for their own hand. Such expeditions are more than once referred to in these papers, the latest being a proposal by Gordon of Gicht, on behalf of Huntly, that Donald Gorm, head of the northern MacDonalds, his "household man," should lead a strong body of Highlanders into Ireland to "trouble" Tyrone, (fn. 1) —a curious offer, if genuine, from the leading Catholic nobleman of Scotland to the Protestant Queen.
With these few preliminary remarks, we proceed to consider the wide field of domestic affairs contained in the present volume.
Changes soon took place in the officers of the Marches. Hunsdon died in London while warden of the East March, (fn. 2) and his son, Sir Robert Carey, then his deputy, was continued by Elizabeth as locum tenens, without the full authority of warden, his elder brother John holding the government of Berwick on the like footing. These arrangements gave great dissatisfaction to both brothers, who made many complaints to the Lord Treasurer and Sir Robert Cecil. The pertinacity of Sir Robert Carey in demanding a patent of office, at last drew on him the sharp rebuke by the Queen, (fn. 3) peremptorily ordering him to cease writing and obey orders without further question, for she would act as and when she pleased, knowing best what was fit for him. The language is evidently her own. Both brothers were superseded by Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, who took office in April 1598, and held his troublesome post till his death. (fn. 4) Thereon the ambition of John (now Sir John) Carey was so far gratified by his receiving the patent of Wardenry, which he held till the Queen's death, though still without the emoluments, of which he repeatedly complained to Cecil. (fn. 5)
The Middle March next claims notice. The long wardenry of Sir John Forster ended in his dismissal with disgrace and marks of the Queen's displeasure, in the autumn of 1595, (fn. 6) Ralph, third Lord Eure, who does not seem to have been over desirous of the office, (fn. 7) being appointed successor. Events justified his fears, for after a troubled official career of rather more than two years, his efficiency crippled by the opposition of a powerful body of the principal gentlemen of his March, most of them allied to Forster, and the decay of able men into which Forster had allowed the country to fall, Eure, being accused of misappropriating the pay of the extra force allowed him by the Queen, besides other charges, which do not seem however to have been substantiated, found it his best course to resign office early in 1598. Sir Robert Carey was now transferred to the Middle March on the arrival of Willoughby at Berwick, and remained as warden till the close of the reign. Though constantly seeking leave of absence to prosecute his affairs about Court, and complaining of his banishment to the cold and sunless north, Carey proved himself an efficient officer, and performed much good service. Some of the exploits which he relates in his Memoirs will be found among the papers here. (fn. 8)
The West March continued under Lord Scrope's government till the end of the reign. His disagreement with the Grames of Esk and Leven noticed in Vol. I. was greatly aggravated by their alleged complicity in Buccleuch's daring enterprise against Carlisle Castle, which forms the subject of long inquiry in this volume,—and the hostility of the family of Carleton closely allied with them, supported more or less covertly by the Lowthers, who were related by marriage to the latter, and were constantly opposed to Scrope, though Richard Lowther their head was styled cousin by him. Their opposition to Scrope arose most probably from Richard Lowther having been warden for a short period on the death of Henry Lord Scrope, whom he expected to succeed. But the policy of Elizabeth was not to appoint local magnates as wardens, but men from a distance, with one notable exception, that of Forster, which appears not to have been a successful one.
The Scottish West March, as before, was so often committed to different men, that the English warden complained of the difficulties in redress thus caused. In 1595 we find Herries warden, succeeded, in August 1596, by Johnston, who in turn gave place to Andrew Lord Ochiltree in December 1597, and six months afterwards was degraded with the usual grotesque ceremonies, at the cross of Edinburgh, and banished, yet oddly with James's request for his good usage. (fn. 9) Angus then became lieutenant of the West Marches in December 1598, retaining office till the close of 1599, when Sir John Carmichael was appointed warden, who acted but for six months, being slain by the Armstrongs near Langholm on 16th June 1600. (fn. 10) Herries then took temporary charge, till on 27th August of that year the banished Johnston reappears as warden with commission from the King and Council, and so remained till these papers end.
A new officer now appears for the first time formally among the wardens—the keeper of Liddesdale, in the person of Buccleuch, who on the downfall of his stepfather Bothwell, had managed to secure this extensive part of the Hepburn possessions with the Castle of Hermitage. Though his recognition as a frontier officer was objected to by the English warden opposite, who argued that the keepers of Tynedale and Redesdale should be equally entitled to hold March meetings, his right, being supported by James as a hereditary one, was eventually allowed, and the keeper of Liddesdale met on equal terms with the opposite wardens of the West and Middle Marches.
Though his father William was nominally warden of the Middle March, and survived till 1600, Sir Robert Kerr younger of Cessford, was in effect the chief officer. He, like his brotherin-law Buccleuch, shared in the forfeited possessions of the banished Bothwell. Besides Liddesdale, originally included in this March, the Lairds of Buccleuch, Ferniehirst, and Hunthill were exempted from his jurisdiction. (fn. 11)
The East March as before remained under the wardenship of Lord Hume, and deputies of his own name.
The Scottish wardens were appointed on a different principle from those of England. Being local magnates, with a considerable following of their own surnames, it was expected they would preserve order among the "broken men," or smaller clans without heads, who were especially numerous in the Middle March, Liddesdale, and east borders of the West Marches. The expectation, however, was not always fulfilled, for those banditti were a useful force in the hands of an unscrupulous warden, as tools to execute raids or reprisals in which his more regular followers did not appear, and could be disclaimed if expedient.
The chief domestic occurrences during the eight years contained in this volume, were the well-known exploit of Buccleuch at Carlisle for the rescue of Kinmont Will, which ended, after long negotiations and inquiries, in his own delivery at Berwick; the high-handed proceedings of his neighbour warden Cessford within the English March, for which he in turn was compelled to surrender himself to English custody; the dark tragedy of the death and forfeiture of the young Earl of Gowrie; and, lastly, the strange rebellion and violent death of Elizabeth's favourite, Essex.
Taking these in order of date, the affair at Carlisle, when considered in the light of the attendant circumstances revealed by the long inquiry into them, turns out to be rather different from the picturesque detail of the well-known ballad, and though a remarkable feat, was by no means the unaided deed of Buccleuch, whose own letters go to prove the contrary. Internal treachery, which is no unusual feature in similar cases, played some part in the affair, if the various pieces of evidence are impartially considered—and though chiefly from the English point of view, there must be a certain amount of truth in them.
Long before Buccleuch's enterprise, there were many causes of offence between Scrope and him. Both were fiery spirits in the vigour of life, Buccleuch about 30 years of age, Scrope a few years older. While he never held office as warden of the West Marches, so far as the present collections show, though stated in the latest Peerages, Buccleuch's new keepership of Liddesdale, which placed him on equality with the established wardens opposite, may possibly have made him somewhat tenacious of his dignity, as noticed in Scrope's report to Lord Burghley. (fn. 12) This paper contained an inclosure (no longer here) relating the reasons for Kinmont's taking and detention, one of them being for his breach of assurance at a March meeting. Another ground was that Kinmont, though a follower of Buccleuch, lived within the jurisdiction of the warden of the West Marches, who was the proper officer to demand his restitution. This appears, from Eure's reply to Burghley's inquiry, to have been the chief ground taken by Scrope. (fn. 13) In Scrope's letters to the Council and Burghley, on 14th April and 10th August following, (fn. 14) the first relating the event of the night before, he refers to the missing inclosure, adding that Kinmont had given an assurance that he would not break away, thus making it unlikely that, as the ballad says, he was confined in fetters—which would have been a harsh proceeding to a prisoner on parole. This report of Scrope, written on the morning after Kinmont's rescue, contains a list of the principal assailants, and the statement that Buccleuch himself was the fifth man to enter the castle. This, however, was more probably inclosed in the anonymous letter to Scrope ten days later, (fn. 15) for such a list could hardly have been procured for him the morning after the assault. Scrope's suspicions at once pointed to the Lowthers and Thomas Carleton, his ex-constable; and the further disclosures of his informant, Richie's Will—a Grame against whom Buccleuch had some grudge—asserted the close complicity in the outrage of several headmen of the Grames, besides the Armstrongs of Langholm and Kinmont's own family. Scrope's urgency against the Grames and their accomplices on both sides of the March, is very apparent in the course of the long inquiry that followed, during which six of the chief Grames were sent up before the Privy Council and remained in London for many months. He felt so strongly in the matter, that he repeatedly demanded leave to resign office, unless they were condignly punished. But the Queen and Burghley, with calmer judgments, sensible of the dangerous result of driving to desperation so large a body of unruly subjects, took a more moderate view than the warden, and the delinquents were sent back to their country to make their submission and promise of future good conduct according to a carefully prepared form, which they did after considerable hesitation, at Carlisle, on 21st January 1596–7. (fn. 16) The elaborate pedigree of the Grames of Esk in the Appendix, showing their origin and intermarriages on both sides of the Border, was evidently drawn out for Lord Burghley at this time by one who was well acquainted with his subject. The matter thus ended so far as Buccleuch's assistants were concerned. But his letter to some great man in Scotland, with the inclosure, signed by him as admitting its truth, (fn. 17) frankly acknowledges the indispensable help of the Grames of Esk and Netherby in his exploit. Though Burghley appears to have doubted their genuineness, the plain assertion of Scrope that he had the originals would seem to settle the question. (fn. 18)
The chief offender still remained to be dealt with, and though a Commission of both countries had been appointed in November 1596 to settle a number of matters concerning the Borders, the offences of Buccleuch and Cessford, the two "firebrands" of the March, as they were styled, were expressly reserved to Elizabeth's own arbitrement. The Commission, after many sittings at Berwick and Carlisle, concluded a treaty at the latter place on 5th May 1597, (fn. 19) containing among other provisions, a clause for mutual delivery of pledges on each side for the quiet of the Borders, a certain number of whom were to be provided by Buccleuch and Cessford, failing which, their own persons were to be entered into England. After much correspondence, farther outrages by Cessford and "his crew," (fn. 20) and Buccleuch himself, even during their sittings at Carlisle, (fn. 21) which earned for the latter the epithet of Flagellum Dei, and procured for him a brief warding at St Andrews, (fn. 22) he and Scrope had a formal meeting for March justice at Canobie Holme on 20th August 1597, (fn. 23) brought about by the good offices of Sir John Carmichael. This, however, was apart from the main question of his own and Cessford's delivery. After an abortive meeting near Norham on 30th September between the Commissioners of both countries, for exchange of pledges, where the day was spent in idle discussion, (fn. 24) it was adjourned for eight days, when the long-protracted business was partly effected, Buccleuch surrendering himself, in default of his pledges, to Sir William Bowes, and being thereon escorted to Berwick by William Selby, the gentleman porter, in whose custody he remained. Cessford, however, whose turn came next to deliver his pledges or himself, was accused of getting up a tumult, which in the growing darkness nearly produced a serious collision, in the midst of which he and his followers, pledges and all, rode off the field. The accounts of this affair by Eure, John Carey, and Sir William Bowes, are very curious and show the risks incurred at such meetings. (fn. 25) One singular point is mentioned, viz., an English pledge being dead, his body was brought to the ground to satisfy the letter of Border law. Buccleuch being thus secured while his neighbour warden had for the time escaped, felt somewhat aggrieved, and hostile letters passed between him and Cessford, (fn. 26) which ended in a challenge from the latter carried by the Master of Orkney to Buccleuch. (fn. 27) Though the officers of Berwick remonstrated at so important a prisoner being kept there so near his own country, and various inland places were named for his custody, it is certain that he remained in Berwick for the whole time of his captivity, from 6th October 1597 till 21st March following, as his keeper's bill of charges exists to show. (fn. 28) The King having interceded for his relief, (fn. 29) and Buccleuch himself having written a straightforward letter to Sir William Bowes to be laid before Elizabeth, (fn. 30) offering full satisfaction if released on giving his son as a hostage, he was delivered to his own people at the west ford of Norham on 16th February, after executing an indent to re-enter on certain conditions, handing over his son, described as "about 10 years old, a proper and toward child," to the Governor of Berwick, and receiving a lecture from Sir William Bowes as to his future conduct, to which he made a suitable reply. (fn. 31) We do not learn how long the boy remained at Berwick, but these papers show that his father, whether profiting by Bowes' advice or for some other reason, became a changed character and concurred in border justice, with Scrope and Sir Robert Carey, receiving due acknowledgment from both, especially the latter, for his demeanour. There is a tradition in the family that their renowned ancestor was presented to Elizabeth, who was much struck with his bold reply to her on the assault of her castle, with which the Queen had charged him. As we have seen, such interview could not have taken place during his stay at Berwick. But two years after, we find Sir Robert Carey writing to Sir Robert Cecil, (fn. 32) telling him that Buccleuch had left him at Alnwick on his way to London, was desirous to kiss the Queen's hand, and that he well deserved this favour for his late good conduct. On this occasion the interview preserved by family tradition might well have taken place. Buccleuch was then probably on his way to the Low Countries to serve with Count Maurice, and such an object would recommend him to Elizabeth. This foreign journey is doubtless the reason why he appears little more in this volume. With the remark that he wrote a beautiful hand, evidenced by several holograph letters, we may leave this redoubtable borderer, and notice the doings of his brother-in-law Cessford.
He seems, from various unfavourable estimates given by the Careys and Sir William Bowes, to have been a man of much more scheming character than the keeper of Liddesdale, and shaped his course with a steady eye to his own interest. After his evasive proceedings at Norham ford above referred to, he thought it best to offer to come to terms, and next day sent Lord Hume to Berwick with proposals, himself remaining at the Bound road to hear the result. But the Commissioner, taking advice with Carey and Selby, resolved to hold no more meetings with one who had thrice disappointed his expectation, and to lay the matter before the Queen for her further commands. (fn. 33) These caused some further delay, but in the end a formal demand was made for his delivery, and his friend Lord Hume handed him over to Sir Robert Carey the warden, at Berwick on 14th February, two days before Buccleuch's release. (fn. 34) With the exception of a long report by Bowes to Cecil, a few days after his delivery, which contains a curious estimate of him, there is little about his stay in England, except a letter from Sir Robert Carey to Burghley regarding his transference to the keeping of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 35) That he was sent there is certain, for Strype (Annals) quotes two letters from the Archbishop to Burghley at this very time, as to the propriety of the captive warden hearing sermons and attending other public services, which might do him good. (fn. 36) He was apparently still at York on 2nd April, (fn. 37) but must have been released soon after, for on 3rd June he delivered his pledges to Lord Willoughby near Norham, being himself evidently a free man, as he writes from his house at Kelso. (fn. 38) These men, 13 in number, were forthwith sent to York Castle, joined three months later by three others for Buccleuch, (fn. 39) where all were kept for several years, in which time some died. The others, being nearly starved, made more than one desperate attempt to escape. On their first attempt they were recaptured, but the second was more successful, for two of Buccleuch's hostages, head men of the Armstrongs and Elliots, got away. The rest seem to have been gradually released in the course of the year 1602, not, however, till some of them had been transferred to Berwick, where several fell sick in Haddock's Hole, which must have been a truly "loathsome" place, as asserted by Sir John Carey and others; for the prison of those days was a very different lodging from the well-regulated houses which now detain even the worst criminals. From several incidents mentioned in these papers, Cessford seems to have been a cruel and cold-blooded man. (fn. 40) Both before and after his elevation to the peerage as Lord Roxburgh, he made proposals to visit the English Court and kiss hands. But his object being suspected as merely a desire to promote James's interests as successor to the Crown, the Queen's advisers gave him little encouragement, and there is no evidence here that he was ever received by her. After James's accession, his honours and rank were increased, and he lived to a great age, but surviving both his sons, his house was only continued in the female line.
The Gowrie tragedy next claims attention. It was foreshadowed by the manner of the Earl's reception by the King, as related by Sir John Carey to Cecil, (fn. 41) where James's taunting inquiry, why the ministers did not meet him, implies that Gowrie was an adherent of the reformed religion. This was soon followed by the startling news from the same quarter, that the Earl and his next brother were both slain by the King and his page, in self-defence; and that there was a hot search made for the two younger Ruthvens, school-boys apparently, who with their tutor escaped in disguise to Berwick, where Sir John Carey allowed them to stay till he knew the Queen's pleasure. (fn. 42) On receiving this from Cecil, he dealt with their tutor for their safe disposal further inland, adding, that he had not seen them since they came, so closely had they kept themselves. (fn. 43) And shortly after, he reported that they had been sent off as secretly as they arrived, his servant seeing them as far as Durham, their ultimate destination being Cambridge, for study. (fn. 44) This was confirmed by his later report to Cecil, where he declared that none in Berwick had seen them but himself, and that but once at midnight. (fn. 45) Whatever the truth may be, the reports in the present collection place the worst construction on James's accounts of the business, which were said to be contradictory, a belief which was shared by the clergy and common people, who were very outspoken on the subject; so much so, that severe measures were taken with five of the foremost ministers, including the well-known Mr Robert Bruce. (fn. 46) Sir Robert Carey, writing to Cecil, gives a curious account of the Queen of Scots' favour to the Earl, her letter and bracelet being found on his person. (fn. 47) The inference suggested was that jealousy had something to do with his death. And if the story, told to Lord Willoughby by a Danish messenger to the Queen of Scots, was true, her brother the King of Denmark gave little credit to the account of Gowrie's death, which James had taken the trouble to draw up for him. (fn. 48) The relentless severity shown by James to the innocent members of the house, proscribing the very surname of Ruthven, seems to indicate some deeper cause than an ordinary conspiracy. It is difficult indeed to suppose young men such as Gowrie and his brother the sole devisers of a sudden conspiracy without apparent object. The Earl himself had been abroad for his education nearly six years, was a man of great promise, and but twentythree years of age at his death. Logan of Restalrig, whose name is joined in history with the Gowries, and like them had the doom of treason pronounced over his bones, is only noticed in these papers in regard to other matters of little moment. (fn. 49)
The last domestic event of importance in the reign, the rebellion and fall of the Queen's brilliant favourite Essex, is noticed in several of our papers. Before it occurred, allusions are made to him on various occasions—his high offices, expedition to Ireland, disgrace in consequence, and prospect of restoration to favour. The news of his outbreak, dispatched by Cecil to Willoughby on the 9th of February 1600–1, were brought to Berwick by an Edinburgh merchant on the 13th, Cecil's letter only arriving there on the 14th. (fn. 50) Willoughby, though no friend of Essex, who had thwarted him on several occasions, yet wrote to Cecil with a generous estimate of his great qualities, while bewailing his fall and the charges he had made against the Secretary. (fn. 51) It has been said that Elizabeth made little outward demonstration on her favourite's violent end, though it is generally supposed to have hastened her own. One reference to it occurs in her letter to Willoughby, (fn. 52) where she speaks (without naming Essex) of the example of one more bound than all [to her], and of the little faith found in Israel—thus rather a complaint of his ingratitude than regret at his loss.
So much then for the principal domestic incidents of the period. But there are a number of other matters closely connected with the Borders, to but a few of which the editor can do more than allude.
The town of Berwick, as the chief advanced post of England towards Scotland, is often noticed. Its state of disrepair was chronic, and constant demands were made on the Lord Treasurer for the means of correcting it. The pay of the garrison was, on the whole, made with a tolerable approach to regularity, but the victualling was a constant ground of complaint; and if any credit is to be given to the many letters from Sir John Carey and others, the town and garrison were often not far from the point of starvation—and always scantily provisioned for a place open to an enterprising enemy on the sea. Particular references are unnecessary, for these defects pervade the contents of this volume, and Berwick, until Willoughby was appointed lord governor, appears to have been managed in a haphazard fashion. When that distinguished nobleman took office, though in broken health, he made an attempt to rectify disorder, and place the town and garrison on a more efficient footing. His experience while serving in the Low Countries, had impressed him with a high opinion of the martial discipline observed by the Spanish commanders, but his efforts in this direction proved ineffectual to reform the vis inertiæ of longseated custom, and he died, not far beyond the prime of life, on 25th June 1601, his plans unfinished, at variance with most of his subordinate officers, too much satisfied with maintaining the old order to agree with his views. He effected something however, in causing a regular muster-roll to be made of the force under his command, (fn. 53) and soon after, having prepared a curious bird's-eye plan of the fortifications, gates, bridge over Tweed, &c., and improvements proposed, he sent copies to the Privy Council and Sir Robert Cecil, (fn. 54) though no result appears to have followed his appeal. This plan shows the six mounts and the four gates of Berwick, with an outline of the walls, ditches, &c., but nothing of the Castle, or the interior of the town, and makes evident the weakness of the sea-front. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the outline of the long bridge over Tweed, with its central tower and gateway. The tower may have been of stone, but the bridge was certainly of timber, and a frail structure to resist the winter floods of Tweed, for it seems to have been merely supported on upright timber props, with no bulwarks to break the force of the stream. The tower, probably of stone and founded solidly, no doubt helped to hold the structure together, but it seems wonderful that the whole affair was not swept into the sea. This bridge has interested the editor since he first studied the Scottish records. A bridge of some sort existed in the last years of Henry III., also in 1291, and probably for most part of the reign of Edward I., but during the whole of the 14th century, a ferry boat was the only means of crossing Tweed. Before 1306, the bridge must have disappeared, as the right of ferry was in dispute between one Hayward, grantee from Edward I., and Antony Bek bishop of Durham, against whom Hay ward successfully claimed before Edward II. in 1311 ; and his heir, one Bernard, succeeded in keeping it under Edward III., till Richard bishop of Durham again disturbed his possession, whereon he petitioned the King, who on 20th April 1345, sustained his grandfather's grant, ordaining that Bernard should hold the ferry till a sufficient horse and foot bridge was built. (fn. 55) A new ferry boat is mentioned, in 1362, and the last notice is a grant by Richard II. on 30th August 1395, of the ferry of Berwickon-Tweed to one John Sparowe, for life. (fn. 56) These records are silent from this date till 1509, and the earliest subsequent notice observed by the editor, is the breakdown of the bridge, by Norfolk's army invading Scotland, when many men were drowned and hurt. (fn. 57) There appears to be no information in the latest history of Berwick on the date when that bridge was constructed, or when it was replaced by one of stone, though it might have been expected there would be something in the town records on these points.
The parish church seems to have been a rickety structure, and inadequate to the population. It replaced one, said to be "as fair as any in England," taken down by Henry VIII. for the fortifications, and was probably a makeshift building. In 1584, the Mayor represented it to be very small, cracked, rent, and not able to hold the sixth of the people, whereby, during divine service, the alehouses were too much frequented, and petitioned the Queen for money to build a new one. (fn. 58) But though recommended by Hunsdon, nothing was done, and in January 1598, we find his son Sir John Carey reviving the question, and telling the Privy Council that the church was so old and weak, and surcharged with out-buildings of timber to eke out the accommodation, that on any little blast of wind, both preacher and congregation ran out of the place "even at sermon time," to save themselves from its expected fall. (fn. 59) In spite of this renewed appeal nothing was done; and two years later, under Willoughby's government, when he proposed to apply the goods of Harding the customer, who had died intestate without heirs, towards building a new church, the proposition was violently opposed by Sir John Carey, who had laid hands on the money (nearly 1900l.) ostensibly in his official capacity on the Queen's behalf, but evidently in the hope that he would get a gift from the Crown of the balance (which he represented to be small) after paying the debts of the deceased. (fn. 60) The contest was violent, and the Lord Treasurer Buckhurst, no friend to Willoughby, intervened, siding with Carey. (fn. 61) How it ended is not clear; but if Willoughby's account is credited, Carey used rather sharp practice, bringing forward his wife and a stranger as pretended next of kin, scoffing at Willoughby's plan to build a church as a mere wish to thwart him, and evidently meaning to apply the money for himself, telling Cecil, in his first application, it would buy his daughter Anne two or three gowns, as she was in the Queen's service, and "very chargeable" to him. (fn. 62)
The casual notice of the Berwick bell, evidently a racing trophy in Willoughby's hands, is interesting. (fn. 63)
Passing westwards along the Border, we find the castles of Norham and Harbottle were in almost total ruin; the former, in much the same condition as now, and the necessary rebuilding estimated at nearly 1800l., though the reporters reduced the cost of the most needful repairs to less than one half. (fn. 64) This was by no means agreeable to the Queen, who on Sir Robert Carey pressing for a decision, (fn. 65) told him roundly that she would give nothing, and that his father should build up the house, seeing the great commodity he had of it. (fn. 66) To this Carey demurred, and, his father dying within a fortnight, nothing more came of it. Nor was anything done for Harbottle. The house at Hexham, which Forster occasionally occupied while warden, though he most commonly lived at Alnwick Abbey, was partly blown up during Eure's wardenry. (fn. 67) The Editor is not aware whether or not it was the picturesque building that still stands near the market-place, called the Moot Hall. If so, the square massive tower a little to the east may have been the gaol of which Eure so often complained. Both are conspicuous objects in this old border town.
Carlisle Castle, as formerly, does not appear to have cost the Crown anything for repair. The lesser fortresses, Rockcliffe, Bewcastle, and others on that march, were probably seen to by their keepers.
Another minor occurrence may be noticed—a second hunting on Cheviot, though unlike the more celebrated affray between Douglas and Percy, it has found no minstrel to chronicle it. Some Teviotdale gentlemen, Rutherfords, Kers, and Douglases, not exceeding 60 in all, unarmed as they asserted, though the English warden said there were 200 armed, having hunted for two days from the head of Kale water along the March, were attacked by a superior body of 400 men, under Fenwick of Wallington and Henry Woodrington, two of Sir Robert Carey's deputies, and chased four miles into Scotland with some loss in killed and prisoners. (fn. 68) The business caused much bad feeling, Cessford himself held a formal inquiry at Jedburgh, (fn. 69) and the result was the imprisonment of the two English leaders for a considerable period.
The aversion of Elizabeth, especially in her latter years, to any of her subjects holding unauthorised intercourse with the King of Scots, or in any way treating him as her possible successor, is shown on many occasions; and her wardens, in addition to their constant search for seminary priests and other emissaries of Rome, repression of recusants and the like, were strictly charged to prevent any of their subordinates trafficking on their own account with James. Besides other instances on the East March, there were several among Scrope's officers, the most remarkable being that of Henry Leigh, at one time much trusted as his deputy-warden, who went off very secretly to Scotland, (fn. 70) and in the course of a few months found himself a prisoner in the Gatehouse. (fn. 71) From this prison he addressed a long exculpation to Cecil, who had ordered him to relate all that had passed between himself and the King, and also the attainted Francis Lord Dacre, then in Scotland. (fn. 72) The account of his travels—his several interviews with James—description of his Court and Cabinet—and of what the King called his "crack" with him (fn. 73) on many subjects, is very curious; also with the banished Dacre and his son, then nearly of age, and the latter's desire to return to England, not to marry a Scottish wife, as his father wished him to do. (fn. 74)
That assassination was recognised, so late as the close of the sixteenth century, as a fit mode whereby an English sovereign might rid herself of a powerful enemy, who could not be reached by other means, is apparent from the offer by Lancelot Carleton through Lord Thomas Howard, to deliver the person or head of the rebel Tyrone to Elizabeth. (fn. 75) He had made the same offer before, by means of the chief of the MacLeans, whom he calls "Sir James," but MacLean's death had stopped the plan. (fn. 76)
Carleton now renewed it on occasion of the deadly offence taken by Angus MacConnel of Kintyre and his son Sir James, who considered themselves defrauded by Tyrone's giving Dunluce Castle to their near relation, Sir James MacConnel of Cullylungart, son of Sorle Boy, and here called "Macksurle Buye." Carleton hoped to effect the business by Angus's son Sir James, if he would take it in hand, adding that O'Donnell, (fn. 77) his cousingerman, then in Spain presumably on Tyrone's behalf, might be induced to help. He desired Lord Thomas to lay the plan before Mr Secretary, and consult the Queen as a matter of state, also putting it before Scrope, though they were no great friends, who wrote to Cecil for his view on its fitness. (fn. 78) The scheme was evidently thought quite proper to be submitted to the Queen, giving a curious insight into the statecraft of that day.
The exigencies of space forbid more than a mere allusion to the disputes between the King and the Kirk on Church government; though one incident is worthy of special notice—their quarrel about English play-actors, (fn. 79) the Kirk's anathema against their performing, and the King's contrary command. This feeling towards the stage continued strong till a recent time, and is still by no means unknown in Scotland.
From the diversified contents of these papers, which must be, in the main, studied in the Index, it may be seen that the office of a Warden of the Borders, while one of great power and dignity, was no bed of roses, exposed as the officer was to enemies outside, and un-friends within his charge. With the death of Elizabeth the powers of her wardens ceased, and no such officers were appointed by her successor, in the changed relations of the two countries. But the predatory habits of the March-men were not so easily got rid of, and were long a standing menace to law and order in these wild districts. On 25th February 1605, the King appointed a commission to take order on both sides of the Marches, which dealt sharp justice to many of the freebooters whose names have figured in these papers; many suffering the last penalty of law, while many were deported. Full and interesting information on their procedure is contained in the report on Lord Muncaster's MSS. (fn. 80) prepared by the present Deputy-Keeper of the Records.
With these Border Papers ends the period of 300 years, during which the two kingdoms maintained a state of open or covert hostility to each other. Though another century was to pass before their full union, and their forces were to meet in battle on more than one famous field, the union of the crowns did not fail, though by slow degrees, to pave the way for that of the nations. In spite of jealousies at the King's leanings to his own countrymen, (fn. 81) peaceful intercourse, though often interrupted, in time produced its natural effects in preparing both nations for that close community of interests, the full value of which is apparent at the present day.
Since the Editor was appointed by the Lords of Her Majesty's Treasury to conduct these researches in the English Archives, he has received the greatest facilities from the successive Deputy-Keepers and their assistant officers, which he now begs specially to acknowledge.
It is almost unnecessary to add that his own official Directors, Sir Stair Agnew, K.C.B., the Head of the General Register House, and Thomas Dickson, LL.D., the Curator of the Historical Department there, have taken great interest in the progress of his work. To the latter gentleman, on his late retirement from the office which he has so long and ably filled, the Editor's warmest thanks are due for the sagacious advice on many occasions, which Mr Dickson's scholarship, sound judgment, and wide knowledge of Scottish history enabled him to place unreservedly at the service, not only of his friends, among whom the Editor is happy to number himself, but of all who seriously consulted the records in his charge.
London, December 1895.