James VI, October 1594

Pages 455-471

Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.

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James VI, October 1594

377. Sir Richard Cockburn to Burghley. [Oct. 3.]

Having a request made to me by my hostess, in a case wherewith I am so little acquainted that I must remit particulars to the bearer, may I entreat you for such favour as I understand a letter from you may work, that the gentlewoman may know my request to have proven effectual; "being eased thairby of some paine and undir physick." London. Signed: R. Cokburne.

¼ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

378. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Oct. 7.]

Sundry times I have written that I could not advertise your lordship of any good certainty of Donald Gorme's passage to Ireland. Besides, by your letters to me I have understood that you had been informed that he had entered into Ireland with 3000 men; therefore that I might better learn what had proceeded in this behalf I employed an especial person about the Earl of Argyll (who is privy to the Earl's secrets and has been lately with him). This person has returned answer to me in writing, a copy whereof I enclose.

On Friday last, the 4th instant, the King entered on his raid and passed that night to Stirling. The next day, for some enterprise which he had in Fife, he turned his intended journey to St. Johnstone to Falkland, where he lodged that night, and, receiving there advertisement that Huntly and Argyll had met and fought, he only "stayed the sermon" on Sunday in Falkland, and yesternight rode to Dundee with purpose to make haste into the north to join with Argyll and Forbes for the punishment of Huntly, Errol and their associates, who have already received such loss of their principal men that by all likelihood the King shall be troubled by the disposing of their living rather than with any dealings they can do against him. The truth and manner of this battle is not yet certainly known here. I enclose copies of the likeliest of such advertisements as I have received touching the same, for better understanding whereof I have sent one of my servants after the King to my friends in the Court and in that country.

The Earl of Morton, appointed to be lieutenant here, would neither accept that office nor be president of the Council left here in the King's absence, because his request that his friends and servants might be dispensed with for the King's raid into the north was rejected.

This night, at the writing hereof, I was informed that the ministers of this town were certified that Angus, Bothwell, Herries and others had a purpose to surprise this town and the ministers, whereto such regard will be taken that there will be no peril or fear of any such matter, neither can they so quietly gather any great forces for such a purpose but that Lord Hume and Cessford and Buccleuch will have understanding of it and with their forces hinder them from doing any such thing. Of all other occurrents here I trust to be the reporter at my coming to Court. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

First enclosure with the same.

(Battle between Argyll and Huntly.)

On Thursday the 3rd of October, 1594, John Torrie, servant boy to James Carr, who is Huntly's domestic, being in company with his master, saw Argyll and Huntly's "yokinge," Argyll "beinge" 8000 men, without any horsemen, and Huntly "beinge" 4000 men, whereof 2000 were horsemen. The first yoking was six miles above Auchindoun, beside the hill Ben Rinnes (Berychtnes), betwixt 10 and 11 o'clock in the morning, Errol and Auchindoun in the vanguard, and Huntly with the rest in the body of the battle. At the first yoking they fought till 2 in the afternoon. Errol and Auchindoun, who were in the vanguard, "dong backe to the battle." (fn. 1) Thereafter the Earl of Huntly with his whole forces came back again, and they yoke about 3 in the afternoon and fight till the evening. In this second yoking Auchindoun, the Goodman of Cochlarachy (Coclarochie), Thomas Gordon of Drumlurg, and Walter Barclay [were] slain; the Earl of Errol, the Laird of Gight, the "haill" horsemen who were with Auchindoun all "deidlye hurte"; who came back that night, which was Thursday last, to Auchindoun. The Earl of Argyll's company at last, at the second yoking, fled to Stradorone, seven or eight miles from the place where the battle was "striken." There are 500 men slain of Argyll, himself being about two miles from his company the time of the "strykinge" of the battle. This bearer came away on Friday morning. Huntly was to yoke again on Friday, and to make an onset. Alan MacKendowy (Mackendowye) came to Badenoch (Baginoch) with Argyll, but stole away from him "with six and himselfe and paste to Huntley, wher his company mett him." Lord Forbes "on Frydaye was bruited to have convened to Monimusk, and was to be at Argyle on Frydaye." Balquhan (Boughan) is neither with Errol, Argyll nor Huntly.

2/3 p. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "1594. Advertisementis from the campe. 3 October, 1594."

Second enclosure with the same.

(Battle between Argyll and Huntly.)

"By a letter 3° Octobris at xj in the night," the Earls of Huntly and Argyll this day at 11 o'clock joined battle upon the hill of Ben Rinnes (Belrenes), where there were sundry noblemen slain, (fn. 2) as Auchindoun, Gight, Assintrilly, Thomas (Gordon (fn. 3) ) of Drumbuldis, a son of Abergeldy, "Wat" Barclay's eldest son, Erroll hurt by an arrow, the Laird of Cluny "deidlye hurte," Huntly's and Errol's horses both slain, "with sondrye other gentlemen." Argyll "is retyred," on whose side it is supposed MacLean is slain, and others to the number of 200, and Argyll hurt. Argyll [had] 8000 men and boys, Huntly above 2000 men. But Argyll never "accompted of them." The Grants and Clan Chattan (Clanhattons) were with Argyll with a great number. John Roy Grant was with Huntly and is "ill hurt." Sundry of my lord's friends "reteyned them selves at home," as Lismore, Craig, Haddo, Dalpersye, etc.

"By others from St. Johnston's, 6 Octobris, 9 in the forenoone," certain word has come to this town that Argyll and Huntly have fought. There is great slaughter on both sides, but the certain number is not known. Their meeting was beside Auchindoun. The manner of their meeting:—Huntly sent out 40 horse, who drove their footmen a little from their strength. Thereafter the "haill horsemen" charged. Argyll's vanguard fled. "If it had not beyne neare ther strengthe the horsemen had overthrowne them all." Leysrell is slain, with sundry others. It is said by him who was there that he heard Angus Williamson say that he slew him with his own hand. It was very "ryfe" here that Errol is slain, but there is no truth in it. Argyll has retired into Atholl's bounds, abiding the King's coming. "Huntley was 500 horse and 300 foote." Alan MacKendowy (Mackendowye) is slain: he was on horseback.

2/3 p. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "3 Octob. 1594. Advertisementis from the campe."

Third enclosure with the same.

(Request by O'Donnell and O'Neil to Argyll.)

In the month of May last, 1594, O'Donnell and O'Neil sent a servant to the Earl of Argyll desiring the "auld frindship" which was betwixt their houses and the house of Argyll to be renewed, and that some of his men might come over to Ireland for their service, for which they should pay him the yearly pension of 8000l. Scots money, which his predecessors had of theirs. This message Argyll accepted well at the first; but, being for the time troubled with trial of some conspiracies against himself, "alleidged uppon" his nearest friends, as Glenorchy, Lawers, Ardkinglas (Archindlayes), he had no leisure to "ende with" the said messenger, who wrote immediately to Donald Gorme in the beginning of June, and the said Donald went over with 1200 to O'Neil and O'Donnell and returned in the beginning of Spetember last, leaving behind him 300 men, he himself being presently with Argyll at the pursuit of Huntly. What shall pass betwixt Argyll, Donald Gorme or any other highlandman and them [O'Neil and O'Donnell] be assured of speedy and true information. 7th October, 1594.

½ p. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "1594. Advertisementis from the campe. 7 Octobr. 1594."

379. Robert Bowes to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 8.]

By my letter and notes of yesterday I have certified Lord Burghley of the encounter betwixt Argyll and Huntly on Thursday last, within a mile, or thereabouts, of Balvany. This morning I have received further informations of that conflict as well by some instruments employed by myself as also by my friends, who heard the reports made to the King; and there is great variety in many circumstances, for some affirm directly that Errol is slain by the shot of a harquebus in his neck "and passinge part of his heid," and that he, living two hours after the stroke, died in Argyll's arms. Yet it has been affirmed before the King, and it is written to me, that he is hurt in the arm and thigh with shot, but without peril of death. It is confidently advertised that the slaughter on Huntly's party fell on the chief gentlemen of his name, and that of the Gordons there are fourteen landed men of good quality slain, whereof eleven are guilty of Murray's murder. Sundry others of account and private persons following Huntly, under the number of 100, are cut off, yet hitherto there is great difference in the report of the persons slain. On Argyll's side Lochnell (Zowchenzell), a Campbell and near in blood to Argyll, young — (fn. 4) Murray, Tullibardine's third son, Argyll's master of household, and three or four more of some credit, with 300 or 400 of the common sort, "raskalls and poke caryers," are killed. It is accorded by most that after two several encounters of three or four hours, both parties "severed of ther owne accordis, without the persuite of anye chase." By credible advertisement I am informed that Argyll gathered together and buried the dead bodies of his people, and, making hurdles of "bowes and pladds" he carried away all his hurt men; that afterwards, upon consultation, it was considered that he and his army had wholly expended their victuals, and that none could be got within forty miles to suffice them. Therefore it was concluded that the army should retire the way they came, and Argyll with Tullibardine, Mr. George Erskine, and some few with him, came to St. Johnstone on Sunday afternoon, and from thence [went] to Mar, at Stirling, purposing, as I hear, to be at Dalkeith with his wife this night. [I hear] that Huntly has likewise returned to Strathbogy with his whole forces, and, looking that the King shall be at Aberdeen with his army on Friday next at the farthest, he pretends to arm and fortify himself with all power he can get. But it is verily looked that a great part of his company shall refuse to "partye" him against the King.

The King stayed yesterday at Dundee because his footmen had not come; neither are the engines for the rasing of the houses brought forward as was appointed; whereby it is looked that the houses of Walter Lindsay and John Ogilvy shall not be cast down on the King's going towards Aberdeen, as was enacted. The King was minded to pass forward this day to Brechin, the next day to Cowie, and on Thursday next to the water of Dee, where by his letters and open proclamation he has commanded Lord Forbes and the barons and inhabitants of all those parts to meet him. As these things shall proceed you shall be advertised speedily, and that I may know and certify the true progress thereof I intend to stay my return to England some days, notwithstanding that, upon notice given me by your letter that her Majesty is pleased to license my return when the King has entered on his raid, I have caused my horses to be brought hither and have put myself and all my household in readiness for my departure, which here is now looked for every day. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

380. Robert Bowes to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 12.]

Since my last letter of the 8th instant, some councillors and others have advertised me of the particularities in the late conflict, and of some other occurrents, all which at length are drawn together and agree that Argyll brought with him 4000 fighting men and above 2000 "raskalls and poke bearers," who were led and marched "at raggle and in plompes without order," and which number was "compounded" of the chieftains and people distracted by old feuds, and lately revolted or treacherously cast off from Huntly. Argyll has confessed that he had few "experimented" leaders and captains, and that the great part of his army fled from him before they saw any cause of fear or enemy assailing them, whereupon the enemy was most encouraged to come forward in their charge against him. Which matter, full of suspicion of treason in some persons of quality in his host, he threatens to examine and punish with the first opportunity. Huntly and Errol had in the field about 800 horsemen and near 1200 [on] foot and on "hosting (fn. 5) horses" and common followers, whereof a great number came forth rather to preserve the country from spoil of the highlandmen than to "partye Huntley in love towardes him."

Lord Forbes, the Lairds of Drum (Dromme), Balquhan (Bloquhan) and others had appointed to join with Argyll on Friday, 4th instant. Therefore, on the day before, Argyll marched towards Forbes, putting "his shott of harquebushes and bowes before him," and left his "pykes" or spearmen with his carriages, all in confused march and "plomps" without order. Whereof, and of all other things done in Argyll's camp, Huntly was sufficiently advised and warned. Therefore he came forward that day against Argyll with his horsemen and with six field pieces, and Errol and Auchindoun took 100 well horsed men to give the first charge to Argyll's shot thus scattered. When Argyll had discovered the horsemen approaching he hasted . . . (fn. 6) his people into order of battle. There 2000 of his army withdrew and left him on the field, and before he could well array the rest or draw near the spearmen Errol and Auchindoun with their 100 horsemen charged the shot, killing some of them. The field pieces also playing on them, many fled, and many, with the advantage of some bushes near the place of encounter, stood and poured such volley of bullets and shower of arrows on the horsemen and horses that Auchindoun and other gentlemen of the Gordons with the most part of the horses were slain. At Auchindoun's fall the horsemen gave an exceeding great cry and lamentation, seeking to rescue him. But, as he was well known to Argyll's men, so they sharply assailed him and with dirks stabbed him, and afterwards cut off his head, being the principal man of action amongst all the Gordons. Errol is hurt in the arm by a bullet and on the thigh by an arrow. Gight is stricken by three bullets in his body and two plates of his steel coat "caryed into him." It is thought that he is dead by this time, or cannot live many days. Cluny is hurt on the flank by a bullet, but in hope of life. I have been informed this day that they have sent to Edinburgh secretly for surgeons and salves.

In this conflict Argyll was left with Tullibardine, MacLean and some others— under twenty persons; whereupon Tullibardine with great difficulty persuaded him to take horse, and with few with him [he] passed into a wood adjoining. MacLean and Donald Campbell entered into the fight and won two guydons, (fn. 7) with high praise and commendation. One was the guydon of Errol, bearing a cross with a man beheading a woman. On Huntly's side Auchindoun and eighteen or twenty gentlemen were slain. Errol, with forty or fifty, was hurt, and 150 horses were slain. Of Argyll's party Lochnell (Youghenyell) with his brother and three or four other gentlemen, with fifty of the common sort, are slain, as Argyll has reported at Dundee.

Robert Fraser (Fresard), the King's Herald, being with Argyll and in the King's coat-armour, was cruelly slain; for the horsemen, espying him, cried "Have at the Lyon," and ran him through with three spears, wherewith the King is very greatly grieved, protesting that it shall be revenged. Argyll, gathering his people together, for lack of victuals dismissed all to return home, except 600 especially chosen, whom he has committed to the leading of MacIntosh and to attend his further direction. [Argyll] himself came to Stirling, thinking to have found the King there, and on the next day came to him at Dundee. He is now appointed to attend upon the King all this journey, and hereon he has sent for his friends and forces in the lowland, for he will no more trust the highlandmen. MacIntosh, with the 600 mentioned, is appointed to keep the Highlands, and Lord Lovat, Mackenzie, Balnagowan (Ballangowne) and the Ross men are commanded to join with him to stop the passage of Huntly, Errol and others, if they seek to flee that way. Huntly has scattered all his forces, except 500 horsemen whom he still retains with him at Strathbogy. It is thought verily that on the King's coming to Aberdeen he will disperse these 500 horsemen, abandon all his houses and cover himself in secret places.

The King remained two days in Dundee to take his footmen with him, for by the extremity of the weather they could not come to him before. At the coming of the footmen, he sent two captains with their companies to rase the houses of Mr. Walter Lindsay and John Ogilvy. He has directed the Earl Marischal, Lord Forbes and all the barons and gentlemen thereabouts to be with him on the 10th instant, purposing to enter Aberdeen the next day. I think he is there at present with such sufficient forces of horse and men as the rebels are not able to withstand, and there he holds himself to be not only in safety but also of power to drive out the rebels, seize their houses and possessions, and dispose thereof as shall be thought most convenient. He purposes to cast down the houses of Strathbogy and Slains, protesting to prosecute the rebels with all severity, for the execution whereof he looks to abide five or six weeks in those parts.

The King has now sent to me his safe-conduct to pass and repass at my pleasure. He has addressed the Bishop of Aberdeen to me to assure me that he will sincerely proceed against the forfeited Earls, as he promised lately to me, and being so near Aberdeen with such sufficient forces he trusts to put order to all these confused causes, with due reformation in all things for the safety of religion, the quieting of this estate, peace in this realm and preservation of the amity with her Majesty. Besides, the Council convened here in Edinburgh on the 10th instant, and have well provided for the defence of this town, the quietness of this country and prevention of all enterprises by seditious persons in the King's absence; whereby it is firmly hoped that this estate shall be preserved in peace. Moreover, I have so fully recommended to the King's consideration the seasonable apprehension of the persons hurt in this late encounter and his further progress in the action against these rebels, that I can add nothing thereto for this present, and as thereby, and for a convenient time, myself and my labours here shall little profit, therefore, having now prepared all things in readiness for my return, leaving here a sufficient person to give good and timely advertisements to me, I will enter on my journey within two or three days at the farthest. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's Clerk.

381. Sir Robert Cecil to Robert Bowes. [Oct. 13.] Vol. lii. p. 104.

A letter signifying her Majesty's pleasure that Bowes should remain in Scotland for some time longer, and enclosing her "placarde" to the Wardens of the Borders to permit Buccleuch to buy two horses or geldings in England and to take them to Scotland; also with information of the capture of the town and castle of Morlaix, (fn. 8) of Sir John Norris and the Marshal d'Aumont "being sett downe" before the Spaniards' fort on the haven of Brest, and of the overthrow by the Grand Seigneur's army of the Christians commanded by Duke Mathias. (fn. 9) The Court at Nonsuch.

p. Abstract in the hand of Cecil's clerk.

382. Sir Richard Cockburn to Burghley. [Oct. 15.]

"Being sorye of your lordship's absence frome Court, bot more of the disease which gave occasion thereof," I had desired this bearer, Mr. Hudson, to make you acquainted with the answer I received on Sunday last at my latest audience and leave taken of her Majesty. But your lordship having removed and gone to Court I send him now to make relation of all which I myself would gladly "performe" if I did not eschew to "breade" trouble to your lordship, so many ways troubled. Having likewise taken occasion to write some few lines to her Majesty, because of my earnest desire to return with an answer to the King's satisfaction I beg you to present them to her Majesty's hands and to interpone your wise advice for her resolution. Her aid and concurrence in this latest action to the north parts is expected beyond doubt, as I have desired the bearer to inform you more at large, together with such other particulars as are contained in letters of advertisement which, although "evill set doun," yet confirm the hope of the concurrence expected. I would desire you to impart these likewise to her Majesty. London. Signed: R. Cokburne.

Postscript.—The favour and courtesies I have received of your lordship moved me to inform you by this bearer of some intelligence "cummed" to my knowledge, and which is but general, yet "importing" to your lordship. If I may find out the particulars, you shall have the like advertisement.

¾ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

383. Sir Richard Cockburn to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 15.]

Having sent this bearer, Mr. Hudson, to Burghley, I could not omit to desire you to interpone your credit and furtherance both with her Majesty and your father, that I may be despatched with answer to the King's satisfaction, "wherein I will be bould to divine there will consist more then peradventure is presently apprehendit." I remit this to your wise consideration, as one, I am assured, fully disposed to nourish the amity and good correspondence between the crowns, as I, on my side, shall level at the same mark, and sympathise with you as near as I can, not forgetting heartiest thanks for your courtesies to me.

p. Holograph. Addressed. Endorsed: "15 October 1594. Sir Richard Cockburne the King's Secretarie to my master."

384. Sir Richard Cockburn to Burghley. [Oct. 16.]

By the answer which her Majesty returned me through Sir Robert Cecil, and by Mr. Hudson's information, I have understood of the good effects of your lordship's good furtherance "therein," and can do no less than double and triple my thanks. I shall prove not unthankful "in part of some acquitall" of your many favours. Lyme. Signed: R. Cokburne.

Postscript.—Please give order for the receipt of the sums by the bearer.

½ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

385. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 18.]

The ambassador wrote his dutiful thanks, and afterwards signified how he had heard of her Majesty's stay and the reasons, and how he had written to the King of her grant, and therefore humbly prayed that there might be no stay, for that it was "ordenary" to pay it yearly here, and so by exchange "to taek it in Scotland." I delivered this letter to Mr. Windybank, who could not have access and therefore got it delivered by Mr. Killigrew, who shortly after came and asked who brought the letter. Then I was named. Her Majesty's pleasure was then that I should come again this day. "Whiche done," she now answered that she could make no answer till your honour's coming, which I wait for here lest I should be absent on your arrival. Nonsuch. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed.

386. Robert Bowes to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 19.]

This day, at Berwick, I received your last, of the 13th, certifying that, notwithstanding her Majesty had resolved "to dispence with myne absence" for a while, yet, seeing this matter will not be long in trying and that it is very uncertain what extraordinary accident may happen, she will now do more than command me, for she will entreat me "even willinglye" to stay for a while and not to be grieved with it, for as soon as the King has come back my desire shall be performed. Before the receipt of this letter I had received one advertising me that her Majesty licensed my return for fifteen or sixteen days when once the King had gone northwards, on condition that I should find some convenient person there to advertise me of all occurrents. This letter was brought to me the day before the King entered on his raid, therefore I acquainted him with her Majesty's pleasure, seeking his safe-conduct for my pass and re-pass. For the safe-conduct I sent to the King, at Dundee, and obtained it. Next, I appointed George Nicolson, my servant, to remain at Edinburgh to give me advertisements. I made means that some of the King's Council, Chamber, and others of especial quality attending on the King on this journey, and also others of his Council at Edinburgh during his absence, together with other friends of good credit and "moyens," should give frequent intelligence to Nicolson at Edinburgh. For the furtherance thereof I have appointed a fit person to solicit and call upon the instruments about the King. Besides, I have not omitted to provide that, during my absence and upon Nicolson's solicitation, some of the Council with the King and in Edinburgh shall move all Border matters and other causes requisite to be communicated and negotiated to the King or severally to either of his Councils mentioned, and I have left Nicolson so sufficiently instructed and furnished that he shall be well able, I trust verily, to gather and give advertisements for her Majesty's service. Moreover, some particular matter of importance concerning the future benefit of the common causes is committed to my credit to be presented to her Majesty's knowledge and consideration; and I have sundry other mysteries to be timely presented, that upon the discovery thereof her Majesty may make choice of the course and servant for execution.

Thus, after I had taken leave of the King and received his safe-conduct, and after he had come to Aberdeen with great forces, and after I had likewise taken my leave of the Queen (who has written to her Majesty by me and referred some credit to myself) as also of the Council, Provost and Estate at Edinburgh, and after at my great charges I had thus put all things in order for my return, and chiefly for her Majesty's service during my absence, then I thought that it would please her Majesty that in this seasonable time I should hasten my repair to lay before her all the things necessary to be reported and revealed for her service, and which I think shall be found worthy of grave consideration. Having given you some notice of my opinion and purpose by my letters of the 8th and 12th, I came to this town of Berwick, and, being ready this day to have "comed" forwards, I received yours of the 13th.

Because I find it her Majesty's pleasure that I should abide in Scotland until the King's return (which is altogether uncertain, and in which time I may make full discovery of all things to be revealed, and with good instructions be returned at her Majesty's will and for the great advantage of her service in Scotland), and because her request is sufficient for me to yield my body, blood and life to be sacrificed (albeit I think that she shall not like that I should return to Scotland after all my doings and preparations, etc.), I dare not presume to come forwards before she shall signify her pleasure to me. There fore I have resolved to stay my journey in this or other convenient place to attend her Majesty's pleasure, which I beseech you to procure and send to me with good speed. Edinburgh. (sic) Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed.

387. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Oct. 23.]

On the 20th instant I received your last letter, of the 16th, and on the morrow following one of the 17th from Sir Robert Cecil, certifying some purpose to stay the "indilate" delivery of the 2000l. sought by the Secretary for the King. Whereupon I have passed over the matter with silence, and yet by the warrant of Sir Robert's letter I have sent forward one packet of letters directed by the Secretary to Mr. David Foulis. Of all these I have herewith advertised Sir Robert Cecil, and also of the progress of the King against the rebels, trusting that by a view of my letter your lordship shall well perceive the King to be in safe estate and well minded, being so occupied in those disordered parts that "myselfe and service" in that realm may in this time be best spared; in consideration whereof her Majesty shall, I trust, grant my access to her presence. Berwick. Signed: Robert Bowes.

2/3 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

388. Robert Bowes to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 23.]

On the 20th instant I received here, at Berwick, a letter of the 16th from your father, and on the morrow, your last, of the 17th, touching the matter contained in your father's letter and also occasioning me to pass over the same without report or assurance of anything therein until further directed. Nevertheless I have (after a little pause and with the warrant in your letter) sent to Mr. David Foulis a packet from the King's Secretary, who, I think, has therein given advertisement of the comfort that he has got for receipt of 2000l. for the King.

By letters from Aberdeen I am informed that the King is resolutely determined to prosecute Huntly and the rest of the rebels with all severity; that he personally proceeds on his journey against them to Strathbogy, Slains and others houses, which he intends to rase and cast down; and that he has resolved and protested solemnly to abide in the north parts until he shall have fully established good order. Hereupon the King has sent Mr. James Melvill, preacher of God's Word, to the ministers at Edinburgh to acquaint them and others of their brethren,—first with his determinate mind, present actions and evident forwardness; next, to persuade them and all his lieges to assist him with their prayers and to supply his great necessities for the full accomplishment of this work; lastly, to provide and take up money in Edinburgh for one further month's pay for his soldiers. Mr. Melvill (Melvin) and the rest of the ministers attending on the King in this expedition have given good testimony of his commendable actions past and promising all wished effects to follow. There is no force seen nor looked to be showed in the fields whilst the King shall remain in those parts. Caithness and Sutherland are sent for to provide that they shall stop the entrance of Huntly and the other rebels seeking passage and refuge in their lands, and also to restrain the receipt of them.

The hurt men of Huntly's party have drawn themselves into Auchindoun's house. This house is of some strength, and it is given out that the rebels will keep it until the spring of the year, looking then to be rescued by foreign forces. The King is minded to besiege this house after he has rased Strathbogy and Slains. I have advised that it with the hurt persons may be besieged with all-expedition.

On the 17th the King sent abroad into the country his waged horsemen with others of that country to make search for the hurt and other rebels lurking thereabouts. It is confidently reported that hereon Errol and the Laird of Cluny, Gordon, are taken, and it is added in my advertisements from discreet persons that the execution of these two shall not be long deferred, if they be indeed in the King's hands; of which several and last effects I am doubtful. Berwick. Signed: Robert Bowes.

12/3 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

389. Sir Robert Cecil to Robert Bowes. [Oct. 24][?] Vol. iii. p. 104.

A letter signifying her Majesty's pleasure for the return of Bowes, enclosing her letters of the 25th (fn. 10) to the King of Scots and the Earl of Argyll for restraining the recourse of Scots into Ireland, together with copies. Nonsuch.

p. Abstract in the hand of Cecil's clerk.

390. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [Oct. 24.]

Yesterday I received your letter of the 22nd, wherein you signified the disorders and outrages down on the Borders and directed me to impart the same to the Provost of this town and the Laird of Wedderburn, that they might inform the Council and procure order therein. Those two not being here, I sought to the Earl of Morton for order therein, but he willed me to deal with the Council, who sit here every Thursday, assuring me of his furtherance. Hereupon I awaited their lordships' going to Council, and when they were "sett," viz., the Earl of Morton, Lord Seton and the Lairds of Bass and Airth, with few others, I showed them the whole matters contained in the letters of Sir John Foster, Sir John Selby and Mr. Gray (all which I return enclosed herewith). Mr. George Young and I read them to the Council who were pleased with your writing to Foster and Selby in the matter they required you by the Provost and Wedderburn, and with their answers thereto, but [were] sorry to hear of those disorders and "not metinge" of the Wardens. For putting order whereto, both for redress of the faults done and avoiding of the like hereafter, they sent for Cessford, (fn. 11) being here, charging him with those matters. For the slaughter of the men (as I hear and am sure, having then come forth from the Council chamber), he said that they were Scotsmen who had stolen, and for whom our Wardens had refused to be answerable; and for doing of justice and keeping of the peace and meeting with the Wardens opposite to him, he protested to be forwards and ready; and for the better effecting of justice and meetings Buccleuch and the Goodman of Huttonhall were also sent for, and came to the Council. They and Sir Robert Kerr are enjoined to send to our Wardens for the appointment of meetings and days of truce, for giving redress; at which meetings Cessford will answer for the slaughter of the men, as is abovesaid. The Council by their letter to you, herewith enclosed, have signified their order taken in these behalfs, which you may signify to our Wardens. (fn. 12) [In the margin: I read the letters to the Council because they sought the particularities of my complaints. As much as I knew, I told them; for neither by the letters nor any other means could I charge any by name with the faults complained of. "Alwaies" I have so dealt that I have procured good order.]

Buccleuch has the keys of the Hermitage, in Liddisdale, and has caused the Armstrongs and chief men there to come to him to his own house and to protest their true services to him. He has told them plainly that if any of them deal any way with Bothwell he will hang them. So Bothwell is barred coming there and presently in "hard case," some say ready to leave the country if he could tell how to get safely out of it.

Since my last, of the 22nd instant, I have not certainly heard what the King is doing, but the ministers, Council and all good men here are assured that he is to his power still earnestly busied in pursuit of the Papist northern Earls, whom he will "execute if he can gitt." I think he is now at Spynie himself, and his forces at Elgin hard by, [and that he is] resolved to tarry there until he has "wracked" those Earls, who with their forces have scattered and fled, God knows whither and how. This town is charged "to make him more help of mony"; which willingly they do, seeing him now in so good a course for the good cause, though by reason of this dearth and of former great charges it much pinches them.

The King, as by my last you know, wrote to the Queen to be ready to come to him upon his next advertisement, and since that he has written again to her, not once making mention of her coming. By that and other means I am given to understand that his Majesty, being advertised that the rebels and their friends and that country hoped for his good departure, intended by his first letter "pollitickly" to put them out of hope of any such matter and to let them know that he will dwell there to "danton" them, rather than to call the Queen to him. The Queen has this day sent Sir Hugh Carmichael to the King, as he tells me, and by him I have sent to friends in Court.

pp. Holograph: also address. Endorsed by Bowes.

391. Elizabeth to James VI. [Oct. 25.]

We have heretofore upon some disorders in the northern parts of our realm of Ireland, especially such provinces as are nearest to Scotland, imparted to you that some of your subjects have used to transfer themselves into Ulster, Fermanagh and Tyrconnell, and there received wages of our rebels, whereof the principal persons are such as have adhered to O'Donnell, Maguire and others. After which motion of ours we have forborne to look so narrowly to those places and passages from Scotland as we would have done, both because we scarce held those stirs worth the troubling ourselves, and because we were desirous the world should take notice that we had so great interest in your love and amity that we should need no other course for impeaching any subject of yours from "parting" with our rebels than by procuring your own commandment for the restraint. Wherein, if by your timely care we shall find our kingdom cleared [of your subjects], then shall we quickly provide for the reduction of those parts into better quiet. At which time, whenever we shall begin, we would be loth, by finding any of yours "sparkled" (fn. 13) with our nation in those countries, to have cause to use one and the same measure to the subjects of a King, our friend, which we shall be forced to do to our own rebels. To the intent you may perceive what cause we have to renew our desire to you at this time, we send you a little note whereby you may understand how certain numbers of Scots daily come to the Irish, (fn. 14) and where they are dispersed, as also the names of some of the principal from whom they were sent. By which notice from us, if you will inform yourself particularly and provide accordingly, we shall take it as an argument of your affection towards us. This we rather desire for the world's satisfaction, to whom we daily manifest our care for anything concerning your estate, than for the power of any such poor rebels there long to stand in our way, notwithstanding all their combinations, when we shall once be determined to take order for such a rabble of traitors. And forasmuch as we have understood that the Earl of Argyll has greatest commandment under you of those parts, we have thought it not amiss, with your privity, to recommend the reformation of the same to him, assuring him that we have no doubt but you will take it as an acceptable service to yourself, being that which may concern the amity of both the kingdoms. [Nonsuch.] (fn. 15)

pp. Draft in the hand of Cecil's clerk. Many corrections in Sir Robert Cecil's hand. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "25 Octobr. 1594. Minute of her Majestis letter to the King of Scottis to restraine the recourse of Scottis into Ireland."

Fair copy of the same (vol. lii., p. 104).

392. Elizabeth to the Earl of Argyll.

We have so many ways been informed of your faithful services to the King your sovereign, even now in the time wherein practice and corruption have appeared in his greatest subjects, that we are willing, out of our affection to him and his estate, to apprehend any good occasion to renew with you the "correspondencies" which we had in former times with your father, of whose loyalty and good inclination to his sovereign's allies and surest friends we perceive you are as well the true inheritor as of his house and fortune. We have at this time written to the King to use his authority for restraining divers of his subjects in the north of Scotland, who daily are "waged" by our traitorously affected Irish. Wherein, since we are of opinion that no subject he has is of greater commandment than yourself, we have thought it not amiss to desire him to let you know his mind therein, and entreat you for the same cause, and therefore do by these our letters not only earnestly move you to use an honourable circumspection in the same for our sake, but also do assure you that if occasion offers to do you pleasure you shall find no prince readier to perform all the best offices in reasonable sort. That you may know some particularities of the matter we send you some little note in what numbers and by whose means those Scots are sent, and also by whom they are waged and where they are dispersed, and we doubt not but you will work such a further reformation as shall yield us honourable satisfaction. [Nonsuch.] (fn. 16)

pp. Draft in Sir Robert Cecil's hand. Many corrections. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "25 Octobr. 1594. Minute of her Majestis letter to the Earl of Argile to restraine the recourse of Scottis into Ireland."

Fair copy of the same (vol. lii. p. 106).

393. Sir Richard Cockburn to Burghley. [Oct. 27.]

I looked assuredly, by receipt of the sums granted for the King, to put an end to my unwilling "empeshing" of her Majesty and your lordship, but I was forced by two several letters to molest her Majesty's eyes in reading my rude and evil written lines and to make a relapse in all these faults whereof I had excused myself before. Likewise I am constrained once again to "inquyet" your lordship, since I am so "tuiched" by the stay of the order given by her Majesty, and which I, immediately upon knowledge thereof, advertised to the King. Think in what sort I may be perturbed and peradventure armed with less patience than passion, but especially for giving intelligence in such haste to the King, whereby I cannot well escape the censuring either of rashness or of making false advertisement, for never will he imagine any "occurred" delay; and yet I had sufficient warrant (which I in no point exceeded) both as to her Majesty's "resolved" pleasure, and for giving advertisement thereof to the King. I must therefore have recourse to your lordship, by whose good mediation I doubt not but that her Majesty shall give order for my sudden despatch, so that the expected and advertised aid may arrive as timeously as it has been considerately granted. The bearer shall make you acquainted with more than is meet to be set down in letter. London. Signed: R. Cokburne.

¾ p. Holograph. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

394. Robert Bowes to Sir Robert Cecil. [Oct. 29.]

[The beginning of the letter is much decayed. It recapitulates the previous accounts of Nicolson's negotiation with the Council anent Border matters.]

That you may understand with best certainty what is done by this Council upon Nicolson's travail by my direction, I enclose the letters addressed to me by the Council and by Nicolson, of the effects of which I have advertised Sir John Foster and Sir John Selby, with my advice to call effectually and with speed for due and "indelate" meetings and justice, certifying me if any delay or impediment shall be found, that I may timely procure redress in the same.

Most of the occurrents mentioned in my last are confirmed by many letters sent from Aberdeen and by Nicolson to me. By these it is assured me that Errol and Cluny Gordon are not taken, as before was given out. It is now confidently certified to me that the arrow-head sticking in the bone of Errol's thigh cannot be drawn out, whereupon his leg is exceedingly swollen. He "is entred into a whott fever" and not likely to escape death.

The King and Council at Aberdeen have enacted that the King shall personally go forward with his forces on the 22nd to Strathbogy, Slains, Auchindoun and the houses of the rebels, and prosecute the rebels and their accomplices with all rigour; that their houses shall be rased and the persons taken be executed. It is certified that the King has showed himself most forward for the execution of this act of Council chiefly advanced by himself, whereby he has recovered greatly the love and hearts of his people.

The King has sworn to abide in those parts until he has chased out the Papists and rebels and established the countries in quietness. He has written twice to the Queen to be in readiness to come to him to Aberdeen upon his letter calling for her, and it [is] thought that he will remain in the north the most part of this [win]ter. For which purpose the country is divided into quarters, and . . . ne quarter to serve forty days. . . . [The Lair]d of Abergeldy, lately in field with Huntly against Argyll, . . . and upon his disobedience his house was spoiled and burnt . . . was deemed (fn. 17) to have been rich. Sundry other houses are . . . King's commandment. The horsemen have spoiled lands and possessions, and one, Douglas, Cluny's servant, being taken, is executed.

. . . the houses of Strathbogy, Slains and Auchindoun were well victualed and to have been kept; yet the keepers (understanding that the King had already sent his horsemen to summon them to be delivered and would follow in person) have so left them that it is verily looked that all the houses shall be rendered into his hands and pleasure.

The King has been informed that Huntly, accompanied only with one man, has departed from those parts, and (as some think) has passed southward to meet with Angus and Bothwell, whom Huntly and Errol accuse to have broken promise with them. All the Gordons who have assisted Huntly are charged to appear before the King and Council and to give caution for their good behaviour. Such as make default shall be prosecuted with all severity. It is now thought that Huntly shall have a fall and perish. Whereupon the Lairds of Findlater, Boyne, Drum and other great barons, lately stooping to him only in fear of his greatness, now frankly offer themselves and their services against him. The rents of the rebels and of their partakers shall be employed for the sustentation of the King's house and payment of the guard during the King's abode there, "and so farr as it will reache," and no escheats shall be given except in especial causes and services. But it is doubted that the King's want will drive him against his will to leave some part of the work not fully finished.

The Earls of Caithness and Sutherland, being sent for, made default; whereupon a sharp charge is awarded against them to appear, otherwise the King will prosecute them with all his forces. The King has no less privy and good intelligence with sundry persons about Huntly and Errol than he had with some of the company following Bothwell, and is put in hope to entrap shortly some principal in that rebellious crew. After he has established those northern parts in peace and good order, he purposes to leave Argyll to be his lieutenant there; wherewith the well affected barons, burghs and kirks are greatly comforted, and Marishal, Forbes and many barons of best strength thereabouts freely offer him their assistance. Bothwell yet is, or within these three or four days w[as] . . . and in distressed case, if the promises made to the King by . . . Cessford and other Scottishmen shall be fully kept. . . . These occurrents specified are commended to . . . and by persons of honour, of especial credit and . . . and consideration thereof the present estate in S . . . appear to you and be seen to promise . . . that nation than lately was expected . . . in the north for the effects declared . . . shall not so much profit as my access to her Majesty's presence and opening of matters to her. Therefore I trust to receive licence for my speedy access. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.

2⅓ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil. Parts of this letter are destroyed by damp.

395. News from Strathbogy, Torriesoul, etc. [Oct. 29.]

"The effectuall partes of th'occurrantes certefyed by letters sent from Strabogye, Terrisole, (fn. 18) etc., 29 October 1594."

The King is presently at Strathbogy, where his intended work has been crossed by many hindrances, for it came into deliberation whether the houses of the Papists should be demolished, or be kept standing that garrisons might be put in them to keep the country in subjection and to take up the rents and profits of the lands. But by the earnest means of Argyll, Lord Lindsay and the ministers, with the King's help it was concluded that the houses should be rased, sore against the will of some great men, seeking by all their means to preserve the houses. The pioneers have wrought two days to rase the house at Strathbogy. Nothing thereof is left "unhocked," saving the great old tower, which shall be blown up with powder this day, 29 Octobris. The house, being fourteen years in building, shall be cast down and made "equall" with the ground in two days, and all men are made "free to the spoyle therof."

On the next day the King will pass to Slains, Errol's house, and from thence to John Gordon of Newton's house at Newton, to demolish them with other houses where the mass has been said. These things done, the King will return to Aberdeen and remain there until order shall be put to the country, for the waters are so great [and] the victuals so scant and wholly wasted that the King cannot march farther northwards or abide longer about Strathbogy and in those bounds. They have been four days without any victuals other than they brought with them, whereupon sundry of the King's army died by lack of food.

Argyll shall be appointed lieutenant in the north, but will not accept the office before conferring with his friends; for which purpose he seeks leave to repair into his country. It is not known who shall be left lieutenant in his absence. The King will leave in those quarters horsemen and footmen to serve under the lieutenant, and the burghs shall be joined by band to serve together. Hard shifts are made to keep together either the country soldiers serving there by proclamation or the "waged men," in whom the King chiefly trusts. Where [i.e. inasmuch as] it was reported that MacIntosh and Grant had agreed with Huntly, therefore MacIntosh sent to the King his especial kinsman, and Grant came in person, to acquit themselves thereof. The Papists "crackis" [boast] of men and money to come to them. It is confessed by some who know their doings that they are promised men in the next spring at the farthest, and money in the meantime. Huntly has gone into Caithness.

pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk.

396. Articles for the Rebel Earls, with Answers by Mr. Archibald Douglas. [October.]

(1) That the Earls and their allies and followers abstain from all foreign combinations and practices. [Answer.] I think it shall be granted on condition that they may be made assured of her Majesty's favour to be extended towards them to the King in case it shall be needful. (2) That they perform all dutiful sincerity in the maintenance and conservation of the established religion in England and Scotland. [Answer.] I think that will be yielded to, provided they shall not be troubled "for their privat behaviour of their particuler consciencis." [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "By way of inquisition in matter of ther privat conscience."] (3) That they neither attempt nor consent to any alteration of religion or disturbance of the peace of both realms, nor assist any English or Irish rebels. (4) That they shall not publish or set forth any title of succession to this realm of England during her Majesty's life, but shall with all their power withstand the doing thereof. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "This must pass with silence."] [Answer.] The third and fourth I think shall be agreed to under the conditions aforesaid. (5) That they shall put in bands and pledges for performance of the promises made to her Majesty in their behalf, the band to be had before any act of favour be showed to them, and the pledges to be named and delivered at a day and place certain, with the King's privity. [Answer.] The fifth appears to contain some obscurity, viz. that they shall give in band before any act of favour shall be showed to them, which I think they may be moved to perform under promise that the premises shall be performed, but as to giving in pledges with the King's privity, that cannot be done without the King's consent, to whom they as yet have spoken nothing of this matter. As touching that which is desired to be known, viz., what they will desire to be performed to them, I think, if the matter shall be well "delt into," they will crave no farther but the performance of the premises and her Majesty's princely promise hereupon.

pp. Endorsed by Burghley: "Octob. 1594. Articles for the Scottish Erles to perform, with answers by Archib. Douglass. Delivered by Sir Jhon Fortescuye."

397. Money paid to James VI. [October.] See Border Papers, i. No. 988.

"Monie paid owt of the Receipt to the Kinge of Scottes use."

1586. By Roger Ashton, 4000l. 1587. Nil. 1588. Sent by Captain Carvell, 2000l.; by the Earl of Huntingdon to Mr. Robert Bowes, 3000l. 1589. By the Laird of Wemys, 3000l. 1590. By Sir John Carmichael, 3000l. besides, delivered to Colonel Stewart, 500l.; by Mr. John Colville, 3000l. 1591. By James Hudson, 3000l. 1592. By the same James Hudson, 2000l. 1593. By Sir Robert Melville, 4000l. 1594. By David Foulis, 4000l.; by Sir Robert (sic) Cockburne, 2000l.—33,500l.

At 3000l. per. an., being the rate which her Majesty and Queen Mary were allowed by King Henry VIII., he is overpaid 6500l. If at 4000l. per an., there remains to be paid for these nine years 2500l.

¾ p. In the hand of Cecil's clerk. Endorsed.


  • 1. Apparently they, in the vanguard, were driven back upon the main "battle" or division.
  • 2. Compare the list given by Calderwood, v. 351–2.
  • 3. Gordon struck out.
  • 4. Blank left in the original.
  • 5. Altered from posting.
  • 6. Decayed.
  • 7. Guidon, a kind of standard. See Halliwell's Dictionary.
  • 8. Elizabeth sent an army to the support of Henry IV. in Brittany, and as a base "the King has consigned to her the town of Morlaix, which is near the shore and can be easily held. The town was in the hands of the League, so the English had to capture it, which they did." Marshal D'Aumont was one of the French commanders. Venetian Papers, ix. No. 309.
  • 9. A Turkish victory in Hungary over the Imperialists was reported at this time. (I bid. No. 310.)
  • 10. It would seem from this that Cecil's letter is misdated in this abstract. The letters of Elizabeth are calendared hereafter (Nos. 391, 392).
  • 11. Sir Robert Kerr, apparent of Cessford, was Warden of the Middle March (P.C. v. 178); It leads to confusion that throughout the calendar he is styled indifferently Cessford and young Cessford.
  • 12. Here amissing. It is printed in Border Papers, i. No. 986.
  • 13. sparkle: scatter, disperse. (Halliwell's Dictionary.)
  • 14. The original draft here reads "a litle note of dyverse Scotis come into O'Donell of late; some sent by one called Nyee M'James; some by M'Coue . . . landed in O'Donellis contrye where there are to the nom[ber] of 800, besidis 200 entertained."
  • 15. From the copy.
  • 16. From the copy.
  • 17. This word might also read denied.
  • 18. See The Book of the Duffs, A. and H. Tayler, vol. i. p. 341 and n.