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A.D. 1528—1556. 

Left to the care of Sir Thomas Tempest — "Restored in blood," and knighted by 
Edward VI. — Nominated Governor of Prudhoe Castle — Recaptures Scarborough 
Castle — Created Baron Percy of Cockermouth, and on following day Earl of 
Northumberland, by Queen Mary — Restoration of Lands — Appointed Warden 
of East and Middle Marches — Adopts measures for defence of the Borders — 
Makes raids into Scotland with aid of foreign mercenaries — Marries Lady Anne 
Somerset — Viewed with suspicion by Queen Elizabeth — Resigns the Wardenship 
— Queen Mary of Scotland takes refuge in Westmoreland — The Earl attempts to 
obtain her guardianship — Elizabeth's claims upon his copper mines — He joins the 
Earl of Westmoreland in the defence of the ancient faith against the Reforma- 
tion — Symptoms of armed opposition — He refuses to obey the Queen's command 
to repair to Court — Alleged influence of the Countess of Northumberland — The 
rebellion breaks out — Its causes — Proclamations by the two Earls — Who are pro- 
claimed traitors —Degradation from the Order of the Garter — "The North in 
Arms" — Capture of Barnard Castle — Feeble tactics — Futile appeal to allies — 
Suppression of the rebellion and flight of the two Earls — Fallen among thieves — 
Escape into Scotland — Elizabeth's demand for the surrender of the rebels — 
Negotiations broken off by the death of the RegeDt Murray — Terrible retribu- 
tion — Invasion of Scotland — Attitude of Sir Henry Percy — Lady Northumber- 
land's appeals — The Laird of Lochleven surrenders his guest — Popular 
indignation in Scotland — Lord Hunsdon custodian of the Earl — Who is tried — 
Sentenced to death — And executed at York — The widowed Countess and her 
daughters " Pages &— 12$ 




Contrast between " Simple Tom" and "Cruel Henry" — Border raids — The Congre- 
gationers — The Earl marries Lord Latimer's daughter — His part in the rebellion 
— His sympathy with the Scottish Queen — Committed to the Tower — Restored to 
favour — At Petworth — Engaged in new plots — Is dismissed from Governorship of 
Tynemouth Castle — Re-committed to the Tower — The evidence against him — 
His mysterious death — The "True and summary Report " — Grave suspicion of 
foul play — His extensive possessions Pages 126 — 176 


Brought up in the Protestant faith — Attempts to convert him to Romanism — Defective 
training — His love of literature and art — Domestic expenditure — Disputes with 
his mother — The Armada — Is made a Knight of the Garter — Depressed state of 
Northumberland — Projected marriage with Lady Arabella Stuart — Marriage with 
Lady Dorothy Perrott — Family jars — The Earl of Essex — Charles and Richard 
Percy — Dudley Carleton — Lord Southampton — The Earl challenges Sir Francis 
de Vere — Secret correspondence with King James VI. — Lord Henry Howard — Sir 
Walter Raleigh — Lord Burghley — Accession of King James — Sir Francis Bacon 
— The Earl retires from Court — The Gunpowder Plot — Thomas Percy — The 
Earl placed under restraint — His examination and trial in the Star Chamber — 
Animus of the King and his minister — The sentence — Proving a negative — Lord 
Knollys — The Earl's lands sequestrated — A wife's pleading — The Queen's 
death — Syon House — Life in the Tower — The wizard Earl and his magi — 
Prison expenditure — The Earl of Cumberland — Lady Lucy Percy and Lord 
Hay — " Instructions to my son " — Compared with Chesterfield's letters — Release 
from the Tower— A calm old age after a stormy life Pages 177 — 365 





Boyhood in the Tower — College life — Marriage with Lady Anne Cecil— Is elected a 
Knight of the Garter — Appointed Admiral of the Channel Fleet — Uncongenial 
duties — Launch of a monster ship of war — Death of his Countess — Is created 
Lord High Admiral — The Earl and Countess of Leicester — The Countess of 
Carlisle — Naval reforms — The Dutch and Spanish fleets — The Scottish war — 
Appointed Lord General — Military organization — Lord Conway — Severe illness 
— Lord Strafford — Sir Henry Percy and the Army plot — The Earl's political 
views — Revocation of his commission as Lord High Admiral — Civil War — The 
Oxford and Uxbridge Commission — Custody of the King's children — Escape of 
the Duke of York — The last negotiations — The Earl votes against the King's 
trial — Demolition of Wressil Castle — Correspondence with the Earl of Leicester 
— Lord Percy of Alnwick — The restoration — Moderate counsels — The Earl 
retires from public life— Education of his son— His death— Sir William Temple's 
summary of his character Pages 366 — 476 



His letters to his tutor — Marriage with Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley — Correspon- 
dence with Sir William Temple — Travels with John Locke — Dies at Turin — The 
succession of his daughter and heiress challenged by James Percy, the trunk- 
maker — Proceedings of the claimant — Result — The widowed Countess marries 
Lord Montagu — And is deprived of the custody of her only child . Pages 477 — 491 



The Dowager Countess of Northumberland — Lady Elizabeth's numerous suitors — Is 
married in her twelfth year to the Earl of Ogle — Who dies a few months after 
When she is wedded to Thomas Thynne, of Longleat — Mysterious circum- 
stances attending this marriage— Count Koningsmarck's murder of Thynne — 
Lady Elizabeth becomes Duchess of Somerset — Character of " The Proud Duke" 
—Life at Court — The Earl and Countess of Hertford Pages 492 — 512 





Lady Elizabeth and Sir Hugh Smithson — Their marriage — Death of Lord Beauchamp 
— Animosity of the Duke of Somerset to the heiress — His intrigues defeated by 
Sir Hugh Smithson — Who is created Earl of Northumberland — Appointed Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland — And employed in delicate political negotiations by the 
King — Is created Duke of Northumberland — Lord Bute and Lord Chatham — 
Queen Charlotte and the Duchess of Northumberland — Entertainments at 
Northumberland House — The Ticture Gallery — The Duchess of Northumber- 
land's letters from Faris — Her death — The Gordon Riots — Death of the Duke — 
His character Pages 513 — 546 



His military tastes— Serves as Volunteer in Seven Years' War— Enters the First Foot 
Guards — Promoted to command the Fifth Foot — Marries Lady Anne Stuart — 
Embarks for Boston — His letter on the actions at Lexington and Bunker's Hill 
— Is made Lieutenant-General — Disputes with Sir George Howe — Resigns his 
command— His political views — Friendship for Charles Fox — Declines public 
office — The Prince Regent — Measures against invasion — Differences with Fox — 
Marries Miss Burrell. 

Hugh, the Third Duke.— Represents England at the Coronation of Charles X. 
— His munificence. 

Algernon, the Fourth Duke.— Services in the Navy— Appointed First Lord of 
the Admiralty— Scientific attainments — Restoration of Alnwick Castle — Marries 
Lady Eleanor Grosvenor. 

George, Earl of Beverley, succeeds as Fifth Duke— And, dying in 1S67, i< 
succeeded by his son, Algernon George, as Sixth Duke— The fifteenth member 
of the House of Percy who was a Knight of the Garter . . . . Pages 547— 573 




I. Appointment of Seventh Earl of Northumberland 

as Chief of an Embassy to Scotland 575 

II. Seizure of Queen Mary's Treasure 576 

III. Confession of the Earl of Northumberland .... 576 

IV. The First Proclamation of the Two Earls .... 577 

V. " Protestacon " Addressed to the Nobles 578 

VI. List of Attainders on the Suppression of the Earls' 

Rebellion 579 

VII. Leonard Dacre 5 Sl 

VIII. Summary of the Revenues of the Eighth Earl of 

Northumberland 582 

VIII a. "The State of England, Anno Domini 1600, by Thomas 

Wilson" SU 

IX. Compromise of a Northumbrian Blood-Feud .... 585 

X. The Table of Descent of Thomas Percy, the Gun- 
powder Plot Conspirator 5 86 

XI. Alleged Misdemeanours of Thomas Percy 589 

XII. Deposition of Josceline Percy 599 

XIII. "The Decree of Star Chamber againste the Earle 
of Northumberland in the Fourth Year of King 
James, Trinity Term" 600 

XIV. Interrogatories to be Ministered to the Earl of 

Northumberland, this 23 of June 6°6 

ix b 


""• PAGE 

XV. Letter from the Ninth Earl of Northumberland 

to Lord Knollys 608 

XVI. An Extent, touching the Estate of the Earl of 
Northumberland in the King's Hands for a 
Fine of 30,000/. 616 

XVII. Syon House 619 

XVIII. Letters Patent, 8th November, iith James L, being a 
Pardon and Release unto Henry, Earl of North- 
umberland, of a Fine of 30,000/. upon him in the 
Star Chamber in consideration of 11,000/. paid 
into the Exchequer 621 

XIX. The Earl of Northumberland's Library in the 

Tower 626 

XX. The Cost of Installation of the Tenth Earl of 

Northumberland as a Knight of the Garter . 630 

XXI. A List of Colonels, as also of the Several Counties 
out of which they are to raise their men, as also 
the Names of Ships, Captains, and Lieutenants 
that are now set forth under the Command of 
the Right Honble. Algernon Percy, Earl of 
Northumberland, General and Admiral of the 
Marine and Fleet for the Expedition, 1640 .... 632 

XXII. Mr. Isaac Disraeli's Portrait of the Tenth Earl of 

Northumberland 634 

XXIII. The Oxford Commissioners 635 

XXIV. Harry Martyn 635 

XXV. Horrors of the Civil War 636 

XXVI. Return made by the Earl of Northumberland's 
Agents and Presented to Parliament in Support 
of Petition for Compensation for Losses Sus- 
tained by the Civil War 636 

XXVII. Commission of High Constable of Encland 637 

XXVIII. Abstract of the Will of Algernon, Tenth Earl of 

Northumberland 638 






XXX. Warrant authorising Henry, Earl of Ogle, to 


XXXI. Lady Elizabeth Percy's Marriage with Thomas 

Thynne 644 

XXXII. The Seymours, Dukes of Somerset 646 

XXXIII. Swift's "Windsor Prophecy" 648 

XXXIV. Pedigree of the Smithsons of Stanwick, Yorkshire . 649 

XXXV. Assumption of the Name of Percy by Sir Hugh 
Smithson on attaining the Earldom of North- 
umberland 652 

XXXVI. Value of the Percy Estates in Northumberland 

at different Periods 653 

xi - X// 




Portrait of Thomas, Seventh Earl of Northumberland, K.G. 

From a Painting at Alnwick Castle Frontispiece 

Facsimile of Passport Signed by Thomas, Seventh Earl of 

Northumberland, and the Earl of Westmoreland ... 63 

Reliquary of the Holy Thorn 122 

Petworth House, from an Old Drawing 157 

Facsimile of Autographs of Eighth and Ninth Earls of 

Northumberland, KG 176 

Portrait of the Ninth Earl of Northumberland, K.G. ... 177 

Syon House 249 

Portrait of the Tenth Earl of Northumberland, K.G. From 

a Painting at Syon House 366 

Northumberland House, Strand. From a Painting by Canaletti . 446 
Facsimile of Autograph of Tenth Earl of Northumberland, 

K.G 476 

Portrait of the Eleventh Earl of Northumberland. From 

a Painting at Alnwick Castle 477 

Portrait of Elizabeth, Baroness Percy, Duchess of Somerset. 

From a Painting at Alnwick Castle 49 l 

Portrait of Charles, Sixth Duke of Somerset, K.G. From a 

Painting at Syon House S° l 

xiii c 



Portrait of Elizabeth, Baroness Percy, Duchess of North- 
umberland. From a Portrait at Syon House 513 

Portrait of Hugh, First Duke of Northumberland. From a 

Portrait at Syon House 521 

Alnwick Castle, as Restored by the First Duke of North- 
umberland. From a Painting by Canaletti 531 

Portrait of Algernon, Fourth Duke of Northumberland, 

K.G. From a Painting at Alnwick Castle 570 

Portrait of George, Fifth Duke of Northumberland. From 

a Painting at Alnwick Castle 572 

Memorial Tablet to Members of the Percy Family in 
Petworth Church 653 

Atchievement of Arms of Algernon George, Sixth Duke 
of Northumberland, K.G At end of Vol. 



Tage 9, line Ii, for " William " read " Henry." 
IO, ,, 21, dele " and" and "moreover." 

17, footnote 2, for " Sir John Bowes " read " Sir George Bowes." 
39, line 3, for "half-sister of" read "nearest of kin to." 
47>f or " clericals" read " clerics." 

52, footnote l, for "Robert" read "George" Bowes. 
82, 7 lines from foot, for " Atilla" read "Attila." 

53, last line, for " Femeyhead " read " Ferneyhurst." 
91, footnote I, line 2, for "by Sussex to Cecil" read "to Sussex, Cecil, &c, 

100, line 2, for "Loughlevin " read " Loch Leven." 
Ill, footnote, for " Thirlstone " read "Thirlstane." 
135, headline, for " Congregations" read " Congregationers." 
146, lines 13 and 1$, from "of Henry Percy" to end of evidence in inverted 

177, last line but one from bottom, after "the" insert "eighth." 
187, footnote 2, line 2, for "moent" read "invent." 
195, line 5, for "rhymes " read "lines." 
202, ,, 19, for " ears" read "knowledge." 
2 °3> >> *9» for "Edward" read "Edmund." 
341, line 10, for " injustice" read "personal injury." 

341, footnote ^ for " Robert " read " Thomas." 

342, footnote I, 4th line from bottom, for " Poppea" read " Poppsea." 
361, footnote l, for " Knoll " read " Knole." 
391, footnote 2, line 3, for "amorous" read "amatory." 
427, footnote I, for " Duke " read " Earl " of Bedford. 
448, line 12, for "Chislehurst " read "Christ Church." 
464, line 4, for "Dacres" read "Dacre." 
5°9> >j 17, for " Earl" read " Duke." 
513, under headlines, for "Died 1777" read " Died 1776." 
525, line 8, for "nephew" read "grandson." 
529, line 14, for " sixth" read "seventh." 
529, footnote 1, line 3, for "for" read "from." 
537, date in margin, for " 1765" read " 1766." 
54S, footnote I, for "' 1767 " read " 1766." 
556, line 16, dele "in 1777." 

572, last \me, for "Greathead" read " Greatheed." 
589, footnote 2, for " MSS. 2 " read " I.1SS. Q. 2." 

Ube "Ibouse of pevc^. 

vol. II. * >/ 


^rbmtlj a?art of iiorfljumficvIanB, U.<B. 

Born 1528. 

Restored, May 1, 1557. 
Executed at York, Aug. 22, 1572. 

■Co n tempo ra ry 
English Sovereigns. 

Henry VIII. 
Edward VI. ace. 1547. 
Mary „ 1553. 

Elizabeth „ 1558. 

tSIPSS^W Y his wife Eleanor, daughter and heiress 

of Guiscard Harbottall, of Beamish, 
Durham, 1 Sir Thomas Percy had left 
two sons and one daughter, 2 who, on 
their father's attainder and execution, 

appear to have been thrown upon the charity of their 


1 Their marriage settlement, under which the Earl of Westmoreland, 
Sir Thomas Hylton, and Sir John Delaville were trustees, is preserved 
in the Record Office. Four years after Sir Thomas Percy's death his 
widow married Sir Richard Holland of Denton. He died in 1548, and 
by a will under which Sir John Byron of Newstead, Nottingham (an 
ancestor of the poet), was executor, left her very handsomely provided 
for. Among her accounts there is an acquittance from Adam Holland 
of Manchester " for blacks supplied to Lady Alianore Percy for Sir 
Richard Holland's burial: ^28 iij. 4^/. " She had previously been left 
considerable property by the widow Margaret Middleton, including four 
salt-pans in Northumberland, for sixty years at an annual rental of 
^13 6s. 8d. " to be tendered half yearly in the body of the Parish 
Church of St. Nicholas in Newcastle." 

3 Married to Sir Francis Slingsby of Scriven. 

^ B 2 


A - D - The Duke of Norfolk writes :— 

r c 2 X | "* 7 2 

— D "As to Sir Thomas Percy's chyldern I have entreated 

good Syr Thomas Tempest to take them into his custodie, 
they being at this tyme in the Bushopricke, withyn twoo 
myles of his house, and have promised hym to have ther 
costes payed for." J 

A few months later Sir Thomas Tempest sought to 
be relieved of the responsibility of this charge, for 
the Bishop of Durham writes on his behalf: — 

"Also Sir Thomas Tempest, at the commaundment of 
my Lorde of Northfolke, hath the sonnes of Sir Thomas 
Percy in his kepinge at his hows in the Byshoprick ; which 
howse is not stronge, but veray weyke, and within 16 myle 
of Tyndal ; no town betwyx, nor nodyr obstacle than the 
ryver of Tyne when the water is rysen ; for at low 
waters ther be 2 fordes that every man may passe, by 
whiche the thevys mych do ennoy our contrey. I know 
this to be trew by experience, for I have rydden the same 
way. He desyreth mych to be rydde of the custody of 
them, and demaundyth of me licence to be absent for the 
kepinge off them ; which resonably I cannot deny, and 
yet his presence wer veray necessary. Some odyr place, 
more within the contre, were more mete than his hows, 
and the chyldren be yonge, and most be amonge 
women." 2 

It seems to have been apprehended that attempts 
would be made by Scottish marauders to capture these 
children, presumably with a view to ransom, or for the 
purpose of using the influence of their name in future 
raids upon English territory. It is not explained why 
they had been withdrawn from their mother's care (pos- 
sibly in consequence of her complicity in the rebellion), 

1 Norfolk to Cromwell, Sth July, 1537, State Papers, Henry VIII. 

VOl. V. p. Q2. 

1 Bishop Tunstall to same, Ibid,, p. 11S. 



and little is known of the conditions under which they 
passed the twenty years intervening between their father's 
death and the restoration of the Earldom. 

As they advanced to man's estate they took part in the 
defence of the Borders ; and Thomas, the elder son, 
appears to have received knighthood at the hands of 
King Edward VI." by whom he had previously been 
restored, "only in blood, as heir to his father" to enable 
him to inherit any lands that might descend to him from 
collateral branches of his house. He and his brother 
Henry were also under this grant permitted "to have 
and enjoy in survivorship all offices, fees and profits, and 
an annuity of ioo marks," granted to them by their uncle, 
the sixth Earl of Northumberland ; but ail the lands 
which this Earl had transferred in trust to the Crown, as 
well as those belonging to their father on his attainder, 
were specially exempted from the operation of this act. 

Shortly after the accession of Queen Mary Sir Thomas 
Percy was nominated Governor of Prudhoe Castle ; 2 and 
in the several outbreaks provoked by religious persecu- 
tion under the new reign, he showed himself an active 
and zealous supporter of the Queen's cause. 

When in 1557 Sir Thomas Stafford with an armed 
body of men set sail from France, and by a sudden 
onslaught succeeded in capturing the castle of Scar- 
borough, 3 Sir Thomas Percy was despatched by the 

1 He is for the first time called Sir Thomas towards the end of 


2 There appears to have been a long pending dispute between Thomas 
Percy and one Thomas Carey, gentleman, as to the right to this office, 
which Queen Mary, by an order in council dated March 14, 1555, 
decided in favour of the former, Carey being ordered "wholly to avoyde 
the said Castle at Whitsuntide," and to pay a fine of £20. — See 
Alnwick MSS. vol. i. 

3 See Sandford's Genealogical History of England, p. 479, and 
Holinshead, vol. iv. p. 86. This Stafford, a younger son of the Lord 
Stafford, was beheaded on Tower Hill, 28 May, 1557. 





a.d. Earl of Westmoreland to recover the fortress, which 
x 5 2 _^ 72 he effected after a two days' siege. 

So devout a daughter of the Church as Queen Mary 
of England could hardly remain insensible to the claims 
of one whose father had incurred ruin and death in 
defence of the Catholic faith, even if his military prowess 
had not given him claims to her recognition. 

She accordingly, by letters patent dated 30th April 
1557, created him Baron Percy of Cockermouth and, on 
the day following, Earl of Northumberland : " in con- 
sideration of his noble descent, constancy, virtue, and 
value in arms and other strong qualifications." l 

A portion of the lands which his- uncle had bequeathed 
to the Crown were at the same time restored to him, 2 
and in his thirtieth year Thomas Percy entered into 
possession of the great northern Earldom : amid the 
passionate enthusiasm of the population, and in the full 
enjoyment of his Queen's confidence and favour. The 
high offices, as Guardian of the Frontier, which had 
come to be considered the hereditary right of his house, 
were at once conferred upon him ; he was appointed 
" Marshal of the Field against the Scots 3 ; " Member 
of the Council of the North, Governor of Redesdale, Tyn- 
dale and Berwick, and Warden of the East and Middle 
Marches, " which conjunction," writes Her Majesty 
" will I trust bring all to obedience. 4 " 

Although better versed in the pursuits and recreations of 
country life than in affairs of state, the Earl of Northumber- 

1 Fxdera, xv. 461-462. The Charter, an elaborate parchment docu- 
ment with a richly illuminated border, and surmounted by portraits of 
Queen Mary and Philip of Spain, is preserved at Syon House. 

2 Letters Patent, 4 and 5, Philip and Mary. The restitution was 
made to the Earl of Northumberland in tail male with remainder to 
his brother Henry Percy in tail male. 

3 The Queen to the Council of the North, May 19, i 5S7 . State 
Papers. * 

« Fasi1era % xv. 46S, 472, and 4-5. 



land applied himself diligently to the duties of his various A.n. 
civil offices; while in the more congenial employment of 
military command he proved an able and energetic guardian 
of the frontier. The project of a surprise of Norham ' 
and Wark 2 Castles, by a strong force under the Queen 
Mother of Scotland in person, in August 15 58, was de- 
feated by his vigilance ; and in the following October 
Lord Shrewsbury, President of the North, reports to the 
Privy Council " the great goode wille and much dylygence 
and pacyens in doing, and suffering the wether and want 
of things, of my Lord Northumberland and others. 3 " 

His correspondence furnishes many details on 
the system of border, defence and warfare as pursued 
at that time. He quotes the frontier garrisons under his 
command at 1 1 50 men "in bands of hundreds and fifties," 4 
450 of them being " spoiled inhabitants," and all the rest 
Northumberland men. The pay they received varied 
from 6d. to 12^/. a day (equal at least to 3s. and 6s. of our 
money), but this included maintenance of man and 
horse, as well as clothing and equipment. 

In another report 5 he submits a plan for more effectually 
defending the border against the increasing forces of the 

1 Sir Henry Percy held the Governorship of this important strong- 
hold, having, in 1557, obtained Queen Mary's sanction to purchase the 
post from his cousin, Richard Norton of Conyers. for ^300. 

2 In December, Northumberland informs the Council that he had 
removed the Governor, Rowland Forster, from the command of this 
fortress — "I should be sorry for such a man to keep a place which 
is the principal key of that frontier. I have no private grudge against 
him, and would be glad to find him deserve well, as his friends are honest 
and trusty. The place is so important that I wish the Queen would take 
order with Mr. Grey to have it in her own hands, and so put it in order, 
that it shall not be in danger of being lost." — State Papers, Dom. Mary. 
Addenda, p. 463. 

3 Talbot Papers, i. 29. 

4 "Some are brought to Glendale at moonlight, but other times lie 
where in the dark there is as much danger, and more plenty of food." — 
Earl of Northumberland to Privy Council, Dec. 21, 1557. State Papers, 
Don. Mary. 

5 Same to same, 13 Nov., 1557. — Ibid. 



a.d. Scotch, " who should either be scourged with great armies, 
152 JI! 572 for which the time of year is too late, or kept at bay by 
great frontier garrisons." He considers that the force to 
be maintained in the Middle Marches alone should be 
raised to not less than 2,500 men : " footmen are not as 
much service as horse, for they can do nothing in winter 
but stay in holds and towns, otherwise they will be ready 
to follow and fray." 

In her reply to this communication the Queen says : 
" You write so often and earnestlie that we have re- 
solved to send now 1000 inland men for service on the 
borders, 300 of whom to be archers on horseback, 400 
light-horse, and 300 arquebusiers. . . . every soldier on 
horseback is to have I2d. a day;" the Earl's own 
retainers, " if they serve above ten days, to be allowed 
6d. a day ; if less, a convenient reward." 1 

In January the Earl, in compliance with the Queen's 
commands, raised 1000 men to garrison Berwick 
against a contemplated attack by the French "every 
100 men to have two experienced leaders;" and in 
the following April he writes : " Last Thursday I de- 
vised with my brother to burn a town in the Merse, 
called Langton, because it was a place of harbour for 
their chief officer, and there was much corn there. . . 
We crossed over with 1000 foot and 100 horse at 
Norham, burnt the town and a large quantity of corn, 
and divers villages thereabout, and took a great booty 
of cattle. . . . Lord Hume and all the company, about 
200 horse and 600 foot, so straightly followed, that my 
brother, alter he had drawn the horse in order, was com- 
pelled to light on foot, and after a long encounter the 
victory was on your side ; ico Scots killed, 400 prisoners ; 
English losses not above six, and as many taken." 

1 Queen Mary to Northumberland, Nov. 1557. State Papers. Dom 
Mary, Addenda, p. 461. 


The employment of foreign mercenaries was at this a.d. 
period much resorted to for the defence of the borders, 
and the Queen now informs her Lord Warden that " 3000 
Almaius are ready to be transported out of Flanders," 
and would arrive at Newcastle by the 26th June. She 
requests that " As we are at great charge in entertaining 
these men. . . . they may not lie still but be occupied 
as often as may be to the damage of the enemy." ' 

Within a year after his restoration the Earl of North- 
umberland had formed a happy marriage with the 
Lady Anne Somerset, daughter of William, second 
Earl of Worcester, and a long, prosperous and honourable 
career seemed to lie before him. Affectionate and 
single-minded, a warm friend, a jovial and hospitable 
neighbour and a kind and generous master ■ devoted to 
field sports and martial exercises and, although of an 

[indolent and irresolute nature and possessed of little 
intellectual power yet, by no means devoid of dignity, or 
of a due sense of the responsibility attaching to him as 
the head of his house and as a great Border chieftain, 
what faith would have been placed in the prophet who 
should have foretold that, within little more than twelve 
years, this kindly and genial nobleman would have lit the 
torch of civil war and passed, through penury and exile, 
to an ignominious death on the scaffold ? 

The two Earls, whose names were soon to be so 
fatally associated, were at this time far from united. 
Northumberland and his brother had more than once 
complained of Lord Westmoreland's unfairness towards 
them. In May the Council writes in reply to these 
remonstrances: "You* have heard untrue reports that 
the Earl of Westmoreland has, by letters or otherwise, 
endeavoured to discredit your services, and complained 

1 The Queen to the Earl of Westmoreland, June, 1558. State Papers, 
■Dom. Ada", p. 497. 


a.d. to us of you, which you think unkind. As lieutenant 
152 _lf 572 he ought to find fault with any man about the service, 
but he never did about you. Therefore we beg you will 
not give credit to such false reports, nor listen to tale- 
bearers, who cause unquietness, and hinder the service, 
but consider my Lord-lieutenant your friend, and join 
him in all amity." x The breach was not healed however, 
for in the following month the Queen instructs the 
Bishop of Ely, and the Master of the Rolls, " to examine 
the causes of the division between the Earls of West- 
moreland and Northumberland, and between the Lord 
Eure and Sir H. Percy, and if possible appease the same, 
or we must seek means of redress." 

On the death of Alary a change at once came over the 
Earl's position. The recipients of the late Queen's favour 
were from the first viewed with suspicion by Elizabeth 
and her counsellors. A minister who professed to believe 
the holding of the Catholic faith to be incompatible 
with loyalty to the Crown, 2 could hardly view without 
mistrust the son of so zealous a papist as the attainted 
Sir Thomas Percy, and who had moreover owed his re- 
storation to the favour of Queen Alary. Elizabeth, more- 
over, was disposed to pursue the policy of her father, and 
to weaken the power which, within their own territories, 
was still exercised by the ancient nobility of England. 

A commission for the redress of grievances on the 
border, of which, in 1559, the Earl of Northumberland 
was appointed the chief, 3 was subsequently, when the 
matters under discussion became complicated by the 
introduction of questions relating to the claims of 

1 State Papers, Addenda, p. 480. 

2 " I cannot forget how your lordship dyd wyll me to holde y f for a 
principle that popery and treeson went always together." — Lord Hunting- 
don to Lord Burghley, 2S Dec, 1572. Ibid. 

3 Appendix, I. 



the Scottish Protestants, strengthened by the nom- a.*j$S* 
ination of Sir Ralph Sadler, Chancellor of the Duchy 
of Lancaster, who was at the same time appointed 
Governor of Berwick. He was one of Cecil's most 
trusted and most able agents, and the secret instructions 
which he now received 1 imply suspicion either of the 
loyalty or of the capacity of the Lord Warden, whom 
Sadler in his letters loses no opportunity of disparaging, 
sometimes by innuendo relating to the danger of his 
religious opinions, at others by direct charges of in- 
competence or untrustworthiness. 

Thus he writes : — I 

"As for Sir Henry Percy I saw him not yet; for he 
hath not ben nere the frontiers synse I came hyther, 
nor a good whyle before ; nor do I judge him a man of 
such integryte as in any wyse may be comparable to Sir 
James Croft. And the Earl his brother is, I assure you, 
a very unmete man for the charge which is comytted 
unto him here." 2 

Again a few days later : " It is more than xx. 
yeres ago syns I had som understanding of this 
frontier, and yet dyd I never know it in such disorder 
wherefore, if you woll have the frontiers well 
ordered, you must appoynt such officers as can governe 
better, which, in my pour opynyon, might be so chosen as 
the Quene's majestie shoulde by them be a gret dele 
better served than she is now, and with lesse charge." 3 

And again on the 19th September, he reports that 
Lord Dacre " woulde be very loth that the protestants 
in Scotland, yea or in England, should prosper, if he 
mio-ht lett (prevent) it. And even of the same sorte is 
your Warden of the Est and Middell Marches here. 

1 See Sadler State rapers, vol. L p, 387 et seq. 

2 Sir R. Sadler to Cecil, 29th Aug., 1559. Ibid., p. 409. 

3 Same to same 12th Sept., 1559. Ibid., p. 444- 

I I 


a.d. . . . We suspect that th'erle of Northumberland is 
I52 _l! 5 ' 2 advertysed, from tyme to tyme, by Alen, the clerke of the 
counsail there, of all secret matiers, whatsoever they be, 
that concernith hym or any other." ' 

Northumberland was however too powerful to be 
openly set aside or made an enemy of, and an unworthy 
arrangement was come to between Cecil and Sadler 
under which, while he was nominally consulted by his 
colleagues, secret communications were addressed to 
Sadler by the minister on all matters submitted for the 
consideration of the Commission. Confiding and simple- 
minded as he was, the Earl could not long remain in 
ignorance of these underhand proceedings, and of the 
mistrust which they implied ; a mistrust quite unmerited, 
for there is at this time no indication whatever of any 
strong bias in favour of the Catholics on his part, and so 
far from being apathetic we find him thus rebuking his 
colleagues for want of zeal in the Queen's service : 

" It seamyth the Ouene's Majestie's pore subjects is 
rather further dreven off for the having of justice by our 
last sytting in comyssion, than yf suche comyssion had 
never ben sytt on. Therefore I wolde wish, and do 
think it most convenient, you shulde take in hand, to 
procede for the helpe and relieve of this pore countrye, as 
ye were put in trust, when you cam in comyssion for 
that purpose. For I am sure ye are not a mynded that 
I shuld do any good, when ye kepe from me the 
originall (?) that I shuld be directed by." 2 

Sadler however persisted in his course of duplicity and 
petty annoyance. Thus when the Earl had obtained the 
Queen's permission that his brother-in-law Slingsby, the 
keeper of Tyndale, should, for his greater convenience, 

1 Sadler State Papers, vol. i. p. 453. The concluding sentence was 
appended to the letter in cipher. 

* Northumberland to Sadler, 12th Oct., 1559. Ibid., p. 497. 



occupy a certain house at Hexham, Cecil, instigated by a.d. 1559 
Sadler, did not rest until he had induced Elizabeth to 
revoke her sanction, and goaded Slingsby into resigning 
his office in disgust. 1 In like manner, Sir Thomas 
Clavering, Deputy-Governor of Norham Castle, a 
gentleman of unblemished honour, was denounced 
as " a Scottish spy " and required to be displaced for 
no other reason than that he held his post under, and 
by the nomination of, Sir Henry Percy. 

The wardenship of the Marches was at best an one- 
rous and unprofitable post, and one now little coveted by 
the nobles in the north. I ts duties had become doubly irk- 
some to the Earl of Northumberland, serving as he was 
undera Government which mistrusted, and with colleaeues 
who irritated, thwarted, and deceived, him. In 1560 he 
accordingly became " an humble suter " to the Privy 
Council for permission to resign his office, and informs 
Sadler that the Queen had consented to his beine "dis- 
burdyned " 2 and authorized the employment of his 
brother, or in his absence of Sadler, pending the 
appointment of a new Warden. The Earl had admitted 
his inability to give " sufficient entertainment " to his 
deputies, and Sadler was not disposed to undertake the 
duties of an office carrying no profits and for the dis- 
charge of which he had " neyther menne, horse, nor 
money." Nevertheless "though he was all wayes but 

!slenderlie furnished for such a charge," he would accept 
it, rather than that Sir Henry Percy should fill the post, 
being convinced that neither he nor his brother was 
"mete to have the rule of any of thes marches." 3 

1 The lengthy correspondence upon this trivial subject, in which the 
Queen herself did not disdain to take an active part, is published in the 
Sadler State Papers. 

3 The Queen's authority is dated 30 Oct., 1559. 

3 Sadler to Cecil, 8 Nov., 1559. Sadler State Fapers,vc\. i., p. 5S5. 



a.d. When in the following year Lord Grey ' was appointed 

l 5 2 ^H 2 to the vacant wardenship, he complained of his nephew 2 
having raised objections to his occupying Alnwick Castle 
and " carried away the most part of the stuff there, and 
broken up the brewing vessels and other necessary im- 
plements of household. I cannot remain in the country 
without a house to live in ; " to which the Earl replies : 
" As for my house at Alnwick I am forced to preserve it 
and all my provisions in the county . . . and must have 
diverse reparations made there during my absence," for 
which reason he begs to be held excused from allowing 
his castle to be made the official residence of the Lord 
Warden. 3 

The reparations referred to were long in progress, 
for when in the summer of 1562 he was required 
to receive the young Scottish Queen, 4 he represented 
his inability to entertain Her Majesty s the castle 
being* " uterlie unfurnished and not so much as one 
bed or any part of household stuff .... and I being 
now in so grete want of money that I assure y r lordship 

that I have not Forty Pounds and I cannot 

sell part of my land without the Queen's licence, which 

1 The thirteenth Baron Grey of Wilton. 

2 Lord Grey had married a daughter of Charles, first Earl of 
Worcester. The Countess of Northumberland was thus his niece. 

3 Lord Grey to Privy Council, 6 Feb., 1560. Earl of Northumberland 
to Lord Grey, S Feb., 1560. State Papers. 

4 On her way to meet Queen Elizabeth at York. 

s This reluctance to receive the Queen of Scots stands in strong con- 
trast with his subsequent eagerness to be honoured with her presence ; 
but at this time, and for several years later, the Percies assumed anything 
but a friendly attitude towards Queen Mary, who had repeatedly com- 
plained to Elizabeth of the detention of her kinsman, Lord Keith, who 
had been made a prisoner by Sir Henry Percy in 155S, and was kept 
in captivity notwithstanding his readiness to pay any reasonable ransom. 
Another grievance, which formed the subject of a lengthy correspondence 
between the two Queens, was the capture by the Earl of Northumberland 
of a vessel which had been stranded within his territories, and which 
contained a large sum of money sent to her by the Pope. See Ap- 
pendix II. 



if I colde I shoulde be parting willinglye in any Her *•* 
Majesty's service." ■ He concludes by begging that if ' — 
compelled to receive Her Majesty under his roof he 
might be granted a loan of ;£ 1,000 towards his expenses. 
In reply he was informed that he was not required to 
entertain Queen Mary, but only to attend upon her 
"because of the estate that you hold to be Earl of 
Northumberland." The proposed meeting between the 
two sovereigns, however, did not take place. 

For the next few years the Earl is little heard of. In 
1563 he was created a Knight of the Garter; 2 but his 
name rarely occurs in the public correspondence on 
northern affairs, and he appears to have passed much 
of his time at Petworth, whence some letters of his of 
this period are dated. His influence in the North how- 
ever was still viewed with alarm by Elizabeth's agents. 
In 1565 Throgmorton writes from Scotland : 

"Let the Earl of Northumberland be stayed in 
London ; from all I hear it is very necessary ; the papists 
in these partes do stirr themselves ; look to yourselves 
and to Her Majestie's safetie .... Sir Henry Percy is 
dangerous." 3 


In the following June the Archbishop of York, in 
compliance with orders from the Privy Council, forwards 
" a list of such as have the government of castles and 
seignories within the county of York," with his comments 
on their conduct and capacity. Under the head of 
Richmondshire he quotes the Earl of Northumberland as 
" too much given to pastime, and would be better fitted 
at Court, " being " an open friend of Lady Lenox," and 
11 giving the upper hand to Lord Darnley at table," 
besides being; " obstinate in religion." 4 

1 Northumberland to Cecil, June, 1562. State Papers. 

2 The installation took place on 23rd May, 1563. 

3 Throgmorton to Leicester, May, 1565. State Papers. « Ibid. 



a.d. According to his own views, however, the Earl was 

I 5 2 _2[57 2 ver y f ar f rom being fitted for Court life ; the pastime 
to which he was accused of being too much addicted 
being found in hawks, hounds, and horses ; and a hunting 
party, or a raid across the border, being more congenial 
to his tastes, than heading a crowd of courtiers in the 

Queen's palace at Westminster. 

* * 

In the spring of 1568, the Scottish Queen fled from 
her distracted kingdom, and contrary to the urgent advice 
of her most judicious friends determined to seek refuge 
upon English soil, and to throw herself uninvited upon 
the hospitality of her royal sister. 1 

Landing at Workington 2 on the Cumberland coast, 
she was met, on the 16th of May, at Cockermouth, by 
Richard Lowther, the Deputy-Warden of the Marches 
under his cousin Lord Scroop, w^ho on the pretext of her 
being unprovided with a passport was constrained to 
claim her as his prisoner, and with every show of respect 
conducted her to Carlisle Castle, of which he was 
Captain, there to remain pending Elizabeth's decision as 
to her further disposal. 

No sooner did these tidings reach the Earl of 
Northumberland at Topcliff, than he reported Mary's 
arrival to Elizabeth, stating that " for her enterteignment 

1 " Maluitque se uuiri et Elizabeths tutelce, quatn avium fideicommittere " 
says Camden. {Annales Rerum Anglicamm Reg?iante Elizabetha, vol. i. p. 
159.) Lord Hemes had written to the Deputy- Warden of Carlisle Castle 
to inquire as to the reception that Mary might expect in England ; to 
which Sir Richard Lowther replied guardedly that if she came he would 
meet and protect her until the pleasure of the Queen should be known. — 

m Chalmers's History of Scotland. Mary had herself addressed a similar in- 
quiry to Elizabeth, but did not await the reply before entering English 

2 A small seaport to the north of Whitehaven, whence Mary wrote to 
Elizabeth : " Je voussupplie, le plus tost que pourres, m'envoyer querir, 
.or je suis en piteux estat, n'on pour Royne, mays pour gentillfame ; car 
je n'ay chose du monde que ma pcrsoune com me je me suis sauvee." — 
Prince Alexander Labanolf's Lett res etMemoires dela Reine Marie Stuart. 



and saftye I have sent to myne officers and frendes 
there diligently to attend upon the same untyl your 
highness good pleasure be understanded in that behalf.'' 
In his letter to Cecil, of the same date, his anxiety to 
be charged with the reception of Mary becomes more 
marked, and he urges that " seeing she hath happened 
unto my handes, I trust you, and other my dear frendes 
there, will be meyne that my credit be not so much 
impared in the face of the country as she should be taken 
from me and delyvered to any other person in these 
partes." ' 

Armed with an order nomine regina, which he had 
succeeded in obtaining from the Council at York, he 
hastened to Carlisle with an imposing escort, and on 
the ground of her having landed within his liberties, 
peremptorily demanded the surrender of Mary. Whether 
acting under superior orders, or from mistrust of the 
Earl's intentions, 2 or that he was unwilling to lose the 
credit of the Queen's guardianship, Lowther refused to 
transfer his charge to any person whatever, except on the 
personal command of the Queen of England. 

In vain the Lord Warden stormed and threatened ; 
within his own garrison the Captain of Carlisle could defy 
even the Earl of Northumberland, and he courteously, 
but firmly, declined to surrender his prisoner. The 
scene between the two (which forms a curious illustra- 
tion of the arrogance which the great nobles could 
display towards untitled gentlemen of social position 
little inferior to their own), 3 is thus described by 

1 Original State Papers, Record Office. 

1 Sir John Bowes certainly mistrusted these, for he informs Lord 
Scroope that he, foreseeing mischief, had done his best to dissuade the 
Earl from his purpose of repairing to the Scottish Queen. 

3 The Lowthers were at th ; s time already a wealthy and influential 
family in Westmoreland and Cumberland. Sir Hugh de Lowther had 
been Governor of Carlisle under Edward the Third (see Jefferson's 

VOL. II. 17 C 


a.d. Lowther in his report to Lord Scroope : — " Wherc- 
T 5 2 ^57 2 U pon the Earl used some rough wordes towards me, 
adding too that I was too mean a man to have such a 
charge, and that he marvelled how I dared take it in 
hand. . . . Afterwards he sent for me to his Iodgging, 
and growing into some heate and anger, gave me great 
threatening, with many evil wordes and a like language, 
calling me a varlet, and such others, as I had neither 
deserved at his handes, neither at any mans, for the 
servyce of the Prynce." 

Sir Francis Knollys, whom Elizabeth had at once 
despatched to the North with instructions as to the 
custody of Mary, gives a graphic account of his meeting 
with the Earl : — ' 

M My Lord of Northumberland hearing of my arrival 
came from his house at Topcliffe to meet me on the way 
a' this side of Boroo-hbriQfOfe • and with him Sir Nicholas 
Fairfax, Sir William Fairfax, his son, Mr. H ungate and 
Mr. Vavasor, being all unsound in religion!'' 

He proceeds to state that the Earl complained of 
Lowther's refusal to give up his charge, alleging, as his 
only reason for desiring to have the custody of the 
Scottish Queen, that " the Deputy Warden was too base 
a man for such a charge," and that, as he himself held 
the authority of the Council for her surrender into his 
custody, it was Lowther's duty to submit; "but I told his 
lordship, although the Council of Yorke had forgotten 

History of Carlisle), and his descendant, who now held that office, was 
described by Dacre in a letter to his brother (State Papers) as 
"that proud Lucifer Lowther who thinks that none can go against him 
and that he can rule the North." 

He had twice been High Sheriff of Cumberland, and was subse- 
quently appointed Lord Warden of the West Marches ; but finally lost 
Elizabeth's favour in consequence of his having permitted interviews 
between the Duke of Norfolk and Queen Mary of Scotland, while &x 
latter was in his custody. 

1 Sir Francis Knollys, Vice-Chamberlain, to Cecil; 27th May, 156S. 
State Papers* 



themselves, inasmuch to appointe the assistance of the 
shier to any other than to the Deputye Warden, or to 
allow of the repair of your lordship to the Queen of 
Scots, before her Highness special pleasure knowne in 
that behalfe ; yet, nevertheless, Mr. Gargrave l utteriie 
denied this giving of authoritye to your lordship to 
interrupt the Warden in any part of his chardge, and he 
saith further, your lordship maid your repaire firste, and 
had their allowance and letter of assistance sent after 
you ; because they understoode by your letters that the 
Queen of Scots was arrived at a house of yours beino- 
an inconvenient place for her safety if her enemies 
should pursue her." He adds that the Earl complained 
that Lowther had refused to admit him into the castle to 
see the Queen " with any more companie than his page, 
not only to his dishonor, but as though he had been a 
stranger and a suspect person;" but that he (Knollys) 
had fully justified the Deputy Warden, and " informed 
his lordship that he had overshott himself very much to 

(the discontentment of her Highness." 
There is nothing on record to explain why, or the 
precise period when, the Earl of Northumberland con- 
ceived his strong attachment to the Queen of Scots, 2 nor 
! certainly is there the slightest reason for attributing 

this sentiment to anything but religious sympathy. The 
story of his having fallen under the spell of those 
charms and blandishments which had proved fatal to 
so many of her supporters, may be dismissed as purely 

1 Thomas Gargrave, Sheriff of Yorkshire, afterwards knighted for his 
services in the suppression of the Northern rebellion. 

John Leslie, Bishop of Rosse, when a prisoner in the Tower in 
I 57 I , deposed that Queen Mary, shortly after her landing in England, 
nad assured him that " she had mony good friendis in the countrey 
that did favour her and stick to her, such as th'erle Northumberlond 
and his Lady, be whom she had mony intelligences and messages." — 
Murdm's Burghky State Papers, p. 52. 

19 C 2 


a.d. imaginary ; for the Earl had never seen Queen Mary 
I52 _Z! 572 before her arrival at Carlisle, where their short interview 
was witnessed by Lowther and others ; and Lady North- 
umberland, a woman of a high and imperious spirit, 
would not have been likely to become one of the 
Scottish Queen's most devoted adherents, if she had had 
cause for believing her to be a rival in her affections 
for her husband. 

Without, then, attributing to the Earl any sentimental 
feeling z in the matter, it is quite intelligible that the 
mistrust evinced towards him by Elizabeth and her 
agents, and the triumph which the rebuff administered 
to him at Carlisle afforded to his enemies in the North, 
tended to expose him more readily to the Popish influences 
by which he was surrounded, and to drive him into a 
closer alliance with Queen Mary's party. Another cir- 
cumstance had at this time occurred to embitter his 
relations with the Eno-lish Court. 

Cecil, apart from political considerations, had no love 
for the proud old nobility of England. He was am- 
bitious, and, reduced as their power was, their social 
influence was still sufficiently strong occasionally to 
thwart or impede his projects. He was vain, and his 
vanity was wounded by the arrogance, or the yet more 
galling condescension, of the peers who declined to 
recognize an equal in Elizabeth's powerful Minister. 

1 " I heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, 
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, 
That the rude sea grew civil at her song, 
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, 
To hear the sea-maid's music." 

These lines have been applied, by Sir Walter Scott among others, to the 
two Earls, as leaders of the Rising in the North. It is far more probable, 
however, that when, in 1594, Shakespeare wrote his Midsummer Nz'ghfs 
Dream he had in his mind the revelations relating to the then compara- 
tively recent Throckmorton Plot, and the avowed devotion for "the 
mermaid " of such shooting stars as Henry Percy, Paget, and Arundel. 



Never was there a statesman more devoted to the scr- a.d. 150S 
vice of his Sovereign ; never one who had more deeply 
at heart the honour and the greatness of his country, 
according to the then prevailing ideas of honour and 
greatness ; rarely one whose commanding genius could 
so readily stoop to petty devices for the attainment of 
his ends. 

The Earl of Northumberland possessed neither the 
intellect nor the ambition which might make a subject 
of high rank dangerous to a great statesman ; but the 
local influence of the chief of the Percies, who, among 
his own people, towered high above the Queen's most 
trusted agents, offended the Lord Treasurer. By a 
series of unworthy annoyances he had induced him to 
resign his public employments in the North ; he now 
seized an opportunity of impairing his private fortune. 
The Earl had discovered a rich copper mine on one of 
his properties near Newland, in Cumberland ; and Cecil, 
whose success in life was, in a great measure, due to his 
careful study of the character of his royal mistress, and 
to the skill with which he played upon her foibles, now 
represented to Elizabeth, probably in exaggerated terms, 
the value of the revenue to be derived from the mine, and 
the expediency of her claiming it by right of the royal 
prerogative. The Queen's cupidity was easily aroused, 
and she lost no time in despatching commissioners to the 
spot, who, without questioning the legality of her claim, 
still recommended, as a matter of equity, that the Earl 
should be indemnified by a monetary grant or an exchange 
cf land. 1 This concession was opposed by Cecil, and in 
October, 1567, the Queen peremptorily commands North- 
umberland " to cease all further obstruction," which he was 
evidently not disposed to do, for a lengthy correspondence 

1 J. Newburn to Privy Council, May, 1567, S/a/d Papers. 



a.d. ensued, and as late as towards the end of 1568 he tells 
1528-157 2 Cec}^ i n an angry tone, that he must insist upon being 
plainly informed whether or not he should be granted a 
reasonable compensation for the seizure of his property, 
as otherwise he should feel compelled to assert his rights 
against what he conceived to be an unjust encroachment 
on the part of the Crown. 1 It was while thus irritated 
against the Queen, and smarting under the sense of 
Cecil's unjust treatment, that the Earl of Northum- 
berland gradually became the unconscious leader of 
a relieious agitation, and the centre towards which the 
hopes and aspirations of the papal party converged. 

Receding before the advance of religious reform, 
Roman Catholicism had made the northern counties its 
refuge and stronghold. Most of the leading families in 
those provinces had continued, more or less openly, to 
profess the ancient faith, 2 and the traditional position and 
local influence of the Percies and Nevilles, now, in the 
natural course of events, made their representatives, 
with no effort on their part, the champions and the 
mouthpiece of aggressive Romanism. 

1 The Queen even claimed the ore that had been dug up for some 
years past, whereas the owner of the mine denied all right on her part 
to any share in the property, and declared that the workers employed 
by her authority were trespassers on his lands. — See a letter from 
Northumberland to Cecil, 14th March, 1568, State Papers. 

2 The Earl of Northumberland is stated to have been " converted to 
Rome "in 156S, from which it might be inferred that he had professed, 
or at any rate conformed to, Protestantism in early life. It cannot, 
however, be believed that he would have been the recipient of Queen 
Mary's favours had he not been a good Catholic during her reign. 
The probability is that he had remained a member of the Catholic 
Church without openly practising its rites when these had been pro- 
scribed as illegal. In his " Confession " he stated that he had become 
" reconciled to the Church " nearly two years before the Rising, but thi> 
probably meant that he had then made a formal renunciation ui the 
Protestant heresy. 


The Earl of Sussex, a zealous Protestant, 1 had been a.d. 1569 
appointed President of the Council of the North with a 
view to watching and counteracting the Catholic faction. 
He was not, however, a man to display suspicion against 
his own order at Cecil's bidding ; and he continued to 
maintain familiar relations with the two Earls, even after 
their attitude had become subject to animadversion on 
other grounds than " unsoundness of religion." In April, 
1 569, he was, " with other good fellows " as he expresses 
it, a cruestat Topcliffe ; on the 15 th of September he writes 
to Cecil from Cawood. that " my Lord of Northumberland 
and my lady, my Lord of Westmoreland, my Lord Talbot 
and my lady, .... and all the principall gentlemen, and 
their wyfes of this countrie, were here with me a hunting 
all the last week ; " and as late as in October he reports 
having met the Earls in council, and that they had as- 
sured him that they could not account for " the bruits 
of insurrection," and that " they would be the first to 
venture their lives for the suppression of those that 
would rise." 2 

These assurances he accepted, nor is there any reason 
to doubt their sincerity, the Earls having then been only 
the passive centres around which gathered the scattered 
ao-ents of agitation in favour of the Catholic Church, and 
of the claims of the Scottish Queen. The position, 
although unsought, probably served to gratify their 
vanity, and in making a display of their influence, they 
did not, as would appear at that time, apprehend that 
they compromised their allegiance to the Sovereign. 3 


1 On 15th November, 1569, he wrote to the Queen: " Besides my dutie 
to your Majestie I would for my conscience sake spende all my Iyves 
if I had a thousande, agaynste all the worlde that shall drawe sworde 
agaynste our religion/' — State Papers. 
' 2 Bid. 

3 There is no doubt that the two northern Earls had been encouraged 
in this attitude by other powerful nobles who prudently kept in the 



i5 28_I 57 2 They had yet to learn at a bitter cost how much more 
easy it is to gather the elements of sedition than to con- 
trol its action ; and that in raising the sluices of popular 
discontent they ran the risk of being carried away by the 
torrent. Wise men would have foreseen the danger of 
such intrigues, and strong men might have directed the 
result ; but Northumberland and Westmoreland were 
neither wise nor strong, and thus, surrounded by crafty 
or reckless counsellors, they drifted helplessly from secret 
negotiation into conspiracy, and from conspiracy into 
open rebellion. 

Throughout the autumn of 1569 the parade of armed 
bodies of men in which Westmoreland was fond of 
indulging had given rise to various rumours ; but 
even the vigilant and suspicious Cecil dismissed these 
as groundless fears. 1 " It may be," he w T rites to Lord 
Shrewsbury on 6th October, " you have or shall heer 
of a fond rumor styrred up in the North Ryding and 
the Bishoprick, of a rising shoulde be ; but it was 
a vaine smoke without any sparke of accompt," 2 and 
three weeks after Sussex informs Cecil that " all 
resteth in good quiet and I see no lykelyhood to the 

As late as on the 30th October, Sussex, though he 
speaks of a conspiracy (the actuating motives of which 
are accurately described as " adhesion to Norfolk, attach- 

background, however, pending the result of the agitation. The Duke 
of Norfolk, the Marquess of Winchester, the Earls of Arundel, North- 
umberland, Westmoreland, Pembroke, and Leicester, jealous of Cecil's 
growing influence, and angered at the succour which by his advice 
Elizabeth afforded to the Protestants of France, had combined to over- 
throw his authority. — See Camden's Annates, vol. i. p. 178. 

1 Bowes, in reporting these military displays to Sussex, says, "Soo^ 
that I gather they ryde the nyghte Southwards, and cometh agayne ot 
the daye Northward, to make sheaves, for what intent I knowe not." — 

• Sharpe's Memorials of the Rebellion. 

2 Stats Papers. 



mcnt to the Scottish Queen, and the Catholic faith," and A - D - 
of which he names Northumberland and Westmoreland as 
the ostensible leaders, and " my Lord Talbot and other 
nobles " as cognizant), states that he sees no reason to 
apprehend any overt act of disturbance. Had the two 
Earls been as designing and crafty as they were simple, 
their conduct could not have been better calculated to 
disarm suspicion. Conspirators ever shroud themselves 
in secrecy ; what danger was to be apprehended from 
men whose foolish acts were open as the day, and who, 
instead of concealing, appeared anxious to invite 
attention to, their insignificant demonstrations of armed 
force ? x 

Yet these displays, however feeble in themselves, served 
to encourage the hopes of the disaffected classes, and to 
prepare men's minds for more daring deeds. The local 
influence of these two noblemen was so great, and they 
had come to be so generally recognized as the represen- 
tatives of the Catholic cause, that Sussex, under the 
responsibility for the maintenance of order in the North, 
began to recognize the danger of their example, and ad- 
vised the Queen to invite them to Court, and to keep them 
in London for a while ; an invitation, under the circum- 
stances, equivalent to a more or less protracted sojourn 
in the Tower. Elizabeth accordingly directed him to 
convey by word of mouth her command to this effect, 
and on the 9th November Sussex reports to the Council 
that he had requested the Earls to attend upon him 
for the purpose of receiving a message from Her 

1 " This day the Erie of Northumberland in a previe cote under a 
Spanish jerkyn, being open soe tiiat the cote might be seen, and a state 
cap covered with green velvet, is returned to Brancepeth with VIII men 
with him all armed with previe cotes and dagges ; but I am yet of 
opynyon that the Erles and their confederates are not determined of any 
open action, but makith these assemblies either for their owne gude or 
in -reete feare to be apprehendid.'' — Bowes to Sussex, 10th Nov., 1569. 

2 5 


a.d. Majesty ; that " Northumberland promiseth to come, 
1 528-1 572 but he wrytet h not w hen ; the Erie of Westmoreland 
refuseth to come for fear of his enemys, except he 
should come in grete force, which would be cause of 
offence, and therefore I intende to write the Otieene's 
commaundments to them for their repayre to Her 
Majestie presentlie. My Lady Northumberland sayeth 
there will be no troubell ; but I wyll no more trust any 
wordes, therefore I pray you give me good spyalls, 
for within six dayes we will see the sequel of these 

matters." ' 

On the following day Bowes communicates to 
Sussex a number of rumours, and among others that 
the Earls had "swept up all manner of weepons 
that can be gotten for money, for this day they boght 
all the bowes and arrows in Barnard Castel, and as 
I heere in Durham " ; that in a few days " they meant to 
make open call for men for alteration of religion, and to 
spoyle such as wyll not follow their dyrections" ; but that 
it was more probable that " without doing of drill they 
will go into Northumberland and lye at Alnwycke." 

On the refusal of the two Earls to trust themselves 
into the power of the President, he had no option but to 
convey to them by letter, and in these peremptory terms, 
the commands of the Queen : — 

" I am driven to write that which I should have de- 
livered to you by mouth, that as Her Majesty means 
to confer with you, her pleasure is that you repair 
to Court, which I, in her name, command you to do 
without delay. This was all I had to say if you 
had come hither. Let not vaine delusions abuse 
you with feare of your owne shadow ; but submit 

« Memorials, A good guess; the rebellion broke out on the 

" 2 Ibid. Bowes to Sussex, 10th Nov., 1569. 



rather with humilitie to her clemency that never a.d. 1569 
sought to use extremyte, than put in clanger the 
destruction of your house, and force her to give you 
a sharpe taste of that which in her hearte she never 
meant to say." 

Sussex informs the Queen that this letter had been 
delivered to Northumberland in person by his secretary, 
and that " when his lordship had redde it through, and 
seen the effect was for his repayre to your Majesty, he 
showed some discontentment, and said he was not well 
used ; but in the ende said he wolde consent to goo to 

Your Majestye My lady excuses her husband's 

feere upon intelligence from London, or the Cort, and 
she assureth, upon her lyfe, her lord will never seke to 
stirr the peple on to show any rebellion ; and in the ende 
she sente me worde he wolde goo to your Majestye, but 
he wolde firste write to your Majesty. What answer my 
Lord of Westmoreland will make I knowe not ; but 
suerly, seeing the daily delayes and excuses, I doubt 
moch they be led by ill counsel, and therefore I dare not 
put your majesty in hope that they mean to come ; but 
by all likelihood they will in the ende either stirre open 
rebellion, if they may (which I trust they will not be 
able to do in Yorkshire), or retire themselves to some 
stren^thes (stronghold), or seke to flee; and therefore the 
sooner your plesure is knowen what should be done in 
every of them, seeing the matter is now openlie dis- 
covered, the speedier execution it shall have, and, I trust, 
a shorter end." T 

The Queen, however, knowing that she could not 
better suppress the threatened outbreak than by securing 
the persons of the two leaders, reiterated her command 
for their attendance upon her : " We are the rather 

1 Sussex to the Queen, uth Nov., 1569, Staie Papers. 



a.d. moved not to be without some hope of a better 
J5 2 _-*57 2 consideration in them, when they shall perceave that 
your sending for them is upon our commandment, 
to come to us." x Sussex 2 accordingly writes again : — 
" The Queen has sent for you on your allegiance ; 
if you come your friends will stand by you, and you need 
feer no enemies. If you have slipped, your friends will 
be suitors for you to the Queen, who never shows herself 
extreme, and has always borne you affection. If you 
refuse, you make enemies of your friends and seal the 
subversion of your house. Perform your duty, and do 
not take council of the wicked, who would make you 
like themselves. If you forsake this my offer, and now 
my last counsel, whatsoever false parasites shall flatter 
and tattel in your eares, loke not to escape the plague in 
this worlde that God hath appointed to disobedience, 
and in the worlde to come the punishment that he hath 
promised to be dew for it. And so my lord I take my 
leave, and pray to God he may put into your heart the 
spirit of dew obedience." 

The appeal, though calculated to shake the weak 
resolves of Northumberland as to his future action, 
was not powerful enough to inspire confidence in 
Elizabeth's clemency. He accordingly wrote to her 
disclaiming all intention of rebellion, professing his 
readiness to spend life and lands in her service, but 
declining to obey the order to appear before her in 
person. His letter is the reflection of an irresolute 
and illogical mind, stimulated by religious impulse, but 
not untroubled by qualms of conscience. 

"If your Highness mislike it that I have not made 

1 Elizabeth to Sussex, ioth Nov., 1569, Haynes's Burghlcy Stale 
Papers, p. 552. 

2 Sussex to the Earls ot Northumberland and Westmoreland, 12th 
1569, Shite Papers. 



speedy repair to you, according to your command given a.d. 1569 

by the Lord President, let this my excuse serve me. My 

loyalty and devotion towards your majesty have been 

well known and tried ; and what bond of assurance I have 

made to you, you best know ; having done nothing that 

I thought might offend you, but as willing to serve and 

as fearful to offend, as your meanest vassal. 

" Yet notwithstanding, untrue rumours and surmises 
have been blown abroad and instilled in your ears, to 
carry you from me and to stain my fidelity ; which, albeit 
they have been, through your great goodness and deep 
consideration, tried and proved void and frivolous, yet 
have, I fear, left in your noble heart some suspicion of 
me ; whereby my adversaries have renewed their hatred ; 
and in this time especially, wherein some of your nobles 
have incurred your grievous displeasure, they have dis- 
persed bruits touching the breach of my loyalty, never done 
or intended, and have blown the same abroad, not only by- 
talk but by acts, under a feigned pretence of fear ; drawing 
to strengths and holds, where indeed they had no shadow 
given them of doubt ; but it was their device to bring 
me and others to be odious to your majesty. 

" God and my conscience know that I never intended 

any disloyal act towards you, but shall be found ready, 

whilst I live, to spend life and lands and all that I have, 

' against all persons whatsoever ; nor have I done anything 

offensive to law, as all the country can testify. Yet as the 

Smaintainers thereof are in these parts in some credit with 
some of your private counsellors, who — as experience has 
taught me — have been willing to hear matters to my 
discredit, I durst not adventure to your presence till I 
had craved your pardon if I have, through lack of skill, 
liked that which may not content your majesty, and till 
time had shown how untrue those slanders are. 

" I beseech you, as I shall live and die your faithful 



a.d. subject, you will not give ear to reports touching my 
I52 _l! 5/2 fidelity, before I have clone one thing- material, whereby 
the same may be justly drawn in suspicion. Doubtful of 
your favour, which of all earthly things I most wish for, 
I pray that I may be re-comforted and safely repair to 
your majesty's presence.'' x 

Elizabeth was not disposed to afford the "re-comfort" 
demanded. The pretensions put forth by the disaffected 
party in the North on behalf of Mary Stuart, together with 
the projected Norfolk marriage, had aroused all the bitter- 
ness of her jealous and vindictive nature. She now writes 
directly to the two Earls commanding their immediate 
attendance at her Court, leaving them no time for remon- 
strance, no loophole for evasion, no alternative between 
unconditional surrender and open defiance : " We do 
command yow upon the duety of your allegeance, furth- 
with to make your speedy repayre hither unto us without 
any delaye or excuse whatever the same be. And this 
do we trust yow will not forbeare upon any synister and 
unloyall perswasions, or any other matter to induce yow 
to any mistrust without just cause or grownd : for so yow 
shuld varye from the dutyfulnes, which as yow many 
tymes pryvatly with grete Assurance professid to us, so 
have we ever made good accompt of the same, and shall 
do the lyke, untyll yow shall give cause of the contrary." ' 

This letter does not appear to have reached the Earls 
until after the Durham outbreak, and there was now 
indeed small encouragement for them to trust themselves 
to Elizabeth's mercy. Pembroke and Arundel had but 
recently been consigned to the Tower on the mere 
suspicion of indirect complicity in the Scottish marriage 

1 Earl of Northumberland to the Queen. Topcliff, 13th Nov., 1569. 
State Papers. Addenda, vol. x\\, 23, 1. 

2 Queen Elizabeth to Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, 
19th Nov., 1569, Haynes, p. 552. 



scheme; and Norfolk himself had followed them there a.d. 1569 
as soon as he had placed himself within the Queen's 
power, with a confidence which the French ambassador 
humorously accounts for on the theory that he could 
not escape his fate, being of a race predestined to have 
their heads cut off. 1 The Houses of Percy and Neville 
could not claim immunity from this fatal experience, and 
with Cecil their declared enemy, and Leicester at best a 
doubtful friend, the reluctance of the Earls to obey the 
Queen's commands is quite intelligible. They dreaded, 
it is true, the shame of open treason, but the Tower and 
the scaffold had equal terrors for them. Whatever their 
scruples, however, they did not doubt in the abstract 
justice of their cause, and might not, even now, a powerful 
demonstration of armed force extort the concessions they 
demanded without the risk of bloodshed ? At the w T orst, 
might they not retire to their strongholds and from 
thence make terms for themselves and their adherents ? 2 

1 " Je ne scay si e'est pour se confyer trop a leur cause, . . . ou pour 
esperer trop de la faveur et de l'appuy qu'ils se sentent avoir en ce 
royaulme, que ces Seigneurs se sont ainsy facilement venus commetre 
os mains de la dicte dame ; ou bien qu'ils soient subject a avoir la teste 
tranchee, et n'en puyssent rciter le mat, parceqiiils sont de race." — La 
Ah the Fenelon a la Reine Je France, 7 eme Oct bre 1569. Recueil des 
JJtpeches des Ambassadeurs de France. 

3 It appears to be clearly established that at this time, nothing more 
was contemplated than the liberation of the Scottish Queen, with a 
demand for some not immoderate concessions to the Catholics. A 
witness, unfriendly to Northumberland, stated that, in October, 1569, 
the Earl had asked him to represent to the Spanish Ambassador in 
London, that owing to the weakness of the Duke of Norfolk, who had 
" in a manner wyllingly yielded himselfe into Pryson, the matter which 
was expected to be done was not put in execution in tyme ; " that the 

i party had now neither men nor money, and that as Queen Elizabeth was 

so greatly incensed against him that " I knowe we shall not be able to 
beare nor aunswer yt ; " he therefore thought it would be the wisest course 
for the agitators to disperse, and that for himself, he would seek refuge 
M the Low Countries, if he could have an assurance that •' I, and such 
as shall come with me, may be receyved and enterteyned in that country 
according to our degrees and callinges." — Deposition of Oswald WUkin- 
s-'n, Murdin, p. 225. 


a.d. As the breach with the Court widened, those evil 
x 5 2 j2 572 influences which ultimately drove the simple-minded 
Northumberland to his ruin, became more powerful. 
The secret instigators of the rebellion continued from a 
safe distance to urge their dupes to action, and the more 
daring spirits on the spot, such as Norton, Swinbourne, 
Markenfield and Leonard Dacre, the men whose crafty 
brains and strong wills had organised and inspired the 
movement, were ever at hand to point out the dangers of 
submission. At the same time the Popish emissaries, by 
whom the two Earls were surrounded, employed their 
eloquence in glorifying the merit of resistance to a 
heretic and excommunicated Sovereign. The Holy 
Father himself pronounced the formal sanction of the 
Church, and assured them that " if in assisting the 
Catholic faith and the authority of the Holy See, death 
should happen to you, and your blood be poured out, it 
is much more honourable to obtain eternal life for the 
confession of God, and having a glorious death, than to 
live ignominiously, and to the detriment of your soul, 
in obedience to the caprice of a weak woman." z 

The Countess of Northumberland has been represented 
as enacting the part of a Lady Macbeth, and by counsel 
and example overcoming the scruples of her irresolute 
lord who, according to Lord Hunsdon, had "meant 
tvvyce or thryce to submit himselfe, but that his wyfe 
being the stouter of the two, doth hasten hym and 
yncorage hym to persever ; and rydeth up and down 
with the army, so as the grey mare is the better horse" 2 

1 Pope Pius V. to the Earl of Northumberland. Lansdoivne MSS. 
1229. This letter (which is quoted in full in Sharpe's Memo?ials of the 
Rebellion) concludes with an exhortation to the Earl and his allies to 
emulate the example of Thomas a. Becket, and with promises of material 
support from Rome. There is reason to believe, however, that it did not 
reach its destination until after the suppression of the rebellion. 

2 Lord Hunsdon to Cecil, Nov. 1569, State Papers. After dili- 
gent inquiry I have been unable to trace the origin of the concluding 



Upon no better evidence than such gossip have grave A.rwy.Q 
historians attributed the Earl's ruin to the influence 
of his wife. 1 The old soldier subsequently repeated it 
as his opinion, that the rebellion had been " earnestlye 
followed by the two wyves, the Countessys." The 
charo-e is certainly established against Lady Westmore- 
land, who had moreover a personal interest in the 
success of the enterprise, 2 and who used persuasions, 
tears, prayers, and even curses, to cut off the hope of 
reconciliation between the two Earls and Elizabeth. 3 

There is, however, nothing on record to justify the 
assertion that Lady Northumberland used her ascendency 
over her lord — the natural ascendency of a strong mind 
and earnest purpose over an irresolute nature — to drive 
him into armed rebellion. 

Her zealous attachment to the Catholic religion must, 
it is true, have enlisted her sympathy in the cause ; but 
she was too sagacious a woman to have deluded herself 
with hopes in the result of an immature outbreak under 
inexperienced leaders ; and her devotion to her husband 
—of which she gave so many touching proofs in after 
life— would hardly have allowed of her urging him to 
risk the ruin of himself and his house in a desperate 
conflict with the Crown of England. 

adage to any older source than that quoted in Lord Macaulay's History 
of England, where the familiar proverb is ascribed to the notorious 
superiority of the grey mares of Flanders, which in the early part _ of 
Elizabeth's reign were largely imported into England, over our native 
draught horses.— See Notes and Queries, 6th series, vol. v. p. 96. 

1 Thus Mr. Froude says : " But for his wife, who never lett his side, 
he would more than once have thrown himself upon Elizabeth's 
clemency." — History of England. . 

a Inasmuch as the failure of the rebellion could hardly fail to pre- 
cipitate the fate of her brother, the then captive Duke of Norfolk. 

3 Sir George Bowes in describing the meeting of the conspirators at 
Brancepeth on 15th November, states that when some of these deprecated 
armed resistance and threatened to withdraw " My Lady \\ estmoreland 
braste owt agavnst them with great curses" {Memorials) ; and Northum- 
berland, who, in his so-called"" Confession," endeavoured to exonerate 

vol. 11. 33 D 

a.d. In the charming old ballad beginning : 


" Earle Percy is into his garden gone, 
And after him walkes his faire ladie ; 
I heare a Birde sing in mine eare, 
That I must either fight or flee" — x 

the Countess is represented as endeavouring to dissuade 
her Lord from his rebellious intentions, and we may 
assume that the course attributed to her was in accord- 
ance with the popular belief of the time. 

There appears to be no doubt that to the last 
Northumberland, " letting I dare not wait upon 1 
would," could not bring himself to resolve upon either 
submission or defiance. 2 As the story goes he retired 
to rest on the night of the 14th of November, worn out 
with conflicting doubts, but more than half resolved to 
retrace his steps on the morrow and to throw himself 
upon the mercy of his Sovereign. Before the dawn of 
day, however, his wife aroused him from his sleep with 
tidings of imminent danger : the castle was being sur- 
rounded by troops despatched by Sussex, with orders for 
his apprehension. 

There was barely time to escape. Hastily arming 
himself he mounted his horse and, passing through the 
park by a bridle path with only a few followers, 
galloped to Brancepeth, where the Earl of Westmoreland 

his colleague, declares that the insurgents had " never gote any howM t '■ 
Westmoreland tyll the last hovver, and that by the procurement of his 
[Westmoreland's] wyfe." 

1 The Rising in the North, Percy Reliques. By a curious coincidem :e 
[for he could not have seen the official document] the ballad writer 
uses the precise expression employed by Sussex in a letter address 
to the Queen on 15th November, 1569 : "The Earls had no intention 
to rebel, but having been induced by evilL counsel to enter dealing* 
with some matters obnoxious to you, but, as they are persuaded, n> ' 
perilous to themselves, they have been gradually drawn on, and now bj 
fear they mean either fight or fly." — State Papers. 

2 M Ancipiti cura rluctuabat, an Reginam adiret, an fuga sibi consults.:. 
an in rebellium prorumperet." — Camden, A?maks. 



received him at the head of a larg^ body, of armed a.d. 15C9 
retainers. 1 1 * 1? 75x*i 

A few hours later Sussex writes to the Queen : — 

" Those simple Earls are in open rebellion." 
* * 

Before proceeding further it may be well shortly to 
review the situation, and to consider the character of the 
disturbing influences at work, in the north of England. 

The principal elements upon which the disaffected 
rested their cause were — 

i. Religious enthusiasm in favour of the Church of 

ii. Sympathy with the Scottish Queen and the hope 
of bringing about her recognition as heir to the English 

iii. The promised support and co-operation of the Duke 
of Norfolk and other powerful nobles throughout the king- 
dom, as well as of the Courts of Rome, Spain, and France. 

These forces undoubtedly existed, but their weight 
and practical value, for the purpose of open resistance or 
aggression, had been greatly over-estimated. 

i. From the first the conflict between Catholic and 
Protestant in England had never assumed the formid- 
able character of a religious war. The Reformation 
had been a political and theological rather than a na- 
tional movement, and its most dangerous opponents had 
not been Englishmen, but the subjects or agents of Rome 
and Spain. The intolerance of Mary, and the retaliatory 
severity of Elizabeth, had aroused a certain degree of 

1 The night alarm was by some writers described as a ruse on the part 
of Lady Northumberland to prevent the possibility of submission ; but 
the danger was evidently real, for the Queen subsequently reproached 
Sussex with his failure in carrying out her command for the Earl's arrest 
at Topcliffe (see Haynes, p. 552). Drake in his History of Yorkshire 
says that " the Queen's messengers had nearly surprised Northumberland 
in his bed, when he escaped by a stratagem." 

35 D 2 


a.d. fanaticism ; but this never rose to the height of such 
1528-1572 devotional fervour as had inspired and embittered the 
religious struggle in Germany, and more recently in 
Scotland. That a form of worship rooted in the 
traditions and habits of centuries, should at once give 
way to Acts of Parliament or penal laws could not 
have been contemplated ; but it may safely be affirmed 
that under Henry VIII., and even during the earlier 
years of Elizabeth's reign, animosity to papal pretensions 
was a more powerful sentiment among the great mass of 
the English people, than attachment to the rites and 
doctrines of the ancient faith. 

The equanimity with which, even within the Church, 1 
the reformed religion was accepted, sufficiently indicates 
the absence, in the national mind, of any strong religious 

The grievances of the malcontents were of a practical 
rather than a sentimental character, and traceable less to 
the suppression of certain beliefs and ceremonials, than 
to a failure to substitute adequate provision for the 
spiritual wants of the people under the new system. 
Popish altars were overthrown ; the celebration of mass 
was rendered a penal offence ; non-compliant priests 
were imprisoned or banished, and the inmates of monastic 
houses driven forth by thousands ; but the celebration 
of lawful church services was very scanty and precarious. 
The State confiscated, but the people starved. This was 
more especially the case in the north of England. In 
1560 Pilkington, the first Protestant Bishop of Durham/' 

1 According to Camden not more than 2cc, out of a total of above 
9,000 of the parochial priesthood in England, resigned their benefices 
for conscience' sake. It would appear to have been his longevity, 
rather than an exceptional decree of theological flexibility, which served 
to immortalise the Vicar of Bray. 

■ Surtees's Durliam. Pilkington had, in 1560, succeeded Bishop 
Tunstall, who, though he had conformed under Henry, refused to take 
the oath of supremacy under Elizabeth, and was deprived accordingly. 



deprecated "quarrelling for ordinances of mere form and a.u. 1569 
circumstance in a dark and superstitious province, almost 
destitute of Protestant preachers ; " and eight years later 
the Council of the North represent to the Queen that : 
" In many churches ther hath ben no sermons in many 
yeares past, and in moste parts or almost generally, the 
pastors be unhable to teach ther flock .... the back- ' 
vvardnesse in cawses of religion in these parts procedeth 
rather from ignorance, or lack of convenient instructynge 
of the people, than of any stubbornes or willful dis- 
obedience " ' 

Indeed, the ordinances against the popish doctrines 
were not then enforced with much stringency, and the 
Catholics in the North would appear to have been little 
interfered with, unless guilty of open defiance of the law. 
Their churches were closed against the priesthood, but 
the great families continued to maintain their staff of 
friars, chaplains and confessors ; service was performed 
in their houses, and even well-known popish emissaries 
were seldom molested in their work unless they obtruded 
themselves on official notice. 

Thus we read : — 

" Friar Black, who disputed against the Protestants in 
the abbey and was banished the country, is now with the 
old Lady Percy, where he said mass at Easter and 
ministered to as many as came. I desire no notice to 
Sir Henry Percy ; but that his mother might have 
warning to take heed to her maids, for that friar is 
sycker knave." 2 

Although, then, the accession of Elizabeth had been a 
great blow to the Catholic party, whose smouldering dis- 
content " lay like lees at the bottom of men's hearts and 

1 State Papers, Add a (1566-79), p. 64, No. 42, i. 

2 Randolph to Cecil, 3rd June, 1563. Origl. State Papers, Scotland, 
Record Office. The lady referred to is the widow of the attainted Sir 
Thomas Percy, who died in 1567. 



a.d. if the vessel were ever so little stirred came to the top ; " • 
i5 2 8-i57 2 a^ m t h e north of England, the great majority of the 
population remained attached to the ancient form of 
worship and was ready to make great sacrifices in its 
defence, yet the feeling throughout England in favour of 
the Church of Rome would not appear to have been 
either so widely prevalent, or so intense, as to justify 
the hope of its forming the base of a successful resistance 
to constituted authority. 

ii. In proclaiming Mary Stuart as heir presumptive 
to the English throne, the Catholics put forward a 
candidate whose legal right on the score of blood- 
relationship it was impossible to question. Yet no act 
could have been more calculated to arouse the jealousy 
and anger of Elizabeth, who already displayed that 
morbid aversion to recognise a successor which became 
so marked a weakness in her strong character later in 
life ; while the Scottish Queen's ostentatious attachment 
to the Roman Church could not fail to alarm the Protestant 
party. But putting aside these considerations, North- 
umberland and his allies would appear to have exaggerated 
the influence of Mary's name in England. 2 

In later days, when distance had lent its enchantment 
to the story of the Queen of Scots, when poetry and 
romance had clothed her in their rosiest tints, the con- 
templation of her persecution and suffering, of weary 
years of captivity and a shameful death bravely borne, 
aroused universal pity and sympathy en her behalf. At 
the time of which we are now treating, however, she 

1 Bacon. 

2 The absence at this time of anything approaching to enthusiasm 
in Mary's cause, is evidenced by the report of Richard Lowther to Cecil, 
where it is stated that although he had "warned the country by beacon " 
(of her arrival at Carlisle), " the gentlemen and sheriffs of Cumberland 
and Westmoreland had been very remiss in their duty to wait upon Her 
Majesty" ; arid tins in the very stronghold of English Catholicism I 



had not attained the honour of martyrdom. To the ad. 1569 
masses south of the Tweed, little was probably known of 
Mary Stuart, beyond the fact that she was nearest of kin 
to their sovereign, a papist by religion, an alien by birth 
and habits, and a fugitive from her kingdom. Rumours 
may have reached them of her personal charms, her 
strange adventures ; of the mysterious death of Darnley, 
and the wild Bothwell's rough wooing. Such tales, how- 
ever, were hardly calculated to enlist the sympathy of 
the sober English, still less to incite them to take up 
arms in her cause against their own Oueen. 

iiL There is no doubt but that the two northern 
Earls had been encouraged by promises of active 
support from many influential quarters. Although 
Northumberland had been opposed to the project of 
Mary's alliance with Norfolk, because of his religion, 1 
Westmoreland felt in honour bound to stand by his 
brother-in-law, who had declared his readiness to risk 

liberty, life, and estate in the cause of Mary Stuart. 2 


1 In his " Confession " (see footnote, p. 44), the Earl of Northum- 
berland states that he had warned the Queen of Scots against marrying 
a Protestant, and represented to her that " if she ever looked to 
recover her estate it must be by the advauncing and mayntayning of 
the Catholicke fayth ; for there ought to be no haulting in those matters ; 
and if the Duke [of Norfolk] were a sound Catholick I would as much 
rejoyce, and be as glad of that match, as any other." — Memorials of 
the Rebellion, p. 192. 

3 Fe'nelon, in a despatch dated September 5th, 1570, reports a 
conversation with the Duke of Norfolk, and quotes his words with 
reference to the Scottish queen : "pour la restitution de laquelle il veult 
mettre sa personne, sa vie et ses biens." — Recueil des Dcpecius. Norfolk, 
however, wiser than the Earls, foresaw the result of an immature rising, 
and according to Francis Norton, had urged Westmoreland not to take up 
arms, even although the Earl of Northumberland should do so ; for that he 
felt sure that the first act of rebellion would be the signal for his execution. 

This is confirmed by the evidence of Captain Shirley, a spy employed 
by Cecil, who states that the Earl of Westmoreland had confided to him, 
that " if this Dewke had not sent that message [to Lord Westmoreland] 
they had done well enowghe, but he had shewed himself feynte indede ; 
• . . he. was the undoinge of them, for by that message and crede of that 
day, their frendes fell from them and gave them over." — Original State 

vol. 11. 39 


a.d. The Earls of Derby, Arundel, Cumberland, Pembroke, 

i5 2 8-i57 2 Southampton, and others, were not only notoriously 
favourable to the Catholics, but had, if the French 
and Spanish ambassadors are to be believed, expressed 
their determination to support any movement calculated 
to promote their interests. That these nobles had been 
in secret correspondence with the conspirators is evident ; 
but however ready they may have been to profit by the 
turn of events, it is far from clear that they had at 
any time pledged themselves to join in armed opposi- 
tion to the State. Even if they had gone to these 
lengths, however, concerted action must have been 
a condition of whatever understanding there had existed 
between them, and they were undoubtedly within their 
right in dissociating themselves from the rash out- 
break of their allies in the North. 1 That, in their 
conduct, which it is not possible to justify, is the 
complacency with which they at first watched the 
struggle as ready to side with the rebels, if success- 
ful, as to repudiate and desert them if they failed ; and 
their subsequent duplicity in solemnly disclaiming all 
participation in the aims and objects of their fallen 

The foreign aid promised to the cause proved equally 
fallacious. The support of Rome was moral rather fhan 
material from the first. Anathema was its weapon, and 
the papal benison the reward of service. Spain had 
made ample promises, and, during the early part of the 
rising, Alva had despatched a special messenger to en- 
courage the Earls in their action, and to hold out hope?: 
of succour in men and money ; but as the tide turned he 

1 On being informed cf the contemplated rising the Spanish ambas- 
sador in London advised the Earls '" to put no matter in execution," but 
to escape to a place of safety, for which purpose he offered them pass- 
ports to the Low Countries. See Oswald Wilkinson's Deposition, 
Murdin, p. 225. 



lent a deaf ear to their appeals. 1 Fenelon admits that a.d. 1569 
he had played with the insurgent chiefs, and that when 
Northumberland represented that his funds were nearly 
exhausted, and prayed for an advance of money, he had 
put him off with fair promises, though he thought that 
it might be as well if the King would keep him in good 
humour by a small remittance. 2 

The result of the rebellion might have been very 
different, however, but for the incapacity of the leaders 
and the prompt and resolute action of Elizabeth, 3 for 
the influence of the Earls within the range of their 
territorial jurisdiction was still very great, and they 
had a large body of zealous and active allies in the 
dispersed members of monastic houses, who, homeless 
and destitute, brooding over their wrongs, and dream- 
ing of a restored Church, were busily fomenting 
discontent and agitation amono; an ignorant, credulous 
and warlike population. The sons of the men who had 
suffered and died for participation in the Pilgrimage of 
Grace, nay, some of the actors in those scenes them- 
selves, were on the spot, ready, at the command of their 
chiefs, once more to unfurl the banner which a quarter 
of a century before had been borne by Aske and 
Norton, Percy and Dacre ; while success would have 
ensured the adherence of other powerful and influential 
nobles, already, for different reasons, unfriendly to 
Elizabeth. Under able and vigorous commanders, such 
forces, backed by the avowed sympathy and the secret 
aid of foreign States, might, although inadequate in the 

1 Refusing even to become security for a proposed loan of 8,000 
crowns. "Alva se monstre asse's froid sur tout le reste du secours 
promis." — Fenelon to the King, 27th December, 1569, Recueil des 

3 Ibid. 

3 Speed thus characterises the Queen's promptitude : " The nest was 
broken before the birds could the." 



a.d. end to withstand the military power of the empire, have 
r 5 2 _2*57 2 resu lted in a compromise, under which some of the conces- 
sions demanded would doubtless have been granted. But 
of the many qualities required for the exercise of efficient 
control and command over undisciplined masses, the two 
Earls, whom the accident of birth, rather than merit 
or ambition, had forced to the front, possessed only that 
instinct of personal courage inherent in the blood of the 
Percies and Nevilles. Up to the hour of actual rebellion, 
they had wavered feebly between conflicting doubts and 
now, that induced to overcome their scruples they had 
drawn the sword, they stood appalled at the thought of 
treason and the horrors of civil war. Still proclaiming 
their loyalty while heading armed insurgents, and in 
the name of the Queen levying forces to subvert her 
authority : rash in the face of danger, but irresolute to 
seize advantages, their inconsistency and want of purpose 
soon disheartened their followers, alienated their allies, 
and finally gave their enemies an easy triumph. 

# # 

When on the 14th November the two Earls summoned 

a council of their principal supporters for the purpose of 

deciding upon their course of action, the complete 

divergence of their views and objects became at once 

apparent. Leonard Dacre, 1 Markynfield, Richard Norton' 

and Swinbourne were in favour of an immediate attack 

1 The uncle of the last Lord Dacre of Gillesland, with whom the 
title became extinct. 

2 Richard Norton of Norton Conyers, the patriarch of the rebellion.— 

" But come thou hither, my little foot page, 
Come thou hither unto mee ; 
To maister Norton thou must goe 
In all the haste that ever may bee ; 
Commend me to that gentleman, 
And beere this letter here fro mee ; 
And say that earnestlie I praye, 
He will ryde in my companie. 



upon the Queen's forces, but this was opposed by a .d. 1569 
Northumberland, 1 who advocated a dash with a body 
of horse upon Tutbury for the liberation of the Scottish 
Queen, a project which was then feasible, and might 
have been attended with important results. 2 For some 
unexplained reason, however, it was overruled, while 
to a counter proposition to commence operations by 
proclaiming the Roman faith, Westmoreland demurred, 
because " those that took the pretext of religion in other 
countries are accounted as rebels, and therefore I will 
never blot my house, which thus long hath been preserved 
without stayning." 

The defenceless state of York invited attack, and 
the capture of Sussex with the small force under his 
command, would then have been practicable ; " but 

Then rose the reverend gentleman, 
And with him came a goodlye band 
To join with the brave Earl Percy, 
And all the flower o' Northumberland." — 

The Rising in the North, Percy Reliques. 

Richard Norton was not — as the ballad has it — executed, but made 
his escape to the Continent, where he died in penury some years later. 
His eldest son, subject to a heavy fine, recovered some of the property, 
on the ground, it is said, that he had only joined the rebels unarmed for 
the protection of his old father. Two, if not three, of the younger sons 

Sdied on the scaffold, and the others were attainted and fled. 
1 " Most thought that we should go to arms, save the Earl of North- 
umberland, who however agreed to do as the most would." — Francis 
Norton to the Eari of Leicester and Lord Burghley, 2nd April, 1572. 
— State Papers, Add a . (1566-79), p. 390. 

2 Hunsdon had warned Cecil of this scheme. " Their meaning is to 
take the Scottish Queene and thcrfor, for God's sake, let her not remain 
where she is, for their greatest force is horsemen." — Border MSS. In a 
letter to Cecil of 21st November (State Papers), Lord Shrewsbury, still in 
fear of the project being carried out, urges the removal of the Queen, " as 

the Castel is very weke and not able to resist and the enemy is 

within 54 miles." 
_ Chalmers, in his History of Scotland, states that the Countess of 
Northumberland had previously made an attempt to gain access to 
Mary at Wentworth in the disguise of a nurse, hoping to be able to 
' nange clothes with her, and thus effect her escape. She is said to have 
borne personal resemblance to the Scottish Queen. 



a.d. reflecting that the thing might cause bloodshed they 
152 J^57 2 passed it over." 1 The more daring and reckless spirits, 
seeing the hopelessness of vigorous action and despairing 
of success under such leaders, determined to disperse. 
" every man to provide for himself," and, despite the tears 
and reproaches of the Countess of Westmoreland, they 
departed — Dacre repairing straight to London, where, 
divulging the conspiracy, he prayed the Queen for a 
command against the rebels, and others to their houses 
or beyond seas. Northumberland was now once more 
disposed to submit, but on the representation that if he 
deserted them his allies would be sacrificed, he con- 
sented to go to Alnwick and there collect forces against 
future contingencies. The remaining rebels objected to 
his leaving them ; but he represented that it would not 
become him " to go under my Lord Westmoreland's 
standard without any force of mine owne, saving eight 
servants which I had with me," and on the following 
morning started for his castle, Lord Westmoreland 
escorting him on his way for a mile or two. 

After he had bid him farewell he was overtaken by the 
Nortons and several others, who urged him to return. His 
infirmity of purpose is best described in his own words : — 

" Walking up and downe there, till the sun was sett, 
riding nether one way or other, notwithstanding their 
great perswasions ; they seeing I could not be brought 
unto it, one of my said Lord's servants, named Wightman, 
came hard behinde me, and said I shoulde not choose 
but goe. ' Then,' quoth I, ' if it be so, have with you ! ' 
My servants shewed unto me afterwards, if I had not 

1 From Northumberland's "Confession," or, more properly, his replies 
to a series of interrogatories, for the full text of which see Calendar vj 
State Papers ; also Sharpe's Afemorials of the Rebellio?i in the North, and 
the two volumes of Burleigh State Papers, respectively edited by Murdin 
and Haynes. A summary of the Earl's evidence will be found in the 
Appendix, III. 



turned back at the firste time, some of the others meant a.d. 1569 
me a displesure." 

Returning to Brancepeth the two Earls, at the head of 
500 horse, marched to Durham, expelled the heretic 
bishop, had high mass celebrated in the cathedral, and 
inaugurated the new order of things by a bonfire of 
Protestant Bibles and prayer books. 1 A messenger from 
Sussex found them thus employed. To his final appeal 
to their good sense and loyalty, Northumberland returned 
for answer that further persuasion was useless, and that 
" they must now seek all the ways they could to serve 
their turn ... for seeing their lives in danger they were 
determined to lose them in the field." 2 

* * * 

Once committed to open defiance of authority, the 
Earls set to work to justify their 'action, and to bid for 
popular support and co-operation by means of a series of 
proclamations. The first of these, dated 15th November, 3 
makes no mention of the Scottish Queen, 4 but deals ex- 
clusively with. the religious questions ; but another, issued 
two days later at Richmond or Darlington, enters more 
fully into the subject of their grievances. This ad 
captandum vulgus appeal, which Bowes describes as " the 
most effective they did," and the authorship of which is at- 
tributed to Marmaduke Blackston, a pamphleteer of some 

1 " Ubi sacra Biblia, et Liturgise libros lingua Anglica, in ecclesii 
repertos dilacerant et proculcant." — Camden, Annates, vol. i. p. 194. 

2 State Papers, Add 3 . (1566-79), p. 107. 

3 See Appendix IV. 

4 Camden refers to this omission, which he attributes to the influence 
over Lord Westmoreland of the Duke' of Norfolk, who, being in the 
Queen's power, was sensitively apprehensive of any action on the part 
of his allies and supporters that might appear to connect him with their 
cause. At this time Norfolk was already trimming his sails, for on 
1 2th December he had written to Elizabeth that — "Now that I see how 
unplesant this matter of the Quene of Scotts ys unto your Majestie I 
never intende to dele furder trerin," and expresses his readiness to 
many such other " fytte person " as " may best content your Hynesse." 
—Haynes, p. 571. 



a.d. reputation, 1 deserves to be quoted as showing the first 

^ 2 _" pretexts for the rising - : — 

" Thomas, Earl of Northumberland, and Charles, Earl 
of Westmoreland, the Queen's most true and lawful 
subjects, and to all her Highness people sendeth greet- 
ing. Whereas, divers newe sette upp nobbles about the 
Ouene's Majestic, have and doe dailie not onlie goe 
about to overthrow and put down the ancient nobilitie of 
this reelme, but also have misused the Oueene's Majesties 
personne, and alsoe have by the space of twelve years 
now past, sett upp and mayntayned a newe found religion 
and heresie, contrarie to God's worde ; for the amending 
and redressing whereof divers foren powers doo purpose 
shortlie to invade thes realmes, which will be our utter 
destruction if we do not ourselves speedilie forfend the 
same. Wherefore we are now constreyned at this tyme 
to go aboute to amende and redresse it ourselves, which 
if we shold not do and forerenners enter upon us, we 
sholde be all made slaves and bondsmen to them. These 
are therefore to will and require you, and euery of you, 
being above the age of sixteen yeares, and not sixty, as 
your dutie towards God doth bynde you for the setting 
forthe of his trewe and catholick religion, and as you 
value the commonwealth of your contrie, to come and 
ressort unto us with all spede, with all such armour and 
furnyture as you, or any of you, have. This faile you not 
herein, as you will answere the contrarye at your perills. 

"God Save the Queen." 2 

Elizabeth, now alive to the uselessness of further 

negotiation, determined to strike a powerful blow before 

the rising should assume more formidable dimensions. 

The Earl of Warwick, and Lord Clinton and Save, the 

1 "One Marmaduke L'lackston was a principall wrytor of things." — 
Deposition of Hamelyng, Haynes, p. 594. 

2 HarL MSS. No. 6. 990, fol. 44. 



Hi°h Admiral, were each required to levy a force of 4,000 a.d. 1569 
men for service in the north ; ships were sent to the coast, 
at once to intercept reinforcements from abroad, and to 
cut off the retreat of the insurgents, and Commissioners 
were despatched to Scotland, to induce the Regent to 
bring a powerful army to the frontier in aid of the royal 
forces in the north. Nor was the use of political weapons 
neglected. Sussex was ordered to circulate counter-pro- 
clamations, and, above all things, to expose the " pretext 
of religion " on the part of the Earls. 1 He accordingly in 
the Queen's name proclaimed them as traitors 2 " who had 
never had care of conscience or respected any religion, 
but continued a dissolute life 3 till they were driven to 
pretend a popish holiness to put false colour upon their 
manifold treasons." 4 At the same time political writers and 
even ballad singers 5 were subsidised to blacken the cha- 
racters and discredit the pretensions of the rebel leaders. 
Sir Thomas Smith in a vituperative pamphlet, 6 says : — 

1 Elizabeth to Sussex, 15th November, 1569, Haynes, p. 553. 

3 Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. part ii. p. 319 (Edition 

8x824). In this proclamation a general pardon was promised to all (the 
leaders excepted) who should at once return to their homes and give in 
[their submission. 
3 This charge could only have applied to Lord Westmoreland, who, 
says Speed, was "a person utterly wasted by looseness of life." The 
private life of Northumberland, on the other hand, was irreproachable. 

4 The Earls replied to this manifesto by their " Protestacion," in which, 
with reference to Mary Stuart, they claimed it as their lawful duty " with 
diverse others of the ancyent nobilitie," among whom they named the 
Duke of Norfolk and the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel, "to 
determyne to whom, of meere right, the true succession of this Crown 
apperteyneth."— See Appendix Vi 

5 The following entry from a churchwarden's account, dated in 
January 1570, is quoted in the British Magazine for April 1863, p. 417 : 
" Item for vij Bally' s [Ballads] consarning the Rebells to be soung, ij d ." 

Preserved in the British Museum. Strype speaks of this composi- 
tion as " a Sermon, in Six Parts, against Wilful Rebellion," written by order 
01 the Archbishop of Canterbury. — (See Annals of trie Reformation, vol. i. 
I art 11. p. 3 2 2.) It was probably the joint production of clerics and laymen. 

Among the Reprints of Rare Tracts published by Richardson of New- 
castle (Biographical, vol. ii.), there is a copy of a Black Letter Metrical 
1/act, entitled, " An Answere to the Proclamation of the Rebells of the 
North, 1569." 



a-d. " He that considcreth the persons, states and conditions 
"__ of the rebels themselves, the reformers as they take upon 
them of the present government, he will find them the 
most rash and harebrained men, the greatest spend- 
thrifts ; that they lewdly wasted their owne goodes and 
landes to be over head and ears in debt Arc- 
not these mete men, trow you, to restore the common- 
wealth, who have so spoilt and consumed all their own 
wealth and thrift ? and very like to mend other men's 
manners, who have so vile and vicious and abominable 
condicion themselves ? " 

Another of Elizabeth's agents, Thomas Norton, 
barrister, addressed an appeal " to the Queenes poore 
deceived subjectes " ' in which this passage occurs : 

" The name of Percies and Nevilles have long been 
honourable and well beloved among you. Some of you 
and your forefathers have bene advanced by them and 
their ancestors ; some perhaps be knit in kinred, some be 
tenauntes, some be servauntes, some be, with like reason, 
with like causes, allied and bound to the meaner Captaines. 
Great things be these to move love and good neighbour- 
hed, 'and of great importaunce and efficacy to drawe 
honest true and kinde-harted men, to sticke by their lordes 
and frendes in all warres against the prince's enemies. 
and in all honest quarrels and perilles. Yet small matters 
they be, yea no causes at all, to drawe any man to stande 
with any man in rebellions and treasons. Is Percy more 
ancient, more beloved and dearer unto you than your 
naturall Soveraigne Ladie, the Oueene of England ? . . . 
Trow you this match be well made ? A corner against a 
reelme ; a handful against hundreds of thousands ; want 
against plentie, follie against policie, wickedness against 
truth, one or two doltish heads against the old nobilitic. 

1 A curious old pamphlet in 12* black letter : " Imprinted at London. 
by Henrie Bynneman, for Lucas Harrison, a.d. 1569." — British Museum. 

4 s 


a few rebels against all subjects ! " The writer concludes A . D . r5 6 9 
by warning the people against " those good men, your 
Hrle of Westmoreland and the other, in whom no lewd- 
ncsse lacked but rebellion, which they have now added 
to make up their heepe of iniquity." 

On 24th November the Queen issued her " Decla- 
ration setting forth the treasons of the Earls " in which 
ishe takes care to expose their want of pecuniary means : — 
" But as to the reformation of any great matters, they 
were as ill chosen two persons, if their qualities were 
considered to have credit, as could be in the whole realm. 
For they were both in poverty ; one having but a very 
small portion of that which his ancestors had left, 1 and the 
other having wasted almost the whole of his patrimony." 2 
Three days later the degradation of Northumberland 
from his order of the Garter 3 was proclaimed in these 
terms : 

" Elizabeth R. 27 die Nov r . 1569. 

" Be it knowne to all men that, whereas Thomas Earle 
of Northumberland, Knight Companion of the Moste 
Noble Order of the Garter, hathe not onely commytted 
and done high treasone againste the Queene's most ex- 
cellent Majestie, Sovereigne of the sayd most noble 
Order of the Garter, compassynge and imagininge moste 
traiterouslie and most rebellyously in manner of warr, 
not onely in his owne person, agaynste our moste dread 
Sovereign Lady the Queene, but also hathe procured a 
greate multytude of others, moste trayterously and re- 
bellyously to follow him in his moste traytorouse purpose, 
intendinge therbye, if he myght, to subverte the whole 

' From which it is clear that of the lands which the sixth Earl of 
Northumberland had vested in the crown in trust for his future successor, 
only a small portion had been given back on the restoration of the 
Earldom. 2 Strype, Annals of tlie Reformation, vol. i., part ii., p. 316. 

: In a window in the old chapel at Petworth there may yet be seen 
the Earl's arms empaled with rhosc of his wife, surrounded by the 
<j:irtt-r and the names Percy and Worcester. 

VOL. II. 49 E 


a.d. good order and commonwealth of this Realme ; for the 
152 -l! 572 which detestyble offence and High Treason the sayd 
Thomas hathe deserved to be disgraded of the same 
most noble order and expelled out of the same 
companye, and not worthie that his armes, ensignes or 
hatchments should remayne amongst virtuous and ap- 
proved knights of the said moste noble order. Where- 
fore our most Rightyous Oueene, Supreme and Souer- 
aigne of this moste noble order, with the companyons 
nowe present at the same, Wyll and Comaund that the 
armes, ensignes and hatchments of the said Thomas be 
taken awaye, and thrown downe and he to be putt clean 
from his order, and from henceforth to be non of the 
number thereof; that all others, by his example, maye 
ever more hereafter beware how thay comytte or doe 
lyke crime, or fall in like shame. 

" God Save the Oueene." ' 

The order was promptly carried into effect. 

" On the Saturdaye after (the date of the proclama- 
tion), being the 27th daye of November, Thomas Earle 
of Northumberland was disgraded of his knighthood of 
the Garter which was done in this manner : 

" Firste, Chester Herrold of Armes, with the Queene's 
Coat of armes on his backe, came to the backeside of the 
Stalls of the same Earle and, with a ladder beino- sett 
up agaynste his hatchments, ascended to the toppe of the 
ladder. Then Garter and Clarentyeulxe, ii Kinges of 
armes, Richemond, Rouge Draggon, and Rouge Crosse. 
Pursovants of armes, came out of the Cloyster, havinge 
the Queene's Coate of armes on their Backe's, (Wave 
being made by the Knighte Marshall and his men) 
directly againste the Stalle of the said Earle, and 
Chester being on the other side, came upon the ladder 
and strode by the hatchements. Then Rouo- e Crosse 

1 Cott. MSS. Vesp. C. xiv. 583. 


made with a loud voyce the Queene's proclamatyon of a .d. 1569 

the Earles degradinge which was under Her Ma tie ' s hand ; 

(the coppy herafter followeth) this beinge reade over 

againste the stakes, Chester did hurle downe with 

violence the Earles banner of armes to the ground ; then 

his sworde and after his creste and disappor (?) and after 

his helme and mantle, and after beinge all throwne downe 

they w r ere with lyke violence spurned from that place out 

of the windowe of the same chappell of Windsore by 

Garter King of armes aforesaid ; and after he had spurned, 

fyrste the Banner of armes, then the swoard, then the 

helmete and mantles, and laste the creste and dissoper, 

which creste and dissoper was not only spurned out of 

the weste door of the same chappell, but cleane out of 

the ottermoste gates of the castle." ■ 

Neither the royal resentment nor the ridicule and 
invective showered upon the two rebellious earls by 
Cecil's hired scribes had much effect upon the sturdy men 
of the north. The policy of the Tudors had broken the 
feudal power, but had not yet succeeded in destroying the 
personal attachment existing between lord and vassal. 
No sooner had Northumberland and Westmoreland set 
up their standards in Durham, than men of all classes, 
from nobles and knights, accompanied by their tenants, 
mounted and equipped for war, down to unarmed 
labourers, bringing only their stout hearts and goodwill, 
rallied around their natural chiefs, 2 want of allegiance to 

1 Harl. MSS. No. 304 (4S), Fol. 84". Fenelon, in one of his despatches, 
describes this scene, and relates how " les Armoyries du Comte ont e'te 
degradee's et oste'es publiquement, et mis as bas avec ignominie, follees 
aux pieds, et puys jecte'es aulx fossez." — Recucil des Dipcches. 

* The Earls seem to have exercised their authority in right royal 
fashion, as witness this passport, the original of which is preserved in 
the Cotton MSS. (Calig. B. ix. 405). t: To all and every the sen-ants, 
tcnents and adherents of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmore- 
land their ffrvndes confeyderates and allies : 

" Theis shall be to will and command you to permytte and suffer this 
berer Jelberd Havers to passe and repasse from place to place where his 

51 E 2 


a.d. whom in the hour of danger they would have scouted as 

1528-157* the worst f disloyalty. 1 

The imagination of the poet thus depicts the opening 

scene in the Rebel camp : 

" ' Rise, noble Earls— put forth your might, 
In Holy Church and people's right ! ' 
The Norton fixed at this demand 
His eye upon Northumberland, 
And said : ' the minds of men will own 
No royal rest while England's throne 
Is left without an heir. . . _. 
Brave Earls, to whose heroic veins 
1 Our noblest blood is given in trust, 

To you a suffering State complains, 
And ye must raise us-from the dust. 
With wishes of still bolder scope, 
On you we look with deepest hope, 
Even for the altar, for the prize 
In heaven, — of life that never dies. 
For th' old and Holy Church we mourn, 
And must in joy to her return.' " 

The banner which he had borne in the Pilgrimage 

of Grace being then unfurled by Francis Norton : 

" ' Uplift it ! ' cried once more the band, 
And then a thoughtful pause ensued. 
1 Uplift it ! ' cried Northumberland ; 
Whereat from all the multitude 
Who saw the banner raised on high 
In all its dread emblazonry, 
A voice of utmost joy broke forth. . . . 

Now was the North in arms ; they shine 
In warlike trim from Tweed to Tyne 
At Percy's voice ! " 

busynesse lyeth, without lett or trouble of you or any of you, as you will 
answer to the contrarye at your perill. — From Durham, 15th December, 
1569. Northumberland. C. Westmoreland." 

1 The strength of this attachment, even at a time when the rank and 
file of the insurgents were being hanged by hundreds for their loyalty to 
the chiefs who had abandoned them, is testified by all their adversaries. 
Thus Sir Robert Bowes informs Sadler that " The olde good wyll of the 
peple is deepe graftyd in their heartes to their nobles and gentlemen ol 
this country, which tied " {Memorials, page 179); and Lord Hunsdon 
states that after the flight of their leaders the Northumbrian men re- 
mained loyal to the cause, and that they would "recognise no Prince 
but a Percy." — Letter to Cecil, 31st December, 1569. Slate Papers. 



The attitude of "the North in arms " was less favour- a.d. 15^9 
ably represented by the prosaic testimony of Elizabeth's 

I agents. Bowes estimates the number of the insurgents 

shortly after the outbreak at not more than one thousand, 
of whom the greater part are "footmen unarmed and 
imdrilled" and constantly deserting for want of money, 1 
and Sussex describes them as "pore rascalls that come 
slowly on the one day, and go away apace willingly the 
other." 2 He was fully alive however to the danger which 
example and impunity might beget in kindling the re- 
ligious zeal of the people into such a flame of fanaticism 
as would spread over the country and penetrate even to 
his own ranks. 

As early as on the 15th November he had reported to 
the Queen that "the Earls will make religion their 
ground, and I am not sure how many will in that case 
go against me in my own force ; but I have great cause 
to doubt much of them ; whereas if they escape there is 
great feare of their enlisting foreign aid. It is for your 
Majesty to consider whether it would not be better 
policy to pardon them. AIL the wisest Protestants think 
you should offer mercy before y 02c draw the sword!' 3 

And aeain on the same day to Cecil : " He is a rare 
bird that has not some of his with the two Earls, or, in 
his heart, wishes not well to their cause ; and I heartily 
wish that her Majesty would quench all this fire at the 
beginning by pardon or force. The Earles are old in 
bloode and poore in force, in any other cause but this." 4 
In the report of the Council of 16th November it is 
stated : " The people like so well of their cause of 
religion that they do flock to them (the Earls) in all 
places where they come, and many gentlemen show 
themselves readie to serve your Majestie, whose sons 
and heirs, or other sons, be on the other side." 

* Memorials. ' Stale Papers. 3 Ibid. * Ibid. 



ad. On the 17th November, Bowes writes to Sussex: — 

5 5 " The matter groweth very hott, and sure in my opinion 

requireth to be expedited ; as what with feare, fine 
speeche, or moneye, they drawe awaye the harts of the 
people." He adds that the Earls use her Majesty's 
name in their proclamations and that Northumberland 
"beareth a guydon before his troope." A week later 
Bowes writes to Sussex : " Daylie the people flee from 
these partes to the Earles, and I knowe not what should 
be done to staye them ; for I have notifyed their unloyall 
and rebellious dealings, and with fayre speech and bes- 
towal of money used them that came in the most gentle 
manner I could ; but it avayleth nothing, for they still 
start after them." 

Sir John Forster says : " My Lord of Northumber- 
land hath in this country (Northumberland) lands of the 
yearly rent of one thousand pounds, whereon he hath 
many tenents, as many of them gyven to the evill as to 
the goode ; so as when they understand that such as 
beare either dewty or trew service to her Majesty ys the 
better parteye, they comme, and wyll be obedyent ; but 
yf their master should retourne and enter with the evill 
countries of England and Scotland, they are not to be 
trusted. The common people in this sudden hurl are 
dangerous to trust." 1 

This is fully confirmed by Sir Ralph Sadler: "We 
cannot trust the papists, for if the father comes to us with 
ten men, his son goes to the rebels with twenty " ; 3 and 

1 Forster to Cecil, 24th Nov. 1569, State Papers. A sturdy 
Northumbrian soldier with a keen eye to his own interests. He 
could claim forty years of good service in border war, when he was 
appointed Warden of the Middle Marches. According to an ancient 
ballad : 

"Sir John was gentle, meik and douse, 
But he was hail and hott as fyre." 

* Sadler to Cecil, 6th Dec, 1569, Sadler Papers, vol. ii., p. 55. 



again: "There be not in all this countrey x gentilmen a.d. 1569 
that do favor and allowe of Her Majesties proceedings 
in the cause of religion ; and the common people be ... . 
altogether blynded with tholde popish doctryne." 

No reliance can be placed on the various and contradic- 
tory reports, by Elizabeth's local agents, of the numbers 
of the insurgent forces. Gargrave, the sheriff of York, 
puts them at 20,000, " for all the inhabitants of the 
Byshopryche of Richmondshyre, a few only excepted, are 
rebels ; x " but he can hardly have meant to convey that 
anything approaching those numbers were at any one time 
under arms. Lord Hunsdon's 2 estimate is probably the 
most accurate. At the height of the rebellion he quotes 
the footmen, of whom " the greater part are artificers 
and the meaner sort of husbandmen," at less than 4,000, 
and the Light Horse, "mostly gentlemen and their 
dependents," at 1,700. The superiority both in numbers 
and equipment of the horsemen was universally admitted. 
Sir Francis Leeke informs the Privy Council that they 
were " better furnished than I have ever seen, for besydes 
their staves, there was few of them without a case of 
pistolets." 3 Fenelon in one of the reports to his Court 
describes them as '■' en aussi bon equipage quil sen peult 
trouver en Angleterre" and Sussex more than once 
expresses his inability to take the field against so 
formidable a body as the Rebel Horse. Of the footmen 
a large proportion were untrained and unarmed men, 

! x See Lord Huntingdon's Report on the Northern Rebellion, September 
1573, in the Appendix to the Memorials. 

2 Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon, who played a prominent part in the 
suppression of the rebellion, was a son of Anne Boleyn's sister, there- 
fore first cousin to the Queen. He was a brave soldier, whose honour- 
able and straightforward character forms a pleasing contrast to that of 
too many of Elizabeth's agents. " Far from the practice of my Lord of 
Leicester's instructions," says a contemporary, "he was downright; a 
fast man to his Prince, and firm to his friends, and as he lived in a 
ruffling time so he loved sword and buckler men." — Fragmenta 
Regalia, by Sir Thomas Naunton. 3 State Papers. 

} 55 


a.d. entirely dependent upon their employers for the means 
l S 2 ~^Si 2 of daily subsistence. Their zeal might reconcile them to 
fighting without pay, but the supply of food was an 
indispensable condition of continuous and effective 
service, and this the Earls were unable to provide. 
Westmoreland had long been a very needy man, and so 
poor at this time was Northumberland that his stables 
contained "scarcely sufficient horses for his family." 1 
He himself states that his collar of the Garter had been 
"laid in gage for ^"6o," that he had pledged a part of 
his plate before the outbreak, and that when he took the 
field he had only ^"120 in his possession. 2 On the 
other hand the northern garrisons had, owing- to 
Elizabeth's accustomed parsimony, been allowed to 
dwindle to less than one-third of their nominal strength. 
The entire available force under Sussex on the out- 
break of the rebellion did not exceed 2,000 foot and 
500 horse, who were in arrears of pay, and short of 
ammunition and pikes ; 3 nor was their loyalty to be 
relied upon, for he expresses a fear that they would 
" fyght but faintly," while the population is described as 
being " hollowe-harted and unwilling to bring victuals to 
the camp." He was thus condemned to inactivity, which 
at such a time could not fail to afford encouragement 
to the insurgents. 

1 Thomas Gargrave to Cecil, November 1569 ; State Papers. In his 
pamphlet (See ante, p. 47) Sir Thomas Smith says that Northumberland 
then possessed "only a small portion of that which his ancestors some- 
times had and lost, and that his daily sales and shiftes for necessitie, 
even then when he had less charge than to maintain an army, both in 
Sussex and elsewhere, we all know." 

3 See his " Confession." Christopher Norton states that the Earls had 
given him ^20 to distribute among the foot soldiers assembled at 
Ripon, but as these were above 1000 in number, and as he thought 
it was not possible to give each man less than one shilling, he had 
demanded additional funds ; " but they said they had no more." — State 
Papers, 1566-79. Add*, xviii. 35. 

3 Sussex to Cecil, 26th November, 1569, State Papers. 

56 " 


With increasing numbers, however, the Earls felt only a.d. 1569 
more severely the strain upon their narrow resources, 
and they now turned anxiously to their allies for the 
material support which had been promised them. In 
the common cause to which princes and nobles, church- 
men and soldiers, had pledged themselves, they alone had 
hitherto borne the brunt of battle. The time had now come, 
they declared, when all true friends of the ancient faith, 
when all who wished to see the succession to the English 
throne assured in the person of the legitimate heir to the 
crown, should avow themselves. But Elizabeth's watchful 
eye seems to have paralysed the malcontents, who, as 
Northumberland complained, answered his appeal " with 
such coldness as misliked him." For the two leaders, 
however, there was now no alternative but action. They 
were hurried on by a power stronger than themselves, and, 
nominally the leaders of the rebellion, now found them- 
selves unable to stem, or even to direct the violence of its 
course. The conduct of the ensuing campaign, if a series 
of desultory marches and purposeless manoeuvres, 1 can 
be dignified by the term, does not admit of explanation 
upon any principle of the art of war. Within a few 
days after the foolish demonstration at Durham, the 
insurgent force had swelled into a body of over 2,000 
foot and 1,200 horse, with which the Earls advanced 
southward halting at Darlington, where they " lewdly 
heard mass and besprinkled the soldiers with holy 
water"; 2 and thence to Richmond, Northallerton, and 
Ripon, meeting with no opposition, and steadily in- 
creasing their numbers, till on reaching Clifford Moor, 
near Wetherby, 3 on the 23rd' of November, the force 

1 " They know not what to enterprize by their straggling in this sorte." 
— Cecil to Bowes. Memorials. x Holinshead. 

3 On 17th November the Council of York report to Cecil that the 
insurgents were at Richmond, "where the Earl of Northumberland is 
the Queen's officer (steward) and the Countess his wyfe is gone thither 



a.d. amounted to 6,000 men. Here it was that a messenger 
i5 2 S-i572 f rom j-hg Q Lieen f Scots brought Northumberland "a 
rynge of gold enamel, requyring hym to remember his 
promise." x 

They had succeeded in dispersing the levies in course 
of formation for the Queen's service, had captured a 
body of 300 horse at Tadcaster, and cut off communica- 
tion with York, where Sussex lay with a garrison not 
exceeding 2,000 men, " whereof not past 300 horsemen.'' 
A vigorous assault would have placed him and the city 
at their mercy, but at the eleventh hour, to his great 
relief, they suddenly fell back upon Durham, 2 and 
proceeded formally to lay siege to Barnard Castle, in 
which their old antagonist, Sir George Bowes, had 
taken refuge. 3 Sussex was anxious to send him 
reinforcements, and, if possible, to raise the siege, but 
found himself too weak to spare any of his troops for 
this purpose. After a prolonged and gallant resistance, 
the place fell, 4 owing to the treachery of a great part 

to them." On the next day they are reported to be at Ripon. — State 

1 Deposition of W. Hamelyng, Haynes, p. 594. 

3 " The rebells are returned into the Bishoprycke The Earl of 

Northumberland thinketh to have all, or most part of, Northumberland 
at his devocion, for which he hath used greete practice." — Sadler to 
Cecil, 30th November, 1569. Memorials, p. 83. 

3 " Dowting what might happen to myself and whom they greatly 
menace, I have put myself and my household only in Barnard Castle." — 
Sir George Bowes to Sussex, 12th November, 1569. Ibid. 

4 " They every daye come to offer schrymishinge, and beareth in our 
Scoutes and Screwagers, but we take no alarom but keepeth close." — 
Bowes to Cecil, 29th November. Ibid. The refusal of Bowes to quit 
his vantage-ground in answer to challenges to single combat or to 
" skrymaging," gave rise to these lines in an old ballad still known in 
the North : — 

"Coward, a coward of Barney Castell 
Dare not come out to fight the battell." 


Bowes ultimately obtained honourable terms of capitulation, a:ul 
marched out with 300 horse. 



of the garrison, who, dropping over the walls by the score, a.d. 1569 
deserted to the enemy. Its capture was of no strategical 
importance however ; and the time wasted in the siege 
had enabled Sussex to place York in a state of defence, 
and to treble his own force, 1 while Warwick and the 
I . High Admiral had advanced unopposed with an army 
of 7,000 men to Wetherby. The Earls had now been 
under arms for five weeks, and the only material advan- 
tage they had gained was in the seizure and occupation of 
Hartlepool ; which Cecil apprehended " will brede some 
longer trouble," 2 as that place might serve them as a 
convenient port for receiving reinforcements or supplies 
from the Continent, or, these failing, for facilitating their 
own escape across the sea. The rebellion was, however, 
crushed before they could turn their acquisition to any 
profitable account. 

On the 20th of November Sussex writes to Cecil : — 
"Although at the beginning of these matters the 
people were so affected to the Earls for the sense they 
had in hand that what was had for the Queen's service 
was got out of the flint, and those that came, save a few 
gentlemen, liked better the other side; . . . now the 
discreet begin to mislike, the soldiers wax more trusty, 
and the wealthier are more afraid of spoil . . . their 
force is like to decline, and their credit will utterly 
decay." 3 

Constable, a spy of Cecil's, bears similar testimony, 
stating that he had seen the men deserting " by dosens yn 

1 " The Earls mistrusted themselves, and while they wasted time and 
strength in besieging Barnard Castle an army of the South under Lords 
Warwick and Clinton arrived at Doncaster."— Holinshead, History of 
Scotland. J J 

3 Cecil to Sussex, State Papers. Hartlepool was taken at the 
suggestion of the Duke of Alva, who promised to despatch a body of 
Spanish troops if a secure landing-]- lace were provided. — See Deposition 
ot the Bishop of Rosse, Murdin, p. 42. 

3 State Papers. 



a.d. severall companyes, complening they wolde be hanoyed 
I 5 2 j^572 at ^omg or (before) theyretorned agayn to sarve withowt 
wayges ; " 2 wages, be it understood, meaning food. 

The attachment of the mass of the people in the 
North to the Earls, and to the cause which they repre- 
sented, continued, however, unabated, and the gaps in 
their ranks caused by desertion were rapidly filled by 
new recruits. 2 Money for the supply of arms and 
provisions was the crying want on the side of the 
insurgents, and to obtain this the Earls now made a 
final appeal to their various foreign and domestic allies. 
It has already been shown what came of the promises of 
the former in the hour of need ; 3 the latter were busily- 
planning their line of retreat. 

The tone of the following circular, which the insurgent 
leaders addressed to each of those nobles upon whose 
aid they had reckoned, certainly indicates a previous 
understanding ; more especially as they had not hitherto 
thought fit to repudiate the introduction of their names in 
the " Protestation," 4 (copies of which accompanied these 
letters) as supporters of the rebellion : — 

" Our verey good Lord, — * 

" We have thought good to make you privie to our 
goode and Vertuous Intente, for what Cawses we have 
assembled our selves in Amies, and howe we procede for 

1 Sadler Pafers, vol. ii. p. 63. 

a " Many gather to the rebells from places nere to them and farre 
from us, and many come from them in places nere to us." — Sussex 
to Cecil, State Papers. "The inhabitants of Cleveland, Allerton?h;re 
Rychmondshyre and the Bishoprycke are all hollie gone to the Earls, 
such is their affection for the cause of religion, by means whereof they 
have given to the force of grete nombres but yet confused without order 
armour or wepon.'*' — Sadler to Cecil, Ibid. 

3 Northumberland states (see his "Confession") that as late as during 
the siege of Barnard Castle he had received assurances from Alva 
of aid in men and money in a very short time. The message was 
sent to him direct by a special messenger from the Spanish ambassador. 

* Appendix V. 



the benelite of our Stats and Sevvertie of the Crowne of a.d. 1569 
Englande, which we send you herinclosed in the verey 
forme of our Proclamacion. 

" And for the great confidence and trust we have in 
your Lordship's vertuous meaning and religion, with the 
care your Lordship hath of the Preservacion of the 
Queen's Majestie and the quiet of this Commonwealth, 
the maintenance of God's true Religion, and the con- 
serving of the ancyent nobilitie, with the Safety of 
your Friendes and their howses, we ar most hartily 
to require you for the causes aforesaide, to rayse your 
Lordships powers to joyn with ours, and also to procure 
such ayde and assistance in all parte of your Lordships 
Territoryes, as maybe more terror to effect our godly 
and honorable Enterprises. And bycawse we knowe 
your Lordship is wise, we forbeare to perswade with 
you howe necessarie this warre is, which indede ys a 
peace, to the performance of our dewties. And there- 
fore, good my Lord, lett us, according to the hope we 
repose in your Lordshipp, receyve an assurence of your 
good meaning and forwardnes herein, and tp heare from 
you againe with spede. And so we most hartilie take 
our leave of your good Lordship. At Ripon this 27th 
daye of November 1569. 

" Your good Lordships 
- " assured and lovingf Friends 

" T. Northumberland 
" C. Westmoreland." * 

Whatever chances of success the Rising in the North 
may once have possessed had now vanished ; and the 
Earl of Derby determined not only to dissociate him- 
self from " the two Rebeles," but to repudiate their 
confidence and to expose their designs. He accordingly 

1 Haynes, p. 564. 


a.d. sent the " Protestacion " and its covering letter to the 

I S 2 _^S7 2 Queen, declaring that he had perceived "the matter to 

swarve so farre from the dutie of any good subject," and 

" besechyng God long to prosper your Majestie and to 

make you Yictoriose over your Enemyes." ' 

Leicester had already made his peace by urging upon 
Elizabeth a more severe treatment of the Scottish 
Queen ; while Arundel and Pembroke, fresh from the 
experience of the Tower, overwhelmed their Sovereign 
and her Minister with assurances of unalterable attach- 
ment to the throne and of abhorrence of the rebels and 
their cause. The Duke of Norfolk, too, in whose behalf, 
to a great extent, the sword had been drawn, had lost no 
time in writing to the Queen from his prison to assure 
her " of my poor honestie that I never dealt with any of 
those rebellious persons, either for the matters of re- 
ligion, (wherein I abhor theirs) or else for the matter ol 
title, or casting any dangers with them for this doubtful- 
ness of the succession to the crown." 2 

The northern rebellion was as foolish as it was 
criminal ; unjustifiable in its origin, feeble in its conduct, 
contemptible in its collapse. Yet the attitude of " those 
simple Earls " appears dignified by contrast with that of 

1 The Earl of Derby to the Queen, Lathom, 29th November, 1569. 
Haynes, p. 563. It was not a time for the Queen's Government to reject 
proffered allegiance from so influential a quarter ; but Cecil was pretty 
well informed of the actual state of things, and knew the value 01 
Lord Derby's professions. One of his agents writes to him : — " Con- 
syderyng the late facsyons which have within the last few yeares growed 
in that country (Lancashire) as well for folyshe opynyons of relygyon, 
as other comon acsyons betwene the Erie of Derby and others, ytt 
resteth doudtful that all the keyes of Lankashyer do not presently 
hange at the Erie of Derby's owlde gyrdell." — Sir Francis Leeke to 
Cecil, December 20th, 1569, Original State Papers, Record Orhce. 

2 Norfolk to the Queen, 3rd December, 1569, Haynes, p. 567. The 
abject tone of Norfolk's letter to Elizabeth would seem to justify 
the terms in which the Spanish ambassador refers to him : " mat liebra 
que Ie<jn." 


\>*f UR5 

r--^^*»^^ , , ., gp^^^ipi -.•■-:- W 

* -i 




zp i \ i x 

r N" 



. . ^* - 




their English and foreign x allies, who in turn incited and a.d. 1569 
ignored, supported and repudiated, their dupes, as the 
chances of success rose or fell. 

Sussex was now in a position to take the offensive. 
On the Sth of December he writes to Cecil : — " My horse- 
men I think be fewer in nomber than the rebels, but the 
most of those I have be now well appoynted, savynge 
for pystollets, and my fotemen begin to frame metely 
well." Three days later he reports that he is advancing 
on Allerton, and hopes shortly to effect a juncture with 
the Southern army. 

The Earls still made a show of resistance however. 
On the 11th of December they issued a proclamation 
addressed to the bailiffs and governors of Richmond, 
who are required " in the Queen's Majesty's name" to 
appear at Staneydrop on a given day, " with all able 
men between xvi. and lx. years as be within Richmond 
with such furniture of horse armour and wepon as any of 
you have," together with " victuals for six dayes to serve 
with all." 2 

On the following day they served a notice upon the 
tenants of " the supposed Bishop of Durham " requiring 
them (still in the Queen's name 3 ) to pay their rents on 



1 The ignoble conduct of the Spanish King was surpassed by 
the duplicity of the French Court as revealed in the Recueil des 
D'ep'cches. Before and throughout the insurrection the King and the 
Queen-mother had warmly encouraged the Earls by promises of money 
and armed support. After its suppression (January 14th, 1570), Fenelon 
is desired to convey their Majesties' sympathy to the Rebel leaders, and 
at the same time to express to Elizabeth their satisfaction at their defeat, 
which the King assures Her Majesty he had always expected, and which, 
^ as a punishment of men who rise against their anointed Sovereigns, he 

considered " a just judgment of God." 

3 Original State Papers, Record Office. 

3 To the adherents of Mary Stuart, the name of the Scottish Queen 
may have appeared to be the authority thus invoked, but as she had 
only been proclaimed as the future successor to the throne, it is to be 
doubted whether the Earls had any such meaning in their proclamations. 



a.d. a given day to officers to be appointed by the Earls, ' and 
5 2 __*57 2 then, learning that Sir John Forster was marching upon 
Durham from Newcastle, they determined to advance 
against him, and to risk a pitched battle. The two 
armies met at Chester-Dean ; but whether, as he stated. 
because of the impracticability of crossing the inter- 
vening streams with his ordnance, or that he found 
himself unable to cope with the rebel forces, Forster 
fell back unmolested after some harmless skirmishing. 2 

The rebellion was now virtually at an end ; 3 and 
on the 1 6th of December the Earls disbanded the 
bulk of their army, 4 and with only a few hundred 
horsemen fled precipitately to Hexham, pursued by 
Forster with a thousand light horse, 3 Sussex himself'' 

1 Harleian MSS., No. 6990, 45. 

a A description of this bloodless encounter will be found in Holins- 
head's Chronicles of Scotland. 

3 Not so the elements which had composed the danger. On 29th 
December Hunsdon bids Cecil, whose sagacity in gauging popular feeling 
had been strangely at fault throughout this movement, "advise her 
Majestye to look well to herself, and not to thynke all golde that glysters, 
for yt wyll falle owt to be the greatyst conspyracy that hath byne yn thys 
reelme thys 100 yeres." On the following day he tells the Queen that 
" there is a great sort of noblemen, and a nombre of others, that are in 
thys conspiracy that wold have begun sune yf thys had not burste ow t 
before the tyme, and is not unlykely to fowle owt yet, yf hyt be no: 
foreseen." — Memorials, pp. 123 and 125. 

♦ " The Lord Rebelles at one of the clock of this present daye, have 
EnVen warning to the comon people to make shifte for themselves, and 
therefore have themselves departed with a grete number of horseim:.. 
westwards as is reported." — Valentine Brown (Treasurer of Berwick) to 
Cecil, 16th December, 1569, State Papers. 

s Sussex to Cecil, 17th December, 1569, State Papers. In the 
same letter he reports the evacuation, by the rebels, of Hartlepool. Sir 
Henry Percy joined in the pursuit. See Secretary Cecil's letter to Sir 
Henry Norris, Cabala, p. 159. 

6 " I intend God willing to set forwardes towardes Esham to-morrow-- 
at four in the mornyng, and wyll remove them of their lodgynge or make 
them paye dearly for it ; and so wyll followe ther footsteppes, whersever 
they five, over hylles, wastes or waters, untell I have ether geven then 
the overthrewe or put them owte of the realme." — Sussex to Cecil, 
19th December, 1569, State Papers. 



following with fifteen hundred horse and six hundred A.D.J569 
arquebusiers, while Warwick and Clinton, leaving the 
Foot-Men at Ripon, advanced rapidly with their cavalry 
and six guns. 

Driven from Hexham, 1 the two Earls, with the Countess 
of Northumberland, Richard Norton, one or two of their 
confederates and a greatly reduced force of horsemen, 
made towards the Borders, and sought refuge with 
Leonard Dacre at Naworth, who not only refused to 
receive them, but made a show of joining .in the pursuit 
of his defeated allies. 2 

Continuing their headlong flight northwards, they 
crossed the frontier, and threw themselves upon the 
hospitality of the notorious thieves and outlaws of 
Liddesdale. 3 

1 Northumberland's intention of throwing himself into the strongholds 
of his own county where, surrounded by a population devoted to him, he 
might long have defied his enemies, had been defeated by the seizure of 
Warkworth and Alnwick Castles by Sir John Forster, who had placed 
garrisons in both places, holding them on the part of the Queen. An 
account of this proceeding is given in Holinshcad's Scotland. Sir John 
Forster's stewardship was subsequently thus described by Hunsdon :— 
" Yt ys grete pytty too see how Alnwyck Castel and Warkworth are 
spoyled by hym and hys. . . . And for the Abbey that standes in Hulne 
Parke he hathe left neyther lede, glase, irrne, nor so much as the pypes of 
lede that conveyed the water to the howse, but he hathe browght yt to 
hys owne howse ; and as I am credibly informed he meanes uterley to 
deface bothe the uther howses, Warkworth and Alnwick. ... Yt was a 
happy rebel/yon too hym, and no man howsever he ys opprest dare com- 
playne."— Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, April 1572, Memorials. 
Sussex repeatedly makes similar complaints of the spoil and oppression 
of the Lords Warwick and Clinton while their armies were in the 

3 Notwithstanding the urgent appeal of Edward Dacre, who writes 
to his brother : — " Do not forget to send to comfort Lady Northumber- 
land, to whom you are so very much bound ; for surely if there were ever 
honour, goodness and virtue in any woman, they are in her." — State 

i "The 16th hereof they broke up their sorry army, the iSth they 
entered into Northumberland, and on the 19th into the mountains. 
They have scattered all of their footmen, willing them to shift for them- 
selves, and of one thousand horsemen there fled but five hundred. Ly 
this tune they be fewer, and I trust either taken or fled into Scotland, 

VOL. II. 65 F 


a.d. " What a fond and foolish end these rebels have made 

i5 2 8-i57 2 f their traitcrous rebellion ! they always fled before us 
after we came within xii miles of them, and we followed 
after them as hard as we might, without rest. Never- 
theless you see how they bee escaped, which they might 
easily do in this wast and desolat country." z 

Elizabeth, apprehensive of the effects which the es- 
cape of the Earls to the Continent might produce upon 
her relations with foreign powers, 2 now made vigorous 
efforts to induce the Regent Murray to join with her in 
hunting down the rebel leaders. To this end, flattery, 
bribes and menaces were lavishly employed by her 
agents; and Murray, intent upon his own ambitious 
schemes, would have had no scruple in conciliating 
Elizabeth by the employment of military force for the 
interception of the fugitives. Border custom, however, 
had given to this right of asylum all the force of inter- 
national law, no less than of a recognised claim to 
hospitality ; and he hesitated to face the storm of public 
indignation which an overt breach of this ancient practice 
would have aroused. 3 

where the Regent Murray is in good readiness to chase them to their 
ruin." — Cecil to Sir Henry Norris, 24th December, 1569, Cabala, p. 159. 

1 Sadler to Cecil, Memorials, p. 114. 

2 " The Erles rebells and their principal confederats do lurk and hide 
themselves in the woodds and deserts of Lyddesdale, but if they tarry 
on the borders there is good hope to have some of them or it be 
long. The greatest feare is of their escape by the sea. . . . There is 
no doubt but that the Regent will do all he can to get those rebelis 
into his own handes." — Sadler to Cecil, 24th December, Sadler Papers, 
vol. ii. p. 7c. "The vermin be tledd into a forrayn covert, where 
I feare theves and murderors will be the hosts and mayntenors of our 
rebells." — Cecil to Sadler, 25th December, ibid. p. 73. 

3 So strong was popular feeling in Scotland on this point, that 
Elizabeth's local agents became very doubtful of the Regent being 
ultimately as able as he was willing to surrender the guests of the nation. 
Lord Hunsdon writes to the Queen on 30th December in his usual 
honestly blunt style :—" Generally all sortes both of men and women 
crye out for thelibertye of the countrye, which is to succor banysht men, 
as themselves have been received in England nat lang sins ; and is the 



To refuse compliance with the English demand was 
attended with equal danger, for to attain her end the 
Queen would not have hesitated to violate Scottish 
territory with her own armies. Murray, therefore, de- 
termined to get possession of the persons of the leading- 
insurgents by stratagem, as a preliminary to further and 
perhaps more favourable negotiation for their surrender ; 
and in one Hector Armstrong he found an agent worthy 
of the service to be performed. 

Lord Northumberland had, with his Countess, found 
shelter under the roof of an outlaw named John of the 
Syde, 1 in "a cottage not to be compared to any dogge- 
kennel in England," 2 writes Sussex. 

The Regent now employed an influential Liddesdale 

man to urge the danger incurred by their community in 
harbouring rebels ; whose expulsion would not only be an 
act pleasing to the authorities, but afford a rare oppor- 
tunity for plunder. These arguments prevailed, and the 

freedom of all countries as they alledge. ... I doubt whether the 
Regent dare deliver the Erie. . . . Your Majesty shall perhaps hear of 
some objections whie they should not as well kepe your rebelles, as 
your Majestie to kepe their Queene being fled from them." — State 

On 13th January following he writes to the same effect: — "The most 
parte of the nobylette of Scotland, and especyally a' this syde Edenburro, 
thynkes yt a grete reproche and ygnomminy too the hole country, to 
delyver any banysht man to the slaughter; accounting ytt a lybertye 
and freedome, yncydent to all nacions, too succor banysht men." — State 
Papers. Sir Ralph Sadler expresses the same views. See his letter of 
Sth January, 1570, to Lord Clinton. Sadler Papers, vol. ii. p. 97. 

1 '"'He is well kend, John of the Syde, 

A greater thefe did never ryde." — Maitland. 

"The Earls rebelles. with their principal confeyderates and the 
Countess of Northumberland, did, the 20 th of the present in the night, flee 
mto Liddesdale with about 100 horse ; and there remaine under the 
conducion of Black Ormstone, one of the murtherers of the Lord 
Harnley, and John of the Syde and the Lairds Joke, two notable 
''"•ves of Lidesdale."— Sussex to the Queen, 22nd December, 1569. 
Original State Papers. Record Office. 

67 F 2 


a.d. Earls and their followers were driven forth. 1 The story 

15 . 2 is told in the native dialect of a contemporary writer, who 

appears unconscious of its shame : — 2 

" Upoun the xxv day of the said moneth of December, 
my Lord Regent convenit with Mairtene Eliot that he 
soulde betralse Thomas Erie of Northumberland, quha 
wes fled in Liddisdaill out of Ingland for refuge, in this 
maner ; that is to say the said Mairtine causit Heckie 
Armystrong 3 desyre my Lord of Northumberland to 
cum and speik with him under tryst, and causit the said 
Erie believe that, efter speiking, gif my lord Regent 
wald persew him, that he and his freindis sould tak 
plane pairt with the Erie of Northumberland. And 
when the said Erie come with the said Heckie 
Armystrong to speik the said Mairtine he causit certane 
licht horsmen of my Lord Regentis with vtheris his 
freindis to ly at a wait, and quhen thay sould sie the said 
Erie and the said Mairtyne speiking togidder, that they 
suld come and tak the said Erie ; and sua as was devysit, 
sua come to pas. 

" And the said Erie being tane under traist, as said is, 
certane of his assistaris followed, and persewed the said 
Martine and his company, purposing to have releivit 
the said Erie ; and in their perforce, Capitane Johne 
Borthwick, Capitan of my Lord Regentis horsmen, was 

1 " In the end Marten Elwood (Elliot) sayd to Ormston he wold be 
sorry to enter dedly fewde with him by bloodshed ; but he would 
charge him and the reste before the Regent, for keping of the rebels of 
England, yf he did not put them owt of the countrye. . . . Whereupon 
the Erles were dm en to leave Lvdesdall, and to fly to one of the 
Armstrongs upon the Batabk (neutral ground) between Rydsdale and 
England." — Sussex to Cecil, 22nd December. Jfe/noria/s,p. 114. 

a "Diurnai of remarkable Occurrents," published in the Transactions 
of the Bannatyne Ciub, 1833. See also Historie of James 'the Sext, 
republished in Edinburgh in 1804. 

3 This man's treacl.jry was doubly base, since he had himself, while 
a fugitive in England, enjoyed the protection of the Earl of North- 



slane, and the remanent raid to Hawick ; quhairto they vn. 
brocht the said Erie, and thairefter to Jedburgh, quha ! 5°9-»S? 
gat na presens of my Lord Regent quhill the xxvij day 
of December, at the quhilk tyme thay wer cumand to 

Well might Sussex in conveying this intelligence to 
the Queen " perceive howe redie and willing the Regent 
of Scotland is to do your Majestye all the service he 
may. ■ 

On his expulsion from Liddesdale, Northumberland, 
reluctant to expose his brave w r ife to further dangers 
or privations, and believing probably in the fallacious 
proverb that there is honour even among thieves, in- 
trusted her to the care of her lawless hosts. No sooner 
was his back turned, however, than they set to work 
to pillage their guest, 2 Black Ormestone 3 setting the 
example by " spoulzieing" her of her jewels, money, 
and clothing, and the others appropriating the horses 
left for her and her attendants. 

Thus Lady Northumberland, deprived of the means of 
seeking refuge elsewhere, penniless, and with only the 
clothes she wore, remained in the nest of robbers, while 

1 Sussex and Sadler to the Queen, Hexham, 25th December. State 

2 "The same daye the Lydesdale men stale my Lady of Northumber- 
I land's horse, and her two women's horses, and other horses ; so that 

when the Erles went away, they left her and all the rest that had lost 

their horses, on foote at John of the Syde's house such is their 

present mysery." — Memorials, p. 115. Sir Richard Maitland's quaint 
description of these men deserves quotation : — , 

" Of Liddisdaill, the cornmoun theifis, 
Sa pertly steilis now and reifis, 
That nane may keip, hors, colt, nor sheip, 
Nor yet dar sleip, for thair mischiefis." 


3 " The Laird of Ormestoune spoulzeist the Erie of Northum- 
berland's house, and his wyrT of all her jeweliis, her ckithing and 
poise." — Memorials, p. 343. 

6 9 


a.d. the chief of the Percies, under an assumed name, and in 
1 5 28-15 7 2 t h e garb of an outlaw, 1 wandered forth to fall into the 
trap prepared for him. 

On the 8th of January, 1 569-70, Sadler writes to the 
Lord Admiral : — " The Erie of Northumberland is in the 
custodie of the Regent, and the Countess of Northumber- 
land, Erie of Westmoreland and others be receyved, ayded, 
and mayntayned, agenst the Regent's will, by the Lord. 
Hume, 2 the Lord of Farnyherst, the Lady of Bucleugh 
and others." 3 

About the same time Lord Hunsdon writes to the 

Regent : — 

" Upon Thursday night last the Countess of North- 
umberlande was brought by Farnehurst toward Hewme 
Castell, and was fayne to staye by the wave att Rocks- 
borrowe, by the soreness of the wether (being a greate 
storme) ; so as it was eight of the clock on Fridaie 
morning or she came to Hewme, and is ther yett, onlesse 
this Daie she be convoyed to Fauxe Castell. 

" Your Grace knowes well that the Ouenes Maiestie 
cannot take this well at ther hands; espetially at my 
Lord Hewmes, with whom she may easelie be quittaunce, 
and make him repent his follie, as I doubt not but 
she will." 4 

1 "The Erles have changed their names and apparell, and ryde 
lyke the outlawes of Lyddesdale."— Sadler to Cecil, Sadler Papers. 

ii. 71. . . c ., , 

2 This noble Scot was among the most prominent champions ot tne 
national right of asylum, and according to Maitland, in reply to the 
demand for the surrender of his guests, " said he would rather give his 
head, or he sould do so vyil a deid." Lady Northumberland appears 
subsequently to have made a convert of him, for Sir Thomas Gargravc 
on 2nd March, 157 1, informs Cecil that "Lord Hume has forsaken 
religion (i.e. become a Catholic) and hears two or three masses daily 
with Lady Northumberland." — State Papers. 

3 Sadler Papers, ii. 97. 

♦ Lord Hunsdon to the Regent of Scotland, 9th January, i57°> 
Haynes, p. 573. 



Ready as the Regent had hitherto shown himself, to a.d. 1570 
allow the right of asylum to be violated in the persons of 
those included in the Act of Attainder for participation in 
the late rising, 1 Elizabeth's threats did not deter him from 
affording shelter to Lady Northumberland. 

" I deme you will not think it strange," he writes, 
11 although it sal be reported that the Countesse of North- 
umberland is in Hume Castell ; for then it is that at my 
being in Jedburgh, hearing of her great miserie, and 
inhuman usage be the outlawes and theves, I declared 
to the Countrymen that I wolde not take it in evill 
parte, whosoever resett (received) her, making me privie 
thereto." 2 

The position of the Earl of Northumberland and his 
wife was indeed at this time such as to excite sympathy 
rather than resentment, as appears from a letter 3 now 
written by Alan King to Sir Henry Percy : — 

" My Lord of Northumberland is in Edenbrough and 
not in ward, but in the keeping of my Lord Regent, who 
hath gyven my Lord licence to lye in the town of 
Edenburgh with a garde of the Regent's men, and my 
Lord hath of his owne men seven principal. . . My 
Lord's request is by Robert 4 to you, who is both in grete 
distresse and miserye at this present, cleane without 
apparell or money, of your brotherlynes to extend your 
liberalitie to releve him withal at this his present neces- 
sitie ; and also he desyreth you to write, or send him word 
of such newes as you may impart him withal ; first what 
lykeing the nobility hath of his trouble ; secondly, how 

1 The list contained 57 names, and included that of the Countess of 
Northumberland, but not of Lady Westmoreland who had taken so much 
more active a part in the rebellion. See Appendix VI. 

2 The Regent of Scotland to the Earl of Sussex, 14th January, 1570, 
State Papers. 

3 The letter is published in Wright's Life of Queen Elizabeth. 

4 Robert Shafto, a servant of the Earl of Northumberland. 


a.t>. and in what case his frendes, men, and those that were 
1528-1572 w j t h hi m are use( j . thirdly, of his children. 

" My Lady of Northumberland hath her heartily 
commended unto you, who craveth and desyreth of your 
counsell in the behalf of my Lord. My Lady lyeth as yet 
at Fernyhurst, but the Lord Hume hath written lycenc 
for her to come to hym, which she wyll. She might have 
accesse to my lord to Edinburg, but she thynketh not so 
good as yet, till she have some more warrent from the 
Lord Regent ; for that she being at libertye, she is able to 
make some shifte for my Lord now, and hath alreadye sent 
home to her frendes,. as to my Lord of Worcester. Her 
request also is, that if you wolde send some trustye man 
of your owne to my Lord and her, you might pleasure 
them very much, and they would discourse unto him of 
such things as are yet in safetie, which might be now to 
their releves, or at the least it might come toyourhandes. 
Farther my lady wolde that you should understand, that 
disagrement that was amongst them chiefly was the cause 
of this their mishappe and ill fortune to sever and flie ; 
also for my Lord Dakers breach, which hath been 
aforetime, he hath showed himself a sorrowful man, 
who is as yet thought, and no otherwise knowne to my 
lady, but that he will assiste them if they will cumme into 
England, or when they cumme. 1 

" At my Lord of Northumberland's first cumming into 

1 Leonard Dacre had by this time turned against the English Queen, 
and openly defied Sussex, who, attacking him at Naworth on February 
20th, sent him " flying across the border like a tall gentleman, and I 
thinke never looked behind hym tyll he was at Lydesdale," and thence 
over the seas, to hatch fresh treasons in the Low Countries. See Lord 
Hunsdon's spirited retort on the capture of Naworth in Sharpe's 
Memorials. To do him justice, however, Dacre only took to flight 
when overcome by numbers, and after a desperate resistance. Camden 
says: "Pugnatum sane utnnque acriter, et Leonardus (gibbosus licet) 
nihil non fecit quod in duce fortissimo requiratur, sed, plurimis suoruin 
! caesis, victoriam haudquaquam laetam Hunsdonio reliquit, et in Scotiam 

proximam se recepit." — Annates. See also Appendix VII. 


Scotland the Regent did not, nor wolde not, talk with 
him in three dayes together ; but after they had mett 
and talked, they otherwyse agreed and many times 

" My Lady Northumberland hath sent to my Lady 
(Percy) and earnestlye desyreth her to send her some 
apparell, as she is destitute both of wollen and lynnen." 

If true information was furnished to the unhappy Earl 
upon the three points on which he expressed himself 
anxious to be enlightened, it could not have added to his 
peace of mind. The nobility were far too busily engaged 
in making their own peace with Elizabeth to occupy 
themselves with him or " his trouble " ; the " frendes and 
men and those that were with him " had been ruthlessly 
slaughtered, and his poor children were exposed to the 
hardship of a Yorkshire winter without food or fuel. 

" Passing by the younge ladys," writes their uncle, 
" I founde them in harde case, for nether had they any 
provisions, nor one penny to relyve with, but some lyttel 
things from me. They would gladly be removyde ; their 
want of fire is grettc, whose yeres may not suffer that 
lacke." 1 

The part played by Sir Henry Percy throughout these 
proceedings will be treated of in the chapter devoted to 
the story of his life. It need here only be mentioned 
that he had from the first dissociated himself from the 
cause of the insurgents ; as soon as the rebellion broke 
out he placed his sword at Elizabeth's disposal, and when 
only the work of retaliation remained to be done, he had 
written to Sussex declaring himself " holly devoted to 
_ Her Majesty, and reddy with all my force to move against 
the rebels." 2 

A.!-. I 

1 Sir Henry Percy to Earl of Sussex, 9th January, 1570, State Papers. 
Ihe eldest of the four daughters was only in her twelfth year. 
The same to the same, 7th January, 1570, Ibid. 



a.d. There is something suspicious in the anxiety he 

1 5 2 ^-i57 2 showed to signalize his loyalty, all the more so since he 
does not appear to have used the influence he had over 
his brother to turn him from his fatal course. Indeed 
the appeal which the fugitive Earl now makes to his 
" brotherliness " met with a very feeble response. 
A strong feeliiigf o( indignation and resentment had 

o o o 

been aroused among Scotchmen of all classes by the 
proposal on the part of the English Government that 
the insurgent chiefs who had sought their hospitality 
should be surrendered. 

" I have some cause to doubt," writes Sir Ralph 
Sadler to Lord Clinton on the 8th January, " whether 
the said Erie (the Regent) can or will delyver the said 
rebells. I conceive, by that I have heard, that few or 
none of the nobility will agree to it." x 

Constable, an impoverished member of an honourable 
family and one of the most shameless and unscrupulous 
in the large army of spies employed by the Government, 2 
whom Cecil had despatched to Scotland to watch the 
refugees, and more especially to worm himself into the 
confidence of Westmoreland, with whose house he was 
connected, relates how having entered a place of public 
entertainment, and sat down to play at " hardheads " with 
the people there assembled, " I heard, vox populi, that the 
Lord Regent could not for his own honor, nor for 
the honor of his countrye, delyver the Erles if he had 
them bothe, unlest it were to have the Queen (Mary) 
delyvered to him ; and if he wolde agree to such, that 
change, the Borderers would start up in his countrye and 
reave both the Oueene and the Lords from him for the 

1 Sadler Papers. 

a In a letter to his chief this man proclaims himself prepared "to 
trap them that trust in me, as Judas did Christ," and with amusing 
impudence ■ claims exceptionally high wages on account of his gentle 
birth, since he " cannot beg as others do." — Cabala, p. 160. 



like shame was never done in Scotland." He adds that a.d. 1570 
the indignation at the treachery of Hector Armstrong ' 
was universal, and that some of his companions had 
expressed a wish " to eat his head at supper." 

Elizabeth was determined, however, at all hazards to 
obtain possession of the persons of her rebellious lords, 
and was advised to place strong garrisons upon the 
Borders, " to the ende that if those proud Scots will not 
delyver the said rebells they may be persecuted by Her 
Majesty's forces, and have their houses, landes, and 
goods overthrown, wasted, and destroyed by fyre and 
sword with all extremyte." 2 

Sir Henry Gates, who had been sent to Scotland with 
instructions peremptorily in the Queen's name to demand 
the surrender of the two Earls, and of " the other rebels 
recepted in Scotland," appears to have succeeded in over- 
coming the scruples of the Regent, who had hitherto 
wavered between apprehension of Elizabeth's displeasure 
and a regard for his own reputation and the national 
honour. 3 " He shewed us, in very hastie speache, he wolde 
gladlie of himself accomplish anie thing that lawfully 
might be in his power to pleasure the Queen's Majesty 
in that or anie other thing, but that, for the matter was 
weightie, he thought better to deale in such sorte as 
offences should not be taken at his doings." 4 

A delay was accordingly granted to enable him to 
obtain the assent of the Council, which he appears to have 
done ; but on the day preceding that fixed for signing 
the treaty, the bullet of an assassin saved the Earl 

1 "To take Hector's cloak" passed into a proverb for betraying a 
friend. See Mailland's JMSS. (Pinkerton), p. 132. 

2 Sadler Papers. 

3 The liberation of Queen Mary, whose prolonged captivity in 
England had become a cause of embarrassment to Elizabeth, was one 
ot the conditions of the proposed surrender. 

4 Sir Henry Gates to Cecil, January aotfa, 1570, Original State 
1 apers. 



a.d. of Murray's name from the blot of the contemplated 

D °' act ol dishonour. 1 

* * 

Meanwhile a terrible tragedy was in progress at the 
theatre of the late insurrection. Elizabeth was resolved 
to strike terror into the hearts of her Catholic subjects, 
and to crush with a hand of iron all sympathy for the 
Scottish Queen, all hope of a restored church, all reliance 
upon the aid of her foreign enemies. Although the 
movement had hardly risen to the importance of re- 
bellion (except at Barnard Castle, where the casualties 
were trifling, the Queen's forces and those of the two 
Earls had never met in actual conflict) 2 any degree of 
severity might have been justifiable towards the leaders 
who had been defeated in the attempt to incite the popu- 
lation of four counties to rise in arms against the authority 
of their sovereign ; and who had appealed to the aid ot 
foreign powers to plunge their country into civil war. 
It was not upon these, how r ever, that the edge of the 
sword of justice now descended. The most repulsive 
feature in the retaliatory measures now adopted by 
Elizabeth and -her agents, is the cold-blooded calculating 
spirit in which wholesale executions were inflicted upon 
11 the meaner sort," while those were spared who were 
able to ransom their lives. The gentlemen and sub- 
stantial yeomen who fell into the hands of the authorities 
were allowed to escape the penalty of their offences by a 

1 " By direction of the Regent they (the English Commissioners) 
attended at Edenborough for aunswer to be given the day of his death ; 
which is now, as our lawyers call it, sine die." — Cecil to Sir Henry 
Norris. Cabala, p. 160. The Regent Murray had been shot on 
22nd January, and died on the following morning. 

3 " In the besieging of Barnard Castle they killed five men, three 
within and two without. That night the skirmish was, they hurt with 
arquebus shot three score and seven within the Castle. These were the 
greatest spoils and outrages they committed, so far as I know.' 
Memorials, p. 1S7. 



money* payment; while the poor peasants — to most of a.d. 1570 
whom implicit obedience to their local chiefs was second 
nature — were consigned to the gallows by hundreds. 

As early as on 20th December, while the Earls were in 
full flight from Hexham, Cecil wrote to Sadler: 

"It were pittie but some of those rascalls were hanged 
by martialle lawe ; but the rye her wold be bttt taken and 
altaynted, for otherwise it is doubtfull how the Queue's 
Majcstie shall have any forfeiture of tlier landes or 
goodesl' * Sussex was, however, too well acquainted 
with the Queen's ruling passion to require any instruc- 
tions on this point : " I had resolved before receipt of 
her Majestye's letter not to execute martial law against 
any that had inheritance or greate wealth, as I knew the 
law in that case." 

At the same time he submits the first list of rebels 
whom he proposes to execute in the county of Durham ; 
these are 314 in number, and he promises "a like exe- 
cution in Richmondshire when the Marshall has finished 
this ; as also at Allerton, Topcliffe and Thirske, besides 

1 Sadler Fa/>ers, vol. ii., p. 69. Sussex had suggested that in view 
of the large forfeiture likely to accrue in Durham, the Bishop, to 
whom these would fall, should be translated to another see, so that, 
sede vacanie, the Queen derive the benefit ; and in recommending 
convicted rebels to mercy he never failed to make use of the argument 
most certain to convince Elizabeth. Of one man he writes : " He has 
many children, has married a widow that has children ; was of honest 
behaviour and was gieatly lamented ; his land was assured to his wife so 
that the Queen will lose by his death." Of another : " By his death the 
Queen will lose, but not by his life." — Again of one Sayers, " A verye 
younge man a servant of the Erie of Northumberland, and the son of 
loyal parents ; I have compounded for his pardon for the fyne of Five 
Hundred Pounds if the Queen's Majestye be pleased, which if he shoulde 
be executed she shold have nothing. I have talked with others in like 
sort, and if Her Majesty allows thereof I will proceed, but have made 
no promise to any one that hath either freehold or wealth, nor do I mean 
that the common householders shall escape without fine, as by many 
littles a great sum will rise. I think the like commodity was never 
raised to any prince in any rebel'ons that shall be in this, if no man 
restrains me in my office." — Sussex to Cecil, 8th January, 1570. 
Slate Papers. 



a.d. which there shall be no town whence any man who wr-it 
3 " — 3 ' to serve the Earls, and continued after a pardon proclaimed 
but one or more shall be executed for example." * 

The tone of this letter would certainly not seem to 
indicate any disposition to undue leniency ; but the Queen 
is not satisfied and writes : " We marvel that we have 
heard of no execution by martial law, as was appointed, of 
the meaner sort of rebels in the north. If the same be 
not already done, you are to proceed thereunto, for the 
terror of others, with expedition." 2 

In a subsequent letter Elizabeth accuses Sussex of 
want of zeal, and a leaning towards her disaffected 
subjects, to which he replies : " If, after all my service, 
this hard opinion be conceived, it is durus sermo, which 
has been the sauce to my service for twelve years past." 3 
With Thomas Gargrave, the Sheriff of Yorkshire, the 
Queen is better satisfied, for she writes to thank him for 
his " diligent service " in hanging matters, and bids have 
special regard to "preserve for our use all goods and 
lands within your sheriffwyck belonging to rebels." 4 

Cecil, not to be outdone in zeal, recommends that, as a 
preliminary to execution, the culprits " be putte to some 
feare, and thereto also, as nede should be, being pynched 
tuith some lack of foode and 'with pay tie of imprisonment. " 
Lord Hunsdon, whose instincts (when deference to the 
harder nature of his royal cousin did not warp them.) 
were ever humane and generous, pleaded more than once 
for mercy to these " pore simple creatures ; " but this 
was not to be, and the scenes which ensued were hardly 

1 Sussex to Cecil, 4th January, 1570. Original State Papers. 

2 Queen Elizabeth to Sussex, nth January, 1570.. Ibid. 

3 Sussex to Cecil, 10th January, 1570. Ibid. 

* In a letter to Cecil dated 6th January Gargrave urges that all 
obstinate Catholics who still "refuse service and communion" 
should be '.'attainted in pnamaiire for one year, and then death for 



surpassed in barbarity, though necessarily more limited a.d. 1570 
in extent, by those enacted under the authority of the 
Duke of Alva in the Low Countries. Sussex had ap- 
pointed Sir Robert Bowes his Provost- Marshal and, if 
report did not belie him, the gallant defender of Barnard 
Castle, (whose treatment by the rebels had not, it must 
be allowed, been calculated to soften his heart towards 
them) showed no backwardness in the performance of 
the duties of his orim office. 1 

On the 10th January the Lord Lieutenant writes to 
him (he is speaking, not of heads of cattle, but of 
Englishmen) : " I have sett the nombres to be executed 
in every towne, under the name of every towne, as I did 
in your other booke, which draweth nere to two hundred ; 
wheryn you maye use your dyscretyon in takyng more or 
lesse in every towne as you shall see juste cause for the 
offences and fitness for example ; so as in the whole, you 
pass not of all kynde of such, the nomber of two hundred ; 
amongst whom you maye not execute eny that hathc 
f?'cholds or is noted welthye ; for so is the Queues 
Majestyes plesier, by her speciall comandment" 2 

Sir George Bowes,- severe as he was, showed a desire 
to discriminate between the innocent and guilty, 3 but the 
Queen was on economical grounds impatient of the tardi- 
ness of his proceedings : 

" Her Majesty doth much marvell that she doth not 
hear from me that the execution is yet ended, and that 
she is disburdened of her charges that was consydered 
for that respect ; and therefore I praye you to use 

1 In hanging one Harrison in his own orchard he is said to have 
remarked that "The best fruit a tree can bear is a dead traitor." Sadler 
Papers, ii. 82. 

2 Memorials, p. 143. 

3 " But the time is convenient to be somewhat prolonged, for in this 
course I find the constables in sundrie places hath accused thes that did 
leaste, and excused the greatest offenders." — Bowes to Cecil. Ibid. 



a.d. expedytion for I fear this lyngering will brede displeasure 
1528-1572 for us both; . , 

Once again : " It is thought that the executions be 
very longe in doynge, and I fere the Oueene's Majestye 
will find cause of offence that her chardge contynued 
so long for that purpose ; 2 therefore I praye you make 
all the haste you can to avoyde offence, for a lyteil 
matter will styrre offence where charge groweth by it." 3 

A lyteil matter ! Only the time required to make sure 
that innocent men might not be included among the 
seven hundred wretches sentenced to be hanged as an 
example. 4 

On the 19th of January Cecil writes : — 

" I would have you make the examples grete in Ripon 
and Tadcaster ; and therefore, if you find not sufficient 
nombres within the towns that be in the doings of the 
late rebellion, take of other towns and bryng them to the 
execution in those places." s 

In December Sussex had written : " I guess the number 
that shall be executed will be 600 or 700 of the common 
sort besides the prisoners taken in the field, 6 " and this 

1 Cecil to Sussex. State Papers. Addenda. 

a In reference to the cost of the garrisons, which it was thought nec- 
essary to maintain, during the course of these wholesale executions. 

3 Memorials, p. 153. 

*■ An instance of the result of the hasty proceedings thus en- 
joined is given in a letter written by Mathew Shafto, in January 157°- 
to implore Sir Henry Percy's intercession on behalf of his brother 
James, under sentence for immediate execution. " The truth is, that 
James Shafto of Tamfieldlighe, tenant to the Erie of Northumberland, is 
prycked to die. which is meant for my father and not for my brother, tor 
he was never tenant to any man .... but was a household servant 
and a young man and no retayner. For Chryst's passion helpe now to 
save his lyfe, for tomorrow he will suffer unless your letters helpe."— 
Original State Papers. Record Office. 5 Memorials, p. 1 60. 

6 Sussex to Cecil, December 28th, 1569. He came to be thoroughly 
ashamed of the work in which lie was employed. " I was first a lieu- 
tenant, I was after little better than a marshal!, I had then nothing leit 
but to direct hanging matters." — To Sir Robert Cecil, 23rd January, 
1570. State Papers. 



estimate is borne out by the detailed report drawn up in a.d. 1570 
October 1573 by Lord Huntingdon, who put the number 
of rebels actually executed at " seven hundred and odd, 
. . wholly of the meanest of the people, except the 
Aldermen of Durham, Plomtrie, 1 their preacher, the con- 
stables, and fifty serving-men." 2 Of the gentlemen con- 
cerned in the rising many had succeeded in making their 
escape ; but those who submitted or were apprehended, 
were tried by a royal commission assembled at York 
in March, and were as a rule convicted, but pardoned 
on payment of a fine, the principle of these proceedings 
being thus laid down : — 

" We mean not onely to receive to composition all 
such persons as shall submit themselves to our orders 
and have not above v li in lande . . . according to our 
commission and instruction in that case, but also to staye 
execution of such persons as have no landes and shall be 
for the Queens benefit attainted." 3 

So the royal exchequer was filled and " the meaner 
sort" paid with their poor lives the penalty of overstrained 
allegiance to their Lords. 

1 Sir Thomas Plomtrie described as "an old Queen Mary's Priest," 
who had celebrated mass in Durham Cathedral on the first outbreak. 
The refrain to a popular ballad on his execution is : 

" Well adaye, well adaye, well adaye, woe is mee ! 
Syr Thomas Plomtree is hanged on a tree ! " — 

Sadler Papers. 

3 Memorials. The Bishop of Durham, whose legal right to all forfeitures 
by attainder, or in course of law, Elizabeth had arbitrarily set aside in her 
own favour, in consideration of her " heavy charges in suppressing this 
rebellion," informed Cecil that among the people within his jurisdiction 
" the number of offenders is so grete that few innocent are left to trye 
the guiltie." — Lansdowne AJSS., 12, 29. It must be borne in mind, 
however, that suspicion of attachment to the ancient faith constituted 

3 Sussex to Cecil, March 1570. State Papers. 

VOL. II. 8l G 


a.d. ' The death of the Regent Murray had thrown Scottish 

J 5 2 _^57 2 affairs into inextricable disorder, and given strong 
encouragement to Queen Mary's party on both sides of 
the border. Not only were the negotiations for the 
surrender of the English insurgent chiefs completely 
broken off, but their sympathisers made several 
destructive raids into England. 1 In reprisal for these 
acts, and even yet more to punish and intimidate those 
border lords who had been most conspicuous in 
harbouring her rebel subjects, Elizabeth now directed 
an invasion of Scotland on a formidable scale. 2 

In the middle of April the English forces to the 
number of 12,000 horse and foot, crossed the frontier in 
three columns; Sussex and Hunsdon from the East 
Marches into Teviotdale, Forster from the Middle 
Marches, Lord Scrope from the West Marches. They 
met with little organised opposition but, as in the 
progress of Atilla's hordes, it was long ere the grass 
grew again where their horses' feet had trod. For five 
days the fair and fertile vales of Teviot and the adjoin- 
ing districts were ravaged with fire and sword, and on 
his return- to England Sussex reported to the Queen that 
his .armies had levelled fifty castles and burnt above five 
hundred villages. 3 

1 The Earl of Westmoreland was charged by Sadler with having taken 
part in these expeditions. See Memorials, p. 297. 

2 " Since the Regent's death the Borderers have maintained our 
rebels and invaded England; wherefore for which purpose my Lord of 
Sussex is now crossed with an army to invade them and make revenge, 
whereof the Scotch heering do make all the meanes they can to be 
reconciled, but they must feel the sword and the firebrand." — Cecil to 
Sir Henry Norris, 22nd May, 1570, Cabala, 162. 

3 Full details of this merciless raid will be found under the misleading 
heading of " A Note of a Journey into Teviotdale. by the Earl 01" 
Sussex," and " The Rode of the Lord Scrope." — Ibid. p. 164. 

In his official Report, Sussex, alter enumerating the ravages com- 
mitted, says : " So as there be few in that country that have received the 
rebels or invaded England, that have either castles for themselves or 



While the Queen was thus engaged in chastising a.d. 1570 
the Scots for the cold hospitality they had afforded to 
her subjects, Lady Northumberland continued her weary 
efforts to effect the liberation of her husband, now in 
the charge of William Douglas of Lochleven ; her main 
object being to raise such a sum of money as would in- 
duce his custodian to set him free or, at the least, to 
connive at his escape. The royal displeasure, however, 
created an insuperable barrier between her and her former 
friends, who turned a deaf ear to her appeals, even her 
own brother refusing to hold communication with her : ■ 
and when Lord Hunsdon answered her letter to him 
with a few kindly words and the promise of his good 
offices on her behalf, 2 the Queen angrily censured him 
for maintaining relations with the rebels. 

Such was the dread which she could inspire that 
even the old soldier, whose loyalty might have been 
thought beyond question, endeavoured to deprecate the 

(suspicion of his sovereign by falsely attributing to 
himself a most unworthy motive for his courteous and 
kindly act. 

" And so I wrote a few lynes tohyr, the coppy whereof 
I send you, as also the coppy of hyr letter to me : by 
thyse meanes I gott parfytt knowledge where they wer all, 
as also of her removynge to Hewme ; whereof I dyd 
present lie advertise the Regent, whereof he had no 
certayne knowledge byfore ; for both Ferneyhead and 

houses for their tennants, besides the loss and spoil of their other 

I 1 " The Earl of Worcester declined to receive a servant who came 
with a message from his sister the Countess of Northumberland, until 
she should submit herself to the Queen." — State Papers. 

J The Countess of Northumberland gratefully acknowledged Lord 
Hunsdon's "comfortable letters, though I had thought that nothing 
but death could have separated me from my husband," and begs of him 
to make intercession with the Queen for her children and servants. 
17th January, 1570. — Ibid. 

33 G 2 



a.d. Buckleugh had dcnyed the havynge of them to the 
Regent, and this was the cawse of my sending to hyr, 
whereyn I trust I have gyven Hyr Majesty no cawse of 
offense." x 

Henry Percy's connection with Cecil's family gave 
him a certain influence which he might now doubtless 
have turned to good account in favour of his unfortunate 
brother, and Lady Northumberland urgently appealed 
to him to exert it. He was too careful of his own 
interests, however, to incur the risk of exposing him- 
self to suspicion of sympathy with the disaffected, and 
accordingly demanded authority for entering into a 
correspondence with the Earl with a view to induce 
him to submit himself to the Queen's mercy. Having 
obtained this he sent Cecil, for approval, the draft 
of his letter which was certainly well calculated to 
remove all apprehension of undue fraternal affection on 
his part. 2 

" Sir, with my humble and hearty commendations. I 
have spoken with my lord-lieutenant concerning that 
liberty the Queen's Majesty did give me in advising my 
brother ; and finding him nothing willing, neither of him- 
self nor fur me, to enter into the matter without some 
commission to be showed, makes me to stay of my inten- 
tion ; and before that I proceeded further I thought good 
to show unto you the sum of my meaning which I send 
herewith ; most humbly desiring that if it be such as may- 
be allowed of, I might understand the same by your good 
means ; and if it be to the contrary to give me your 
friendly advice, as far as is reason for you to do, how 

1 Hunsdon to Cecil, Berwick, 24th January-, 1570. Original State 
Papers. Record Office. 

a This letter, though more properly belonging to the life of the 8th 
Earl, refers so directly to the incidents under review that it is here 



I shall proceed. The cause I am so scrupulous is that I a.d. i. 
have many enemies, and such as both for ill-will to myself, 
and gain of my title, goeth about by undue means to take 
me in trap, and by practice hath put the same in use since 
my coming home, whereupon I am the more afraid to 
deal. Yet considering that it is the office of a natural 
brother to seek all means possible to make help in time 
of extremity, I would be loth to leave that which, by 
the goodness of God and mercifulness of the Prince, 
might be attained for his commodity ; for I hear that he 
is very penitent and his wife in great misery. This I 
have written is so gross that I am ashamed any of 
judgment should have sight of it, but, Sir, for God's 
cause .... think I am no lattenist nor secretary, nor 
know the rules of congruity, and therefore if there be any 
matter offensive in it, impute it to ignorance, for my 
meaning is as firm towards her Majesty, without respect 
of brother, as ever parent's 'care was towards his child ; 
and until I hear from you I live in this behalf. Sir, 
whereas my brother had one hundred pounds land in 
fee-simple of the old inheritance of my ancestors, and 
one hundred marks' by my mother, I perceive that there 
is great and earnest means to get the same lands, or 
at least a lease thereof if the other cannot be obtained, 
and this done by my enemies, which I humbly desire your 
friendship to hinder their intentions ; for the patrimony 
now belonging to the house is not great, and if the 
Queen's mercy might be extended towards my brother, 
I trust that his behaviour should be such, and service, as 
by all means possible he would do to win again that 
which he hath justly lost ; and if it should come to me 
there should no man, whatsoever he were, be more 
forward with body life and lands to advance the Queen's 
Majesty's service or pleasure than I. And so shall her 
Majesty have of these talents God hath presently sent 
I 35 


a.d. me. And thus being ashamed to trouble you in your 

152S-157- we Jghty causes, I humbly take my leave. From Beamish 

Lodge, 1 my mother's house that was, this vij of June 


" Your most assured cousin to command, 

" H. Percy." 

Enclosed was this draft of a letter from Sir Henry 
Percy to his brother : 

" My Lord, the great misgovernment of your doings 
is such — 

" First towards God whom you have in outward show 
professed ; 

" Secondly towards your sovereign and gracious and 
merciful Mistress, which by your words you have 
affirmed devoutly to her own person, the Loyalty of 
your service towards her Majesty's crown and dignity, 
the breach whereof is much against your honour. 

" Thirdly the great offence to your commonwealth 
and country, by the bloody spoil of a great number of poor 
innocent .persons, which hath suffered by your means 
and occasion which, the simplest and meanest of the 
same, is not inferior unto you before the face of God, 
whose blood shall be required at your hands : which 
more troubleth my conscience than any of the rest 
of your facts (although the whole to be condemned 

utterly). ^ < 

" And these your attempts most misliked by yourselt 
in other persons, as in France and in other countries 
the attempts against their Prince when you have heard 
thereof. For then you did manifestly affirm that no 
subject ought to levy arms against their Prince, which 

1 The seat of his wile's family, the Harbottals, in Durham. See ante, 
page 3- 



now is less to be excused in you, having that con- a.d. 1570 
sideration before. 

" My Lord, you know very well I am not an orator 
whereby I can sufficiently set forth in words your 
offences. But I am sorry that your doings are such as 
the grossest-headed man of the world may make 
manifest the wickedness of your acts. Wherefore I 
will leave further to speak of them presently, trusting 
that God hath given you such grace ere this that you 
have lamented the same. 

" My Lord, now considering what miseries and plagues 
that God suffereth to light upon his people, and that there 
can be no such offence done to his Majesty but by 
repentance the same might be forgiven, moveth me to 
advise your lordship that chiefly and principally you 
seek favour at his hands. 

"And next, in the which thing I do most condemn you 
for : I neither see nor can learn by what means you have 
sought the favour or pardon of your sovereign since 
your departure ; which truly, my lord, you have offended 
so grievously both to her own self, to the disturbance of 
her commonwealth and subjects, as also to her great 
charges and impoverishment of her people, that I am 
ashamed to give you my advice to seek for that which 
in mine own opinion is scarce pardonable. 

" Nevertheless, having good proof of the unspeakable 
mercy of my mistress, as hath well appeared from the 
first of her reign, and also the motion of nature makes 
me, contrary to the bonds of experience discretion or 
reason, by these to move you by all the means you may 
possibly to attain unto her highness' favour : which if you 
will not do by all that wisdom that God hath lent you, 
and also by the means and use of all your friends that 
either will or dare attempt for you, I shall utterly 
renounce the part of nature that is atwixt us, as also 



a.d. condemn you for the "wickedest imp that any of our 

J * 2 " 2 race or country hath brought forth. 

"Wherefore, my Lord, I require you to avoid and cast 
off all such Instruments as hath made you obstinate or 
stiff-necked to enter into these ill and ungodly actions, 
which I know hath not only sprung of your own self, and 
that the same be no means or occasion to keep you from 
doing the part of an humble subject, which is in this, 
seeking, as I have said before, by all means to attain 
unto the favour and mercy of the Prince : which if you 
do seek earnestly may by the grace of God attain to 
some crood end : or at the least to do vou no hindrance 

O J 

but to show your dutiful inclination towards her Majesty. 
I shall by all the means I can, both by friends and my 
own travel, prefer the sum of your request, so that I 
may perceive it doth come of your own mere disposition. 
And before I give you further advice to direct you by 
my opinion which way to compass this thing, I will 
leave until I have heard from you, and what your 
inclination is thereunto ; and so for that part I end. 

" My Lord, as I have said before, the rightful causes 
that men-have to condemn you both towards God, your 
Prince and country, yet have I, who is your sole and 
natural brother, occasion to burthen you also ; whose 
advice of long time you have had no will to follow. 

" And by the uncarefulness of yourself, and vour own 
posterity, you have left them in miserable case, not 
knowing either where harbour, nor yet any sustenance to 
have relieved them withal ; had it not been the bounti- 
ful goodness of the Queen's Majesty, who hath graciously 
considered them. 

"And for myself, who is as yet heir male unto your 
house, which every godly wise and good natural man 
would be careful of to preserve, you have done by your 
means without care thereof utterly to ruin and destroy the 



same. And more: had I not lived under such a gracious a.d. 1570 
mistress (as I do) my own life, by suspicion of your 
doings, might have been in hazard. 1 

11 My Lord, to be plain, had her Majesty been as willing 
to have executed extremity as my enemies ready to procure 
displeasure against me, I had tasted thereof; and not only 
I but, for your cause many of your honourable and great 
friends had in suspicion by your means. But in us the 
old proverb was fulfilled, that truth sought no corners. 
I would you had been in the same case, for so had your 
doings neither have been so grievous to yourself nor 
heavy to your friends. 

" My Lord, as I have said before, I cannot further 
advise you till I have tasted of your inclination, and I 
see it is hard means to convey any letters to you, and 
in drift of time may grow inconvenient. And for God's 
cause have good consideration of this I write unto you, 
and think you cannot do anything that may justly 
deserve the Prince's favour unless it come of her only 
and mere goodness. And forget not in what case you 
have left your four children the young ladies ; I may 
term them the young beggars, for so had they been had 
not the Prince's liberality been more than the goodness of 
their friends. 

" And what injury you have done unto my poor children, 
for that it toucheth myself, I will leave unto your own 

" My Lord, I pray let no fantastical bruit make you 
have opinion of a future time, nor any aid, assistance, or 
maintenance that shall come from any other places to 
support the action you have entered in ; for they be but 
devices, and who trusteth unto them shall be deceived. 
And, to make an end, if that I find your lordship not 

1 Originally "myght haue hassard the same," but altered as in text. 

S 9 


a.d. willing and glad to seek means to attain unto the Queen's 
1 5 2 _^_[57 2 Majesty's favour, accept and take me for one of the 
greatest enemies you have living, and one that shall be 
most glad to be employed to correct your offence, which 
otherwise you shall find me as natural diligent and 
travelsome a brother as any man shall have. 

" And thus, desiring of God that you may give occasion 
to attain unto the Queen's mercy, as also her Majesty 
willing to receive the same, which shall be my daily 
prayer. From Beamish, the vij th of June 1570. 

"H. Percy." 1 


The studied harshness of this letter 2 was probably 
intended to gratify Elizabeth, but must none the less 
have proved cold comfort to the unfortunate Earl, who, 
not deigning to defend himself against his brother's 
reproaches, now appealed to some of his former friends, 
claiming their intercession in his favour with the 
Queen : — 

" My good Lord, I have contynued a long tyme not 
only a banisht man but also a prisoner, and glad wold seke 
the favor" of her Majestye my sovereign. I praye your 
lordship to stande my good lorde and frende, not only 
for your furtherance for the obtaynyng of the same, but 
also your help with the rest of the lordes at this con- 
vencion to grante me some rasement and libertye 

1 From Original State Papers {Domestic ; Elizabeth), Record Office. 
vol. 71, Nos. 5 and 5 1 . The spelling, which is very peculiar, has been 
modernised throughout. 

2 In justice to Sir Henry Percy it must be admitted that he entertained 
more affection for his brother than he allowed this letter to betray, for 
on 9ih January he had written to Sussex in a very different strain, 
begging him to take charge of the horses belonging to the Earl, " so that 
if ever God in his Grace, or the Queene's Majestye in her mercy, call him 
back to his former estate, that he maye have the same back agayne ; 
for there was nothing or worldlye goodes he so much esteemed." — 
State Papers. 



according to such pore and humble request as I have a.d. 1570 

moued the heid of this house (Henry Percy) to open 

unto your lordships and unto the rest. Good my lord 

remember my longe and tediose tyme I have been here ; 

glad wold I have some comfortable tyme to refresh and 

to recreat myself for a while, until I might obtayne the 

Queene my sovereign's favor. I pray your lordship to 

think of me for the old good-will which I have borne 

unto you and to my Lord Greye ; for it is possible I 

may stande you or some of yours in stead of service. 

M I cannot use no great ceremonies, but referring my 
cawse unto your good consideracion I commyt you to 
Almighty God." J 

These efforts were of no avail. Indeed after the 
retaliation so recently inflicted upon the rank and file 
of the rebel army, Elizabeth could not have extended 
her pardon to the two principal offenders. Lady 
Northumberland had, however, come to an agreement 
with William Douglas as to the sum of money to be 
paid for the Earl's ransom, and finding it impossible 
to raise so considerable an amount in England, and 
having some reason to fear that her own freedom was in 
jeopardy, she determined to make a personal appeal to 
the Spanish Viceroy in the Low Countries. 2 Embarking at 
" Olde Aberdyne " with Lord Westmoreland and other of 

1 State Papers. This letter, dated from Lochleven on June 18th, 
appears to have been in the form of a circular addressed by Sussex to Cecil, 
Leicester, and others. The absence of all admission of culpability or 
expression of regret is remarkable. "While he sues for the Queen's 
" favour," he does not once use the term " pardon." 

2 Lord Morley writes to the Earl of Leicester on 3rd September, 
1570 : "I have sought what I coulde to learne of my Lady 
Northumberland her dissignments, and I cannot perceive that she 
meant otherwise than to seke Her Majesty's favour, retyring herself out 
of Scotland for very Penurye : being miserably entreated there, and 
forced for her suertye from frende to without reste, fearing ever 
to be spoyled by those barbarous people." — State Papers. At the time 
this was written she had already crossed the seas. 



a.d. the fugitives under the protection of Lord Seaton, 1 she 

D ° reached Antwerp at the end of August, having " nether 

penny nor half-penny," 2 and at once obtained an interview 
with the Duke of Alva 3 who, receiving her with marked 
consideration and courtesy, promised to use his influence 
with the King to provide the means for liberating the 
Earl. Philip, however, showed no disposition to exces- 
sive liberality, and all that Lady Northumberland could 
obtain was the promise of 6,000 crowns, 4 in acknow- 
ledgment of which she writes to Alva : — 

" My poverty is well known to all Catholic princes, 
and in fulfilment of my duty towards God, I submit 
without murmuring to the deprivation of my lord's 
company, the absence of my children, banishment from 
my country, and the loss of estate and property." 3 

It was not until the middle of the following year that 
the full amount of the ransom was forthcoming, the Pope 
having agreed to a further contribution of 4,000 crowns. 
These payments were, however, made conditional upon 
the production of a guarantee that they should effect 
their purpose, and this threw fresh difficulties in the way 
of the negotiations ; for the Laird of Lochleven was on his 
part equally unwilling to relinquish his captive before the 

1 Sir Henry Cobham to Cecil, 4th September, 1570. Cotton MSS. 

2 Lord Seaton to Queen of Scots, 19th September, 1570. Labanoff. 

3 When, at a later period, the Court of Spain remonstrated with 
Elizabeth for haying shown undue favour to the Prince of Orange, the 
Queen reminded Philip of the protection he had extended to her rebel- 
lious subjects in the Low Countries : " How was it that the Countess of 
Northumberland was solemnly brought of late to the Duke of Alva by 
one of his sons, and accompanied with a great company of English 
rebels ? and suffered to make a solemn oration to him, which was said by 
her and answered by the Duke, as they report to their comfort, to 
persist in their evil disposition ?" — State Paters. 

* " Et pour autant que touche l'assisiance de deniers que la dite 
Comtesse demande pour mettre son dit mari en liberte, [je] vous en ay 
aultres escripten espagnole, que [je] seroye content d'y employer jusqu'a 
six mille e'scus, selonquoy vous potfvez regler." — King of Spain to Duke 
of Alva, November 1570. From thz Archives des Pays Bas in Brassela. 

5 Labanoff. 



price was in his possession. To hiin, wearied of delays a.d. 
and evasions, Lady Northumberland now addressed L S1°~ l 5l l 
herself, using with womanly ingenuity every argument 
calculated to persuade or convince him — now flattering 
his vanity, now appealing to his sense of honour, now 
working upon his avarice : — 

" Albeit, my lorde's frendes have been hardly browght 
to give eare to the sume which ys demanded, beyng so 
greete, and so farre beyond ther expectacyon, (my lord, 
his present state and condicion considered, who never 
weyned thet such a Burthen wold have been lay'd upon 
him in this case thet he ys in, and therefore thought that 
a greate deale lesse would have served), yet I have 
soe wrought yt with them as the sayme is redie to be 
dysburssed, upon that Assurance, as they may persave 
hym lyke to be sett free, and ther money not cast away. 
And in this respect the staye hath beyne, and hath rested 
off long tyme ; for to adventure so moche upon your 
lordship's bare worde, beyng unknowne unto them 
(althonghe, that the mo?iy were myne owue, I durst boldly 
do it, for the good experyence of your honorable and 
fatheful dealing) , they cannot be brought unto ; and 
therefor desier such assurance of your Meanyng of 
Performance as may occasion them not to doubt of 
your honore in that Behalfe. And, good my lord, think 
upone me one waye : that I most earnestlie wishe and 
desier my Husbande's freedom and lybertie, so wold I 
do all that I cold in the World to procure yt and bring 
that to pass. . . . And seyinge the matter resteth in 
your own powre to dispatche, and that no meanyng of 
neither partie (as I take yt) but honorable just and 
faithful, I shall besech you no longer to delay it, but soe 
to open yourselff* unto them as, they being satysfied, a 
frendlye eynde may be made in this matter, you to have 
your money, my lorde all thir favores and kyndnes, and 


a.d. they to enjoy his Presence and Company. And so pray- 

J 5 2 J^57 2 ing your lordship to consider of this my request, what 

hindrance this long delaye hathe bene, as well to your 

lordship, as to my lord in his healthe, as otherwees, and 

that I may resave your spedie answere ; wherby the bond 

of kyndnes may be so knyt betweene my lord and you, 

and your two Howses, as you shall have good cause 

hereafter to thynke your favore at this tyme well 

bestowed. Besiching you to give credit to this bearer, 

in that he hath to saye ferther in this matter, with most 

hearty comendacyons and thankes to my good ladie your 

Bedfellow, I eynde. ,, A X t » 

1 A. Northumberland. 

Postscript. "... My lorde's trest is in your lordship 
that as you have very honorably hitherto dealt for his 
safetye, so you will not leave him untyll he may, by your 
good meanes, be set free from Intertrapping or Mysad- 
venture, that may come by Mallyce or Decepte of any 
that may be laed or suborned to annoy him ; and may be 
commytted to that fortune and adventure that himselffe 
shall take and choise. Wherebye you shall syngularly 
biend us -all unto you, and wynn unto yourself moch 
honner, commodite and proffet, and beare awaye the 
Glory, Lawd and Praise of that your honorable faetheful 
and friendly intreatyng of him ; which cannot be at any 
tyme left unremembred, whilst ether my lord, his 
Posterite, Kynred or Frendes, may be able to acknow- 
lege it to you and yours." l 

To her husband she writes on the same day and again 
on the day following : " Trusting that your lordship will 
not impute any blame towards me, if your businesse have 
not come to passe so sone as you wished, and myself gretlie 
desired ; for by occasion of the greatness of the somme 

1 Countess of Northumberland to the Laird of Lochleven, Mechlin, 
27th January, 1571-2. Murdin, p. 186. 




and the want of sufficient assurance (as your frendes do a.d. 
thinke) the tyme hath been delayed, and upon that point J S7 I ~ I 57- 
do they yet staye. Upon better evidence of performance 
to pay the money, if it had been a thousande marks, or 
under a thousand poundes, I wold not have doubted to 
have procured that sume upon my credite, and to have 
despatched it upon the lord's bare worde ; whose honor- 
able and faithful dealing I do wel knowe and do credite ; ' 
but that other summe I cannot be hable to reache unto 
with all the labour that I can make, without further 
assurance ; so doubtful and scrupulous are* your frendes 
to make the adventure, and have bene so often deceaved 
upon trust before, as they alledge. I see, therefore, none 
other remedye, but that you must ether procure the favor 
at the lord's hanrdes to make them better assurance, as 
may be to their contentacion, or ells that he will take 
suche a summe as I shall be hable to provide upon my 
credite, and to give you dayes, upon bonde, with sewerties 
for the payment of the reste. And yet alwayes you 
must remayne when that is done, under his credit, .... 
for that by his frendshipp, and none other that I can 
perceave, must you be garded, and brought to the place 
where you shall desire for your most saftye and assur- 
ance, for none ther is, in myne opynion, that is so hable 
to serve your turne in that behalfe, or to do you that 
pleasure, nor so justlie wold performe it, as the lord, 
if he wold take it in hand. 

"And so I ende, commytting your good lordship to the 
custodie and protection of the Almyghtie, who send you 
perfecte healthe with the enjoying of your hart's desire. 
I"rom your lordship's most humble and obedient wif, 

"A. N. 2 
" Meklin, this 27 of January, 1572." 

1 This letter was evidently intended for the eye of the Laird ; not 
^o the following one. 2 Murdin, p. 187. 




£' D \- " Your frends heare thinke it verey long to under- 

stand how you doe, and to heare from you, for that they 
have not hearde anything of you syns the departure of 
your men. Syns whiche tyme with muche adoe, greate 
importance and charges, myne owne travell, and the 
travell of a nombre of others besyds, in th' ende the 
tenne thousande corones is obteyned, and delyvered 
theare, half, the 24th of this present, and the other half 
the 26th of the same ; althoughe it is more than a yere 
passed syns it stode with the King's Majesty's pleasure 
that the sex thousande shoulde have beene paid ; and 
more than half a yere syns His Holiness pleasede that 
you shold have had the four thousande. The- Duke (Alva) 
never gave me flatte denyall,but with fayre wordes delayed 
me from tyme to tyme, and all upon feare lest the 
money shoulde be cast awaye, and your personage not 
delyvered or not evicted from perill, by reason of the 
small assurance that was perceaved to be offered for your 
deliverance ; or the enemy enriched thereby, by reason the 
sum was so greate and so farre beyonde all reason, with 
a number of other objections that were to longe to recite. 
Whereunto I answered from tyme to tyme, shewing . . . 
wherby the fear of that perill might be removed . . . but 
all my allegacions and assurances, or the wordes of any 
of our Nacion, were smallie credited or accepted to, untill 
it pleased my Lord Seaton to affirmeall the same, and to 

give his worde, whiche was taken and allowed 

" And for your conveyance over, and other 

treatie for your libertie, it is thought if vour brother be 
there (as what to think of his being I cannot say, so 
many contrarye tales wee heare) that he is the fittest 
to advise you and to practise the same above all others ; 

1 The passages here omitted relate to the mode of transmitting the 
funds required for the Earl's liberation, and to the disposal of the 



both for that Nature clothe binde him to be carefull and a.d. 
circumspecte over the same, and his Wisdom and Experi- I57I ~ 72 

ence is knowen most sufficient to deale therin 

For myne owne Parte, being but a Woman, I can do no 
more but pray for your good Successe and Spede, seeing 
the Matter is too weightie for me to give Advise upon, 
and too chargeable to intermeddle withal, being not able 
to travell therein myself; but must remaine to do as shall 
like you to commande, and none otherwise, and to signifie 
what your Frendes Opinions are therin. Whereof Dr. 
Sanders by his former Letters hathe written his ; and 
your other wisest frende l dothe wishe that your Remayne 
might be as shorte after your Inlargement as you could 
in those partes, for sundry respects. His Opinion is that 
you might with the least danger take shipping at Haber- 
dine (Aberdeen) and passe into Denmarke, out of the 
whiche you have not above three days' posting into this 
King's countryes. Others are of Opinion that by the Erie 
of Morton, or the Lord's Meanes, you might be passed 
safelie by Thest Seas ; others, likewise, by the Capten of 
the Castell : so as therin ther is Diversitie of Opinions, 
which I thought o-ood to write. 

" Likewise you may advise of all, and conclude of such as 
shall appeare to you most likely ; ior to determine it liethe 
in no man's head but your owne ; nor none will otherwise 
herin say his mynde, but as an Opinion referred to your 
owne Choise, to accept or to leave, bicause no man will 
take upon him determinatlie to advise upon such an 
Hazarde. Many there be (as you may perceave) that 
have commytted themselfs to that hazarde, and have 
passed hither by sundrye Wayes, both by Thest seas and 
the West, who had neither the Oportunitie of Advise, nor 
were hable to procure the Meane for their passage, with 

1 Probably the LorJ Seaton. 
Vul. II. 97 II 


a.d. that Lykelihode of Safetie that you may have ; and yet, 
__! God be praised, not one of all hath miscarried, but have 
safelie arryved according- to their desires. And so may 
you also, by His Almightie Healpe, if you commytte 
yourself to him, abandon all Feare, and provide, by the 
Advise of your Frends there, the Meane that you and 
they can thinke upon to be most lyke to assure you 
Safetie in your transporting. Wherin I thinke John 
Swynborne were a man for your Lordship to advise 
withall, and to accompany you, both bicause I am per- 
suaded that he lovithe you dearely, is honest, wise, of 
good experience, and well acquainted with the Natures 
and Condicons of that Contry Men, wherby he is the 
better hable to discern what Way or Meane is best 
for you to take, and with what persone you may most 
safeliest deale. . . ." 

Of Sir Henry Percy the Countess evidently has her 
doubts, although these are guardedly expressed. 

" Heareare so many bruits of your brother's beino- and 
cuming away, and so many imaginacions thereupon, both 
by them that be wise and others, as it were good that 
his frends understode partlie what they might aunswer on 
that behalf. For myne owne parte, I am persuaded that 
his doengs cannot but be as is convenyent towards you, 
bothe bicause Nature will binde him thereunto, and 
that his own wealthe and welldoeng- dothe stande 
therupon ; in the contrary whereof he can reap no 
benefite . . . ." 

Here follow the names of certain of the adherents o( 
the cause, who are proposed as fit persons to be de- 
spatched for the purpose of assisting the Earl in his 
escape from Scotland. Particular mention is made oi 
" Dr. Knott, a Civilian, a Man of greate Gravitie and well 
languaged ; Mr. Fenne, Master of Arts and Preste, a 
Man verey eloquent, and wittie . . . and Dr. Alyn, the 



most singuler Man in myne Opinion, next to Mr. Sanders, a.d. 1572 
on this side the Seas ; if he might be hadde, I thinke 
you could not have the choise of the like, whensoever 
God should send you hither. ... I trust you do see to 
get into your owne handes, or into safe custodie, as much 
of your owne oute of England as you may procure. 
Michaell and Witherington, as I writ to you before, best 
knowethe where they are ; and how nedeful it will be for 
you to have as much in store as you may get, being in 
a strange Contry, I doubt not but you will consider. 
For your Children, the best Meanes that I can imagine 
to have them transported hither, were for a sewte to be 
made to have them lycensed to cumme to see you, and 
then, being left with the Lady Hume, or somme of your 
other Frends, they may be transported hither, for other 
Meanes I can perceave none ; for by the Ambassador 
it is not to be sought, and to escape secretlie were too 
greate Danger to them that hathe them in custodie, and 
to passe them all togither I wold not wisshe, nor above 
two at once, whereof the eldest of all I wisshe the rather, 
bicause her Age is fittest to receave Instruction, and 
most readie to -take knowledge now of the virtuous ex- 
amples whiche here she could see and learne, and there 
doth want altogither. When it shall please God to 
make you readie to cume hither, besides that it is not 
necessarie that eny more be privy thereunto, or do 
accompanye you, than shalbe nedeful, so it is thought 
that you do not drawe eny more after you from thence 
until you shalbe here setled, and may judge of your owne 
case ; but that such as you leave behinde be stayed there 
with good words and hoape, untill you sende backe and 
signine your Pleasure what your Will is for them to do, 
as then by experience you shalbe hable to determyne, and 
take for them the Direction that shalbe least hurtful to 
yourself, and most for their commodite. 

99 h 2 


a.d. " I write this other Letter to you ■ that you may show the 

152 ZL$1 2 same to the Larde (Laird of Loughlevin) if you think it 
so good ; and for that I heare it from France, that the 
Larde is perswaded that you should have from the Pope 
and the King 10,000 Crownes towards your Redemp- 
tion ; for whiche cawse he said (as I heare) he dyd exacte 
the more, seeing it was to cumme out of their Purses ; 

I do all that I can to have the same perswasion pulled 
out of his Heade, and that he may be otherwise occasioned 
to thinke, when he perceavethe that the matter fallithe 
not furthe as he was perswaded to beleve .... 
Tho' I have no Mistrust of his Truthe, yet I thinke it 
not mete to have commytted the full Certentie to his 
Knowledge, and wold do what I could to bring the 
Larde to some reasonable Conditions. ... I do not 
dowbte but that your Lordship will so foresee all Incon- 
venience in the Choise of suche as you shall take to deale 
for you, and in the Order of your Proceeding, as neyther 
your Credite that way, nor any Perill by that Meane, may 
falle upon you ; but that you will so resolve and work as 
shall be most lyke to take your desired Effecte, putting 
awaye all Feare ; and God, I trust, shall so strengthen and 
assist you, as you shall be hable to atteyne to Thende ot 
your desire. And touching the state of their Proceedings 
here. ..." 

The writer proceeds to set forth her views on 
the political state of affairs, according to which 

II England and Spayne must joyne togither, and patche 
up an olde League, which is farre unlikely, or otherwise 
will burste furthe into openne Warres." The Spanish 
king, however, is represented as more interested in his 
projects relating to Ireland, than in the fate of the 
Scottish queen ; and " when the Lord Seaton, seeing 

1 The letter immediately preceding. 


this wold not serve his Mistres's Turne, wold have a.d. 1571 
passed to Rome and into Spayne, he cannot be licenced 
by this Duke (Alva), but is still kept with many good 
Words." France is described as being " as muche 
devided as England is, and looked daily when it should 
fall out to an Inconvenience emongst them. 1 The Duke 
of Guise hathe been here secretlie with this duke two 
Moneths past, and it is thought that that House dothe 
lynke with Spayne altogither." 2 

" I ende with prayeng to our Lorde to be your Director, 
and to send you good Spede and Successe in all your 
Attemptes, that you may enjoy your Fredome and 
Libertie, and be a Comfort to a Nombre which lyve in 
daily expectacion of you, and pray for your Delyverance 
and Welfare. 

" This 28th January, 

" You know by whom." 

A few days later the Countess despatched an 3 Ist 
emissary charged with credentials to the Earl of Morton, 
to negotiate the final arrangements for her husband's 

" The Experience past," she writes, " which I have 
tried of your great Favor and Goodwill shewed to my 
Lorde and Husbande in this his Miserie, dothe occasion 
me to omytte no Tyme nor Opportunitie which shall be 
offered for me to write and send to your Lordship ; and 
therefore, having the Opportunity of this Shippe passing 
thither, I thoughte good to dispatche this Bearer, my 

1 The St. Bartholomew Massacre took place in the following year. 

3 The Court of the Netherlands would at this time appear to have been 
a nest of intrigue and conspiracy; and Lady Northumberland, while in- 
defatigably employed in working for her husband's liberation, was also 
keeping up a secret correspondence with Queen Mary of Scotland and 
with the Bishop of Rosse, to whom, as he subsequently deposed, she 
was in the habit of writing in cipher. — Murdin, p. 14. 



a.d. Lord's Servaunt, as well bicause I have heard nothing of 
i5 2 ^572 m y Lord's other Servaunts who passed before, as to hasten 
the Signification of your Lordship's good Pleasure and the 
Lards, in such Matter as I have geven to this Bearer in 
Creditte to declare unto you ; without the whiche I am 
not hable to proceede as shalbe to your satisfaction and 
Contentacion, nor bring that to pass which is looked for 
at my Handes ; beseching your Lordship to receave him 
into your Protection, and that he may, by your good 
Meanes, be permytted to have Accesse to my Lord and 
Husbande, and to returne for the better understandinge 
of his Pleasure, and treating of this Cause accordingly 
as he hathe in Charge ; prayeng your good Lordship 
to geve Credite unto him, and that I may still fynde the 
Contynuance of your former Favor, wherby I acknow- 
ledge myselfe most deeplye obliged to equalle the same 
if ever my Power, Goodwill, and Travell may be applied 
to stand you in Steade, whiche shalbe ever readie to 
be imploied to serve your Lordship, or any of yours ; 
hoaping that your Lordship will have that Care over my 
Lord, as he, and all his, may be alwayes bounde to have 
the like of you and yours, whiche, for my Part, I shall 
ever advance to my uttermost, as knowethe God, who 
kepe your good Lordship." * 

There lived at this time in Antwerp one John Lee, 
reputed to be a devout Catholic and an enthusiastic 
adherent of the Scottish Queen, and who had cordially 
welcomed the English fugitives, professing his readiness 
to join and aid them in any enterprise calculated to 
promote their common cause. 

Gifted with a pleasing address, a glib tongue, and 

1 From the Countess of Northumberland to the Earl of Morton. 
M From Meklin this last of January, 157 1-2." Murdin, p. 193- 



a ready pen, he soon became a prominent and a.d. 1572 
trusted member of their party, which he himself 
describes as "a lewd company of banisht English. " ' 
He was especially in the confidence of the Earl of 
Westmoreland and Lady Northumberland, who more 
than once made him the medium of their communica- 
tions with England and Scotland, little suspecting that 
every word they spoke, and every line they wrote, was 
liable to be conveyed to the English Government. Lee 
was indeed one of Cecil's most astute and active spies, and 
each step in the negotiations for the delivery of the Earl of 
Northumberland was by him reported to Lord Burghley.* 
On the other hand, William Douglas of Lochleven showed 
so little reticence on the subject of his negotiations with 
Lady Northumberland, that Hunsdon is able to inform his 
court, on the Laird's authority, that " the Scotch Com- 
missioners having made resytal of the chargis that the 
Lorde of Lochlevyn hath byne att with the saide Erie . . . 
th' Earle hath offered the Lorde of Lochlevyn 4,000 
markes sterlinge to be paide presentlie to him in hande 
to lette hym goe." 3 

Meanwhile Lady Northumberland was kept in con- 
stant anxiety by rumours of her husband's surrender to 
the English Government : 

11 There was a bruit that the Earl of Northumberland 

1 John Lee to Lord Burghley, April 1571. State Papers. 

2 On 9th November, 157 1, Lee writes that Seaton and Dacre are 
determined to free the Earl of Northumberland, and that they mean to 
enter the borders of England, certain of the sympathy of the northern 
people, and of the support of all Norfolk and Suffoik ; adding that the 
" Earle of Shrewsbury, through some effeminate desire, is wholly addicted 
to the Scottish Queen." In the following April he writes that the 
Pope had written to the Countess of Northumberland that he would 
shortly send her 10,000 crowns and that " the Earl of Westmoreland 
has signified to me that 8.000 crowns will be paid at same time to 
procure the delivery of the Earl of Northumberland." — State Papers. 

3 Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, 22nd November, 157 1. — - 
Memorials, p. 326. 



a.d. was delyvered to Berwick, which caused Lady Northum- 
1528-1572 Lerland to send hyther in haste to learn the truth 
thereof ; " ' whereupon she writes to her husband : 

" The rumoris and brutis, here geven forthe, of your 
Lordship's delivery into Englande, hath trobbled many ; 
but for myselfe, and for them that be of the wyser sortc 
and of more judgment, it coulde never synke into our 
myndes that ever any of honor or credite wolde agree to 
such a condicion ; especiallie in that nation that have so 
often tasted of the love of their neighbours in cases like to 
yours, and that hath so often neded thereunto ; or that the 
Larde (who is of that honor and wisdome as he is taken 
to be and hitherto hath showed himselfe), wolde lay upon 
his house or honor such a burden .... 

"Although we are not of that mynde but that your 

enemyes do and will, by all ther meenes they can worke, 

by worde, promyse and fayne gloses, practice what 

they may to draw the Lard to agree unto thame, yet we 

stande in no dowte of him, but that he hath that con- 

sideracion over his own honor, and is of the wisdom, that 

he will passe over their requestes in wyse order .... 

of whom alone you are to seke your release ; and that 

way to follow it that it may be granted with expedition ; 

seeing we be prepared and readie to satisfie him, upon 

the understanding of any sufficient assurance whereby 

we may, upon the payment of the money, be secure 

to have the possession of your body." After dwelling 

on the danger of further delay, "whereby mine habilitie 

will grow to be lesse, and your frendis wax weary," she 

concludes by pointing out how advantageous it would be 

for the Laird of Lochleven to accept her bribe instead of 

trusting to any promises from the Queen of England, 

1 John Lee to Lord Burghley, Antwerp, iSth March, 157 2. — Statt 



and thus " have from us his benefite, with all benevolence, a.d-. 1572 
favor, and commendacion." ■ 

This letter, while intended to encourage the Earl, and 
to appeal to the honour and generosity — as well as to the 
interests, of Lochleven, for whose eye it was evidently 
written — betrays Lady Northumberland's growing appre 
hensions and anxiety ; but, like her entire correspondence of 
this period, is marked by a womanly devotion, tenderness 
and unselfishness, 2 in striking contrast with the attitude of 
Lady Westmoreland, who — directly instrumental though 
she had been in the ruin of her husband — now reproached 
him with the suffering he had brought upon her and her 
children, endeavoured to vindicate herself at his cost, 
and in her repeated appeals to Queen Elizabeth consulted 
only her own security and comfort. 3 She succeeded 
in obtaining the royal pardon, and in recovering a part of 
the forfeited lands for her own use ; while the Earl 
remained a condemned outlaw, dependent for his daily 
bread on the precarious charity of the Spanish king. 4 

1 Countess of Northumberland to her husband, 20th March, 1572. „ 

— Original State Papers. 

3 "What travail My Lady hath taken for your delivery not only do 
I know, who was a part of it, but all men see, because she was no 
longer able to work by private means, but was forced to follow the Court, 
and to press upon the Duke's Grace, even agaynst his will. God saw her 
tears and heard her prayers ; but what say I ? hers ? He saw and heard 
yours, which were so earnest that they also appearede in her. ... As 
you have borne yourself well in adversity, so take care not to forget the 
goodness of God if He send you prosperity, as I beseech Him to do." — 
Dr. Richard Sanders to Earl of Northumberland, Louvain, 8th January, 
1572. — Ibid. 

3 See in the State Papers her letter to Cecil of 23rd March, 1570, in 
which she prays to be admitted to the Queen's presence, " although My 
Lords doings are such as must abase me so to do." In a letter to her 
husband about the same date she urges him to submit unconditionally 
to the Queen's mercy (which meant to lay his head upon the block), 
and not to " forget the care which you ought to have of me and of my 
poor children, now desolate and void of help, without the clemency of 
the queen." There is an interesting account of the part she played in 
the Rebellion in the Appendix to Sharpe's Memorials. 

4 The last Earl of Westmoreland of the Neville blood died in exile 



a.d. The knowledge of the advanced stage which the nc- 

152S-1572 g 0t i at i ons f or the Earl of Northumberland's liberation 
had now reached, served to incite Elizabeth to more 
active measures for obtaining his surrender. 

In April, Hunsdon urges Lord Burghley to take some 
decided step, " because there is a time limited, whereby 
they thinke that either Her Majestye wyll not resolve so 
soon, or else wyll not gyve so moche for hym. Suerly, all 
thynges consydered, Her Majestye had better gyve twyce 
as moche than goe withowt hym. It is not for nought 
that the Duke of Alba maketh meenes to have hym ; and 
though his being at liberty could do noe harme, yet it 
wolde not be honorable for Her Majestye to have it said 
that she was offered hym for so moche, and refused hym. 
Besydes, she will see thereby whether they will performe 
their promise, and it will cause them not to be so clamor- 
ous of hyr for money, having some among themselves to 
borrow of. If she will have hym, I wish they might be 
appointed to delyver hym at the Bound Road, and there 
receive their money. If he shuld be delyvered in any 
parte of Scottland there maybe crafte in UAnbigny. If 
I once receive him, I trust to make Her Majesty a good 
accompt of hym. His being in her handes will greatlye 
daunt those in Northumberland, Yorkshire, and the 
Byshoprycke, who live in hope of his liberty." " 

at a very advanced age. He led a very poor life, even to histoid age 
depending for his daily bread upon a slender pension from the Spaniard. 
Meanwhile his wife flourished in affluence and favour at Elizabeth's court. 

1 The old soldier had not always been of this opinion, for immediately 
after the suppression of the Rising (29th December, 1569) he had written 
to warn Cecil of the difficulty which, in the event of the Earl's capture 
or surrender, would attend his passage through his own territories : 

" It may be that whosever hath the karryage of him shall have some- 
what to doo to brynge hym threw Northumberland, for he must be 
karyed threw all his owne tenents, them that loves hym better than they 
doo the queen." — State Papers. . 

Nor was it long, ac wilt be seen, after Lord Hunsdon was chargea 
with the custody of the Earl, before he recognised the full force of the 
danger he here indicates. 



The Regent Mar had now the option of allowing a.d. 1572 
Lochleven to accept Lady Northumberland's proffered 
bribe, and of conniving at the Earl's escape, at the. risk of 
Elizabeth's displeasure, or of delivering him to England 
for a pecuniary consideration, at the cost of the national 
good faith and his own personal honour. He chose the 
latter course, making it a condition that, to save appear- 
ances, a formal demand should be addressed to the 
Scottish Government for the surrender of his prisoner in 
compliance with treaty obligations ' (which did not exist), 
and expressing a wish that he might receive an assurance 
that the Earl's life would be spared, which request the 
English Commissioners might evade by pleading the 
want of instructions. 

The price being agreed upon, however, the same want 
of confidence which the Duke of Alva and the papal 
agent in the low countries had displayed towards the Laird 
of Lochleven, — the same determination not to part with 
the ransom from one hand until they held their prize in 
the other, — now manifested itself between the English and 
Scotch Governments, who, having for months past 
haggled over the precise amount of blood-money, 
could not trust one another's honesty to carry out 
the disgraceful bargain. 3 

1 What the Earl of Mar thus did for a paltry bribe of £2,000, the 
Scottish Queen, to her honour, refused to do to regain her liberty and 
her throne. In October 1570 Elizabeth had caused a treaty to be 
drawn up, on the full ratification of which by Mary she was to be 
liberated and restored to her kingdom. One of the articles, however, 
to which she resolutely declined to agree was the surrender of the Earl 
of Northumberland and the other rebels. She was willing to admit an 
extradition clause for the future, but "'she cannot thinke that it maye 
stande with her honour to delyver these who are come for refuge within 
her countrey, as it were to enter them in place of execution." — Haynes, 
p. 609. 

2 "They mean to delyver hym very shortlie, but will not delyver him 
without the money." — Hunsdon to Burghley, April, 1572, State Papers. 
Even after the money had been paid, the recipients quarrelled and 
fought among themselves over their respective shares, like thieves over 


a.d. It was not till early in June that the surrender 

1528-1572 actually took place : " yesternight came thyther unto me 
the Larde of Cleishe, who had delt with me hertofore 
about the Erie of Northumberland, who declared too 
mee that he had brought the saide Erie to Coldingham,' 
and was come to know what tyme I would recevc 
hym thys daye at Aymouthe, as also, bycause it 
would be tedyous to have the money towld there, that 
he myght tell it here and seale it upp, and so upon the 
receyving- of the Erie too delyver the money .... Upon 
the recepte of hym, I delyvered the money and browght 
him to this town .... I have had no greate talk with 
hym, but trewly he seems to follow his old humors, reddyer 
to talk of hawks and hounds than anything els, very 
much abasht and sorrowful, and beyng in grete feere of 
his lyfe, and yett reddyer to talke of these vayne matters 
than otherwyse ... I wold be glad to knowe how I 
should ease hym, and wold fayne be quigly delyvered 
of him, yf ytt will please Her Majesty that I shall bring 
hym upp." u 

It had originally been intended to send the prisoner to 
London in charge of Mr. Yaughan, a member of the 
Council of the North, but Lord Hunsdon wrote to 
remonstrate against this duty being intrusted to any 
one but himself: 

" Your Maiestie maye doe your pleasor, but sewrly yt 

their plunder. The Laird of Lochleven's claim of ^1,000 for his 
expenses in maintaining his prisoner was now disputed, and apparently 
with some reason, since the Earl stated that he ''never stood him in 
,£200 no kind of way," and that while in his custody he had " seldom or 
ever had a morsel of good meat."— See Lord Hunsdon's letter to Lord 
Burghley, June 7th, 1572. State Papers. 

1 "The Earl had been embarked on the pretence that his host wished to 
relieve the tedium of his imprisonment by a shooting expedition, and 
for his share in this piece of treachery " the Laird of Claish, who only 
by his great travail brought the Erie so quietly hither " (to Berwick) 
demanded .£100. — Ibid. 

2 Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley. — Ibid. 



wyll touch meyne credytt to have any other man bryng a.d. 1572 
him upp." ' 

To hold the Earl a prisoner in the heart of his own 
territories and among his most attached tenants, was, 
however, a far more arduous duty than escorting him to 
London, as Lord Hunsdon soon discovered, for shortly 
after he writes : — 

" 1 look howrly for a discharge of the Erie, of whom 
I am right weary ; for I assure your Lordship I have slept 
few quiet sleeps since I had hym ; for as there is no 
strong or safe howse to keepe him in, I am faine to keepe 
watch and warde round the howse day aiid night." 

And again more urgently a few days later : — 

" I wonder no order is taken for the Earl of North- 
umberland ; pray have him sent somewhere else. / 
dare not undertake to keep him here ; so if he happen to 
escape, it cannot be said that I have not warned you. 
I am afraid some of my unfriends procure his abode 
here, to procure me displeasure if he escape." 2 

The outcry on the 'Earl's surrender was loud and 
fierce on both sides of the border ; and found its main 
expression in the only form that the popular voice could 
then use with much effect : the ballad, which, sung from 
door to door by village minstrels, ever served to keep 
agitation alive, and in which public opinion now found a 
vent for an^er and detestation at so eross a breach 
of good faith and hospitality." 

One Singleton, who describes himself as " a Gentle- 
man of Lancashire, now prisoner at York for religion," 
thus denounces the act : 

"The noblest Lorde of Percie kinde 
Of honours and possessions faire, 
As God to him the place assigned, 
To Scottish grounde made his repaire ; 
Who after promise manifold 
Was last betraied for Englishe Gold. 

' State Papers. * Ibid. 



a.d. " Who shall hereafter trust a Scot ? 

1528-1572 Or who will doe that nation good? 

— That so themselves doe stayne and blott 

In selling of such noble blood ? 
Let lordes of this a mirror make, 
And in distresse that lande forsake ! 

" Their Lordes and Limmours are forlorne, 
Their people curst of each degree ; 
Their faith and promise all too torne 
And rumor rings it to the sky, 
How they for money sold their guest 
Unto the shambles like a beast ! 

" The Percies' stocke an ancient foe 
To Scottish Lowndes in felde, 
Yet did he still relieve their woe 
If once the man did yelde 
Unto his prince, and countrie praise, 
As noblemen have noble ways ! " l 

Another English writer, though professing to be no 
friend of the Earl, or of any " rebel or papist," reproaches 
Scotland with her shame in a long series of verses, oi 
which this is one : — 

" Fy on thee, Scotland, and thy seed, 
Abone all realmes woe thee befall ! 
Thy lordes have done so shameful deid, 
That traytours ay men will you call. 
You are so gredie on English gold 
That all your credit now is sold ! " 

To which a Scotch poet replies, and, while denouncing 
the actual offenders with a fire of invective and scornfui 
eloquence of a high order, pleads to exonerate the nation 
from all share of complicity in so foul an act : — 

" Alace ! that ever Scotland should have bred 
Sic to its ain dishonour, schame and greif ; 
That qu'hen ane nobilman was thereto fled, 
At neid to seik some succour and releif, 

1 The original document is preserved in the British Museum, w" 1 
r SS.. Calif*. B. iv. 241. There is a copy among the Alnwick MSS. 

MSS., Calig. B. iv. 243. There is a copy 



Sould have been coulpit twyse ! First, be ane theif ; a.d. 1572 

Then be Lochlevin, quho did three yeir him keip, — 

Quho gat greit gaine to save him for mischief, 
Syne sould him to the skambils lyke ane sheip ! 

" That loving lord, so voyde of all dispyte, 
Of vertevvs having sic pluralitie ; 
In honest pastyme takand his delyte, 
With manye rare and princelie qualitie ; 
So nobil port, and liberalise ; 
Sic hardiness, and hairt hcroical, 
Deservit rather immortalitie, 
Than to have had ane end so tragical ! . 

Yet for your mischeant and mischevous deid 
This countrye ought not for to beer the blame." * 

Another anonymous apologist for the Scottish people, 
says in his answer to the English ballad : — 

" Although some traitours be amang us 
In blaming all forsuith ye wrang us. 

Thoch sum have playit Judas' pairt 
In selling gud Northumberland, 
Quhy suld they thoill for their desert 
That faine would have that fact withstand? 
Or yet the country bear the blame ? 
Let them that sould him have the shame I 

" Mar, and the devilishe Douglassis, 
And namely Morton and Lochlevin ; 
M'Gill and Orkney, Scottish assis, 
And Cleishe, quhunto the gold was given. 
Dumferling, that the Py prepared, 
And lowse Lindsay, quho was his guaiide." 

Two ballads long popular on the borders, " The Rising; 
z« the North " and "Northumberland betrayed by 

1 This and the preceding ballad will be found in Pinkerton's collec- 
tion, under the head of Poems by Unknawin Makars ; but the latter is 
attributed to John Maitland, Lord Thirlstone, a son of the Sir Richard 
Maitland, whose ballads (thanks to the learned Bishop of Dromore, 
*ho discovered them in MS. and published them) deservedly hold a 
very high place in Scottish minstrelsy. 

1 I I 


a.d. Douglas" ' were evidently composed very shortly after 
1528-1572 t j le events tjjey describe : — 

" When he had in Lough-leven been 
Many a month and many a day, 
To the Regent 2 the Lord Warden 3 sent, 
That banisht Earle for to betray. 

" He offered him great store of gold, 
And wrote a letter fair to see, 
Saying, Good My Lord, grant me my boon, 
And yield that banisht man tone!" 

The ballad proceeds to relate how Morton's sister 
warned the Earl against the meditated treachery, who 
(and this trait is characteristic of his simple and con- 
fiding nature) cannot bring himself to think so ill of 
his host : — 

"Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady, 
The Regent is a noble lord ; 
Ne for the gold in all England, 
The Douglas wold not break his word. 

"When the Regent was a banisht man, 
With me he did faire welcome find ; 
And whether weal or woe betide, 
I still shall find him true and kind." 

1 Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i. 

a In his commentary on this ballad the editor of the Reliques names 
James Douglas, Earl of Morton, as the Regent; Morton however 
did not succeed to the Regency until several months after the Earl 
of Northumberland's surrender, though, in concert with his cousin oi 
Lochleven, he appears to have taken a prominent part in bringing it 
about, and shared in the blood-money. The dishonour of the official 
act rests with the then Regent, the Earl of Mar, whom Richard 
Maitland addresses : 

" Fie on thee, Mar ! that ever thou consentit 
Ane nobleman so basely to dissave ! 

Judas, that sould our Saviour to be slaine, 
Ane vyler draucht nor thou did never draw." 

— Pinkerton's Maitland MSS, 

3 Lord Hunsdon. 

I 12 


" And now that I a banisht man 
Should bring such evil happe with mee, 
To cause my faire and noble friendes 
To be suspect of treacherie." ' 

" This rives my heart with double woe ; 
And lever had I dye this day 
Than thinke a Douglas can be false, 
Or ever will his guest betray." 

A.D. 1572 

A shooting party being then arranged, under pretence 
of which the Earl was taken off in a boat : 

"When they had sailed other fifty mile, 
Other fifty mile upon the see, 
They landed him ; at Berwick towne 
The Douglas landed Lord Percie." 

No sooner had the unfortunate Northumberland been 
delivered into Lord Hunsdon's custody at Berwick, 
than the Queen gave orders for his execution. Two 
days later, however, a respite was granted, " whereof," 
says Hunsdon, " I am not sorry, for trewly though he 
have fully by law deserved to dye, yet, consydering 
what loss Her Majesty srhall receive by his deathe, and 
the syrcumstances how he was brought to the same, Her 
Majesty hath and doth show as great mercy to a number 
that as well deserved to dye as he, without any benefyt to 

Whether Elizabeth felt the force of this argument, 

1 Morton's complicity in the surrender was the more culpable from the 
fact of his having enjoyed the Earl's protection and hospitality when him- 
self a political fugitive in England ; a circumstance to which Camden 
refers with the remark: " Sed quis calamitosis gratus repertus?" — ■ 
Annales, il p. 269. The historian Robertson makes some attempt to 
extenuate the baseness of the surrender on the ground that Morton's 
party depended upon Elizabeth for protection ; but he admits that " as 
a sum of money was paid on that account and shared between Morton 
and William Douglas, the former of whom, during his exile in England, 
had been much indebted to Northumberland's friendship, the abandon- 
ing this unhappy nobleman to inevitable destruction was deemed an 
ungrateful and mercenary act." — History of Scotland. 

' Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, rst May, 1572. — State Papers. 



a.d. or that, as in other cases, she wished to make a show 
1528-^572 Q f reluctance before consigning to the scaffold one who 
had many powerful friends and adherents, the execution 
was again deferred; and in the meantime Hunsdon was 
instructed to induce the Earl to make a full confession, 
the means for obtaining which are pretty plainly hinted 
at by Elizabeth in this characteristic letter : 

11 In the dealynge herein you may use such speeches 
as may justly terrify him with all extremite of punish- 
ment if he shall conceal anything ; and sometymes, as 
you may see cawse, you may also comfort him with some 
hope, so it be not in our name, nor by us warranted, if he 
will utter the truth of every person, without regard to 
any whatsoever they be, though he may think they be 
in place of credite. As for any chargeable entertaynment 
of his in his diet zee lyke not, consydering him as a person 
attaynted; by over tender usage he may gather comfort to 
persist in denyal of things to his knowledge!' x 

With this letter Hunsdon received a series of interro- 
gatories on" a variety of matters connected with the late 
rebellion to which he was instructed to obtain the Earl's 

• " I receyved your packet of the 5th, whereyn was the 
articles to examyne the Erie of Northumberland ; 
according to the which I went too hym, and took Mr. 
Treasorer with me, and examined hym but of the one 
halfe of them, as though ther had byn no more ; where- 
unto he seemed to be very fearful to answer. Not butt 
that he was very wylling to answer trewly to them, but 
by cawse he should make so slender answer to many oi 

1 Queen Elizabeth to Lord Hunsdon, 5th June, 1572, State Papers. 
The Earl's position at this time was pitiable enough. On his 
arrival at Berwick he had no money, and no clothes but the worn-out 
suit in which he stood. A charge of £\z for providing him with 
clothing is included in Sir Valentine Browne's Secret Service accounts 
for this period. See State Papers. 



[hem as those he answered trewly. Yett I wold hardly 
bclcve hym, so with many syrcumstancys he answered 
them, which having answered he requyred me presentlye, 
as hys memory is short and that he wold not wyllingly 
consele anythynge unutteryd, that I wold leve them with 
hym that nyght, and lycence hym to have paper and 
ynke, which I dyd. 

" Trewly, my lord, he seemes to be very wyllyng to 
Her Majestie yn everything he can; and yf hys con- 
fessyon be trew the rebellyon was one of the strangest 
matters that hath byn herd of ; and pryncypelly procurde 
by old Norton and Markynyfrld, and ernestlye followed 
by the two wyves, the Countessys. 1 Good my Lord, as 
sune as you receve the Erles anser, procure my delyver- 
ence of hym, that I may rid my handes of hym to 
anybody else, and it shall be needful that he shall be 
safely sent up, for he hath many frendes by the way." 2 

On the following day he writes : — 

" I think the Erie hath answered trewthfully. He 
doth greatlye excuse my Lord of Westmoreland, and 
sayeth plainlye that they could never gett howld of hym 
tyll the last owre, and that by procurement of hys wyfe 
• • . . who was more vehement thereyn than any other. 
I assure your Majestye / dyd never tJiynke hym so 
sympell as now I fynde hym, and yf his confessyon ys 
trew, he was greatlye urged to yt by others ; and yett 
yn this whole matter he excusyth Westmoreland more 
than hymselfe" z 

Sir Valentine Browne, in whose house the Earl had 

m ' As before stated the Earl attributed a large share in rebellion to the 
influence of the Countess of Westmoreland ; but it is difficult to under- 
stand upon what grounds Lord Hunsdon asserts him to have implicated 
nis own wife, for throughout his depositions and his correspondence not 
one word capable of bearing such a construction can be found. 

Hunsdon to Burghley, 12th Iune, 1572, Original State Papers. 
3 //,,;/. 

VOL. ii. II5 12 


a.d. been lodged on his first arrival at Berwick, says that he 

I52 _l! 572 was "nothing altered from his old opynions (the 

Catholic faith), which he wolde persuade to be taken 

for the cawse of the rebellion," and Hunsdon reports 

him as " more than ever obstinate in relygion." 

Indeed, from his reply to one of the interrogatories, it 
would appear that so far from being disposed to recant 
he gloried in the profession of his attachment to the 
proscribed faith, declaring that their first object in as- 
sembling was " for the reformacion of relygion, and for 
the preservation of the second person, the Queen of 
Scotts, whom we accompted by God's lawe and man's 
lawe, to be right heire if w r ant should be of issue of the 
Queen's Majestie's body; which two cawses I made full 
accompt was greatlye favoured by the most part of noble- 
men within this realme, especially for God's true religion. 
I was in hope (although I had little for me) both the 
Erie of Leycester and my lorde Burleigh had beene 
blesst with some godly inspiracion by this tyme of the 
daye to discern cheese from chalke ; the matters being so 
evidently discoussed by the learned divines of thys our 
tyme, and they that had swaye about the prince, and 
especyally my Lord of Burleigh, who is indued with so 
syngular a judgment. And now finding myself deceved 
of that expectacion, I can noe more doe but shall praye 
faythefully to Almyghtie God to indue Her Highnes and 
them with His grace, that they may kno we "hym and feare 
hym aright." ' 

Lord Hunsdon, although he had zealously worked for the 
Earl's surrender by the Scots, fearing the effect of his escape 
to the Continent, had from the first opposed the infliction 
of the extreme penalty, and now lost no opportunity ol 
urging upon Elizabeth the advantages she might attain 

1 Memorials, p. 202. 


by extending mercy in this case. For some time the A.D.^572 
( hicctfs habitual irresolution in such cases ' served to 
raise his hopes, but these were now dashed by a letter 
from Burghley, the reply to which affords an honourable 
testimony to the old soldier's character : 

" My very good Lord, — Thys day syttyng downe to 
dyner, having dyspatcht a pakket, not past an owre 
befor, I receyved your Lordship's pakket of 8th, whyche 
rave me my dyner; fyndyng myselfe hardlye delt withall to 
he a carryer of any nobelman to executyon yntoo a place 
wherein I have nothyng to do. My charge ys butt in 
thys towne and the Este Wardenry, and therefore for mee 
to be putt to bryng him to York to be executed, I can 
neyther thynke that hyr Majestie deales wyth mee thereyn, 
nor that I have anye suche frends abowt Her Majestie 
as I accounted of ; and sewrly I wyll rather stiffer sum 
ynprysonment than (too yt. Sir John Forster hathe bothe 
the comodity and proffytt of all hys landes yn Northum- 
berland, and he is fyttest to have the carryage of hym 
to York, and / wyll dclyver hym safely att Alnzuyck, 
butt 110 farther, by my wyll. Therefore, my Lord, as ever 
I may thynke ye beere me any good wyll, or that Her 
Majestie hath any consyderacyon of mee, lett some othar 
be appoynted to receve hym of mee eyther at Alnwyck 
or Newcastle. And so assuryng your lordship that though 
the wrytt came to me, I wyll not styrre hens wyth hym 
untyl I have answer from your lordship agayne." 2 

The condemned Earl had still one untiring friend, 
who now made a last effort to save him. John Lee 
writes : 

" My lady Northumberland has never believed in the 

1 According to Fenelon, Elizabeth had signed and revoked four 
* trrants for Norfolk's execution before allowing sentence to pass. Her 
•'■•"Mjlution in the case of Mary Stuart's death warrant is notorious. 

• Hi.nsdon to Lord Burghley, Berwick, nth July. 1572, Sfate Pap<rs. 

I I 7 


• a.d. delyvery of the Erie; but now some are of opvnvon 
— J that she will goe into some monastery, but others that 
she will practice notwithstanding, as opportunitye shall 

And in a subsequent letter he states that she had 
actually gone into a convent after having vainly im- 
plored the French King to intercede for her husband's 
life. 1 

Lady Northumberland had in fact moved for such 
intercession both in France and Spain, where she had a 
right to look for sympathy and support, on behalf of 
one who had suffered in a cause which the rulers of those 
states had professed to have warmly at heart. At 
this hour, however, it did not fall in with the plans of 
either Philip or Louis to display interest in the chiefs of 
an abortive rebellion ; and nothing but Elizabeth's 
affected scruples now stood between Northumberland 
and the scaffold. 

" I was readye this morning," writes Hunsdon, "to 
delyver the Erie to Sir John Forster according to an 
appoyntment, but receved the Oueene's Majesties letter 
to staye hym at my dyscrecion, untyll I heerde from hyr 
ageyne. If he went this nyght to Alnwyck he wold be 
in York on Tuesday, and so either the next day or 
Thursday executed ; and then too late to staye yt, though 
Her Majestie myght be content to defer yt. But if she 
continues in hyr resolution then it shall be presentlye 

fulfylled upon worde agayne from hyr I have 

sought to prolong the execution to have Her Majestic 
understande his brothers doings, for suerly if Henry 
Percy's affection towards the Scottish Oueene, and hys 
other dealings towards her Majestic, be suche as is 

1 John Lee to Lord Burghley, 13th June and 14th July, 1572, State 
Papers. The king declined to interfere unless the Earl should lir^t 
unconditionally submit himself to his sovereign's mercy. 



compnlye spoken, 1 Her Majestie would doe hyrselfe a a.d. 1572 
worse turne by setting upp the one than by keepinge the 
other alyve. Besydes .... she ivy 11 have the benefitt of 
his fyiyng* anc * as man y a s have any gyfte of hyr, or 
.mylhyng of hys, may pycke a salade." 2 

l ; or some weeks longer the poor Earl's life seemed to 
hang in the balance ; twice had Elizabeth named the day 
for his execution, and each time was the order counter- 
manded. But now the curtain fell upon the last act of 
the Rising in the North. 

On the 17th August Hunsdon delivered his prisoner 
to Sir John Forster at Alnwick, who conducted him to 
York, by slow stages, 3 under a strong mounted escort. A 
scaffold had been erected in the Pavement? and there, on 
the 22nd August, Thomas Percy met his death with calm 
courage and dignity. 

" Remember," he said, when about to lay his head upon 
the block, " that I die in the Communion of the Catholic 
Church, and that I am a Percy in life and in death." 5 

Sir Thomas Gargrave writes to Lord Burghley on the 
day after the execution : 

" So farre as may appere by any talk or doyings of the 
late Erie of Northumberland, at or befor his dethe, he 
contynued obstynate in relygion, and declared he wold dye 

1 Sir Henry Percy was at this time a prisoner in the Tower on charges 
of complicity in a plot to liberate the Scottish queen. 

7 Lord Hunsdon to Lord Burghley, 9th August, 1572, 'State Papers. 

3 The journey occupied four days, as appears from a " Note of the 
charges of Sir John Forster for post horses, in conveying the late Earl 
of Northumberland from Alnwick to York, iSth to 21st August, and 
returning with his company, 23rd to 25th August, ^"154 11;. 4k' 1 — 

* '1 hen the great market-place, in which the pillory stood. 

5 Ueckwith, in his MS. History of York, quoted in the Memorials, 
states that the head was struck off with one blow of a broad carpenter's 
axe. According to others, however, a drunken executioner ' ; chopped at 
hiui for half an hour with a blunt carpenter's axe." — See Historical 
Portraits of the Tudor Dynasty, by S. II. Burke. 



a.d. a Catholyke of the Pope's Churche. He accompted his 
152 _l! 572 offence npthynge, and especyally after he knew he shold 
dye; but before, he seemyd to confesse he had offendyd, 
and wold qualyfy yt, sayynge he dyd that he dyd by 
compulsion, and for feere of his lyffe. He confessyd he 
was reconcyled to the Pope ; he affermyd this realme was 
in a scysme, and that all were sysmatykes. He said 
here was nether pitye nor mercye. In his talke with 
dyvers he namyd hymselfe ' Symple Thome,' and sayd 
' Symple TJiomc must dye, to sett vp crewell Henry.' * At 
his dethe he wyshed his brother to be of his relygyon, 
and that, if he had hys lyvynge, he trysted he wold pay 
his dettes and helpe his chyldren and servantes. He dyd 
not here either pray for the Queene's Majestie, nor even 
wyshed her well, nor yet wold confesse he had offendyd 
Her Majestie, whereat many was oftendyd and thoyght 
he had no deutyfull consideration of her Ma tIe ; and 
on the other syde, the styf-neckyd papystes rejoyed 
moche of his stedfastnes in their crede of popyshe 
relygyon." 2 

The Earl's head was set on a high pole above Mickle- 
gate Bar, 3 but his body was saved from the indignity 

1 Thomas Wright, in his Queen Elizabeth and Her Times (vol. i. p. 
439), following some of the old historians, makes the Earl say not 
" cruel Henry" but " cruel Heresy." This version is also given in a 
popular work, Knight's Pictorial History of England (London, 1847). 
Other writers make the Earl describe his brother as " cunning " Henry, 
perhaps the more appropriate term, besides conveying antethetic point ; 
but the report of the sheriff who superintended the execution may be 
assumed to be the more accurate. 

2 Cott. MSS. Calig. C. iii. Fol. 394. Oldmixon says that the Earl 
was "very obstinate in his last speeches and moments. He asserted 
the Pope's supremacy, denied subjection to the queen, his lawful sovran, 
and affirmed the nation to be in a schysm, or rather heresy, for he 
called all her leige subjects heretycks." The Spanish Ambassador re- 
ported to his Government that the Earl had said upon the scaffold that 
if he had a thousand lives he would give them all for the Catholic faith 
in which he died. — Apimtamientos para la historia del Key, Don Felipt 
Segundo de Espana, p. 128, 

3 According to popular rumour the head had been removed during the 



of mutilation by the intercession of some influential A.D.J572 
citizens of York, who caused it to be laid in Crux 
Church, "no one attending the funeral save two men 
and three maid domestics, and a stranger in disguise, 
who, causing suspycyon, immediately fled." ■ 

No memorial marks the grave of the seventh Earl of 
Northumberland, and the only local record of his death 
is contained in this entry in the parish register of St. 
Margaret's, Walmgate, York, for the year 1572 :— 

Dominus Percy decollatus erat 
xxii. die Augusti. 

The Scottish Queen had given a strong proof of her 
grateful appreciation of the services which the Earl of 
Northumberland had rendered in her cause, by a gift 
which to her must have been of inestimable value. 
This was a relic purporting to be a thorn of the crown 
which the Jews had in mockery placed on the Saviour's 
brow. The Earl had worn it, mounted in a golden cross, 

night in fulfilment of a prophecy made many years before oy Mother 
Shipton, who had said to him : " My Lord, shoot your horse in the 
quicke and you shall do well ; but your bodie will be buried in Yorke 
pavement, and your head shall be stolne from the Barre, and carried 

into France." , .. . . ta 

If the date of this prophecv be correctly given, however, it must have 
been addressed not to the seventh, but to his uncle, the sixth, Lad, who, 
before his accession, had been sent by Wolsey to have his fortune told by 
Mother Shipton. See a pamphlet in the British Museum entitled The 
Prophesie of Mother Shipton in the reigne of Henry the Eighth, for- 
feiting the death of Cardinal Wolsey, the Lord Peny and others as 
also what should happen in suing times."— " London, printed tor 
Richard Lownds, in his shop adjoining to Ludgate, 1641. 

The author or editor of the pamphlet (which is in the collection pre- 
sented to the British Museum by King George the Third) was apparently 
under the impression that it was Wolsey's pupil who had been executed 
at York. The seventh Earl was never called " Lord Percy Those 
who prophesy after the event should be very caretul in the matter 
f't names and dates. 

1 Bcckwith's MS. History of York. 



A - D - around his neck to the day of his death, when he bc- 
i5 2 _j5 - q ueat | iec { j t to hi s eldest daughter Elizabeth. 1 

The relic is now at Stonyhurst College, 2 enclosed in a 
golden casket bearing this inscription : — 

" Hccc spina de Corona Domini Sancta fuit prima 
Maria; Regina Stotice, Martyris, et ab ca data Comiti 
Northumbrian Martyri, qui in morte missit illam filue 
sua, Elizabeth<z, quce dedit societati!' 


The widowed Countess of Northumberland survived 
her husband for nearly twenty years — weary and lonely 
years of exile and poverty ; 3 parted from her children, 
forgotten or ignored by the many friends of earlier 
days, but still zealous in the cause to which her worldly 
hopes and happiness had been sacrificed. While residing 
at Liege she was in constant communication with 
Queen Mary, and had exerted herself to bring about 
a marriage between her and Don John of Austria. 4 

1 She in her turn gave, or bequeathed, it to the Jesuit Father Gerard, 
who says : 

'* At this time I had given me some very fine relics which my friend 
set for me very richly. Among these was an entire thorn of the He !y 
Crown of our Lord, which the Queen of Scots had brought with her 
from France (where the whole Crown is kept), and had given to the 
Earl of Northumberland, who was afterwards martyred. He always 
used to carry it in a golden cross about his neck as long as he lived, 
and at his death made it over to his daughter." — Life of Father Gerard, 
some time Superior of Stonyhurst. London: Burns and Oates, i88i._ 

2 The present rector, the Rev. W. H. Eyre, has in reply to my inquiries 
on the subject courteously furnished me with a photograph of the relic. 

3 Ller only means of subsistence were derived from a small pension, 
very irregularly paid, from the King of Spain, and out of this she main- 
tained several poor ladies who had followed her into exile. In a 
memorandum in the handwriting of Lord Burghley, dated in 1590, and 
relating to the English recipients of foreign pensions we read. " I ho 
Countess of Northumberland, furiously mad, hath 100 crowns a montii 
at Namur." — State Papers. 

♦ "The Jesuit Nicholas Saunders assured the King of Spain that h 
had the authority of Queen Mary's most confidential advisers, ' 
F. Englefield and the Countess of Northumberland, for saying that she was 


rWi'ii ■•f.' i 




The English Government was kept well informed of a.d. 
her doings. In 1573 Lee describes her as "one of the I572 ~ 159 * 
principal practicers at Mechlin/' and another of Burghley's 
agents reports : — 

" The rebells hold counsell at the howse of the 
Countess of Northumberland in Brussells, and many 
bad wordes they speke of your lordship, as that you are 
a heretyck, and that it was a grete pitty that Paulus 
Ouintus did not burn you when you was in prison, and 
some had vowed to shorten your dayes. I have shown 
the Government of this lady's assemblies and practices, 
and travailled very much to find out the author of that 
lewde book against your lordship. The Countess of 
Northumberland hath given ^"ioo for the printing, and 
one Heighgates, secretary to her late husband, collected 
the book after divers persons had done their mind in 
writing 1 . . . The Countess is a bad woman in 
every way, and has spoken very lewdly of your lordship, 
avowing that in that collection there is nothing but truth 
and that if she might speak of it to the Queen she might 
tell wonders." 2 

A few scattered and destitute refugees plotting for 
the restoration of the Church of Rome and the Scottish 
Queen could hardly have been considered a source of 
danger to the English Government ; yet Lord Burghley 

extremely well affected towards Don John of Austria," .... with 
whom the Countess was stated to have been in frequent communication, 
being " supposed to be the channel through which the prayers and com- 
plaints of the captive Queen of Scots reached his willing ears." — Don 
John of Austria, by Sir William Stirling Maxwell, vol. ii. pp. 23 
and 208. 

1 This refers to a work published in Paris under the title of Discours 
des Troubles du Co?ntc de Northumberland, composed in the interests of 
the Catholics, and purporting to reveal the true causes' of the Northern 
Rebellion. It is written in a very violent spirit, but from the fact that 
Lord Burghley thought it necessary to circulate a laboured reply, it 
may be presumed to have produced some effect. 

3 Dr. Wilson to Lord Burghley. State Papers. 


a.d. lost no opportunity of persecuting these unhappy people, 
152^-1572 e ven now that they were beyond his jurisdiction. The 
English ambassador at the French court was more than 
once instructed to remonstrate against the protection 
afforded to the disaffected English in Paris ; and in 1576 
Dr. Wilson informs his chief that he had succeeded in 
prevailing upon the Spanish Government to expel Lady 
Northumberland and other refugees from Brussels at 
fifteen days' warning, " which all did take very heavily 
as a thing unlooked for." ' 

But adversity only served to stimulate this indomitable 
woman to fresh efforts, and no failure or misfortune could 
discourage her. She lived to see another Catholic plot 
in England organised and defeated ; her husband's 
brother, to whom, personally, she owed little enough, 
but who now represented the cause she had at heart, 
murdered, as was believed, by her enemies ; the Scottish 
Queen, in whose life and freedom her dearest hopes 
were bound, die on the scaffold ; the faith for which she 
would herself have died more than ever persecuted ; and 
still she worked and plotted and hoped, till, attacked by 
the fatal epidemic of that time, her troubled life ended 
in a convent near Namur in 1591. 

Charles Paget, then himself a refugee at Antwerp, 
writes : " I want meenes to signify to Lady Jane Percy 
that her mother, the Countess of Northumberland, died 
fourteen days ago of the small-pox, and has left jewels 
and goods behind worth having ; and to advise her to 
come over soone, for unlesse she is present she cannot 
enjoy them, and besides, she may procure the discounts 3 
of her mother, which arise to two thousand crowns of 
gold. I must not be known to have advysed this, nor 

1 State Papers. 

2 This would appear to refer to the arrears of the Spanish pension, 
which had always been very irregularly paid. 



with having intelligence with her ; but hearing that she is a.d. 
not in the best state for wcalthe, she would be unwise to I 57 2 ~ I 59 I 
luse this commodity." z 

Four daughters 3 had survived the unfortunate Earl of 
Northumberland, of whom Elizabeth, the eldest, married 
Richard Woodruffe of Wolley, in Yorkshire. 

Mary, after her mother's death, founded and became 
Prioress of the Convent of English Benedictine Dames 
at Brussels, a community which subsequently removed to 

Lucy became the wife of Sir Edward Stanley of 
Eynsham, Oxon, a brother of the Earl of Derby, 3 and 
Jane, the youngest daughter, of Lord Henry Seymour, 
a younger son of Edward, Earl of Hertford. 

1 Charles Paget to Giles Martin, London, 23rd September, 1591, 
State Papers. 

* One son had died in infancy, and was buried at Leconfield, 18th 
August, 1560. 

J Two daughters, Frances and Venetia, were born of this marriage, who 
respectively married Sir John Fortescue of Salden, and Sir Kenelm 
I |»gby. It was the younger daughter to whom Ben Jonson thus refers in 
his Euphemia : 

" I sing the just and uncontrolled descent 
Of Dame Venetia Digby, styled the fair. 
In mind and body the most excellent 
That ever nature or the latter air 
Gave two such Houses as Northumberland 
And Stanley, — to the which she was co-heir." 



A D. 

I532-I5 8 5 

<£t'3&ti) Carl of Sortfiumficrtanli. 

Born at Newburn Manor, circa 1532. 

Acceded, 1576. 

Died in the Tower, June 21, 1585. 

English Sovereigns. 

Henry VIII. 
Edward VI. 

EAVING out of account the martial spirit 
which had been the common inheritance 
of the two brothers it would not be 
easy to draw a stronger contrast than is 
=*« presented by the characters of " Simple 
Tom " and " Cruel Henry." 

In the one we see a generous, affectionate and earnest 
nature ; guileless and confiding, but devoid of judgment ; 
easily influenced by stronger minds, and at once irresolute 
and obstinate. 

The other was a man of powerful will and clear intel- 
lect ; ambitious in his aims, unscrupulous in his means : 
with a cold heart, and a pliant conscience. Calculating 
and self-seeking, yet ever prone to sacrifice his personal 



interests to the impulses of momentary sympathy or a.d. 1557 

As skilful in diplomacy as he was daring in warlike 
operations, Queen Mary had, while he was yet in his 
minority, employed Sir Henry Percy 1 in both capacities, 
and rewarded his services by the important governorship 
of Tynemouth Castle. 

The military assistance which the King of France now 
rendered to Scotland had aggravated the lawless condition 
of the Border population, which Sir Henry Percy was 
engaged in repressing and chastising. 

On 6th August, 1557, he writes from Alnwick to the 
Karl of Shrewsbury, then President of the Council of 
the North : 

" I perceive your both Lordships [Shrewsbury and 
Westmoreland] to accept my repair to this country of 
Northumberland in such good part, as I have cause 
to rejoice thereof; and further, to be desirous to know 
the occurrents from time to time happening in these 
parts. It may please your good Lordship to under- 
stand, that upon my repair to Alnwick, the last of July 
past, sundry gentlemen of this country, with many other 
honest men of the same, repaired thither unto me ; with 
whom I continually travelled untill Wednesday at night 
last in such sort as we were suffered to take very small 
rest, either by night or day : but by the more part of 
nights and days on horseback, attended the invasion of 
tne enemy. And for the better resistance thereof, I placed 
myself and my company nigh to the frontiers, as at 
Lslingtone and other places thereabout. And yesterday, 
being the fifth of this instant, about five of the clock in the 
morning, the Lord James and Lord Robert, the late 
Scottish Kind's .bastard sons, Lord Home, and others 

1 There is no record to establish when knighthood had been conferred 
tJ Pon him. 



a.d. of Scotland, with all the power they could make in 
iS3*-»535 three days assembly of men from Edinburgh hither- 
wards, and with certain pieces of ordnance, did invade 
on the East march of this realm ; minding, as I learned 
by credible intelligence, to have attempted to win the 
castle of Ford and have burnt sundry towns thereabouts, 
called the ' Ten Towns of Glendale ; ' which their pur- 
pose, upon my repair towards them, with a good number 
of gentlemen, and others of this country, they did quite 
alter and change : And after they had burnt a house or 
two in the town of Fenton [where was taken, and wounded 
to death as is supposed, one of their best borderers and 
guides, Richard Davyson], did, with great haste and more 
fear (as by plucking off, and leaving a great number of 
white crosses, and the small spoil, or prey of cattle by them 
seized, did appear) departe home into Scotland, before 
• we could in order come to them. Which considered (by 
the discreet advice of the gentlemen whose good con- 
formity and forwardness in service, I cannot but of good 
cause much earnestly commend unto your Lordship ; 
whom I shall much humbly beseech further, to commend 
and advance the same, upon this my just report, as may 
tend to their more encouragement of service hereafter) I 
did enterprise to invade the country of the Merse ' in 
Scotland, where was burnt sixteen towns, and won a 
booty, or spoil, of two hundred four score neat, and iooo 
sheep, besides many horses, and some prisoners. " 2 

The merciless and destructive character of these raids 
is indicated in this letter from Henry Percy to his 
brother : 

" We determined to burn Massington, Wrangham 

1 The part of the ancient Berwickshire south of the Tweed 

a From Lodge's Illustrations of British History, vol. i. p. 252. The 

spelling of this and the succeeding letters of Sir Henry Percy lias been 




Hill, etc., which was done as we wished. . . The con- a.d. 1557 
liict was sharp and many Scots were slain, but we brought 
c.ur men off. The corn burnt is said to be ivorth two 
thousand marks. We took thirty prisoners, two' hundred 

horses, and thirty or forty nags So good a 

service, without loss of one man, has not been known a 
long time. I would have given my best horse for you to 
see the manful service at the water side." ' 

Queen Elizabeth on her accession had conferred the 
governorship of Tynemouth 2 upon Sir Thomas Hilton, 
at whose death, however, she re-appointed Henry Percy 
to the post, and now further marked her appreciation 
of his military capacity, by conferring upon him the 
command of a large body of light horse, to be equipped 
"like Black Harness of Almaine, otherwise called 
the Swart Rutters (Schwartze Ritter), and armed with 
corselets and two dagges (pistols) apiece." 3 He led 

1 State Papers. 

3 " We did the last sommer appoynt Sir Henry Percy, knight, uppon 
the death of Sir J. Hilton, to take the charge of Tynmouth, being a 
place necessary to be well guarded and sene to." — Queen Elizabeth to 
the Duke of Norfolk, 10th January, 1559. State Papers. The following- 
establishment was at this time fixed : 

•' Fee per annum j£66 13 4 

The annuytie for the same 

One Master Gunner at 12a 7 . per diem . 
Light Gunners at 6a 7 . per diem each 
Eleven household servants, every one of 
them at J~6 8s. 4a 7 . per annum . . 

" Granted by the Queene's Maiestie yt now 
is, sum 

See Thos. Brand's History of Newcastle, vol. ii. p. 113. 

Tynemouth Castle was used as a state prison, and here in 1563-4 
limes Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell — afterwards Queen Mary's third 
'•u^band — was confined under Henry Percy's charge. See Sharpe's 
Memorials, p. 352. 

'Queen Elizabeth to Duke of Norfolk, 25th December, 1559. 
' '■"•' inal State Papers. With her habitual attention to detail the Queen 
v -'-iircs that on the conclusion of the campaign the "'dagges " should be 

VOL. II. I29 K 














a.d. these against the French auxiliary forces, who under 

x 53-_^i 5 General d'Oyzelle had captured and garrisoned Leith 

and other Scottish strongholds, and won a signal victor)-. 

" I write to let your Honour understand," says the 
English Commissioner, "how worthily Sir Henry Percye 
behaved himselfe the hrste day of the metinge of our 
enemys. I wolde be lothe to wryte unto your Honour 
more than trothe ; I never sawe man do better, sense I 
was borne." x 

" I thinke you have herde ore now," writes Maitland, a 
fortnight later from the camp before Leith, "of the ex- 
ploits done at Dunbarre by Sir Henry Percy, the Lord 
Ruthven and Lord of Grange, wherat at least fifty were 
taken and kylled ; and two Capteynes, one of Horsemen 
and one of Footmen, taken. Yesternight was a nombre 
of Frenchmen deffact in the very dytches of the town 
and all cut in pieces." 2 

The Oueen thus acknowledges this service : 

" For our trusty and faithful servants that be with you, 
we pray you give them for their service our comfortable 
thanks ; and specially let them which adventured them- 
selfs so worthily at the approche at Lethe be remem- 
bred by name, that they may think their service well 
bestowed. For indede we hear muche comendation of 

collected and returned into the public magazines, "lest they fall into 
the hands of the people." 

1 Randolph to Cecil, ioth April, 1560. Original State Papers, Scot- 
land. Record Office. 

2 Maitland to Cecil, 28th April, 1560. Ibid. The French com- 
mander of the garrison of Leith was required on his capitulation 
to sign a treaty, one of the articles of which provided for the Kings 
and Queens of France relinquishing the title and arms of England 
and Ireland. That practice of publishing false reports of their military 
operations, which in modern times became so notorious through the 
Moniteur, seems already at this time to have prevailed; for the English 
ambassador in Paris informs his Government that the French authori- 
ties had represented the action before Leith as a signal victory on their 
part, in which Sir Henry Percy, the English commander, had been slam. 
— Throckmorton to Cecil, 2Sth April, 1560. Ibid. 



diverse, as of Sir Henry Percy, your own son, Barnabye, a.d. 
Knevet (of whose hurt we be very sorry), and of others of I55 _Zf 5 
the horsmen." 1 

Here is Sir Henry Percy's own despatch, from which 
it is clear that he was not disposed to allow others to 
reap the credit of his achievements : 

" After most humble and hearty commendations I have 
received your letter bearing date the xiiij" 1 of this Instant 
howbeit it was the xxiij th or it came unto my hands. 
Sir, your letter is to me no small comfort, and I wish 
of God that I may be the man which shall do my country 
service ; And also that I may deserve the continuance 
of your good will ; I mean not, for your authority sake. 
And where you will me not to faint in my doings for any 
frownings here, I assure you the body shall not be spared 
at any time for the honour of the Queen, the service 
of my country, or the pleasure of my friend ; for as a 
true man needs not to fear the accusements of theft, no 
more do I think that envious persons can hurt them 
who be not able to accuse their own conscience. 3 
As for the exploit that was done the last day at Dunbar, 
whereof I am assured you be advertised, whatsoever any 
man doth write, I will not find fault at it ; but, if you 
will credit me, there was no man living privy to that 
draught but the Lord of Grange and my self, and as for 
Scotchmen there was not xx in the field. The Lord 
Ruthven was at it by chance, wherefore let not the Lord of 

1 The Queen to Lord Grey, 14th April, 1560. Haynes, p. 289. _ It 
appears that Sir Henry Percv was summoned to a personal interview 
with the Queen, who writes to the Duke of Norfolk on 17th May, " We 
have herd Sir Henry Percy declare dyvers things to us of the proceed- 
ings, and present state of our army, at his comyng from before Lethe ; 
and in most of things requiring consideration and supply from hence, 
we have gyven immediate order for the same." — Original State Papers, 
Scotland. Record Orhce, p. 3x1. 

; This appears to refer to Lord Grey and Sir James Crofts, who had 
written in unfavourable terms of both the Percies. 

HI K 2 


a.d. Grange lose his well doings. There was taken Captain 
1 532-i5 8 5 Hayes and Captain Perrot, xlvj French footmen taken and 
slain and xij horsemen. Our purpose was for that them 
of Dunbar troubled such as passed betwixt our Camp and 
England. The Lord of Grange and I made xij of our 
soldiers to pass by Dunbar at ix of the clock in the morn- 
ing, and we ourselves were laid the night before in a 
secret place by Dunbar so that when our xij men 
passed in the morning, Captain Hayes with a dozen horse- 
men issued out after them, and Captain Perrot with l tie 
footmen to relieve him. Our English men as we had 
commanded them did fly, and the French horsemen and 
footmen pursued them very fast. So when they were a 
mile and a half from Dunbar, I and thirty of my charge, 
with the Lord of Grange chiefest, broke and cut betwixt 
them and the town, and at the first charge overthrew the 
footmen and drove the horsemen into a house called 
Inverwick ; whereat we alighted and with our arquebusiers 
on horseback and such arquebuses as we had won of the 
French footmen, we besieged the house and won it. 
Where you would have me to advertise you of our occur- 
rents here, I desire you to hold me excused therein ; for 
as to the things under my charge, although they be but 
small yet shall I be glad to advertise you ; and as for other 
men's doings it will be better declared unto you than I 
can be able to do. For you know the phrase of my rude 
writing, not being meet to make discourse of such 
weighty affairs as here be. I have written heretofore 
unto you and my Lady your wife, most humbly desiring 
you to let me understand whether they came to your hands 
or not. And as for mine own affairs which I have long 
troubled you in, I mean Tynemouth, I pray you let me 
not be burthened with so weighty a place as I am, and 
so small commission to rule the same by. For you 
know I have kept it this twelve months almost at mine 

1 12 


own charges, which is too sore a burthen for a younger a.d. 

brother of my ability. I will not trouble any further, o;> D 

but desiring you to make my hearty commendations 
to my Lady your wife, thus I wish the daily increase 
of your honour. From the Camp the last of April, 
1560. 1 

Lord Grey, who was in chief command of the ex- 
pedition, appears to have acquired an unenviable repu- 
tation for severity towards his prisoners and, as appears 
from the following report, General d'Oyzelle, when com- 
pelled to capitulate, paid Sir Henry Percy the compliment 
of desiring to surrender his sword to him as a more 
chivalrous enemy : 

" May it please your grace to be advertised that, 
according to your grace's commandment by Sir George 
Hay ward, I have spoken with my Lord Grey and upon 
the same sent my trumpeter to Mons. d'Oyzelle, where 
at his coming he was well received with fair words, as by 
meats and drink also. . . . My man was called to Mons. 
d'Oyzelle, who said unto him. . . . ' You know very well 
that I have borne good will to your Master, and seeing that 
we be presently in distress, not in victuals, I assure you, 
and so tell your Master (of mine honour), but being now 
in despair of our recourse (? succours) from France, and 
hearing of your army coming forward, which makes us to 
think that by time you will overcome us, therefore I was 
desirous to speak with Sir Henry for this cause, that know- 
ing the ill treatment of our soldiers by my Lord Grey, 
as also by the uncourteous language to our messengers, I had 
rather we, the nobility, should fall into the hands of Sir 
Henry, then to taste of the cruelty of my Lord Grey, 
w/iick is not unknown unto us; for we have had experience 
of the mercy which your Master hath shewed in victories 

' Sir Henry Percy to Cecil. Original State Papsrs, Scotland. Record 
Office. Vol. iii. p. 59. 


a.d. against us, so are we assured of the violence that the Lord 
1 532-i5 s 5 Grey can do unto us, whose Reports come to us daily. 
Therefore I sent my drum the last day for to show 
your Master this matter if he would speak with me ; 
and if so be it that I durst come forth of the town 
unsuspected to the soldiers and noblemen, I assure 
you I would be glad to speak with Sir Henry ; but if 
he would come into the town, I would make him what 
assurance or pledge he would desire for his safe 
return." r 

Sir Henry Percy appears to have been less considerate 
towards his Scottish prisoners of war. In March, 1565, 
the Earl of Moray writes to Leicester and Cecil, begging 
them to intercede on behalf of "the Master of Mare- 
chall " (Lord Keith), a prisoner of the Earl of North- 
umberland, and in the immediate custody of Henry 
Percy, " by quhome, as we ar informit, he is in sic 
rigorous maneir handilyt as we esteyme not fytt nor 
convenient for ye present tym of peac." 2 

The English Commissioners at the Scottish court 
write to Cecil in the same strain : " Sir Henry Percy, 
who would gyve my man noe aunswer, but said he would 
send his aunswer himself to the Queens Majestye, sence 
has flatly refusit to the said Maister to lett hym upon 
any Scotchman his bond. . . . Some moderation 
shold be usid in such caases, and if men be not in their 
demaunds temperate, thay wold be reducit ad arbitrium 
boni viri? 

Shortly after her accession the Queen had appointed Sir 
Henry Percy her Commissioner to conduct negotiations 
with the Scottish Congregationerss who at this time 

1 Sir Henry Percy to the Duke of Norfolk (then Lieutenant-General 
of the North), 6th June, 1560. Original State Papers, Scotland, vol. iv. 
No. 3. 

2 Jbid.,\o\. x. Nos. 23 and 25. 

3 See Camden's Annates, vol. i. p. 57. So staunch a Protestant was 

1 34 


contemplated the establishment of a Protestant alliance a.d. 
with England. His correspondence with John Knox ^j^S 
and William Kircaldy of Grange 1 is on record to attest 
ihe ability and tact with which he acquitted himself of 
this delicate mission ; and his report to the President of 
the Council deserves quotation as an historical document, 
as well as an evidence of Sir Henry Percy's diplomatic 
capacity : 

" After my right humble commendations, this shall be 
to let you understand that I have conferred with the 
Duke of Chatelherault, otherwise called the Governor 
of Scotland, whom I do find overmuch desirous of 
the amity and friendship of England, with a great 
number of the nobility of Scotland as his friends and 

" First, I did break with him, what injury he was like 
to receive for his title to the crown by the marriage with 
Prance : who answered, That he could take no damage so 
long as the title were not present in his hands : But that 
if it should chance the title to fall unto him, he doubted 
not, but his friends would with their lives and goods 
defend his title against the French King, if he should 
attempt it, and trusted to have the Queen our mistresses 
favour in the same. 

" Secondarily, I declared unto him, that by means of the 
forts and strengths that they had suffered the French to 
possess, they were not able to make resistance against 
them, but lived under their thralldom : so that if they 
minded any displeasures of the French, for the saving of 

Sir Henry Percy at this time that he acted as one of the Commissioners 
to administer the oath of allegiance and conformity imposed by Elizabeth 
' ; pon all ecclesiastics (Fcedera, xv. 611-612) ; a duty only conferred upon 
those who had openly conformed to the new doctrines. 

' The original letters are in the Record Office. They are calendared 
"i the Scottish Series of State Papers, a.d. 1509-1603,- vol. i. p. 110 
f/ sc 7 . 



a.d. their inheritances, being- under the governance of their 
I53 lIJ! 5 5 strengths, they durst not attempt any thing to them 
prejudicial : So that I could not see, if the Queen our 
mistress was minded to assist them, that it would be- 
any thing beneficial to them. To this he answered, 
That as for the forts they had in their hands, it was not 
greatly material. First, considering they were not able 
to maintain those places without victual, munition and 
other necessaries which could not be had but by their 
assistance. Therefore, to have the strengths and forts 
of a realm, and not a country to maintain them withal, 
they would in short time be more weary of keeping 
those places, than they annoyed these maintaining them. 
So that they doubted not but that they would be glad 
to have a safe-conduct to depart : and principally that if 
the Oueen of England would assist the nobility of Scot- 
land there was not that Fort in their hands, but in a 
short time would be glad to render it, or at leastwise by 
force to leave it. 

11 Thirdly, I declared unto him, That I could not under- 
stand by what means it were possible, that the Queen 
our mistris, would or. could assist them of Scotland : 
considering the warrs that lately were levied by them, 
and the maintenance of the French our Queen's enemies, 
who be daylie annoyers unto our Realm and likely to 
oppress and put you to ruine. 

" To the which he answered : I confess very well these 
warrs betwixt us and your Realm were begun by our 
Queen dowager of Scotland and some nobility who 
would seeme to follow the Queen's mind therein, partly 
trusting to have a recompense for the same ; and some 
others for mere Flattery provoked her to that folly : l' :L 
if you would call to remembrance what little attempts 
have been offered by us, the chief of Scotland ; as i-"" 
example at our last army, which should have been U-r 



th<< winning of Wark, you understood and knew it very a.d. 

well, altho' the Queen on the pain of our allegiance had I5:> ! 5 

commanded us to come to the Frontiers, which we 
could not of Duty have denied : and then coming 
hither on the Frontier, it was proposed to us, that we 
should attempt the winning of Wark and the invasion 
of England which, all that time we knew very well, you 
were not provided nor furnisht for us. Yet answered we, 
the whole nobility, that to defend our country we were 
there and to spend our lives : but for attempting any 
tiling in England or invasion of the country, we would 
not do, not understanding by whom, or for what cause, 
the war was begun. Wherefore our Queen dispersed 
her camp in great choler, and partly against her honour. 
Therefore may you see, what minds we have of our- 
selves to do you of England any annoyance ; and since 
that time we have not attempted anything against your 

" Fourthly, I said: My Lord, as I have not authority to 
debate or resolve of these weighty affairs, yet for the 
good zeal I bear unto my country, and with the unity 
and peace among Christians, in my opinion it were a 
goodly matter to have assured Friendship, [and to con- 
sider] in what subjection our Realm was in by our late 
marriage with the King of Spain ; and what incon- 
veniences did follow, as by the intangling us in wars and 
other like things. And in like case, [of] your Realm, 
which at this present is not void of the like incumbrance, 
as now ours clearly is. Methinks, in my opinion, it were 
a goodly matter, if it could be so brought to pass, that 
you might be clearly out of the subjection of France, 
[so] as to live, as you have done heretofore, as a realm 
of yourselves. 

11 To which he answered : As for the incumbrance you 
aad by your marriage, and now presently we have, it is 



a.d. a thing we wish gladly were amended, and yet it is not 
i53*-*5 8 5 m our power until such time as God hath sent the same 
Fortune unto us as hath lighted upon you ; altho' we 
would much rejoice, if God would send us the same 
hap. But as for the Christian amity you would be- 
twixt our realms, you may be assured, that you be no 
more desirous to have an unity, peace, and quietness 
between these realms, than we be. Therefore if it can 
be devised, by what means to set a tranquillity betwixt 
our two realms I, and all my friends, shall be as much 
lead thereunto, as if I were a subject of England. 

" Fifthly, I said : My Lord, seeing God hath sent a true 
and Christian Religion among you, as now the same, I 
doubt not, but shall take effect with us, how could it be 
better for the maintenance of God's word, than to join 
with us of England, and we with you, in such sort that ii 
the French King, who is of the contrary, would attempt 
anything prejudicial to our Realm, and go about to bring 
your Realm into such subjection that of yourselves you 
could neither command nor direct, that then we should 
be so confedered together, that his folk were not able to 
attain anything that unto us should not seem well ? To 
the which he answered : 

" Sir Henry Percy, this is the first time that I have 
spoken with you, but it is not the first conference that 
has been betwixt us by message; and both for the House 
you are come of, and credit that all men have of you, 
I will speak my Fancy plainly unto you. You shall 
perceive, that if I should attempt anything against our 
Queen of Scotland, now being Heir, it were not possib<<- 
that I should prevail, altho' I have many Friends. And 
moreover, it should be a great hindrance to my • 
Therefore I will promise you, as partly I have done 

1 A blank in the MS. 


heretofore, my friendship in these things. First, I a.d. 
would by no means for my part that there shall any I55 _li 5 ° 
war continue betwixt you and us. Secondly, if the 
French King will inforce us to make any invasion upon 
you, it shall not be done to his contentation. Thirdly, 
if there be any attempts moved, either to Berwick or 
your Realm, of any great Importance, it shall be unto 
you certified. And if you invade us, the French King 
having any power in Scotland, we shall be glad to do 
our endeavour, that you have the advantage of them. 
And lastly, if the means can be found, that there be an 
abstinence taken betwixt us and you, the French King 
shall not be able to break the same, if you will so con- 
tinue it. Therefore, as I know it hath been moved unto 
you the taking of an abstinence, I would wish the same 
might take effect. And as I have professed Friendship 
unto you, you shall be assured of the continuance thereof, 
unto the uttermost of my power, and more than I will 
speak, if occasion shall serve. 

" And thus he willed me most earnestly, if I had 
credit (as he supposed I had) that his lawful friendship 
should unto the Realm of England be made known, 
both in the advancement of the Honour of the Realm, 
and the maintenance of the word of God, which he sup- 
poseth shall be by the Queen's Majesty set forth. Also 
he requireth me for the safeguard of his honour, that his 
friendship and goodwill might not be known to any more 
than one. The which I thought I would impart to you, 
most humbly desiring you would consider the state and 
honour, and my poor honesty, which lyeth only in the 
secret usage of this matter. I doubt not but you will 
let the Queen's Majesty understand the contents of this; 
the which I would have done myself, if it had not been 
the lack of uniform writing, that is in me only, who have 
never written to any so high and mighty princess. And 



a- d - as for my espialls, which be sundry, you shall understand 
153 !l! 5 5 that I have had ^reat conference with them of late, the 
whole sum whereof is to the effect of an abstinence ; 
so that it is too tedious for me to make you understand 
the whole sum ; but as well as I can you shall perceive 
by this Letter, sent unto you and Sir William Cecil. 
Thus I daily wish the increase of your worship." ' 

Public office under Queen Elizabeth was not over 
profitable to the recipients of her favour, and as a 
rule only the great and wealthy nobles could bear 
the expense involved in the exercise of the higher 
commands. Sir Henry Percy, ambitious as he was of 
distinction, found military employment in the North 
too costly for his means, and had to pray the Lord 
Treasurer "to have in remembrance my pore estate. 
and how little I am able to mantayne myselfe in the 
Queen's Majesties affaires." 2 He had been thought 
unfit for the office of Deputy Warden of the marches, 
because of being " soe slenderlie furnished for such 
a charge ; " 3 and, as we have seen, 4 he had previously 
remonstrated against being required to maintain the 
governorship of Tynemouth at his own expense, as being 
" too sore a burthen for a younger brother." 3 

Henry Percy, however, had succeeded in considerably 
improving his financial position by marriage with his 
cousin, Catherine Neville, the eldest daughter of John, 
the last Lord Latimer of his name ; 6 a man of so 

1 Sir Henry Percy to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Norham Castle 
22nd January, 155S. Cotton MSS. Caligula, B. x. The orthography 
of this letter has been modernised. 

2 Sir Henry Percy to Cecil, 2Sth June, 1560. State Papers. 

3 See Sir Ralph Sadler's letter to Cecil, November 1559, ante p. r 3- 

4 See his letter to Cecil, 30th April, 1560. Ibid. p. 132. 

s In 1570 the Queen granted to Henry Percy a new patent of tnc 
governorship of Tynemouth, upon more favourable terms, and wii 
reversion to his two e'dest sons. Letters Patent, 13 Eliz ta . (13 th ^ iV '' 

6 He died in 1577. Camden says : " Hoc anno titulus Baronis Lat'i 
quum in Nevillorum familia ab Henrici Sexti temponbus magno honui 



profligate and disordered a life, that it was more than a.d. 1560 

< nee determined to place his person under restraint, and 
his property under the guardianship of the Crown. His 
wife (a daughter of Henry Somerset, second Earl of 
Worcester, and sister to Anne, Countess of Northumber- 
land) was, on the contrary, if we may believe the epitaph 
on her tomb, 1 possessed of all the virtues : 

" Such as she is, such surely shall yee bee ; 

Such as she was, such if yee bee, be glad : 
Faire in her youth, though fatt in age grew she ; 

Vertuous in bothe, whose glosse did never fade. 
Though long alone she ledd a widowe's life, 
Yet never Ladye lived a truer wife. 

From Wales she sprange, a Branch of Worcester's Race, 
Grafte in a stocke of Browne's, her mother's side ; 2 

In Court she helde a maide of honor's place 

Whilst youth in her, and she in Court did byde. 

To John, Lord Latimer, then became she wife ; 

Four daughters had they breath eing yet in life. 

Earl of Northumberland tooke the first to wife,3 

The nexte the heire of Baron Burleigh chose, 3 
Cornwallis happ the third for terme of life, 

And Sir John Danvers pluckt the youngest, Rose. 3 
Their father's heires, mothers all she sawe ; 
Pray, or Praise her, and make your list the lawe." 4 

ct opibus floruisset, extinctus est in Joanne Nevillo." — A?males, vol. ii. 
p. 318. The title, however, did not become extinct, but descended to 
the eldest son of Sir Henry Percy, afterwards Qth Earl of Northumber- 
land. It was the widow of this Lord Latimer's father, Kalherine Parr, 
who became one of the queens of Henry VIII. 

1 She was buried in the parish church of Hackney under an imposing 
monument, which comprised effigies of herself and her four daughters. 
In a memorandum by Dr. Thomas Percy, dated in 177S, we read: 
" This monument was taken down about seven or eight years agoe to make 
room for a pew, and the stones, effigies, and gilt rails are at present 
thrown together in a vault on the south side of the belfry." — 
Alnwick MSS. 

3 Her mother was a daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, Standard Bearer 
to King Henry the Seventh. 

3 The existing dukedoms of Northumberland and Leeds, and the 

m.arquisate of Exeter, spring from these three alliances. 

t 4 VVhitaker's RuhmonrfsJrire, vol. ii. p. So. The composer of this 

' :v, unwilling, apparently, to lose the credit of the authorship, caused 

t cc words to be inscribed upon the tablet: "'Made by Sir William 

< ornwallis, knight, this ladie's sonne in lawe." 



A - D - Sir Henry Percy had applied for the guardianship of 

1532^5 5 fa s unru jy f-uher-in-law, " in remembrance of my poor 
ability and levinge and in what uncertainty that I have," ' 
and, from the active part he took in negotiating the 
marriage of one of the daughters, it appears probable 
that they, if not the dissolute old lord himself, had been 
committed to his guardianship. 

In now proposing to bring about a marriage between 
his sister-in-law and Cecil's eldest son, Sir Henry Percy 
admits that his object was rather to strengthen his con- 
nection with the powerful Lord Treasurer than to consult 
the happiness of the young lady, whom he here paints in 
such charming colours : 

" After my humble and hartie comendacons. Whereas 
I haue euer bene bound by yo r goodnes towards me to 
devise by what meanes or s r uice I mighte requite the 
same, and havinge no cause sufficiently worthie ffor that 
I have receyued at yo r handes ; yett haue I thought good 
to aduertise youe of this whiche I have had in my mynde 
sence my manage and before. And altho the mater shall 
not seme greatelye comodious towardes youe, but that 
youe may advance youre house into muche greater 
levinge, yet will I humbly requier youe to receyue it as 
procedinge ffrome a faithefull ffrende. Youe shall vnder- 
stand that my L. Lattymore havinge foure daughters, 
whereof as youe knowe I maried one, and the secound 
beinge of xv yeres, and as I supposse not muche unmete 
ffor manage, I haue, sence the time of my manage, kepte 
withe me this gentilwoman my suster, onelie to understand 
her dispossicion. And altho I thoughte to have had 
some conferance with youe in this mater at my laste 
beinge at the Coo r te, yett was I lettede ffor that I wold 
Haue some tryall of the conversacion of the younge 

1 Sir Henry Percy to Secretary Cecil, 12th January, 1564. Statt 



woman, whiche I assure youe is so good and vertuous as a.d. 1564 
hard it is to find suche a sparke of youthe in this Realme; 
dor bothe is she very wise, sober of behavoure, 
womanly, and in hir doinges so temperate as if she bare 
the age double hir yeres. Of stature like to be goodlie, 
■ ti \\d of Beutie verry well ; hir haire browne, yet hir com- 
plexion very ffaire and cleare ; the ffavoure of hir face 
cuery Bodie may iudge it to haue bothe grace and 
wysdome. S r , altho it be a dangerous matter thus much 
to write of a younge woman, yet, do I assure youe, I have 
said nothinge more than she deserueth. S r , for that my 
cousen youre sone is vnmarried, and that God haithe 
induede youe w th suche gifts as is like to leave him greate 
possessions, yet do I thinke it not amise if that he were 
planted in some stocke of hono r . And if this should so 
fortone as my harte desiers, bothe should he be matched 
in a greate house ; as also the likelyhoode of possessions 
to come thereby. And consideringe the evill gouermente 
of my Lord, as also the good meanes you haue to estab- 
lishe and devise a saftie of that house, we who alredie be 
matched w th that stocke should haue iuste occasion to 
thinke oure selues bound to youe, as also rejoice to matche 
w ,h such one who might stave that whiche w th oute helpe 
were in greate daunger. Pchance this shall seme vnto 
youe that I write ffor my owen cause ; I proteste before 
^»od, I do not. Mary, I muste confesse, glad I wold be 
that the follye of my Lord should not hasard that whiche 
mighte come to his childerin ; But the chief cause [by 
wy ffaithe) is ffor that I had rather to be lynked w** youe, 
"ten zuithe any man in this Realme, and so I hartely 
desier youe to excepte it. S r , when you have posed this 
and pawsed of the same, I pray youe lett me be aduer- 
Usede. But in any case lett it not be knowen vnto any, 
!: ^r that there is nobilitye whiche ernestly goethe about 
' r > conquo r this. Howbeit my credit is so good withe my 



a.d. Lady, my mother in Lawe, as also withe the youtvje 
1532-15 5 gentlewoman, as be my advise they will be much 
gouerenede. And yfore if they should vnderstand that I 
had practised in this without there consents, it should be 
an occasion to make my credit the worse withe them. I 
do p r ceyue my L. is nowe at London, where he is Better 
to be talked w th all then in the country ; but if youe be 
amynded to speke in the matter, in no waves talke w th my 
Lord in it before I Breake it to my Ladie and the gentle- 
woman ; ffor women be willfull if they be not first 
soughte vnto. S r , if youe advise of this mater as mete 
it is, yet I praye youe to aduertise me whethere yo u wold 
have it stayed or not any tyme, ffor that there is that 
goethe earnestly aboute to obteyne the thinge. Thus 
lavinge to trouble youe any ffurther, trustinge in shorte 
tyme to haue aduertisemente frome youe, I wyshe the 
encrease of yo r hono r . Frome the Ouenes maiesties 
castell of Tynemouthe this xxv of January, 1561. Your 
most faithful and assured cousen to comaund, 

"H. Percy." 1 

The negotiation thus cautiously opened proved suc- 
cessful, and the marriage between Cecil's eldest son 2 and 
Lord Latimer's second daughter was celebrated in the 

following year. 

* * 


Sir Henry Percy, as we have seen, had shown con- 
spicuous zeal in the suppression of the northern rebellion. 
Lord Hunsdon, Sir John Forster, Sir William Drewry, 
and other of the Queen's most loyal soldiers and coun- 
sellors had borne testimony to the value of his services 

1 Sir Henry Percy to Sir William Cecil. Original State Papers. 
vol. xxi. No. 26. 

3 Thomas, afterwards second Baron Burghley, and first Earl of Exeter. 
It was his younger brother Robert, afterward first Earl of Salisbury, who 
attained such high power under Elizabeth and James, and from whom 
the present Marquis of Salisbury is directly descended. 



.md his zeal in her interests. Sussex described him as a.d. 
a man " holly at the Queen's Majesty's devotion in the * 5 9 ~' 
< iwse of the Scottishe maryage, sownde from this 
rebellion, redie with all his force to serve against them, 
and willing to venter his person with the first." " 

Elizabeth lost no time in making sure of him by the 
promise of her gracious favour : 

" Lyke as we have alwayes had an assured good 
opinion of your fidelity towards our estat, and a special 
devotion towards our self, so are we very gladd to 
understand as we do at this time, of your constancye 
and forwardnes in our service, although the same be 
against your brother of Northumberland ; whom as we 
have loved hertofore, and trusted upon his sundrie pro- 
mises made to us of his Allegiance, so we are sorrie to see 
him by his disorders, against his loyaltie, to hazarde the 
overthrow of his Howse. But considering your fidelitie 
to us, we wold have you well assured that, continuing 
your service and duty, we will have regard to have the 
Continuance of such a House in the Person and Blood 
of so faithfull a servant as we trust to find you." 2 

It was at this juncture, after he had materially and 
ostentatiously contributed towards the suppression of the 
abortive rebellion, and had witnessed its feeble collapse ; 
when the cause in which his brother had been wrecked 
was discredited at home and abroad; and when Elizabeth, 

1 Sussex to Cecil, yth January, 1570. State Papers. 

' Queen Elizabeth to Sir Henry Percy, 17th November, 1569. — 
Haynes, p. 555. The promise of favour and public employment is 
intelligible ; but as the attainder of the seventh Earl did not affect the 
v :< cession, which, by virtue of the entail made by Queen Mary fell to 
Henry Percy, it is difficult to understand why the Queen held out the 
I inspect of the "continuance" of the Earldom in his person as an act 
' ' -'race on her part. There may have been good reasons for not 
I ' nnitting him to claim the succession during his attainted brother's 
'"c'ime, but on that brother's death Sir Henry Percy became legally 
« .id of Northumberland. He was not, however, summoned to Parliament 
•* such, or officially recognised under the title, until four years later. 

v OL. n. I45 L 


a.d. having triumphed over all her enemies, had promised 
32-15 5 n : m } lcr countenance and favour, that Henry Percy 
allowed himself to be drawn into a secret conspiracy on 
behalf of the Scottish Queen. 

The principal evidence to implicate him in the plot is 
contained in the several depositions of the Bishop of 
Rosse 1 and other State prisoners, according to whom 
Percy had come forward unsolicited, and volunteered to 
provide men and horses to enable Mary to escape, 
undertaking himself to escort her across the border. 
So unexpected was aid from this quarter that the Duke 
of Norfolk would not believe in the sincerity of the 
proposal, though he thought that if Henry Percy would 
undertake the service, he were the fittest man for it 
in England. 2 

The Bishop, however, stated that he had " found Sir 
Henry Percy wylling ynow, but not yet resolvit ; for he 
stode upon some terms that if he were well usid here, 
he wold not deale for the Queen of Scotts, but remane 
a frend till tyme might serve ; but if he were not well 
usid, he wold go through with the matter ; " 3 and, again, 
that Henry Percy had told him that he " had a sute at 
this Parlament to be Enheritour to his brother, and that 
yf that toke not effect he wold do the best he could for 
the delivery of the Scotts Quene ; " but that if it did, 
" he wold not meddle because of his nere children, but 
he wold loke through his fyngers if she eskapid away." 1 

1 Some time Queen Mary's envoy at Elizabeth's court; now a prisoner 
in the Tower. 

2 Murclin, p. 22. In the depositions of William Barker we read, " My 
Lord Norfolk did not believe that Sir Henry Percy, of all other, wold 
deale in the matter." — Ibid. p. 119. 

3 Ibid. At this time Sir Henry Percy's petition to be placed in 
possession of the titles and estates of the attainted, but still living, Earl • ; 
Northumberland, was before the Queen (there is a copy of the do< urnes I 
at Sycn Hcuse) ; and his " usage " evidently refers to Elizabeth's reluctance 
to accede to his prayer during his brother's lifetime. 4 Ibid. p. 21. 



At their next meeting he informed the Bishop that he a.d. 
had "resolvid to take the matter in hande, for he saw he j 57°^j 1 not answerd to his expectation here. . . . He wold 
U-come hir (Queen Mary's) servant, and shift well ynow 
with the Worlde, for he shuld have frends ynow in 
those partes to do any enterprise to serve the Scottishe 
Queene's, or his oivnc, turne, and that way wold he occupie 
hymselfe." J 

The more closely Henry Percy's proceedings at this 
juncture are scrutinised, the greater becomes the diffi- 
culty of assigning an intelligible motive to his action. 
There was no trace of that enthusiasm which had in- 
spired other of the conspirators in his suddenly-aroused 
sympathy for Mary ; on the contrary, a prudential regard 
for his own interests is observable throughout. His 
brother's strong attachment to the Catholic faith had 
enabled him to justify rebellion to his conscience ; but 
Henry Percy had never allowed his mind to be troubled 
with the merits of conflicting creeds ; had remained a 
Catholic while Queen Mary reigned, and become a 
Protestant as soon as Elizabeth's accession promised 
to make his conversion advantageous. He had never 
seen the Queen of Scots, so there could have been 
no personal attachment ; nor had any persuasions been 
used to win him over, for, as has been shown, he was 
deemed to be the very last man whom the plotters could 
hope to enlist in their enterprise, besides being little 
amenable to the influences of others, in any matter in 
which his personal interests were involved. Yet, ap- 
i'lrently for no reason but that there had been some 
delay in the consideration of his prayer to be allowed to 
r >se upon the ruin of his unhappy brother, he took the 
course which was of all others most certain to arouse 

1 Mnrdin, pp. 119, 120. 


a.d. Elizabeth's implacable resentment ; and risked estate. 
i532-i5 8 5 liberty, and life in a cause of the success of which so 
sagacious a man could hardly have entertained a hope. 

Cecil was far too well served by his spies to have 
remained in ignorance of the fact • that a plot for the 
liberation of the Scottish Queen had been set on foot ; 
and it was not long before he held in his hands the 
threads of the whole conspiracy. 

Several different plans for liberating Mary had been 
proposed by the conspirators in conclave, all of which 
were duly communicated to the Earl of Shrewsbury, 
whose timely precautions frustrated their plans. 

" Besydes Sir Thomas Stanley's enterpryse," writes 
Lord Burghley, 1 "Sir Henry Percy, for whom I am right 
sorrie, was a great devisor to have hyr (Queen Mary) 
from you about Ester last, and the Bishop of Rosse had 
taken the measure of a window where she sholde have 
been lett downe. Your change of hir lodgynge altered 
the enterpryse, whereat she was much offendid." 2 

To this Lord Shrewsbury replies : " If Sir Henry 
Percy will be a traitor, I had as leve deel with him as 
another ; for that in resisting him, being a soldier, 1 
should win more credit. If they pursue any attempt . • 
. . . we shall be able to give them such a banquet as 
they should repent." 3 

1 Cecil had been raised to the peerage under this title early in this year. 

2 Lord Burghley to Earl of Shrewsbury, 19th October, 157 1. Stat* 

3 Shrewsbury to Burghley, 24th October, 1571. Ibid. Lord Shrews- 
bury suspected the old Countess of Northumberland (widow of the 
sixth Earl) of complicity in these attempts. In August 1 37 x '•'-'. 
informed Cecil that she was "of great age, both impotent and < 
no ability to govern herself; but like a child led and seduced I > 
popery, and such dangerous inconveniences, by such as she had ai 
her;" and on 4th October following he writes: "Hearing last nu 1 
that the old lady of Northumberland would privately remove t! 
morning with her household to Shropshire, and with the pretence 
going to the Earl of Pembroke, whereas her full meaning is to remain 



A few days later Sir John Forster received orders for a.d. 1571 
the apprehension 1 of Sir Henry Percy, who, informed of 
the proceedings in progress, escaped to London, where 
he was arrested. On the 15th November the Privy 
Council acquaint Forster that "for certain considerations 
Sir Henry Percy is committed to the custody of Sir Ralph 
Sadler," who is at the same time directed to visit Tyne- 
mouth Castle and to report upon its condition. Henry 
Percy's foresight in having established a close family con- 
nection with the Lord Treasurer now becomes apparent, 
and Cecil's friendship stands him in good stead. In his 
instructions, Forster is admonished " to leave off all 
remembrance of unkindness " in the performance of this 
duty, and further to make his inspection at Tynemouth 
in company with " two justices of the peace, who shall 
not be suspected of bearing the accused any ill-will." 

Upon receipt of the report on the condition of Tyne- 
mouth Castle, which was stated to have been greatly 
neglected and devoid of ordnance, 2 Percy was committed 

in one of Sir Thomas Fitzherbert's houses in Staffordshire, I thought it 
best to stay her this morning in the Queen's name, until her Majesty's 
pleasure were further known. The more unwilling I saw her the more 
earnest I was, though with quiet manner, and as gentle words as I 
could use ; offered, if she wished change of air for her health, or lacked 
any necessity, she should have any house or commodity I had, and 
would do anything for her health or comfort of mind. I thought it 
good also to take order, by attendance of some of the servants, that 
she shall be kept from the resort of suspected persons who still seek 
to abuse her impotent age to the contempt of her Highness's proceed- 
ings. She is not yet brought to take the communion, and uses no 
divine service in her house. Though ner example is intolerable, I trust 
no great inconvenience will ensue, as long as she remains where I can 
keep my eye upon her and those who resort to her." — State Papers. 
See also Mary, Queen of Scotland, in Captivity, by T. Leader. London, 

1 Privy Council to Sir John Forster, 23rd October, 1571. State 

2 The inquiry appears to have been instituted with regard to a rumour 
?hat Percy had been in treaty for surrendering the castle to the Scots, 
but which must have proved entirely unfounded, since it is not even 
referred to in the official report. 



a.d. to the Tower, whence a few months later he made this 
1532-1585 a p pea ] f or t h e Queen's grace : 

" Ryght honorable, and my singuler good LI, — Find- 
ynge my selffe destytute of my nerest and derest frendes 
by nature, (and of many others by thare fauittes,) without 
any offense I thanke God, I am forsed to flye to your 
honors as to my beste refuge in this my harde case, and 
to craue your honorable fauores in fortherynge me to the 
grace and marcy of the Quene,hyr most exselent Maiestic; 
wyche I most humbly seke and sue for, as one that 
conffesses my selffe to haue offendytt hir hyghnes. And 
aithoughe I myght here (I call God to wyttnes) iustly 
and truly laye for my selffe that this my fautte, for wyche 
I nowe suffer, hathe bene a forgetfulnes of duty to hir 
maieste in consealynge of other men's inordenat deuyses, 
rather thene any dysloyall yeldynge of my partte, or 
vndutyfull meanynge to exsecute the same in any sorttc 
to the offens of hir hyghnes : yet leuynge all excussc 
and deffense of my selffe hearin (houe iust or true so 
euer the same be), I do here most humbly and dutyftuly 
submytt, nott only the quallyte of my offense to be iuged 
of by hir maieste, but my selffe also, to any punesment 
what so euer it shall please hir hyghnes to lay a pone me 
for the same. And altho' I ame fully detarmyned lyke- 
wysse, without any grudginge or repinynge tharat, duty- 
ffuly to abyde the tyme of suche corectyone as hir 
hyghnes shall thynke suffesent to satisfy hir displesure 
consauyd aganst me for my fautte, yet yff it shall please 
hir maieste to stand so myche my good and grasius lady, 
(and the rather by your LI. good meanes for me) as to 
releasse, or releue me of this harde imprasonement wyche 
I suffer, beinge more hurtffull to my wake body thene 
greuous to my mynde (I thanke God), I wyll promys to 
hir hyghnes by your honors, nott only my best and vtter- 
most endeuyre to contenue suche true and fathefull saruy^ 

l 5° 


as I haue bein heretofore always redy and wyllynge to a.d.j^i 

,-,, for hir maieste, but to better it hereafter yeff I may 

ixwsably by any meanes. And as I shall haue iuste 

cause to cary this your LI. grett fauore, and vndesaruyd 

(rendshipe of my partte in gratffull remember anse, so 

uvil I nott sease to trauell, tyll bysume thankfull plesure 

or sarvys to youe or sume of yours, I haue requited your 

honorable cortosies in this behalffe. And thus wyshinge 

inoste honor to your LI. I comytt the same to the 

Almyghtye. Frome the towre this xxiij day of 

February 157 1-2. 

" Your LI. humble at comandment, 

" H Percy " ' 
"Pervsed by me, \Vy m Hopton, 


Percy's assurance of his having up to this time had no 
ulterior views beyond Queen Mary's liberation from her 
prison, is borne out by the testimony of several of his 
accomplices in this design, among others, by Edmund 
Powell, who in ' a long letter addressed to Cecil from 
the Tower says : 

" The chefe matter you stande with me upon, whereyn 
also you tell me her hyghness is unsatysfyed, is to express 
what intention Sir Harry Percy, and I, or any body els 
v. th whom I delt in this matter, had and what we ment to 
have done with the Skottysh Oueene yf we had stollen 
her away ; whereunto I annswer that in that poynt we 
never waded so farr, and as we were unresolved in all 
other, so most of all in that, whereof we never commoned. 

Sir Harry P cy and I cold not dete.rmyne to doo 

a thyng before we knew whether we cold doo it or no ; 
our commonication was nothing but which way, 

' Addressed to "the Right Hon" 8 and very singular good Lords the 
Erie of Laycester and My Lord Burleghe." — Original State Papers, 
Record Office, vol. 85, No. '51. 

I =; I 


a.d. when, by day or nyght, with how few, such a thing mowght 
1 532-i5 8 5 best be done, and yff a man should goo about it 

"In talke, when I asked Sir Harry P cy what he wold 
doo, yff such a thinge should be gon about, ' Marry ! ' 
seythe he ' never for my parte sturr foote, for yff she may be 
delivered she mowght be conveyed away with a man or two, 
and never be knowen who dyd it. Marry, I wold thanck 
God, yff it wer, that you wer wyth her yff you could.' l 

11 Whereunto I made no direct answer, yea or no. Now 
yff neythre he wold ever sturr out of doores, neythre he 
knew whether I wold or no, what end could we two 
apoynt upon ? " 

The Queen was not, however, disposed to show Henry 
Percy any indulgence, and even resented the degree of 
liberty which, by Burghley's favour, had been allowed to 
the prisoner within the Tower. 

" I brake with Her Majestie also about Sir Henry 
Piercy," writes Leicester; "she was in some doubt 
what was best to do, but in the end she concluded he 
should have his tryal. She gave me great chardge to 
wyll your lordship to have great and spetyall care to 
have yt substancyally donne, least there be some packing 

and partyal favor shewyd she being perswaded 

that none hath more deservyt than he, consydering alway 
hertofore her favour and goodnes shewyd toward him, 
and that none hath answered her dewty agen with more 
dyssimulation. ' In any wyse,' sayth she, ' byd my Lord 
Treasorer shew himselfe as he shuld doe in this case of 
Percye's .... least some may think to please Burley, 
for that he hath matched with hym, lett him deal with 
the Attorney and my learned Counsel the more ernestly, 
that they may perceve that he lookes only to my service.' 
Besyde, she said, she was informyd that Sir Hary 

1 Edmund Powell to Lord Burghley, 20th February, 1572. Original 
State Papers, Record Office. Vol. 85, No. 48. 

IS 2 


IVrcye had, as yt werr, the liberty of the Tower, and a.d. 
walked openlie uppon the Hill at his pleasure, and who I5 _L 
|yst talked with hym .... 'This manner of specyell 
favor shewyd to him above the rest ' (sayth she) ' wyll 
cawse some folks to thinke that it is for Burleigh's sake ; 
ihcrefore lett'him havespecyall care to give chardge, both 
to my learned councell and the judges, to have good 
regard to the Proceedings with him ; for I think,' quoth 
she, ' his faulte as grete as any man's, though yt be no 
hie treeson.' Suerly I find she lookes to have Sir Henry 
Percye secretly ' dealt withal, and the more for that yt 
toucheth not his lyfe." 2 

After the lapse of eighteen months the prisoner was 
brought to trial, as appears from the following record : 

" Henry Percy, late of Tinmouth in the countie of 
Northumberland, knight, was indicted in the terme of 
Easter, in the fourteenth yeere of Her Majesties raigne, 
for that he, with divers others, did conspire for the de- 
livering of the Oueene of Scottes out of the custodie of 
the Earle of Shrewsburie ; upon which indictment the 
same Henry Percie did confesse the offence ; and did put 
himselfe to the Queene's mercie, and thereupon judge- 
ment was after given by the Court that the saide Henry 
shoulde pay to the Oueene for a fine for his said offence, 
five thousand marks, 3 as appeareth bi the Recorde 
thereof in Court. 4 

As the sentence did not in itself involve imprisonment, 

' So in the printed text ; but in the original MS. the word is, with 
exception of the two first letters, obliterated, and the context points 
to " severely " rather than secretly. 

* Eari of Leicester to Lord Burghley, ist November, 1572. Murdin, 
p. 228. 

J Only a fraction of this sum appears to have been paid, for in April, 
* 594, the 9th Earl of Northumberland petitioned for a remission of the 
fine imposed upon his father, and in the following December a warrant 
*•»* issued, discharging him of ,£3,132, or within ^200 of the total 
' ; -».m. State Papers. 4 Proceedings of Privy Council. 



a.d. Percy's detention in the Tower to the end of the year 
I53 !l! 5 5 was probably the result of the non-payment of the fine. 
On being- then released, however, Sir Henry Percy was 
required to take up his permanent abode at Petworth, 
and prohibited from approaching- within ten miles of the 
metropolis. On the 12th July, 1573, the Privy Council 
informed him that " at the humble suit of his wife, beir>' r 
with child, Her Majesty for more ease permits the Earl 
of Northumberland to come to London or thereabouts, 
using- himself circumspectly, and that he should not 
depart above one or two miles from thence till her 
highness's pleasure were known." l 

Although in this document he is styled Earl of North- 
umberland it was not until three years later that he was 
summoned to Parliament under that title. 2 

His past offences seem now, however, to have been 
forgiven by the Queen, who indeed showed him some ex- 
ceptional marks of her personal favour, 3 and on one occa- 
sion is said to have honoured him with a visit at Petworth.' 

1 p r i V y Council Journals. 

2 Journals of Parliament, iSth Elizabeth. 

3 In his evidence before the Star Chamber in June 1585, Sir 
Christopher Hatton says of the Earl that at this time " No man of his 
qualitie received greater countenance and comfort at Her Maiesties 
handes than he, inasmuch that in all exercises of recreation used by 
Her Maiestie, the Earl was always called to be one ; and whensoever Her 
Maiestie showed herself abroad in publique she gave to him the hon'.-r 
of the best and highest services about her person, more often than to 
all the noble men of the Court." — See a pamphlet in the British Museum 
entitled, A true and summarie rcporte of the declaration of some parte oj 
the Earle of Northumberland' ' s Treasons. In redibus C. Barker, London, 
1585. The names of the Earl and his Countess appear regularly from 
1577 to 1 5 S3 in the lists of the donors and recipients of Royal New 
Years' Gifts, printed in the Calendar of State Papers. 

* Sir William Cornwallis writes that, " When Her Maiestie shall ha\e 
had experience of the roughness and inequality of the Roads, she wolu 
not thank them that hath persuaded her to this progress." — State 
Papers, Add', p. 113. 

As Nicholls makes no mention of this visit, in his Progresses ff 
Queen Elizabeth, it is probable that the state of the roads may have 
prevented its accomplishment 



The following letter belongs to this period : 

" My Veregood Lorde and cossene, wheareas my Lorde 
a nd grandfather dyd make a mareage betvvext his sone 
the Lorde percy, my uncle, and the earlle of Shrowsberes 
daughter, your Lo.'s awnte ; and the sade covenantes of 
mareage as I suposse to be w th yowe ; I amc occassioned 
for sundere causses to seke for the sade covenantes, wyche 
I cane not, as I suposse, come by the same w th out your 
L. good meanes. Also as I persave my sade grandfather 
dyd make ane estatte of his landes in the 4 yere of H. 8. 
or there a bowttes, and dyd leve fines of the same put- 
ynge your L. grandfather in truste, as a spessiall feftore 
thare of I ame nowe hartyly to dessire your L. if yowe 
cane helpe me, ether to the one of thes, or bothe, that I 
may have your favore hearein for that the thinges wolde 
stand me in great stede ; not that I mynd to have theme 
out of your L. handes, but a seight of theme ; wyche wolde 
do me great plessure, and I shalbe redy w' any thinge I 
cane to requitt your L. cortesie. And thus w th my moste 
harty comedassions to your L. and my good lady your 
wyffe, I wyshe unto youe bothe as to my selffe. Frome 
my howsse in sancte martenes, this 19 of may 15S1. 

" Your L. moste assured frend and Cossene, 
" Northumberland.' 

"To the righte honorable ray verie good 
I~ and Cosin thearle of Shrewsburie 
Earle Marshall of Englande." 

It is evident that, while personally acceptable to the 
sovereign, the Earl continued to be viewed with suspicion 
as a sympathiser with the Catholic cause, and a supporter 

1 From the original letter, in possession of the Marquis of Bath at 




a.d. of the claims of the Scottish Queen to the succession. It 
I5,3 !l! 5 * was doubtless on these grounds that he remained under 
prohibition to appear among his people in the North, 
where the influence of his name was as powerful as 
ever, and where his adherents made frequent efforts to 
re-establish him in their midst. 1 

He affects, it is true, to be reconciled to his exclusion 
from public life, and to his enforced retirement at Petworth, 
where he describes himself as " living like a rustike and 
very well contente therewith, for although it is solitary, 
yet it is quiett ; " 2 but his active and scheming mind must 
have chafed under so tame an existence, and yearned for 
scenes and pursuits more congenial to his adventurous 

The following letter, though he still professes to be 
completely submissive to the Queen's will, betrays his 
anxiety to take part in the affairs of his native province. 

" My vere good Lorde, 

" I have resavyd your letter, and do hartyly thanke your 
lordship for your good advyse consarnynge my boy. I 
have resavyd a lettre from my lordes of hir maiisties 
privie counsell touchenge one attainder served against 
sartine gentellmene in Northumberland, and a copye of 
my answare I sende to your L. herewith. My lorde, I 
am much urged to prosicute this attainder, bothe in defense 
of my honor and inheritance, for I have resavyd as greet 
injurie at there handes as may be, and they have done as 
foulle facte in passinge the verdict againste Sir Cudbarte 

1 " I fear that the Lord President (the Earl of Shrewsbury) entertains 
designs against the queen, and draws too many persons to his side. If 
we had such an one as the Earl of Northumberland planted in these 
parts it would draw most people from him, and we should find a sure 
piliar to lean on." — Sir Christopher Rokeby to Lord Burghley, September, 
1580, State Papers. 

2 Lansdoicne MSS. 28, 19. 


Hjpwijjj! - - 




Mi- - 




? : 








■ t 







. y. 


















- ^^fc^^i^*^^^^,^-. . ^ 


(Cuthbert) Colyngwode as almost might be, to the evill 
cxsampel of that rude contrie; 1 and for my selffe, my lorde, 
I am too outrageously usyd in all thinges apertanyne to 
me and those under me, having charge in that contre, as 
they be put in danger, so unsevell are thare doings 
against me. My parkes and chases be contenually 
hunted, as well in the nyghte as in the day, allmost 
distroynge all the game I have, and yet not so contentyd, 
but beatte my servantes and setting up the heades of 
the deer where they have kylled them in disspitte of me 
and my omssors. 

" If I were a traittor or an abjecte, they cowlde do no 
more uttrage unto me than they do ; and to complane, I 
knowe it wyll come before my enimies, who wyll but 
laughe to see me so usyd ; and I am ashamyd, to tell your 
Lordship the trowthe, they showlde understand of my 


" Your L. knoweth that it is hir maiesties plessure that 
I am restraned from those partes, whereby I cannot make 
suche redresse to my causes as if I were there, nor geve 
countenance to the same being absente ; My Lorde, in 
good fathe I repine not at the restrente of my lybertte ; for 
I knowe it good reason that hir Maiestie command the 
bodies of all hir subgects ; but nowe, My Lorde, I make 
my mone to you, my singuller good Lord and frende, as to 
one whome, the worlde knowth, loves to ha vejustis and 

* Such was the exhausted state of Northumberland towards the end 
of the sixteenth century that the greater part of the country had been 
thrown out of cultivation, and entire districts, ravaged by the bcots, 
were deserted by the inhabitants. In his report for the year 1563, 
Mr. Stockdale, one of the Earl of Northumberland's auditors, writes : 
" I praye you be a meanes to preferre these lj Robsonnes, for we could 
have neytner horse nor man in all the Lordshipp of Prudhow the 
Manor of Newborne and Shibottle, to help to guide his Lordship s 
Treasure to Topcliff, but onelie them ; who wilhnghe lefte house, wytl 
and children, put on their Steele cappes, and made themselves readie 
and brought us saffe to Topcline, with the two horse-loads of money. — 
From the original MS. penes Com. Northumbria. Alnwick MSS. 





2-° 8 ^° OC * orcIer m i n y s tered in all countries, and to all men, 
-^ wherefore I crave of your good L. if you can by any good 
meanes to causse the furious doynges of these dissordered 
parsonnes against me to be tamed, and I shall think 
me. greatly beholden to your L. for the same ; otherwyse 
I shall be without remede, yet determyned with passience 
to beare all thinges ; for if I showlde attempte sutte in 
lawe, I shall not have justis in those partes. If I showlde 
deffende my causse with forsse, I finde it dangerous, con- 
sideryng the enymiss I have ; and therefore I knowe not 
what waye to turn me, but to beare whatsoever shall 
hapene. One thinge I am much afrade of, that is of 
Sir Coudbarte Collyngwode, who is my ofhssor, that 
his lyffe is in great perelle in that contrie, for the 
enmythie they bear him, as also he being my offissor for 
esecutinge my directyones. I marvele greatly your L. 
and the reste of the counselle have not hearde of such 
matters as are betwext him and others of that contrie. 
If hir maiestie lose that man, I speake it without affection 
or parsiallytie, she loseth the truest gentleman, and one of 
the moste able to sarve hir, that is that contrie. I dessir 
your L. to pardone me in trobellynge your L. so myche 
in this matter, and thus I comytte your L. to God, 
wyshenge you all honor and happenes. From my howsse 
at Petworthe, this 13th of September, 1581. 
" Your L., 

" most assurid cossene to comand, 

" H. Northumberland." ' 

The position in which the Earl now found himself 
placed was, above all others, calculated to tempt one of 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Lord Burghley. Harl. 3/SS., vol. 5, 
No. 6993, fol. 5. 

This letter, as well as the one that follows, is throughout in the 
handwriting of the Earl. 



| it temper into complicity in fresh plots. Had he been 
wtloyed in foreign wars he would doubtless have clone 
■/country good service; but England was now at 
cace, and although the clouds were gathering over her 
,.:sts, some years were yet to pass before the storm 
. trst forth. Or had he been restored to full liberty, and 
rmitted to assume his hereditary position in the north, 
it is probable that a regard for his personal interests would 
have induced him to justify the confidence placed in him 
by the Queen. Not only, however, was he condemned to 
m inactive life in an enlarged prison, but, as he was well 
aware, Elizabeth still viewed him with suspicion, while 
her agents watched him with offensive vigilance, and 
eagerly seized upon every pretext to cast doubt upon 
his loyalty. It is impossible to hazard an opinion as to 
whether he was at this time already engaged in Catholic 
intrigues, but the prolonged visit of an agent of the 
French Government under his roof, which he thus ac- 
counts for, might not unreasonably excite the misgivings 
of the Court : 

" I have hearde of latte that the Oueene's Maiestie 
showlde be offendyt with me for the being heare ofJl/ons. 
de Bex; 1 and yet I may not take knowlyche of this 
for that the same is uttered to me in secrett by a frende. 
My Lord, I wolde be lothe to do that wyche myght 
offend hir highnes any way ; and for that I wolde 
dessire your Lordshipp's opinione what were beste for 
me to do herein. I thought good to make knowne to 
. "iir Lo. not onely the comynge of Mons. cle Bex hether, 
' -it allso the causse of his long stay in this plasse. My 
koye in France hathe beine in great extremyte of siknes 
and clanger of lyffe, and being advertysed thereof I sent 

1 Seigneur de Preveaux, a Gentleman of the Chamber to the Duke of 
i, and at this time acting as secretary to M. de Marchemont, the 
: ' c h ambassador in London. 




a.d. one of my sarvantes to Mons. Marchemonde, as well to 
1532-15 5 understande if he had any worde in what cass my boye 
was in, as also to require him to reseve from me one 
hundrythe poundes, and to causse so myche mony be 
delyvered to my boye with all the expedissione he 
myght ; for that I knewe his tyme of siknes wolde be 
chargeble unto him, and lothe I were that he showlde 
prove any of that contree for his wante. Hereupon my 
sarvante delyvered one hundrythe powndes in angelles 
to Mons. Marchemonde as in way of exchange, who had 
resavyd at that instante letters frome my sone of summe (?) 
his recoveryre of helthe ; and being withall determyned 
to geve me knowlyche of his departure and to bide me 
farewell, sent Mons. de Bex unto me, both with the letters 
and message. 

" The ferste nyght of his comynge hether he was 
summe thinge sicke ; the next daye he wolde have 
borne it forthe, and wente a hunting with me into my 
parke and kylled a bucke ; but at super his foode towke 
him .... and sense that tyme he never wente forthe 
of my howse untill yesterdeye in the afternowne, and this 
daye is he departed towarde the courtte. If any dout 
that he was not sike, master doctor Jhonssone who was 
with him contenully cane wytnes the estatte of his body : » 
I have ussed hime well I did not lowke for blame at h:r 
maiestis' handes therefore, for that favour wyche I 
showed hime vas cheffly for her hyghnes' causse, and 
secondly for the honour of my contrie and my owne, 
hapeninge that acsedente in my howse wyche fell unto 
hime. Otherways I have no nede to any of France. 
nor have occassione to deall mych with theme of that 
nassione. Some frende of myne advysses me to come to 
the courtte to purge myselfe of this suspessione. I a" 1 
of contrary mynde, for that there is an owlde provcrbe. 
who comes uncalled to excusse himcseljfe, comes otu'tj' 



1 1 aciusse himeselffe, and I protest by God and his a.d. 
lies, I ame a cleare man to hir maiestie and my I573 ~ 4 

ntrir in all my doings, and require but triall with thos 
thai shall informe aganste me." 1 

In the course of the following year the Earl became 
implicated in Throckmorton's conspiracy, but here again 
there is no evidence to establish anything beyond fair 
grounds for suspicion. That he had held conferences 
with some of the conspirators is certain, but these had 
been his friends in former times, and his reception of 
such persons at Petworth, and even his general sympathy 
with their cause, is compatible with his innocence of 
complicity in their more criminal designs. The testi- 
mony adduced against him is of the most feeble char- 
.scier. One man deposed that he had been employed 
by the Earl to carry a pack from Petworth to Arundel 
which was " so weighty that it almost spoilt his horse ;" 
another that " on the day that Arthur Shaftoe's house 
was searched, the Earl lent his white creldinsf " to a sus- 
pected person ; and a third stated that among the con- 
s>irators he had " seen somebody disguised in a white 
Iri'jze jerkin, who might have been the Earl of North- 
umberland." 2 

Notwithstanding the absence of incriminatincr evi- 
(*<nce, however, the Earl (as well as his kinsman Lord 
Arundel) was for seme time confined to his house 
m London and closelv watched, and in the following: 
't-'bruary, on pretence of further revelations having been 
made, he, Lord Henry Howard, and Throckmorton 3 
w cre committed to the Tower, Popham, the Attorney- 

I'-arl of Northumberland to Lord Burghley, Petworth. 25th September, 
'5 s *- Jffarkian MSS. vol. v. No. 6993, fols. 16* and i6 b . 

Original State Papers ; Record Office. 
_ J hree applications of the rack had extorted no confession inculpatorv 
' ' :rs from this unfortunate man. To the fourth he yielded, but, when 
; '"-' scaffold, he retracted the wonis wrung from him in his agony. 

V01 " n. 161 m 


a.d. General, having reported that he could trace Throck- 
i532-i5 s 5 morton's conspiracy ;< for the liberation of the Scottish 
Queen and the toleracion of religion " to the Earl oi 

After repeated examinations, however, no serious 
charges could be proven against him, and he was once 
more set at liberty. 

Elizabeth, it must be allowed, had good grounds for 
resentment against one who, after full pardon for former 
offences, and the exceptional favour she had shown him, 
had chosen his associates from among her avowed 
enemies, and openly expressed his sympathy for the 
cause of her hated rival, the Scottish Queen. Though 
the proof of actual guilt was wanting and the law could 
not convict, his sovereign was certainly now justified in 
declining to retain him in her service, and in requiring 
him to transfer the custody of so important a post as 
Tynemouth Castle to other hands. 

Against this command he offered the following remon- 
strance : — 

" The Erie of Northumberland most humblic 
beseechethe her Ma tie to pardon him in 
not yeilding to deliuer ouer to S r Fra. 
Russell, knighte, the charge of the Castle 
of Tinmouthe &c. for the reasons fol- 
lowing — 

" Firste in respecte that his estate of living is but small 
to maintaine the Countenance of an Earle, being charged 
w th ten children, and the benefitte of th'ofhce of Tin- 
mouthe a good portion of his living, w tb out the w ch he 
should be so straightned, as not hable to sustaine th'or- 
dinarie charge of his housekeeping and education < 
his children. 

"Secondlie, that by th'office of Tinmouthe he mam 



uinethe xx. of his old seruaunts suche as haue serued a.b. 15S4 

I m some xxx. some xx. and some x. yeeres, being pro- 

uKlcd of no other meanes to feede and relieue them but 

by that office ; and that (if they shoulde be displaced by 

his relinquishing thereof) they wolde be lefte in case to 

bcgge their breade, as men neuer trained vpp in anie 

trade to gett their living but by seruice, wherof bothe 

hono' and honestie doe binde him to have speciall care 

and consideration. 

" Thirdlie, the disgrace and discredite that will growe 
vnto him in his owne countrey, by the remooveing of 
him from the office, w ch he tendrethe asmvche as his life ; 
and therfore he desirethe her Ma" 8 to haue tender con- 
sideration thereof, and that leaving aside the conceipte 
of his past disgrace it maie please her gratiouslie to call 
to her remembrance the faithfull seruices he hathe 
formerlie don bothe to her Ma ue , and to Oueene Marye 
her sister, w ch he intreatethe maie speake for him in this 
time of his hardest fortune. 

" Lastlie, that it maie please her Ma tie not to forgette 
that at her Highnes instance he resigned to the L. 
Hunsdon the Castle of Norham w th the benifitte thereof, 
worthe in value vnto him by the yeere 400 li. at the 
leaste ; w ch not long before had coste him a greate 
sume of money, and that he sought not th' office 
of Tynmouthe, then laide vppon him by her Ma tie w th 
promise of better preferrement in lieu of Norham, 
^nd of his willing resi^nin^ thereof at her Ma ty 
fequeste." r 

I he Queen was obdurate ; she rejected the appeal, 
superseded him in the governorship, and in the following 
December, notwithstanding Lord Burghley's intercession, 
»e was once more arrested on charges of complicity in 

1 Record Office. Calendared in State Papers ; Addenda (1580-1625), 
>' '34- 

l6; M 2 


a.d. rebellious plots. " Yesterday," writes Walsingham, " the 
1532-15 5 j7 ar } Q f Northumberland was committed prisoner to 
his own house, under the charge of Sir S. Leighton, 
for conference with Charles Paget. He confesses the 
conference, but denies that he knew of any cause for 
Paget's return to England except to confer with his 
brother, Lord Paget, on private affairs ; but others sin- 
that the Earl knew more than this. The Earl of Arundel 
was also charged with the matter, but denies it. Charles 
Pao-et is a most dangerous instrument, and I wish, for 
Northumberland's sake, he had never been born." r 

To which Stafford (then Elizabeth's ambassador in 
Paris) replies : 

" I am sorry to hear of enterprisers against Queen 
and State [Northumberland and Arundel]. One I have 
honoured for himself; the other for nearness of nature: 
yet if guilty, I wish him (Northumberland) more punishol 
than the other, for he (Arundel) can plead lack of wit 
for an excuse." 2 

That the object of Throckmorton and his accomplices 
was to effect the Scottish Queen's liberation by the aid 
of French invasion to which the Due de Guise had 
pledged himself, would appear to have been conclusive!;.- 
established. That Lord Paget and his brother Char!<>. 
as well as the Earl of Arundel, were more or less parti':- 
to some such plot is beyond question; but it is note- 
worthy that throughout the repeated examinations ol 
numerous witnesses and (which is even more conclusive 
throughout the intercepted correspondence of those con- 
cerned, nothing transpired that could fairly be said to 
implicate Northumberland, except the unsupported (and 

1 Secretary Walsingham to Sir E. Stafford, 16th December, 15": 
State Papers ; Addenda ( 1 580-1 625 ) p. 131. 

, 2 Sir E. Stafford to Secretary Walsingham, 27th December, 15 "J 
Ibid. p. 133. 




.. v; ))>cquently retracted) evidence of one witness, under 
torture. His love of intrigue may have induced him to 5 — 5 
lend a willing ear to secret schemes and negotiations, but 
he must, in common justice, be acquitted of any share in 
the project of foreign invasion, 1 or in any of the supposed 
plots against the life of Elizabeth. However strong his 
sympathy with the cause of Mary Stuart may have been, 
it would appear, at this time, to have expressed itself in 
vaunting and incautious words, rather than acts indica- 
tive of a disposition to make practical sacrifices on her 
l.-half. Of this there is strong evidence under her 
own hand in an intercepted letter, in which, after men- 
tioning Throckmorton, Howard and Northumberland, 
she says : 

" If you can come, directly or indirectly, at Throck- 
morton or Howard, for with the third I have no connec- 
tion, assure them in my name that their affection and the 
great suffering they endure on my account shall never be 
effaced from my heart." 2 

The one inculpatory witness referred to was William 
Shelley who, when on the rack, stated that after the 
meeting between Lord Paget and his brother Charles at 
I'etworth, on pretence of making a settlement of the 
family estates, Charles Paget had informed him that the 
Earl had consented to join them in bringing about an 

1 The criminality of instigating a foreign invasion, of which Throck- 
morton and others would undoubtedly appear to have been guilty, is 
*m»ewhat mitigated by the terms of the treaty, under which the Due de 
' ' i»se solemnly bound himself, to remove every French soldier from 
' nglish soil the day after the liberation of the Queen of Scotland. 

'Queen Mary of Scotland to M. de Maurissiere, 24th February, 
•584. Harleian MSS., No. 1582. 

1 he only mention of Northumberland in the numerous letters of 
'• -rv's foreign agents occurs in a communication from Morgan, some 

:- her "secretary, who, .writing from Paris in April 1585, names the 
•" ; 1 as one of her well-wishers, and expresses the hope that she will 

>w him some token of her liberality. Murdin, p. 446. 



a.d. invasion for Mary's liberation and to compel Elizabeth to 
1532-15 5 concec l e toleration to the Catholic religion. 1 This state- 
ment was, after Northumberland's death, and when 
therefore the exculpation could be of no possible benefit 
to him, solemnly denied by Charles Paget, then himself 
a free agent in France, who wrote : 

" For that William Shelley, as they say, shold confesse 
that I had revealed to him I had dealt with the Earl 
herein, as I shall answer to the day of judgment, they 
say most untruly ; for I never talked with the said Shelley 
in all my life, but such ordinary talk as the Council 
might have heard, being indifferent. 2 

The circumstance most strongly in favour of Northum- 
berland's innocence of the more grave charges brought 
against him, is that he courted public inquiry, and per- 
sistently refused the offers of the royal grace which 
were made conditional only upon his confessions of com- 
plicity in treasonable acts. 

Sir Christopher Hatton's declaration on this point is 
important. The Vice Chamberlain declared before the 
Star Chamber, that having been sent to the Earl to remind 
him of the Queen's past goodness towards him, and to 
" advise him to deliver the truth of the matters so cleerely 
appearing against him either by his letters privately to 
Her Maiestie, or by speech. ..." in which case " he 
shoulde not onely not be comvtted to the Towre but 

1 While they were both in the Tower the Earl had found means 0! 
communicating with Shelley, whom he exhorted to show firmness and 
fortitude when under examination ; to which Shelley replied that he 
could not answer for himself, since, not being of the same rank as the 
Earl, he was subject to be put to torture. He was probably of the 
opinion of the poor prisoner at Rouen, who, about the same, time wrote lo 
Dr. Allen : " It is not, I assure you, a pleasant thing to be stretched on 
the rack till the body becomes almost two feet longer than nature made 
it." — See Ltngard's History of England. 

2 Charles Paget to Mary Queen of Scots, Paris, 15th February, 
1586. State Papers. 



should finde grace and favour at Her Maiesties hands, in a.d. 15S5 
the mitigation of such punishment as the lawe might 
Uye upon him . . . . " yet that " neither the hope given 
unto him of Hir Maiestie's disposition of mercy, nor 
the consideracion of the depthe and waight of his 
treasons .... with the danger thereby like to fall upon 
him, could once move his heart to the natural and dutiful 
care of hir Maiestie ... or to any remorse or compas- 
sion of himselfe and his posteritie ; but that resting 
upon the terms of his innocencie, having, as you maie 
perceive, conueid awaie all those that he thought could or 
would any waie accuse him, he made choice rather to go 
to the Towre and abide the hazard of hir maiesties high in- 
dignation, and the extremite of the law for his offences." ! 

The allegation that he trusted to escape conviction 
in consequence of having succeeded in effecting the es- 
cape across the seas of his principal accomplices, is not 
founded on fact. Of those whose testimony might have 
been supposed to condemn him, only two, Lord Paget 
and his brother Charles, had so escaped, while many 
remained whose evidence, had he been guilty, could 
hardly have failed to turn the scale against him. Yet 
from first to last he refused all offers of compromise, and 
from the time of his final committal to the Tower, his 
attitude was that of a man who, conscious of having 
offended, yet knew himself to be innocent of the graver 
crimes laid to his charge. He had, as he admitted, 
plotted and worked for the liberation of the Scottish 
Queen and the toleration of the Catholic faith ; but he 
had not conspired against the Crown, far less against the 
life of his sovereign. Upon that issue he was willing 
<ind anxious to meet his accusers in open court. 

He was accordingly once more committed to the Tower, 

1 A True and Summarie Reporte, see ante, Note, 3, p. 154. This 
pamphlet is reprinted in Lord Somers's Tracts, vol. i. 2nd edition. 



a.d. where he lay for six months without any steps being taken 
I 53^[ 5 S 5 t brino 1 him to trial. His supposed accomplices were 
in the clutches of the law, but neither threats nor per- 
suasion, neither torture nor bribery, could extort from 
them the evidence of Northumberland's guilt, and it 
seemed as though he was not unlikely to share the 
fate of his kinsman, Arundel, 1 and to linger out a 
lon^ and weary life within his prison walls. But the 
liberator was near at hand. On the 20th June, the 
lieutenant of the Tower received an order from the 
Vice Chamberlain to remove from the Earl's presence the 
warder who had hitherto attended him, and to substitute- 
one Bailiffe, a servant of his (Hatton's) own. That night 
the prisoner was found dead in his bed — shot through 
the heart. 

The jury empanelled by the Lieutenant of the Tower 
to hold an inquest upon the body, arrived at the con- 
clusion that the Earl had died by his own hand ; 2 and, in 
the ungentle words of a contemporary historian, " it only 
remained to provide for the bestowing of his wretched 
carcase, which on the 23rd daie of June was buried in 

1 Arbitrary as were the proceedings in the Star Chamber, there was 
some pretence of maintaining the forms of law and evidence. Philip 
Howard, Earl of Arundel, who had certainly been more deeply impli- 
cated in these plots than Northumberland, was brought to trial, but 
acquitted of treason and convicted only of having left the kingdom 
without licence ; for which offence he was fined /io,oco, and imprisoned 
in the Tower for life under exceptionally rigorous conditions. '1 he 
severity of tins punishment was doubtless due to the bold nature of his 
defence ; for he admitted that he had gone abroad in order that he 
might " live in liberty of conscience, which he valued more than a 
rental of forty thousand a year, fine mansions, or the rank and authority 
of one of the first peers of the realm." 

2 The jury found that having by surreptitious means obtained posses- 
sion of a dag (pistol) the Earl had "bolted his door on the inner side, 
lest any man should foresee or withstande his devilish intent and 
purpose ; and not having the Almightie God or his feare before his eies, 
but being rnotied and seduced by the instigation of the devil, <!»• 
discharge the said d.ig into his bodie and hearte . . . . ot which he 
instantlie died."' 



Si. Peter's Church within the said Tower of London. a.d. 1585 
'I his was the end of that graceless Earl." ' 

No, not quite the end. Many a prisoner had met with 
a sudden and mysterious death in the Tower, and the 
public had not dared to ask, perhaps few had cared to 
know, by what means they had died. The Earl of North- 
umberland, however, was too conspicuous an individual 
to be put out of sight without a question, and it is re- 
markable how universally the suspicion prevailed among 
all classes that he had come to his end by foul means. 

Among the Catholics at home and abroad, as might 
have been expected, the judgment was unanimous ; 
Elizabeth was openly accused of having instigated the 
murder of her prisoner (when she found that she could 
not rid herself of him by sentence of law), in order to 
intimidate those who supported the cause of a hated 
rival, and who showed themselves faithful to the religion 
of their ancestors. 2 But many Protestants shared in the 
suspicion, and threw out significant hints, or, when the 
matter was discussed, maintained an equally significant 

Even some of the immediate adherents of Govern- 
ment found it difficult to accept the theory of the Earl's 
suicide, though willing to persuade others of it. One of 
these writes : — 

T Holinshead. A later historian states that the Earl had shot himself 
in the heart "after an unsuccessful attempt to escape by corrupting 
!'is keepers ; for his crime upon conviction would have left no room for 
ftfrcy, he being accused of a conspiracy to support an invasion of this 
kingdom, by that bloody massacrer, the Duke of Guise, for the deliver- 
ance of the Scotts Queen." — Oldmixon, p. 523. It is not explained why, 
under these circumstances, the Government persistently declined to 
bring him to trial. Of the attempt to escape from the Tower no 
mention is made by contemporary writers. 

2 Queen Mary's secretary, Thomas Morgan, warns her attendants 
"to looke well to the person of xler Majesty," since " the taking away 
ol tile Erie of Northumberland is an argument that they (Elizabeth and 
p -r ministers) have further mischefe in liande."— Murdin, p. 452. 



a.d. "I receivit your letter of the 21st of this instant, for 

i53^5 8 5 w hich I humblie thanke you. The manner of Lord 
Northumberland's death will hardlie be believed in this 
countrie to be as you have written ; yet I am fully per- 
suaded, and have persuaded others, was not otherwise." ' 

So general indeed did these suspicions become, that 
the Government thought it necessary to offer a public 
justification ; and to this end a council of ministers and 
high officers of State, attended by the judges and law- 
officers, was held in the Star Chamber on 23rd June, 
whose proceedings were published by authority and 
largely circulated throughout the country. 

" Malice," so runs the introductory passages, " among 
other essentiall properties perteining toherouglie nature, 
hath this one not inferiour to the rest and the worst, 
Incredulitie, wherewith shee commonly possesseth the 
mindes and affections of all those that are infected with 
her ; so blinding the eyes and iudgement of the best and 
clearest sighted, that they cannot see or perceiue the 
bright beams of the truth, although the same be de- 
liuered with neuer so great puritie, proofe, circumstance 
and probabilitie." 2 

The document proceeds to represent that notwith- 
standing the high character of the Jury of Inquisition. 
" many men reporte varieblie and corruptlie of the 
maner and matter of this publicke declaration, possessing 
the minds and opinions of the people with manifest 
untruthes ; as that the Earle had been zuijustlie detainca 
in prison, without proofe or iust cause of suspitwn of 
treason, and that he had bene murdered bv deuise and 

1 Sir Francis Russell to Walsingham, Tynemouth, 26th June, 15 S5. 
State Papers. The English ambassador in Paris writes much in the 
same strain, while the French and Spanish representatives at the English 
Court report the Earl's death as due to Elizabeth's agency. 

3 A True and Sujnmarie Reporte. 



practice of some greate enimies, and not destroied by a.d. 1585 

The Lord Chancellor in his opening statement is re- 
ported to have said that " The late Earle of North- 
uinberlande for diuers notable treasons and practices by 
him taken in hande, to the danger not onelie of Her 
Maiestie's Roiall person, but to the perill of the whole 
realme, had been long detained in prison ; and looking 
into the guilt of his own conscience, and perceaving by 
such meanes of intelligence as he, by corrupting of his 
keepers, and other like deuices, had obtained, that his 
treasons were by sundrie examinations and confessions 
discovered, 1 grewe thereby into such a desperate estate, 
as that thereupon he had most wickedlie destroied and 
murdered himselfe . . . ."and that as " evil and slanderous 
reportes " had got abroad on the subject the Queen had 
required " to have the trueth thereof made knowen " by 
her Council. 

The Lord Chancellor was followed by the Attorney- 
General, " Maister Attorney Popham," who laid it down 
that the Earl had had his hand in the rebellion of 1569, 
and was " as farre plunged into the same as the late 
Larl his brother, howsoever he wound himselfe out of 
the danger at that time ; " that it had been his object 
to place Mary on the English throne, that he had 
been instrumental in the escape of Lord Paget and his 
brother, and that he was deeply implicated in the 
plots of these men and their foreign accomplices. 
Coming to the Earl's death, Sir Roger Manwood, 
Lord Chief Baron, stated that the usual attendants not 
being considered trustworthy had been removed, and 

1 This statement is directly at variance with that of Sir Christopher 
H.itton (see ante, p. 167), who attributes the Earl's determination to 
stand his trial to his belief that there was no evidence forthcoming to 
convict him. 



a.d. that " Thomas Bailiffe, gentleman," had been employed 
i532-i5 8 5 j n t ] ie j r pl ace ; that on retiring to rest the Earl had 
bolted his door on the inside, informing his keeper that 
he could not sleep otherwise ; and that at midnight he 
(Bailiffe) had been aroused from his sleep in the ad- 
joining chamber " by a noise so sudden and so greate, 
like a falling of some dore, or rather a piece of the 
house .... that he started out of his bed, and crying 
unto the Earle, with a loude voice said, ' My Lord, knowe 
you what this is ? ' but receiving no answer he continued 
his crying and calling until an olde man that lay without 
spake unto him saying : ' Gentleman, shall I call the 
watch, seeing he will not speake ? ' ' Yea,' quoth Bailiffe, 
' for God's sake ! ' Then did the old man rise and called 
one of the watch, whom Bailiffe intreated with all pos- 
sible speede to call Master Lieutenant unto him. In 
the meane time Bailiffe heard (lie Earle give a long and 
most grievous grone, and after that gave a second grone ; 
and then the Lieutenant (being come) called to the 
Earle, who not answering, Bailiffe cried to the Lieu- 
tenant to breake open the Earle's chamber dore, bolted 
unto him on the inner side, which was done, and then 
they found the Erie dead in his bed, and by his bedside 
a dagge, wherewith he had killed himselfe." 

Lord Hunsdon deposed that he had accompanied a 
sureeon on the morning after the death to see the Earl s 
body, and that it was found that " his heart was pearceu 
and torn in diuerse lobes and pieces, three of his ribbes 
broken, and the spinebone of his back cut almost in 
sunder." The three bullets with which the pistol had 
been charged were in his presence cut out of the body, 
and the surgeon had declared that from the nature ot 
the wounds death must have been instantaneous. 

Bailiffe's statement that he had heard the Earl utter 
two groans while the watch was being called (which 



CQuId not have been less than several minutes after the a.t>._*&$ 
discharge of the pistol ') must therefore be untrue. 

It appeared in the Report of the Inquest that an 
attendant of the Earl, James Pryce, yeoman, had on the 
1 6th June preceding the death secretly brought his Lord 
a pistol with powder and bullets, which had been con- 
cealed in the mattress of his bed ; but, although this man 
was then detained a prisoner in the Tower, he was not 
called before the council to give evidence as to this 
important fact. 2 

The argument upon which the Government attempted 
to rest the theory of suicide is comprised in this sentence 
of the Report : 

"Who can in reason coniecture the Earle to haue 
bene murdered of pollicie or set purpose, as the euill 
affected seeme to conceaive ? If the Earle had lived to 
haue receiued the censure of the lawe for his offences, 
all lewde and frivalous obiections had then bene answered, 
and all his goodes, chattels, and lands, by his attaindare, 3 
had come unto Her Maiestie, and the honour and state of 
his house and posteritie utterly overthrowen." 

In short, the contention was that the Earl, convinced 
that he would be convicted of treason, had taken his life 
to insure the succession to his son, and to deprive the 
Crown of the benefits of the forfeiture. 

Certain utterances to this effect, in the course of which 
he is made to refer to Elizabeth in very coarse terms, 4 

1 According to Bailiffe it was "a little after midnight" when he heard 
the shot fired, and Sir Owen Hopton, the Lieutenant of the Tower, 
states that he was called " lesse than a quarter of an hour before one of 
the clocke." 

' See Howell's State Trials, vol. i. 1124. 

3 Under an Act of Parliament, 34 Ldward III., it was provided that 
no forfeiture of lands could be made by the Crown or Parliament for 
treason against dead men, unless they had been attainted during their 


4 See Miss Strickland's lives of the Quean of England— l: Elizabeth." 



a.d. are attributed to him ; but these rest on no better 
1 532-i5 5 evidence than contemporary gossip ; while the fact 
remains undisputed that the Government could not be 
induced to bring to trial a prisoner under suspicion, who 
claimed public inquiry into his conduct as an act of 
justice, and whose conviction and attainder would have 
been a triumphant justification of their policy and a 
severe blow to their enemies. 

The proceedings of the council did not satisfy the 
doubts prevalent in the public mind, even in England, 
as to the nature of Northumberland's death; 1 far less 
did they remove the suspicions, or silence the outcry, of 
those attached to the memory of the Earl by bonds of 
kinsmanship or policy, and who being beyond English 
jurisdiction could give free vent to their indignation at 
what they openly stigmatised as a foul murder. The 
weak points in the statement put forth by the Government 
were eagerly seized upon and ingeniously turned against 
the authors ; and throughout Catholic Europe Elizabeth 
was denounced by name as the instigator of the crime. 
The most telling of the numerous pamphlets which 
appeared on the subject was one published at Cologne 
towards the end of 15S5, entitled " CrudelUalis Cal- 
viniance, Exempla duo recentissima ex Anglia" in which 
the Earl's murder is openly ascribed to Elizabeth and 
Leicester, who are charged with having employed an 
assassin, after being foiled by the vigilance of a Catholic 
surgeon in an attempt to poison their prisoner, and ol 

1 Camden, whose leanings were never to the side of Elizabeth - 
enemies, thus refers to the suspicious circumstances attaching to the 
employment of one of Hatton's servants as the Earl's custodian : 
"Certe boni quamplurimi, turn quod natura nobilitati faveant, turn quou 
prceclaram fortitudinis laudem retulisset, tantum virum tarn misera <.'. 
miseranda morte periisse indoluerunt. Quse suspicaces protugi » 
Ballivo, quodam ex Hattoni famulis, qui paullo ante Comiti custi > 
adhibitus, mussitarunt ut parum compertum oraitto, nee ex win -• 
auditionibus aliquid intexere visum est." — Annates. 



- eking to cover their foul deed by trumping up a charge a.d. 1585 
of suicide. 1 

It is not to be denied that the death of the eighth 
Earl of Northumberland was attended with suspicious 
circumstances, some of which the means adopted by the 
Government for their own vindication served rather to 
strengthen than to remove. Shocking as the alleged crime 
appears to us, it must be borne in mind that in that age 
the life of an individual weighed little in the scale against 
State policy; and that that " daintiness of conscience " 
with which Elizabeth reproached Sir Amyas Paulet 
(while he held the custody of a more illustrious prisoner, 
whose continued existence was thought incompatible 
with the public welfare), was not shared by all her 
ministers or agents. 

On the other hand, however, it is difficult to discover 
any political motive sufficiently powerful to account for 
the resort to such a crime ; and the theory of the Earl 
having died by his own hand, though in some points 
difficult to reconcile with the facts as they are stated, is 
quite within the bounds of possibility. 

It is not likely that the mystery will ever be solved ; 
but so deep-rooted was the prevalent suspicion, that when, 
many years later, a once favoured courtier of Elizabeth's 

exhorted a risine statesman not to be deterred from his 
- Z 

1 " Itaque primum Northurnbrii vita veneno petita Catholici cujusdam 
naedici opera, liberata fuisse dicitur. Deinde vero post paucos dies cum 
nulla segritudine teneretur, nee ulla animi inordinata affectione laboraret, 
inventus est quadam nocte, in lecto suo occisus, sclopetto per renes et 
inguinem exonerate ; statimque rumor ingens sparsus, et magnis clamori- 
uus per universam Angliam disseminatus fuit, hunc principe, eo quod 
Catholicus esset (quorum fidem heretici propterea quod de prredestina- 
tione non presumit, desperationem docere asserunt) et quia multarum 
proditionum conscius sibi fuerat, sibimetipsi manu propria mortem con- 
scivisse." The pamphlet, a copy of which is in the British Museum, 
was translated into French, German, English, Italian, and Spanish, and 
distributed broad-cast over the continent ; it has the fault, so commonly 
found in party publication?, of proving too much. 



a.d. policy by the fear of " after-revenges " upon his children 

T 532-i5 5 s i nce sucn resentments were not hereditary, he illustrated 

his argument by the fact that the then living Earl ol 

Northumberland bore no malice to the descendants ol 

his father's murderer.' 

Of the extensive possessions in twelve counties ' of 
which the eighth Earl of Northumberland died seised a 
considerable portion had come to him by his marriage 
with Catherine Neville, who survived him, and by whom 
he left eight sons, whose careers will be referred to in the 
course of the succeeding chapter, and two daughters, 3 all 
of whom were specially provided for in his will. 4 

1 " For after-revenges, fear them not. .... Humors of men succeni 
(descend) not, but grow by occasions, and accidents of time and po\\\r. 
For your own father, that was esteemed to be the contriver of Norfolk'- 
ruin, yet his son fofloweth your father's son and loveth him, (this reicr- 
to Thomas Howard, who was restored in blood, and in 1597 summons 1 
to parliament as Lord Howard de Walden). . . . Somerset made rw 
revenge on the Duke of Northumberland's (John Dudley's) heirs," and 
"Northumberland that now is thinks not of Hat tori's issue." — Sir Walter 
Raleigh to Sir Robert Cecil, 1601, Murdin, p. Sn. 

2 See Appendix VIII. 

3 Lucy, married first to Sir John Wotton, and secondly to Sir Hugh 
Owen of Anglesey; and Eleanor, married to Sir William Herbert, after- 
wards created Baron Powis. 

4 Dated a few months before his death. After expressing a wish to 
be buried in Beverley Cathedral, "if it fortune me to die in the Count) 
of York," the Earl assigns various legacies to his sons, and marriage 
portions to each of his two daughters. 

About this period we meet with several cases which illustrate th 
convenient practice on the part of the relatives, tenants, or retainers < 
great nobles of leaving a legacy in the form of a child to their feu<j 
lord. Thus Odonel Selby bequeaths his son Ralph to the eighth 1- • 
of Northumberland, **yf it shall please his Honor to taik hym to h 
service, to serve hym in my place as I have doune his lordships fa:;---'- 
and the Erie his late brother, thes sex and thirtye yeres." George 
Harbotel, in like manner, leaves to his noble kinsman, his son Jo 
"as frely as God gave him unto me, trusting that he will stand go< 
Lord and Maister unto him, whereby he may the better helpe to brin 
up my childer." — Durham Wills and Inventories, Surtees Socieij 


jrfi/mr / sf&fj-fc 


Facsimile of Signature of the 3th Earl op Northumberland. 

Facsimile of Signature of the &th Earl of Northumberland. 

pa^aw^^ '-- ^■^vw' rv ^*.B«^^^'*'«f»w? 

* "3r$ 




-■ "'■'- +i» ■ 

Henry '. K Ear/ oj '. I orlh a >n berlan d 
~K. G. 


nintl) (Sari of fiortfmntfmlairt!, R.0. 

Horn at Tynemouth Castle, May, 1564. 
Succeeded to the Earldom, July, 1585. 
Died at Petworth, 5th November, 1632. 


English Sovereigns. 


James I. ace. 1603. 

Charles I. „ 1625. 

T had already, towards the end of the a.d. 1581 
sixteenth century, become the fashion 

; JjdaMj pat to complete the education of young 
f;"; ][ii'' ^| nobles by a course of foreign travel, 

and in his eighteenth year Lord Percy 
was sent abroad for the enlargement of 
His experience and the improvement of his mind and 
manners. Lord Burghley had found time, amid his 
<-nerous duties, to provide his young kinsman with a 
lengthy letter of advice, which he gracefully acknow- 
''" ( 'ges, assuring the Lord Treasurer that " for the desire . 
to see me prosper in learning and piety, I am most in- 
'-':bted to you after the Queen and my parents. Thanks 
,: ' r your exquisite and rare counsel, and your directions 
; ° r my travels, which I would gladly recompense." ' 

Warned by past experience, the Earl of Northumber- 
land had caused his son and heir to be trained in the 

' I^ord Percy to Lord Burghley, Paris, 16th April, 1581. State 





a.d. profession of the Protestant faith. He had according!; 
1564-1632 rece [ vec i his early education under an English clergymai 
at the parsonage of Egremont, in Yorkshire ; r and whei 
he proceeded upon his travels, every precaution wa 
taken to prevent his falling into the hands of the exilec 
English Catholics, ever on the alert to recruit their rank 
by the acquisition of converts of rank and position. 

Nor was it only his father who showed this solicitud< 
for the spiritual training of the young noble. Elizabeth': 
agents at foreign courts had been instructed to watch ovei 
him and to guard him against the influence of the Papists 
It was in obedience to these commands that Sir Henn 
Cobham, the Ambassador in Paris, officially reportec 
Lord Percy's dangerous intimacy with Sir Charles Paget 
a notorious Recusant, who had left England some time 
before under suspicion of complicity in plots for thi 
liberation of Queen Mary. 

Pao-et having been informed of this imputation thus 
writes to exonerate himself from the charge of tampering 
with his young friend's religious opinions : 

" Since I retired into this secret life, my Lord Percy 
being lodged not far from me, I have haunted his com- 
pany, because he not being in a commendable course, 
either for studies or manners, my poor advice prevailed 
with him to reform. 

" I have been careful not to touch upon matters of 
religion, knowing that he would greatly dislike persuasion 
to alter that religion he has been bred up in ; and that my 
Lord of Northumberland, his father, whose favour I am 
lothe to lose, would have been offended, and especially 
that it would kindle her Majesty's displeasure against me. 
"Yet my Lord Ambassador of England hath adver- 

1 The Household Accounts of the eighth Earl of Northumberian 
for the years 1575-79 {Syon House MSS.) contain several^ entries 01 
payments to this clergyman, one Thompson, as Lord Percy's tutor. 

I 7 3 


tised some of the Council in the worst sense he can of A - p - T 5 82 
my resort to his lordship, thinking thereby to procure 
niy Lord Percy the displeasure of his friends. Pray 
let there be no harsh interpretation made of Lord 
Percy by his friends, or of me by anybody else." ' 

Lord Percy himself, by his letters to Walsingham and 
to his father, 2 confirms Paget' s statements : — 

" Righte honnorable, I doe vnderstande that Sir 
Henry Cobham, Ambassador here for her Maieste, 
hathe not long agoe informed your Honnor, both against 
me and Mr. Pagett, for conuersing some tymes one with 
the other, and that Mr. Pagett should not onelie seeke 
to dissuade me from the Religion I have been nowrisshed 
and bredd upp in, but also deale with me in vndewtifull 
Practises. When I hard of this Manner of my Lo : 
Ambassadors procedinge, it greued me very muche, in 
respect I stoode in doubte, by reason of his place, what 
force his Aduertisment might carie against me, to bringe 
me in Disgrace with her Maieste, and Displeasure with 
my Lo : my Father, both whiche thinges I will euer 
seeke [to avoid] by all possible meanes, as that I am 
hounde vnto by the Lawes of God, Nature and Raison. 
But when I better aduised my selfe, my griefe began to 
diminish, bycause I remembred your Wisdome and In- 
diferencie to be suche, as that this bare Reporte of my 
Lo: Ambassador, grounded without Reason or Trewth, 
should not be imparted to any by your Honor to my 
hurte, vntil suche tyme as you harde what I could say 
in my Defence. And therfore hauinge this good Occa- 
sion presented vnto me by the comminge of my Lo : my 
lathers man, who is sent of pourpose by his Lo : to 

1 Sir Charles Paget to Secretary Walsingham, Paris, 4th March, 1582. 
State Papers. 

5 Lord Percy to Secretary Walsingham and to the Earl of Northum- 
' ' rland [Holographs]. Original State FaPeis, Record Office. Addenda, 
£/»y*. vol. 27, No. 66 and 67. . 

179 N 2 


a.d. me, with charge as I tender my Dewtie towardes him 
1564-1632 t0 s i en ifi e a li thingfes in Trewth vnto his Lo : I could 
not lett slipp the same, but in like sorte by thes lines 
declare vnto your Honor that Mr. Pagett did some- 
tymes resorte vnto me, of whom I haue neuer hard- 
other speches then becommeth a dewtifull Subiect to 
her Maieste, and great Well wilier to me. Assuring-: 
your Honor that if he had delte with me in other 
termes, either for matters of Religion or otherwise, I 
wold not haue allowed of his Companie, but hated his 
Person. Neuertheles when 1 heard by my Lo : Am- 
bassador suche harde Construction of Mr. Pagett his 
Resorte to me, bycause I wold haue it appear how lot!: 
I wold be to doe anie thinge that might anie way shake 
me in the Fauor of her Maieste, I prayed Mr. Pagett to 
forbear my Companie. Whiche verie willinglie he yeelded 
vnto, and as soone as he coulde prouide him a lodging 
farther from me, he presentlie remoued. The Desire 
I saw in Mr. Pagett to have her Maiesties Fauor, whiche 
did appear vnto me by his retired Life, as also that he did 
lett me vnderstand how your Honnor was a meane to her 
Maiestie for her gracious Fauor towardes him, and said 
he miedite haunte suche as were here ouer with Licence 


made me the better to accept of his Companie. So that 
thes thinges beinge looked into with an equall eye, an: 
nothinge written by me but that shalbe iustified to th< 
Shame of anie that shall say to the contrarie, I trusio 
your Honor will close vpp thes Reports in suche sorte as 
I may holde the gracious Fauor of her Maieste, the go^-> 
Conceipte of your Honor with the rest of my go°'> 
Friendes ; and that your Honor will warne the Am- 
bassador not to be from henceforth so credulous without 
cause. In the doinge wherof I shall thinke my selie 
greatlie bounde vnto yow, as I doe allredie for the fauor- 
able reporte I vnderstand yow haue giuen of me heretofore 

1 80 


10 her Maiestie, which I will not forgett to acknowledge a.d. 158: 
.is God shall giue me Power. Vnto whom I committ 
\<mr Honor and all your Affaires. From Paris the 5 of 
A prill 1582. 

" Your honors assured Freind 

" H. Percy." 

" It maye pleas your Lo : I have receyued your Letters 
of the 2. of March, by your Lo : Seruante, and am verie 
sorie to vnderstand the Disquietnesse you ar broughte 
into by meannes of an Aduertisment giuen by my Lo : 
Ambassador of England against me and Mr. Pagett ; 
who he surmiseth shoulde goe aboute to alter me in 
Religion, and practise with me in matters offensiue to her 
Maiestie. I assure your Lo : that neither th'one nor 
th'other is trew, and that Mr. Pagett hathe allwayes in my 
sighte caried him selfe as dewtifullie in Speech and Action 
(for his priuate opinion in Religion I speake not of) as is 
to be wisched, otherwise in no respect wold I haue 
tmterteyned his Companie. And for mine owne perticular 
I haue found my selfe greatly beholdinge vnto him, as to 
one that verie freindlie and carefullie tendred my well- 
cloinge, euer aduising me to preserue my selfe in the 
gracious Fauor of her Maiestie, and in your Lo : good 
Conceipte by all obedient meanes. So soone as I harde 
what Course my Lo : Ambassador had taken against me 
(whlche is thre weekes agoe) I presentlie went vnto 
him, being desirous to satisfie him in Trewth, and offred 
to conforme my selfe to anie Course that he should wishe 
me vnto. But my goode Meaninge was refused by him 
withe verie appassionate Speeches, whiche were neither 
agreable to the Place (in my humble opinion) he beareth, 
nor the FVeindshippe he semed to professe vnto me. I 
<-hd finde by the Conference I had with his Lo : his In- 
clination more redie to take holde of false Accusations 



a.d. against me then of the trevv Allegations I broughte in my 
15 4-i 3 2 d e f ence# \ n whiche Minde his Lo : may perhappes still 
rest, bycause he will thinke it muche to his Discreclitt y! ::. 
should be knowen he hath aduertised Vntrewthes against 
me. And therfore it is to be feared he will by all Deuio: 
fortefie the Course he hathe begon. But as by Gods 
Grace he shall neuer herein haue any sure Ground to 
worke upon, so doe I most humblie beseche your Lo : 
with the helpe of your good Freindes in Courte, to meet<2 
with suche Practises as shall comme from him with 
intention to hurte me. Wherof I nothing doubte so 
longe as I kepe myselfe in dewtiful and loyall tearmes 
towardes her Maiestie, and Obedience towardes your Lo ; 
not meaninge (with Gods helpe) euer to faile herein, 
what soeuer by mine Enimies shalbe said to the contraric. 
The Bearer, your Lo : Seruante, can informe yow in all 
thinges more particular, and therefore, with the Rem- 
braunce of my most humble Dewtie to your Lo : and my 
La : my Mother, I leaue for this tyme to troble your Lo : 
anie further. From Paris, the 5 of Aprill 1582. 

" Your Lo : most humble and obedient Sonne 

"H. Percy." 

It would appear that the English Ambassador had 
allowed his zeal to outrun his judgment ; for, on bein_. r 
required to justify his charges, he disclaimed any intention 
of reflecting upon Paget, but thought he would only ti" 
his duty in reporting that gentleman's intimacy with the 
young lord, in consideration of his being "a principal 
personage in the Realm," and having been special!} 
recommended to his care by Lord Burghley. 

The Earl of Northumberland was at this time so muca 
under suspicion of sympathy with the Catholic party that 
he haa strong reasons for desiring to prevent his so: 1 . 



from becoming involved in the wide-spread and perilous a.d. 
intrigues of the exiled English in France and in the I 5 82 ~ 1 5 s 5 
Low Countries. Not content with the official inquiry, 
he now sent a confidential servant to Paris, who, having 
according to Paget, examined Lord Percy and himself 
before worthy witnesses, would, he felt assured, " bring 
back such a report as should breed contentment." x 

In the following year the young Lord is mentioned as 
being a favoured suitor for the hand of " Lady Kitson's 
daughter," and shortly after his name occurs in connec- 
tion with a higher matrimonial project ; but as the Lady 
Arabella Stuart was then only in her eighth or ninth year, 
no importance was probably attached to rumours which, 
at a later period, were treated as of public interest. 

One of the many secret agents employed abroad by 
Elizabeth reports, shortly after the old Earl's death, that 
the Due de Guise was preparing a formidable expedition 
for the invasion of the North of England, and that the 
two sons of the late Earl of Northumberland intended to 
accompany him. 2 However little truth there may have 
been in such rumours, there is no doubt that for some 
years after his accession apprehensions were very 
generally entertained as to the sympathies of the young 
Larl with the party in whose cause his father and uncle 
had died. Sir George Carew (Master of the Ordnance 
in Ireland, afterwards Earl of Totness), an old friend or 
the family, had, it would seem, warned him against the 
clanger of connecting himself with the enemies of his 
country, upon which subject he remarks : — 

" I have known of late your good Conceit of me, 
which I desire no longer than that you shall find me 
grateful or give cause for Continuance. 

" The matter we last spoke of touched me so nearly that 

1 Charles Paget to the Earl of Northumberland. State Papers. 

' Thomas Rogers to Secretary Walsingham, August, 1585. Ibid. 



a.d. upon weighing the Effects, and with the view to satisfy my 
1564-1632 p resen £ Discontent, no way is so convenient as the fir ,1 

" You need not fear that my Mind will alter ; my Res ) 
lutions once determined are not so quickly revoked." « 

This "present discontent" evidently refers to the 
writer's share in the prevalent suspicions on the nature of 
his father's death in the Tower. There is a marked re- 
serve in his only recorded reference to the event main- 
years later, but it is not unreasonable to believe that this 
early sorrow preyed upon his mind, and cast a lasting 
shadow over his life ; to which the alternate fits of sadness 
and restlessness, of cynicism and aggressiveness, which 
marked his career, may be attributable. 

The Catholic party, for whom as such he had little 
sympathy, were not likely to fail in working upon such 
feelings. By kindling his smouldering resentment into 
open enmity to the English Crown, they secured the 
most effectual means of winning him over to their cause ; 
and in spite of the " Resolution " which, in deference to 
the advice urged upon him by Sir George Carew, ami 
other of his friends, he had formed, they long continued to 
indulge in such hope. Even five years later one of Lord 
Burghley's foreign spies writes : — 

" The present Earl of Northumberland, who is in Dis- 
content about his fathers death, may be seduced to the 
See of Rome." 2 

The young Earl, who had barely attained his majority 
when he succeeded to his great inheritance, although ex- 
ceptionally cultivated and accomplished, was but ill-fitted 
for the exercise of the practical duties and responsibilities 
which so suddenly devolved upon him. He had been 

* Earl of Northumberland to Sir George Carew, June, 15S7. Calena.n 
of Carew MSS , in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth. Vol. II- p. 444- 
1 Paul Crushe to Lord Burshley, March, 1592. State Papers. 

IS 4 


deeply attached to his father, and, the only influence to A.DJ1585 
which his wilful temper had hitherto deferred being 
withdrawn, he appears to have given way to that im- 
petuosity and impatience of control which formed 
serious blemishes in a kindly and generous nature, 
and to which many of his troubles and misfortunes 
in after life are traceable. 
Among the beneficial influences of Elizabeth's tastes and 

(character upon her people must be counted the impetus 
given to the cultivation, not only of more refined outward 
habits and observances, but of intellectual pursuits, among 
all who aspired to success at Court or in the public service. 

No pains had been spared by the sagacious old Earl 
of Northumberland to give his heir that higher education 
which the age demanded, while carefully training him in 
the various arts and accomplishments considered befitting 
in a youth of his rank. Of the duties relating to the 
management and administration of large estates, and of 
the obligations towards his numerous dependants, he had, 
however, been left in absolute ignorance ; and on his 
accession he felt himself painfully conscious of his in- 
capacity to act upon his own responsibility. 

In his Instructions to my Son, written a quarter of a 
century later, he bitterly reproaches himself with his own 
early follies and wastefulness, which he mainly attributes 
to defective training : 

"If ever father loved a son he did me; yet," he 
complains, that the old Earl, " either to cause obedience 
in keeping me under, or to hinder prodigall expence in 
some tryfles," had kept him in complete ignorance of 
family affairs and domestic details; that he was thus 
driven to trust the most important matters to servants 
whose honesty or capacity he was unable to estimate, 1 

' "' I knewe not where I was or what I did, till out of my meanes of 
iCiooo yearely I had made shifte, in one yeare and a halte, to be 
£15000 in debt; so as the burden of my song, must still conclude 



a.d. and easily became the dupe and victim of knaves and 
1564-* 32 parasites, whose only object it was to enrich themselves 
at his expense. 1 

He appears, however, before long to have mastered 
the difficulties of his position, and to have acted with 
vigour and justice as a great landowner. In a letter 
of 24th November, 1593, he informs Mr. Fenwick, his 
chief constable at Alnwick, that through the negligence 
of his stewards and clerks the court rolls and records in 
the North were " not kept in due and honest sort, to the 
great confusion of my poor Tenants' Estates, and to my 
own great Loss and Dishonour ;" and he severely blames 
him for having evicted a widow from her farm, " especi- 
ally at a Time when her Corn was still standing ; it was 
extreme, and not according to the Customs of the 
Country, that she should be expelled. Wherefore I require 
that the old Woman should be reinstated to her former 
Estate, and that the true and ordinary Course of Law in 
my Country may proceed and determine in these Cases." 

In the documents relating to the expenditure of the 
young noble, which have been preserved in the family, 
we can trace his early love of literature, and of those 
desultory studies which served so well in after life to 
alleviate the pains of a long captivity. We here find 
entries of considerable sums expended in the purchase- 
ignorance in myne estate to be the raayn cause." — Earl of Northumber- 
land's " Instructions to my Son." 

1 An old displaced officer of the family writes : "lam little sorrowful 
at losing the Earl of Northumberland, who so little esteemed thirf. 
years' service and preferred one of no desert and a month's stands-- 
before me. I will never serve under that subject that accounts so sm: 
of me as he has done, and he shall know that I am able to live in my 
country without him." — Cuthbert Collingwood to Honorable . . • • 
Anderson, nth February, 15S6. State Papers. This is the sai mc 
Collingwood of whom the eighth Earl spoke in such high praise in I • 
letter to Lord Burghley. See ante, p. 150. 

a Alnwick MSS. 

3 Syon House MSS. These rolls form an unbroken, though incoi 
plete, series of rough statements of personal expenditure from 15^5 : ' 
1616, and are full of interesting detail. 



of books, the titles of which show the extent and the a.d.^ 
diversity of his reading. Among the heterogeneous I5 ^ 9 ° 
acquisitions to his library, immediately after his acces- 
sion to the earldom, we meet with such works as 
Guicciardini's History, Discourses on War, Machiavelli, 
Accidentia Cantabrigiensis Lacrynice? Musculus' Com- 
mon Place Book, Bullinger's Decades, Hollingshead's Chro- 
nicle, The Pilgrimage of Princes, Anagrams, The Death 
of Philip Sidney, and the Offences of the Queen of Scots. 
In subsequent years the expenditure under this head 
becomes much larger, and we meet with charges for 
binding and cataloguing books at Syon,and for searching 
records in the Tower of London ; while there is frequent 
mention of works on architecture, gardening.and military 
science, as well as of maps, globes, and astrolobes. 

Among other payments illustrative of his habits and 
tastes, we find £\2 to Mr. Hubbard for a picture of 
Madame Dundragoe, although a brother artist, Hill- 
yard, 2 received only £3 for his portrait of the Earl 
I himself, and the former Earl's picture was painted for 

fifty shillings. 3 The sum of £24 is paid for " the antique 
pictures of the Roman Emperors," and "£3, for four 
frames for carrying pictures to Petworth." 

That predilection for occult science which he retained 
through life is already indicated by two entries, one being 
the purchase of a " speculative glass," i.e. a crystal globe, 
U:>ed for the purpose of reading the future, and the other a 

* A curious collection of Latin and Greek verse by members of 
Cambridge University on the death of Philip Sidney, including a com- 
;■ iition by King James the Sixth. The volume was published in 1587. 

1 This is the Richard Hilliard or Hillyard who subsequently obtained 
1 I cence from King James the First to " moent, make, grave and im- 
' nt any picture of our image or our royal family" for a period of 
*« >c years.— See Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting. 

1 Half a century later Peter Lely was supposed to have received an 
r " rbitant reward when he was paid £10 for a full-length picture of 
• ties the First and the Duke of York. 

IS 7 


a.d. fee of forty shillings, " to the Demonstrator touching your 

1564-1632 L or d s hips great jewel that was stolen," evidently a reward 

for the discovery of the thief by means of clairvoyance-. 

He was amongst the first in England to set the fashion 
of smoking, for it was but a few years before that Raleigh 
had introduced tobacco, large payments for which, as well 
as for pipes, occur in the accounts. 

A more costly fashion to which he was addicted was 
play, his losses at which, to Sir Walter Raleigh and others, 
amounted, in 15S6, to nearly ^ 1 

Among other curious entries we meet with these :— 

"To Sir Carey Raleigh's man for making one of the 
Earl's horses to amble, and teaching Raufe Yates, his 
groom, to do the like, 70 shillings. 

" To the French Ambassador's cook for instructions to 
his own cook, 40 shillings." 

" For a licence to eat flesh in Lent, 40 shillings. 

"To a Dutchman for 100 quince trees, 24 shillings." 

" For a pair of popinjay green stockings and nine 
pairs of other silk stockings, £1% 14s." Fees, rang- 
ing from 10s. to 20s., for being bled are of frequent 
occurrence ; as also charges for gardening at Syon House, 
where, in 1603, he entertained the King at a banquet a: 
a cost of ;£i68 10s. id. 

The Earl owned the town house which his father 
and uncle had occupied, situate on the west side ol 
St. Andrew's Hill, Blackfriars, opposite the Church 
of St. Andrew's Wardrobe, 2 and adjoining a house 

* Twelve years later he is mentioned as being "a complete court!-' 
and familiar with Sir Walter Raleigh at cards." Sydney Papers, ii. p- r 5 
Among his losses at play we find the sum of twenty shillings for a garr.< 
of chess with the Earl of Rutland. 

2 There is an entry in the accounts for 1598 of a fee of twenty -0 
shillings paid the Surveyor of the City of London " for taking a view 
Northumberland House, and setting down in order where his nei.qhi^-- 
had done him any wrong bv encroaching." Twenty years later we n 


longing to Shakespeare and mentioned in his a.d. 

.K ill." 1585-1590 

Fashion, however, was beginning to set westward, and 
,n 1590 the Earl hired Russell House in St. Martin's 
Field, near Charing Cross, for ^"60 a year. Shortly after 
:hc accession of James he bought Walsingham House 
for something over ^2,ooo. 2 

During the stormy and unsettled lives of his uncle and 
his father, their residences in the north had been allowed 
to fall into decay, and after their deaths had been so 
completely rifled of the contents that, as he quaintly 
expresses it : — 

" I came to be an Earl of Northumberland soe well 
left for moveables, as I was not worth a fyer shovel or a 
paire of tonges. What was left me was wainstcoates 
revited with nails ; for wyfes commonly are great 
scratckers after their husband's death, if things be 
loose? 3 

This undutiful reflection upon his mother is not the 
only indication of the bad terms upon which they lived ; 
and the following letter of remonstrance from the 
widowed Countess of Northumberland to Lord Burghley, 
ihough in some respects exaggerated (notably so as 
regards the strictures upon her daughter's suitor and 

nira complaining to the Lord Mayor of a title pretended by the Aldermen 
of London to the garden attached to this house, " which garden I 
* r jld to Mr. Chamberlain, and I thought good rather to satisfy you 
concerning the title than that there should be any unnecessary suit for 
'•"- same. That I, and those from whom I claim, have quietly enjoyed 
( ne House with the upper ar.d lower garden without interruption for 
5: >e space of 100 years at least, is manifest." — Original State Papers. 

"That messuage or tenement with the appurtenances wherein John 
Kobinson dwelleth, situated, lying and being in the Blackfriars in London 
f '.'ir the Wardrobe. " — The Last Will and Testament of Widiam 

We learn from an entry in the account rolls at Syon that the Earl 
1 this time also had a house at Barking. 
' Instructions to my Son. 



a.d. future husband, who ever bore the reputation of an 
15 111 32 honourable gentleman), certainly presents the young Earl 
in no favourable lififht : — 

" My good Lord, I was twise to waite vppon your 
Lordship at yo r Howse, but could not finde yo r Lp. at 
home, whereby I am enforced to complaine vnto you in 
writinge my great Disquiett and Discomfort. I have longt: 
scene the disordered Lif of my Sonne the Earle, and, 
asmuch as a Mother might out of whose rule he knew.: 
himself, pswaded the Amendement. But nowe, pceavinge 
to my great Greif that he regardeth neither Parent. 
Frende, nor Kinsman, and lacketh Grace to governe him- 
self like one of his callinge, I make vnto yo r Lp. my most 
humble Request that it maie please yo r Lp. to be well 
enformed of his Mann r of Lif, and nowe of his Behavio' 
towards me, that when I shall offer the same to the 
wholle Councell, yo r Lp. maie be the redier to iudge and 
see Redresse of the Wronge and Disgrace he hath don me. 
and to take some course for correcting his mispendingc. 
and misordered Lif, soe as he might hereafter be able to 
serve the Quenes Ma tle and his Countrey ; and that I 
maie be put in better Assurance of Ouiett in myne owne 
Howse, growinge into Yeres and Sicklines. My Sonne 
hath taken to his speciall Companion Mr. John Wotton, 
not with standeincre he had knowen before his enterteyn- 
inge of his Sister, my eldest Daughter, in Love and 
Follies, whereof six or seaven Monethes since I warned 
him againe by my lf'es, whereunto he made a short ami 
slaight Aunsweare. Within theis fewe Daies by diligent 
Care had of this Enterteynement of Love, not Love but 
his desier and hope to gett Money by the gettinge ot her. 
a lfe was intercepted, wherein appeared there had ben 
practise to entice my Daughter to an Assuraunce, anu 
since, by the ptie about whome the letter was taken. 
confessed, that she should have ben pswaded in some 



cveninge downe to the Gate, and there before two a.d. 1587 
Gentfemen fitt for such a Councell contracted unto 
Mr. Wotton, a Man of noe Livinge, of evill Name, and 
more then double my Daughters Yeres. Yet the Plott 
went further, howe by meanes of some highlie in the 
quenes favo r I should be forced (the Contract beinge 
once past,) to geve him two or three Thousande Pounds 
with her. Whereof he beinge disapointed by the Dis- 
cou r ie of this Ire, he hath threatned Revenge vppon my 
Scrvaunts, and namelie vppon my Steward, who openlie 
in Pawles he reviled, and threatned to thurst his Dagger 
in him had he ben out of the Church. The next daie 
ibllowinge this Behavio r of Mr. Wottons, cometh my 
Sonne (after he and Mr. Wotton had supped at Arrundells 
together) to my Howse, and p r tendinge for Curtesie to 
see me, tarryinge a smalle while, and vsinge almost noe 
Words to my self, he departed. On whome nowe, as 
he accustomed, my Cosen Frauncis Fitton (his fathers 
Cosen Jermaine, and cheif Dealer in matters of his 
livinge as still he is for me), wayted on him downe into 
the Hall, where, without any cause knowne or worde 
spoken, he drew his Rapier (which he seldome vseth to 
carry, but of purpose that night), strake at him, beinge in 
his Night Gowne, amased at the matter, cutt his Head, 
and brake his Rapier vppon his Arme, havinge nothinge 
to defende his life withall but his handes, till at length 
some of mv Servantts rescued him. Since w ch nights 
Behavio r , beinge Saturdaie last, he hath come by my 
Gate w ,h Mr. Wotton, and in scorne asked for Mr. Fitton, 
kravinge and storminge the rest of my Servants that 
attended at my Gate. And after Supper cominge by, 
caused- a Page to rapp at the Gate, asking in more 
s cornes whether he might come in or noe. 

"This hath ben my Sonnes and his Companions 
h'^havio r iustly and truly sett downe, and the cause of it 



a- d - (I saie) onelie this matter and Ouarrell of Wotton to mv 
— men, and to my Kinsman Mr. Fitton, whome he suspecu I 
did my Comandement in takingeof a badd Boy (who on 
served me) the Carrier of these Ires betwene him and m\ 
Daughter, for in all his Lif my Cosen Fitton hath neve r 
offended my Sonne that ever he or I can tell of. 1 Nowc 
humblie I besech yo r Lp. to consider the Wronge thai 
this Wotton hath gon aboute to doe me, the House, 
and my vnfortunate Daughter, nowe to my Servants ; and 
next the Vnnaturallnes of my Sonne takinge his newe 
Companions part against his owne Mother, whose Lief 
belike he desirs to shorten with Greif if he cannott do< 
it otherwise, and howe unkinde and vndiscrett he is to be 
content to cast awaie his Sister into Beo-aerie and Want, 
to please his newe Acquaintaunce. Hopinge y* for the 
Howse sake (though it hath ben vnfortunate) as for 
coition Example of outragious Misorder, and Contempt 
of me his Mother, your Lp. and the rest of my Lord?, 
when I shall exhibitt my Peticon, will take some Order 
w ch maie in tyme to come be good for him, yf euer he 
will be good. Thus even hartely greved I take my leave 
of yo r Lp. From my Howse in S c Martyns this ffifte o: 
December 1587. 

" Yo r Lp. assured frende 


" I had forgotten to declare vnto yo r Lordship howe on 
Sundaie last came to my Howse diu r s Citizens of good will, 
warninge my Folkes to beware of Cominge forth of my 
Howse, for that Streats were laid by Mr. Wotton, and 
namely for Legg my Steward. And within lesse then 

1 The cause of offence, which the lady expresses herself at a loss t< 
account for, was doubtless the fact that the Earl disapproved or n - 
mother's intention to confer her hand upon this " Cosen Fitton," a son 
of her late husband's Auditor and Receiver, whnrn she married shorr. 1 - 
after the date of this letter. See note to Appendix VIII. 



half an Hower came one Forrest, a Man of my Sonnes, a.d. 1588 
into my Howse, gevinge Warninge that this Legg, my 
man, should not goe forth to waite vpon me, for that 
Streates were laid for him by Mr. Wotton, his Men 
and Frends." ' 

In the following year the young Earl found a more 
healthy and legitimate outlet for his aggressive instincts. 
Elizabeth's open support of the oppressed Protestants 
in the Low Countries, and the blow inflicted upon the 
Catholic party by the execution of Queen Mary of Scot- 
land, had led to a declaration of war by Spain, whose 
fleet, the Invincible, now threatened our shores. It 
needed but this danger and this insult, to impel all 
England to rise as one man, and the great nobles vied 
with one another in the extent of their contributions to 
the national defence. 2 Foremost among those who at 
their own cost built, equipped, and manned vessels of 
war, and who in return for these sacrifices demanded 
only the right to fight the Queen's enemies under Drake 
and Howard, we find the Earl of Northumberland. 3 
To attack as well as to resist the haughty Spaniard, 
triumphantly balked of his expected prey, now became 
the prevailing fashion ; and the Queen smiled approvingly 
upon expeditions which, if successful, not only added to 

1 Original State Papers, Record Office, Domestic, Elizabeth, Vol. 206, 
No. 9. 

2 These private contributions to the cost of defence were of inestimable 
v alue, since, even at this critical moment, when the very existence of the 
English nation depended upon the result, Elizabeth's parsimony threat- 
ened to neutralise the courage of her sailors and the patriotic efforts of 
the people. But for the tempest that opportunely swept over the Channel, 
'he Spanish Fleet, though defeated, might have regained foreign ports 
'omparatively unharmed, in consequence of the failure of ammunition, 
0v er the outlay upon which the Queen had haggled with her Ministers. 

3 "A great manv of the young nobility and gentry entered themselves 
•is volunteers in the navy, hired ships at their own expense, and from a 
; <-al to serve their country joined the grand fleet in vast numbers, among 
which were the Earls of Oxford, Northumberland, and Cumberland."' — 
"ichols, Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol ii. 532. 

VOL. II. I93 O 


a.d. the honour of England, but generally involved laiv 
3 !l_ * 2 contributions of treasure to the exchequer, but whi 
might be disavowed, or even punished, in case of failun 

The Earls of Essex and Cumberland, Rutland an 
Southampton, Lords Grey and Rich, and Sir Walti r 
Raleigh, were conspicuous among the commanders w!., 
scoured the seas and captured Spanish ships in their 
own ports. Of Northumberland there is no spec:..! 
mention in these raids, but some formidable items in his 
accounts prove that he took a lively interest, if not an 
active part, in the adventures of the freebooters. 

He appears at this time to have been in high favour 
with the Queen, 1 who in 1591 restored him to the 
Governorship of Tynemouth Castle, and two years later 
created him a Knight of the Garter. 2 

1 The Earl's name occurs with much regularity among the donors and 
recipients of royal new years' gifts, and he appears to have had a taste foi 
artistic jewelry. 

In 1589 he presented Her Majesty with "one jewel of golde like a 
lampe, garnesshed with sparks of diamonds and one oppall," and tea 
years later with "one carcanett of golde, conteyninge nine square peeces, 
four pendants like mulettes and half moones, garnished with sparkes o\ 
dyamondes, rubyes and pearles, threeded betweene." The value of these 
gifts seems to have increased year by year, rising from ^"40 in 15S6 to 
^"200 in 160 r, the entry for which year runs thus : 

" Eor Her Majesty's New Yeer's Gift, an embroidered petic 
provided by Lady Walsingham, and for a jewel to Her Majesty, bou. 1 
of Mr. Spilman, the Queen's jeweller, ^"200." — Rolls, Muniment Re, '"■ 
S\on House. The Queen's return gifts generally consisted of from twenty 
to thirty ounces of gilt plate. — See Nichols's Progresses of Qua '• 
Elizabeth, vol. iii. pp. 2 and 446. 

2 The fees paid at the instalment are entered in the Account Rolls at 
Syon House as follows : 

Mr. Dethick, garter ^46 14 8 

The Dean of Windsor 28 o o 

Mr. Yorke and the other heralds ... 41 13 4 

Mr. Bowyer, for fees to officers of Her 1 , 

Majesty's House j _ 

£ 158 5 6 

In the following year there is a further entry of "^£20 to a King-at-arnis 

for bringing the Patent of the Order." 



George Peele, a popular poetaster of those times, took a.d. 1593. 
advantage of the occasion to print a composition entitled 
The Honour of the Garter, which he dedicated to the 
Earl of Northumberland, of whom frequent mention is 
made in the course of his high-flown rhymes in celebra- 
tion of that noble order : — 

"But specially in honour of those five, 
That at this day this honour have received 
Under Elizabeth, England's great Soveraigne 
Northumberland and Worcester, noble Earls 
Borough and Sheffield, Eords of lively hope,, 
And honorable old Knollys famed for his Sons, 
And for his service gracious and renowned." 

The poet thus exhorts his immediate patron : — 

" Young Northumberland, 
Mounted on Fortune's wheel, by Virtue's aim 
Become thy badge, as it becometh thee, 
That Europe's eyes thy worthiness may see ! " ' 

The following letters addressed "to my Honorable 
good friend, Sir John Pickering, Knyght, Lord Keeper 
of the Great Seale of England," show that the earl did 
not live upon the most friendly terms with his southern 
tenantry : 

"My very good L : synce the receipt of your Lrds, and 
lVticion exhibited by the Tenaunts of my hono r of 
i'etworth, unto whose uniust Complaints according to the 
truth I answered, albeit not in such aggravating 
manner as iust cause required, yet nevertheless (tender- 
ing as by all dewe Constructions may be gathered theire 
( "iid peticion for Reformacion of Injuries offered by me) 
'Hey have oftsoones renewed theire secreit and rioutious 
pulling downe in the night season, by themselves and 
-complices my Pales and Inclosures, as well of those 

' The value which the Earl attached to these adulatory verses is 
tsted by the following entry in the accounts for 1593 : 
^Deliver to Mr. Warnour, at my Eord's appointment, to give to one 
■ j rge Peel, a poett, as my Lord's liberalise, £3." — Syon House Rolls. 

195 O 2 


A.t». Lands in Questeon before you in the Chainciry (whereof 
15 4_* 3 2 m y p a ther and self have hadd quiett possession by the 
space of this syxtene yeres or therabouts) as of my 
ovvne Freehold and Demesnes, no whitt Touched by the 
said Controversie. All \v ch Abuses no whitt remembered, 
they have over and besides in violent mailer broken and 
entred those Conduit Howsesand hedds apperteyning & 
by mere charge belonging to my Howse, stopped and 
restrayned the Water for my necessarye use, supposing 
the same theire lewde Behavio r not to come to lieht, and 
themselves by their unwise ExclamacOns to receive Favor. 
For Regard & wherof I thought good to advertise yo r 
L : to th'end you may censure accordingly. Andsoew ,h 
my hartie Comendacions I bidd y w Farewell. From my 
Howse of Pettworth this xxjx th of July, 1592. 

" Your Lo. very assured Freind, 

" NorthCberlAd." 

" My verie good Lo : I am informed of yo r kinde and 
iust Dealinge betwene my Tenaunts & me, for w ch I most 
hartelie thanke yo w , restinge ever readie to requite the 
same wherinsoever I may. Touching the points allreadie 
heard I do willinglie agree unto yo r Order for the Comon 
& the two yeares fine (albeit I cold content myselfe w ,h 
lesse), yet for that I wold not alter it to the Preiudice o( 
my selfe & Successors I leave it to yo r Consideracon. 
For the other mattere of theyre Coplaint I am willinge to 
deale better w th them (reservinge alwaies the Propertee oi 
my Right), than theyre Usage towards me doth anie waie 
deserve. Neverthelesse till by some iudiciall Censure 
theyre mynds bee altered as touchinge theyre supposed 
Wronge (whereof no one point of theyre Coplaint toucheth 
anie dealinge by myselfe), I see they will not take anie 
thinge thankefully at my Handes. And therefore I wold 



nraie y r L. to iudge betwene us & heare the rest of a.d. 
iheyre Coplaint ; & then I doubt not, but such Offere as I 1 S0 2 - l s9A 
shall deliver to yo r L. will be a sufficient Testimonie & 
Satisfaction of my better Regard towards them, than they 
have deserved, considering theyre Clamo res , w th w ch & the 
like you are dailie acquainted. Yet if yo r L. shall thinke 
the Causes too longe or troblesome for the Court, I shalbe 
then well contented (if it maie so stand w th y r L. 
likinge) that two Judges do heare the rest of the points 
& certifie the same to yo r L., and then will I after 

fhearinge deliver Offeres likewise unto you, such I 

(hope, as shalbe most reasonable, and if yo r L. wold I 
shold nominate one Judge, I do appointe Mr. Malmesley 
for me. So refering myselfe & the Cause wholly to 
your honorable CosideracOn, I take my Leave of yo r L. 
From my House at London, this 8th Nov., 1594. 1 

In December, 1594, the Queen complied with the Earl 
of Northumberland's petition to be discharged of the 
fine of 5,000 marks which had been imposed upon his 
father by the Star Chamber in 1573. 2 

In the meantime the raids on the northern borders 
continued as frequent and as destructive as ever, as we 
learn from this report from Lord Eure, the warden of 
the Middle Marches : — 

" My verie good Lord, I am sorie I have not to 
-icquainte your Lordship with better tydings then the, 
^vhich necessarilie 1 must now deliver your Lordship ; 
Att my furst entrie, on Tewsdaie before Newyeresdaie 
'ast, the Burnes, Youngs and Mowes, with xxvij horsses, 
^•une to your Lordships Towne hard by Alnwick called 

1 FFarl. MSS. Nos. 6995, fol. 75 and 6996, vol. 115, p. 1. 
State Papers. By the Royal Warrant the Earl was relieved from tlie 
*hole claim, less about ^200 — probably the court fees and law ex- 
enses — as also of " all escheats, seizures and executions on his lands 
■' the said sum." 



a.d. Rugley, and there brake up the dooers of two of your 
15 til 32 Lordships Tenants, and tooke from them xl tl Cattel and 
Horse 4. They contynewed in the Towne twoo howers 
or thereabouts. The fray came to AInewick towne, the 
common Bell was rounge, and there was in S r John 
Forsters house many Strangers, that nighte. In his 
stable xxx" horsses, as M r Fenwicke, your Lordships 
Cunstable, saicth, two bands of footte from Barwicke, 
captaine Carvell his fyftie, Captaine Twyford his com- 
panie of other fyftie. Yett none rise to the ayde of your 
poore Tenants, but two men of S r William Reades, and 
one Roger Fenwicke, servant to M rs Bednell, so that the 
goods were not rescued. 

"And one other of your Lordships Tenants in that 
Towne, to whose house they came, was by the Burnes 
saved from deathe and spoile, whereuppon the Youngs 
quarrelled with the rest ; yett in all this space, noe ayde 
came, neyther in the whole cuntrie had they anie helpe. 

" The satterday after new yeres daie these Youngs, not 
satisfied with there former facte, came with xxv horse and 
spoiled the whole towne, save one Salkeld, that married 
Richard Forster's syster, kinseman to S r John Forster, 
and att that tyme, the cuntrie did rise and by chaunche 
did not finde the Trod, so that the cattle went there ways. 
This misfortune your Lordships tenants had, and this 
smale helpe. 

" I beseeche your Lordship acquainte the LLs. herewith, 
as I will myself, and lett yt not be kepte from the Queen ; 
for yf your Lordship seeke not, according her majesties 
Law, to gett remidie for this, the Cuntrie will not rysc 
neyther for your Lordships tenants nor the Queens ; and 
S r John Forsters fait, a layt wardaine and so well accom- 
payned y e firste night, would be agravated to the full for 

"Your Lordship may easelie Judge the cause of your 



[cnants spoile, and I assure your Lordship M r Fenwicke a n 

telleth me, that amonge all your Tenants he cannot show ly '. 
me xij able Horses, so pittifull is there Estate, and stand- 
cth need of your Lordships present Helpe, all which 
refcrringe to your honorable Wisdome. Lamentinge the 
^cnerall Misserie Northumberland is fallen into, and like 
to contynew yf God rayse not some good meanes dalie 
to crave her Majesties gratiouse Ayde and Assistance, 
whereof yf your Lordship vouchsafe your Labores your 
Lordship shall not onlie strengthen your distressed 
Tenants, but gayneworthie Honor which I wishe to your 
Lordship, with humble Thankes for your honorable 
Libertie for the use of your Lordships House at Alnwicke, 
and rest 

" Your Lordships assured to comaund, 

"Ra: Eure. « 
"Hexham, xxix Januarie, 1595 — 96." 

The Bishop of Dunbar draws this melancholy picture 
of the state of Northumberland : — 

" Five thousand Ploughs have been laid down within 
25 yeeres, and a number of good men ready to serve the 
Queen have been converted to a few men's Benefit. . . . 
I he Poor are multiplied, and Hospitality w r hich was 
much regarded is greatly decayed. ... If foreign Nations 
did not supply Corn the People would starve." 2 

1 From the Lord Eure to the Earl of Northumberland. Alnwick MSS. 

7 Dr. James, Bishop of Dunbar, to Lord Burghley, May, 1597, 
State Papers. The depopulation complained of appears to have been 
in great part due to a change in the rural life of England brought about 
at this time by the conversion of arable into pasture land, and the con- 
sequent destruction of small farms ; — a practice evidently viewed with 
disfavour by the Government of the day, since several enactments were 
passed to check this tendency, or to mitigate its evil effects. 

In the Quarter Sessions Records of the North Riding for the year 
1607 we read : 

"The tounes undernamed are inclosed and pitifully depopulated. 
Maunby by William Middleton about xvi. yeares since ; Gristhwaite by 
the late Earl of Northumberland (the eighth Earl) about xxx. yeares 

vol. 11. 199 


a.d. While his county was reduced to this lamentable 

15 4-^ 3 2 condition the Earl of Northumberland, although he was 
the first of his family to make Alnwick Castle his chief 
residence in the north, showed a marked disinclination 
to exercise official authority, or to take that active part in 
local administration and defence which had long been 
considered as appertaining to his position. 

Sir Robert Cecil writes : — 

" The Borders are ill-governed, and the Wardens 
threatened to be remoued, and, because their Equality 
breeds Emulation and Contention, it was offered to the 
Earl of Northumberland to be Warden of the Myddle 
March, and Lieutenant for the time (to countenance 
factions) of the three shires, like to a proposed overture 
made by the Scottish King .... to constitute the Duke 
of Lennox to be a Superintendant over the residew ; 
but my Lord this conceipt hath spent, and we, that love 
him, whom he hath seriously importuned to keep him 
from it, have now delivered him from the Impositions, 
with which he is very well contented ; and joys, I per- 
ceive, rather in his pryvate Lyfe, than to be placed from 
it soone, when he doubts his Purse will be picked." x 

The Earl showed the same indifference to his magis- 
terial duties in the South, and is reproached by Lord 
Buckhurst for declining to join the justices of Sussex in 
searching out certain abuses connected with the ex- 
portation of corn and munitions of war from that county, 
I being reminded that even though he would not assist 
them in their labours, he should at least afford such 

since ; North Kilvington by Mr. Mansell." Also that 209 roods of 
tilled land on Newsham Moor having been inclosed by the Earl ol 
Exeter, the Lord of the Manor, in 1609, the people had pulled down 
the wall, for the rebuilding of which a rate was levied upon the parish. — 
North Riding Record Society Publications, vol. i. London, 18S3-S4. 

1 Sir Robert Cecil to the Earl of Shrewsbury, June, 1597. Talbot 
Papers, fol. 415. 



.-formation as he possessed on the subject, in order to a i>. 
, -vihle them to trace the offenders. 1 »5 f /^_|5-; 

lie continued however to be assiduous in his attend- 
ance at Court, and in this year accepted a ceremonial 
mission to Paris ; 2 but declined a more interesting and 
important diplomatic employment. 

Nine years had now passed since Henry of Bourbon 
had ascended the throne of France, and his Huguenot 
subjects became clamorous for^ the fulfilment of the 
promises he had made them, when King of Navarre, of 
toleration for the exercise of their religion. 3 Elizabeth 
warmly sympathised with their cause, to urge which, as 
well as to hasten the pending negotiations of peace with 
Spain, she determined to despatch a special embassy to 
Paris, the charge of which was first offered to the Earl 
of Northumberland : a strong mark of the royal con- 
fidence and favour. For reasons that have not transpired 
he prayed to be excused, and the Earl of Shrewsbury 
became the representative of England at the formal 
promulgation of the famous Edict of Nantes. 4 

In the following vear there was once more an alarm 
of a Spanish invasion, and defensive operations on a 
large scale were set on foot. Camps were formed along 

1 Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, to Earl of Northumberland, 
-1th February, 1596. Alnwick M SS. 

1 " The Earl of Northumberland should be warned beforehand to 
Tiake himself ready to go to the French King, and it should be 
■"^ccrtained whether he is not to carry the Garter to his Majesty. Sir 
Anthony Mildmay should be in readiness to go with the Earl, and to 
femain as lieger ambassador." — Lord Burghley to Sir Robert Cecil, 8th 
July, 1596. State Papers. 

J "The Huguenots were assembled at Loudun with the deputies of 
*He Churches, and refused to dissolve their assembly till the king 
i^ould perform his promise." — Birch's Queen Elizabeth, vol. ii. 60. 

4 "Her Majesty had appointed the Earl of Northumberland to have 
,-one as her embassador; but the allegation of his . . . [the word is 
illegible] hath excused him, and so the charge is like to be committed to 
' ; '-' Karl of Shrewsbury." — Lord Burghley to Earl of Esse::, 25th July, 
'5 f A Ibid. 76. 



a.d. the coast, and we are told " great Provision is made for 
15 4-J 3 2 horse, as being the greater advantage we have, if the 
Ennemie come, and the Noblemen about Court have rated 
themselves highly." I 

The Earl of Northumberland was commissioned 
General of Horse ; 2 and it is illustrative of the decay of 
the military power of the old English nobility under the 
Tudors, that the largest force brought into the field by 
any one individual was a troop of two hundred Horse, 
while Northumberland, in common with a few others of 
his rank and standing, is praised for his munificence in 
contributing one hundred horsemen. 

In spite of Elizabeth's well-known aversion to any 
discussion on the subject of an heir to the English 
throne, the prospect of a disputed succession caused so 
much uneasiness in the public mind, that it was formally 
proposed in Parliament that the Queen should be 
petitioned to nominate her successor. No sooner did 
this come to her ears than she caused the darine members 
of the House of Commons who had proposed and 
seconded this resolution to be committed to the Fleet 
Prison. 3 This high-handed proceeding, however, only 
served to increase the agitation, and to cause those most 
nearly allied to the royal house to marshal their forces ; 
while parties were formed to establish and support the 
claims of their favourite competitors for the Crown. 

The great-grand nephew of Henry VIII., King James 
of Scotland, though an alien, was now the nearest male 
heir to the English throne, but Elizabeth had persistently 
refused to acknowledge him as such. The will under 


1 Chamberlain's Letters. Camden Society's Publications, No. LXXIX. 
a Rowland White to Sir Robert Sidney, 4th August, 1599. Sidney 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 112. 

3 Hume's Hist, of England, vol. iv. 115. 



which Henry had settled the succession on the daughters a.d. 1599 

o( his sister, the Duchess of Suffolk, having been set 

aside as illegal, the nomination of the future sovereign 

rested, within recognised limits, absolutely with the 

Oueen, whose choice, it was understood, would be as 

a matter of course affirmed by Parliament. Whether, 

as was generally asserted, from a morbid repugnance 

to contemplate her own death, or, as is more probable, 

from a jealous apprehension that her subjects might turn 

from her to worship the rising power, Elizabeth refused 

to discuss the question or to hint at a preference. 

A contemporary pamphlet 1 cites no less than twelve 
eligible claimants for the crown. Foremost among these, 
and second only to James VI. of Scotland, stands the 
Lady Arabella, 2 the only child of Charles Stuart, younger 
brother to Darnley, the father of James VI. ; and eighth 
on the list is the name of the Earl of Northumber- 
land, as lineal descendant from Mary Plantagenet, grand- 
daughter of Edward Crouchback, described as the eldest 
brother of Henry III. 

It is by no means improbable that the proud and 
ambitious Percy may have indulged in the dream of a 
crown which, by uniting his claims to the more powerful 
title of the Lady Arabella, would have been brought 
within measurable distance of his reach. Certain it is 
that the rumours of such an alliance now revived. 

A significant State paper on this subject has been 

"Certen Notes of Remembrance owt of y e ex- 
aminacons of H. Walpoole, Jhon Boust, and 

1 The State of England, Anno Domini 1600, by Thomas Wilson. 
See Appendix YIII.a. 

3 Born in 1577. She was still a child when by her father's death she 
succeeded to his name and great possessions. 



a.d. " It appeareth amongst diuerse seditious libells w ch arc 

1564-1632 now j n t j ie f or g e a broad, thear is in hand a treatise com- 
piled by fa. Persons [Father Parsons ?] of all y e Com- 
petitors to y e Crowne of England and their Titles and 
pretenses. Of which booke speciall Caueat would be 
gyuen that no such be dispersed hear as that which is 
most apt to breed seditious whisperings and expectations. 
... It should seame there is some ey abroad and some 
project of contryuing a match between y e Erl of North- 
umberland and y e La Arbella ; not that there appeareth 
any practise thereof on this side, but if they abroad 
conceyue it to be apt for y r purpose, at one tyme or other, 
they will sett the traffique a foote, and therefore more ey 
would be had vpon it." 1 

There was no chance, however, of the union of two 
such powerful subjects being tolerated by Lord Burghley, 
who had his own projects to carry out, nor by the jealous 
Queen, who had a summary way of dealing with high- 
born lovers bent upon matrimony in opposition to her 
policy or wishes. Not only had she peremptorily forbid 
the banns, and placed the young lady under close re- 
straint, 1 but she had taken the precaution of providing the 
Earl of Northumberland with another and, as she con- 
ceived, more suitable wife. This was Dorothy, daughter 
of Walter Devereux, first Earl of Essex, and widow of 
Sir Thomas Perrott, 3 who had settled a large jointure 

1 Original State Papers, Record Office. Dotn. Eliz?, vol. 235. 
No. 19. 

3 It will be remembered that James, profiting by Elizabeth's example 
when in 16 10 the Lady Arabella privately married Lord Beauchamp's 
son, sentenced her to pass her married life in close and solitary con- 
finement in the Tower, where she died, bereft of reason, in 1615. 

3 Son of the famous John Perrott, Lord Deputy of Ireland, who, after 
a long life of brave and faithful service under the Crown, only escaped 
the scaffold by a lingering death in the Tower. He was reputed to have 
been a natural son of Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Perrott had served 
under his father in the Irish Wars, and in 1590 succeeded Sir George 



ur)on her ; but this was declared to have been invali- a.d. 
il.ited by his father's attainder and the confiscation of T 595^599 
his estate by the Crown. Elizabeth, to make the 
marriage more acceptable to Northumberland, had con- 
sented to forego her claim to the property contained in 
the settlement ; but Coke, the Attorney-General, and 
Lord Burghley clung obstinately to the legal rights of the 
Crown, against which the Queen must have shown but 
little disposition to enforce her authority, for the case long 
continued the subject of litigation and angry discussion. 1 
In these circumstances the marriage, which took 
place in 1595, had only served to increase the Earl's 
pecuniary embarrassments, while the clashing of two 
violent tempers produced the usual results. Unfor- 
tunately the lady was addicted to seeking redress for 
domestic grievances out of doors, and to carrying her 
complaints to various friends. We find her in correspon- 
dence on the subject of her family troubles with the Queen, 
Sir Francis Bacon, 2 and Lord Burghley, while, to make 

Carew as Master of the Ordnance. His marriage with the Lady Dorothy 
gave great offence to her family. It had been a runaway match, and 
the ceremony was performed by an unknown minister officiating under 
a special licence, irregularly granted ; while armed men stood at the 
church door to prevent interruption. — See Strype's Life of Aylmer, 
p. 217. (Edition, 1S21.) 

1 "I heare that what troubles him [the Earl of Essex] greatly, is 
certain lands of Sir John Perrot's which is now again called in question, 
for the Queen who, since his death, by due course of law was adjudged 
to be the right of my lady Northumberland and her daughter [by 
her former husband]. Mr. Coke is said to be the occasion of it." — 
Rowland White to Sir Robert Sydney, 21st February, 1596. Sydney 
fiipers, ii. p. 18. The litigation was a lengthy one, for we read that three 
years later : 

" The Lady Northumberland was in [at] Court ; she spoke with the 
Queen, complained of the little means she had to live and besought 
Her Majesty's favour." — The same to the same, 12th January, 1599. 
Jbid. ii. p. 159. 

2 See a letter of condolence and advice from Bacon in reply to one 
'mm the Lady Northumberland, dated 9th July, 1600, in Birch's 
Queen Elizabeth. 



ad. matters yet worse, she ostentatiously took the side of her 
15 4^ 3 2 brother Essex in political questions, in direct opposition 
to her husband. 1 

It is not surprising to find that within four years < f 
their marriage they had been two or three times 

*' Yesternight, somewhat late, the Countess of North- 
umberland came to Essex House. A muttering there is 
that there is unkindness grown between her and the Earl 
her husband upon which they are parted." ' 

At one time we are told : — 

" My Lord Northumberland is reconciled with his 
lady, for which [the rupture] he was a while in disgrace 
in higher place." 3 

And a few months later : — 

" I heard the Earl of Northumberland lives apart 
again from his lady now she hath brought him an heir, 
which he said was the solder of their reconcilement. 
She lives at Sion with the child, being otherwise of 
a very melancholy spirit." 4 

Their first-born child had died in infancy ; 5 two 
daughters followed, 6 and then a second son, who lived 

1 Lord Henry Howard describes a scene between the Earl and his 
wife on the subject of the claims of King James VI. to the English 
throne, and concludes ; " Thus being newly reconciled which was not in 
more two years, before they departed in passion." — Lord Henry Howard 
to Mr. Edward Bruce, 4th December, 1601. Secret Correspondent 
with King James the Sixth. Edinburgh, 1766. p. 31. 

2 Rowland White to Sir Robert Sydney, 16th October, 1599. Sydney 
Papers, ii. p. 133. 

3 Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain, 5th January, 1602. State 

4 Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain, November, 1602. Harl. 
MSS. 5353. The Earl of Northumberland at this time held Syon 
House on a lease from the Crown. 

5 " My Lord of Northumberland is much grieved at the death of the 
Lord Percy, his sonne." — Rowland White to Sir Rob. Sydney, 2nd June, 
1597. Sydney Papers, vol. ii. p. 55. 

6 Lord Henry Howard, whose statements, however, must be accepted 
with caution, asserts that the Earl had told Cecil that "he had much 



; .it a short time. 1 The third son, Algernon, the future a.d. 
Lord High Admiral, was born in 1602 and is the r 595^599 
, |)jld referred to in the foregoing paragraph. 

As time passed, however, their domestic relations im- 
proved, and when adversity overtook the Earl, she proved 
herself an affectionate, if not always a very judicious, wife. 

There was too much in common in the natures of 
Essex and Northumberland to allow of their occupying 
the same sphere without collision. Both were proud, 
fearless, generous, ambitious, and impulsive ; and before 
long the divergence in their political views caused an 
open breach between them. During the first few years 
of the marriage, however, they appear to have lived on 
very friendly terms, and when Essex fell into displeasure, 
and having had his ears boxed by his capricious Queen, 
and been bid to " Go, hang thyself," had retired from 
Court, Northumberland maintained an affectionate corre- 
spondence with him, and used his best efforts to restore 
him to the royal favour. 

From the following somewhat enigmatical letter we 
gather that Essex at this time already entertained designs 
of opening negotiations with the Scottish King : — 

"Worthy Brother, 

" Your trusty Ambassador made as much haste 
as if the affair had imported the Peace of England 
with Spain. My Return hath been the slower, for that 
I knew he and his Horse were both weary, wherein 

ado to love his own daughters because they were of that generation " [the 
Kssex blood], and that the secretary had consoled him with the 
assurance that "they might turn out like himself" rather than like his 
wife. — See Secret Correspondence with King James the Sixth, p. 32. 

"The Countess of Northumberland, always reputed a very honorable 
and virtuous lady, is brought to bed of a goodly boy who, God grant, 
j»ay resemble her, and inherit as well his mother's and'his noble uncle's', 
her most worthy brother's, virtues as his father's antient nobility." — Sir 
rrancis Bacon to his mother, June, 1600. Birch's Queen Elizabeth. 



a.d. I did a deed of Charity. Your lordship, though in . 
15 4-i 3 2 g rea ter matter, must do the like in helping Jades that are 
tired in their courses, which willingly would lie in ti 
Ditch to be freed from farther spurring. I can gath< r 
that this is necessary out of your Sentence, 'major par 
vicit melioremi because they will follow great uncertain 
Kings to lose true friends; or else they will embrace their 
own wills, to neglect Argument and Reasons that were 
more forcible. 

" If I conjecture amiss, pardon my Error; if rightly, it 
is no Wonder; for it is apparent to every weak Under- 
standing. I do wish, for the Sfood of the State, that it 
be not hurt for their Hopes in the one, and by Malice an.: 
private respects in the other; and so put honest men to 
a greater plunge hereafter. You may expect nothing 
from this poor End of the World but the faithful Love oi 
a Brother, and the Service of a true Friend to be recom- 
mended, which is ever at your Disposition. 


a " 1 

The next letter is more intelligible : — 


11 Noble Brother, 

" I long to know whether we shall have you a 
Countryman long, or a Courtier shortly. We, that are 
your Friends, are impatient at the delays ; all th< - 
service we can do for you at present. What shall I say 
but that still I am at your Devotion ? Many word* 
are idle, howsoever meant, so long as there wants means 
in me to demonstrate them otherwise. Therefore, wishing 
you no worse than to my own Soul, I rest, 

" Your faithful Brother in whom you have all Power, 

" Northumberland." 1 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Earl of Essex, Petworth, 8th May, if''" 
Birch's Queen Elizabeth, vol. ii. p. ^2. 

3 The Same to the Same, 16th August, 159S. Ibid. p. 391. 



Lady Northumberland appears to have been more ab- Ab- 
sorbed in her own troubles than in those of her brother : — 5 — D 

" I long to know how you will dispose of yourself in 
this froward World, which yields nothing but Discontent- 
ments, and the more to them that are apt to receive them, 
among which number I wish I were not. But I will 
seek to put it from me as much as possible, though I 
never look but to have cause sufficient. I will no longer 
trouble you with my melancholy style, but end in wishing 
you all Contentment. 

" Your most affectionate Sister, 

" D. N d ." ' 

Towards the end of the year the Queen relented 
towards her favourite and, contrary to the advice of 
her Council, acceded to his prayer to be entrusted with 
the command of the army dispatched to Ireland for the 
suppression of Tyrone's rebellion, which had assumed 
formidable dimensions owing to the material support 
afforded by the King of Spain. 

Essex, with the commission of Lord Lieutenant, em- 
barked in the spring of 1599; but, with all his love of 
military adventure and his indomitable courage, he proved 
to be utterly wanting in generalship ; and, after an abor- 
tive campaign, in the course of which the enemy and 
the climate had reduced his magnificent army of twenty 
thousand men to nearly one half their number, he re- 
turned to England to justify himself against his numerous 
enemies and his incensed mistress. 

Two of the Earl of Northumberland's brothers, 
Charles and Richard, 2 had been for some time engaged 

1 Countess of Northumberland to same. Birch's Queen Elizabeth, 
vol. ii. p. 391. 

a Another brother. George, was one of the " Adventurers " who accom- 
panied Raleigh to Virginia. He also had served in the Low Country 
ft ars, where he lost one of his hngers, as appears in his picture at Syon 
House. He died in 1632. 

VOL. II. 209 P 


a.d. in these wars, and honourable mention of both names 
J 5 4-i 3 2 f frequent occurrence in the official reports. 

In the disastrous action at Blackvvater, in August i 59S 
when the Marshal, Sir Henry Bagnall, was slain with 
1,500 of his men, Colonel Charles Percy, in comman I 
of the vanguard, had materially assisted in keeping tl. 
enemy in check after their victory, and in protectino- the 
retreat by a masterly manoeuvre. In the following year 
Essex appointed him to lead the assault upon Cahir Castle, 
which he carried, after gallantly repelling a sortie in 
force from the garrison; and in an action near Dundalk. 
which the Lord Deputy described as " one of the greatest 
skirmishes in this kingdom," he is reported to have 
completely overthrown the rebels, who, in overpowerin .; 
numbers, had attacked his regiment i n front and on 
both flanks. 1 

Sir Richard no less distinguished himself in these 
wars. He was in command of Kinsale when the 
Spaniards under Acquila invaded Minister, and although 
his garrison did not exceed 150 men, he made an 
obstinate defence, and finally succeeded in effecting his 
retreat without loss. On Lord Mountjoy's assumption < : 
the command, in succession to Essex, Richard Percy 
solicited the duty of recapturing the place, and success- 
fully carried it by assault. 2 

Though somewhat out of chronological order, a few 
extracts from correspondence relating to this excellent 
soldier may here be quoted. 

He appears to have claimed the intercession of .1 
friejid at Court on his behalf for military advancement, 
and for some compensation for losses incurred in the 
course of his service in Ireland : — 

"The rebels have made me so poor by intercept!:'.: 

1 For these and other details see Carew MSS. ; also Fynes Moryson 
Itinerary, pp. 26 and 66. * Ibid. p. ij"- 


my carriages that I shall now have to begin the world a.d. 

' . ii ! l soo-1602 

., Mill. DJ — 

'Hie suit having been referred to Sir Robert Cecil, he 
writes to the Master-General : 

*• My beloved George, I have written to your worthy 
Deputy, that he will confer upon Sir Richard Percy the 
•Lice of a Colonel, which he may now do without breach 
of instructions, because his army riseth in the list. You 
know how much I love and honour the noble Earl, who, 
notwithstanding his obligation in former times to those 
who esteemed us as Jews, did ever love us for the 
Truth's sake. Whereof, because I am well acquainted 
with the interest he hath in your Affection, I think it 
superfluous to say more of this request than this : that it is 
very reasonable in all men's opinions, the Merit of the 
gentleman considered, and that you must use your best 
Assistance in the Motion, and, in all such Occasions as 
run within your Circle, make our noble Friend perceive 
that we are willing to advance his good Desires." 2 

Lord Mountjoy showed all readiness to befriend one of 
whose merits he was not ignorant : — 

" I pray send Sir Richard Percy to me presently, for I 
intend that he shall have a Regiment of those men that 
are now come over, and there must be immediate care 
taken of them, for they are very raw." 3 

Sir Richard, however, came to England in person to 
prosecute his claim. 

" I have according to your desire," writes Cecil, " pre- 
sented this gentleman, Sir Richard Percy, to her Majesty, 
^nd withal used those Arguments for her Acceptation of 

' Sir Richard Percy to Mr. Edmund Wilson, April, 1602. 
Alnwick MSS. 

1 Secretary Cecil to Sir George Carew, 13th October, 1602. 
CaUnd. Carerc MSS., vol. iv. p. 152. 

3 The Lord Deputy Mountjoy to Secretary Cecil, 16th November, 
:6 °2. Ibid. vol. ii. p. 162. 

211 P 2 


a.d. him which your clear testimony so largely confirmed, 
1564-^632 j_j e mac ] e me not acquainted with any other Suits of his, 
for, if he had, you know so well my Affection to the E 
as I should not have sticked to the uttermost of m\ 
power. To conclude, Sir, Her Majesty hath used him 
very graciously, and recommendeth him back again f r 
one, who by his orderly following in the Wars, as w< 1] 
as in his Courage, may be noted for an Example of this 
difference, when a Gentleman of a noble House, and 
others, that care but to make Merchandise of the War, 
are employed." " 

The suit languished, however, as far as it related to the 
modest claim for pecuniary compensation, for in the 
following year Richard Percy wrote to his friend : 

''You have been eight weeks a Courtier and you have. 
I doubt not, learned a Courtiers lesson ; which is to bear- 
brazen Face, and not to be put out of Countenance witl 
three or four Denyals. Please sue well, and forget n I 
the 50/. Land, in Fee simple or Fee farm. 

'• There is a flying Report of certain Dukes, Marquise 
and Earls to be created, amongst whom my Lonl 
Northumberland is nominated. Of this, and all other 
Occurrences, let me be partaker.'' 2 

The opportunity of witnessing war on a large scale, at 
this time, drew numbers of England's most adventurer^ 
spirits to the Low Countries, where many of our youn : ; 
nobles enrolled themselves as volunteers. 

"My Lords of Northumberland, Rutland, and Mount- 
eagle have leave from Her Majesty to goe see this Service, 
and very speedily they will be with you, for they arc 
now preparing Horse and Furniture . . . and . . • m> 

1 Secretary Cecil to Sir George Carew, 3rd January, i6e.;. 
Calend. Carezv AfSS., vol. iv. p. 398. 

2 Sir Richard Percv to Mr. Edmund Wilson, Cork, 26th February 
1603.4. Almvick MSS. 

21 2 



Lord Northumberland bought here at Court six faire a.d 
Horses, and paid well for them."' 

They were shortly after joined by Lord Cobham and 
Sir Walter Raleigh, and found their way into Ostend, 
then undergoing that memorable siege which, if she kept 
her vow, must have caused the Archduchess Isabella of 
Spain, as well as her ladies-in-waiting, considerable 
inconvenience. 2 

Sir Francis Vere, rigidus ad milium, as old Fuller 
describes him, 3 was in chief command of the English 
forces; and the best soldiers of England, including his 
brother Horace, 4 the Sidneys, and Sir John Norris, served 
under his orders. 

It seems to have been generally believed that North- 
umberland and his companions were not mere amateurs 
in this expedition, but that they were charged with a 
secret mission, relating to the concessions demanded by 
Spain on behalf of the English Catholics, as a condition 
to the conclusion of peace : 

" I hear their journey was not altogether idle, but that 
they carried some message which did no harm." 5 

This supposition is confirmed rather than weakened 
by the pains taken by Cecil to explain that it was un- 
founded : 

" I have little more, therefore, at this time to trouble 
you withal, only I think good to preoccupate with you 
another Circumstance if they hear it, which is the going 

1 Rowland White to Sir Robert Sydney, 23rd June, 1600. Sydney 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 203. 

2 So much importance was attached to the capture of Ostend that 
the Archduchess had solemnly vowed not to change her linen until the 
place should fail. The siege occupied three years and four months, and 
cost the Spaniards over one hundred thousand men. 

3 Worthies of England, vol. i. p. 35 r. 

4 Afterwards created Lord Vere of Tilbury. 

5 Sir Henry Neville to Ralph Wmwood, 23rd July, 1600. Wihweod's 
Memorials of Affairs of State, vol. i. p. 23 t. 

2 1 X 


a.d. over of my Lord of Northumberland and my Lord oi 
15 £2. 32 Rutland, and now my Lord Cobham and Sir Walter 
Raleigh. Of whom, if they speak but not otherwise, y, . . 
may use this argument : that they have no charge, nor 
carried either horse or man, but some half a dozen of 
their own; but, finding the Queen is so resolved to have 
Peace (if good conditions could be had), they obtained 
leave with importunity to see this one Action, before they 
should become desperate of seeing any more of that 
kynde in Her Majesty's Tyme." ' 

There was just now, however, a temporary lull in the 
military operations on both sides : 

" The likelihood of those cold Wars makes the Earls 
of Northumberland, Rutland, and Grey, to repent their 
journey, being half in mind to go into France, where 
there is some appearance of a War, whereby Spain may 
be lapped into the quarrel." 2 

". ... It is bruited that the Earl of Northumberland 
either is, or will be, sent for to go from Her Majesty to 
the French King, to congratulate his Marriage, and 
victorious proceedings against the Duke of Savoy." 3 


* * 

It was at this time that the Earl en^a^ed as his 
secretary, a gentleman who became warmly attached to 
him through life ; and whose correspondence with John 
Chamberlain and others, throws much light upon the 
history of the period. 4 

1 Sir Robert Cecil to the Commissioners for the Treaty of Boulogne 
14th July, 1600. IVinwood's Memorials, vol. i. p. 215. 

3 Sir Robert Cecil to Sir George Carew, 29th August, 1600. CalenJ. 
Carew JfSS., vol. iii. p. 436. 

3 Rowland White to Sir Robert Sydney, 26th August, 1600. Sydney 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 213. 

* Dudley Carieton rose to the highest offices under the Crown, 
becoming a Privy Councillor and Secretary of State, and was ultima! 
raised to the peerage under the title of Viscount Dorchester. He du • 
in 163 r, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. 



Sir Calisthenes Brook " writes to Dudley Carleton a.d. 

/• , . 1G00-1601 
in loo i : 

" I have spoken of you to the Earl of Northumber- 
land, who is too wise to promise anything ; but he would 
gladly take you as his principal Secretary. I think you 
may venture with him. I was with him at the taking 
of Berghen and the siege of Ostend, which is not likely 
to be taken, but he has gone to England now/' 2 

The Earl himself writes : 

"You say Mr. Carleton wishes to serve me. I am 
obliged by his good opinion, but have little means of 
doing him good. I have no office under Her Majesty, 
and am no Privy Counsellor, and cannot advance him 
to my liking out of my fortunes ; but if he still wishes 
to abide the hazard of such fortunes as I run, if they be 
good his share will be better; if nought, he is like to 
thrive the worse. If he were my brother I could give 
him no sounder counsel." 3 

At the end of the year Dudley Carleton writes to his 
friend John Chamberlain : 

"Lord Northumberland uses me with much favor. 
He is gone to Syon House and means to live privately, 
to recover his last year's expences in the Low Countries 
and to provide for another journey the next." 4 

Elizabeth had begun to grudge the heavy charges 
upon the exchequer which her support of the United 
Provinces involved, and was more than ever anxious for 

1 A distinguished soldier who had been General of Horse under 
Essex in Ireland. 2 State Papers. 

3 Earl of Northumberland to Sir Calisthenes Brook, oth fulv, 1601. 

* Ibid. The cost of these expeditions was great, for the Earl thought 
it due to his rank and position to be magnificently equipped and accom- 
panied by a large retinue. In a memorandum relating to his accounts 
we find the following entry: "Earl of Northumberland in the Low 
Countries for 2,1 weeks, in i6co and 1601, Expenses ^4018 igs. t\d.\ 
besides jQwzi i&r. \od. for purchase of horses."— Alnwick MSS. 



a.d. the conclusion of peace with Spain ; but the negotiation. 
15 4-i 3 2 ma d e but little progress. 

"There is no talk here of peace or war," writes North 
umberland from Court; ''we are all in charity and free 
from faction, and, according to that old fashion at home, 
delays are in as high estimation as ever." x 

In an age when the blow was too often the answer to 
the word, it is not surprising that a man with the temper 
of the Earl of Northumberland should frequently have 
been engaged in what it was in those days already the 
fashion to describe as " affairs of honour," and we have 
here an illustration of the punctilio of the duel in 
Elizabeth's reio-n. 

Sir Francis Bacon having inquired as to the founda- 
tion of certain rumours relating to a quarrel with the 
Earl of Southampton, who was alleged to have spoken 
disparagingly of Northumberland, the latter gives this 
account of the transaction : — 

" Lord Southampton 2 sent to me a gentleman with his 
rapier, which seeing I embraced him, saying that if he 
brought a challenge I accepted it beforehand. His 
answers were that he did not ; only he brought his rapier, 
which the night before he promised to send, without 
appointing time and place that same day. My reply was 
that Southampton had not a novice in hand. I knew 
well when I was before or behind in points of honor ; and 
therefore I had nothing to say farther, unless I were 
challenged. After his departure he returned within the 
space of [a half hour and brought me a challenge 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Dudley Carleton at the Hague, 6th April, 
1 60 1. State Papas. 

2 Henry Wriorhesley, third Earl of Southampton. He was implicated 
in Essex's conspiracy, and very narrowly escaped the fate of his asso- 
ciate. He appears to have been weak and devoid of judgment in 
public life, but is honourably known as the patron and friend of 



absolutely ; but in mine opinion stuffed with strange a.d 

conditions, for he would both have assigned the place 
.1 the time, and have chosen the rapier single, because 
his arm was hurt with the ballon. My reply was that 
I knew that the Earl played not with his left hand, and 
lhat I would stay to press him till his arm were well. 
Afterwards I would appoint everything apt in such a case 
But within one hour after, Her Majesty's commandment 

i 600-1602 

was laid upon us with the bond of allegiance. We went 
to Court, where we were called before the Lords. The 
conclusion was this : that they assured of their honours 
ihey knew that he had not spoken those words ; which 
afterwards he affirmed. My answer was, that I rather be- 
lieved their lordships than any other ; and therefore the lie 
I had given was nothing ; and so revoked he his challenge, 
and we made friends. This is the end of an idle tale." ' 

More serious was the Earl's next quarrel, which, although 
it came to be unduly raised into historical importance, is 
interesting as an illustration not only of the manners of 
those times, but of the character and temper of the parties. 

As General-in-chief Sir Francis Vere necessarily ex- 
acted strict discipline and subordination on the part of 
the volunteers who joined his army ; and he may possibly 
have exercised his authority with excessive severity. 
On the other hand, it is evident that some of the young 
nobles, who found their way to the Low Countries to 
see fighting, showed themselves indisposed to yield im- 
plicit obedience to a Commander of inferior social rank. 2 

1 Birch's Queen Elizabeth, vol. ii. p. 274. 

3 There are several indications of such feeling in the correspondence 
0' those times ; among others : 

" The Lord Grey prepares to go into the Low Countries and to have 
'"C command of a troop of three or four hundred Horse. . . . He stood 
at first upon some punctilios to be commanded by Sir Francis Vere, but 
s nce, they be agreed and become good friends." — Chamberlain to 
Dudley Carleton, 8th May, 1602. Chamberlain's Letters, p. 131. 

2 17 


a.d. Between him and Northumberland there had ahead-, 

1564-1632 existed some previous ill-feeling, as we learn from o; 
of Cecil's letters : — 

" For the point you touch concerning the Earl 1 
Northumberland and Sir Francis Vere, there was nev< r 
any such matter; only being both given to emulation 
there grew some dryness between them at the Eari' 
being last in the Low Countries, fed by some of their 
followers, but never growing to more than reserved- 
ness. Since this, Sir Francis Vere chanced, as he lay, 
in his return some months since to the Low Countries, 
to be windbound at Yarmouth, until the Earl of North- 
umberland, who was likewise to pass over unto the Low 
Countries, came into that town. Sir Francis Vere visited 
him, but in a dry form, saying that as they were both in 
a town, although otherwise he would not have troubled 
him, he thought good to visit him. The Earl replied 
he was sorry he had troubled both himself and him, 
seeing he might thank the wind for his courtesy, and 
so they parted." 1 

About the same time Chamberlain had written that there 
were rumours that "at a banquet in the Low Countries 
the Erie o^ Northumberland had stroken him (Sir Francis 
Vere), whereas it is most certain that they have not met 
there since their last going over." 2 

Again we are told that the Earl, having put a question 
to the great commander on a military question, he ha 1 
" answered him home." 3 

It was some time after this that Northumberland 
called Vere to account for certain expressions reflect- 
ing upon his character which he was reported to have 

1 Secretary Cecil to Lord Burghley, 15th July, 1601. State Paters. 

2 Chamberlain to Carleton, Sth July, 1601. Chamberlain's Lett . 

P- II2 ' 3 Jbid. p. 12 6. 

. 2lS 


uttered,' and not receiving a satisfactory explanation, a.d. 1602 
he addressed to him the following challenge : 


" I told you at Ostend y l then was noe fitt tyme 
to expostulate matters ; now I hold it proper to call you 
to accompt for those wronges I have heard you have 
done me. You love to take y e air and ride abroad. 
Appoint, therfore, a place "betyme to your owne likinge, 
y l I may meet you : Bringe you a friend w th you, I 
will be accompaneyd w th another y c shall be wittnes to 
y e thinges I will lay to your charge. If you satisfye me 
we will be good Friendes ; if not, we will doe as God 
shall put into our myndes. I wyll eschew all bitter 
wordes as unfitt for men of our occupation. Seeke not 
by frivolous shiftes to divert this course of satisfaction ; 
for all other means than this y' I have proscribed, I shall 
take as an affirmacon of y* I have heard, which will cause 
me to proceed in righting myselfe as the wronges require. 
Make me no replyes by letters, but send me your minde 
by this Bearer directly, whether you will or will not, 
for from me you shall have no more. Give no cause of 
noyse in the world to hinder this course least you baffle 
your own reputacon. Whatsoever else I shall doe in this 
just cause of offence, fewer wordes I could not have used 
to have exprest my mynde." 2 

This peremptory missive was conveyed by the hands 
of one Captain Whitlock, who demanded a verbal reply, 

1 Sir Francis Vere emphatically denied having in any way wronged 
the Earl's reputation, asserting that "those sinister reports" were made 
"by base and factious persons," to whom the Earl was to be blamed for 
giving credence. 

2 From the Earl of Northumberland to "the Valorous and worthy 
Capt. S r Francis Vere, L. Governor of the Brill and Commander of y e 
Kng.lish Forces under the States," 24th April. 1602. This letter and 
the ensuing correspondence on the some subject are transcribed or 
extracted from the Harleian MSS. No. 787, fob 62*. 

2 19 


a.d. but was told by Vere that " upon such a subjecte as that 
1564-1632 wag ne cou ld not soe suddainlye gyve aunswere;" but on 
the following morning Sir Francis sent Captain Ogle to 
the Earl with this letter : 

" Your Lordshipp requyred in the letter sent me by 
Captayne \\ nitlocke that I should retourne a directs 
aunswere by worde of mouthe to the contents, which nr 
the instance I forebore, the matter beinge of momente, 
and not to bee resolved of soe suddainly. And nowe, for 
good respects, I chose rayther to lett your Lordshipp to 
knowe my mynde by writinge, than by any man's reporte. 

" If your Lordship's meaninge be, by the meetinge 
you appoynte, to drawe a verball satisfaction from mee, 
in the objections you are to make, the manner of the 
meetinge, in my opinion, is not the best ; in regard that 
truthe delivered, where swordes might bee drawn, is 
subjecte to hard construction, which I desire to avoyde. 
Your Lordshipp shall therefore be pleased to nominate 
some fitt place for communication, whither I will repayre 
with much Willingness, to cleare myselfe of havinge 
given your Honnour the first cause of offence, for Truthes 
sake, for the Respect of your Greatness requyred, and 
for that I despise private Combatinge, especially att this 
Tyme, that I am ingaged in soe greate and important an 
action as your Lordshipp knoweth. 

" This course, rejected by your Lordshipp, I shall not 
leave to follow the occasion that drew mee [over], with the 
poor Trayne attendinge me ordinarilye ; confident that 
your Lordshipp will attempte noethinge unfitting your- 
self upon mee, that have alwayes lived in good Reputation, 
and am descended from a Grandfather of your owne 
Ranke." ■ 

1 Sir Francis de Vere to the Earl of Northumberland, Alder?gate 
Street, 25th April, 1602. The writer was the grandson of John clc 
Vere, sixteenth Earl of Oxford, 



The Ear], haying refused to receive this communication, a.d. 1602 
and insisted upon a verbal reply, Captain Ogle read out 
the contents; and Sir Francis subsequently consented to 
meet his adversary at any place he chose to name, " soe 
he might have some gentleman qualliffyed, such as 
Sir Edward Stafford," to be a witness to whatever should 
take place. 

To this the Earl objected that such men would be " like 
enough to acquaynt the Oueene and Councill, if they 
sawe any differences betwixte them both, that might 
breed further contention, and bringe them under the 
power of Her Majesty's commandmente, by their in- 
formation or ... . hinder them for goinge together 
into the Field if either partye should have just cause 
soe to doe .... and because he held Sir Francis 
for a gallant gentleman and a worthye Commander, hee 
was resolved to deal with him in the style of a soldier ; 
and, to bee short, lest Sir Francis Vere should in his 
scoffinge vayne save, that he knewe howe to handle a 
Lord, hee would not accepte of statesmen (civilians), 
but willed Captayne Ogle to tell him that hee would 
be stedfast to his first designe to bringe with him 
a gentleman and a soldier, over whose sworde hee was 
assured hee had absolute authoritye for the tyme and in 
this matter betwixt them two, and could command him 
in honorable courtesye not to drawe, but only to be 
witness of their conference and appoyntment, lest Sir 
Francis Vere, or himselfe, after they were parted, should 
saye more or lesse of each other than indeed had been 
said." On Sir Francis declining this proposition the 
Earl desired Captain Ogle to inform him that " hee was 
thoroughly persuaded that hee had done him these 
wronges which hee meant to laye to his charge, and that 
hee would laye upp this injurious dealinge in his hearte and 
righte himselfe thereafter as hee should think fitt." At 

11 j 


a.d. this juncture Sir Noel Caron, Agent in England for the 
15 4-* 3 2 Low Countries, having become acquainted with the pro- 
ceedings, reported the matter to the Queen, who laid h< 1 
commands upon the Earl " to forbeare any action against 
Sir Francis Vere, att that instant employed in her service, 
which commandment hee, in all humility, did accept of," 
protesting, however, that " Sir Francis Vere was a knave 
and cowarde, and that in fleeringe and gearinge like a 
common buffoon, would wronge men of all conditions, and 
had neyther the honestye or the courage to satisfye any.' 

This denunciation he caused to be published in English, 
French, and Italian, whereupon Sir Francis replied : 

" Because I refused to meete you, uppon your per- 
emptorye and foolishe summons, you conclude mee, in a 
discourse sent abroade under your Name, to bee a knave, 
a coward, and a buffoone; wheruppon you have procured 
mee to set aside all Respecte to your person, and to 
saye that 'You are a most lyinge and unworthy Lord.* 
You are bounde by Her Majestye's commandmente not 
to assayle mee, and I, by the Business committed to 
mee, not to seeke you. When you shall bee freer, as 
God shall make us meete, I will maintayn it with my 
sworde." r 

It must be allowed that Sir Francis Vere had from first 
to last the best of the quarrel, and acquitted himself with 
a temper and dignity in which his adversary proved sadly 
deficient. 2 

1 John Chamberlain sums up this part of the story very succinctly : 
" Mons r Charon, en ayant senty le vent, went and informed the Quene 
of it, who sent expresse charge to the Erie upon his alleagaunce not to 
molest Sir Francis any way, for that she had special service to employ 
him in. The Erie obeyed, but sent Her Majestie word she shold find 
Sir Francis a knave, a coward, and a buffon, which comming to -'" r 
Francis's eare he gives out that the Erie is a liar and a base minded man." 
Chamberlain's Letters, p. 132. 

3 This was evidently the prevalent opinion on the subject : " North- 
umberland is unhappy, for both Court and Town exclaim against his 

22 2 


By the failure of his Irish campaign and, yet more, by a.d. 1601 
his repeated disobedience to the Queen's commands, and 
his return to England without her permission, Essex had 
" again fallen into disgrace. Arraigned before the Privy 
Council to answer to grave imputations upon his conduct 
of the war, he was stripped of his military appointments, 
and committed a prisoner to his own house. Finding 

I Elizabeth obdurate to his passionate appeals, and smart- 
\n<? under the insulting manner with which she received 
the most humble offers of submission, his impatient 
temper drove him into defiance, and finally into open 
rebellion. He made proposals to the Scottish King to 

(place him upon the throne of England, by means of the 
army ; surrounded himself with bands of notorious mal 
contents and, after a futile attempt to raise the city of 
London in his favour, expiated his criminal folly upon 21st 
the scaffold. February. 

Among those who had joined him in his mad enter- 
prise were Sir Charles, and Sir Jocelyn Percy, but after 
some months' imprisonment in the Tower they were, 
through their brother's intercession, liberated on payment 
of a fine of .£500. * 

indiscretion for challenging a great Commander of the State at such a 
time as without breach of duty he could not, nor might not, answer him." 
— Lord Henry Howard to Mr. Edward Bruce, April 1602. Secret 
Correspondence with James VI. 

From this passage in Sully's Memoirs it would appear that after 
Elizabeth's death the Earl took the first opportunity of revenging himself 
upon his adversary : — 

' " The conversation of the Court turned entirely upon the disputes and 
quarrels which happened between particular persons. The Earl of 
Northumberland struck Colonel Vere in the presence of the whole 
Court and was confined in Lambeth by the King's (James I.) order, who 
*as justly offended at so disrespectful and outrageous an insult." — - 
Book xvi. sub. anno, 1603. There is no mention, however, of any such 
occurrence in contemporary English Histories or Correspondence. 

1 Ftvdera, torn. xvi. p. 452. The Statement in one of Lord Henry 
Howard's letters (Secret Correspondence, p. 32) that the Earl was 
only desirous to have a son in order to exclude his brothers, "whom 


a.d. The Earl of Northumberland had long since ostein ; 

15 JZl ^ 2 tiously dissociated himself from the political tactics . 
Essex, and had indeed latterly, bv countenancing tl 
factions of Raleigh and Cobham, become the dirc< 1 
antagonist of his policy. 

In this he was probably to some extent actuated by . 
spirit of opposition to his wife, who, after her brother' 
disgrace and execution, had vehemently espoused the 
cause of King James. 1 

It was not long, however, before a change came over 
the Earl's political views, and that he too began to look 
northward for the rising sun. 

None knew better than Northumberland, living, as he 
did, much at Court, that in spite of her brave efforts 
to conceal her growing infirmities from the public eye, 
Elizabeth's glorious reign was drawing to a close. 
He was in personal attendance upon her, during her 
last " Progress," and writes from Sir William Clarke'.-^ 
house at Burnham : — 

" Wednesday night the Queen was not well, but would 
not be known of it, for the next day she walked abro;: i 
in the Park lest any should take notice of it. . . . The day 
of the remove Her Majesty rode on horseback all the way, 

he hates damnably, and protesteth to some of his friends that, next t 
his wife, he abhorreth them above any," is obviously untrue, for there 
remain on record numerous proofs of his affection for them, and of his 
frequent efforts to promote their interests. 

1 " He (Northumberland) told his wife that he had rather the King of 
Scots were buried than crowned, and that both he, and all his friends, 
would end their lives before her brother's great God should reign ii 
this element. The lady told him again that, rather than any other than 
King James should reign in this place, she would eat their hearts in 
salt, though she were brought to the gallows instantly. He told her tli it 
the Secretary had too much wit ever to live under a foreign stock, havin 
been so fortunate under a woman that was tractable, and to be c< 
selled. The lady told him that he need not long triumph upon i : ; 
brother's mishap, for if he kept in this mind she could expect no bet:--! 
of him than that same, or a worse destiny." — Lord Henry Howard • 
Mr. Edward Bruce, 4th December, 1601. Secret Correspondence, p. 3 : - 



whuh ivas ten miles, and also hunted; and whether she a.d._i6o2 
was weary or not, I leave to your leisure." * 

The Earl of Northumberland was a true lover of his 
country, and no patriotic mind could contemplate without 
dismay the prospect of a disputed succession, on the throne 
falling vacant. It is probable, too, that the distracted 
and impoverished state of the Borders may have in- 
fluenced him in wishing to bring about a lasting peace 
between England and Scotland by the union of the two 
kingdoms under one crown, as the only means of ter- 
minating that hereditary antagonism which had for 
centuries proved so destructive to the prosperity of the 
northern provinces, and had fostered a chronic spirit of 
lawlessness among the population. 2 

» Northumberland to Lord Cobham, 6 August, 1602 State Papers. 
It is recorded that when, in the previous year, the Queen opened 
Parliament, her altered appearance attracted general attention, and that, 
but for those about her person, she would have fallen once or twice 
under the weight of her robes. 

> « Many murders and manslaughters have taken place these last 
three years, and more murderers and felons executed within four years 
last past than within ten years before The power of these male- 
factors is such that when indicted by the grand jury they escape for 
want of evidence, none daring to inform against them for fear ot their 
lives Murderers frequently compound for money and the former dare 
take 'no verdict till the parties be agreed, so that odious murders are 
found manslaughter."-'- Information of the Estate ot Northumberland in 
matters of the peace, 1602." State Papers. A long list of outrages on 
the Borders at this time will be found in the Laws of the Marc/us (vol n 
fols.96, 170, and 204); ar.d a MS. in Syon House entitled « A Note of 
Remembrance, bv Robert Helme, Hereditary * eodary of Alnwick, Sub 
Re- Elk* " records several curious cases of the then prevailing system ot 
blood feuds, resembling the Corsican vendetta, and luce that ancient 
custom, frequently ending in a formal reconciliation and mutual condona- 
tion of past homicides. See Appendix IX According to Hutchinson s 
pleasant picture, the Union at once effected a complete transformation : 

"Cultivation immediately took place ; the country so o.ten desolated 
bv war received new inhabitants, who brought with them not only flocks 
and herds but also manufacture and commerce; the works effected in 
peace were soon distinguished ; the barren acres were put under the 
ploughshare, towns and" hamlets diversified the scene and increasing 
population enriched every valley which for ages had been marked by 
works of hostility."— View of Northumberland, vol. up. 101. 

vol. 11. 225 Q 


a.d. Public opinion in England was by this time strongh 

15 4^ \3 2 opposed to the pretensions of the Infanta of Spain, and 
Arabella Stuart had diminished her chances to the su< 
cession by her supposed leaning to the Catholics 
Besides, as Northumberland said, the nation would not 
willingly again be ruled by a Queen, " fearing the, 
should never enjoy another like unto this." Settin 
aside these claimants there were none to compete, with 
any chance of success, with King James of Scotland , 
and Northumberland's ambitious mind may have been 
gratified at the prospect of becoming, like his ancestor 
two centuries back, but without any breach of loyalty, 
"the ladder wherewithal" a new King should ascend 
the English throne. 1 

The moment was especially opportune for negotiation; 
for James, alarmed lest his recent intrigues with Essex 
should reach the English Court, had despatched an 
embassy to London, ostensibly to congratulate the 
Queen upon her escape from the recent conspiracy, but 
actually to gauge the national feeling as to the choice of 
a successor. 

The Scottish Ambassador lost no time in communicat- 
ing in the most influential quarters his royal master's 
promises of future favour to those who should support 
his claim ; and Cecil, who since the fall of Essex had 
exercised an almost undisputed power in the Council. 
now forsook the neutral attitude he had hitherto 

Conscious, however, of the danger of arousing Eliza- 
beth's jealousy and resentment, his negotiations were 

1 Francis OsDorne, a bitter opponent of King James, expressed 
surprise at one of the Earl's "honorable extraction and exquis 
erudition," being "muffled with love to the person of that prince," am. 
attributes his action to personal ambition. — Traditional Memoirs of ■■■' 
Reign of King James VI. London, 1701. 



conducted in profound secrecy, and mainly through the a.d. 1602 
medium of Lord Henry Howard ;' a man of doubtful 
antecedents and unscrupulous character, but possessed 
of great capacity and peculiar aptitude for political 

The secret correspondence which ensued in no way 
reflects upon the loyalty or patriotism of Cecil. He un- 
dertook it, fully conscious of its delicacy and danger, 
to meet a great national emergency ; and it is worthy of 
notice how, in all his letters to the King, he subordinates 
his professions of respect and attachment, to the duty and 
affection owing to his own sovereign ; and what pains he 
takes to justify his action by the conviction — well founded 
upon the whole — that his choice of a successor was in- 
wardly approved by Elizabeth, although she shrank from 
giving expression to her wish. 

In one respect, however, the discovery of the cor- 
respondence has damaged Sir Robert Cecil's reputation. 
Jealousy of Northumberland, from the moment he was 
known to have espoused the cause of King James, was 
but natural in a man of the calibre and in the position of 
Lord Henry Howard, who saw in the great English Peer 

1 He was the youngest brother of the fourth Duke of Norfolk, 
executed in 1572 ; was created Earl of Northampton shortly after James's 
accession, and long continued to enjoy the favour of that sovereign. 
He was deeply implicated in the murder of '.Sir Thomas Overbury, but 
died, before the trial took place, in 1614 at Northampton (afterwards 
Northumberland) House, in Charing Cross, which he is accused of 
having " built with Spanish gold." Sir Anthony Weldon {Court cf King 
James VI.) describes him as " the grossest flatterer in the world, and of 
t( > venomous and so cankered a disposition that he hated all men of 
noble parts, nor loved any but flatterers like himself; " and Miss Aikin 
says of him : " His career seemed expressly calculated to show the world 
now much baseness could be made compatible with the noblest birth, 
die most accomplished education, and talents which had early attracted 
general regard." — Memoirs of the Court of James the First, vol. i. p. 439. 
1 hat Cecil should have chosen such an agent for a secret and in some 
Aspects dishonest negotiation is less surprising than that he should have 
• n 'credited him to the Scottish king as '* et vir et ciri$ bonus," since he 
n >ust have known him to be worthless in either capacity. 

227 Q 2 


a.d. only a formidable rival in the favour of the future sovereign, 

1564-1632 anc j one yyiiQ^ by darning a large share, might dimini h 

his own rewards. But no such excuse can be offered for 

the exhibition of this unworthy feeling on the part of 

Elizabeth's powerful Minister. 

When the Earl, who was unversed in, and by natural 
temperament peculiarly unfitted for, the arts of seen;: 
diplomacy, determined upon offering his support to James. 
he communicated his intention to Cecil with full con- 
fidence in his friendship and loyalty. He did not, a-> 
he informed the King, believe that the Secretary would 
himself take any action in the matter during the life-time 
of the Queen ; but he expressed his conviction that he 
was, at heart, in favour of the Scottish succession, and 
that, when the time came, His Majesty might rely upon 
that statesman's powerful support. In how different a light 
does Cecil's conduct appear throughout these transactions ! 

In not accepting so out-spoken and unguarded a 
coadjutor in a secret service of extreme delicacy, the 
minister may have done wisely ; but, since they were 
working to a common end, it was neither wise nor worthy 
on his part to take every opportunity of disparaging or 
calumniating one who was acting with him in the most 
complete frankness and good faith, and for whom he 
continued to profess a warm friendship. 1 

This correspondence, from first to last, serves to after. » 
a painful illustration of that duplicity which a father s 
careful training in the tortuous statescraft of those times, 
had engrafted upon a naturally scheming and secretive, 
though, in other respects, honest nature. 

1 See his letter to Sir George Carew, ante, p. 200. Francis Osborne 
says with truth : "Nothing is more prominent in Cecil's correspond". ■ 
than an anxious wish to convince James that Northumberland >• • 
neither the power nor the wish to serve him ; and to the prejudice, t" 
artfully excited, may be traced the succeeding misfortunes of that ill-fate 
nobleman." — Traditional Memoirs of King James VI. 



Northumberland, frank and trusting from first to last, 1 a.d. 1602 
h ul carried to Cecil the King's reply to his first com- 
munication. Here is what followed : — 

"After that Northumberland had brought the letter of 
King James written to himself to Cecil, and withal pre- 
sented unto him certain messages by word of mouth, 
recommended to him also, as he says, by Percy 2 from 
King James, Cecil seemed to accept his kindness very 
thankfully ; but after he was departed sent for me, and 
seemed very much to wonder at the messages which 
Percy delivered, because those messages did seem to set 
a greater price upon the man than he deserves .... 

(and he desired me to write in my own style, as I have 
now done, to qualify this trust, and deliver plainly to His 
Majesty, under correction, what my reason judgeth of the 
measure to be kept with him .... which is still to use 
him well, to retain this pledge of his profession, to make 
him sure, and as occasion doth serve, some time to 
comply with courtesies, but never to give him the least 
light of any kind of 'favour or respect, . . . never to give 
him credence in his advices, which must either be idle, 
having no friend ; or dangerous, being bent to particular 
ends; and, last of all, that His Majesty cut off all ordinary 
traffic of intelligence, because it will let a thousand lights 
into the mystery." 3 

In Lord Henry Howard the wily secretary had found 

a worthv and zealous agent for a service of duplicity 


1 "The wily Secretary .... was already employing every art to ruin 
in the opinion of the Prince his old associates. Cobham, Raleigh, and 
even this unsuspecting Northumberland, who believed himself at the 
bottom of his secrets ; and who accounted the friendship of the Secretary 
among the most sincere and inviolable of his possessions." — Aikiivs 
Memoirs of James the First, vol. i. p. 59. 

1 Thomas Percy, the medium of Northumberland's correspondence 
*ith the King, afterwards notorious as a principal agent in the Gun- 
powder Plot. 

3 Eord Henry Howard to Mr. Edward Bruce, 1st May, 1602. Secret 
Correspondence, p. 105. 



a.d. and slander, and his zeal in a work so congenial to his 
15 fZ! ^ 2 nature was stimulated by a violent personal animosity 
to the Earl for some real or fancied offence. " The 
diabolic triplicity," under which title he denounces 
Northumberland, Cobham, and Raleigh, occupies a lar^ 
space in his " ample Asiatic and endless volumes ; " " but 
the first of the trio is ever the chosen object of attack, 
and is by turns described as a formidable enemy, a 
■*> doubtful friend, and the harmless dupe of more dangerous 

" The first canon that was concluded in this con- 
venticle," he writes, " was that Northumberland, who is, 
by their illusions and his own giddiness, a sworn enemy 
to King James, should offer himself as a willing instru- 
ment to Cecil to reconcile him to King James; for infer 
ccrcos dominator luscus, and in this concert, that have run 
foreign courses, Northumberland out of a residence 
[? residue] of kind affection in his uncle, to 'the Queen, 
your mother,' makes himself omnipotent in the good 
conceit of His Majesty. Of all this I gave notice to 
Cecil; drawing it, and much more, from a person whom he 
trusted as himself ; for such a leaking sieve did never 
water the wild gardens of Hesperides. Cecil, being 
fenced and well armed by this precaution, desired 
infinitely that this offer might be made, to the end that 
he might make amends for some frank words cast out to 
him before his last going over [to the Low Countries], of 
his allowance of the rights of King James before any, 
.... At the last he comes and was so well paid in his 
own coin by Cecil, as the fool, finding he had set up his 

1 " I have therefore thought good in my own laconic style to answer 
all your ample Asiatic and endless volumes." This is the severe b'J' 
perfectly just criticism applied to the verbosity and strained imagery 
Lord Henry Howard's literary style by King James in his letter of M-i}» 
1602. Secret Correspondence', p. 116. 


candle to a wrong saint, began to work back again a.d^Co 2 

The whole of the Earl of Northumberland's correspond- 
ence with King James is on record and speaks for itself.' 
It is in all respects honourable to him, and is marked by 
so much clear-sightedness, moderation and sagacity, that 
wc cannot but regret that the injustice of an ungrateful 
Prince should ultimately have deprived the country of 
the services of one who, when time and experience 
should have tempered his faults, could hardly have 
failed to prove a wise and influential counsellor. 

There is one other characteristic feature in his letters 
to the King, and this is the more praiseworthy since 
James was notoriously fond of gross flattery : they are 
entirely free from the servility and adulation too com- 
monly met with in addresses to royalty at that time, and, 
while thoroughly respectful, are always consistent with 

self-respect. 3 

The letters, extending over twenty-three closely 
printed pages, are worthy of careful perusal, but can 
here be only cursorily reviewed. 

The Earl begins by expressing the conviction that the 

1 Lord Henry Howard to Mr. E. Bruce, November, 1601. Secret 

Correspondence, p. 30. -it, t- o » /c 

3 It will be found, admirably edited by Mr. John Bruce, F.S.A. (from 
the original letters in the Hatfield MSS.), in the Camden Society Publica- 
tions, No. lxxviii., under the title of Correspondence of Kin* James VI. 
of Scotland, respecting his Succession to the Throne of England, part 111. 
p. 53. The orthography has here been modernised. _ 

3 Lord Henry Howard's correspondence is replete with the most 
fulsome flattery, nor was Cecil backward in this respect, witness the 
following passage : , , t 

"It is the property of the Creator to accept the labours of men 
according to His knowledge of their desire, without measure of their 
ability. Of this divine quality, if ever man's eyes beheld on earth a 
lively image, the same appeareth in your person. . . . Your Majesty s 
exquisite judgment cannot but know that that which I can tender you 
must be finite, imperfect, and of small value, though the duty, the 
affection and zealous thankfulness of my heart be, like your favours, 
infinite, perfect, and matchless." — Ibid. p. 27. 

2; I 


a.d. union of the two kingdoms under one sovereign coul i 
15 ll! 32 not fail to be beneficial to both, and then sets forth tin- 
two main points for present consideration : 

"Whether, after her Majesty's life, your right will ]>■-. 
yielded you peacably without blows or not;" and "whether 
it be likely your Majesty, before your time, will attempt 
to hasten it by force ? " 

He feels certain that the great majority of the English 
people are in favour of James's succession, and contends 
that the freedom of discussion allowed upon the subject 
shows that " it is not distasteful to the chief agents in 
our state. . . . He warns the King not to be dis- 

couraged by the reports of those who " from the truth 
of their conceits, or from policy to endear themselves," 
in his favour, should exaggerate the obstacles to his 
" lawful and peacable succession," which he " will be 
certain to have yielded as ever prince had any kingdom 
[that] was due to him." 

Opposition, he admits, will be found to arise on 
several grounds. Firstly, the fear lest King James's 
Council should be too largely composed of his own 
countrymen ; secondly, the national prejudice against 
Scotland, and because " the name of Scottes is harsh 
in the ears of the vulgar ; " lastly, the apprehension on 
the part of the Catholics that their faith would meet 
with little toleration under his rule. 

" To the first objection I have thus answered : that 
for your own sake it will be your Majesty's labor 
rather to nourish us in quiet, than to move discontents 
at your first entry ; that your wisdom will strive more 
to unite the two nations in all love, by matches and 
other politic means, to make them one, as now England 
and Wales are, than to divide them by envy. . . • 
Neither do I think that the Kings of Scotland have 
reason to be so far enamored with the faith o( their 



•objects, that willingly they will repose a greater trust a.d. 1602 
in them than in the English. Besides, I conceive it, your 
Majesty, being half English yourself , will think that your 
/..nor in being reputed a King of England, will be greater 
than to be a King of Scots." 

As to the national antagonism, the Earl believes that 
" the memories of the ancient wounds between England 
and Scotland will soon be cancelled, when conscience in 
their hearts shall proclaim your rights ; " and, as regards 
ihe toleration claimed by those who adhere to the 
ancient faith, he trusts to the King's wisdom to make 
some concessions, since " it were a pity to lose a good 
kingdom for not tolerating a mass in a corner (if upon 
that it resteth) so long as they shall not be too busy dis- 
turbers of the Government of the State, nor seek to make 
us contributors to a Peter Priest." ' 

On the subject of any premature attempt by force to 
extort a recognition of his claim, the writer expresses 
himself in the strongest terms of reprobation ; he re- 
fuses to believe the prevalent rumours on the subject, 
declaring that such a course would be fatal to the 
King's prospects, " and albeit your people are apt and 
forward to enterprising courses, ever desiring spoil of 
that is not theirs, your Majesty, Commander over their 
desires, cannot like to see the ruin of that is so near to 
be your own. 

"Soe as I conclude . . . that none can deny but that 
your Majesty shall, without all contradictions, enjoy 
that that you are so nigh to by right ; and that it cannot 
be good for you, or us, that you should seek it sooner 
by force ; for this I have ever almost noted, that lesser 
kingdoms seldom kept long a greater got by conquest, but 

1 This passage, by a distorted construction, subsequently formed the 
founds of one of the charges preferred against the writer in the Star 


a.d. by right and succession of ten ; for when conquest run. 
1 5 4-i 3 2 u Le ivounds of parents and friends bleed still fresh in 
their memories, watching biit opportunity of revenue, un- 
to free themselves of the burden." 

This remarkable letter was the first of the series which 
was conveyed to the King by the hands of Thonu 
Percy, whom his employer commends as " one of my 
house, an honest man, without whom, I fear me, I should 
yet have been longer silent towards you." ' 

The King's affected indignation at the idea of that 
resort to armed force which but a few weeks before h 
had been busy in arranging with Essex, is amusingly 
illustrative of his character. 

"As for your advice in the other point, if my con- 
stant resolution were not agreable to your advice I could 
neither be religious, wise, nor honest ; for how could I 
be religious to prevent God's leisure by unlawful 
anticipation ? and to do that wrong to my neighbours 
the like whereof I would be lothe to suffer in my own 
person ? It were very small wisdom, by climbing of 
ditches and hedges, for pulling of unripe fruit, to hazard 
the breaking of my neck, when by a little patience, and 
abiding the season, I may with far more ease and safety 
enter at the gate of the garden, and enjoy the fruits at 
my pleasure in their greatest maturity." 

Thanking the Earl for sending his letter by rt a 
gentleman whom nature must bind you to love, and 
of whose honesty I have ever heard a sound report ; " 
and begging of him to " employ hereafter none other 
Mercury in dealing with me," His Majesty concludes: 

" I assure you, you can by no means so far enable 
yourself for my service against the lawful time as by 

1 Thus both Northumberland and Cecil vouched for the honestv < '■ 
their messengers; the former, however, did sincerely believe in his 
kinsman till he himself became the victim of his crimes. 



not only maintaining, but also advancing, your credit at a.d. 1602 
her (Elizabeth's) hands, that whenever it shall please God 
to call her to His mercy, you may be a chief instrument 
to assist my settling in that seat which I honor as the 
apparent heir, in all quietness, without the alteration or 
prejudice of any that will not wilfully resist to my 


In his next letter Northumberland gives his opinion 
of those who professed to be favorable to the King's 
claim, but of whose sincerity, James, in his conversation 
with Thomas Percy, appears to have expressed some 

"Your Majesty's judgment of Essex to be a noble 
gentleman, but that you had lost no great friend in him, 
leads me . . . to say . . . that although he was a man 
endowed with good gifts, yet was his loss the happiest 
chance for your Majesty and England that could befal 
us ; for, either do I fail in my judgment, or he would 
have been a bloody scourge to our nation. Of this I can 
speak very particularly, as one who was as inward with 
him as any living creature, the first two years I was 
matched with his sister." 

He proceeds to point out Essex's restless ambition, 
his unceasing desire for military power, his impatience 
of all who opposed his will, and how it was not until 
his own influence was on the wane that he had begun 
to advocate the cause of King James : 

"To conclude, he wore the crown of England in his 
heart these many years, and was therefore far from 
setting it on your head, if it had been in his power." 

Essex was in his grave, and his kinsman might have 
spared him this harsh judgment. Of the living Raleigh, 
against whom Cecil had taken care to poison the King's 
mind, he says that having known him intimately for six- 
teen years — " I must needs affirm Raleigh's ever allowance 



a.d. of your right, and although I know him insolent, extremely 
1564-1632 h^tp,^ a man that desires to seem to be able to sway all 
men's fancies, all men's courses; and a man that out i : 
himself, when your time shall come, will never be able 
to do you much good nor harm, yet must I needs con- 
fess what I know, that there is excellent good parts ( t 
nature in him; a man whose love is disadvantageous 
to me in some sort, which I cherish rather out of con- 
stancy than policy, and one whom I wish your Majesty 
not to lose, because I would not that one hair 01 
a man's head should be against you, that might be 
for you." 

The King had invited his correspondent's opinion 
of Cecil, of whom in reply the Earl speaks most gene- 
rously, under the full impression that their friendship 
and regard was mutual. He defended him against the 
charge of " his heart being Spanish," would " pawn his 
honor that he had never contemplated bringing in the 
Infanta ; " dwelt upon the efforts he had made to miti- 
gate the penalties of all concerned in Essex's ill-advised 
attempt in James's favour, and expressed his firm convic- 
tion that, although Elizabeth's Minister would take no 
active measures on the King's behalf during the life 
of the Queen, " for the which in my poore opinion 
he merits justly an allowance from you," yet when the 
time should come he would prove that " the secret oi 
his conscience doeth conclude your right to be the 
next right, and that his heart will then wish that it 
may have that approbation with all men." He adds : 
"the ancient familiarity and inward trust hath been 
between us, which doeth make him understand me very 
well, his knowledge of my opinion of your title, when 
necessity of death must leave it to any other hand, his 
conceiving of my determination to run that course 1" 
setting up all the faults of my fortune that way, yet doth ne 



ejnliniie his love hi preferring me, and in befriending vie a.d. 1602 
what he is able." 

Truly the trusting- and warm-hearted Percy was no 
match for the scheming statesman who at this very time 
had caused his agent to write of Northumberland in terms 
as untrue as they are ungenerous, for the information of 
King James: 

" The man is beloved of none, followed by none, 
trusted by no one gentleman or nobleman of quality 
within the land, beside his faction ; no, not " by the 
gentlemen or peasants of his own country, in respect 
of his vexation and sport, which you may know by your 
next neighbours ; and the Queen repeated one month 
since, when she was moved in his behalf for a regiment, 
saying, that Raleigh had made him as odious as himself, 
because he would not be singular ; and such were not to 
be employed by princes of sound policy ... I protest 
to God nothing vexeth Cecil so much as trust imparted 
above merit, unto men that are unsecret and indiscreet." r 

King James was too shrewd and sharpsighted to be 

(misled by these representations. He had had ample 
opportunities of judging of Northumberland's character 
and conduct ; he knew how formidable his enmity might 
have been, and he appreciated his offers of support, as 
well as his influence in the State, at their full value. 

" I am heartily glad," he writes to him, " that it is my 
good fortune to be acquainted with a nobleman carrying 
so honorable a mind, as also, that doeth rightly interpret 
and discern of my honest intentions as you do. In both 
your letters, may clearly be seen the upright sincerity of 
your affections towards me ; which, if I do not requite 
with thankfulness, I should more wrong myself than you." 

These professions were no doubt at the time, made 

1 Lord Henry Howard to Mr. Edward Bruce, May, 1602. Secret 
Correspondence, p. 107. 



a.d. in all sincerity, and it must have been the reverse r f 
15 111 52 gratifying to Cecil to find the King's agent cxpressir 
himself in terms of unqualified praise of the tone of tin 
Earl's correspondence : 

" The letter sent from o (the Earl of Northumberland • 
to 30 (the King) ... is very discreetly and temperate! v 
written, and in all points very near the truth. He sru 
not that he is a Catholic himself, but that sundry of his 
retinue and dependants hath oars in their boat ; and th;it 
they are not able to resolve in any course with the which 
he shall not be made acquainted." 2 

By this time the condition of Queen Elizabeth had 
ceased to be a subject for speculation. The end was 
rapidly drawing near, and one week before the event, 
Northumberland thus prepares the Scottish King for his 
accession to the throne of England. 

" Her Majesty hath been evil now almost one month. 
In the twelve first days it was kept secret under a mispri- 
sion, taking the cause to be the displeasure she took at 
Arabella, the motions of taking in Tyrone, and the death 
of her old acquaintance, the Lady Nottingham. 3 Those 
that were nearest her, did imagine these to be the reasons. 
More days told us it was an indisposition of body ; 
sickness was not in any manner discerned ; her sleep 
and stomach (appetite) only bereft her, so as for a twenty 
days she slept . very little. Since, she is grown very 
weak, yet sometimes gives us comfort of recovery ; a few 
hours after, threatens us with despair of her welldoing. 

1 The names throughout this correspondence are represented by 
ciphers — the King being expressed by the' figure 30, Elizabeth by -4- 
Cecil by 20, and Northumberland by o. 

2 Mr. Edward Bruce to Lord Henry Howard. Correspondence of 
Kins, James VI., Camden Society, p. 47. 

3 Lady Nottingham's deathbed revelation on the subject of Essex s 
ring, and the effect it had upon the Queen, was evidently then unknown 
to the Earl. 



j hysic she will not take any, and the physicians conclude a.d. 1603 
■ a if this continue, she must needs fall into a distem- 
•r; not a phrensy, but rather into a dullness and a 

I Ie proceeds to urge that the recognition of the King's 
ri-'ht to the throne was almost universal, and that the 
Council were taking the necessary steps to insure his 
l«-aceful accession. On the subject of the English 

J Catholics he says : — ■ 
" Some Papists I have in my family, who serve me as 
watches how others are affected ; and some that I am 
acquainted with ; but yet did I never hear any of them 

(say, but that they all of them wished your Majesty the 
fruition of your right ; and that, if supplication might 
procure them toleration of their consciences, they should 
hold themselves happy ; if not they must by the laws of 
God and Right endure it with patience, to which hopes 
I ever give comfort that it would be obtained. Your 
Majesty may do in this case as your wisest judgment 
shall direct you. 1 

Now, Sir, matters standing thus I must still rest upon 
the text of my first letters, in which I think I shall not 
much have erred, and that was, that your Majesty would 
come in all peace, with all joy and gladness to us all, and 
tree from all opposition. •. . . . I speak it confidently, 
^nd therefore I hope your Majesty will pardon my ryche 
{sic) thoughts, which are devoted with eagerness to your 
Majesty's service, and my country's good." In a post- 
cript the Earl once more expresses his generous trustful- 
ness in the supposed friend, whose persistent policy it had 
been to undermine him in the good opinion of the King. 

11 I discover daily by circumstances that the Secretary 


1 These were the passages upon which, three years later, one of the 
articles of indictment against the Earl in the Star Chamber was 



a.d. is more persuaded to the right of your cause than othi r 
15 ill 32 If your Majesty can win him sure to you, you shall gi\ 
a great help to your business and to all our eases. 1 

The correspondence closes with this letter from 
the Kino;: 

" Right truely, and well beloved Cousin : 

" The more I hear from you, the more am I rejoice-': 
and do think myself infinitely happy that one of your 
place, endowed with such sincerity of love towards me, 
and with all other parts of sufficiency, should be borr. 
one day to be a subject unto me ; for I protest unto you. 
that in your letter you have confirmed the very sum 
of all the true news of the state of things then:. 
according as I was, by divers hands, advertised this 
month past. 

"And as to the form of my entry there, whenever It 
shall please ,God to call your Sovereign, as in my first 
letter I wrote unto you, so now by these presents, do I 
confirm and renew the same ; that is to say, as God is 
my witness, it never was, is, or shall be my intention, to 
enter that Kingdom in any other sort, but as the son and 
righteous heir of England ; with all peace and calmness. 
and without any kind of alteration in State and Govern- 
ment as far as possible I can. All men that hath truly 
served their present Sovereign, shall be alike welcome to 
me, as they are presently, or were in times past, unto her ; 
claiming nothing in that turn as King of Scotland, but 
hoping thereby to have the means to knit this whole Island 
in a happy and perpetual amity. As for the Catholics, I 
will neither persecute any that will be quiet, and give but 
an outward obedience to the law ; neither will I spare t<> 
advance any of them that will, by good service, worthii; 

1 Earl of Northumberland to King James VI. 17th March, i- 
Corresfcndencc, Camden Society, p. 74. 



Jcserve it, and if this course will not serve every particu- a.d. 1603 

; ir honest man, my privy dealing with any of them can 

avail but little. — And thus I end, praying you for your 

own part to rest fully assured that you shall, in the own 

time, have proof in what high account you are with your 

most loving friend, 

"James R." 1 

While James^ was inditing this letter, Sir Robert 
Carey 2 and Sir Charles Percy were riding a race to 
Edinburgh with the tidings of Elizabeth's death. 

Sir Francis Bacon had been no friend to the cause of 
the Scottish King, and only two years before had 
conspicuously paraded his opposition to his Majesty's 
pretensions, by volunteering to undertakethe prosecution 

1 To the Earl of Northumberland, from Holyrood House, 24th March, 
1603. Correspondence of King James VI., Camden Society, p. 75. 

a A younger son of the first Lord Hunsdon, who had hovered around 
the deathbed of his royal cousin, with the view of being the first to 
convey the tidings of her decease to her successor. He had written 
three days before to prepare the King for the event, and prayed him 
not to leave Edinburgh until his arrival. Without the knowledge of the 
Council, but with the connivance of his eldest brother, a Privy Coun- 
sellor and Captain of the Band of Pensioners, he started a few minutes 
after the Queen had ceased to breathe, performing the journey, in spite 
of a severe fall on the way, within three days."— See Nichols's Pro- 
gresses ; Elizabeth, vol. iii. p. 606, and James J. vol. i. p. 34. The 
Lords, in ignorance of Carey's departure, subsequently despatched Sir 
Charles Percy, who reached Edinburgh only a few hours after the first 

The French Ambassador writes to Villeroi that immediately after 
the Queen's decease the Earl of Northumberland had appeared at the 
Council, attended by one hundred armed men, and had declared that he 
would put his sword through any man who should presume to question 
the election of King James. — Ambassades, i. 1S1. The only foundation 
for the report was probably the fact that the Earl had somewhat per- 
emptorily reminded the Council that their functions ceased with the 
demise of the Sovereign ; adding that the peerage had too long been 
treated with neglect and contempt, and that they were now determined 
to assert their rights — See Additional MSS., British Museum, 17S6. fol. 
76. His letters to the King prove that he had always been opposed 
to the display of military force, for which moreover there was no 

VOL. II. 241 R 


AD - of his former patron and benefactor, the Earl of Essex. 

5 . No sooner however did the popular tide set in that 

direction than he took pains to cultivate the good wij 
of James's most influential adherents in England, an . 
among others of Northumberland, to whom he now 
addressed the following adulatory letter : 

" As the time of sewing of seed is known, but the tim 
of coming up is casual, or according to the season, so 1 
am a witness to myself that there has been covered in nr. 
mind for a long time a seed of affection and zeal towards 
your Lordship, shown by the estimation of your virtue?. 
and your particular honors and favors to my brother 
deceased and to myself. To be plain to your lordship it 
is very true, and no winds or noises of civil matters can 
blow this out of my head or heart, that your great 
capacity and love towards studies, and contemplation 
of an higher and worthier nature than popular, — a 
nature rare in the world, and in a person of your 
Lordship's quality almost singular, — is to me a great 
chief motive to drawing affection and admiration towards 
you ; and therefore, good my lord, if I may be of any use t< i 
your lordship by my head, tongue, pen, means or friends, 
I humbly pray you to hold me your own ; and herewithal 
not to do so much disadvantage to my good mind, nor 
partly to your own worth, as to conceive that this com- 

\ munication of my humble service proceedeth out of 

any straights of any occasions, but merely out of an 
election, and indeed the fullness of my heart. 1 

Northumberland had by this time attained a high 

1 Sir Francis Bacon to Earl of Northumberland, Cabala, p. 23. The 
letter bears no date, but was evidently written very shortly bei 
Elizabeth's death. In the same work, a few pages further on, a letter 
couched in almost identical words, is quoted as having been address 
to the Earl of Northampton ; but this is an evident error, for there »'.ii 
no one at the time bearing that title, which had become extinct in i57 ! < 
and was not conferred upon Lord Henry Howard until a year later. 



reputation for the pursuit of those literary and scientific ad. 1603 
studies, to which he afterwards devoted so much of 
his enforced leisure. He had continued to busy himself 
in forming a great library at Syon House, and employed 
agents on the Continent in the collection of rare and 

! valuable books. 1 The haughty peer who would recognise 
few equals among his own order, eagerly courted the 
society of men of learning or genius. Hariot, 2 the 
mathematician, found in him an assiduous pupil, and 
munificent patron. The sorrowful old age of Edmund 
Spenser was soothed by his friendship and sympathy. 
Philosophers and historians, poets, geographers, and 
physicians were his chosen and intimate companions. 
His purse was ever open for the promotion of science, 
and no poor scholar ever turned disheartened from his 

Bacon's tribute to the Earl's higher culture was thus no 
unmerited compliment ; but in spite of the pretence of 
disinterested affection, his letter betrays rather the 
ambitious politician appealing to a powerful ally, than 
the philosopher addressing the patron of literature and 
learning. Indeed, the concluding appeal was needed, 
though it could hardly have had the effect of disguising 

1 Sir Henry Savile writes to Carleton(26 February, 1603), introducing 
one Dalrimple, as a person about to proceed to France, Germany, and 
Italy, « with bookish matters in hand, for the Earl of Northumberland." 
— State Papers. 

2 Thomas Hariot, or Harriot, had accompanied Raleigh on his voyage 
to Virginia. "After his return to England Sir Walter got him into the 

acquaintance of that noble and generous Count, the Earl of North- 
umberland, who finding him to be a gentleman of an affable and peace- 
able nature, and well read in the obscure part of learning, did allow 
him a yearly pension of .£120. . . . About the same time Robert Hues 
and Walter Warner, two other mathematicians, who were known also to 
the said Count, did receive from him yearly pensions also, but of less 
value ; as did afterwards Nicholas Torperley. - ' Wood's Athena: Oxon- 
itnses. Bliss, p. 209. Hariot's great work, Artis Analyticct Praxis, 
was dedicated to the Earl, whom Dr. Alexander Rhead, in a medical 
treatise of that period, describes as " the favourer of all good learning, 
and Mecrenas of learned men." 

243 K 2 


ad. the writer's object. Bacon's antecedents were, as hi 

5 t ° 2 knew, against him, but he determined to make a bold bit] 

for the royal favour. If the King were once seated upon 
his new throne, personal approach might be difficult to 
one who had openly opposed his accession; but the 
ambitious lawyer might forestall the crowd of expectant 
courtiers, and by timely zeal atone for past errors. He 
accordingly drew up a proclamation, to be issued on the 
entry of James, and begged Northumberland to father 
the document, and to make him the bearer of it to the 
Scottish Court. 1 It was not until after his arrival in 
Edinburgh that he became aware that Cecil had antici- 
pated him, and that James was already in possession oi 
a proclamation which proved sweet music to his ears/ 
. Here is Bacon's account of his somewhat abortive 
mission : 

"It may please your Lordship, 

" I would not have lost this journey, and yet I have 
not what I went for ; for I have had no private Con- 
ference to purpose with the King, no more hath almost 
any other English ; for the Speech His Majesty 
admitteth with some Noblemen is rather matter of 
Grace than matter of Business. With the Attorney 
he spake, urged by the Treasurer of Scotland, but no 
more than needs must. 

"After I had received His Majesty's first Welcome, 
and was promised private Access, yet not knowing what 
matter of Service your Lordship's Letter carried, for I saw 
it not, and knowing that Primeness in Advertisement is 
much, I chose rather to deliver it to Sir Thomas Hoskin* 

1 For Bacon's letter to the Earl see Cabala, p. 86. 

2 " As to the proclamation it is set of musicke that sondeth so 
sueitlie in the ears of the king that he can alter no nots in so agreeable 
ane harmonic" — Mr. E. Bruce to Lord Henry Howard. Correspondent 
of King James IV., Camden Sue, p. 47. 



than to let it cool in my hands upon expectation of A.n. 1603 


" Your Lordship shall find a Prince the farthest from 

I vain-glory that may be, and rather like a Prince of the 
. indent Form than of the latter Time ; his speeches 
swift and cursory, and in the full Dialect of his Nation ; 
in Speech of Business short, in Speech of Discourse 
large. He affecteth popularity by gracing them that 
are Popular, and not by any Fashions of his own. He is 
thought somewhat general in his Favours, and his virtue 
of Access is rather because he is much abroad, and in 
press, than he giveth easie Audience. He hasteneth to 
a mixture of both Kingdoms and Nations, faster perhaps 
than Policy will well bear. I told your Lordship once 
before my Opinion that methought His Majesty rather 
asked Council of the time past, than of the time to come, 
but it is yet early to ground any settled opinion." l 

Elizabeth had died on the 24th March ; on the 4th 
May following we find the King at Enfield Chase, 
preparatory to his entry into London : — 

" He rid the most part of the way from the Chace, 
between two honourable personages of our land, the Earl 
of Northumberland upon his right hand, and the Earl of 
Nottingham upon his left hand ; " 2 and so, amid the loud 
acclamations of the citizens, James Stuart ascended the 
throne of the Tudors. 

The new King of England treated Northumberland 
with marked distinction, making him a Privy Counsellor, 
and conferring upon him the then important office of 
Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners. Shortly after his 
brother Allan 3 was appointe d Lieutenant of the corps. 

' Sir Francis Bacon to Earl of Northumberland (no date) Cabala p. 50^ 
* See " Papers by John Saville " in Nichols's Progresses of James I. 

V °3 The sixth son of the eighth Earl. He was a constant correspondent 



a.d. Among other marks of his favour, James gracious!-. 

15 tli 32 complied with the following petition : — 

"That Henry, late Earl of Northumberland, Petitioner 
great uncle" (the sixth Earl), " was induced by the wicked 
persuasion of some of his own servants to disinherit hi 
brother and heir, Petitioners grandfather, and to give all 
his lands to King Henry VIII. after his own decease 
without male issue ; and thereupon after the Earls death. 
His Majesty, having the lands in his hands gave the 
Manors of Hunmanby, Nafterton, Wanford, Gembling-. 
and Kirk-Leventon in Co. York, to your Majesty's 
ancestors, Mathew, Earl of Lennox, and the Lady 
Margaret his wife, and their heirs. Afterwards Queen 
Mary of her princely bounty for the raising up of your 
subjects ancient house of nobility, did not only restore 
Petitioners late Uncle Thomas, and his father, Henry 
to their ancient titles, but withal gave them all the 
possessions of the said Earldom which then remained in 
the Crown, and amongst the rest the reversion of the 
Manors above named. 

"And now seeing it has pleased God to give your 
Majesty the said manor, together with the Imperial 
Crown of this realm, to the universal comfort of us all, 
your Petitioner beseeches your Majesty to bestow the 
said manor, being part of the ancient possessions of his 
Earldom, upon him and he be always ready therewithal 

of John Chamberlain and Dudley Carlcton, to whom he writes pleasant 
gossiping lelters^ on current topics. He was created a Knight ot 
the Bath with Prince Charles on Twelfth Day, 1605, and in the follow;;.-' 
August Edward Lascelles prays the assistance of the Earl of Shrewsbury 
for promoting a marriage between Sir Allan Percy, and a daughter of a 
Mr. Curzon in Derbyshire, "that is a very good matringe. she being his 
only daughter and heire, and himself a man of Seven Hundreth Pound 
land by yeare, or thereabouts." Lodge's Illustrations, vol. iii. p. 297. TIi - 
lady, however, prefeired the Earl of Dorset, and Sir Allan consoled himsell 
for the loss by taking to wife the daughter of Sir John Fitz of Fitzford, 



:iS with all the rest of his lands and goods, his life and 
whatever else may be his, to serve your Majesty to the 
utmost of his powers and courage." r 

About the same time a grant of lands lately belonging 
to Sir John Perrott, of the value of ^500 a year, was 
made in favour of the Countess of Northumberland, in 
lieu of a pension of ^400 a year allowed her by 
Klizabeth. 2 

The Earl was appointed one of the Commissioners for 
putting in force the laws passed in Elizabeth's reign 
against the Jesuits and Seminary priests, which had not 
hitherto been executed in their full rigour ; and in the 
following year he was a signatory to the deed, issued 
under the great seal, by which King James established 
the practice of settling the jewels appertaining to the 
sovereign upon the English Crown. 3 In this year he also 
officiated as godfather, and his Countess as godmother, 
at the christening of the Princess Mary. 4 

So far Cecil had not succeeded in diverting the royal 
favour from Northumberland, who was indeed too power- 
ful to be overlooked in the distribution of honours and 
rewards, and who always proved ready to assert his 
rights if neglected ; 5 but Lord Cobham and Raleigh 
were more defenceless, and found themselves treated 
with a coldness which aroused their bitter resentment 

~ « Alnwick MSS^LvtT * State Papers Dom. James I. 

3 Fadera, xvi. pp. 606 and 643- 4 Stow s , A ™ a f s > £ ??3- • . 

s Thus in Tune the Earl, not having been included in the Commission 
appointed for examining and allowing of suits of law, addresses Cecil, 
still under the impression that he might count the Lord Treasurer as a 
faithful friend and ally, in these terms : 

" I trust of your ancient love and professions that you hold me worth) 
to be one of them ; if I should not, the disgrace would wound me very 
nighe, and the dishonour would appeare palpable to the whole worlde ; 
the eies of many lookes upon me and soe mutche the more I am 
sensible in this point. My ambitions are within limits, and they are not 
great matters I desier. Therefore you may well, out of your judg- 
ment and professed love, stand with me it I be forgotten. -State Papers, 
James I. 


AD. 160' 


a.d. against Cecil. There are no means of gauging tl , 
1564-1632 . , r . . . , . ? to & 

— ° nature and extent of the conspiracy in which they were 

now accused of having engaged ; x but the opportunity 1 1 
ridding himself of hateful opponents was eagerly seized 
by the Secretary. The evidence could not sustain a 
higher charge than misprision of treason, upon which thev 
were accordingly tried ; but by the shameful subservient 
of a carefully-composed Commission or Special Jury, and 
by the indecent zeal of Coke, the Attorney-General, 3 a 
verdict of high treason was obtained, and sentence 0] 
death was passed upon the accused. 

Northumberland hastened to Windsor to intercede for 
the life of his friend and former ally. He appealed to 
the King, declaring his conviction of Raleigh's guiltless- 
ness of the treasonable acts imputed to him ; and finding 
James obdurate he addressed himself to the Queen, with 
whom he was in much favour, and whose tears succeeded 
in wringing a respite from the King. 3 This intercession 
on the part of the Earl was the more generous since 
he knew that attempts had been made to involve him in 
these intrigues ; and he had thus, while pleading for his 
friend, to justify himself against suspicions of complicity : 

1 Raleigh could have had but little sympathy with the English 
Catholics, on whose behalf the plot was set on foot, and even less with 
the Court of Spain ; but he appears to have sounded Arabella Stuart 
as to her willingness to be put forward as a claimant for the throne 
under Spanish protection. This unhappy lady, whose personal aspirations 
did not now soar above the sphere of reasonable domestic happiness, 
but who so frequently became a pretext for the political intrigues of 
more ambitious spirits, decisively declined the perilous honour. 

2 " Thou viper ! ay, I will thou thee ! for thou art a traitor ! " were 
among the words which Coke flung at the defenceless prisoner on trial 
for his life. 

3 Fifteen years later the death sentence, which after his release from 
the Tower had remained in abeyance, was carried into effect upon the 
brave and accomplished soldier ; nominally for the long-past offence 
imputed to him, but in reality as a peace-offering to the King of Spain, 
for Raleigh's descent upon his settlements in the island of St. Thomas 
in 1 61 6 








*kvi^*rt*M6a»»ng .trtt. I 


*«I have sent you herewith," he writes to Cecil, "a a.d. 
ktter directed to His Majesty. By the contents of it l6o 3^ 6 °4 
you may gather what friendship I require at your hands. 
If you think it sufficient let it passe. I have sent you 
my seal, and therefore I pray you make it up. If you 
dislike it, out of your judgment and advice, send it back 
a^ain with your opinion. 

" Perhaps I should have knowen more of these matters, 
if Rawleighe had not conceived, as he told me, that I 
could keepe nothing from you. I am now glad of those 
thoughts in him, and your friendship and mine never 
stood in better stede, if he have done anything not 
justifiable." l 

The display of sympathy or compassion for those 
whom he considered his enemies, was ever a serious 
cause of offence in the mind of the jealous and suspicious 
King; and from this time forth the Earl of Northum- 
berland ceased to occupy a prominent place in the 
Council, and seems to have withdrawn from Court, 2 
to devote himself to study, to the education of his 
children, in which he took much interest, and to building 
and. gardening at Syon. 3 

It was probably quite as much personal as political 

feelino-, that induced the Earl at this time to seek retire- 

1 Northumberland to Cecil, 21st July, 1603.— State Papers. 

2 The last time that we find the Earl's personal attendance upon the 
King recorded was on the occasion of a royal visit to Oxford, where, in 
common with several other peers, on 30th August, 1605, he received 
the degree of Master of Arts. The entry in the University books is as 
follows : 

" Henry Percy, the most generous Count of Northumberland, a great 
encoura^er of learning and learned men, especially mathematicians, 
who, as^others, have in a high manner celebrated his worth."— Wood's 
Fasti Oxotiienses, part i. 312. 

3 "The Manor of Isleworth-Syon, and Syon House, and the demesne 
lands with Free Warren and all Royalties and Appurtenances," had been 
granted to the Earl under Letters Patent dated July, 1604. He had 
previously occupied Syon Park and Dairy Farm, as a tenant under a 
•ease from Elizabeth. 




a.d. ment. He had ceased to entertain the hope that und< i 
*5 4^J 3 2 t ^ c new r gg{ me the English nobility would be restored t 
their ancient weight in the royal Councils ; while the atir. 
sphere of the Court of King James could have proved 
little congenial to his fastidious tastes. The prou I 
Percy would not consent to be jostled by the crowd ol 
Scottish adventurers ' who blocked the avenues to the 
throne, and scrambled, "like dogs over a bone," for 
scraps of the royal favour. He was by habit and de- 
position inclined to play the courtier, but could as little 
have brooked the violent outbreaks of James's capricioL ; 
temper, as his coarse and vulgar familiarities. 2 li< 
accordingly held himself aloof from scenes in which 
he could take no part without loss of dignity ; but there 
is no indication whatever of his having: at this time 
engaged in political intrigues. 3 

With his accustomed imprudent candour he may very 
probably have given expression to his disdainful opinion 
of King James's Court ; remarks which his enemies would 
not fail to carry in exaggerated terms to the King, who 
had a better memory for injuries than for benefits ; who 
had from the first been offended at the magmificence ' 

1 In later times the English nobles in like manner resented the 
intrusion of the Dutch and German followers of William of Orange and 
George of Hanover ; and, yet more recently, the influence of Scotti-:: 
adventurers and office-seekers during the ascendency of Lord Bute. 

2 It will be remembered that " Beagle " and " Ferret " were terms of en- 
dearment by which the King habitually addressed Cecil, and that Buckini 
ham to the last used to subscribe himself as " Your Majesty's good dog ' 

3 It was not until after Northumberland's disgrace that such a charge 
was preferred against him. The English Ambassador at Madrid then 
wrote to Cecil: "A late secret inquiry is made by some great ones < ■■ 
this state whether there be any likelihood of liberty for the Earl o: 
Northumberland. I have it lately said unto me with much asseveration 
that there was those that had, long before the restraint of that Lord. 
commission from the State to deal with him." — Sir Charles Cornwall •> 
to Earl of Salisbury, 14th June, 1607. Original State Papers. 

4 '"The King was amazed at the magnificence and pomp of the 
northern peers .... and very soon attempted to abate the greatness 
of the English nobility." — Osborne's Traditional Memoirs. 



.tnd independent attitude of the great English nobles; ad. 
. : r K l who is also said to have resented Northumberland's * ° 4 ~ 1 ° 5 
intimacy with his son, the Prince Henry. 1 

To humble the pride of such a man would be a grate- 
ful task to King James's jealous and ignoble nature, and 
it was not long before the opportunity presented itself. 

It will be remembered that Thomas Percy, the trusted 
hearer of the secret letters between Northumberland 
and the King of Scotland, 2 had professed to have received 
from the latter verbal assurances of concessions to be 
made to the English Catholics in excess of those con- 
veyed in his written communications. There is no 
reason to doubt the truth of his statements. James 
subsequently denied having in any way pledged himself 
upon the subject of religious toleration ; but his own letter 
to the Earl stands upon record to contradict him, 3 and 
Percy could at that time have had no object in repre- 
senting the Kincr as more favourable to the Catholic 
cause than he had expressed himself to be. 

)No satisfactory reason has ever been assigned for the 
fact that, as soon as he was firmly seated on the throne 
of England, Kine lames assumed an attitude of decided 
hostility to the Catholics. His mother's devotion to that 
faith, and her sufferings in the cause of the Church of 
Rome, his own predilections in early life, and his anxious 
desire at this time to establish friendly relations with 
the Court of Spain, 4 would, it might be thought, have 

1 Osborne says that the Prince, then in his fifteenth year, and having 
a great admiration for the Earl, whom he considered neglected and 
ill used, had in his favour " cast a malignant aspect on the houses of 
Suffolk and Salisbury." — Traditional Memoirs. 

2 He seems to have had a great power of ingratiating himself and 
inspiring confidence. Francis Osborne says that King James was so 
pleased with him that in token of his trust and favour he permitted 
Percy on several nights " to lay in his chamber." 

3 See ante, p. 240. 

4 At the request of the Spanish Ambassador the King had early in 

25 1 


a.d. combined to predispose him to toleration and leniencv. 
i5 6 4~* 6 3 2 gy t j iat stran g e perversity, however, which led him 
so frequently to show favour to those who had been 
most conspicuous as the enemies and persecutors of 
Queen Mary, and even to those who had originally 
opposed his own succession, 1 he now alienated the sup- 
port and good will of a large and influential class of his 
subjects, and forged weapons for the use of many of his 
foreign enemies, by putting in force the most vexatious, 
if not the most stringent, of Elizabeth's penal laws against 

the ancient ritual. 


* * 

Thomas Percy, one of the two sons of Edward Percy 
of Beverley, 2 was born about 1560. He had been bred 
a Protestant, and in his youth had been turbulent 3 and 

1605 allowed a force of two thousand horsemen, all Catholics, to be 
raised in England for service with the Spaniards in the Low Countries. 

"There are certaine young gentlemen that shew themselves very 
desirous to serve the Archduke in the Wars of Flaunders, and desire 
leave to goe, as Sir Charles Ley, and Sir Josselyn and Sir Richard Percy. 
The Spanish Embassador urges to have two thousand voluntaries, which 
Sir Charles Percy shall comand." — Rowland Hill to Earl of Shrewsbury, 
April, 1605. Lodge's Illustrations, vol. iii. 281. The force was actually 
raised, but the Earl would not allow his brother Charles to accept the 
command, which then devolved upon Lord Arundel of YVardour. — Sec- 
Letter from Earl of Northumberland to the Council, 14th November, 
1605. Original State Papers. 

1 " Brave Fortescue, that did first oppose the Scottish succession, but 
upon caution, enjoyed his liberty without any more considerable loss 
than that sustained by the exchange of the Chancellor's place in the 
Exchequer fur that in the Duchy of Lancaster ; whereas Northumber- 
land, that had drawn his sword in his [King James's] favour, was made 
captive, disgraced and insulted over by his enemies." — Osborne s 
Traditional Memoirs. 

2 Son of Jocelyn, the fourth son of the fourth Earl of Northumberland 
(see ante, vol. i. p. 30$), and therefore a distant cousin of the ninth 
Earl. For the pedigree of this branch of the family see Appendix X. 

3 In February, 1596, the Earl of Essex writes to Mr. Justice 
Beaumont : " I understand by this bearer, my servant Meyricke [pro- 
bably Sir Gilly Meyrick] of your willing disposition to favour Thomas 
Percy, a near kinsman to my brother of Northumberland, who is in 
trouble for some offence imputed unto him. I pray you to continue the 
same, that thereby his life may not be in hazard. He is a gentleman 



licentious, but became an enthusiastic devotee on his a.d. 
conversion to the Church of Rome. Me had for ten ! °tll ° 5 
years past been in the confidential employment of the 
Karl, who had made him his Constable of Alnwick 
Castle, 1 and in 1604 admitted him into the Band of 
Gentleman Pensioners. 

As the Earl's chief agent in the North he seems to 
have acted with harshness and dishonesty ; and it is 
surprising that the numerous complaints preferred 
against him by the tenantry, and which, confirmed as 
they are in various quarters, leave little room to doubt 
their justice, should not have caused him to forfeit the 
confidence of his employer. 2 

Northumberland, who appears to have held no strong 
religious convictions, 3 had, as we have seen by his letters 
to the King, a considerable Catholic following, com- 
munication with whom, with a view to securing their 

well descended and of good parts, and very able to do his country good 
service ; you shall do a thing very acceptable to us both and not dis- 
agreeable with equity, which we will upon all occasions deserve of you." 
— Alnwick Jl/SS., vol. v. 

!Two years later we find Thomas Percy's name in a list of recusants 
confined in Wood Street compter. One of his fellow prisoners was 
William Richardson, a Jesuit of Seville College, who was tried by the 
Lord Chief Justice " for having come to England contrary to the 
statute," and, in spite of his prayer for a short respite, was hanged, 
drawn, and quartered on the following morning. — State Papers. 

1 His name first appears in the list of the Earl's officers in the 
North, in October, 1594. In the various letters from his employer 
he is addressed as " My loving cozen, Tho. Percy, my Constable of 

3 The documents relating to these charges throw so much light on the 
character of Thomas Percy, and his own correspondence so strongly 
shows his capacity and plausibility, that they are quoted in extenso in 
Appendix XI. These records also serve to illustrate the despotic 
powers then wielded by the great landowners, and, in their absence, by 
their agents, over the property and the liberty of their tenantry. 

3 Hallam describes the Earl as being (i rather destitute of religion 
than a zealot for popery" (Const. History, vol. ii., p. 47), but this learned 
writer, in common with other historians, was in error in believing him to 
have been a Catholic by profession. He had, as is shown, been brought 
up a Protestant, and had always outwardly conformed to that faith. 



A - D - support of James's claims, he had maintained throu. ' 
»o 4-1 32 t j ie ag enC y Q f Thomas Percy. There is no doubt thai 
in reliance upon James's promises, Percy had held ■ 
hopes of concessions to be made to his co-religioni 1 
and when, instead of their fulfilment, the Catholi 
found themselves treated with exceptional severif 
they charged him with having either artfully delud< 
and betrayed them, or of having allowed himself to 
be stupidly duped. Smarting under these reproaches, 
and stung by wounded vanity, he seized the first 
opportunity of revenging himself; threw in his lot with 
the English and foreign Jesuits and conspirators, and, by 
his resolution and energy, soon became a guiding spirit 
among the desperate men who determined to rid England 
of a perjured and heretic sovereign. 1 

It will only be necessary to refer to the well-worn storv 
of the Gunpowder Plot so far as to show the part played 
by the conspirator whose crime involved the reputation, 
the fortunes and the liberty of his innocent kinsman. 
The more carefully the mass of official documents relating 
to this matter are studied, 2 the more incomprehensible it 
becomes how a suspicion of the Earl of Northumberland's 
complicity could ever have been seriously entertained. 

Thomas Percy was now in his forty-sixth year, 
though premature greyness of hair made him appear 
older. He is described as " in figure tall and hand- 
some, his eyes large and lively, and the expression 

1 "Percy, who was one of the House of Northumberland, and at that 
time one of the King's Pensioners, according to the bluntness of his 
temper, did offer himself for the service, and that he would without an) 
more ado undertake to assassinate His Majesty." — Philopater. 

He was indeed always a man of action rather than words : ''About 
the middle of Easter Term, Thomas Percy, as hote as Hotspur himself, 
came puffing to Catesby's lodging in Lambeth, and asked, ' Shall we 
always be talking here and never doe anything?' " — Speed. 

2 They form a separate collection under the title of The Gunpowdtf 
Plot Book, in the Record Office. 



of his countenance pleasing ; though grave and not- a.d. 1604 
v, ithstanding the boldness of his character, his manners 
were gentle and quiet." J 

His conduct throughout the desperate work in which 
he became engaged proves him to have possessed much 
courage, and strength of will and character. For a 
whole fortnight he was occupied with Catesby in 
piercing through the stone wall, and excavating the 
ground, of his own house, in order to gain access to the 
adjoining premises ; and his Jesuit accomplice expresses 
his surprise that " men of their quality should do more 
than as many workmen accustomed to earn their daily 
bread by labour," and wonders how they, " who were 
unusually tall men, could endure for so long a time 
the intense fatigue of working, day and night, in the 
stooping posture rendered necessary by the straitness 
of the place." 2 

When the preparations for the conspiracy had been 
completed, and the mine had been, literally as well as 
figuratively, laid, Thomas Percy proceeded to the North, 
and according to custom received from the agents of the 
Earl's different estates the rents collected by them, with 
the avowed object of conveying these moneys to London. 
The sum so received by him exceeded ,£3,000, which 
he had determined to expend in the furtherance of 
the plot. He returned to London on Friday, the 1st 
November, but did not show r himself to his employer, who 
believed him still to be in the North. On the following 
Sunday, one of Percy's servants, named Davison, called 

1 Father Greemvay's MS. In the proclamation for his capture he is 
thus described : "The said Percy is a tall man with a great broad beard, 
a good face ; the colour of his beard and head myngled with white haires, 
but the Head more white than his Beard. He stoopeth somewhat in the 
shoulders, is well coloured in the face, long-footed, small-legged." — 
Original State Papers. 

3 Fatlier Green-cay's MS. 

2 55 


a.d. upon Sir Jocelyne Percy (a nephew of the conspirator in 
15 +^ 6 3 2 the service of the Earl) ' to inquire after his master, and it 
is evident that, but for this indiscretion, Thomas Percy 
would have remained in concealment till after the 
accomplishment of his designs. Finding, however, that 
his presence in town would become known or suspected, 
he thought it more prudent to appear in public, and 
accordingly waited upon the Earl at Syon House on 
Monday the 4th November, and, after dining there, 
proceeded to visit other members of the family at Essex 
House. The conspirator's visit to Syon House on the 
day preceding the attempted crime became the ground 
of suspicion against the Earl, but in point of fact affords 
the strongest evidence of his innocence of all complicity 
in, or knowledge of, the plot. Would Thomas Percy, in 
presence of the numerous guests seated at table, have en- 
deavoured to obtain information from an accomplice on the 
subject of the approaching meeting of Parliament ? Would 
he not rather have avoided such a topic before strangers. 
and chosen a more convenient moment for seeking to 
ascertain from an ally what foundation there existed for 
the rumours already prevalent, that the plot had been 
discovered ? Again, the Earl was then in possession ot 
the fact that Lord Monteagle had received a letter of 
warning, and that this letter had been communicated to 
the Council of which he was a member. Would he not, 
had he been a favourer, or even cognisant, of Percy's 
design, have informed him of this discovery, and warned 
him of the danger that awaited the conspirators ? 

Thomas Percy, on the contrary, left Syon House re- 
assured as to the alarming rumours ; and not until the 
arrest of Guy Faux did he and his accomplices seek safety 
in flight. Hotly pursued, and brought to bay, Percy and 

1 See his quaint deposition, Appendix XII. 


Catesby determined to sell their lives dearly. Standing a.d. 1605 
Kick to back they killed or disabled several of their 
assailants, but were finally brought to the ground by 
••one bullet of musket shot" which penetrated both 
bodies. 1 

When we consider the atrocious character of the crime 
contemplated, and so nearly accomplished, and the com- 
mon tendency of such acts to produce a panic followed 
by indiscriminate vengeance, the moderation of King 
James's Government, and of the populace, becomes matter 
for surprise. The hideous massacre of their co-religionists 
in Paris on St. Bartholomew's nigfht was still fresh in 
the memory of Englishmen, and a general retaliatory 
rising against the Catholics would have been an in- 
telligible, if not an excusable, national impulse. No 
such feeling, however, betrayed itself ; the offenders 
were as a rule tried in due course of law, and punished 
with no exceptional severity; and even the more stringent 
enforcement of the existing laws against the members 
of the Church of Rome seemed intended rather as a 
demonstration against the Catholic powers of the 
Continent, than a penalty upon English conspirators. 

This moderation makes the severe treatment of the 
Earl of Northumberland the more remarkable. Thomas 

1 Speetfs Chronicle. The shot by which Catesby was killed upon the 
^pot and Percy mortally wounded was fired by one Thomas Hall, whose 
name appears on the Exchequer Rolls as late as in 1640, as the recipient 
of a pension of two shillings a day in reward for the act. There were, 
however, several claimants for this honour, among others John Street 
of Worcester, who petitions the Earl of Salisbury for a reward of no less 
than ;£i,ooo, or an equivalent annual pension, for having " carryed 
himself so resolute .... that it was his fortune at two shootes to slay three 
of the principall of them [the conspirators] viz. Pearcy, Catesby and 
bright, and to hurt Ruckwoode sore besides ; and since spared no cost to 
provide chirurgery, and all other necessary meanes for the preservacon of 
tl't-ir lives thaCwere sore hurt, attenaing y"' hither at his own charges, with- 
out having anie benefit in ye world by them." — Lodge's Illustrations, 
*©L hi. p. 300. 

VOL. II. 257 S 


a.d. Percy was known to have been his kinsman and 
1564-1632 confidential servant, 1 to have been in possession of fund 
beloncrinor to him, and to have visited him at Syon Hou.s* 
on the evening preceding the attempt. These circum- 
stances served to arm the Earl's numerous enemies at 
Court, and although they would not warrant a powerful 
Peer, of hitherto irreproachable loyalty and honour, being 
openly charged with complicity in so foul a crime, they 
sufficed to implant suspicion in the mind of the jealous 
King, and to justify to his own peculiar conscience the 
arbitrary measures which, as time went by, he thought fit 
to adopt. 

To the inquiries of the Earl of Worcester, who was in 
the first instance despatched to Essex House, North- 
umberland, being awakened from his morning sleep. 
replied with "an air of scorn and confidence," that un- 
doubtedly Thomas Percy had dined with him on the 
evening of 4th November ; expressing at the same 
time some anxiety as to the rents which that person had 
received in the North and still retained in his hands, and 
his willino-ness to render every assistance for his apprc- 
hension. At a meeting of the Council on the same day. 
at which the King presided, it was determined that th 
Earl be " for the time placed under restraint," with the 
Archbishop of Canterbury (Richard Bancroft) at his 
palace at Croydon. 

Cecil, in his letters to the King's representatives at 

1 Osborne remarks that Thomas Percy had been in confident u 
communication with the King, in whose chamber " he had 
many a night while employed" in private by him with the Eng» sl1 
Catholicks. Yet His Majesty would have taken it ill to have be- 
thought a papist, or a conspirator for Elizabeth's death." He scouts '•■ - 
idea of the Earl's complicity in so foul a plot, which "did not suit w -i; 
anything I could observe in' his temper ; much less with a person ot • s 
honour and fortune, to exchange so happy a present condition for a 
future advantage he could hope to scramble out from amongst U - 
cinders and ruins of his country." — Traditional Memoirs. 




foreign courts, thus endeavours to justify, and at the same a.d. 1605 

lime to minimise, the importance of this measure : — 

" It hath been thought meet in pollicie of State (all 
circumstances considered) to commit the Earl of North- 
umberland to the Archbishop of Canterbury, there to be 
honorably used untill things be more quiett; whereof if you 
should hear any Judgment made, as if His Majesty or his 
Councill could harbour a thought of such a savadge practise 
to be lodged in such a nobleman s breast, you shall doe well 

ito suppresse it as a malicious Discourse and Invention ; this 
being only done to satisfie the World that nothing be 
undone which belongeth to pollicie of State, when the 
whole Monarchy was proscribed to dissolution ; and 
being no more than himself discreetly approved as 
necessarie, when he received the Sentence of the Council 
for his Restrainte." ' 

There is no evidence on record to confirm the 
statement that the Earl had " approved " of the course 
adopted against him ; but, however this may have been, 
his lanoaiaQfe wa s that of a man who had nothing to fear 
or to conceal, and who was anxious to contribute, by all 
means within his power, to the detection of the crime and 
its perpetrators. 

On 8th November he writes to the Council from 
Croydon : — 

I" I shalbe gladde as matters falles out to store you 
with circumstances, to the ende that the bare truth may 
appeare. Amongst the rest forgett not this one, I praye 
you. First by the letters of Ffotherley, 2 you may 
see how he [Percy] stored himselfe with my money, as 
passing with three Portmantues filled upon Friday, at 

1 Earl of Salisbury to Sir C. Cormvallis, 7 tli November, 1605. — 
H'VrnL'oocfs Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 172. 

2 The Earl's Receiver or Auditor, whose letters to him, dated 7th and 
Sth November were enclosed in this communication. 

259 S 2 


a.d. night, at Ware. Secondlie, his horse kept in diett at Don- 
x 5 4-J 3 2 caster for his retorne ; and Wednesdaye, the day after this 
horrible fact should be committed, was the tyme appointed 
for him to meet with the rest of my Money and the rest 
of my Companie. Thirdly, that by Ffotherley's letter 
your lordships may see Percy's excuse ; for the money 
that was wanting was to be receaved at London, soe as 
there was a greater proportion of horses sente downe by 
appointement, than there was that came upp. 1 

" Ffourthlie, as most palpable ; this was one. Ffriday 
was the day hee came to London ; I, neither anie of 
myne, did see him till Monday twelve of the clock, 
when he came to Sion to me ; went away presentlie 
after dinner, after he had Sawsed mee with a Gudgeon ;* 
and then appeared to the rest of my people at Essex 
House, from whence hee was to passe as hee told me, 
and then told them, to Ware, that night ; givinge them 
all the same gudgeon that hee hadde bestowed on me 
before, as alsoe to my brother Charles, my brother 
Alan, Sir Edward Ffrannces Edmund Powton, Giles 
Greene and Captain Witlock, as may appeare if they 
be examined. Soe as, my Lords, it is probable I 
should not have seen him at Sion uppon Monday, if 
one accident had not happened ; and that was this : 
A man of his came to the Courte to my lodging uppon 
Sonday to enquire for Thomas Percy ; 3 this man was 
a stranger to all the Companie, and never seene before 
by anie of them ; the fashion of the man your lordships 

1 The Earl's northern rents used, according to the universal practice, 
to be conveyed to London in hard cash by pack-horses. 

2 Meaning " deceived me with a falsehood." This is confirmed by 
the deposition of Robert Keyes, one of the conspirators, who states : 
"Percy boasted that he had told the Earl of Northumberland a lie to 
get money from him." — Gunpowder Plot Bock. 

3 This is borne out in full detail in the deposition of Sir Joceiy^ 1 -' 
Percy, Appendix XIII. 



shall understande, to the ende he may bee caught here-^c; 
after. If this man by this meanes, had not discovered 
[divulged] that his master, Thomas Percy, had byne 
in towne by this Accidente ; and that he fownde that 
my followers of necessitie must knowe it, I thinke I 
should not have seene him uppon Monday at Syon, 
and the rest of my companie that afternoone at Essex 
Howse, one of the greatest arguments of suspition laid 

Ito my chardge. Though I be somewhat tedious in 
these trifrles I say to your Lordships they be matters 
of moment to me, and I hope you will pardon me, for 
I saie still, the more you knowe, the better it will be 
for me" ' 

On the following day Northumberland addresses the 
King in terms which indicate that while he was 
conscious of having given offence, and of having justly 
incurred the royal displeasure by his negligence, he does 
not admit the possibility of James seriously harbouring 
any suspicion of his complicity in the plot. 

" Sir, 

" The true integrity of my soule towards you 
hastens me to put all conceits of anger owt of y r Ma ts 
hart towards y r faithfullest seruant. the want of y r presence 
besides that it is disgracefull to me in the world grieues 
my inwardest thoughts. Y r Ma : in y r function vppon earth 
is a God ; your self owt of y r justice and mercy seekes to 
imitate that great Master. He forgiues those that repent. 
I auowe that I am sorrie in my minde of y r displeasure 
(now got by my passions, and neuer imbraced in my 

1 Ahinnck J/SS., voL ci. p. 4. The copy of this letter bears the 
following marginal note in the handwriting of the Earl : — 

"By this narrative I endeavoured to make probable that Thomas 
Percy would not have come uppon Monday to S,on, if, by his man's 
enquiry for him at my lodginge at Courte, hee had not byne discovered 
to be in London." 



a.d. thoughts w th the lest jot of Intention) I beseche y r ma: 
i5 6 42[ 6 3 2 therefore hold on that imitaon the world takes notice of 
in you in this case of mine ; for y r ma ty knowes not how 
much it stinges me y r displeasure. At this time the 
burden is much more heauy, because the world may take 
jealosy as things fall owt at this pnt, and lay a greater 
imputaon to my charge, then euer they can rite me in 
hereafter. Saue, I humbly craue y r ma ty , the bird in my 
bosome : I meane my loyalty, or the lestimaginaon y l may 
fall w th in the compas of fooles censures. If I haue not 
endured enough allready of y r indignaon for my offence, 
returne me hereafter to begin againe fro whence y r Ma ty 
shall free me for the pnt. If my seruice at anv time haue 
deserued this fauor, or may hereafter, lett these lines moue 
his hart to forgett it, to whose person and seruice he is 
deuoted for euer that desires the attribute of one of 

" Y r ma ts loyallest subiects and 

" humble vassals, 


" Croydon, this pnt 

It was not until the morning of the ioth November 
that the Earl received the tidings of Thomas Percy 
having fallen, sorely wounded, into the hands of 
his pursuers. Had he been conscious of the slightest 
blame in the matter charged against him, he would have 
been but too rejoiced at the prospect of the removal of such 
an accomplice ; but he now, on the contrary, urged the 
authorities to employ the best surgical skill for the pre- 
servation of the life of the culprit, with a view to his 
own vindication : — 

" I heare Mr. Percy is taken," he writes to the Council, 

1 Original State Papers— Dom. ; James I. Record Office, vol. xvi. 
No. 41. 



"(if that I heare is true); but withall shotte through the * ».• if. 
shoulders with a muskett. Our Surgeons in tin . 
countryes are not over excellent for a shott ; if Heatc 
take it, the patient with a fever will soone make an crulc. 
None but hee can showe me as clear e as the day, or <n 
darke as the night. Therefore I hope it shall not offendc 
you if I require Haste ; for now will hee tell truely, 
if ever ; being readie to make his accompt to Almightie 
God." ' 

While these words were being written the wretched 
conspirator had passed away, and there is no record of 
his dying deposition having been taken. There is good 
reason for believing, however, that the King felt relieved 
of a oreat burden when he learnt that his former 
confidential and much-trusted messenger was dead. 2 

A report was now spread that the Earl had received a 
warning to absent himself from the opening of Parlia- 
ment, and that he had determined to do so without 
communication with the authorities. Not one atom of 
evidence was adduced in support of this charge ; even 
Salisbury, at this time, refers to it as only a vague rumour.' 

1 All the Earl's letters from the Tower, in the course of this chapter, 
for which no authority is quoted in a footnote, are derived from the 
originals, or from copies collated by the Bishop of Dromore, in the 
collection of MSS. at Alnwick Castle. 

a The following memorandum, in the handwriting and_ under the 
signature of the Bishop of Dromore, is preserved among the Alnwuk 
MSS. .— 

"The present Earl of Hardwick informs me that he had heard \m 
father, the late Lord Chancellor, tell this remarkable anecdote coi 
cerning the gunpowder conspirators. That when the accoi 
brought to King James of some of them having been purs'ied ti ' 
Worcester, where part of them were secured, and the rest killed by t»« 
Posse Comitates, the King eaeerly inquired what they had done wsth 
Percy, and when they told him that he was killed, the Km- could m t 
conceal his satisfaction, but seemed relieved from an anxious suspense, 
that evidently showed he was glad that Percy was in a condition to tell 
no tales." 

3 Other of the Earl's enemies did not hesitate to name him as one ol 
the chief conspirators, and to circulate their calumnies at foreign courts. 



a.d. " Northumberland," he writes to Lord Dunfermline on 

' 5 6 4^ 6 3 2 t jj e j st December, " was supposed to have received a general 
warning from Percy, but not of any reasonable knowledge 
of the real plot ;" l yet it was against imputations resting 
upon such grounds as these that he was required to 
defend himself. 

" Pardon me, I pray your Lordships, if I insiste still 
upon this Ground, that the more particulars yow know, 
the better it will be for me ; and in that kind to becom 
an humble Sutor that I may be an Agent. The 
seruis that I can doe in this case is but to present to 
your memories sutche things as are most lykely to give 
means of discovery. Therefore consider, I desier your 
lordships, the course of my lyfe ; whether it hathe not 
leaned more of late yeares to private domesticall 
pleasures, than to other ambitions. Examin but my 
humors in Buildings, Gardenings, and Private Expenses, 
theas two yeares past. Looke but upon those few arms 
at Syon ; my stable of hors at this instant ; the Dis- 
persednes of them and of my seruants ; the littell 
concours of followers; and your Lordships will fynd 
they be very consonant one to another, and all of them 
to put by all iealousy. Weighe but a little further, that 
not any one of theas men yett knowen, or that have 
busied themselves in this action, soe mutche as their faces 
have been noted of me (Percy only excepted). Besides 

On the strength of such reports his own kinsmen turned against him. Sir 
William Browne writes to Lord Lisle from Flushing on 9th November :— 

" The States haue, on Wensday next, proclaymed a solemne day of Fast 
and Prayer, and that only for a Thanksgiving to God for the Kings late 
deliueraunce. . . . Seing the Earle of Northumberland hath so vilain- 
ously and deuilishly forgot himself, I am sory that ever I honored 
him, and more sory that I have a chyld that carryes his name." — Sidney 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 316. 

1 State Papers. Sir Edmond Hoby writes to Sir Thomas Edmonds 
on 19th November : "Some say that Northumberland received the like 
letter that Monteagle did, but concealed it.' ' — Ibid. 



looke but into the store of Treasor that I had gathered a.d. 1605 
into my purse against thys tyme (whiche I will be 
aschamed to write but your lordships may understande 
uppon Enquire), and there will, in somme of them be 
found circumstances that will leade on to a better and 
certainer knowledge of the thing in question. In what 
sorte, or howe, or to whome, out of theas perticulars your 
Lordships shall procede. I leaue to your graver iudgments ; 
but suere I am out of theas, coniectures may be made and 
somewhat bolted out, if the sentence be not true Qui 
vadit plane vadit sane. Theas things I write not but in 
way of rememoracons, bycause they are things pryuat 
and not open to your lordships' knowledges ; yett sutche 
things as may give satisfaction if they be scanned. 

e< I hope your Lordships will pardon me if I be earnest 
in this cause, for the Obloquie lies as yett heauy vpon 
me ; and that your Lordships will as well embrace, and 
bundle upp circumstances out of your charites that 
makes for me, as thos that gives suspitions." ■ 

On the same day he requested Salisbury to examine 
one of his confidential servants as to the recent pro- 
ceedings of Thomas Percy, " by which meanes I shall 
lay myselfe the more open, and perhapps get some of 
my lost goodes againe." 

The attempt directly to incriminate the Earl in the 
plot having failed, his enemies now endeavoured to 
establish his connection with the general intrigues of 
the Catholic party. With this object in view, Popham, 
the Lord Chief Justice, subjected him to a lengthened 
examination ; but all that could be elicited was, the un- 
welcome evidence that King James, before his accession 
to the English throne, had authorised Northumberland 

1 Earl of Northumberland to the Council, 15th November, 1605. — 
Original State Papas, Record Office, vol. xvi. No. 77. 



a.d. to promise indulgence to the Catholics in return for their 
15 4-^ 3 2 adhesion to his cause. 

" In the late Queen's time the King allowed me to 
give hopes to the English Catholics, which I did, but 
went no farther " ; and although it suited the policy of 
James to deny having given such encouragement, the 
fact stands established on the unquestionable evidence of 
letters written under his own hand. The Earl, indeed, 
had no personal sympathy with the Catholic party ; and, 
as Thomas Winter stated in his confession, although the 
conspirators had at first believed that he was in favour 
of their cause, they soon discovered that they had 
nothing to hope from him, being informed by 
Thomas Percy that "for matters of religion the Earl 
troubled not much himself." ' 

On the day following his examination the Earl sup- 
plemented his evidence by this letter to the Council : — 

" My Lords, yesterday with standing soe long and 
talkinge soe long, my spiritts weare soe wearied as 
perhapps I opened not some circumstances soe at 
lardge as was requisitt for me. Your Lordships pro- 
mised all circumstances should be wayed with one another, 
therefore I make bolde to presente you with this more 
at lardge. Whereas one interrogatory was, whether I 
had at any time promised the Papists to stande with 
them, or take theire partes ? or some such like kinde 
of promise or protestacon, (I doe not perfectly re- 
member the interrogatory,) I dare avow that since the 
Queen's death, never any man livinge hearde me say 
such a worde. Before her Majesties death, tippon 
commatindmente I receaved from the Kinge, (if that 
commaundmente Percy brought me weare true,) what 
I might saie to give them comforte of tolleracons, or 

1 Gunpmvder Plot Beck. 


that the Kinge would be indifferent, or that I could a.d^6o 5 
doe them all the good I could, to the ende to holde them 
firm to his Majestie, suspecting by the gencrall opinion and 
voyce, that they affected the Infantas title, or might doe so 
if they were not helde on with hopes ; and to this ende 
shall you finde all my letters to his Ma tie in this sorle, and 
then perhapps I said that which would not have byne well 
saidnoiv; yet I protest I remember no Particulars.'' 

No statement could be more honest or straight- 
forward; and the alleged facts are so fully confirmed 
by the secret correspondence, that it is difficult to under- 
stand how the King could have ventured to call them 
in question. Equally clear is it that Northumberland's 
plea for the Catholics had been dictated solely by 
consideration for James's better reception in England, 
and of this also no one was so well aware as the 


" Nowe my Lords," so the letter proceeds, " it is 
requisitt that I doe lay downe circumstances and truthes 
that will cleare ivhatsoever was said in that tyme, was don 
with an honest intention to obey the King, and doe him 
service, and one is this : the wordel (world) knowes that 
I am no Papist ; the wordel knows no man is more 
obedient to the laws of the Church of England than I 
am ; and the wordel may knowe I am noe Supporter of 
Recusants, neither is my house pestered with them, 
some one or two old servants to my House excepted. 
Doth your lordships thinke that my counsels, 
both to the King and amongst your lordships, ever 
leaninge and stiff for upholding the States (of Holland), 
and favouring them in all that little power I had, could 
meane to make myselfe a partner with the Papists ? 
and was there not one mayne example to witnesse this 
last Summer, by being so earnest against my brother 
Charles his going to the Arch Dukes, that I diswaded 



a.d. him, crossed him with it underhand, and made the 
15 — ° 2 Kinge acquainted with it as some of your lordships 
doth very well understand ? x 

" My lords, I will make an end abruptlie, but with the 
request that, as your lordships hath byne so iust as to saie 
that circumstances should be waied with circumstances, 
soe your lordships in your examinacon will as well picke 
out circumstances to cleare me, as to caste me. And 
soe I humblie take my leave, and rest, 

" Your Lordships to doe you service, 

" H. Northumberland." 2 

From the postscript attached, it appears that it was 
also now attempted to implicate the Earl in Raleigh's 
plots, and that he was required to furnish explanations 
of his correspondence with him several years before. 

" To be daintie (reticent) I knowe breeds suspition, 
yet oftentymes forgettfulnesse appears to be dainties 
when it is not. Therefore, for the letter received from 
Sir Walter was by Fitz James himselfe, as 
I remember, to be knighted ; and one more, but by 
whome I knowe not, I protest, but that it was for some 
arguments to be delivered the King for his delivery 
(liberation) and at least two years since. Hee never 
had letters from me since his troubles. Thus much I 
write because I would have your lordships to know all, 
and I to appeare in my right cullors, and let interpre- 
tacon to be made accordinge to your consciences which 
I refferr to God." 

Two days later he writes again : — 

" As your lordship's interrogetories are generall for the 

1 This refers to Charles Percy's desire for a command under the 
Archduke in the Low Countries. — Seea/i/e, foot note 4, p. 251. 

2 Northumberland to the Council, 14th November, 1605. — Original 
State papers. 

2 68 


most, soe it cannot but chuse, but the memorie of man a.d. 1605 
must be forgetfull in the particulars unexprest yet un- 
foulded in thease generallitees. To one interrogetory last 
demanded I answered negatively as my remembrance 
then served me .... the interrogetory was this : — ' What 
discourse of matter of importance was at my table the 
Monday the 4th of November?' My answere was 
' none ' (as farr as I did remember), since which tyme a 
poore man of myne, that waiteth in my chamber, by way 
of other talke, made me remember that as wee sate at 
dinner Percy asked Sir William Lowre what newes of 
the parlemente, who answered none that hee heard of. 
With that Percy drawes out a little paper wherein was 
the somme of the articles agreed of by the Commissioners, 
which weare five, as I remember, saying : ' we have then 
more newes in the north than you have heare.' They 
lookinge uppon those articles, I asked what they weare ; 

they shewed them me and I red them What they 

said one to the other I knowe not, but as I hearde was 
not materiall, neither do I speake it for that, but as an 
argumente wherefore Percy came thither that day, not to 
give vie waminge but to have some light, and whether he 
could discover anythinge or me. How probable this is, 
that it was put out for a bayte, to see whether I under- 
stood anythinge of the Lord Monteagle's letter; and this 
doth not much disagree from that your Lordships said, 
that Percy (to some of his companions said), ' I- will go 
to Syon and then I will tell you more,' for it is to be 
supposed that either out of my Lord Monteagle's 
inwardnes with me, or out of being a Privy Counsellor. 
I must understand somewhat if things were discovered, 
and yet durst hee not aske me whether there weare 
anythinge or noe. 

" Now your Lordships know the circumstances, I 
referr it to your wisdomes what constructione to make 



a.d. of it, and whether, if I had been warned, such a tale had 
i5 6 4^ 6 3 2 no t better have byue in private than at dinner" 

Is the following, addressed to the Earl of Exeter, the 
letter of one conscious of any fault in the matter charged 
against him ? 

" My Lord, Because I know how neare you are to 
me, and that I knowe you love me, I cannot chuse but 
thinke that a protestacon of inocency wilbe wellcome to 
you. For your satisfaction I rather undertake this letter 
than for any other Ende. Before this tyme, and whiles 
matters weare in Heate, I did forbeare, because then it 
was not proper to vow and to protest. Tyme, I knew, 
would clear matters better, and therefore now I will vow 
and protest uppon my saluation, and that ys : that I prayc 
the Greate God of Heaven may lay all the plagues that 
ever zvas inflicted uppon mortall man uppon me and my 
whole posteritic, and that neither I nor they may euer see 
his face, or euioye the blessinge and conforte of heaven, if 
either in knowledge or conjecture or practice or conceal- 
mente, or any kinde else to me knowne, I weare pnvie 
i to this horrible Act ; and this keep as a memoriall from 

me to the shame of myne honor and the blotte of my whole 
House, if it be not true. Your noble brother doth deale 
noblie and iustlie with me, and it is no shame for him to 
receave thanks from you for doinge iustlie with me. 
Comende me to my Lady my aunte, 1 and tell her that I, 
that have byne an honest man in a tyme that I receaved 
no favours, cannot chuse but be one in a tyme that I 
receaved some. And soe with my best wishes I rest 

14 Your Lordships true frend and nephew, 

"H. N. 

" 17 of Novemb r 1605/' 

1 Lord Exeter, it will be remembered, had married a sister of the Earl s 
mother, a younger daughter of the last Lord Latimer. 



''Postscript a ; I might have chosen whether I would have a. 0^1605 
given you this satisfaction, for it neither furthers me nor 
hinders in my inocency, which must be proved by other 
circumstances of which I hope you have already seene 
some, or els this will doe noe good but to discharge my 
soul to you for your satisfaction." 

So far the examination had only served to establish 
the complete absence of incriminatory evidence against 
the Earl ; but King James, smarting under that sense 
of past obligations so painfully felt by ignoble natures, 
and glad of an opportunity of humbling the haughty 
English peer who had refused to mingle in the servile 
throng that crawled and cringed around the throne, 
allowed no exculpatory facts, however, well proven, to 
divert him from his course, and three weeks after the 
discovery of the plot signed the warrant for committal 27th 
of the Earl of Northumberland to the Tower, as a November, 
preliminary to his trial in the Star Chamber. 

Once more Burghley, or, as we should now call him, 
Salisbury, 1 thought it necessary to give to his agents 
at foreign courts an explanation of these proceedings, in 
order to justify in the public mind the harsh treatment of 
one who had many powerful friends and sympathisers at 
home and abroad. 

After stating that the Lords Montagu, Stourton, and 
Mordaunt, had been sent to the Tower because of their 
connection and intimacy with some of the principal 
conspirators, and because Catesby had declared that they 
had been warned and would certainly absent themselves 
from London, which they actually did, he proceeds in this 
apologetic tone : — 

"You may the better satisfy your own judgment in 
the like course taken with the Earl of Northumberland, 

1 He had been created Earl of Salisbury in the previous May. 



a.d. on whom though it cannot be cast that he was absent, yet 
1564-1632 because p erC y on ly named him and the Lord Mom- 
eagle, 1 and that Monteagle had a letter of warning, 
together with the circumstances of Percy's inwardness. 
and his coming- out of the North three days before the 
time, and his resort to the Earl not twentie hours before 
this villainy should have been acted, the presumption ha! i: 
been thought sufficient to commit him to the like place 
and custody ; and thus much the rather, because the Earl. 
upon the death of the Queen, and af^er, had declared 
often to the King, that the Catholics had offered them- 
selves to depend upon him in all their courses, so far as 
His Majesty making him know his pleasure ; and he 
doubted not but to contain (restrain) them from any 

" Thus you have as much as may satisfy all reports 
of more or less than I have written ; wherein, assure your- 
self, that such is the justice of this time, as if no more 
appear than this, which may well deserve as much as is 
done, there shall be no such rules of rigorous policy 
practised upon a Nobleman of his "blood and qualitie, as 
not to set him free again without touch of his estate : 
assuring you, for mine own parte, that although it is not 
improbable that Percy gave him some general warning, 
according to his resolution (?) with his confederates, and 
that there is no direct proof whether the Earl would have 
b:eii present at the Parliament or not, because the hour 
was prevented of the execution, wherein it may be said 
he might in discretion have forborne to offer any show 
of absence till the very instant ; yet I believe that Percy 
never durst acquaint a nobleman of his birth, alliance and 

1 This refers to the fact of some of the prisoners having confessed 
that, when the question of warning their friends was under discus-ion by 
the conspirators, Percy had expressed a wish to save the lives ol North- 
umberland and Monteagle, if it were possible. 



disposition, with so unnatural and savage a ptot, as that a.d. i6o= 
wherein so many whom himself loved must have perished. 
Only this is the misfortune, that Catesby and Percy being 
dead, his innocency, or his guiltiness, must both depend 
upon circumstances of other persons and times." " 

The animus of the King and his minister towards the 
Earl is strikingly illustrated by the contrast presented in 
their treatment of the Lords Montagu, Mordaunt, and 
Stourton ; against the two latter of whom there existed, if 
not positive proof, yet very strong suspicion of complicity 
in the plot, and certainly full evidence of their having been 
warned of the contemplated crime ; of their having sup- 
pressed this knowledge ; and finally of their having actually 
absented themselves from London on the appointed day, 
and engaged relays of horses against any emergency. 

Yet while Northumberland remained in durance, they 
were only charged with the offence of having disregarded 
the King's summons to Parliament, and were, shortly 
after, liberated on payment of a fine. 

No time was lost in seeking for such evidence as 
might afford the groundwork of formal charges of 
complicity against the Earl. His castles in the North 
were seized and searched under a royal warrant, 3 and 

1 Earl of Salisbury to Sir Thomas Edmonds (Minister Resident at 
Madrid) 2nd December, 1605.— .Birch's Historical View, p. 244. 

3 Sir Henry Witherington was ordered to take possession of Alnwick, 
Tynemoutb, Prudhoe. and Cockermouth Castles, upon hearing of which' 
the Earl wrote to Salisbury praying that "'Percy's closet door at Alnwick 
might be sealed up, as it contained, among other papers, bonds of 
Wuherington's to the value of a thousand marks which he might be 
tempted to dispose of to his own advantage. I have lost enough 
already and loath to lose more." — Alnwick MSS., vol. viii. The losses 
referred to were defalcations on the part of Thomas Percy who, writes 
Wickliffe, the Earl's A.uditor, "appears to have robbed your Lordship 
in toto of ,£1,920, and I dare engage my credit when the bonds and 
bills left in his custody come to be examined you will be found to be 
deceived of no small sums of money besides this now appearing." 
Fotherley, another agent, subsequently puts the sums misappropriated by 
Percy at ^3,000. — Ibid. 

VOL. II. 273 T 


a.d. Salisbury took pains to intimate that, although there were 
1564-1632 strong grounds for suspicion against him, " considerin ■ 
the 0-reatness of his house, and the improbability that 
he should be acquainted with such a barbarous plot, 
being a man of honour and valour, His Majesty is rather 
induced to believe that whatsoever anie of the traitor^ 
have spoken of him hath been rather their vaunts than 
upon any other good ground ; so that I think his Lordship 
will the next term be granted his libertie upon honorable 
and gracious terms, which, for myne own part, though 
there hath never been any extraordinarie clearness between 
7is, I write because this state is very barren of men o! 
great blood and real sufficiencie together." J 

More than six months elapsed before an indictment 
could be framed, calculated to bring the Earl within the 
power of the law. The zealous Attorney- General was 
obliged to admit his inability to implicate him formally in 
the " two horrible and unnatural treasons," laid to the 
charge of the notorious conspirators, namely : the or- 
ganisation of a foreign invasion of the Kingdom, and the 
attempted explosion of the House of Parliament. He 
was, however, enabled to frame a series of charges, which 
though falling short of High Treason could by legal inge- 
nuity be distorted into "divers crimes very great, and high 
contempts, misprisions and offences against His Majesty. 

1 Earl of Salisbury to E. Brouncker. — State Papers, Ireland. 

" But either Lord Salisbury was insincere in these assurances of an 
intention to release Northumberland, if nothing further appeared against 
him, or evidence must have been laid before the Council which was 
concealed from the public eye at the time, and which does not exist at 
the present day. Among the State Papers there is nothing which teruis 
to show that he had any previous knowledge of the Plot, inOcca a 
criminal implication in the designs cf the conspirators 7cas ncoer fornui lly 
imputed to him? — Jardine's Gunpowder Plot, p. 161. 

Salisbury did not pretend to have any grounds for his suspicion that 
the Earl had received a warning from Percy of the projected outrage, 
for in a letter to lord Dunfermline of 1st December, sa\-. 
11 Northumberland was supposed to have received a general warning j* ■" 
Percy, but not of any reasonable knowledge cf the real Plot." — State Papers* 



By this means each separate charge was based upon a.p. 1606 
such a modicum of fact as made it extremely difficult 
for the accused to admit or deny the truth of any one 
article in the indictment, without involving himself 
in the meshes of false inference and unfair conclu- 
sions ; or of incurring the suspicion of untruthfulness or 
wilful concealment of facts. To prejudice the Prisoner 
in the mind of his judges, Sir Edward Coke further 
laid it down, that although the indictment comprised 
only the minor charges of contempts and misdemeanors, 
" other matters of higher nature " were reserved for 
consideration at " some other tyme and place at His 
Majesty's pleasure." f 

The accusations upon which the Earl was now brought 
to trial were as follows : — 

i. Having, during the life of the late Queen, employed 
Thomas Percy to procure from King James favour on 
behalf of English Catholics " thus derogating from the 
King's authority by stealing away the hearts of his 
subjects, and making himself head of the most factious 
and trayterous faction in the Kingdome." 

2. Having admitted Thomas Percy into the band of 
Gentlemen Pensioners "knowing him to be a Jesuit 
Recusant and Papist," without having imposed upon 
him the Oath of Supremacy. 

3. Having while under restraint upon suspicion of 
complicity in the Gunpowder Plot, written letters to 
his officers in the North, desiring them to have a care 
of his moneys and revenues, and to preserve these from 
the hands of Thomas Percy, whom he knew to have 
fled into those parts, " giving him thereby a note and 

watchword to escape." 


1 Star Chamber Proceedings against the ninth Ear/ of Northumberland, 
23rd June, 1606.— Cotton JfSS., Vesp. E. xiv. 451. 

275 T - 


a.d. 4. Having presumed to write such letters while under 

15 ll? 32 restraint without leave from his Majesty. 

5. Having, he being as a Privy Counsellor sworn 
to preserve the King's Majesty and the State, failed 
to instruct his officers in the North to apprehend the 
said Percy, " so preferring the safety of a little money, 
before the taking of a capital traytor, and conse- 
quently before the safety of the King and the whole 
Kingdome." ' 

As regards the first charge, a reference to the Earl's 
correspondence with James of Scotland will show how 
grossly his suggestion for some toleration to the 
Catholics was here misrepresented ; and even that 
King must have felt a pang of shame at thus, after 
the lapse of five years, charging as a crime against his 
former friend and adherent, a proposition made entirely 
in his interests, which he had thankfully received, and 
in the justice and expediency of which he had concurred. 

The failure on the part of the Earl, as Captain of the 
Gentlemen Pensioners, to exact from his kinsman the 
oath which the conditions of the service and the King-'s 


special instructions 2 demanded, was undoubtedly a grave 
dereliction of duty ; but there is not the slightest ground 
for ascribing the omission, if it were wilful, which is open 
to doubt, 3 to any motive more serious then an ill-judged 

1 See Appendix XIII. 

2 In a private letter written by the King very shortly after his acces- 
sion, relating to the discipline of the Gentlemen Pensioners, he states: 
" First, and especially, I hold it fit to have the oath of supremacy taken 
by every one of them." — King James to Earl of Northumberland, 
May, 1603. Slate Papers. 

3 The EarFs explanation was to the effect that his Lieutenant (his 
brother Alan) was the person immediately charged with the duty oi 
administering the oath, and that he was under the impression that 
Thomas Percy had duly complied with this formality (see answer to 

• interrogatories, Appendix XIV.). It proved, however, that he had not 
been sworn. The Attorney-General now attempted to establish thai 
the omission had been a wilful one on the part of the Earl, in order 



regard for Thomas Percy's religious scruples. It is a.d.^i6o6 
certain that the imposition of the oath would not have 
had the effect of thwarting any treasonable design, had 
he then entertained such, on the part of Percy ; since he 
would, as a matter of course, have obtained dispensation 
or absolution for an act of perjury committed in the 
interests of the Catholic Church. 

The remaining charges are of the most paltry character. 
No event could have been more grateful to the Earl than 
the apprehension of the fugitive conspirator; and the 
argument that his warning to his agents not to allow any 
of his moneys to fall into Thomas Percy's hands was in- 
tended for " a watchword and intelligence for his further 
flight " ' is unworthy of the astute, if unscrupulous, lawyer. 

In requiring his agents in the North to intercept any 
of his moneys that might be on their way to his receiver, 
Thomas Percy, the Earl simply took an obvious pre- 
caution for protecting his property ; and as he did not 
believe the conspirator to be himself in the North, it would 
not occur to him to order his apprehension. The fact of 
one of his servants having seized Thomas Percy's spare 
horse " for the King," proves that there was no intention 
of facilitating the traitor's escape. 

The following letter from the Earl's Auditor is indeed 

a conclusive answer to the preposterous charge : — 


"May it please your Lordship, 

" I mett with your Lordship's Horse and Mony 

at Doncaster. The Chardge of bringinge it thither 

from Yorke, was committed to Lawson, by Mr. 

that Percy might be " the more at liberty to execute any intended 
villainies" {Decree in the Star Chamber). The treasonable designs, 
which culminated in the Powder Plot in 1605, must, according to this 
theory, have been contemplated by the Earl and his kinsmen im- 
mediately after the accession of James, when Thomas Percy was first 
admitted into the band of Gentlemen Pensioners. 
1 Decree in the Star Chamber. 


t / 


a.d. Percy, who promised to meete them at Doncaster on 
1564-1632 Wednesday Night. Ther cometh up five Horse Loader 
of Money, the Value thereof, as wee imagine, amounteth 
to the Summe of 3000 and odde Hundred Pounds. The 
rest of the Money, Mr. Percy told Lawsonne, should be 
receaved at London. Mr. Wickcliffe is at his own 
House, unto whome Lawsonne is rode Poste with your 
Lordship's Letters, that he may come and take Chardge 
of the Money to London, accordinge as your Lordship's 
Pleasure is he should. Untill hee come to us to Don- 
caster, I will take Care of it. Mr. Percy lefte a Horse 
at Doncaster, at his Cominge to London, to be keapt in 
Diet untill his cominge backe. Mr. Lepton, who rode 
Post before me, hath seized upon him for the Kinge. 
We determine to sett forwarde to London, on Saterday 
Morninge. Thus in Hast I humbly rest 

" Your Lordship's most bownden Servant, 

" Thomas Fotherlev. 
" Doncaster; the 8th 
of November, 1605." 

The result of the trial in the Star Chamber was, as 
usual, a foregone conclusion ; but the Attorney-General's 
insinuation, for it does not amount to an assertion, that 
the Earl had pleaded guilty, is not justified by facts. 

" The said Earl being present at the bar as aforesaid. 
was demanded particularly what answer he could make 
to the said offences so informed against him ; whereupon 
the said Earl, labouring at the first to excuse or extenuate 
his said offences, with accusing the said Thomas Percy, 
.... pretending also his innocericy in all proceedings as 
touching any offence intended to his JMajestie or the 
Realm ; yet in the end, being made to understand by the 
Court that those his allegations and protestations extended 
rather to his further accusations than excuse, the said 



Earl, at the end, after full proof made of the several a.d. 1606 
contempts and offences aforesaid, confessing his errors in 
the same, submitted himself to the censure and judgment 
of this most honourable Court." 

Notwithstanding the gloss thus attempted to be put 
upon the Earl's explanations, it is evident that he 
resolutely denied the guilt imputed to him, while admit- 
ting the truth of certain facts upon which the charges 
were made to rest. He did not deny having advised 
the Kino- to make some concession to his future Catholic 
subjects ; nor of having shown neglect in the matter of 
Thomas Percy's admission to the Band of Pensioners, 
nor of having written to his agents in the North to warn 
them to be careful not to allow any of his moneys to fall 
into the hands of Thomas Percy ; but he utterly and 
entirely repudiated the inferences which his accusers 
attempted to draw from these acts. 

What chance however is there for a prisoner who is told 
by his judges that any attempt to deny or extenuate the 
crimes imputed to him will only serve to increase his 
culpability in their eyes ? 

Being found guilty upon all the charges, the Court 
"Adjudged and ordered that the said Earl shall, for the 
said Offences, pay for a Fine, to the use of His Majesty, 
the sum of ,£30,000, and shall be displaced and removed 
from the place of a Privy Counsellor, and from being 
Captain of His Majesty's Pensioners, and from being 
Lieutenant of His Majesty's Counties, and from all and 
every other Office, Honour or Place, which he holdeth by 
His Majesty's Grace and Favour, and hereafter be dis- 
abled to take upon him, or exercise, any of the said Offices 
or Places, and that he shall be returned Prisoner to the 
said Tower of London, from whence he came, there to re- 
main Prisoner as before, during I lis Majesty's Pleasure." ■ 

1 Decree in the Star Chamber. 


a.d. A sentence more monstrously disproportionate to the 

J 5 4-i 3 2 offence imputed, * was never recorded even in the; 
disgraceful rolls of " that den of arbitrary justice, the 
Star Chamber," * and elastic as were the rules of proce- 
dure in that tribunal, they had been overstrained in 
order to procure a conviction. 

Proceedings ore tenus were not admissible without a 
plea of guilty, of which there is no record in this case ; 
or, if the accused did admit the specific charges, then 
the trial, " while regular in point of form, was most 
irregular and unjust in effect, inasmuch as the Earl 
would have been charged with one offence, which he had 
confessed, and sentenced for another, which he denied, 
and of which no proof was given." 3 

It was not until after his conviction, that North- 
umberland, for the first time, appealed for justice directly 
to the King : 

" Most gratious Sovereigne, — 

Maye it please Your Ma tie to cast your Eies uppon 
theis few Lynes of your most humble Subject and Seruant. 

1 "Every one must agree that the fine imposed upon this nobleman 
was preposterous. Were we even to admit that suspicion might justify 
his long imprisonment, a participation in one of the most atrocious 
conspiracies recorded in history was, if proved, to be more severely- 
punished; if not proved, not at all."— Hallam's Const. History, 
vol. ii. p. 47. 

2 " Where the Keeper, for the time being, two Bishops, two Judges. 
and as many wise Lords and great Officers, sate as were pleased to 
come; the most of whom, though unable to render a reason for their 
sentence, did, every Wednesday and Friday in term time, concur to tear 
such as refused to worship the minion, or to yield to the pretended royal 
prerogative .... but the main employment of the Court was, like 
schoolboys, to hold up one the other while their masters whipt them. 
Osborne's Traditional Memoirs. 

3 Jardine's Gunpotoder Plot, p. 245. The illegality of the proceed- 
ings in this case is conclusively established on technical grounds in this 
interesting volume. For the interrogatories to which the Earl u^ 1 - 
required to answer and his replies, see Appendix XIV. 



and to behold the Unfortunateness of him, that never a.d._i_6o6 
fostered in his Bosome one disloyall or undutifull Thought; 
although pointed at in theis by the devilish Attemptes 
and ouglie Actes of a wicked Fellow. I cannot deny but 
how, as Matters of his Proceedings are laid open (which 
to me, till now, was altogether unknowne), that Your 
Ma tie and the State had cause to be iealouse, the very 
Ground being this, that he took Advantage to serve his 
Purpose, and theirs that sett him forwards, uppon my 
Trust committed to him to make knowne my dutiful 
Affections to Your Ma tle ; and as I referred somewhat to 
his Reportes, having no more space to write uppon, which 
was but to show Your Ma tie who, in myne Opinion, I con- 
iectured to be yours ; who I might be iealouse of, and 
sutch by-Trifles ; he made use of that Trust, to deliver for 
others, that they secretly employed him in without my 

I thought I had chosen an honest Instrument and fitt 
because of the place he lay in, to be the Carrier of my 
Letters ; but I find to my Sorrowe hee had Craft and 
Poison laid up in his Brest against Your Ma tie , and the 
State, and Unfaithfullnesse to me. And it is most true 
he ever seemed to me to bee so much affected with Dutie 
to Your Ma tie , as I protest I loved him the better for it, 
and trusted him the more. But I finde hee hath both 
abused Your Ma tie and me. Your Ma ,ie , in using my 
Name to you in Things he had no Commission for; me, 
in using my Name amongst those of his Faction, where 
not soe much as anie one Man was ever knowne to me, 

or negociated withal by anie Man living, from me 

"Therefore I, most humblie from the Bottom of my 
Soule, desire Your Ma de , that in this case of my Loyaltie 
towards you, you will be pleased to free me in your 
Thoughts and to judge of it as it is. That is : I protest 
myselfe before the living God, true, faithfull, without 



a.d. Spotte or Blemish in the least inwarde of my Harte ; and 
1564-^632 w j t h out w hich Enterpretacon I desire not to live. And 
withal that, out of the Justice of Your Ma ties Nature, 
you will not conceave this long Silence of myne hitherto, 
to proceade from anie other Reason or Humor than that 
the Thing- I was suspected of, and chardged withal, was 
to have had some kinde of Notice of this horrible and in- 
humane Fact ; to which all this time I could plead but 
Innocencie, thinking that Tyme and ExaminacOns was 
the clearest Way to cleare me from that Imputacon and 
to satisfie Your Ma" e . 

" For thease other Accidents which hath concurred 
to the aeeravatine of the former Iealosies, and now 
showed, for which I have received a Censure, I most 
humblie crave Your Ma tIes Pardon ; and give me leave to 
aske for Mercy from you, from whom ever Mercy hath 
byne seen to flowe. And I beseech Your Ma" lett not the 
Weaknesse of Advise, though not wholsome, nor the 
Neglect of some Duties or Indiscretions, and Oversights, 
overbalance the Attribute you have gained in being for- 
givefull. In thease Points I can say nothing; but lay 
myselfe at Your Ma ties Feet. I can thinke nothing, but 
attende your Pleasure ; and I can pray for nothing but 
that I have asked before ; not doubting but that it 
shall please you to look uppon me with Eies of Mercy : 
and you shall raise a faithful Subject, that willinglie will 
be readie to Sacrifice his Life in Your Service. And soe, 
most humblie kissing your Hand, I must remain ever 
and ever 

"Your Ma tIes faithful Subject and Servant 

" H. Northumberland." ' 

1 Northumberland to the King, 2nd July, 1606. — Original Stat* 



Six weeks later he writes again praying the King : " to a.d. 1606 
have your Consideracon, and to extende your Favour in 
the Fine imposed uppon me by the Lords, for which all 
This Time Extents are gone out. It is the greatest Fine 
that ever was gott upon any Subject in this Realme. My 
Estate is not such as perhapps the World takes it for ; 
my Debts are greater than is beleeved, and there is a Com- 
panie of little ones to provide for, which lies uppon my 
Handes. I knowe Your Ma tie to be soe gratious that you 
desire not to punish others for my Falte ; this is a Burden 
will light as well uppon theire Fortunes as uppon myne. 
Besides, I knowe it is not a little Money will doe Your 
Ma tie Good, and it is a little that would doe us a greate 
deal of Harme ; and howsoever it hath pleased the Lords 
to censure me, I doe appeale to Your Ma tie , a higher 
Judo-e, for Favour, who knowes more than them in this 
Case. Therefore I most humblie desire Your Ma tie for 
Mittigacon. What it shall please you that I shall 
undergoe I will, as I am able, endeavour to satissfie." r 

And once more he reminds the King of his past 
services, complaining with some bitterness that he should 
be doomed to disgrace and captivity, " in his days, under 
whom I have more Reason to look for Comfort, than in 
hers who was your Predecessor ; since my Harte can be a 
true Testimony to itselfe that I did never, in Thought or 
Dede, willinglie consent to anie Thing that I conceaved 
might be prejudicial to Your Ma tie , or Yours. And as I 
speake truelie or falselie, soe I praye to God to deale 
with me in the last Days of Judgement." 

Lord Northumberland had ever been a favourite with 
the kind-hearted Queen. She had from the first braved 
the King's displeasure by openly avowing her disbelief 

1 Northumberland to the King, 13th September, 1606.— Original 

State Papers. 

3 Same to same, 24th November, i6c6.— Ibid. 

2 S 3 


a.d. in his guilt ; and after his committal she had more than 
1564-1632 once causec j n j m to b e asS Q re d Q f her sympathy and 

good wishes, and her continued efforts on his behalf. Shu 
appears, however, to have miscalculated her influence 
over James, or to have failed to reckon with the powerful 
counter-influences arrayed against the accused. What 
avail were the prayers of a woman, even though sup- 
ported by the pleadings of justice and humanity, in 
opposition to "reasons of State," as presented to the 
prejudiced King by designing ministers and jealous 
courtiers ? 

It was not until after his trial that the Earl acknow- 
ledged the Queen's efforts on his behalf in the two 
following letters : — ' 

" I humblie beseech Your Ma tie , pardon my Silence 
hitherto that I have not acknowledged your Favours, 
which at my first Committment it pleased you to shew 
me. The Case was such then as I thought it fitt to leave 
that Dutie undone, and to lay it aside for a Tyme ; expect- 
ing euerie Day an ende and Clearing of that which my 
Soule could never accuse itselfe of in the least Degree ot 
the World : I mean my Loyaltie and Faith to the King, 
Your Ma ties selfe, and to Yours. As I did rather choose to 
make good by Tryall that which at my firsts Troubles 
I protested to Your Ma tie you should finde, than by 
Glosses and Helpes to putt from me that Imputacon which 
I hope Your Ma tle rests verie well satissfied in now. 

" Therefore I most humblie desire Your Ma ties good 
Oppinion and Conceipt, which in these Applications will be 
comfortable to me, and without which my Life would be 
extreamely grievous ; for I protest I ever honored you 
and Yours with a sincere, true, and faithfull Harte. V our 
Ma tIes now helping Hand give me leave to desire towards 

Original Stale Papers. 


the Lessening of the King's Displeasure, as Occasions a.d. 1636 
shall serve ; and let this Suite, I humblie beseeche Your 
Ma t!e , enter your Harte. 

" In this Place I can do you no Service but with my 
Prayers ; if a free Man (and so please the King) both 
Service and Life I would presente at your Feete. What I 
am is, Your Ma" e , in all Dutie to honor you with as great 
Faithfullnes as ever was to Queen ; and therefore as the 
greatest Present as a poore Prisoner can present you 
withall, I lay this at Your Ma ties Feet. And soe most 
humblie kissing your Handes, I am and ever willbe 

" Your Ma tles faithfull Vassall and Servant, 

" H. Northumberland. 
"Tower, 22 July, 1606." 

" Most gratious Soueraigne : — I am soe much bounden 
to Your Ma tie for your Favours, and especiallie for this 
last Desire you had of releasing me of any Misfortunes 
by the Motion you last made, as I can saie no more 
I towards the Expressing of my inwarde Thoughts, but that 

I am the same to Your Ma" e that ever I was, since the 
first Day I saw you ; that is Your Ma ties faithfull Seruant, 
as readie to sacrifice his Life for you and Yours ; and 
although these are but small Ceremonies of my Dutie and 
humble Acceptance and acknowledging of them, as being 
common Trafficks from Prisoners and Men stuno- with 
Afflictions, yett are they such as wee can present Princes 
with no others. 

11 Therfore, good Madam, give me leave, I beseach 
you, to wish for better Occasions wherein I may make 
good that I have vowed to you. If Fortune denie me 
of such a Happinesse, then doe I presente the humble 
Prayers cf a Prisoner (to God), that hath leisure to doe 
that, and means to do nothing els to demonstrate his Faith. 

"Tower, XX of August, 1606." 
i 285 


a.d. The relations between the Earl of Northumberland 

1504-1032 anc j ^j s w j£ e | iac j b een the reverse of happy ones; but 

self-willed, high-tempered, and imperious as the lady 
had frequently shown herself under unquestionable 
provocation, the misfortunes which had now overtaken 
her lord developed all the kindly qualities of her im- 
pulsive nature. Past neglect and injuries were forgotten, 
mutual recriminations were silenced, and she became, 
in every quarter where influence could be effectually 
exerted, the most untiring petitioner and advocate for 
the Prisoner in the Tower. 

Like the Earl himself, she did not contemplate the 
possibility of his prolonged captivity ; and even after the 
severe sentence had been passed they both believed 
that since the original charges had been reduced from 
" heynous treasons " to " matters of errors," that " the 
sweatening of the Kings Displeasure," x would only be 
a matter of time. 

Encouraged by such hopes he writes to the King on 
2nd March, 1607 : — 

" I beseech Your Ma' ie pardon my now sending this 
Letter as my Sollicitor, humblie topraie Your Ma tiei Con- 
sideracion and Thought of my Libertie, since shee (to 
whome before I comitted that Chardge is soe heavie, as 
well shee cannot attende and waite Your Ma ties greate 
Affaires in Parlemente,) hath withheld me, that I durst 
not be too importunate. Besides, I knowe Your Ma t:ei 
noble and worthie Harte cannot forgett him that ever 
vowed his Faith and Service with that Zeale that I have 
done ; I saie a Zeale as noe Creature, nor myne owne 
Conscience, can soe much as laie the least Spott of Un- 
faithfulnesse to my Chardge. I will therefore onlie 
humblie pray Your Ma ties Favour, and attend with 

1 These expressions occur in a letter from Northumberland to Lord 
Exeter, dated 20th July, 1606. 



Patience your Pleasure ; not doubting but one day my a.d.^6o6 
inward Affections wilbe as playnlie sincere to Your 
Ma tic , as my outwarde Actions hath byne well ment and 

And again shortly after : — 

" I knowe out of your pryncely Mynde Your Ma tie 
cannot but some tymes thinke of me, that did ever strive 
to win your Favour. I was the Man that never to my 
Knowledge harboured a Conciete that moght give Your 
Ma tie a just cause of Displeasure against me. I had 
long since devoted my Thoughts to your Service, 
following the Steps of my Ancestors. That Bonde, 
besides now the Bonde of Dutie, I owe Your Ma tie , I 
can never shake off, nor ever will, be I fortunate in 
your Eies or not." 

In the following June the Queen paid Lady North- 
umberland a visit at Syon, bringing her assurances of 
her continued efforts to soften the King's resentment, 
which graciousness the Earl thus acknowledges : 

" It pleaseth Your Ma tie euerie Day soe to adde new 
Favours on our poore Familie that I must, from myselfe, 
and for them, presente you still with one and the same 
Gifte : an unprofitable Servants Devotion ; and sing still 
and soe often one Noate : Thankes, Thankes, Thankes, 
and nothing but Thankes ! Thus I desire to ende my 
Letter before it be almoste begonne, least I prouve 
tedious, beino- Banckrout of all other Occasions to rend 
open my Brest, that you may see my Harte how much it 
is Your Ma ties . 

" I understand how evill you were waited on at Sion 
by your little Servants ; theire Wills weare good though 
their Endeavours nought ; and Your Ma ties Acceptance 
soe noble as, because I may not saie what I would, I will 
close up my Lipps and will my Penne to yeald noe more 
Inkeforthe Present." 



a.d. To this period belong the following letters claiming 

15 ll! 32 the intercession of two powerful statesmen, but very 
doubtful allies : 

To the Earl of Northampton. 1 
"My Lord, 

" Your noble and free Dealing with me ; your 
kind Demonstracos to my Wife ; your well Wishes to 
my House ; your tender Care of Nobillitie that I have 
knowne of Old, and consequentlie of their Posteritie 
which I knowe in your Harte you wishe should not 
receave Blowes herafter for anie present Turne, and 
your Travell at this Tyme to redresse that dangerous 
Abuse creeping on in our State, I mean the Corruptions 
of our Navie, hath made me forbear to trouble you 
otherwise than with ordinarie Salutacons, ordinarie Re- 
membrancies, with ordinarie Entreats, to assist and 
remouve from me the Title and Name of Prisoner. For 
that I have soe long understood my Lord of Northampton 
to have knowne my Affections, and those of my House, 
to the King to have bine so stifle, cannot choose but 
have a Feelinge for the State I live in ; for I am sure 
to your Lordship it can doe noe good to have me kept 
from Wife, from Children that now requires a watchful 
Eie of Parents, from House, from Gardens, from pettie 
Pleasures ; or to hasten on Invalidities which I cannot 
complayne of euerie Tyme as I feele them happen or 
encrease. Neither can my Imprisonment give the State 
anie Satisfaction for Dangers where there are none ; for 
it cannot chuse but understand that there is noe Earle. 

1 Lord Henry Howard, who figured so prominently in the secret 
negotiations with King James before the death of Queen Elizabeth, 
had been created Earl of Northampton within little more than a year 
after James's accession to the English throne. The unsuspicious 
Northumberland, trusting in his professions, continued to co:i>:cLr 
him a friend and well-wisher. 



of what Oualitie soever, that is able to move the least a.d. 1607 
Thing in it, as now the Foundations stande. Neither do 
I conceave anie Reason the Kinor should show this 
heavie Hande uppon him that never offended him in 
Worde or Deade, but ever one of the forwardest in his 
Service, longe, longe before this Tyme. And shall a 
Suspicion continew such an Example, as will make others 
that doe follow (for want of Courage or Wills) to 
remove those Conceits out of his Minde, to bear the 
Burden of this Presedent (precedent), if it should fall into 
the Handes of one that weare sharplier disposed than the 
King, our Maister, is ? 

" My Lord, you have noe Sonnes but Posterities ; you 
have seene manie Yeares, and so manie fewer have you 
to compt. The young ones that belong to us are 
manie, and are like to take manie Daies after us ; therfore 
you, that are noblie born and ancient, remember that 
Presedents are apt to be produced to satisfie Mens 
Malices that are rising. Presedents in our State are 
of greater Force than in others, and the longer they 
are continewed the stronger they are. If your Lordship 
were but Noble of a Day, I would not speak in this 
Fashion, but flie to put you in mind of your Lordship's 
last Letter, in which you give me this Comforte : that 
when some Things weare settled, and some Tyme past, 
you would be readie to move His Ma tie to slacke the 
Raynes ; in which you shall doe yourself Honor, not dis- 
please the World, neither receave Shame, and make me, 
as I am, 

" Your Lordships true Friend and Cousin to 
dispose of, 


11 19 June, 160;." 

VOL. II. 289 U 



1 5 64-1 63 2 To THE Earl of Salisbury. 

" My Lord — 

" The End of this Letter is but to entreat you to 
be a Meanes for my Libertie. I will not use the Tyes of 
Friendship for Arguments, neither will I goe about to line 
you with pecuiniarie Offers ; for I knowe your minde and 
Disposition too well in these Cases ; and to produce the 
Reasons of Use you might make of me, were idle, because 
my Fortunes are at soe low an Ebb, as they are likely 
never to be of Worth to anie Boddie. The Perswasions 
that I minde to flie unto are thease : that it is honor- 
able to helpe Men that are in Affliction ; not that you 
should aide me as I am, Northumberland, a private Man 
that is laid aside ; but that you should aide Northumber- 
land as he is one of the Company of your Ranke, for in 
these cases Presedents, be they good or lie they heavic, 
are of great Consequent to those must follow us. Ther- 
fore your Lordship should doe a meritorious Act to 
Posteritie that shall succeede, in helping me ; and noble 
Deedes are worthie in themselfes which Way soever they 
looke, whether to Friends, Men indifferent, or to Enemies. 
Good my Lord, laie your Hand uppon your Brest, and doe 
as you would be donne unto. If you would desire no 
Helpe if you weare in my Case, then give me none ; » 
you would, then put your helping Hand to give me some, 
and let not the Wills of others draw you aside for doinge 
Goodnesse. I will saie no more, for I have said enough 
to you that are wise, and so with my Well-Wishes I rest 

" Your Lordships, to doe you Service, 

11 NORTHD." 

"This 27 July, 1607." 



In a letter to Lord Northampton in the following year, a.d.ji6oj 
the prisoner reminds the royal favorite that, 

"The Black Oxe hath trode uppon your Foote here- 
tofore, as well as it doth now uppon myne, and therefore 
you knowe the Nature of Afflictions. I knowe you are 
honorable, and the Overthrowe of noble Houses were 
ever Greefes to you by what Occasions soever they 
happened, whether out of Worthinesse, Negligences, 
Indiscretions, Wastfulness, or what way els soever. 
Thirdlie, wee have matched oft, and our Alliances are 
reverted now of late, soe as those of yours and those of 
myne hereafter, must be exceeding nigh in Blood. 
Besides, lett me come nearer : your Lordship knowes 
how my Affections have byne towards the King, our 
Master, this manie Yeeres ; and for that Pointe I dare 
appeale to you above anie Man, for noe Man hath 
knowne it so long. And to add to all this, I may 
challenge somewhat out of long Familiaritie from you, 
in case that concerns not my Disloyaltie to the King, 
to remember the Love hath byne, and to forgett little 
Breaches if there have byne anie, and to assist my Wife, 
a Sutor (who is now coming towards the King), with 
your Helpes; not pressing you to anie Thing that 
shalbe dishonest or unfitt for one of your Place to 
saie. If I should write Volumes I could saie no more 

than this." 

To the King he writes at the same time praying for 
the restoration of his favour as "the dearest Thing to 
me in this World. In Your Maiestie's Hands onlie restes 
my Happinesse or Misfortune ; and when your Ma* shall 
in your Wisdome thinke that I have suffered enough, 
then I humblie crave from you Comiseration ; and in the 
meantyme pardon if I be too hastie, for in me it is Dutie, 
and in Your Ma* Mercie, if you shorten the Tyme of my 

Sorrows." . . . 

291 u 2 


a.d. But time went by and the King remained obdurate. 

1564-1632 j t j s not tQ ^ believed that those upon whose inter- 
cession the prisoner mainly relied — such as Salisbury 
and Northampton, made any serious exertion on his 
behalf. Indeed it is to be feared that their course was 
in the contrary direction of neutralising the efforts of 
more sincere friends; for James, with all his prejudice 
and selfwilledness, was ever amenable to the influence 
of those about him, and his ministers and favorites 
could not have failed, had they made the attempt, to 
soften his resentment, or even to convince him of his 

" Let the offender prove," his Majesty had said to his 
most importunate petitioner, " that Thomas Percy had 
given him no warning of the intended crime," and he 
would consider what he could do ; upon which the Earl 
remarks : — 

" At my last sollicking your Majesty by my Wife to 
thinke of my Libertie, it pleased you to saie that you 
would take your owne Tyme. I have not byne importu- 
nate since, because I conceaved it disliked you ; though 
it be a matter almost the dearest Thing Man enjoys. 
Your Majestic hath byne a King manie Yeares, and can 
judge of Offences. I will not therefore dispute of myne, 
but must still be an Intercessor for myselfe to Your 
Majestie for your Favour ; and I beseech you let the 
former Desire of my House and selfe to doe you Service, 
move you somewhat, since I doubt not but that I shall 
see the Day that you will esteeme me to have byne 
as honest and faithful a Servant as ever you had in 
England. It pleased Your Majestie amongst other 
Speeches uppon her (the Countess), urging of my 
Inocence, to wish I could prove that Percie gave me 
no Notice (the verie mayne Pointe of my Troubles) ; 
but Your Majestic, that is soe g re ate a Sc holler, and see 



judicious, cannot but know how impossible it is to prove a a.d. 160S 
Negative." ' 

Neither evasions nor rebuffs discouraged Lady North- 
umberland, however, whose zeal on behalf of her lord 
remained unabated, and sometimes outstripped discre- 
tion ; for she had urged her suit to Salisbury with such 
feminine pertinacity and reproachful insistence, that the 
wary statesman felt obliged to deny himself to her, 2 and 
to explain his reasons for so doing to the Earl : — 

"When I sent unto you, by Sir William W r ade, a 
Relation of my Lady's sore dealing with me, in myne own 
Perticular, I intreated him to lay this first Foundation : 
that I made no Complainte, nor could say anything but 
that which must increase your Lordship's Affection 
towards her whom, in all my Observations, time hath 
discovered to be a louing, earful, and a worthy Wife to 
your Lordship. My End was onely to infuse into your 
Lordship some little part of that which I found con- 
venient you should know ; seeing the strange Course 
that was taken with me. . . . But truely, my Lord, I 
see that there remayns yet some Dreggs of the Dis- 
courses which Sir Walter Rawlegh and others have 
dispersed of me, that the way to make me break my Pace 
is not always good Usadge, but somctyme to be spoken to 
in a high Style, which Aspersion (seeming to savour of 
servilitie) I was desirous that your Lordship should 
know, when my Lady should give you any account of 
her Talent, that though I forbare to returne any one 
harshe Word to the contumelious Language she used in 
chardo-ino- a man of my Place to be one of those that used 
to devise Causes and Cullurs and Trickes to procure 

1 Northumberland to the King, 7 th January, 1608.— Original Shite 


2 "The Countess pleads so hard with Salisbury that he wont see 
her again."— Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton, 15th September, 
1 606. State Papers. 



a.d. Favour and the contrary, whenever I listed ; yet I had 

5 1 3 shown no such Stupiditie as not to declare unto her 

Ladyship that I heild myselfe no way tyed to medle with 
your Lordship or her Perticular beyond the Incidents of 
my Place, further than I might list, or could, or should, 
be deserved by good Usadge ; a matter which I know 
your Lordship can well conceave, who knows best the 
true Wisdome of Friendshipps, and uppon what grounds 
one man is to expect from another the effects of private 
Affection. . . . Although my Ladye's Words hath done 
Harm to your Cause, yet they should be of no Conse- 
quence to move me to doe, or not to doe, anything 
therein, further than I should see just cause at any 
Tyme. I have ever honoured her Vertue, and will doe 
so still (though I am not suche a Stock not to see her 
Passion), how much soever it may please her to injury 
me . . . and believe me, that His Majestie's Favour 
shall never make me forgett myself with Pride toward 
any, though it hath wrought sufficient Confidence in my 
Resolution to doe him Service, whensoever His Majesty 
shall command me, whose Directions must ever be just, 
seeing his Mynd is onely compounded of Honour and 
Justice." " 

Although the writer subscribes himself " Your Lord- 
ship's loving Frend to Command " the tone of the letter 
shows how little disposed he was to exert his influence. 
and it was doubtless the display of this indifference and 
coldness that caused the outbreak of temper attributed 
to the lady. 

The disgrace of Northumberland had in the first 
instance extended more or less to all his relations and 
dependents. His two brothers, Allan and Jocelyn, had 
been committed to the Tower, and though, after some 

1 There is no date attached to this letter, which must have been written 
in September, 1606. 

294 . 


weeks' detention, liberated in the absence of all evidence a.d. 
to implicate them, they had been deprived of the offices l6o6 ~ l6o{ 
they held under the Crown. Dudley Carleton, the Earl's 
Secretary, had been kept a close prisoner for several 
months, during which time he was subjected to repeated 
and searching examinations. When finally acquitted 
and set free, he found himself excluded from all prospect 
of that public employment the most certain road to 
which was, in those times, service in the household of a 
great noble. He accordingly prayed his patron to make 
him one of his " country farmers " since " the gates of 
the Court are now closed to all connected with your 
Lordship," to which the Earl replied in quaint terms, 
and with much generous feeling- ; — 

" Carleton, As desperatio hathe made yow a Monke, 
soe hathe Necessite made me a Prisoner patient ; and so, 
by Consequent, hathe giuen a Crosse Byte to many that 
had any Dependancy or Hopes vppon me. If it had 
proceded out of myne owen Fault, I shoold haue bene 
sorry for my selfe ; but since it is not, I can beare it as a 
Misfortun of the World whiche we are all subiect to. That 
Grieffe that stickes by me is for other Mens sakes, that 
. hathe deserued as littell Euyll as I haue donne. The 
Strengthe of myne owen Mynde none knowes soe well as 
my selfe ; and it is very stronge against all but that whiche 
others suffer for me. If I had bene maculated with dis- 
honest or false Thoughts to the King, or my Cuntry, 
none could haue spyed it sooner then yowr selfe ; and soe 
enoughe for that Matter. But, thoughe yow had runne into 
a Course of trauellingabroade better to enable your selfe, 1 
yett can I not but thinke of you as one had Dependency of 
me ; and althoughe yow knewe (what) my Mynde was euer, 
and soe gaue I yow Freedom to doe the best good yow 

1 Carleton appears about this time to have sought employment in the 
Low Countries. 


a.d. coulde for yowr selfe, to whiche I euer promised my heln- 

I564-1632 • TT 1 • , rr 1 • , 

— ° ing Hand ; soe now, since yow haue suffered with me, 
I can but adde to that Charite rather then to substractc 
from it ; for I must nedes see that the Court Gates are 
shutt vpon yow for my sake, and Trauell abroade is barred 
yow out of the same consequent. Theas Disputes with 
my selfe makes me enter into the Examinaton of yowr 
selfe and me relatiuely ; of my selfe and my Estate ; of yow 
and the Means I may employ yow in. Hopes I haue 
none left for being any Medler in Matters of State, soc 
long as I Hue ; and euery Day soe long as I doe Hue, 
I shall be lesse fitt by Reason of my Imperfection of 
Hearing, and olde Age, whiche will comme vpon me daly, 
desiring rest out of his owen Nature. Yowr Endeuors 
hathe bend them selfes most that Way, and I holde it 
Pitty that thos Parts should be lost in yow. I wold thos 
that might make Use of yow knew yow but as well as I 
doe. Well, to conclude, I am of the same Mynde I was 
euer of : I leaue yow to yowr owen Lyberty, and yowr 
beste Means to doe yowr selfe Good, to whiche I will put 
my helping Hand by all Means I can. If it shall pleas the 
King to giue me Lyberty to Lyue at myne owen House, 
comme, and yow shall be welcom if yow be not other- 
wyse prouided. Besides, in the meane Tyme, thoughe my 
Means are littell to doe good for any, yett as a Badge 
that yow are one of myne, somwhat yerely shall be 
allowed yow, with out any tying yow from any other 
Course. Out of myne owen Businesses yow know how I 
can, or what is left for me to employ any Man ; for yow to 
becomme now a Cloune, 1 nether is proper for thos 
Endeuors yow haue begunne with, nether is my Estate 
sutche as I know well how to place yow to yowr Contente- 
ment. This whiche I will adde is noe more but to helpe 

1 With reference to Carleton's intention to turn farmer. 


vow from sinking for the Present, with out any Barre of a.d. 
farther retching out my helping Hand to yow hereafter, if * ° Zl 
Fortun make me myne owen Man againe. Soe I rest this 
20 August. 

11 Northumberland." t 

Sir Allan Percy, who had been bred a courtier, writes 
to Carleton in the humorous strain which he appears to 
have habitually affected : — 

" I am sorry that you are so near to be Jack out of 
Office, yet you need not despair of making a fortune 
without either digging or begging ; for here there hath 
beene a sore Battle fought last Wensday, when were 
overthrown many of the Commanders ; and I doubt not 
but by the helpe of some of my Friends, which my attend- 
ance at Court hath purchased me, to procure you one, 
though, it be but to attende the King's Dogges ; 2 which 
you must rather obtain by Favor than by Merit, your 
Experience hath bine so small in such waightie Affaires. 
Thinke uppon this if the rest faile, for the Dogges run 
very fleet, and lykelie the sooner to come to Pro- 
motion." 3 

Although Jocelyn and Allan Percy were known to 
have displayed strong Catholic sympathies, and had 
been with some difficulty dissuaded by their elder brother 
from accepting service under the Spanish Crown in the 
Low Countries, 4 the influence exerted by the Queen ap- 
pears to have been more successful in their favour, than 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Mr. Dudley Carleton, 20th August, 
1606. — Original Stale Papers. 

2 Evidently in allusion to James's favourites. 

3 Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton, August, 1606. — State Papers. 

4 In a letter dated 20th November, 1606, the Earl had informed 
Lord Salisbury that his brother had expressed a wish to sell his annuity 
and to seek his fortunes under the Archduke, to which proposal he had 
declined to assent, ' ; for I have already suffered enough for other men's 
faults." — Original State Papers. 



a.d. on behalf of the unfortunate Head of the House, who 
15 4-i 3 2 t h us returns his thanks for services rendered to his 
brothers : — 

" I beseech Your Ma tIe to accept from your poor- 
Servante an humble Thankes, the greatest Service a man 
tied by the Heeles can doe yovv. Yett since from m, 
Power there can be no more expected I do laie them at 
your Feete with the greatest Devotion I can. First, 
Your Majesty's honorable speeches of my brother Allan 
hath drawne on some Favours from My Lo. of Salisbury 
towardes him ; then againe concerning myself the Care it 
pleaseth you to take of me as to let me fall at any tyme 
into your Memorie, which, I understand by my Wyfe, and 
is a greater Joy and Comforte than I will labour to 
expresse. But for both theis Favours I can, nor will, saie 
anie more but that Your Majestie hath done like a worthy 
Queene, and I will endeavour to serve vow and yours. 
like an honest and grateful Servaunte. To honour vow, 
to praie for yow, and to wishe faythfullie to Your Ma tie , is 
all is lefte me ; those little Sacrifices he dedicates to yow 
that humblie kisses Your Majesties Handes." ■ 

The Earl's dismissal from his offices under the Crown 
had not only considerably reduced his income, but had 
involved the loss of all patronage ; such of his kinsmen 
and dependents as acted under him in public employments 
being likewise deprived of their posts and thrown upon 
his private resources for their maintenance. 2 His early 
debts had bv this time assumed formidable dimensions ; he 

1 Northumberland to the Queen, June, 1607. From a draught 
letter in the Earl's handwriting. 

3 Among many other similar records we find this grant by the Earl citeu, 
4th December, 1606. " Sir George Whitehead an annuity of £-° ■'• 
consideration that he had been dispossessed of his post of Lieutenant 
of Tynemouth Castle, the keeping of which it has pleased the King to 
take away from the said Earl.'' 



was under heavy liabilities for improvements undertaken a.d. 1608 
at Syon ; and numerous creditors, who had been patient 
in the days of his prosperity, were now clamorous in 
urging their demands. He had hitherto believed that the 
fine imposed upon him would in due time be remitted, 
or, in accordance with established practice, so far reduced 

!in amount and made payable by instalments extending 
over a lengthened period, as to be brought within the 
possibility of his means ; J but he now began to apprehend 
that it would be exacted to the uttermost farthing, and 
that his liberation would not be as much as considered 
until the claim should have been satisfied. He accord- 
ingly cast about for the means of meeting the extortionate 
demand. His attempts to raise funds were, however, 
impeded by certain financial negotiations set on foot at 
this time by Lord Knollys, 2 his wife's uncle, to whom 
he now writes : — 

" My Lord, 

11 I am sorry that your Lo : and I should meete in 

I a Bargaine to marre one anothers Marckett to make it for 

Strangers. I will not beleeve but that their lieth under 
this Proceeding some unnaturall Secrett, which yett 
appeares not, either to your Lo : or to myself ; consider- 
ing- that the Thinge must be much better to me, than 
it can be to you, and so by consequent, I may better give 
more for it than you can. The Difference in the Purchase 
to you and myself are theis : you are farre from it, I have 

1 Under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth the fines imposed by the Star 
Chamber, were not unfrequently altogether remitted, and even the 
cupidity of Henry VII. was as a rule satisfied by a reasonable composition. 

2 The eldest surviving son of the gallant Sir Francis Knollys, 
K.G. (at one time the Custodian of Queen Mary of Scotland), 
whose daughter, Lettice, had married Walter Devereux, first Earl of 
Essex. William Knollys was raised to the peerage as a Baron on the 
occasion of James's coronation ; was made Viscount Wallingford in 
1616, and advanced to the Earldom of Banbury in 1626. He died in 1632. 



a.d. it in Possession and a longe Terme in it ; you shall defeatc 
— your Nephewe of it, I seeke to establishe him in it ; you 
are a Counsellor and at Liberty, I have beene one, and 
nowe under Restraint, uppon whome to adde Crosses wilbe 
no Honor. Their is others of my noble Friendes, to whome 
this hath beene offered, and for whome it doth lie much 
more convenientlie then it doth for you, who out of Honor 
would not deale in it. What the opinion of the world 
wilbe in this case, your Lo : I knowe out of Judgment can 
see, and that you will, from being reputed my mildest 
-Censurer, be conceaved the heaviest Actor. But, as I 
said before, so I say still, I will not beleeve but that their 
are some unseemely Affections sterringe, that yett your 
Lo : discovers not, which when you doe, I knowe you will 
not be Pertaker of, and so with my best Wishes I rest 
" You Lo : Nephewe to dispose of, 

" Northumberland." 1 
" This 3 : February, 1608." 

At the end of two years the prisoner in the Tower 
was still unable to raise the sum, the payment of which 
into the royal coffers would alone justify his hopes of 
release, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was 
now required to apply the screw. He accordingly 
addressed a peremptory demand to the Earl, for the 
immediate payment of a portion of the fine and security 
for the balance, to which he replies : — 

" My Servant told me when he came from you that 
you tooke it unkindly, and that I had not delt well with 
you ; in not paying in that Money according to Promise ; 
but when you shall understande the Reasons I know 
you will be altered in your Opinion. Thus much out of 
Charite I may expect from a Chrystian : that it is 

1 Alnwick MSS., vol. ix. For the Earl's second and very character- 
istic letter to Lord Knollys see Appendix XV. 



very reasonable if the King's Maj y . will needes have a.d. 

this greate Somme, yett that I may pay it soe as may T ° ~ l6ri 

he best for the Ease of me and a poor Company of 

Creatures whose Fortunes depend upon it, the King 

being satisfyed. . . . Besides, you would have me to put 

in Suretyes, which I have been labouring for, yet cannot 

procure them. Those Things, and some other urgent 

Occasions, for the present forced me to seeme to breake 

with you, which in this Construction cannot be so taken 

in deede. And verlie, Mr. Chauncellor, Money is not soe 

easilie got by me at all Tymes, as perhaps you conceave ; 

for the State wherein I live maketh Men jealouse to trust 

me ; and I find others as nice to ingage themselfs, how 

neer soever they be to me, or how mutch Dutie soever 

they professe, when it cometh to take up Money upon 

Credit. Therefore, I doubt not but you in your judgment 

will excuse me, and take Thinges as they are trulie." ' 

Although his letters are now couched in more formal 
terms, the Earl continued to make Salisbury the channel 
of his appeals to the King : — 

" Your entertaining Busines theis Daies paste hath 
been so many that I wold not troble you ; nowe they are 
ended, I will thanke you for the Favour you did me in 
delivering my Letter, being so farre from suspecting that 
you would not doe it sincerely, as I protest I believe you 
would doo me any good Work in your Power. If I be 
deceaved the Faulte is not mine ; for there be many 
Reasons to persuade me to it ; as well Reasons to thrust 
me from it, whether I shall trouble your Lo. with this 
againe or no. I knowe not your Will, neither would I 
desier anything from yow in this Case against your 
Minde, but I must write often and use my best Endea- 
vours for His Ma ties Favour. If they shall not be dis- 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Sir Julius Caesar, July, 1611. — Alnwick 
MSS.y vol. viii. 



{$64-1632 pleasin 2 to y° u t0 P asse b Y your Handes I shall acknow- 
— * ledge the Favour very well ; understanding that all 
remaines in His Ma ties Will, which will, I pray your Lo., 
by your good Offices and Care, seeke to drawe on, and I 
will thanke you in my Harte even when I can doe you no 
other Service. At this Tyme I will sai no more butt. 
looke upon my State ; It will move yow, knowing that 
yow doe ! and so I rest your Lo. unfortunate Friend to 
doo you Service. 

" From the Tower, this 30th July." 

"Knowing what you do!" knowing as none except 
the King himself knew better than Lord Salisbury, that 
the Earl's loyalty was as true as his own. James, indeed, 
appears from time to time to have had some compunc- 
tions, for both the Queen and Lady Northumberland now 
spoke hopefully of the Earl's approaching liberation ; 
but each symptom of relenting on the part of the Kin- 
was met by the renewed machinations of enemies to 
foment resentment against the prisoner. 
^ To revive the old suspicions a pamphlet was now 
circulated, in which the original evidence of complicity 
in the Gunpowder Plot was reproduced with damaging 
comments, and dark hints of certain revelations which 
an important witness was prepared to make. 

On learning that the attention of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, who had always shewn himself friendly to him. 
had been called to this production, the Earl writes :— 

" I understand by Mr. Lieutenant, that Your Grace 
hath taken notice of a Pampflet wherein the autor hath 
remembered me with a little Splene, and though he hath 
said something like that that Mr. Atturney did speake, 
(and Your Grace knoweth the Licence of Atturnies in 




cases of Accusations in Courts) ; yett the Party might have a.d. i6h 

had soe much Charitie as to have knowne that Atturnies 

useth for Form's sake to agrivate, and that all is not 

Gospell that is spoken in those Kindes and at such Tymes. 

Hee wrongeth me further in very dishonorable Terms 

and false Coniectures ; God forgive him, I doe. Neither 

will I dispute the Matter with him, but leave it to Your 

Grace's Wisdome how farre to correct, how farre to use 

Connivancie in a case of this Nature, hee being soe poore 

a Createur as a Book-Binder in Paul's Church Yarde, 

cauled Francis Barton, one who hath byne alreadie under 

your Lords 1 " Fingers for writing, as I understande. I 

will, therefore, without further Trouble of Spiritt — (for 

use hath made me strong against euill Myndes) with my 

ibest Wishes rest Your Grace's to be commanded." x 
A discharged confidential servant, now appears upon 
the scene, prepared to reveal a secret of so grave a 
nature that its possession, as he alleged, made him go in 
fear of his life at the hands of his late master, the 
Earl of Northumberland. 

The indictment was a formidable one, comprising 
several charges of direct complicity in the Gunpowder 
Plot; but after an exhaustive inquiry, by judges the 
reverse of partial to the accused, not one of them could 
be established, and the Attorney-General informs Lord 
Salisbury that " the least men acquit Northumberland 
of all blame." 2 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, 19th 
February, 16 ri. 

3 Sir Thomas Coke to the Lord Treasurer, 12th May, 161 r. State 
Papers. Even Lord Northampton, writes to the same effect. He had 
acted as one of the Judges, and describes the prisoner as " much changed, 
reserved, cautious and timid in his answers ; " says that he called Elkes 
'' a discontented rogue," and that he denied all the accusations except 
having written to his brother ufter his committal to the Tower to ask 
him to assume the responsibility for the oath not having been adminis- 
tered to Thomas Percy. This admission was, as will be seen, a qualified 



a.d. As the effect of this investigation had been to remove 

i5 6 4^ 6 3 2 instead of to strengthen the original suspicions, the Lor | 

Treasurer once more thought it necessary to justify the 

Earl's prolonged imprisonment, and accordingly writ< > 

to the English Ambassador at Madrid : 

" Because you may have heard some Bruite touching 
the Earl of Northumberland's late Examination ; ana 
knowing how various a Discourse a Subject of this Nature 
doth begett, I have thought good (though there be no other 
matter for the present to make this the occasion of a 
Dispatch) as well to acquaint you with our Home Occur- 
rencies in the exchange of yours from abroad, as to prevent 
any erroneous Impression, by this breife narrative of the 
true Motive and Progress of this Busyness. There is one 
Elkes, a Servant to the Earle, and one who it seems was 
no Stranger to his Secrets, who hath of late complained 
to a private Friend, (that yet hath kept the same with no 
great Privacy), that he stood in some Danger of his Life 
seeing that he observed his Lord's Affection to be 
grown cold towards him ; which he conceived could pro- 
ceed from no other Cause but Jealousy, least he shouKl 
reveal some Secrets which he had revealed unto him 
concerning the Powder Treason. Thus much being 
discovered, it could not be avoided to draw the same into 
some further Question ; yet with such Caution as was 
requisite when the Accusation is but single, and the 
Accuser Servant to the Person accused. The Issue hath 
been that the Earl hath confessed two things in Sub- 
stance : one, that after he was committed to the Tower, 
and before he came to the Star Chamber, he writt to his 
Brother, Sir Allan Percie, to take it upon him, that by his 
Means, Percie was admitted a Pensioner and suffered to 
escape the Oath. The other, that he was acquainted 

one, and proved to have been made under a misapprehension of t» e 



with the Hireing of that House from whence the Mine a.d. i6h 
was made. Both these, you may remember, were by him 
very stiffly denied heretofore ; and though they be not of 
such nature, in regard they do not necessarilie inforce the 
Knowledge of the Fact, as to call him to a further Tryall 
for Life or Landes, yet they serve to justify the former 
Proceedings, those Points being now cleared, which at thai 
Time were but presumed"* 

A more disingenuous or misleading- statement was never 
put forward even by Salisbury, who quotes Northumber- 
land's admission that he knew of Percy having hired the 
building adjoining the Houses of Parliament, in order 
to convey the entirely false impression that he was aware 
of the object for which the conspirator had secured those 
premises. The alleged correspondence with Sir Allan 
Percy has no bearing whatever upon the Earl's supposed 
complicity in the Plot ; but even in the guarded admission 
that he might have authorised his secretary to ask his 
brother to assume the blame for the omission to ad- 
minister the oath, although he had no recollection of 
having done so, he inadvertently wronged himself, as 
John Chamberlain informs Carleton : 

"Three or four days since, finding Mr. Harriot at 
great leisure in Paul's, 3 I accosted him, to see what 
I could learn of his great Lord. He told me that he 
had some enlargement, and that any of his servants or 

1 Earl of Salisbury to Sir R. Winwood, 25th July, 16 n. — Winwood's 
Memorials, vol. iii. p. 2S7. It will be noticed that the writer here 
admits that the offences for which Northumberland had already suffered 
six years of imprisonment, had only been "presumed." 

8 The aisle of St. Paul's Cathedral was at that time a popular lounge 

!and meeting-place for gossips and newsmongers. Francis Osborne says : 
"It was the fashion for the principal gentry, lords, courtiers, and men 
of all professions, not merely mechanick, to meet in Paul's Church by 
eleven o'clock and walk in the aisle till twelve o'clock, and after dinner 
from three till six, during which time some discoursed of business, and 
others of newes." — Traditional Memoirs of James J. 

VOL. II. 305 X 


is6 A -°i6 -> friends mI S ht have access t0 hIm - That this las t tempest 
x 5 4J 32 was already blowne over ; that Elkes and his accusations 
began to vanish, only there was some doubt that his fine 
of 30,000/. would be called upon. 

" And far the matter whereon yozt were mentioned it fell 
out thus : that the Lord being urged about a letter that 
should be (i.e. was alleged to have been) written for 
Percy's lodging, firmly denied it ; but his man Radcliffe, 
debating the matter with him, wished him not to stand too 
stiffly upon it, because he remembered that Percy went up 
and down the House inquiring after you, and told him it 
was for such a purpose ; whereupon the Lord at his next 
examination {though this point was no more in question) 
of his own motion told them that lie could not call to 
mind any such letter, but if there were, it was without 
any ill intent, and it was likely you had written it. This 
was taken hold of, and pro concesso ; whereas he spoke 
it doubtfully, and by way of caution. But Epsley utterly 
denied all this, and said his Lord had forgotten and 
wronged himself for there was no letter written, but 
himself was employed by Percy to whineard in his Lord's 
name by word of mouth." 1 

The alleged "confessions" thus amounted to abso- 
lutely nothing, and Salisbury's statement that they 
had served to confirm the original suspicions against 
the accused, and to justify the treatment to which he 
had been subjected, is in direct contradiction to the facts 
as set forth in the official Reports. The hopeful and 
confident tone in which the Earl now addresses the 
King, shows that he himself believed that the inquiry 
had only tended to establish his innocence : 

" May it please your 3VIa tJe to give me Leave, in ail 
Humilitie to presente in these Lynes the Sorrowes of my 

/Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 27th November, i6i7^- 
tfirch i Janes the First, vol. i. p. 149. 



Minde, that that Viper, my Seruante, whose Mallice is a.d. i6n 
soe apparent, hath, by his Accusations laid uppon me, per- 
verting and falsifying- what he could ; whereby he might 
sturr upp Your Ma tie3 further Displeasures against me, a 
Thing that I was ever in Hope, with Tyme, Patience and 
a loyal Harte, to redeeme, and by the Helpe of Your 
Ma ties Wisdome to shake off this Worme, without anie 
Harme, from my Hand. Withall in most humble Manier 
to crave that his Intentes may not take Hold in anie Sorte 
of your princelie Thoughts, to make the more iealous of 

!my Faith, for I protest (and further than Protestacon I 
dare not lengthen this Letter to Your Ma ues Trouble), and 
that is : as I shall be saued, or as I hope to have anie 
Good in this, or the World to come, that I am as innocent 
of meaning Harme, or having knowne anie Harme meant, 
to Your Ma tia , as anie Man living. One Thing more : I 
humblie beseeche Your Ma tie to give me Credit in what 
wonderfullie greeves me, and that is, that I am not such 
a Traytcr to God as this Wrech, by his Approbations, 
would make me ; w r hich whensoever it shall please you 
to be better satisfied in, I doubt not but, as an unskilfull 
Deuine, to make an honest Accounte of my Beleefe." 

Whatever the King's disposition may have been at 
this time (his having caused Elkes to be warned to speak 
no more than the truth in his accusations against his 
Master indicates an improved sense of justice), influences 
more powerful than either justice or mercy were at work 
against the prisoner. 

The complex and antagonistic elements of which 
human character is composed were strongly represented 
in the ninth Earl of Northumberland. Time and experi- 
ence had not softened the constitutional violence of his 
arbitrary temper ; nor on the other hand had adversity 
chilled the generous impulses of a naturally kindly na- 
ture. He was an affectionate father, and an indifferent 

307 x 2 


a.d. husband ; warm and trustful in his friendships ; violent, 
15 til 32 but not implacable, in his resentments. His pride was 
inordinate, and his charity unbounded. To all depen- 
dent upon him, to his kinsmen and officers, his servants, 
tenants and vassals, he was ever a just and lovino- 
Lord ; to men of learning and science ever a gentle, 
munificent and appreciative patron ; to his equals — and 
he acknowledged but few as such below the throne — 
he showed himself reserved and haughty, and if thwarted, 
arrogant and aggressive. His aristocratic instincts 
prompted him to the observance of that punctilious 
outward respect to the King which he himself exacted 
from others ; but the great English Earl could never 
bring himself to yield that subservience, or to permit 
those familiarities, which James demanded from his 
ministers and indulged in towards his favourites. No 
man had done better service to the King of Scotland 
while his accession to the English throne was yet in 
doubt ; but no sooner had he been firmly seated and 
shown the bent of his policy than Northumberland's 
zeal in his service slackened, and he assumed towards 
those who enjoyed the royal favour, a disdainful and 
contemptuous attitude which could not fail to make 
him many enemies at Court, and to offend the jealous 

It had been his hope, under the new dynasty, not only 
himself to hold a high place in the Royal Councils but 
to restore the great Peers of England to their ancient posi- 
tion as the legitimate advisers of the Sovereign ; occupying 
an almost impregnable position between the Throne and 
the people. James, however, as arbitrary as the most 
despotic of the Tudors, was little disposed to depart from 
the policy which his predecessors on the English throne 
had persistently and successfully pursued for the past 
century. Following their example, he was determined to 



rule as well as to reign; to repudiate the claim of the a.d. i6ii 
nobles to a share in the Government, and to employ 
only such instruments as he himself might create or 
destroy. In Cecil he found a sagacious and prudent 
counsellor ; a minister of wide experience in affairs of 
state, and a secretary of untiring application and in- 
domitable energy. Yet in common with such mere 
courtiers as Somerset and Carlisle, the Lord Treasurer 
existed only by the favour of the King. He knew that 
the breath that had made, might unmake him in a 
moment ; and he accordingly remained through life the 
unflinching champion of the Royal Prerogative. Under 
existing conditions the pretensions of the great nobles to 
control the kingly power appeared to him inadmissible 
and dangerous ; and to weaken the influence of this privi- 
leged and ambitious order appeared the indispensable 
duty of a faithful and patriotic public servant. 

In the sunshine of his prosperity and power the Earl 
of Northumberland might despise and defy the intrigues 
of Statesmen, and the resentment of jealous favourites ; 
but when the storm-clouds gathered over his House, and 
he found himself a Prisoner in the Tower under a foul 
suspicion, he paid the penalty of his arrogance. The 
six years which had gone by since sentence had been 
passed upon him in the Star Chamber, had only served 
to strengthen the phalanx of hostile influences which now 
formed a living barrier between him and the King's grace. 

Here were the men who had inspired the pamphleteer 
and suborned the servant ; and who, now that their 
last design had failed of effect, represented to the 
King that the delay in the payment of the fine was due, 
not as alleged to the want of means, but to the determin- 
ation of the haughty peer to defy the authority of the law, 
and to evade the just penalty of his offences against His 



a.d. It was doubtless the expectation that the royal clem- 

15 ll! 32 ency would be exercised in his case, and that the fine 
would, in accordance with established custom, be remitted 
or very considerably reduced, that caused the prisoner so 
pertinaciously to resist the payment ; for although thirty 
thousand pounds in hard money was in those times an 
enormous sum for any subject to command, the Earl of 
Northumberland might have raised even this amount had 
he chosen to submit to a great personal sacrifice. He 
preferred to temporise, and to meet the demands of the 
Exchequer by representations of the difficulties of his 
position, as in these letters to the Council : 

" My verie good Lords, the Lieutenant delivered me 
from Your Lordships that it was His Ma tles absolute Re- 
solution that I should pay my Fine, and that my Landes 
having extended to 1800/. yearlie, and knowing Favours 
ordinarily be done by Juries in that Nature, would have 
me offer what ComposicOn I would give yearlie. I must 
confesse the Proposition was unlooked for, soe as I hope 
if I answere not soe soundlie as I should, Your Lord- 
ships will pardon me and helpe it in the Interpretation. 
I must write to Your Lordships much in that Kinde that I 
once writte to the King and that was, that His Ma* had 
been a King for manie Yeares and had had long ex- 
perience of Faultes and Offences and the Differences of 
them. Soe must I sale to Your Lordships : You have 
byne ancient and graue Counsellors ; You have had 
Offences of all kindes before You, You can iudge of them. 
In the Inwarde of my Soule (excuse me, my Lords, I pray 
You, if I seeme partiall in myne owne Cause) I must 
trulie saie my Conscience cannot make me beleeve that 
my Faultes are so haynous to deserve Punishment to the 
thirde or fourth Generation, for soe must it be if this Fyne 
light uppon me and myne ; for pocre Babes and theire 
Babes must answer for it. Nevertheless, to obay Your 



Lordships, my Officers which are now absente, after one a.d. i6h 

Week shall attencle to knowe Your Lordships Pleasure ; 

they shall lay open my Estate, how it standes euerie Way. 

If His Ma tie then will take it I must undergoe it with all 

Humilitie and Dutie, although unwiilincrlie I must con- 

fesse. But I hope of His Ma tlc more gratious Favour 

since others have tasted of it, and I doubt not but I shall. 

For a little of my Money will doe His Ma de and his but 

little Good, and me and myne a greate deale of Harme. 

" 19th Augt. 161 1." 

And again : 

" To obay Your Lordships Comandments I have sent 
my Officers to attende You. They shall deliver unto 
Your Lordships the true Estate of my Meanes to live 
uppon, orverie nigh it ; a Thing I had rather should have 
byne concealed, because to appeare a beggar shines not 
like a Jewell euerie way it is turned ; which mistaking, I 
thinke, hath byne the Cause of the Pressure of the Fyne 
at this Tyme. For I cannot conceave that His Ma tia and 
Your Lordships are soe uncharitablie mynded towards 
our Familie, but that you desire wee should have a Being 
in this Work! in some Sorte like ourselves, though apoore 
unfortunate Companie. 

" I am glad that the Consideracon of the Busines is 
left in a Sorte to Your Lordships who understande the 
OccatOns of a Nobleman's Expence, and not to them that 
make Men poore according to Reporte ; and I am very 
confident Your Lordships will observe that deuine and 
morall Law, to doe as you would be done unto, which 
Pointe I will not staie uppon longer, but humblie entreate 
that You will moue His Ma t,e on my Behalfe. For I knowe 
Flis Ma tie to be the leaste touched with the Humour of 
Covetousnesse of anie Prince in Christendome, and six 
Yeares' Imprisonemente tells my weake L T nderstanding 



a.d. that it ought to be a sufficient Expiacon of anie Offence 
1504-1 32 m y (3 onsc j ence can accuse me of. 

" Though my Losses have byne greate alreadie, I should 
be ashamed to clamor too much in a Money Matter if 
I spoke in my owne Voice, (all I have, being at His 
Ma ties Service) ; but since I cry in the Voices of Children 
and others, that hath and must taste of the Bitternesse of 
my Misfortunes, without Likelyhoode of ether Helpes 
than from myselfe, I hope you will pardon me. 

" Not repining at anie Mans good Happe, or searching 
the Causes, but greaving at myne owne euill P'ortunes to 
be soe often called uppon, and so hardly, towards the 
undoing of my House ; noting His Ma ties gratious Favours 
to others, and remembring His Ma ties most noble Promiss 
to my Wife (uppon Occasion of shee laying open the 
Greatness of the Fine for Faultes of that Nature) that he 
would never hurte her or her Children therby, maketh me 
rather to pleade for them with Earnestnesse. 

" 16 October, 161 1." 

It was at this juncture that Lord Salisbury showed his 
animosity by advising the King to adopt the unpre- 
cedented course of sequestrating the Earl's estates, and 
appointing his own Receivers to intercept the rents. 

Northumberland, in the first instance, looked upon the 
proposed proceeding as a mere menace intended to 
spur him to increased efforts for raising the necessary 
funds : 

" For Your Lordship pressing the Fyne soe earnestlie," 
he writes to Lord Salisbury, " and beeing so eger to sende 
out Processe uppon my Landes, I should wonder att it, 
but that I knowe Lord Treasorers loue to see the Kings 
Coffers full ; but this smalle Droppe of myne will scarce 
make a Shew of anie Flood of His Ma ties Side, and dis- 
cover a greate Number of bare Schoales on ours. There- 



fore I pray Your Lordship, out of Your Noblnes, that you a.d. i6ii 
will slow this Course what You may, without Prejudice of 
your Dutie ; and further than that, I cannot with Reason 
demande, if You be cofhanded by higher Powers than 
your owne Affections ; hoping that Tyme and Reason may 
make some more favourable Motions in His Ma des Mynde; 
since I must needes thinke (out of Elkes' owne Reportes), 
that a King that could aduise him, in the verie Course of 
Venemous Accusations, to deliver nothing upponSuspition 
without greate Probabilities ; to saie nothing but that was 
true, and with the leaste rather than the moste, for it was 
not the Life's of Men that be desired, but to knowe the 
Truth ; I saie, my Lord, that such a iust, worthie and noble 
Prince, cannot affect with an earnest Desire the Ruin of 
our State if he weare not thruste forwards either by 
Covetousnesse, or Revenge, of others. 

" But if there be no Remedie, neither any Compassion 
to be raised or sturred upp upon noe Consideracons, then 
God's Will be done. Yett, I must confesse, I cannot 
choose but hope for better ; the Reasons I neede not 
express, neither goe beyonde the Seas to fetch them. 
They are not farre off ; they must needes be written in 
your Harte, as they are written in myne ; and as they 
have byne written in my Papers to your Lordship verie 

The sequestration, however, took place ; x Salisbury 
proceeded to cancel, and grant, leases upon his own 
terms, and without communication with the Earl, who, 
no longer able to doubt the ill-will of his professed 
friend, now offers this dignified remonstrance : 

" My Lord, — I understande that His Ma tie , by your 
Lordship's Advise, (for soe the Wordes of the Lease 

1 See Appendix XVI. where the value of the Earl's lands in North- 
umberland is set forth in the document which appoints Ralph Ashton 
the King"s Receiver. 



a.d. importe) hath granted Leases to the Receivers of several 
1564-1632 c ount i es under the Exchequer Seale, of my Landes, for 
the Levying of a Fyne imposed upon me. Your Lord- 
ship's Sicknesse hath byne the Cause of my forbearing 
to write or sende ; for I holde it neither charitable nor 
honest, in one's owne Particular, to urge a Remorse of 
Consience, whereby the Spirritt of a dying Man may be 
troubled ; x but rather to forgive under Silence. 

" But since now your Lordship is uppon Recoverie, 
and that the World confidentiie affirmeth you are out of 
Danger, and that my Business drawes to soe nigh a Point 
of Execution, lett me putte you in Mynde that this Parte 
which you have like to have played, must come again to 
your acting at one Tyme or other ; for your Foote must in 
the Ende touch the Grave, and I knowe noe Man (be he 
never soe free a Libertine) but loves to leave a Memorie 
of good Deedes, rather than of badd ; if there weare 
nothing els to be regarded. 

" The Thinsre itselfe that is in Hande is extraordinarie, 
and not to be paraleld ; for first, it is the greatest Fyne 
that ever was imposed- upon Subject. Fynes upon noe 
Man hath byne taken neere the Censure [? Sentence], but 
first much qualified, and then installed at easie Conditions. 
To be levied in this Fashion is not used, or if lett, yett 
ever for the Benehtt of the Owner, and not to his Ruine. 

" By this Course taken I see not but Receivers may 
make what Accompts they list ; pay the King at Leisure, 
yet I not quitted of Halle that is gathered ; my Landes 
spoyled, my Mouses ruinated, my Suits-in-Law receive 
Prejudice, my Officers imprisoned that st'ande bounde 
for me, my Debts unsatisfied, Reliefe by borrowing taken 
away. My Brothers and Servants must suffer, my Wife, 
Children and myselfe must starve. For the Receavers 

1 Lord Salisbury had then just recovered from a dangerous illness, 
but had a relapse three months later, under which he succumbed. 



are, by theire Leases, to accompt but once in the Yeare ; a.d. 1612 
for which Service of gathering they have their Rewarde, 
25. in the Pound, besides Gaine in retayninge the Money 
in their Handes, and Commodities in manie Waves els. 

" In all this Provision for them, I finde not a Thought 
of one Penny either for Wife or Child or myselfe ; soe as 
theire wants nothing but strewing the Land with Sake to 
make it a Patterne of severe Punishment ; and whether 
these Things should pearce into the Harte of a humane 
Man, I leave to Your Lordship to thinke of. 

" I laye not downe these Miseries that must fall out of 
Necessitie, as amazed or out of Passion ; for Tyme hath 
made me very obedient to hard Fortunes ; but to give 
your Lordship a Feeling of my Cause, that hath ever 
seemed to be a Pattriot for the Libertie of our Countrie 
and of the Nobilitie (wherein m wee joyed to have you of 
our Socictie) z and not a Producer of new Presedents that 
must, first or last, fall on you or yours, or on those which 
you wish well unto, and generallie to all Subjects. 

" This Extremetie is soe unusuall as none heares of it 
but wonders. For mvne owne Parte, I holde this Prin- 
ciple almost infallible ; that when Things are acted by 
wise Men contrarie to all Reason, there may well be con- 
cluded some Misterie to lie hidden which appears not, 
or somewhat desired secretlie, that will not be asked 

" As for the Queen's Debts to be this way satisfied 2 

1 The sarcasm implied in the great Earl's condescending recognition 
of the norms homo in the ranks of his order, is the only instance on 
record in which his long suppressed sense of injury and injustice seems 
to have overcome the calm and courteous tone of his habitual bearing 
towards his persecutors. 

2 " The Queen intends to beg the Earl's fine to pay her debts, and 
the Countess is trying to compound for his libertie ; but it is not likely 
to succeed." — Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton. Add. MSS., British 
Museum, vol. x:d. 67. See Northumberland's letter to the Queen, 
January, 16 13, and the footnote appended, p. 324. 



a.d. and by these Meanes, it is not sensible to Men that either 
15 12! 32 understand what the Greatness of Majesty of a Queen of 
England is, or what a Subject's Debt of this Nature can 
avayle her. What is it then you would have ? What would 
you compass ? It is not, I hope, the Ruin of my Family ? 
or my Vexation, to give Food for Matters of Splean ? 
Deal noblie therefore ; lett me knowe what it is your 
Desire to effect, and I shall soon give Answere whether I 
can or cannot ; for Your Lordship knoweth, and none 
but you (who was privie to all my Actions) knoweth so 
well, how little I have deserved this. 

" Perhapps you will saie that the King commaunds this 
to be done. I know the King's Commaunds in theise 
Money Matters is ofte to give but seldome to take, and 
all the World knoweth the Nobleness of his Disposition 
if but Reason be sounded in his Eares ; for the Nature 
of Censures in the Star Chamber are ad fcrrorem, non 
adruinam. Men are putt into the King's Hands that he 
may use Mercy, not Rigour, of Sentence ; and this hath 
beyne Your Lordship's owne Conceite of that Court, as 
unwilling to be there farther than Dutie comaunded, 
where nothing was to be pronounced but Lashings and 
Slashings, and Finings and Imprisonings. 

" I write not nowe, neither have done anything 
heretofore, out of Wilfullness ; but meerlie out of Feare 
howe my Actes and Words might take Interpretacon, 
and whether I have had cause or noe, I leave it to 
the Knowledge of God, and the Consciences of Men. 
Neither could anie Durance of my Carcase, or Discon- 
tentment of Mynde, have sturred me upp to deliver 
this but in private, had I not perceaved an eminent 
Approach of starving of a poor Companie of Creatures, 
that, for anything I knowe, never wished you Harme. 

" And soe with my Well-wishing for Your Lordship's 
Strength, I rest Your Lordship's poorest Allie in England 



for the Tyme, for I have just nothing as matters are a.d. 1612 
handled." 24 May. 

Lord Salisbury's death, a few weeks later, appeared to 
the Earl's friends to remove an adverse influence, and to 
afford a fair opportunity for more effectual appeals to the 
royal clemency. 

" The Countess of Northumberland had access yester- 
day to the King about her Lord's fine, which is now of 
late earnestlie urged, and direction given how and where 
to levy it ; seeing he will take no order himself for his 
best advantage. She had gracious audience, and is in 
great hope of abating the best part of it." I 

On the strength of her favourable reception, Lady 
Northumberland, now addressed this petition to the 

"Your Ma tIes Pleasure, most Gratious Soveraigne, 
signified by Mr. Lieutenante on Sondaie the 7th June, 
that your Ma tie was resolved to take into your owne 
Handes all my Lord's Lands and Possessions, till his Fyne 
of 30,000/. imposed uppon him weare paid, because My 
Lord hath not given Your Ma tie Securitie for the Payment 
of 20,000/. within two Yeares, and Mr. Chancellor of 
the Exchequer's hastie Proceedinge by graunting of 
Leases and sending forth Injunctions to put the Lessees 
in Possession, according to this Your Majestie's Pleasure, 
hath inforced us to be humble Suppliants to your 
Majestie for Grace and Mercy ; who doe sensiblie and 
clearlie see painted before our Eies the extreame Miserie 
that thereby wee shall endure. For daily Experience 
makes manifest that honorable Birth, if it wants Means 
to support itselfe, is of all Conditions of Life the most 
unfortunate. This course, if Your Majestie should con- 
tinew, taking therebie away all Meanes of our present 

1 John Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, 25th March, 161 2. 
Birch's James the First, vol. i. p. 165. 



a.d. Maintenance or future Preferments, will abase us in that 
15 4-1632 reS p ect beneath the Meanest. 

"This Miserie, we assure ourselfes, Your Majestic 
never meant to inflict uppon us ; and yett, if Your Ma i:e 
shall either continew the Course begun, or lay soe heavy 
a Burthen uppon My Lord, we doe apparently see, and 
sensibly already begin to feele, that this Unhappiness 
must and will inevitably light uppon us, and therefore to 
us the greatest Miserie we can imagine or conceave. 

" Your Ma tiC3 happy and gratious Government preach- 
eth better things unto your Subjects, and therefore we 
doe humblie entreate Your Ma tie to free us from those 
Torments of Mynde, and gratiously be pleased to diminish 
the Greatness of the said Fyne. And what Your Ma tie 
shall be pleased to abate (which we hope will be a greate 
Parte), to receive the Remayne by such an Instalment 
whereby we may live, and be preserved like ourselfes ever 
to maomifie Your Ma t:es Grace and Mercie towards us." ' 

It was evidently only his inability to comply with the 
conditions imposed, that induced the Earl to make 
repeated supplications for more favourable terms to the 
obdurate monarch ; for on the subject of his imprison- 
ment he continued to maintain a haughty silence. 

His actual financial condition is exposed in the follow- 
ing letter : — 

" Most Gratious Soveraigxe, 

" Mr. Lieutenant of the Tower delivered me the 
other day Your Ma :ies Comaundmente, to me sorrowfull ; 
for it carried with it an Argumente of Your Displeasure 
still remayninge, a Burden, (besides the losse,) too heavie 
for the aniicted Mynde of one who maketh it the onlie 
Study of his Life to remove it out of Your Ma ties Harte. 

1 Petition of the Countess of Northumberland and her children, 
1 2th June, 16 1 2. Alnwick JJSS.. vol. x. 



" The two Points hee delivered from Your Ma t!e was, a.d. 1612 
that You tooke it euill that I had neglected to take Order 
for that Sum Your Ma tie had sett downe ; and therefore 
Your Ma" e held Yourselfe at Libertie and would have 
the whole Fyne. The other, that I should not thinke 
Your Ma tie soe simple, the Treasorer being- dead, to 
whom the Care of gathering Your Ma tIcs Debts did 
belonge, that I should conceave an Opinion that I should 
not paie it therefore. 

" First, I humblie beseech Your Ma ,ie upon my Knees 
to give me Leave to utter myselfe trulie as Things are, 
and again delyvering it in all Humilitie with a Mynde 
full of Dutie, that Your Ma tie out of your Grace, would 
pardon where my Penne shall seem to be lame, and make 
out my true Intente where it may comitte an Interpre- 
tacun of Error, without which it were a fearfull Thing to 
putt Penne to Paper. 

" Concerning my Neglect, as Your Ma tie supposes, the 
Stay was out of Necessitie ; for being comaunded to goe 
to the Lord Treasorer and the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, the Treasorers Absence would not permitt the 
one, and the Chancellor's pressing so extreamelie, forbidde 
me the other. For Reason told me, and Experience 
taught me, that in Money Matters, when Your Ma tle is 
a Party, hee regardeth more your Profitt than our Wants. 
Therefore, humblieapealing to Your Ma tie ' let me deliver 
this much trulie : that if Your Ma tie would seaze into 
Your handes all the Revenew that we, Your poor Sub- 
jects, hath in the World to support us, and that you 
would sell all our Goods to the verie Bedd I lie on ; 
to allow us nothing to give us Bread to putt into our 
Mouthes, neither to suffer Brothers, Kindred, Servants, 
to enjoy such Pensions and Annuity as they have out 
of my Landes ; yett that Summe of 20,000/. could not 
be raised in two Yeares. Then I beseech Your Ma de 



a.d. consider how impossible it is to me to give Satisfaction 
1564-1632 w i t h ou t the Ruine or great Impaire of my Estate; and 
to sell Land I cannot, but must parte with that for 
20,000/. which is worth 40,000/., as all Men of any 
Knowledge in buyinge and selling of Land must needes 
understande. Besides, if it please but Your Ma tie to take 
Notice, that 20,000/. in two Yeares is more than 60,000/., 
being; installed at the Rates used ; or the most that ever 
was taken of any Subject, either of them that have 
detayned -Your Ma ties owne Money out of Your Coffers, 
or of Fynes of Men that had offended the State, either 
by Insurrections or open Rebellions. 

t{ To the other Parte of Your Ma ties Commaundmente, 
that that putts from me the Comforte or Hope that may- 
be receaved of Your Ma ties Mercy, if an Angell of Light 
descended from Heaven, and should tell me soe, I must 
confesse I could not beleave him, until I knewe that 
our worthie Soveraigne, King James, had never done 
a good Deede, never used CommiseracOn, never shewed 
Mercy, but executed Extreamitie and ever thirsted after 
his Subjects Estates. 

"Till then (not to offend Your Ma tie ) I say I must 
and will hope, even till the verie last Pennie be taken ; 
and then I shall still hope it would be restored againe, 
judginge myselfe by myne Integritie, and Your Ma tie by 
Your Bountie." * 

Nothing can be more unworthy than the huckstering 
spirit displayed by the King personally in the measures 
adopted for the exaction of the penalty ; nor was it until 
the Council had represented the difficulties they foresaw 
in enforcing the full demands of the Crown, that he con- 
sented to remit one-third of the fine on condition ot the 
balance being paid by annual instalments of 3,000/ 

1 Northumberland to the King, 12th June, 1612. 


the Earl giving guaranteed bonds for the amount, and a.d. 1612 
the sequestration on the estates remaining in force until 
the entire claim should be satisfied. 

(Upon this subject Lady Northumberland once more 
appeals to the King in her usual outspoken tone : — 

"The Chanc Ir of the Excheq r . signified Your Ma' 1 " 
pleasure that 20,000/. should be paid by 3,000/. a Yeare ; 
a Somme which Your Ma ne may understande cannot be 
had without a great Hinderance to me and my Children's 
Preferments. And because my Lord, uppon Hope of 
Your Ma 1 " 65 more gratious ConsideracOn herein, hath not 
promised Payment thereof, there are Leases made of all 
his Landes to Your Ma ties Receavers of those Countys 
where those Landes lie ; who have taken Possession 
of them by Virtue of those Leases, and doe purpose 
to receave the whole Revenue to Your Ma ties Use, 
soe as wee are putt to one of these Extreamitys : either 
to paie that which my Lords State cannot beare, or to 
runne into a greater Inconveniance, that will be noe Way 

Iproffitable to Your Ma tie , and ruinous to us. 
11 I humblie entreate Your Ma tie to look into the 
Chrystall of your owne Harte, and see there, whether 
my Lorde hath done any Act that can meritte such 
an Example of Proceedings for a Fine in the Starr 
Chamber, that no Record, as it is conceaved, can in anie 
Way equall, either in Greatnesse of the Fine, Greatness 
of the Installment, or in this rare and unknowne Course 
of Execution. And, therefore, I humblie beseech Your 
Ma tie to be gratiouslie pleased to be informed of the 
Presedents of the same Courts (whereof some are 
herunto annexed), 1 how Your Ma tles noble Progenitors, 
Kings and Oueenes of this Realme, have seazed, abated 

1 An Extract from Records in the Star Chamber of Fines remitted or 
reduced during the reign of Elizabeth was inclosed in this letter. 

VOL. II. ^2 1 V 


a.d. and installed them. Neither can I be perswaded that 
1564-1632 your Ma des Wants will hinder this Grace and Favour. 
how colorably soever pretended for this Proceeding. 
For though the Leavyinge of soe greate a Fine of Money, 
and in this Manner, is likely to proue the Undoinge of 
me and my Children, whom Your Ma tie promised out 
of your Grace you would never hurt with this Fine when 
I was an humble Suitor to You ; yet it will be soe small 
a Suply to Your j\fa tUs pretended Wants that it wilbe 
scarcelie ,seene, much less felte ; and God forbidd that 
one or two poor Creatures should suffer, because Your 
Ma tie * Coffers are emptie. 

" Farre be it from the Thought of anie good Subject to 
beleave, that anie such formall Pretence will cause Your 
Ma tie to lay so heavie a Burden uppon me and myne, 
whose Yeares now are at hande most to require it, and 
who in all our Actions have approved ourselfes dutifull 
and loyall to Your Ma tie . 

" Humblie also entreating Your Ma tle to revoke the 
said Leases and to make a milder Sessation ; for it 
Your Ma tie shall persevere in this Course (which God 
forbidd), we are likelie to indure such Harme, as 
none in this Case hath ever done in this Your happy 

"And if please Your Ma tie but to remember, when 1 
was an humble Suitor some sixe Yeares since for my 
Lord's Libertie, when it had pleased Your Ma tie , out ol 
Your gratious Disposition, to free my Lord Mordant. 
and my Lord Stourton ; I then, laying open the Small- 
nesse of the Offence my Lord was censured for, Your 
M tU said it was not for those Censures that he was sec 
restrained, though his owne Kindred laid it uppon hwi ; 
but that Your Jfa iie must have a Care for the Safe tic oj 
your owne Barnes. Which I hope Tyme hath given you 
Understanding how little those Feares are to be fostered 


in the Harte of a King ruling over dutifull Subjects ; a.d. 1613 
and not to fall, after soe long a Tyme, to soe severe a 
Course for Matter of Profit, because, as they saie, none 
ever had soe greate Need as Your Ma tie hath." ' 

Equally direct, and to the point, is the Earl's repre- 
sentation to the Queen : 

" Pardon me, I beseech you in all Humblenes. If I 
flie for Releef to Your Ma tie , I hope it will not be denied 
me to give what Helpe you maie. Arguments I have 
manie to induce me to it, some out of the stedfast 
Beleefe I have of the Worthines and Iustnes of your 
owne Minde ; others out of Experience that I have fovvnde 
howe feelinge Your Ma tie hath byne of my Cause hereto- 
fore, when Matters weare not soe well known, neither we 
so tried, as Tyme hath made them now. . . . This Fyne 
of myne is followed with that Severitie in seazing of 
my Landes as the like hath noe Presedent in former 
Tymes ; neither, I hope, will the like hereafter. And, 
Madam, I cannot but out of common Understanding 
conclude that all Subjects, of what Condition soever, 
(unlesse it be that they must gaine by it), must needs 
sorrowe in theire Hartes at the Course taken. How silent 
or in what Fashion their Lippes moue (not for my sake, 
— for soe were it Simplicitie and Vanitie in me to thinke, 
but for their own sakes and their Posterities,) I knowe 
they must greeve. Their Daintinesse to move His 
Ma tIe for us in a Cause that so neerlie concerns them 
all, cannot but begett a Thought in me that some hath a 
Hande in the Busines, whom they will not displease, 
howsoever it threaten the Ruine and Hinderance of 
my two poore Daughters, Your Ma ties Servants, and 
Your unhappy God-sonne, whose Fortunes relyes uppon 

1 Countess of Northumberland to the King, 30th September, 1612. — 
State Papers. 

323 V 2 


a.d. it. Therefore I most humblie entreat Your Ma tie to be 
1564-1632 an intercessor for us, since none els will, or dare. 

" Perhaps the common recieved Opinion, that to satisfie 
Your Ma ties Creditors by Way of this Fine may be a 
cause to seale upp Men's Lippes. How sprung, or how 
begott in the World, I knowe not but of my Lord 
Treasorers owne Proceedings and Reports. For I 
assure Your Ma tie that he sent me Woorde, at the verie 
first when the Speech of it was set afoote, that Your 
Ma de had .begged it, 1 and afterwards, sollicking him 
about it, he said that hee must not, neither would, deale 
in it ; for that hee had like to have broken his Necke 
in withstandinge my Lorde of Dunbarre when he was 
a Suitor for the same not long before ; when I knowe 
hee putt it (perhaps to other Endes than you then dis- 
covered) uppon Your Ma ties good Opinion towards me. 

" For this was one of his Principles often uttered : that 
hee never desired more Advantage of him that hee loved 
not, than once make a Prince doe him a shrewd Turne ; 
for then was he safe, for ever holding upp his Head with 
the least Labour in the world. 

" But that it is to satisfie Your Ma ties Debts with your 
Majesty's Will, I must confesse my Incredulitie therein ; 
or, if I did beleeve that it weare soe, then should I aske 
your Ma tie if a worthie and greate Oueene of England 
could feare arresting, or the not paying of her Debts, 
unless by the Ransacke of her most faithful Servants ? 
But these Thoughts beingr soe farre remoued from the 

1 It is not apparent what Salisbury's object was in spreading the 
report that the Queen had solicited the grant of Northumberland's fine 
as a means of satisfying her numerous creditors. There is no evidence 
of her having made such a claim, and the act would have been quite 
inconsistent with her friendship for the Earl, unless, indeed, she haU 
applied for the grant in order to relieve him from the payment. In 
such a case, however, she would hardly have failed to communicate 
her intention to the person most nearly concerned. 



Harte of Your Ma ties , as it is most devoted ever to obay, a.d. 1613 

I must ende as I begann,to craue Your Ma" ts Helpe and 

Succoure." * 

To the King he writes about the same time : 

"If Your Ma tie shalbe but pleased to take a View of 

the Particulars of my Estate herunto annexed, or referre 

it to those Your Ma tie shall please shall consider and 

inform You of the Truth thereof, if Your Ma ties greater 
I . . 

Occasions shall not permitt Your owne occulare Examina- 

cion as what I-receave, what I pay out in Pentions, what 
is necessarry for the present Mayntenance of myselfe, Es- 
tate and Children, and my Debts which must be satisfied. 

" Your Ma tie out of Your iudicious Understandinge will 
conceave, I shall assuredly hurte my Children in theire 
future Preferrment, for out of this little Meanes I have 
I must Yearlie lay by for them, or they must suffer a 
harder Fortune than their Birth would require, which, 
under Your Ma ties Correction, is not intended for the Use 
of cessinge or levying of Fynes." 

To the Council he represents that it is impossible for 
him to raise money upon his lands while these are under 
sequestration, and that, although quite ready to give his 
own bonds for annual payments, he cannot obtain security 
for them since " noe Man will willinHie be bownde for 
me in soe greate a Somme ; neither can I, with Reason, 
require Men to hazarde themselfes, how inocent soever I 
knowe myselfe ; for it is not the Setlednes of my Mynde 
can conhrme the Doubts and Feares of another Man's." 

On his being finally informed that the King would 
grant him an acquittance upon the immediate payment of 
14,000/., he urged that such a sum in ready money 
" would amount to much more than 20,000/. to be paid in 
seven Yeares ; but since it is Your Lordships Pleasure to 

1 Earl of Northumberland to the Queen, January, 1613. 



a.d. barre me of the mayne Wayes to satisfie you, in which 

15 4-i 3 2 j am mos t capable of, I mean Securitie by myne owne 

Bondes and my Landes, I beseech Your Lordships moue 

His Ma tle to take 10,000/. in readie Monie . . . and I 

will endeavour to procure it as soon as I can." 1 

The royal creditor, however, proved extortionate ; and 
the Earl, who had hitherto shown himself as determined 
to resist the payment of the fine, as the King had been to 
enforce it, weary perhaps of further haggling, now gave a 
proof of his readiness to satisfy the claim upon him, 
by offering to transfer to the Crown the only one of 
his landed possessions which it was within his power 
absolutely to dispose of : 

" May it please Your Ma tie to give me Leave to open 
partly the State as it now standeth with my Children, and 
humblie presente you with an Offer that may helpe them, 
and be of more Value to Your Ma tie . My Daughters are 
of 15 and 14 Yeares of Age ; the Tyme of their Prefer- 
ments for all theire Lives is at Hande and will not admitte 
long Delay. The Installmente of the Fine, as Your Ma ,ie 
hath imposed it, cannot be payed in 7 Yeares, they 
provided for, and all the Rest, and myselfe releived as they 
ought and as the World will expect from me, in Dutie of 
a Father. 

" 15,000/. if it should be paid, taking Use uppon Use, 
not resting one Minute of an Houre idle (which cannot be 
done), in seaven Yeares will come but to 20,000/. or 
thereabouts ; and to be bought by anie Chapman in readie 
Money, 10,000/. would be the most that would be given. 
Sion, 2 and please Your Ma ,ie , is the onlie Lande I can 
putt away, the rest being entayled. I had it before 
Your Ma ties happy Entrie, 48 Yeares by Lease, without 
paying anie Rent, but such as was given backe againe 

1 Northumberland to the Council, 24th July, 16x3. 

2 For an account of Syon House, see Appendix XVII. 



in certaine other Allowances. It hath cost me since Your A.^613 
Ma ,ie bestowed it uppon me, partlie uppon the Howse, 
partlie uppon the Gardens, almost 9000/. The Landes, as 
it is now rented and rated, is worth, to be sold, 8000/. 
within a little more or lesse. If Your Ma tie had it in 
Your Hands it would be better than 200/. a Yeare more 
by the Coppieholders Estates, which now payeth^but two 
Yeares old Rente Fine. Dealing with them, as you doe 
with all Your Coppieholders in England, is worth at the 
least 3,000/. This Howse itselfe, if it weare to be pulled 
downe and sold by View of Workmen, comes to 8000 and 
odde Pounds. If anie man, the best Husbande in Build- 
ing, should raise suche another in the same Place 20,000/. 
would not doe it, soe as according to the Worth it may 
be reckoned at these Rates : 3 1,000/. and, as it maybe sold 
and pulled in Peeces, 1 9,000/. or thereabouts. Thus Your 
Ma ue seeth the Estate of the Thinge, what it is ; howe 
the Care of a Father (in which arte Your Ma tie is under- 
standing and will iudge other Men by yourselfe), behold- 
ingethe Fortunes of my Daughters, rather choosing to lay 
a Losse uppon myselfe and my Heire, which Tyme may 
recover, than uppon them which may not endure Tyme, 
to make upp theire Advancements. 

" In humble Maner, therefore, I lay the same at Your 
Ma ties p eet) to gi ve Your Ma tie Satisfaction. It being a 
Mark of Your Ma ties Favour towards me in those Tymes, 
makes me unwilling to offer it to anie but to Yourselfe, 
or Yours, neither will I. . . ■ 
" This 14th April, 161 3." 

It was possibly a feeling of shame at the thought of 
accepting, as an expiatory offering, that which he had 
conferred upon a subject in reward for important personal 
services, that induced the King to decline so advan- 
tageous a proposal. In the end he consented to accept 
an immediate payment of 11,000/. in satisfaction of the 

3 2 7 


a.d. balance of the fine ; and on this sum having- been received 
i$ 6 4^ 6 3 2 into the Exchequer, he granted to the Earl what he was 
pleased to call a full " Pardon and Release." l 

While the sequestration of his estates was withdrawn 
he was, however, still debarred from all public offices 
that he had held under the Crown ; including those 
which he had received by inheritance from his father, 
and which had been made revertible to his own son. 

Shortly after his conviction in the Star Chamber the 
Earl of Dunbar had applied to the King for the Governor- 
ship of Tynemouth, against which grant Northumberland 
remonstrated, on the ground that that office had " been 
given by the late Queen to my Father, and two of his 
Sonnes, for Life, in recompense for Norham, which was 
taken from him. It hath alsoe pleased His Ma tie to give 
me his Graunte by Woorde, for the Reversion to my 
Sonne for his Life." 2 

Lord Dunbar thereupon withdrew his claim ; the office 
was, however, subsequently conferred upon Sir William 
Selby, during the King's pleasure, and Northumberland 
now demanded its restoration, not as a favour, but as 
a right. 

" Matters of my Fine being ended," he writes .... 
" that which I justlie desire is but that I have under 
the Greate Seale, as due to me as the Coate uppon 
my Backe, if any Pattente under the Great Seale of 
England be authenticall. . . . 

" I can saie nothing more for my Right, but that I 
have it under the Greate Seale, and by Patent for Life ; 
neither mean I to dispute the King's Prerogative, which 
I know Mr. Attorney will not fault in scanting. But 

1 For the text of this document, of which the title is misleading, 
see Appendix XVIII. 

2 Northumberland to Earl of Dunbar, 14th October, 1606. — State 



these are not the Things I meane to handle in this Letter, a.d. 
for I knowe Pretences may be made upon slighter l6o 5~ l622 
Grounds than these, and to greater Matter if the State 
pleases. If your Lordship can doe me this Favour I 
shall thinke myselfe beholdinge unto you ; if you cannot, 
I will cast it over my Shoulders with the Rest of my 
Misfortunes, and there lett it lie till a more favourable 
Tyme." ' 

James, however, considered that he had exhausted 
the sources of his grace when he accepted, in composi- 
tion for the fine, the largest sum that it was in his 
power to extort from an unwilling and obstinate debtor ; 
and the Earl, debarred from all places of profit or 
honour, and his private resources seriously impaired by 
the late proceedings, disdained to make further appeals 
to the King's clemency. His enemies had prevailed ; 
but they should not enjoy the triumph of bending his 
pride or shaking his philosophy. 

* * 

The Tower of London was a place of evil associations 
to its new inmate. 

Barely seventy years had elapsed since the Earl's 
grandfather was drawn from thence to ascend the scaffold 
at Tyburn ; twenty years since, his father had died a 
violent and mysterious death within those grim walls ; 
three years since, the headless body of his brother-in-law, 
Essex, was cast into the rude grave, which the captive 
had to pass in the monotony of his daily walks. 

Many a familiar name carved upon the prison stones 
met his eye, to tell the tale of successive victims to 
Royal resentment ; and to remind him of the fate of 
members of his own house who, in times past, had 
lingered in this abode of misery. 

1 Northumberland to the Earl of Suffolk, 19th November, 1614, and 
20th February, 1615.— State Papers. 

3 2 9 


a.d. Men of his passionate temperament are, as a rul<;, 

»5 4^i 3 2 exceptionally sensitive to the pains of personal re- 
straint ; but there was a stoicism underlying the Earl's 
impetuous nature which enabled him to bear misfortune 
with admirable equanimity. 

Up to the time of his trial in the Star Chamber he had, 
in the consciousness of his innocence, submitted uncom- 
plainingly enough to a captivity from which he could not 
doubt an honourable release. Even when his sentence 
was pronounced, he continued to hope that the penalty 
would ere long be mitigated ; now, however, he felt that 
his persecutors would resolutely stand between him and 
liberty, and he seems to have resigned himself to the 
prospect of a life-long captivity. 

" It pleased your Lordships," he writes to the Council 
" when you were last here, amongst other Speeches, to 
say if I wanted anything I might complain, and let your 
Lordships know of it. Now, my Lords, as the Summer 
groweth on, I find this little Garden, that lieth all the 
Day upon the Sun, to be very close ; these Galleries 
very noysome with the Savours from the Ditches, and 
Invalidities oftener to threaten me than they were wont. 

" These lower Parts are so wet after every Shower of 
Rain, as there is no stirring in the Garden ; neither is the 
Air so wholesome as the Hill. Therefore, if it please 
your Lordships that I may have the Benefit thereof, as 
other Prisoners hath had, bein^ here in the same Nature 
that I am, I shall acknowledge myself much favoured." 1 

He was hereupon removed to the Martin Tower, 2 on 

1 Earl of Northumberland to the Council, 9th May, 1606. — State 

2 " Martin Tower over against the Green Mount near Mr. Sherburn's 
House." — List of Prison Lodgings in the Power of London. Rarl. 
MSS., No. 1326. The Earl also rented the Brick Tower close to the 
Jewel House, the official residence of the Master of the Ordnance, 
for the use of his sen, in order to enable him personally to superintend 
his education. 



the north-east angle of the Bastion wall, where he passed a.d. 
the next fifteen years of his life in the ardent pursuit of l6 ° 5 ~ l622 
his favourite studies, and in constant intercourse with 
men of learning, whose companionship, with that of his 
beloved books, reconciled him to a fate which, to one 
devoid of intellectual resources, must have proved 
a terrible infliction. 1 

The well-filled shelves of his library at Syon House 
kept him supplied with the means of wide and varied 
reading ; and scholars and critics, alchemists and 
astrologers, assembled in his rooms, to discuss the 
theory of numbers and the law of optics, sun spots and 
the Satellites of Jupiter ; to read and criticise the 
"Faerie Qucene" and Sidney's Arcadia; to cast horo- 
scopes, and to burn the midnight oil in the attempt 
to discover the secret of the transmutation of metals, 
perpetual motion, and the elixir of life.? 

Many a time during the still hours of night the 
sentinel beneath the Earl's window may have stood, 
startled and amazed, as strange and mysterious sounds 
fell upon his ear : the whirl of wheels, the monotonous 
click of many a pendulum, the crackling of unseen fires, and 
the solemn tones of incantation. The jailer indoors who 
should intrude upon his privacy would gaze in awe upon 
his prisoner, as, clothed in quaint garments and inhaling 
through a tube the fumes of a burning weed, 3 he sat with 
his familiars engaged in mysterious rites amidst curiously 

1 "The Earl of Northumberland .... cares little for restraint except 
for the disgrace." — Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 21st December, 
1614. State Papers. 

2 Alchemy and astrology were at that time still practised, and con- 
scientiously believed in, by men of science ; though the more enlightened 
had already begun to denounce these pursuits as vain and illusory. 
Bacon, for instance, advises a friend "to abandon these fabulous and 
foolish traditions, and to come nearer to the experiments of sense." — Sir 
Tobie Mathews's Letters, p. 25. 

3 The average payment for tobacco during the Earl's captivity was 
over'50/. a year. 


a.d shaped instruments : retorts, alembics and crucibles ; 
15 U 32 zodiacal tables suspended from the walls ; celestial globes 
slowly revolving upon their axes; automatic figures 
moving by some hidden power, and a human skeleton ■ 
grasping an hour-glass in its claw-like fingers. No 
wonder that strange rumours went abroad as to the dark 
practices of " the Wizard Earl and his three Magi." 2 

Sir Walter Raleigh had remained in the Tower after 
the commutation of the death-sentence passed upon him 
in 1603, ancl now, shut out from the active pursuits 
congenial to his restless mind, joined the Earl in his 
studies and experiments. 3 

A mass of memoranda relating to the Earl's house- 
hold expenditure during the first ten years of his im- 

1 In the accounts at Syon House we find a payment " to Pr. Turner's 
man that brought a skeleton." This Turner was the Earl's medical 
attendant, and in 1607 received a fee for having provided him with "a 
Pomander for the Plague," a pomander being a strongly perfumed ball 
composed of materials for warding off infection. 

2 Thomas Heriot. or Hariot, Walter Warner, and Robert Hues, eminent 
mathematicians, whose devotion to the study of the exact sciences did 
not prevent them from placing faith in the occult arts of necromancy ; 
or from employing themselves in the construction of elaborate theories 
based upon the wildest speculations. Nathaniel Torperlev, the learned 
Rector of Saiwarpe, Nicholas Hill, James Allevne, and Dr. John Dee 
(for^ accounts of whom see Wood's Athens) were also constant com- 
panions of the Earl throughout his captivity. 

3 "Northumberland, the Mecamas of the age, had converted this 
abode of misery into a Temple of the Muses, and Raleigh was gradually 
inspired by the genius of the place."— Lingard's History of England 
(edition, 1849), vol. vii. p. i 9 S. This statement is justified by the evi- 
dence ot a contemporary writer, Wallis the mathematician, who says : 
"Their prison was an academy where their thoughts were elevated 
above the common cares of life ; where they explored science in all its 
pleasing forms, penetrated her most intricate recesses, and surveyed the 
whole globe till Sir Walter Raleigh's noble fabric arose, his History of 
the World, probably by the encouragement and persuasion of his noble 
friend." Fraser Tytler tells us that the Earl "established a literary and 
philosophical society in his apartments, and diverted the melancholy 
confinement by keeping an open table for such men of learning and 
genius as were permitted to visit him. Splendid in his entertainments, 
and lavish of his immense wealth, he was readv to pay any sum for the 
company and conversation of men of genius."— Life of Raleigh,?. 32Q. 

*> -, ^ 


prisonment has been preserved, 1 and serves to throw a.d. 
much light upon his habits and mode oflife. 1605-1622 

The privilege of providing the diet of prisoners 
formed an important feature in the Revenues of the 
Lieutenant of the Tower. By an annual payment of 
100/. Northumberland, however, acquired the right of 
keeping his own table, which was on a very liberal scale, 
costing on an average over 1400/. a year. 3 His cellar 
was stocked with a variety of wines, including French, 
Rhenish and Greek vintages, and " Muscatel, Hypocras, 
Malmsey, Canary, and Sherrie." He had a large retinue 
of servants and, for the use of his family and visitors, 
maintained stables of horses in Drury Lane, on Tower 
Hill, and in the Minories. 

His expenditure on his library, during the term of his 
captivity averaged no more than 200/. a year ; but the 
purchases were of the most varied character, compris- 
ing works on Theology, Philosophy, Medicine, Politics, 
History, and the Art of War, in English, French, Italian, 
and Latin. He had in his pay a foreign and an English 
Reader 3 and from time to time exchanged the books in 
use at the Tower, for others from his library at Syon. 4 

Losses or gains at cards now become comparatively rare 
items in his accounts; he played chess and drafts, however, 
and among other such recreations, we find him engaged 
in, what would appear to have been, a game of military 

1 Rolls in the Muniment Room of Syon House. 

2 The kind-hearted Queen, who had never ceased to interest herself 
in the Earl, or to intercede in his favour, occasionally 9ent him 
delicacies from the royal table; and we meet with several entries 
of "rewards" paid to the servant who brought him "jellies from 

3 To Francesco Petrozani for reading Italian to the Earl 7/. — Syon 
House Rolls. The English reader was the John Elkes, who, in 161 1, 
brought charges against his maste r in relation to the Gunpowder Plot. 
See ante, page 303. 

4 See Appendix XIX. 

03 J 


a.d. tactics, or Kriegspiel. 1 There is also a payment for " trim- 
15 4^ 3 2 m ing and rigging" the model of a war vessel, probably for 
the instruction of the future Lord Admiral of England. 

Among the physical exercises of the prisoner mention 
is made of fencing, battledore, tennis and bowling. 2 

When after the payment of his fine, the Earl could still 
discover no disposition on the part of the King to restore 
him to liberty, he set to work to make his prison life 
as agreeable as circumstances would allow, and his 
expenditure in luxuries now became very much larger 
than during the earlier period of his captivity. In 16 16 
he disbursed no less than 3,368/. in silver plate ; 3 in- 
cluding " Chargers, Scantlings, Plates and Bowls," and 
in the preceding year his account for personal apparel 
exceeded 1,000/. To an inmate of the Tower the 
opportunities of wearing the Garter must have been 
few ; yet we find him purchasing " a new George," in 
order, perhaps, not to be outdone in magnificence by 
the Earl of Somerset, who was at that time under 
sentence of death for Overbury's murder, and who 
was seen " with his Garter and George about his neck, 
walking- and talking with the Earl of Northumberland." * 

£ s. d. 
1 " For an inlaid Table for the practice of the art 

militaire 4180 

For making a mould of Brass to cast soldiers in, and 

making 140 of them with wire for pikes .... 2 16 8 

Making 300 leaden men with a box to put them in . 178 

The Table and points, and gilding the same .... 317 6 " 

a " Paid for making a Bowling Alley in Lord Cobham's garden in 
the Tower, 14/. 8s. gd." — Syon House Rolls. 

3 It is difficult to reconcile such expenditure with the Earl's frequent 
pleas of poverty, which appear indeed to have rested rather on the hope 
of escaping payment of the fine, or procuring it to be greatly reduced, 
than upon his actual circumstances. 

* Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 20th July, 1616. The writer 
expresses surprise that James's infamous favourite should have been 
allowed to retain the Garter : " It is much spoken of how foreign Prim t s 
of that Order (to let our own pass) can digest to be coupled in society 



Rewards and donations to the prison attendants figure a.d. 
largely in the Eari's accounts. Every official within the )0 l_! 
walls of the Tower, from the Lieutenant and his family, 1 
down to the keeper of the lions, 2 participated in his 
liberality, so that it is not surprising to learn that 
" warders made great moan " when they ultimately lost 
so profitable a prisoner. 3 

Adversity had not, it appears, had the effect of taming 
the Earl's violent temper : John Chamberlain writes to 
his friend Carleton, " It may be you have heard of the 
Earl of Northumberland swaggering not long since in 
the Tower, and beating Ruthven — the Earl Gowrie's 
brother — for crossing him in his walk." 4 

Although the noble Prisoner seems to have claimed a 
monopoly of this particular walk, 5 yet Ruthven would 
appear to have incurred the Earl's wrath for a more 
serious offence than merely coming between the wind 
and his nobility during a morning stroll ; for there was 

with a man lawfully and publicly convicted of so foul a fact ; or how a 
man civilly dead, and corrupt in Blood, and so no Gentleman, should 
continue a Knight of the Garter." — Birch's James the First, vol. i. p. 419. 
The King, however, chose to lay it down in this case, that Felony, unless 
accompanied by Treason, did not justify expulsion from the order. 

1 Among numerous other such payments we find a charge for "two 
pendant rubies, presented to the Lieutenant's daughter." 

2 " The reward by Lord Percy for seeing the lions, with Lady 
Penelope, and his two sisters, six shillings." As early as in the reign of 
the third Henry we hear of a white bear and an elephant (the first 
landed in England) being kept in the Tower. Lions were first imported 
in the sixteenth century, and the Lieutenant was allowed sixpence a day 
for the food of each of these. The allowance for feeding " poor 
prisoners " was only a penny a day. — See Bailey's Tower of London. 

3 See'page 359. 4 Original State Papers. 

s Fifty years later Pepys writes to Sir William Coventry: "To 
the Tower .... we walked down to the Stone Walk, which is 
called, it seems, My Lord of Northumberland's Walk, being paved 
by some one of that title that was Prisoner there : and at the end of it 
there is a piece of stone upon the wall with his armes upon it, and holes 
to put in a peg for every turn they make upon that walk." — Diarv, 
vol. ii. p. 314. The charge for materials for paving this walk appears in 
the Earl's accounts. 



a.d. an old standing grievance against him in consequence of 
15 ill 32 Ruthyen having many years before accused Lord North- 
umberland of being the author of some defamatory versis 
written against a lady, who was alleged to have rejected 
and resented his addresses. 1 

During the twenty years that had elapsed between 
his accession and his committal to the Tower, the Earl 
had, to a great extent, succeeded in re-establishing the 
damaged fortunes of his house ; but his long absence 
from his estates and the subsequent sequestration of his 
revenues, led to frequent losses, and had involved him in 
long and costly litigation. In 1609 he complains to the 
Judges of Assize in the North that the country people 
had combined to withhold his rents " by colour of tenant 
right," 2 and four years later he retains Serjeant Hutton 
" by means of a yearly fee, to issue out of my manor of 
Spofforth, of one piece of gold ; " as his standing counsel 
in actions relating to disputes with the tenantry. 

Among other cases there had been a long pending 
suit between him and his kinsman, the Earl of Cumber- 
land, to whom he now writes in these terms : — 

11 Noble Lord, 

" Your owen Tyme shall satisfye me, for the End- 
ing of that Business in Controversy between us. A few 
Months will brede but a smaule Alteration in a Matter 
that hath been so Ions: in concluding. 

" I wish it had been sooner ended for both our Sakes ; 
but, since that Time past cannot be recalled, we must 
make of Necessitie a Virtue. 

1 See Cabala, p. 328. 

2 Earl of Northumberland to Sir James Altham, 14th August, 1609. 
State Pafsrs. In this year his accounts show payments for la* 
costs to Mr. Cartwright, his solicitor, to the extent of 500/. — RoUi 
at Syon. 

1 ->{> 


" For the Satisfaction that shall rise to both of us, I a.d. 
cannot doubt but it must needes be good when the l6o 5~ l6. 
Mediators shall be such as ourselves ; boeth born with 
Honour and Justice in our Myndes, or else are we not 
worthy of the Style we are cauled by. Besides the Near- 
ness and Friendship can but promise a noble Proceeding 
and an honourable and kind Ending." 

The prisoner in the Tower seems to have retained 
some interest in the outer world, and even in its social 
pursuits, for he concludes his letter — 

" Your Lordship is determined not to be here till 
Easter Time ; but I think you will be called upon 
sooner, if that go forward that is intended, or at least 
said to be intended : I mean a Parliament. This is all 
I can tell you for the Present, but that there is a Maske 
towards (in progress) for this Christenmas ; and soe 
with my best wishes, I rest 

" Your Lordship's Friend and Cousin to dispose of, 

The Earl maintained a constant correspondence with 
his various officers; with Sir Henry Slingsby, Robert 
Delavall, 2 and John Astell, his Receivers ; Henry Taylor, 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Earl of Cumberland, 13th Dec, 1614. — 
Syon MSS. ''The principal subject of this letter seems to have been 
the long arrears of rent due from the Cliffords for the ancient rents of 
the Percy fee in Craven. These amounted to about 250/. per annum, 
and had been originally paid to the Crown ; but Queen Mary, when she 
restored the titles and estates of the family to Sir Thomas Percy, grand- 
father of this Earl, granted these rents to him ; and they were, therefore, 
payable from that time by the Cliffords to the Earls of Northumberland. 
But I find, from the Skipton Papers, that Earl George was one time 
twenty years in arrear, and I strongly suspect that this sum, or a great 
part of it, remained unpaid in 16 14. and drew from the Earl this dignified 
though delicate expostulation." — Whitaker's Craven. 

2 Who writes from Alnwick Castle on 2nd May, 1609 givine the 
Earl this curious account of the ceremony of the keeping of St. George's 
Day at Berwick : 

"The Earle of Dunbar kept S f . George his feast at Barwicke ; wheath r 
he did sumon most p'. of all the prynsypall gent, of Northumberland, 

vol. 11. 237 z 


a.d. Clerk of the Kitchen, Edmond Powton, Steward of the 
*5 4r| o 2 Household, and John Hippesley, Gentleman of the Horse. 
Most of these letters refer only to details of management/ 
but their tone is characteristic : — 

" It is well done of you," he writes to one of these, " to 
deliver to me your Opinion at large, for I expect it ; al- 
though sometymes you and myself shall differ in the form 
of Proceeding, more especially we being so far asunder, 
and not able to communicate all our Reasons by Letter. 
Having instructed me with your Opinions, you are then to 
follow my Directions. If I have found Faults, Neglects. 
or Errors in my Instruments, it is enough that I correct 
them, without publishing to the World either the Punish- 
ment or the Connivance. There is nothing done without 

to bear him Componie. There was w*. him of Scotsmen 2 Earls and 
6 Barrons, the rest Knights and gent, to the number of some 24, 
besydes English Knights, and gentlemen to the number of manye. He 
contynewed the feastinge of all his Componye 3 dayes. w th . great Plentye 
and store of good faire, observinge the Scotshish fassyon, ahvayes after 
dynner and supper was downe, befor any men rise from the Table, 
w c was w*. a Ciiapter of the Bybell, or some p*. of the readinge Salmes, 
red by one of his Chaplens ; and Immedyately after, such as lysted to 
Drinke, had readye sett them uppon the Table in Severall glasses, wiij 
several wynes, w^ 1 . is Called the graese drinke. He laye in the Pallice, 
?' ./, and did goe from thence to the Church, beinge verye neare halie a 

quarter of a mylne in his Robbs. There did goe befor him, first S r . W '• 
Bowers Componie of foot, marching w th . there piks and muscuts, next to 
them 12 great horses foure w lh . foot clothes, and the rest w th . rich Sadies ; 
then his men in Blevvcots, in number So ; next to them, the maire of the 
towne and the Aldermen, then S r . W m . Bower and his Son ; gent, ushers in 
ranke togeath r , S r . VV m . haveinge his ledinge state in his hand, ami 
then himselfe. w th . all the noblemen and gentlemen after him." 
Alnwick ATSS. 

1 The Earl's coal mines are a subject of frequent correspondence. In 
March, 1607, he conditionally accepts an offer of "twenty marks a p •' 
for his mines in Northumberland : but twelve years later expressi 
regret at not having worked them himself, and authorises the sale of 4- J 
tons of coal from Lemmington mines at 6y. ^d. the ton. He let his 
"fishings and fowlings " in Yorkshire for 22/. a year; and insists u 
all the inhabitants of Alnwick using " the common bakehouse for '• 
benefit of the farmers of the same," directing that unless they k& • 
off baking their own bread, all the ovens newly built should '<■ - 



my Direction, or Debate, by all those whom I trust. a.d. 
In matters of the Rent, there has been, it is true, l6 ° 5 ~' 6: 
Neglect which has caused so many months' Delay, but 

the Defaulters have heard of it Go you forward 

in your honest Courses ; there is better meant than you 
are aware of." ' 

Of the Earl's generosity and kindheartedness his 
correspondence affords repeated proof. Among other in- 
stances may be quoted his intercession with the Judges 
of Assize in Sussex on behalf of a man who, under the 
pressure of extreme want, had been guilty of stealing 
a silver bowl oft" a table in the hall of Petworth : 

" I will not meddle with the Manner of the Fact, for 
that will appear to you upon his Examination. Only I 
will heartily desire that, if he should stand with no other 
Crime than this, there mi^ht be a favorable Proceeding 
against him, to which Request of mine, legally limited, if 
you please to give your Help, I shall acknowledge it as 
a Favour." 2 

Here is a businesslike letter to some of his Alnwick 
tenants, on the subject of the Grammar School in that 
town, which the Earl's ancestors had founded and en- 
dowed, but the requirements of which had outgrown 
its dimensions : 

"I have receaved your Petition of 12 Nov r . I am 
very glad to decerne your Forwardness in doeing soe 
good a Work as to drawe Learning into your Towne, and 
soe, by consequent Civilitie, my Hands shall not be tyed 
from giving Helpe to your Purposes, since it is so good an 
Ende. But, Pray God, I fynd it not with you as I found 
of them of Rothbury for repayring their Church, whiche, 
when I had condissended to contribute largely, the Reste 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Mr. R Astell, May. xGi^.—AInzvick 

2 To Sergeint Crewe, November, 1620. — State Papers. 

339 7. 2 


a.d. of the Country would doe just nothing. I would hope 
15 ll! 32 for better Success in this, and that is the Cause why I 
will sette down under myne owne Hande what I will 
- give towards this charitable Worke ; that it may be a 
Witnesse againste yourselfes if you proceed not therein. 
Whatsoever it be that any Man shall give towards the 
Buylding of the Scoule, or hathe given, I will give as 
much, if not more. Whosoever shall bestowe any yearly 
annuite for the Maintenance therof herafter, bona fide, I 
will give twice as mutche. The Nominating of the Scoller 
(master) I intend to have, in which I know I shall be as 
careful as yourselves to choose a fitt Man. The Ground 
Plott of the W T ork intended I desier to see in a Draught, 
for soe shall I guess what will be your Charges in the 
Building therof, and Mens Helps will be drawn on 
therafter. Now you know my Mynde I will reste, and 
wish this Matter good Proceeding. When I shall perceave 
the Foundation of the Worke begunne to be laid, then 
shall my Contributions beginne. This 30th daye of 
November, 16 10. 

His long captivity does not appear to have materially 
affected the Earl's health, or, if it did, he made no com- 
plaints beyond occasionally alluding to his failing 
eyesight. In a letter, in which he claims his ancient 
privilege of nominating one of the Burgesses for York, 
he says : " my eyes are evil, and it is painful to write 
with spectacles ; so I must either have your letters, to 
let me know what you do, or yourself to inform me." 
There could hardly have been a greater calamity to 
one of his studious habits, and his employment of 

1 From Tate's Barony, Town, and Castle of Alnwick, vol. ii. p. So. 

3 State Papers. The writer prays "the continuence of your love ana 
consent for Henry Taylor, Clerk of my Household," as his nominee for 
the representation of York. 




" Readers " was doubtless owing to the necessity of e a.d 
sparing his eyesight. 

He had given much time and attention to the educa- 
tion of his two sons ; but with his contemptuous estimate 
of the intellectual requirements of women, he would not 
have been likely to trouble himself with the mental training 
of his daughters, who as they grew towards womanhood, 
however, became to him a cause of much anxiety. His 
distaste for the coarse dissipation of the Court of James, 
aggravated by a sense of injustice, led him to desire their 
exclusion from the royal festivities. 1 Lady Northumber- 
land, however, whether from policy, or a love of pleasure. 
was not disposed so to isolate herself, or to deprive her 
daughters of the social advantages of the Queen's 
countenance. 2 

!" There is whispered that Count Henry of Nassau 
hath a month's mind for my Lord of Northumberland's 
daughter, which, if it should fall out, would be a great 
match for her." 3 . . . . " Lord Burleigh woos the Earl 
of Northumberland's daughter which may bring about 
her father's release." 4 . . . . 

This gossip relates to the Lady Dorothy Percy, who 
without her father's knowledge, but, as it seems, with her 
mother's connivance, was in 16 16, privately married to 

1 The Earl once quoted it as a proof of his indulgent treatment of his 
wife that he had allowed her to take his daughter to Court lest "neglect 
or stubborness " might be imputed to him. See his Letter to Lord 
Knollys, Appendix XV. p. 36. 

2 In an account of the festivities on the occasion of the Princess 
Elizabeth's marriage to the Count Palatine Frederick, in 16 13, we read 
that " the Lady Northumberland was very gallant ; " and an idea may 
be formed of the extravagance in dress, which Anne of Denmark had in- 
troduced, and which the King encouraged, from the statement that "Lady 
Wotton had a gown that cost 50/. a yard the embroidery," and that 
"the Lord Montague had bestowed 1,500/. in apparal for his two 
daughters." — Birch's Court and Times of fames I. 

3 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, August, 1613. — State Papers. 
* Same to same, December, 16 14. — Ibid. This Lord Burleigh was the 

eldest son of Robert Cecil, first Earl of Exeter, Salisbury's elder brother. 



a.d. Robert Sidney, Lord Lisle's eldest son, and afterwards 
15 lli 32 the second Earl of Leicester. The marriage was not 
publicly announced until the following year, for what 
reason is not apparent ; since the alliance was on both 
sjdes a very suitable, and proved an exceptionally happy 
one. The Earl's second daughter, the Lady Lucy, was 
a source of yet more trouble to him ; for no sooner 
had she appeared at Court than her beauty attracted a 
crowd of ardent admirers, and suitors for her hand. Most 
conspicuous among these was the Lord Hay, 1 the least 
unworthy perhaps of James's favourites ; and whose 
handsome person, fascinating manners, together with 
a reputation for fabulous wealth and munificence, were 
well calculated to dazzle a young girl on her introduction 
into society. 

" . . . A Masque will be given at Lord Hay's, where 
the Countess of Bedford is to be Lady and Mistress of 
the Feast, as she is of the managing of his love to the 

1 James Hay, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, " though of no more noble 
extraction than the immediate son of a Scotch merchant, an appellation 
which some under a stall would scorn to patronize, who it is said 
bestowed more trimming in the varnish of a waistcoat than any of h;s 
masters ancestors did in clothing themselves and their families." — 
Osborne's Traditional Memoirs of James the first. He had in early life 
served in the Scottish Guards of the King of France; handsome, 
accomplished, and of fascinating manners, James showered wealth and 
favours upon him ; made him a Privy Councillor ; employed him in 
several important embassies; and created him successively Baron Hay, 
Viscount Dqncaster, and Earl of Carlisle. His extravagance was bound- 
less ; and in his entertainments he appears to have been anxious to 
emulate the senseless and ostentatious luxury of Lucullus. Weldon 
states that he imported live sturgeon from the Black Sea, which were 
served whole at his banquets; that his suppers consisted of a rapid six- 
cession of the most costly dishes, the greater part of which pasc-ed 
untouched to his servants, one of whom was seen devouring a pie. com- 
posed (among other ingredients let us hope) of "ambergris, magisterial 1 f 
pearl, and musk," and which cost 10I. Wilson relates that on his 
entry- as Ambassador into Paris, the horse he rode had. like the mule <■ 
the Empress Poppea, silver shoes slightly tacked to his hoofs, which, ■ 
fast as they were dropped for the mob to scramble for, were replaced 
by others, by an officer in attendance for that special duty. — See 2s i- • 
Progresses of James /., vol. iii. p. iSj. 



Earl of Northumberland's younger daughter, with whom a.d. 
he is far engaged in affection ; and finds such acceptance, l6o 5~ l6 - 2 
both at her hands and her Mother's, that it is thought it 
will prove a match." l . . . 

In encouraging his suit Lady Northumberland doubt- 
less had in view the services which such a son-in-law 
might render towards effecting her husband's release ; but 
the Earl received the announcement with scorn and 
indignation. He would sooner die in prison than owe 
his release to a Scottish adventurer at the price of his 
daughter's hand, and suspecting her affections to be 
engaged, he took his own measures to separate the lovers. 

The "Masque," referred to by Chamberlain, had oc- 
cupied " the workmanship and invention of thirty cooks 
for twelve days," at a cost exceeding 2,200/. . . . . " but 
the ill luck was, that the chief and most desired guest was 
away ; for the young Lady Sidney, with her sister, the 
Lady Lucy Percy, going, some two or three days before 
the feast, to visit their father in the Tower, after some few 
caresses he dismissed his daughter Sidney to go home 
to her husband, and to send her sister's maids to attend 
her ; for that he meant not to part with her, but that she 
should keep him company ; adding withal that he was a 
Percy, and could not endure that his daughter should 
dance any Scottish jigs ; and there she remains for aught 
I hear." 2 

.... "The Earl of Northumberland still keeps 
his daughter, Lady Lucy Percy, in the Tower, to secure 
her from the addresses of Lord Hay." 3 . . . 

But the Lady Lucy had inherited something of her 
father's strength of will ; even the gates and bars of 

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 22nd February, 161 7. — Birch's 
James the First, vol. i. p. 459. 

3 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, Sth March, 1617. — Ibid. vol. i. 
p. 463. 

3 Sir G. Gerard to the same, 20th March, 161 7. — State Papers. 

1 1 *• 


6 A '- D i6 2 tllG Tmver were no security against her girlish love for 
— the handsome courtier, and the gossiping letters of the 
time chronicle the progress of the courtship and its 
ultimate conclusion in marriage. 

. . . . " The Earl of Northumberland could not divert 
his daughter Lucy from Lord Hay, for while he had 
her in the Tower, giving her leave daily to visit the 
Countess of Somerset, thereby to have the better 
access himself, she encouraged the match ; and there- 
fore the matter was so plotted, that where he thought 
he had her safest, there he lost her ; and so was fain 
to send her away, seeing he could prevail no more 
with her." l 

. . . . " The Lord Hay will use all possible means to 
get the Earl of Northumberland's good will with his 
daughter, and to have the 20,000/. he promised her if 
she would be ruled by him ; but he may cast his cap at 
that, seeing the Earl so incensed, not only against her, 
but against his fair lady of Somerset, for procuring and 
persuading of the match." 2 

.... "Lord Hay has returned from Scotland, and 
lives in a little house in Richmond Park, to be near Syon, 
where his fair mistress stops." 3 . . . 

. . . . " Your Lordship's friend, my Lord Hayes, is not 
yet married, nor will never get my Lord Northumber- 
land's good will to it." 4 . . . 

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 24th May, 1617.— Original State 
Papers. This Countess of Somerset, a daughter of the Earl of Suffolk. 
had in 1606 married Lady Northumberland's nephew, the young Earl of 
Essex, from whom she was divorced in order to confer her hand upon 
her lover, James's latest favourite, the infamous Robert Carr ; who. as 
well as herself, was now under sentence of death for Overbury's murder. 
They obtained the royal pardon however. Contrast this leniency 
towards two convicted poisoners with the treatment which the Eari 
of Northumberland had met with at the hands of the King. 

3 The same to the same, 5th July, 161 7. — Ibid. 

3 G. Gerard to D. Carleton, 5th July, 1617.-7/'///. 

« Lord Eorbcs to Earl Norton, 9th August, 1617. — Ibid. 



. . . . " The Lord Hay thinks it long till the King's a.d. 
coming, that he may consummate his marriage ; for the l °^Zl 
King hath promised to give the bride. He is wonder- 
fully observant and obsequious to her and her mother ; 
and spends most part of his time there, having taken 
Sir Francis Darcy's house, by Syon, where he makes 
solemn feasts twice a week at least, with that cost and 
expence that the Lady of Northumberland dares not so 
much as once invite him, by reason of his curiosity " 
(fastidiousness ?) ; " though he be commonly in her house 
from morning till dinner, from after dinner till supper, 
from after supper till late in the night." ' . . . 

. . . . " On Thursday the Lord Hay married his 
mistress the Lady Lucy Percy, and that night the King 
and Princess honoured his wedding supper with their 
presence at the Wardrobe." 2 . . . 

" The bride knelt while the King drank her health, 
and she drank his." 3 . . . 

And so while the poor Earl lay fuming in his prison, 
his enemies made merry, " ate the wine possett, threw the 
left shoes, ran at the ring, with other fooleries," in honour 
of his daughter's marriage with King James's Scotch 

favourite. 4 

* * 


In the following year the Countess of Northumber- 
land died at Petworth. 5 Her untiring efforts to effect her 

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 9th August, 1617. — Birch's^/ames 
the First, vol. ii. p. 27. 

2 The same to the same, 5th November, 16 17. — Original State Papers. 

3 Sir G. Herbert to Dudley Carleton, Sth November, 161 7. — Ibid. 

4 The Earl for a long time obstinately refused to recognise his son-in- 
law, and on prospects of his speedy liberation being held out to him, 
informed his daughter that he would scorn to accept freedom by means 
of the upstart whom she had degraded herself by marrying. " Pride was 
indeed a leading feature in the character of Northumberland, which mis- 
fortunes seem to have had the effect of aggravating:, rather than softening. " 
■ — Aikin's Memoirs of James I. 

5 "August, 1617. Dorothie, that thrice honorable and right vertuous 



a.d. husband's liberation had been not a little thwarted by the 
1564-1632 unC ompromising attitude which he had maintained in the 
face of the King and his favourites ; but he was of too 
generous a nature not to appreciate the affection she had 
displayed towards him throughout his adversity. His 
contemptuous estimate of women, and her own violent 
and imperious temper, must ever have been a bar to 
domestic harmony between them ; but as years went by 
their relations appear to have improved, and we are 
told that after her death his friends found it necessary 
" to remind the Earl of his former disputes with his wife, 
in order to lessen his grief at her loss." ' 

* * 


Immediately on the birth of his first-born son, 2 the 
Earl, conscious of the disadvantage of his own deficient 
training in that respect, had commenced the compilation 
of a code of 4i Instructions " relating to the management 
of large estates. The document had been left "Incom- 
plete, but during the weary years of captivity in the 
Tower he supplemented and revised this MS., 3 and 
finally added another treatise entitled, " Advice to my 
Son on his Travels." 4 

Of the former composition he thus summarises the 
objects : 

" First, that you understand yowr Estate generally 
better than any of yowr Officers. 

lady the Countess of Northumberland. Her corps was interred in the 
Chappell on the 14th of this month." — Petworth Register. 

1 See a letter from Sir Gerard Herbert to Dudley Carleton, ictli 
August, 1 61 9.— State Papers. 

2 He was born in 1597, and died in September of the same year.— 
See extract from register of St. Clement Danes, London. Alnwick MSo., 

vol. xiii. , 

3 The original document is preserved in the library at Petworm. 
The MS. was transcribed by Mr. Malone, and is printed in full »' 
Arc/ucolo^ia. vol. xxvii. p. 306. 

* Published in the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. iv. p. 374. 



" Secondly, that you never suffer your Wyfe to have a.d. 
Poore [power] in the Manage of yowr Affaires. 1605-1622 

" Thirdly, that your Giftes and Rewardes be yowr 
owen, without the Intercession of others." l 

The writer proceeds to lay down elaborate rules under 
each of these heads, illustrating them by arguments and 
demonstrations, marked by much shrewdness and worldly 
wisdom, but blemished by the cynicism inseparable from 
the doctrine that self-interest is the actuating motive of 
man, together with an utter disbelief in the moral or 
intellectual perfectability of women. 

His misfortunes had doubtless tended to embitter his 
feelings, for he speaks with a painful conciousness of the 
change that had passed over his mind since in happier 
times he began to compose his " Instructions." 

" Wonder not at the Alteration of the Style which 
perhaps you may fynd ; for ether I have got mutche since 
that Tyme in looking after other Matters more of greater 
Weights, or loste mutche Forme in Phrase, which Youth 
commonly pleaseth itselfe with." . . . 

Attributing his early pecuniary embarrassments to 
the want of training and experience in the arts of 
"governance," and dwelling emphatically upon the 
shamefulness of incurring debt, " the Mynd being over- 
wearyed with the Sutes of poore People whose Goodes 
I had, and I could not satisfy, — a Disease that haunteth 
an honest Mind," and upon the shifts and sacrifices he 
had to make in order to extricate himself, 2 he pro- 
ceeds to lay down rules for his son's guidance in the 

1 The original spelling has been preserved as being more in character 
with the oddity and quaintness of the sentiments and expressions. 

3 " Woods were concluded the next means of reliefe, so as the axe was 
put to the tree. Officers made so speedy sales, as within a few yeares 
was sold the value of 20,000/., held worth 50,000/. ; to jewelers and 
silkmen making their ne?ts in the branches .... and leaving nothing 
but the memory of good trees in rotten roots." 

^ 1 7 


a.d. management of his servants, 1 and the administration of 
1564-1632 his lancl5 . 

" And this I must truely testify of Servants : and of Ex- 
perience in all my Fortunes, good and badde : I have 
found them more reasonable than ether Wyfe, Brothers, or 
Friends. Why it should be soe is manifest .... a Wyfe 
can but be a Woman subject to much Weakness, though 
with Passions and Desiers as strong, if not stronger, than 
those of others . . . ." and younger brothers are apt to 
chafe under their inferior position " if their Humors be 
not satisfied to the full as thev conclude is due to them 
out of the Right of Birth, being born of one Flesh and 
Blood," and to " tickle their Fancies with the Defence of 
Equal ite to be most just and consonant to Reason." 
Friends are " soe weakhearted in cases of Adversitie, 
inclining soe much to the over loving their own Parti- 
culars, that the very Respects of common Humanitie and 
Fortitude hath been cast aside/' 

The way to secure, on the part of servants, the 
necessary " Awe, Obedience, Love, Carefulness, Playne 
Dealing, Contentedness with lesse, and indeede all 
Thyngs else that belongeth to this Mystery of Governing 
.... is to let them fynd that ye nede them nott, and that 
yf one be gonne to day, you can make. another do your 
Business as well to morrow. . . ." 

Example is inculcated as a useful element of efficient 
administration : 

" You must labour as mutche as may be that your 
Servants Opinions be venerable, soe shall yowr Command- 

1 The term must be taken in a wide sense as comprising military 
officers, and gentlemen employed in situations of trust and confidence, 
as well as ordinary household servants. The writer says: "Those 
that you have to govern in your family are of two sortes: the 
better and the meaner; the better should less direct the greatest 
businesses than to execute .... the prime direction being even 
the masters worke, otherwise shall you be but a master in shew, not 
in deede." 




ments be as Law to them, either out of Love or Conceite. a.d. 
I knowe no better Way that they may find your Mynd l ° 5 Zl 22 
inclined to Justice and Severite, than hiding from them 
any notable Vice to be in yowr own selfe." 

Undue suspicion is to be deprecated as much as over 
confidence : — 

11 Because Men are Men, you must not thinke to fynde 
Gods of them for Knowledge, nor Saints for Lyfe. They 
must be subject to their Affections and Passions, and 
they will thinke best for those Endes they aime at, 
although their Conclusions will be but Paralogisms 
and Ignorances, if well digested, as most Things under 
the Sun are." 

The writer complains of the grasping tendencies of 
servants who " will pleade Custome, if it be but a Loafe 
of Bread, or a Canne of Bere, which, when they have it, 
they will give it to the Dogges rather than loose it, with a 
Proverb that the Lord payeth for all." 

Here is wholesome and judicious counsel : — 

" To contente your cheafe Instruments is to give them 
Hering of that they advise ; if it happen their Counsels to 
be unsound shew them these Errors out of Reason, and 
rather make a Faulte of displeasing them, than yield to 
that you know shall not be good. If there Counsels be 
sound, or happen to jump with that you had concluded 
before in the Inward of your Determination, never attri- 
bute the same to your owne Will, but to their Advise, 
soe shall you please them." 

These strictures do not bear out the traditional belief 
in the superior merits of domestic servants in the 
olden time, as compared with those of the present dav. 
If we may trust the Instructions, servants would appear 
three centuries ago to have possessed most of the faults 
which are now so commonly laid to the charge of that 
class. The result of the Earl's experience, however, 



a.d. seems to be that servants are very much what their 
15 111 32 masters make them ; and the moral of his lecture may be 
summed up in the sensible French axiom : Mauvaisc 
administration fait mauvais valets. 

Under the third head of the Instructions the writer 
deals with the mischief arising from the proceedings of 
those sycophants who beset the paths of men in hHi 
positions, making themselves the intermediaries between 
them and the persons in their employment : 

" Be but the Giver yourself of yowr owne Giftes, and 
so these Lyme Twigges can take no hold, nor you 
remayne other than a free Man and at Lybertie " x 

The most remarkable part of this composition is that 
relating to the choice and treatment of a wife. 

So poor an opinion did the Earl entertain of the 
capacity of women, 2 that he would deny them even a 
voice in the management of their domestic concerns ; 3 
and it is amusing to find the author of this very cap- 
riciously-spelt treatise illustrating the inferiority of the 
sex by their inability to acquire "true Ortography " 
or a good literary Style, " for how few can doe, or 
doeth it." 4 

Women, it is allowed, are by nature in some respects 
almost the equal of men, for " their Wittes are tempered 
as ours be," but in the course of their training their moral 

1 Probably in reference to his own misplaced confidence in his agent, 
Thomas Percy. 

2 This seems to have been a favourite theme of his, for among 
the books he purchased while in the Tower is one entitled Inferiority 
delta Donna. 

3 As regards women of rank ; in more humble households he admits 
that wives may be usefully employed in the kitchen, and "in the 
managing of some Home Causes." 

♦ English orthography has always varied much with the age : but the 
Earl of Northumberland, like most of his contemporaries, acknowle«i-v! 
no standard, and frequently spelt the same word in two or three 
different ways in the course of a single page. Even proper names 
were subject to this capricious treatment. 




sense becomes warped and stunted, so that they are 
incapable of " Rationtination " and lose the sense of right '°1_! ' 
and wrong, acting only upon example and custom : " not 
what is modest for them to doe, but sutche and sutche 
doeth this ; not what is fitt for them and for their 
Children to weare, out of the Abilities of their Caulings, 
but sutche and sutche wears this and that; not that 
Paynting is an immodest Ornament, but that Paynting 
is the Fashion; and so in general, their Affections 
founded upon what others do, maketh the Fault appere 
to them a Fault or not, and not the Oualite of the 
Fault itselfe." 

Education can do but little towards remedying the 
shallowness of woman's intellect : 

" If any doe excell their Fellowes in matter of 
Languages, (as somme Ladies do ;) if it be in French 
yow shall commonly fynd it noe further improved than 
to the study of an Amadis ; if in Italian, to the reading 
of Ariosto ; if in Spanish, to looking upon a Diana de 
Monte Maior; if in English, our natural Tongue, to an 
Arcadia or some Love Discourses to make them able 
to entertain a Stranger upon a Hearth in a Privy- 
Chamber. ... 

" Besides, mark but their Conversation ! In the most 
parte it is but of Nursery Company ; or, if extraordinary 
they do converse with Men, what will be their Entertain- 
ments, but to tell them they are faiere, proper, witty, 
and pretty Passages of flattering to gain their good 

Wishes ? " 

It is therefore unreasonable to expect greater Matters 
of them than such as will make them " as wyse at fifteen 
as at fifty," since they are incapable of making progress 
" in any Learning saving in Love, a littel Craft, and a littel 
Thriftiness, if they are so addicted out of Disposition ; 
Handsomeness and Trimness being the Idol of there 



a.d. Hartes, till Tyme write deep Wrincles on their l r or- 
1564-1632 hekds ."' 

Some allowance for female deficiencies must, however 
be made on the score of physical causes, for : 

" Their Bodyes you may perceave to be very tender 
out of extreme Humidytes, and this doe all our Physitians 
agree in ; soe as their Spirits are not held to be of that 
Vigour and Robustness as Men's are." 

On the subject of matrimony the writer quotes his 
personal experiences in these coarse terms : 

" In my Choise of a Wyfe it was long ere I made it ; I 
had told thirty-one years ere I tooke one, my Resolutions 
being grounded upon these Considerations of Choise : 

" First, that my Wyfe should nether be oughly in 
Boddy, nor in Mynd. 

" Secondly, that she should bring with her Meat in her 
Mouth to mayntayne her Expence. 

" Lastly, that her Frendes should be of that Conse- 
quency that they might appere to be Steps for yow to 
better yow r Fortune. . . . 

" My first Ende I attayned to ; the last I mist and grew 
out of Hope within one or two Years ; for Essex and I 
were at Warres within that Tyme, and Hindrances grew 
rather than Love. ... It is very true I was suttell 
enoughe, and knew enoughe of Frendes of this Kynd ; 
yet did the seeming Honor of Essex make me carelesse ; 

1 The injustice of these depreciatory comments is the more inexcusable 
since the Elizabethan age was singularly rich in learned and accom- 
plished Englishwomen. Among them, the Earl's own very strong- 
minded cousin, Ann ClirTord, Countess of Pembroke, was a conspicuous 
example. She is reputed to have read and spoken fluently five 
languages ; was noted for her extraordinary capacity for business ; 
and, according to her funeral sermon, could converse leornedly on any 
subject, " from predestination to slea-silk." — See Whitaker's Craven. 
In her picture at Skipton Castle she is represented seated at a table 
with Eusebius, St. Augustine, Joseplvis, and the Arcadix before her. 
The Earl's own daughter Lucy was likewise a striking refutation of Ins 



the Form of your Mothers Vertu made me negligent ; a.ix 
the honorable Race of boeth of them made me suspect 5 " 
no Collusion, wherein I found many of their Fingers dipt 
in afterwards, boeth as Actors and Abettors." 

In selecting a wife : 

" Be sure that she bring with her to buy her Pins 
whatsoever shall happen, or else yow may repent yow. 
Tyme will tell yow of many Imperfections in her that 
Plenty must make Plasters for . . . yet choose you a 
good Bodye, rather than a fayre Face, for the one will 
add Advantage to the Persons of your Posterity, the 
other is commonly a Lewer to call Eagles to the 

The practice of wives having their own fortunes 
settled upon themselves is condemned, and under no 
circumstances should they be allowed " to keep the 
Cofers," since "empty Purses be fitter for their Care than 
full ones, and hardly shall yow fynd the Wyfe of a wyse 
Man the Possessor of ritche Bagges," ... on the con- 
trary, if they did save money, " it would goe upon their 
owen Backes, and the Beefe Potts would be translated 
into Wardrobbes ; . . . soe as if they can scrape up 
anything that they may whorde up, it is not for yow." 

The danger of " too much Uxorialitie " is strongly 
insisted upon, and all means should be adopted to 
prevent a wife from acquiring that influence to which she 
is certain to aspire, and which weak husbands are apt to 
concede, 1 " ether esteeming their YVyves Suffisienties at 
too high a Rate, or for Quiet, lest they (desyring to have 
Rule) otherwyse would chyde ; or out of Ease, because 
the Husband would be slotheful, and give himself to his 

1 The writer states that the domestic power of wives is greater in 
England than in any other country except Germany " where the husband's 
immeasurable beesttiynesse of drynking causes a necessite for the wyfe to 
look to the businesse." 

vol. ii. 353 A A 


a d. Pleasures ; or out of Profitt, knowing the pinching 
1564-1632 Humours of Wyves, when they betake themselfes to 
Sparing ; . . not that I deny that Men should not be 
good Husbands in wyse Men's Interpretations;" . . . 
which interpretations would afford to " great Mens 
Wyfes " full indulgence in such pursuits as properly fall 
within their sphere, and allow them " to bring up their 
Children well in their Long-Cote Age, to tender their 
Healths and Education, and to obey their Husbands 
... to see that their Women . . . kepe the Linen 
sw r eete, that spoile be not made of Household Stuff, and 
to have a Care when great Personages shall visitt, to sitt 
at an ende of a Table and to carve handsomely." x 

They might further be permitted the innocent pastime 
of " a littell Wasting of Sleeve Silk . . . soe perhaps, in 
two or three x\ges, a Bed, embroidered with Slippes, may 
be fynished ; or, in somme lesse Tyme, a Purse or a paire 
of Hangers wrought by her owen Hande may be ended." 

Although by their position excluded from the ordinary 
household duties of " Kitching-Buttray-Pantry " the look- 
ing after " a Dary is tolerable, for soe may vow have 
perhaps a Dishe of Butter, a softe Cheese, or some clouted 
Creme once in a summer" and some control might be 
allowed over " the Poultry and fed Fowle ; for a fat 
Pulletts Legge of my Lady's owen Serving to a good 
Pallate is a great Virtue." 

The maintenance of strict domestic discipline is en- 
joined as a duty, and remedies are suggested to counter- 
act the various wiles and devices to which young wives 
are certain to resort with a view to establishing their 

1 This accomplishment continued to be cultivated by ladies down t<> 
a much later period. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu states that she 
had "taken instruction from a professed carving master'"' in order t 
be "perfect in scientifically performing this act" at her fathers State 



The tongue being woman's most formidable weapon, a.d. 
special instructions are laid down as to the course to be I ^°5~ l622 
adopted when a wife begins to rail or scold. 

" Will you be angry then at a poore Woman that 
understands littell ? Will you be disgusted if a Childe 
doe lyke a Chylde, and creye if he has not his Will ? or 
will you be troobled bycause a Woman chides, if she has 
not what she desiers ? 

" You knowe it is not by that that it can last, or, if it 
doe, the Remedy I have ever found to be best is to lett 
them talke, and you to kepe the Poore [power] in your 
owen Handes that yow may do as yow list. Soe as in the 
one, yow shall curbe them, and in the other yow shall 
weary them, when they decerne they cannot move yow ; 
for I have often knowen Men not replying, Women have 
chid themselves oute of Breathe." 

Wives when thwarted sometimes threaten to do them- 
selves a personal mischief: in which cases their lords 
are brutally advised if they should threaten "to kill 
themselves, to give them a Knife ; if to hang themselves, 
to lend them your Garter ; if to caste themselves head- 
long out of Windows, to open the Casements ; and if to 
sound [swoon] and dye, to let them lye till they come to 
themselves again ; soe as to this Daye I can never hear 
of any that finished by these mournful Deathes." 

A higher tone is taken in the " Advice to my Son 
on his Travels," in which no point is more strongly 
inculcated than regard for the feelings and prejudices 
of other nations : 

" Religion is the first thing you are to see rightly to 
the Honor of God ; in whiche I doubte not but that you 
are so settled as I need but give this Caviat, that, 
althoughe in their Religion yow shall see many thinges 
worthy of Scorne in yowr Hart, yet shoe it not in yowr 
outward Fashons .... 

355 a A 2 


a.d. . . . " Yowr Habits should be according to the Fashons 

■564-1632 Q f t j ie Nations y OU }[ ve j n> SO e shall you avoyde being 
gazed at, Things to Mens eyes not usuall, breding 
Wonder .... 

..." Yow must consider the End of yowr Travels is 
not to learn apishe Iestures, or Fashons of Attyres, or 
Varietes of costely Meates, but to gayne the Tonges ; 
that herafter at yowr Leisures yow may discours with 
them that are dead, if they have left any worth behind 
them." . . . 

The young traveller is enjoined to study the constitu- 
tion of each country visited, and to make himself 
acquainted with their laws, more especially those 
relating to the tenure of land ; the produce and manu- 
factures, and the character and organisation of the 
military force ; and to be a careful observer of the 
manners and habits of the different peoples. 

" I wishe yow a skilfulle Sworde, for Peace sake ; yet 
lett it be slippere-sheathed, if the Honor of your Master, 
or your Countrie, or your owne be touched ; for those are 
Duties you owe wherein your Flesh must not be too dear 
unto you." 

While profiting by all things in which he might discern 
an improvement upon his native usages he is bid : 

" Remember that you must die an Englishman, and 
love your owen Home best ; for I knovve not where you 
can be matcht with soe goode a Blessing as God and 
yowr Country hath matcht you withal." 

The perusal of these compositions can hardly fail to 
call to mind the Letters to his Son, written a century and 
a-half later, by another Earl of ancient northern lineage, 
akin to the Percies. The age of armour had then been 
succeeded by " the age of perruques," and the change 
which the lapse of those years had worked in the nation.'. I 
mind and manners is strongly reflected in the style 



and tone of the two writers. The Courts of Elizabeth a.d. 
and Anne, or the Verse of Spenser and Pope, do not l6o 5^ 6; 
present a stronger contrast than the character of the 
elaborate Code of Instructions in the preparation of which 
the cynical but kind-hearted Northumberland occupied 
much of the time of his weary captivity, and that of the 
witty Letters which the courtly Chesterfield dashed off 
among the other recreations of his luxurious existence. 

The aims of the two writers were as divergent as 
their style. The Wizard Earl, his temper embittered by 
a sense of injustice, baffled ambition, ruined fortunes 
and impaired health ; and exaggerating the lessons taught 
by the experiences of a jarring domestic life, strove 
to form the character of his son in the hard mould of 
self-reliance, mistrust of mankind, and the subjection 
of the affections to personal interests. 

The accomplished Diplomatist sought only to make 
his son a fine gentleman, by the cultivation of the arts of 
the tailor and the dancing master, and the acquirement 
of social graces. Neither system was calculated to 
produce a satisfactory result ; but in the one, with much 
to condemn, there was an element of manliness and 
directness of purpose, of which there is no trace in the 
polished maxims of the other. Underlying the theories 
of the two writers there was, however, a certain identity 
of thought, which sometimes found expression in almost 
identical language. 

11 Believe me, that though men have done more mischief 
in the world than women, I would not advise you to 
trust either more than is absolutely necessary. . . . 

" If you marry for love you will certainly have some 
very happy days, and probably some very uneasy ones ; 
if for money, you will have more happy ones, and 
probably no uneasy ones.'' ' 

1 Chesterfield's Letters to his Son, 1739 — 1754. 


a.d. Northumberland might have written these sentences, 

1564-^632 k ut j le wou y never have inculcated, as Chesterfield did, 
habitual dissimulation ; a passion for play; a contempt for 
learning, except for ornamental purposes, or "a genteel 
carriage and graceful motions with the air of a man of 
fashion," to be attained by means of " a good dancing 
master, and some imitation of those who excel ; " nor, 
with all his cynicism, would the Prisoner in the Tower 
have laid it down as an incontrovertible proposition that 
all good actions spring from a bad, mean, or selfish 
motive ; or have advised his son "to pry into the recesses 
of men's hearts, and having found their ruling passion, 
work upon them by it, but never trust them." 

It is noteworthy that both fathers equally failed to 
influence the characters of their sons in the direction 
contemplated. Their work affords but another illustra- 
tion of the hopelessness of the attempt to regulate the 
conduct of individual lives by general maxims. 1 In 
spite of all the earnest warnings against the danger of 
being governed through the domestic affections, Algernon 
Percy became the most devoted and indulgent of hus- 
bands to two successive wives ; while the example and 
teaching of the finest gentleman of his day left Philip 
Stanhope loutish in manner, slovenly in habit and 
appearance, and sound in heart. 

The compositions of the two Earls may be read with 
interest and amusement, but the moral they point is a 
false one. There is more wisdom, good sense and good 
feeling in the two dozen lines of parting advice to his 
son, which Shakespeare puts into the mouth of the old 
Polonius, than in all the laboured pages of Northumber- 

1 " Every man who has seen the \\ orld knows that nothing is so useless 

as a general maxim Few indeed of the many wise apophthegms 

that have been uttered, from the time of the seven sages ot Gree< e '-■> 
that of Poor Richard, have pre\ ented a single foolish action." — Macau 
Essays : " Macchiavelli." 



land's " Instructions," or in the several volumes of a.d. 1622 
Chesterfield's brilliant letters. 

* * 


King James I. of England, determined to signalise 
his fifty-seventh birthday, among other acts of grace, by 
liberating certain of his nobles from the prison to which 
in the exercise of his royal pleasure he had consigned 
them ; and his new favourite was despatched as the 
bearer of this decision, and of the conditions attaching 
to it. 

"■ Buckingham appeared in the Tower, and conveyed 
to the Earls of Northumberland, Southampton, and 
Oxford, the King's command for their liberation on his 
birthday ; but Northumberland is confined within thirty 
miles compass of Petworth. 1 . . . 

"On Sunday afternoon the Earl of Northumberland 
was released from his long imprisonment in the Tower, 
whence the Lord of Doncaster went to fetch him to 
his house with a coach and six horses. 2 . . . 

" The warders of the Tower make great moan that 
they have lost such a benefactor. All the lords and great 
men about this town go to visit and congratulate the 
Earl .... Lord Arundel supped with him the first 
night, and dined there the next day, whither came like- 
wise, unbidden, the Spanish Ambassador. The Earl 
continues at Syon for ten days, then goes to Petworth, 
thence to Penshurst, to see his daughter Lisle, and so 
on, when he thinks good, within his precincts." 3 . . . . 

1 Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, iSth July, 1622.— -State Papers. 

2 It was generally stated that the Earl had ordered six horses to be 
put to his carriage because he had been told that Buckingham had in- 
troduced the fashion of driving four horses. Such an act of ostentatious 
rivalry against a man of the calibre of the royal favourite was far more 
likely to have originated, as stated by Chamberlain, with James Hay, in 
his anxiety to do honour to his father-in-law on the occasion of their first 


' Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, 22nd July, 1622.— had. 



a.d. With what strangely mingled feelings must the libe- 

15 lli 32 rated prisoner once more have surveyed the outer world 
from which he had lived secluded for sixteen weary 
years ! He was in the flower of his manhood when the 
Tower gates had first closed upon him ; it was a grey- 
haired and prematurely bent man who now, under a 
salute, of guns from the batteries, 1 crossed the draw- 
bridge, and drove through London amid the cheers of 
the populace, who had assembled in crowds to greet and 
welcome back the victim of royal injustice and Court 

Even now, however, James had clogged his tardy act 
of grace with unworthy conditions. He had taken the 
precaution of clipping the captive eagle's wings before 
opening the cage. Never again might Northumberland 
breathe the free air of his native moors ; never revisit 
the halls of his ancestors amid the ringing shouts of his 
sturdy Northmen, whose love and allegiance neither the 
frowns of royalty, nor the absence of many years could 

Within the limits of his enlarged prison, contemplating, 
with the calmness of philosophy, the turmoil of social 
and political life in which he had ceased to be an actor, 1 
he passed his remaining clays among his children, a few 
tried friends, the learned men who had been the congenial 
companions of his captivity, and those books which had 
proved the chief solace of his troubled existence. 
Petworth was his principal residence, but he paid period- 
ical visits to London and Syon, 3 and passed some portion 
of each year with his daughter at Penshurst. 

1 By command of the King. 

2 There is no record of his attendance in Parliament after his release 
from the Tower. Chamberlain writes to Carleton on 22nd February, 
1624, that "the Earl of Northumberland was either not called to Parlia- 
ment, or, if writs pro forma were issued, he had been wished to forbear 
and absent himself." — State Papers. 

3 Shortly after his liberation he wrote to the Earl of Middlesex 



Buckingham was now all powerful, and even if the a.d. 1624 
Earl had been ambitious of restoration to the royal 
favour, he could not have brought himself to receive it 
filtered through the hands of the arrogant Court favourite. 
Indeed he would have found himself sadly out of place 
arnid the crowd of new names and faces, by which the 
ancient English nobility had been swamped. 1 

In his retirement, however, it is evident that he con- 
tinued to watch with interest the progress of public 
affairs ; for he caused his agents to keep him informed of 
the proceedings in Parliament ; and among his papers of 
this period, 2 we find full reports of the discussions on 
that pretension to the exercise of an unquestioned royal 

excusing himself for not having returned his visit, as he had no town 
house {Eart of Dclawarre's J/SS. Knoll), but in the following year, 
15th November, 1623, Chamberlain informs Carleton that " the Earl of 
Northumberland has hired Sir Richard Harrison's house in the Minories, 
and lives there." — Suite Papers. 

1 At no period of English history had honorary distinctions been so 
lavishly or so indiscriminately bestowed. James had discovered the money 
value of his patronage, and each grade of rank had now its stipulated price. 
A baronage cost 6,oco/., and the right of enriching themselves by the 
creation of Peers was among the rewards that the King conferred upon 
his favourites : — 

" The Lord Hay is yet here plotting to get his t:co barons which the 
King hath bestowed upon him." — Chamberlain to Carleton, 5th April, 
161 7. ''Eight Barons are to be made, and Sir Robert Rich has the 
benefit of one for procuring Lord Hay's marriage." — The same to the 
same, 17th January, 161S. The creation of an order of hereditary 
knighthood now became another fruitful source of revenue : — 

"The titles of Baronet, invented by Salisbury, were sold, and two 
hundred patents of that description were disposed of for so many 
1,000/." — Hume's History of England, vol. iv. 2S6. Even simple 
knighthood, which up to this time had been a much-coveted reward for 
public service, was now made the means of supplying the King's ex- 
travagance. In imitation of the course to which, in his straits for money, 
Henry III. had once resorted. James caused summonses to be issued 
through the sheriffs, requiring all persons possessed of 4c/. a year in 
land to pay the fees of kniyhthood, or to compound with the royal 
commissioners. Charles I. followed this precedent. — See Fa'dera, xvi. 

P- 35°- 

- They are preserved among the MSS. at Alnwick Cattle in the form 
of News letters. 



a.d. prerogative, which led to such important results a quarter 
1564-1632 f , 

J 1_ d 01 a century later. 

On Charles's accession the Earl once more took 
his place in Parliament, but only to oppose the at- 
tempts of the young King, and the favourite who ruled 
him, to override constitutional restraints. With the 
Earls of Arundel, Bristol, and Middlesex, he was con- 
spicuous among the Peers in his championship of the 
rights and privileges of the House of Commons, whose 
cause he warmly espoused against all attempts to win 
him over to the Court. The Duke of Buckingham went 
so far as to use something approaching to a threat, to 
induce the Earl to subscribe towards a royal subsidy 
which Parliament had declined to vote : 

" It is common bruit of the Town that your Lordship 
is resolved to refuse the Loan to the King now on 
foot. I beg your Lordship to think well of it, before 
you refuse. This matter is not great, and is generally 
assented to by the rest of your Rank. To refuse will not 
advantage your Lordship in the Opinion of others, and 
will frustrate my endeavour to settle your Lordship and 
your Children in the King's Favour." x 

Menace was the last argument to which Northumber- 
land would prove amenable : 

" Not one of the refractory Lords hath come in,' 
writes a contemporary, "though generally said that 
Northumberland yielded, but nothing so." 2 

1 Duke of Buckingham to Earl of Northumberland, 1st February. 
1627. — State Papers. 

2 Lord Haughton to Sir Thomas Wentworth, 19th May, 1 f > ^ 7 • 
The Writer proceeds to inform Charles's future Minister, who was at thi 
time one of the most strenuous opponents of his arbitrary measures. 
that Buckingham had boasted that he had reduced him to a dik 

for "if you refuse [to pay the Subsidy] you shad run the fortune ol 
other Delinquents: and if you come in at the last Hour, in: 
Vineyard, he hopes it will lessen you in the country."— Strafford L ■ 
vol. i. p. 5S. 



The ninth Earl of Northumberland was one of those a.d. 1632 
men whose faults and vices are patent to all the world, 
while their higher and nobler qualities are discernible by 
only the few. He was, moreover, prone to depreciate 
himself by the profession of a cynicism of which there 
was no trace in the actuating motives of his life. It is 
difficult to delineate such a character ; but the portrait 
which he has drawn of himself, if it fails to do justice 
to his unfailing kindness of heart, his generosity, and his 
fortitude under afflictions, presents no unfaithful picture 
of the man's nature : 

" I will saye thus much confidentlye, and boldlye, 
though not proudly nor arrogantlye, for my defence : I 
was neuer Extortioner ; I neuer gayned by Oppression ; 
I was neuer Perfidious ; I neuer ought any Man any 
thinge that he had not satisfaction for ; I neuer sought 
any Man's Blood ; I was euer true to my Prince and 
Contry howesouer I might be mistaken ; and I haue euer 
held the Course of iuste Proceedings in so highe a 
Veneration, as I neuer could consente to make a Fault a 
Vertue in my Freind, and Vice in my Enemy ; nor a 
Vertue in my Enemy other then a Vertue ; being sorry 
with my Harte whensoeuer I saw a good deede in my 
Enemye punnishte. Any man that shall hould this 
ground, shall neuer be esteemed partiall ; and he that 
will not be partiall, the World, I assure you, shall neuer 
be fearefull ho we he will deale with them. Howesoeuer 
some doe lay uppon me the Taxe of an euill Nature, 
when I will not be ledd with their Willes : for the Wiser 
sorte I dare putt mysclff to their Censure ; for the Weaker 
sorte, iff they wilbe angry or unreasonable, I must beare 
it with patience, and not be angry because they are 
angry." * 

1 See the Earl of Northumberland's Letter to Lord Lnollys, Appendix 

5 f\ 1 


a.d. We catch some pleasant glimpses of the old Earl 

15 ill 32 as, with children and grandchildren by his side, he 
strolled under the magnificent old trees at Petworth, or 
busied himself among the flower-beds and hot-houses 
at Syon. " I hope time will bring it about again," he 
writes in inviting his former secretary, now advanced 
to the dignity of a peerage and ambassadorship, " that 
we may commemorate some old passages, and laugh at 
what is past, joy at the present, and hope for better 
to come, which none shall be gladder of than your old 
master." ' 

In the summer of 1632 we find him at Penshurst, 
on his last visit to his favourite daughter. He died a 
few months later, in his seventieth year, and on the 
twenty-seventh anniversary of the discovery of the 
miserable plot which had cast so dark a shadow over 
his life. 3 

Of the ninth Earl of Northumberland's seven 
brothers, only three survived him. 3 William, who is de- 
scribed as " a man of learning a-id genius," 4 appears to 
have turned these advantages to little account. He was 

1 Earl of Northumberland to Viscount Dorchester, 14th August, 1620. 
— State Papers. And again, a few weeks later : " You may remember 
having said, when walking under the vine wall at Syon, that you were 
drunk with eating of grapes. I pray you be drunk again : you may 
take what you will of any fruits there." — Ibid. 

3 He was buried at Petworth, and from his hasty interment, within 
twenty-four hours of his decease, we may conclude that he had died of 
one of those malignant disorders then so prevalent in England. 

3 Sir Alan Percy had died of palsy on the nth November, 161 1. 
Chamberlain writes to Carleton on 27th November : — 

" Epsley was long in the Gate House, and being delivered about a 
fortnight since went that morning to visit Sir Alan Percy, and was the 
first that discovered him to be dead in his bed." — Birch's James the 
First, vol. i. p. 650. 

* Collins. 



in constant trouble — at one time in the Tower on a a.d. 1632 
charge of homicide ; at another in the Fleet Prison for 
debt. In 1638 mention is made of him as living ob- 
scurely at Oxford, where " he drinks nothing but ale ;" l 
and ten years later he is stated to have died "an aged 
Bachelor, in Penny Farthing Street (Oxford), after he had 
lived a melancholy and retired life many years ; and 
was buried in the cathedral of Christchurch, near to 
the grave of Sir Henry Gage, 2Sth May, 1648." 2 

George Percy, one of the original " Adventurers for 
Virginia," whither he had accompanied Sir Walter 
Raleigh, is mentioned as being Governor of James 
Town in 161 1 3 and as having there married Anne 
Ffloyd. Of Richard, whose early life gave promise of 
much military distinction, nothing is recorded after his 
elder brother's committal to the Tower, except that he 
died abroad in 1647. 

1 Letter from the Reverend G. Garrard, 10th May, 1638. — Strafford 
Letters, vol. ii. p. 166. 

a Wood's JlfSS., Ashmole Museum, 8466, folio 4. 

3 General Historie of Virginia, by Captain John Smith (London 
1627), p. 130. 



aigcnton 19trcg, 

Born 29th September, 1602. 
Died 13th October, 166S. 

Contempora ry 

English Sovereigns. 

James I. 
Charles I. 

[Commonwealth, 1649.] 
Charles II. ace. 1660. 

a.d. a afcgs^ ^ssstfr HE Earl of Northumberland is now a 
1602-166S 1k&£5S!?@S^ 

happy man, for God hath blessed 
him with a yonge soonn, to which 
Her Majesty intendith to be God 
Mother." L 

" Yesterday was the Earl of North- 
umberland's sonne christened at Essex House ; the 
Queen and the Lady Marquise (of Northampton), her 
deputie, being Godmother ; and the Lord Treasurer 
and Lord Admiral Nottingham, Godfathers. The 
child is called Algernon, after one of his first Ancestors 
that came of the House of Brabant. It is thought 

1 Sir Robert Cecil to Sir George Carew, 1st October, 1602.— Co/. 
Cdrew MSS. vol. in. p. 345.