Minstrelsy of the Scottish border (3rd ed) (1 of 3)
Walter Scott

Part 4 out of 6

E si sentian, de gli aspri colpi iniqui,
Per tutta la persona anco dolersi;
E pur per selve oscure, e calle inqui
Insieme van senza sospetto aversi._

_But the Jardines wald not with him ride_.--P. 64. v. 2.

The Jardines were a clan of hardy west-border men. Their chief
was Jardine of Applegirth. Their refusal to ride with Douglas was,
probably, the result of one of those perpetual feuds, which usually
rent to pieces a Scottish army.

_And he that had a bonny boy,
Sent out his horse to grass_.--P. 67. v, 4.

Froissard describes a Scottish host, of the same period, as consisting
of "IIII. M. men of armes, knightis, and squires, mounted on good
horses; and other X.M. men of warre armed, after their gyse, right
hardy and firse, mounted on lytle hackneys, the whiche were never
tyed, nor kept at hard meat, but lette go to pasture in the fieldis
and bushes."--_Cronykle of Froissart_, translated by Lord Berners,
Chap. xvii.

* * * * *


This ballad appears to have been composed about the reign of James V.
It commemorates a transaction, supposed to have taken place betwixt a
Scottish monarch, and an ancestor of the ancient family of Murray of
Philiphaugh in Selkirkshire. The editor is unable to ascertain the
historical foundation of the tale; nor is it probable that any light
can be thrown upon the subject, without an accurate examination of
the family charter chest. It is certain, that, during the civil wars
betwixt Bruce and Baliol, the family of Philiphaugh existed, and was
powerful; for their ancestor, Archibald de Moravia, subscribes the
oath of fealty to Edward I.A.D. 1296. It is, therefore, not unlikely,
that, residing in a wild and frontier country, they may have, at one
period or other, during these commotions, refused allegiance to the
feeble monarch of the day, and thus extorted from him some grant of
territory or jurisdiction. It is also certain, that, by a charter
from James IV., dated November 30, 1509, John Murray of Philiphaugh
is vested with the dignity of heritable sheriff of Ettrick Forest,
an office held by his descendants till the final abolition of such
jurisdictions by 28th George II. cap. 23. But it seems difficult to
believe that the circumstances, mentioned in the ballad, could occur
under the reign of so vigorous a monarch as James IV. It is true, that
the _Dramatis Personae_ introduced seem to refer to the end of the
fifteenth, or beginning of the sixteenth, century; but from this it
can only be argued, that the author himself lived soon after that
period. It may, therefore, be supposed (unless farther evidence can
be produced, tending to invalidate the conclusion), that the bard,
willing to pay his court to the family, has connected the grant of the
sheriffship by James IV. with some further dispute betwixt the Murrays
of Philiphaugh and their sovereign, occurring, either while they were
engaged upon the side of Baliol, or in the subsequent reigns of David
II. and Robert II. and III., when the English possessed great part
of the Scottish frontier, and the rest was in so lawless a state as
hardly to acknowledge any superior. At the same time, this reasoning
is not absolutely conclusive. James IV. had particular reasons for
desiring that Ettrick Forest, which actually formed part of the
jointure lands of Margaret, his queen, should be kept in a state of
tranquillity.--_Rymer_, Vol. XIII. p. 66. In order to accomplish
this object, it was natural for him, according to the policy of his
predecessors to invest one great family with the power of keeping
order among the rest. It is even probable, that the Philiphaugh family
may have had claims upon part of the lordship of Ettrick Forest, which
lay intermingled with their own extensive possessions; and, in the
course of arranging, not indeed the feudal superiority, but the
property, of these lands, a dispute may have arisen, of sufficient
importance to be the ground-work of a ballad.--It is farther probable,
that the Murrays, like other border clans, were in a very lawless
state, and held their lands merely by occupancy, without any feudal
right. Indeed, the lands of the various proprietors in Ettrick Forest
(being a royal demesne) were held by the possessors, not in property,
but as the kindly tenants, or rentallers, of the crown; and it is only
about 150 years since they obtained charters, striking the feu-duty of
each proprietor, at the rate of the quit-rent, which he formerly paid.
This state of possession naturally led to a confusion of rights and
claims. The kings of Scotland were often reduced to the humiliating
necessity of compromising such matters with their rebellious subjects,
and James himself even entered into a sort of league with Johnie Faa,
the king of the gypsies.--Perhaps, therefore, the tradition, handed
down in this song, may have had more foundation than it would at
present be proper positively to assert.

The merit of this beautiful old tale, it is thought, will be fully
acknowledged. It has been, for ages, a popular song in Selkirkshire.
The scene is, by the common people, supposed to have been the castle
of Newark, upon Yarrow. This is highly improbable, because Newark was
always a royal fortress. Indeed, the late excellent antiquarian Mr.
Plummer, sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire, has assured the editor, that
he remembered the _insignia_ of the unicorns, &c. so often mentioned
in the ballad, in existence upon the old tower at Hangingshaw, the
seat of the Philiphaugh family; although, upon first perusing a copy
of the ballad, he was inclined to subscribe to the popular opinion.
The tower of Hangingshaw has been demolished for many years. It stood
in a romantic and solitary situation, on the classical banks of the
Yarrow. When the mountains around Hangingshaw were covered with
the wild copse which constituted a Scottish forest, a more secure
strong-hold for an outlawed baron can hardly be imagined.

The tradition of Ettrick Forest bears, that the Outlaw was a man of
prodigious strength, possessing a batton or club, with which he laid
_lee_ (i.e. waste) the country for many miles round; and that he was
at length slain by Buccleuch, or some of his clan, at a little mount,
covered with fir-trees, adjoining to Newark castle, and said to have
been a part of the garden. A varying tradition bears the place of
his death to have been near to the house of the Duke of Buccleuch's
game-keeper, beneath the castle; and, that the fatal arrow was shot by
Scot of Haining, from the ruins of a cottage on the opposite side of
the Yarrow. There was extant, within these twenty years, some verses
of a song on his death. The feud betwixt the Outlaw and the Scotts may
serve to explain the asperity, with which the chieftain of that clan
is handled in the ballad.

In publishing the following ballad, the copy principally resorted to
is one, apparently of considerable antiquity, which was found among
the papers of the late Mrs. Cockburn, of Edinburgh, a lady whose
memory will be long honoured by all who knew her. Another copy, much
more imperfect, is to be found in Glenriddel's MSS. The names are in
this last miserably mangled, as is always the case when ballads are
taken down from the recitation of persons living at a distance from
the scenes in which they are laid. Mr. Plummer also gave the editor a
few additional verses, not contained in either copy, which are thrown
into what seemed their proper place. There is yet another copy, in Mr.
Herd's MSS., which has been occasionally made use of. Two verses are
restored in the present edition, from the recitation of Mr. Mungo
Park, whose toils, during his patient and intrepid travels in Africa,
have not eradicated from his recollection the legendary lore of his
native country.

The arms of the Philiphaugh family are said by tradition to allude
to their outlawed state. They are indeed those of a huntsman, and are
blazoned thus; Argent, a hunting horn sable, stringed and garnished
gules, on a chief azure, three stars of the first. Crest, a Demi
Forester, winding his horn, proper. Motto, _Hinc usque superna

* * * * *


Ettricke Foreste is a feir foreste,
In it grows manie a semelie trie;
There's hart and hynd, and dae and rae,
And of a' wilde beastes grete plentie.

There's a feir castelle, bigged wi' lyme and stane;
O! gin it stands not pleasauntlie!
In the forefront o' that castelle feir,
Twa unicorns are bra' to see;
There's the picture of a knight, and a ladye bright,
And the grene hollin abune their brie.[106]

There an Outlaw keeps five hundred men;
He keepis a royalle cumpanie!

His merryemen are a' in ae liverye clad,
O' the Liukome grene saye gaye to see;
He and his ladye in purple clad,
O! gin they lived not royallie!

Word is gane to our nobil king,
In Edinburgh, where that he lay,
That there was an Outlaw in Ettricke Foreste,
Counted him nought, nor a' his courtrie gay.

"I make a vowe," then the gude king said,
Unto the man that deir bought me,
"I'se either be king of Ettricke Foreste,
Or king of Scotlonde that Outlaw sail be!"

Then spak the lord, hight Hamilton,
And to the nobil king said he,
"My sovereign prince, sum counsell take,
First at your nobilis, syne at me.

"I redd ye, send yon braw Outlaw till,
And see gif your man cum will he:
Desyre him cum and be your man,
And hald of you yon Foreste frie.

"Gif he refuses to do that,
We'll conquess baith his landis and he!
Or else, we'll throw his castell down,
And make a widowe o' his gay ladye."

The king then call'd a gentleman,
James Boyd, (the Earl of Arran his brother was he)
When James he cam befor the king,
He knelit befor him on his kne.

"Wellcum, James Boyd!" said our nobil king;
"A message ye maun gang for me;
Ye maun hye to Ettricke Foreste,
To yon Outlaw, where bydeth he:

"Ask him of whom he haldis his landis,
Or man, wha may his master be,
And desyre him cum, and be my man,
And hald of me yon Foreste frie.

"To Edinburgh to cum and gang,
His safe warrant I sall gie;
And gif he refuses to do that,
We'll conquess baith his landis and he.

"Thou may'st vow I'll cast his castell down,
And mak a widowe o' his gay ladye;
I'll hang his merryemen, payr by payr,
In ony frith where I may them see."

James Boyd tuik his leave o' the nobil king,
To Ettricke Foreste feir cam he;
Down Birkendale Brae when that he cam,
He saw the feir Foreste wi' his e'e.

Baithe dae and rae, and hart and hinde,
And of a' wilde beastis great plentie;
He heard the bows that bauldly ring,
And arrows whidderan' hym near bi.

Of that feir castell he got a sight;
The like he neir saw wi' his e'e!
On the fore front o' that castell feir,
Twa unicorns were gaye to see;
The picture of a knight, and a ladye bright,
And the grene hollin abune their brie.

Thereat he spyed five hundred men,
Shuting with bows on Newark Lee;

They were a' in ae livery clad,
O' the Lincome grene sae gaye to see.

His men were a' clad in the grene,
The knight was armed capapie,
With a bended bow, on a milk-white steed;
And I wot they ranked right bonilie.

Thereby Boyd kend he was master man,
And serv'd him in his ain degre.
"God mot thee save, brave Outlaw Murray!
Thy ladye, and all thy chyvalrie!"
"Marry, thou's wellcum, gentelman,
Some king's messenger thou seemis to be."

"The king of Scotlonde sent me here,
And, gude Outlaw, I am sent to thee;
I wad wot of whom ye hald your landis,
Or man, wha may thy master be?"

"Thir landis are MINE!" the Outlaw said;
"I ken nae king in Christentie;
Frae Soudron[107] I this Foreste wan,
When the king nor his knightis were not to see."

"He desyres you'l cum to Edinburgh,
And hauld of him this Foreste frie;
And, gif ye refuse to do this,
He'll conquess baith thy landis and thee.
He hath vow'd to cast thy castell down,
And mak a widowe o' thy gaye ladye;

"He'll hang thy merryemen, payr by payr,
In ony frith where he may them finde."
"Aye, by my troth!" the Outlaw said,
"Than wald I think me far behinde.

"E'er the king my feir countrie get,
This land that's nativest to me!
Mony o' his nobilis sall be cauld,
Their ladyes sall be right wearie."

Then spak his ladye, feir of face,
She seyd, "Without consent of me,
That an Outlaw suld cum befor a King;
I am right rad[108] of treasonrie.
Bid him be gude to his lordis at hame,
For Edinburgh my lord sall nevir see."

James Boyd tuik his leave o' the Outlaw kene,
To Edinburgh boun is he;
When James he cam befor the king,
He knelit lowlie on his kne.

"Wellcum, James Boyd!" seyd our nobil king;
"What Foreste is Ettricke Foreste frie?"
"Ettricke Foreste is the feirest foreste
That evir man saw wi' his e'e.

"There's the dae, the rae, the hart, the hynde,
And of a' wild beastis grete plentie;
There's a pretty castell of lyme and stane;
O gif it stands not pleasauntlie!

"There's in the forefront o' that castell,
Twa unicorns, sae bra' to see;
There's the picture of a knight, and a ladye bright,
Wi' the grene hollin abune their brie.

"There the Outlaw keepis five hundred men;
He keepis a royalle cumpanie!
His merrymen in ae livery clad,
O' the Linkome grene sae gaye to see:

"He and his ladye in purple clad;
O! gin they live not royallie!

"He says, yon Foreste is his awin;
He wan it frae the Southronie;
Sae as he wan it, sae will he keep it,
Contrair all kingis in Christentie."

"Gar warn me Perthshire, and Angus baith;
Fife up and down, and the Louthians three,
And graith my horse!" said the nobil king,
"For to Ettricke Foreste hie will I me."

Then word is gane the Outlaw till,
In Ettricke Foreste, where dwelleth he,
That the king was cuming to his cuntrie,
To conquess baith his landis and he.

"I mak a vow," the Outlaw said,
"I mak a vow, and that trulie,
Were there but three men to tak my pairt;
Yon king's cuming full deir suld be!"

Then messengers he called forth,
And bade them hie them speedilye--
"Ane of ye gae to Halliday,
The laird of the Corhead is he.

"He certain is my sister's son;
Bid him cum quick and succour me!
The king cums on for Ettricke Foreste,
And landless men we a' will be."

"What news? What news?" said Halliday,
"Man, frae thy master unto me?"
"Not as ye wad; seeking your aide;
The king's his mortal enemie."

"Aye, by my troth!" said Halliday,
"Even for that it repenteth me;
For gif he lose feir Ettricke Foreste,
He'll tak feir Moffatdale frae me.

"I'll meet him wi' five hundred men,
And surely mair, if mae may be;
And before he gets the Foreste feir,
We a' will die on Newark Lee!"

The Outlaw call'd a messenger,
And bid him hie him speedilye,
To Andrew Murray of Cockpool--
"That man's a deir cousin to me;
Desyre him cum, and mak me ayd,
With a' the power that he may be."

"It stands me hard," Andrew Murray said,
Judge gif it stands na hard wi' me;
To enter against a king wi' crown,
And set my landis in jeopardie!
Yet, if I cum not on the day,
Surely at night he sall me see."

To Sir James Murray of Traquair,
A message cam right speedilye--
"What news? What news?" James Murray said,
"Man, frae thy master unto me?"

"What neids I tell? for weell ye ken,
The king's his mortal enemie;
And now he is cuming to Ettricke Foreste,
And landless men ye a' will be."

"And, by my trothe," James Murray said,
"Wi' that Outlaw will I live and die;
The king has gifted my landis lang syne--
It cannot be nae warse wi' me."

The king was cuming thro' Caddon Ford[109],
And full five thousand men was he;
They saw the derke Foreste them before,
They thought it awsome for to see.

Then spak the lord, hight Hamilton,
And to the nobil king said he,
"My sovereign liege, sum council tak,
First at your nobilis, syne at me.

"Desyre him mete thee at Permanscore,
And bring four in his cumpanie;
Five erles sall gang yoursell befor,
Gude cause that you suld honour'd be.

"And, gif he refuses to do that,
We'll conquess baith his landis and he;
"There sall nevir a Murray, after him,
Hald land in Ettricke Foreste frie."

Then spak the kene laird of Buckscleuth,
A stalworthye man, and sterne was he--
"For a king to gang an Outlaw till,
Is beneath his state and his dignitie.

"The man that wons yon Foreste intill,
He lives by reif and felonie!
Wherefore, brayd on, my sovereign liege!
Wi' fire and sword we'll follow thee;
Or, gif your courtrie lords fa' back,
Our borderers sall the onset gie."

Then out and spak the nobil king,
And round him cast a wilie e'e--
"Now haud thy tongue, Sir Walter Scott,
Nor speik of reif nor felonie:
For, had everye honeste man his awin kye,
A right puir clan thy name wad be!"

The king then call'd a gentleman,
Royal banner bearer there was he;

James Hop Pringle of Torsonse, by name;
He cam and knelit upon his kne.

"Wellcum, James Pringle of Torsonse!
A message ye maun gang for me;
Ye maun gae to yon Outlaw Murray,
Surely where bauldly bideth he.

"Bid him mete me at Permanscore,
And bring four in his cumpanie;
Five erles sall cum wi' mysell
Gude reason I suld honour'd be.

"And, gif he refuses to do that,
Bid him luke for nae good o' me!
Ther sall nevir a Murray, after him,
Have land in Ettricke Foreste frie."

James cam befor the Outlaw kene,
And serv'd him in his ain degre--
"Wellcum, James Pringle of Torsonse!
What message frae the king to me?"

"He bidds ye mete him at Permanscore,
And bring four in your cumpanie;
Five erles sall gang himsell befor,
Nae mair in number will he be.

"And, gif you refuse to do that,
(I freely here upgive wi' thee)
He'll cast yon bonny castle down,
And mak a widowe o' that gaye ladye.

"He'll loose yon bluidhound borderers,
Wi' fire and sword to follow thee;
There will nevir a Murray, after thysell,
Have land in Ettricke Foreste frie."

"It stands me hard," the Outlaw said;
"Judge gif it stands na hard wi' me!
Wha reck not losing of mysell,
But a' my offspring after me.

"My merryemen's lives, my widowe's teirs--
There lies the pang that pinches me!
When I am straught in bluidie eard,
Yon castell will be right dreirie.

"Auld Halliday, young Halliday,
Ye sall be twa to gang wi' me;
Andrew Murray, and Sir James Murray,
We'll be nae mae in cumpanie."

When that they cam befor the king,
They fell befor him on their kne--
"Grant mercie, mercie, nobil king!
E'en for his sake that dyed on trie."

"Sicken like mercie sall ye have;
On gallows ye sall hangit be!"
"Over God's forbode," quoth the Outlaw then,
"I hope your grace will bettir be!
Else, ere ye come to Edinburgh port,
I trow thin guarded sall ye be:

"Thir landis of Ettricke Foreste feir,
I wan them from the enemie;
Like as I wan them, sae will I keep them,
Contrair a' kingis in Christentie."

All the nobilis the king about,
Said pitie it were to see him die--
"Yet graunt me mercie, sovereign prince!
Extend your favour unto me!

"I'll give thee the keys of my castell,
Wi' the blessing o' my gaye ladye,
Gin thoul't mak me sheriffe of this Foreste,
And a' my offspring after me."

"Wilt thou give me the keys of thy castell,
Wi' the blessing of thy gaye ladye?
I'se mak thee sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste,
Surely while upwards grows the trie;
If you be not traitour to the king,
Forfaulted sall thou nevir be."

"But, prince, what sall cum o' my men?
When I gae back, traitour they'll ca' me.
I had rather lose my life and land,
E'er my merryemen rebuked me."

"Will your merryemen amend their lives?
And a' their pardons I graunt thee--
Now, name thy landis where'er they lie,
And here I RENDER them to thee."

"Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right,
And Lewinshope still mine shall be;
Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnies baith,
My bow and arrow purchased me.

"And I have native steads to me,
The Newark Lee and Hangingshaw;
I have mony steads in the Foreste shaw,
But them by name I dinna knaw."

The keys o' the castell he gave the king,
Wi' the blessing o' his feir ladye;
He was made sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste,
Surely while upwards grows the trie;
And if he was na traitour to the king,
Forfaulted he suld nevir be.

Wha ever heard, in ony times,
Sicken an Outlaw in his degre,
Sick favour get befor a king,
As did the OUTLAW MURRAY of the Foreste frie?

[Footnote 106: Brow.]

[Footnote 107: Southern, or English.]

[Footnote 108: Afraid.]

[Footnote 109: A ford on the Tweed, at the mouth of the Caddon Burn,
near Yair.]


* * * * *

_Then spak the Lord, hight Hamilton_.--P. 86. v. 4.

This is, in most copies, the _earl_ hight Hamilton, which must be a
mistake of the reciters, as the family did not enjoy that title till

_James Boyd (the Earl of Arran his brother), &c._--P. 87. v. 2.

Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran, was forfeited, with his father and uncle,
in 1469, for an attempt on the person of James III. He had a son,
James, who was restored, and in favour with James IV. about 1482. If
this be the person here meant, we should read "The Earl of Arran his
_son_ was he." Glenriddel's copy reads, "A highland laird I'm sure was
he." Reciters sometimes call the messenger, the laird of Skene.

_Down Birkendale Brae when that he cam_.--P. 88, v. 2.

Birkendale Brae, now commonly called _Birkendailly_, is a steep
descent on the south side of Minch-Moor, which separates Tweeddale
from Ettrick Forest; and from the top of which you have the first view
of the woods of Hangingshaw, the castle of Newark, and the romantic
dale of Yarrow.

_The laird of the Corehead, &c._--P. 93. v. 1.

This is a place at the head of Moffat-water, possessed of old by the
family of Halliday.

_To Andrew Murray of Cockpool_.--P. 94. v. 1.

This family were ancestors of the Murrays, earls of Annandale; but the
name of the representative, in the time of James IV. was William, not
Andrew. Glenriddel's MS. reads, "the country-keeper."

_To Sir James Murray of Traquair_.--P. 94. v. 3.

Before the barony of Traquair became the property of the Stewarts, it
belonged to a family of Murrays, afterwards Murrays of Black-barony,
and ancestors of Lord Elibank. The old castle was situated on the
Tweed. The lands of Traquair were forfeited by Willielmus de Moravia,
previous to 1464; for, in that year, a charter, proceeding upon his
forfeiture, was granted by the crown "Willielmo Douglas de Cluny." Sir
James was, perhaps, the heir of William Murray. It would farther seem,
that the grant in 1464 was not made effectual by Douglas; for, another
charter from the crown, dated the 3d February, 1478, conveys the
estate of Traquair to James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, son to the
black knight of Lorne, and maternal uncle to James III., from whom
is descended the present Earl of Traquair. The first royal grant not
being followed by possession, it is very possible that the Murrays may
have continued to occupy Traquair long after the date of that charter.
Hence, Sir James might have reason to say, as in the ballad, "The king
has gifted my lands lang syne."

_James Hop Pringle of Torsonse_.--P. 97. v. 1.

The honourable name of Pringle, or Hoppringle, is of great antiquity
in Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire. The old tower of Torsonse is
situated upon the banks of the Gala. I believe the Pringles of
Torsonse are now represented by Sir James Pringle of Stitchell. There
are three other ancient and distinguished families of this name; those
of Whitebank, Clifton, and Torwoodlee.

_He bids ye mete him at Permanscore_.--P. 98. v. 1.

Permanscore is a hollow on the top of a high ridge of hills,
dividing the vales of Tweed and Yarrow, a little to the east-ward of
Minch-Moor. It is the outermost point of the lands of Broadmeadows.
The Glenriddel MS., which, in this instance, is extremely inaccurate
as to names, calls the place of rendezvous "_The Poor Man's house_,"
and hints, that the Outlaw was surprised by the treachery of the

"Then he was aware of the king's coming,
With hundreds three in company,
I wot the muckle deel * * * * *
He learned kings to lie!
For to fetch me here frae amang my men,
Here like a dog for to die."

I believe the reader will think, with me, that the catastrophe is
better, as now printed from Mrs. Cockburn's copy. The deceit supposed
to be practised on the Outlaw, is unworthy of the military monarch,
as he is painted in the ballad; especially if we admit him to be King
James IV.

_Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right_.--P. 101. v. 1.

In this and the following verse, the ceremony of feudal investiture is
supposed to be gone through, by the Outlaw resigning his possessions
into the hands of the king, and receiving them back, to be held of
him as superior. The lands of Philiphaugh are still possessed by the
Outlaw's representative. Hangingshaw and Lewinshope were sold of
late years. Newark, Foulshiels and Tinnies, have long belonged to the
family of Buccleuch.


* * * * *

There will be such frequent occasion, in the course of this volume, to
mention the clan, or sept, of the Armstrongs, that the editor finds
it necessary to prefix, to this ballad, some general account of that

The Armstrongs appear to have been, at an early period, in possession
of great part of Liddesdale, and of the Debateable Land. Their
immediate neighbourhood to England, rendered them the most lawless of
the Border depredators; and, as much of the country possessed by them
was claimed by both kingdoms, the inhabitants, protected from justice
by the one nation, in opposition to the other, securely preyed upon
both.[110] The chief was Armstrong of Mangertoun; but, at a later
period, they are declared a broken clan, i.e. one which had no lawful
head, to become surety for their good behaviour. The rapacity of this
clan, and of their allies, the Elliots, occasioned the popular saying,
"Elliots and Armstrongs ride thieves all."--But to what Border-family
of note, in former days, would not such an adage have been equally
applicable? All along the river Liddel may still be discovered the
ruins of towers, possessed by this numerous clan. They did not,
however, entirely trust to these fastnesses; but, when attacked by a
superior force, abandoned entirely their dwellings, and retired into
morasses, accessible by paths known to themselves alone. One of
their most noted places of refuge was the Tarras Moss, a desolate and
horrible marsh, through which a small river takes its course. Upon its
banks are found some dry spots, which were occupied by these outlaws,
and their families, in cases of emergency. The stream runs furiously
among huge rocks, which has occasioned a popular saying--

Was ne'er are drown'd in Tarras, nor yet in doubt,
For e'er the head can win down, the harns (brains) are out.

The morass itself is so deep, that, according to an old historian, two
spears tied together would not reach the bottom. In this retreat, the
Armstrongs, _anno_ 1588, baffled the Earl of Angus, when lieutenant
on the Border, although he reckoned himself so skilful in winding a
thief, that he declared, "he had the same pleasure in it, as others in
a hunting a hare." On this occasion he was totally unsuccessful, and
nearly lost his relation, Douglas of Ively, whom the freebooters made
prisoner.--_Godscroft_ Vol. II. p. 411.

[Footnote 110: In illustration of this position, the reader is
referred to a long correspondence betwixt Lord Dacre and the Privy
Council of England, in 1550, concerning one Sandye Armstrang, a
partizan of England, and an inhabitant of the Debateable Land, who
had threatened to become a Scottishman, if he was not protected by
the English warden against the Lord Maxwell.--See _Introduction to
Nicholson and Burn's History of Cumberland and Westmoreland_.]

Upon another occasion the Armstrongs were less fortunate. They had,
in one of their incursions, plundered the town of Haltwhistle, on the
borders of Cumberland. Sir Robert Carey, warden of the west marches,
demanded satisfaction from the king of Scotland, and received for
answer, that the offenders were no subjects of his, and that he
might take his own revenge. The English warden, accordingly entered
Llddesdale, and ravaged the lands of the outlaws; on which occasion,
_Sim of the Cat-hill_ (an Armstrong) was killed by one of the Ridleys
of Haltwhistle. This incident procured Haltwhistle another visit from
the Armstrongs, in which they burnt great part of the town, but not
without losing one of their leaders, by a shot from a window.

"The death of this young man (says Sir Robert Carey) wrote (wrought)
so deep an impression upon them (the outlaws), as many vowes were
made, that, before the end of next winter, they would lay the whole
Border waste. This (the murder) was done about the end of May (1598).
The chiefe of all these outlaws was _old Sim of Whittram_.[111] He had
five or six sonnes, as able men as the Borders had. This old man and
his sonnes had not so few as two hundred at their commands, that were
ever ready to ride with them to all actions, at their beck.

[Footnote 111: Whittram is a place in Liddesdale. It is mistaken
by the noble editor for Whithern, in Galloway, as is Hartwesel
(Haltwhistle, on the borders of Cumberland) for Twisel, a village on
the English side of the Tweed, near Wark.]

The high parts of the marsh (march) towards Scotland were put in a
mighty fear, and the chiefe of them, for themselves and the rest,
petitioned to mee, and did assure mee, that, unless I did take some
course with them, by the end of that summer, there was none of the
inhabitants durst, or would, stay in their dwellings the next winter,
but they would fley the countrey, and leave their houses and lands to
the fury of the outlawes. Upon this complaint, I called the gentlemen
of the countrey together, and acquainted them with the misery that the
highest parts of the marsh towards Scotland were likely to endure, if
there were not timely prevention to avoid it, and desired them to
give mee their best advice what course were fitt to be taken. They all
showed themselves willing to give mee their best counsailles, and most
of them were of opinion, that I was not well advised to refuse the
hundred horse that my Lord Euers had; and that now my best way was
speedily to acquaint the quene and counsaile with the necessity of
having more soldiers, and that there could not be less than a hundred
horse sent downe for the defence of the countrey, besides the forty I
had already in pay, and that there was nothing but force of soldiers
could keep them in awe: and to let the counsaile plainly understand,
that the marsh, of themselves, were not able to subsist, whenever the
winter and long nights came in, unlesse present cure and remedy were
provided for them. I desired them to advise better of it, and to see
if they could find out any other meanes to prevent their mischievous
intentions, without putting the quene and countrey to any further
charge. They all resolved that there was no second meanes. Then I told
them my intention what I meant to do, which was, that myselfe, with my
two deputies, and the forty horse that I was allowed, would, with what
speede wee could, make ourselves ready to go up to the Wastes, and
there wee would entrench ourselves, and lye as near as wee could to
the outlawes; and, if there were any brave spirits among them, that
would go with us, they should be very wellcome, and fare and lye as
well as myselfe: and I did not doubte before the summer ended, to do
something that should abate the pride of these outlawes. Those, that
were unwilling to hazard themselves, liked not this motion. They said,
that, in so doing, I might keep the countrey quiet the time I lay
there; but, when the winter approached, I could stay there no longer,
and that was the theeves' time to do all their mischiefe. But there
were divers young gentlemen, that offered to go with mee, some with
three, some with four horses, and to stay with mee as long as I would
there continue. I took a list of those that offered to go with mee,
and found, that, with myself, my officers, the gentlemen, and our
servants, wee should be about two hundred good men and horse; a
competent number, as I thought, for such a service.

The day and place was appointed for our meeting in the Wastes, and,
by the help of the foot of Liddisdale[112] and Risdale, wee had soone
built a pretty fort, and within it wee had all cabines made to lye in,
and every one brought beds or matresses to lye on. There wee stayed,
from the middest of June, till almost the end of August. We were
betweene fifty and sixty gentlemen, besides their servants and my
horsemen; so that wee were not so few as two hundred horse. Wee wanted
no provisions for ourselves nor our horses, for the countrey people
were well payed for any thing they brought us; so that wee had a good
market every day, before our fort, to buy what we lacked. The chiefe
outlawes, at our coming, fled their houses where they dwelt, and
betooke themselves to a large and great forest (with all their
goodes), which was called the Tarras. It was of that strength, and
so surrounded with bogges and marish grounds, and thicke bushes
and shrubbes, as they feared not the force nor power of England nor
Scotland, so long as they were there. They sent me word, that I was
like the first puffe of a haggasse,[113] hottest at the first, and
bade me stay there as long as the weather would give me leave. They
would stay in the Tarras Wood till I was weary of lying in the Waste;
and when I had had my time, and they no whit the worse, they would
play their parts, which should keep mee waking the next winter. Those
gentlemen of the countrey that came not with mee, were of the same
minde; for they knew (or thought at least), that my force was not
sufficient to withstand the furey of the outlawes. The time I stayed
at the fort I was not idle, but cast, by all meanes I could, how to
take them in the great strength they were in. I found a meanes to send
a hundred and fifty horsemen into Scotland (conveighed by a muffled
man,[114] not known to any of the company), thirty miles within
Scotland, and the businesse was carried so, that none in the countrey
tooke any alarm at this passage. They were quietly brought to
the back-side of the Tarras, to Scotland-ward. There they divided
themselves into three parts, and tooke up three passages which the
outlawes made themselves secure of, if from England side they should
at any time be put at.

[Footnote 112: The foot of Liddisdale were the garrison of King James,
in the castle of Hermitage, who assisted Carey on this occasion, as
the Armstrongs were outlaws to both nations.]

[Footnote 113: A haggis, (according to Burns, "the chieftain of the
pudding-race,") is an olio, composed of the liver, heart, &c. of a
sheep, minced down with oatmeal, onions, and spices, and boiled in
the stomach of the animal, by way of bag. When the bag is cut, the
contents, (if this savoury dish be well made) should spout out with
the heated air. This will explain the allusion.]

[Footnote 114: A Muffled Man means a person in disguise; a very
necessary precaution for the guide's safety; for, could the outlaws
have learned who played them this trick, beyond all doubt it must have
cost him dear.]

They had their scoutes on the tops of hills, on the English side,
to give them warning if at any time any power of men should come to
surprise them. The three ambushes were safely laid, without being
discovered, and, about four o'clock in the morning, there were three
hundred horse, and a thousand foote,[115] that came directly to the
place where the scoutes lay. They gave the alarm; our men brake down
as fast as they could into the wood. The outlawes thought themselves
safe, assuring themselves at any time to escape; but they were so
strongly set upon, on the English side, as they were forced to
leave their goodes, and betake themselves to their passages towards
Scotland. There was presently five taken of the principall of them.
The rest, seeing themselves, as they thought, betrayed, retired into
the thicke woodes and bogges,[116] that our men durst not follow them
for fear of loosing themselves. The principall of the five, that were
taken, were two of the eldest sonnes of _Sim of Whitram_. These five
they brought to mee to the fort, and a number of goodes, both of sheep
and kine, which satisfied most part of the countrey, that they had
stolen them from.

[Footnote 115: From this it would appear, that Carey, although his
constant attendants in his fort consisted only of 200 horse, had, upon
this occasion by the assistance, probably, of the English and Scottish
royal garrisons, collected a much greater force.]

[Footnote 116: There are now no trees in Liddesdale, except on the
banks of the rivers, where they are protected from the sheep. But the
stumps and fallen timber, which are every where found in the morasses,
attest how well the country must have been wooded in former days.]

"The five, that were taken, were of great worth and value amongst
them; insomuch, that, for their liberty, I should have what conditions
I should demand or desire. First, all English prisoners were set at
liberty. Then had I themselves, and most part of the gentlemen of the
Scottish side, so strictly bound in bondes to enter to mee, in fifteen
dayes warning, any offendour, that they durst not, for their
lives, break any covenant that I made with them; and so, upon these
conditions, I set them at liberty, and was never after troubled with
these kind of people. Thus God blessed me in bringing this great
trouble to so quiet an end; wee brake up our fort, and every man
retired to his owne house."--_Carey's Memoirs_, p. 151.

The people of Liddesdale have retained, by tradition, the remembrance
of _Carey's Raid_, as they call it. They tell, that, while he was
besieging the outlaws in the Tarras they contrived, by ways known
only to themselves, to send a party into England, who plundered the
warden's lands. On their return, they sent Carey one of his own cows,
telling him, that, fearing he might fall short of provision during his
visit to Scotland, they had taken the precaution of sending him some
English beef. The anecdote is too characteristic to be suppressed.

From this narrative, the power and strength of the Armstrongs, at
this late period, appear to have been very considerable. Even upon the
death of Queen Elizabeth, this clan, associated with other banditti of
the west marches to the number of two or three hundred horse, entered
England in a hostile manner, and extended their ravages as far as
Penrith. James VI., then at Berwick, upon his journey to his new
capital, detached a large force, under Sir William Selby, captain of
Berwick, to bring these depredators to order. Their raid, remarkable
for being the last of any note occurring in history, was avenged in an
exemplary manner. Most of the strong-holds upon the Liddel were razed
to the foundation, and several of the principal leaders executed at
Carlisle; after which we find little mention of the Armstrongs in
history. The precautions, adopted by the Earl of Dunbar, to preserve
peace on the borders, bore peculiarly hard upon a body of men, long
accustomed to the most ungoverned licence. They appear, in a
great measure, to have fallen victims to the strictness of the new
enactments.--_Ridpath_, p. 703.--_Stow_, 819.--_Laing_, Vol. I. The
lands, possessed by them in former days, have chiefly come into the
hands of the Buccleuch family, and of the Elliots; so that, with one
or two exceptions, we may say, that, in the country which this warlike
clan once occupied, there is hardly left a land-holder of the name.
One of the last border reivers was, however, of this family, and lived
within the beginning of the last century. After having made himself
dreaded over the whole country, he at last came to the following end:
One--, a man of large property, having lost twelve cows in one
night, raised the country of Tiviotdale, and traced the robbers into
Liddesdale, as far as the house of this Armstrong, commonly called
_Willie of Westburnflat_, from the place of his residence, on the
banks of the Hermitage water. Fortunately for the pursuers he was
then asleep; so that he was secured, along with nine of his friends,
without much resistance. He was brought to trial at Selkirk; and,
although no precise evidence was adduced to convict him of the special
fact (the cattle never having been recovered), yet the jury brought
him in _guilty_ on his general character, or, as it is called in our
law, on habite and repute. When sentence was pronounced, Willie arose;
and, seizing the oaken chair in which he was placed, broke it into
pieces by main strength, and offered to his companions, who were
involved in the same doom, that, if they would stand behind him, he
would fight his way out of Selkirk with these weapons. But they held
his hands, and besought him to let them _die like Christians_. They
were accordingly executed in form of law. This was the last trial at
Selkirk. The people of Liddesdale, who (perhaps not erroneously) still
consider the sentence as iniquitous, remarked, that--, the prosecutor,
never throve afterwards, but came to beggary and ruin, with his whole

Johnie Armstrong, of Gilnockie, the hero of the following ballad, is a
noted personage, both in history and tradition. He was, it would seem
from the ballad, a brother of the laird of Mangertoun, chief of
the name. His place of residence (now a roofless tower) was at the
Hollows, a few miles from Langholm, where its ruins still serve to
adorn a scene, which, in natural beauty, has few equals in Scotland.
At the head of a desperate band of freebooters, this Armstrong is said
to have spread the terror of his name almost as far as Newcastle, and
to have levied _black mail_, or _protection and forbearance money_,
for many miles around. James V., of whom it was long remembered by
his grateful people, that he made the "rush-bush keep the cow," about
1529, undertook an expedition through the border counties, to suppress
the turbulent spirit of the marchmen. But, before setting out upon his
journey, he took the precaution of imprisoning the different border
chieftains, who were the chief protectors of the marauders. The Earl
of Bothwell was forfeited, and confined in Edinburgh castle. The
lords of Home and Maxwell, the lairds of Buccleuch, Fairniherst, and
Johnston, with many others, were also committed to ward. Cockburn
of Henderland, and Adam Scott of Tushielaw, called the King of the
Border, were publicly executed.--_Lesley_, p. 430. The king then
marched rapidly forward, at the head of a flying army of ten thousand
men, through Ettrick Forest, and Ewsdale. The evil genius of our
Johnie Armstrong, or, as others say, the private advice of some
courtiers, prompted him to present himself before James, at the head
of thirty-six horse, arrayed in all the pomp of border chivalry,
Pitscottie uses nearly the words of the ballad, in describing the
splendour of his equipment, and his high expectations of favour
from the king. "But James, looking upon him sternly, said to his
attendants, 'What wants that knave that a king should have?' and
ordered him and his followers to instant execution."--"But John
Armstrong," continues this minute historian, "made great offers to the
king. That he should sustain himself, with forty gentlemen, ever ready
at his service, on their own cost, without wronging any Scottishman:
Secondly, that there was not a subject in England, duke, earl, or
baron, but, within a certain day, he should bring him to his majesty,
either quick or dead.[117] At length he, seeing no hope of favour,
said very proudly, 'It is folly to seek grace at a graceless face;
but,' said he, 'had I known this, I should have lived upon the borders
in despite of King Harry and you both; for I know King Harry would
_down-weigh my best horse with gold_, to know that I were condemned to
die this day.'--_Pitscottie's History_, p. 145. Johnie, with all his
retinue, was accordingly hanged upon growing trees, at a place called
Carlenrig chapel, about ten miles above Hawick, on the high road to
Langholm. The country people believe, that, to manifest the injustice
of the execution, the trees withered away. Armstrong and his followers
were buried in a deserted church-yard, where their graves are still

[Footnote 117: The borderers, from their habits of life, were capable
of most extraordinary exploits of this nature. In the year 1511, Sir
Robert Ker of Cessford, warden of the middle marches of Scotland,
was murdered at a border-meeting, by the bastard Heron, Starhead,
and Lilburn. The English monarch delivered up Lilburn to justice
in Scotland, but Heron and Starhead escaped. The latter chose his
residence in the very centre of England, to baffle the vengeance of
Ker's clan and followers. Two dependants of the deceased, called Tait,
were deputed by Andrew Ker of Cessford to revenge his father's
murder. They travelled through England in various disguises till they
discovered the place of Starhead's retreat, murdered him in his bed,
and brought his head in triumph to Edinburgh, where Ker caused it to
be exposed at the cross. The bastard Heron would have shared the same
fate, had he not spread abroad a report of his having died of the
plague, and caused his funeral obsequies to be performed.--_Ridpath's
History_, p. 481.--_See also Metrical Account of the Battle of
Flodden, published by the Rev. Mr. Lambe_.]

As this border hero was a person of great note in his way, he is
frequently alluded to by the writers of the time. Sir David Lindsay
of the Mount, in the curious play published by Mr. Pinkerton, from the
Bannatyne MS., introduces a pardoner, or knavish dealer in reliques,
who produces, among his holy rarities--

--The cordis, baith grit and lang,
Quhilt hangit Johnnie Armistrang,
Of gude hempt, soft and sound,
Gude haly pepill, I stand ford,
Wha'evir beis hangit in this cord,
Neidis nevir to be drowned!

_Pinkerton's Scottish Poems_, Vol. II. p. 69.

In _The Complaynt of Scotland_, John Armistrangis's dance, mentioned
as a popular tune, has probably some reference to our hero.

The common people of the high parts of Tiviotdale, Liddesdale, and
the country adjacent, hold the memory of Johnie Armstrong in very high
respect. They affirm also, that one of his attendants broke through
the king's guard, and carried to Gilnockie Tower the news of the
bloody catastrophe.

This song was first published by Allan Ramsay, in his _Evergreen_, who
says, he copied it from the mouth of a gentleman, called Armstrong,
who was in the sixth generation from this John. The reciter assured
him, that this was the genuine old ballad; the common one false. By
the common one, Ramsay means an English ballad upon the same subject,
but differing in various particulars, which is published in Mr.
Ritson's _English Songs_, Vol. II. It is fortunate for the admirers of
the old ballad, that it did not fall into Ramsay's hands, when he
was equipping with new sets of words the old Scottish tunes in his
_Tea-Table Miscellany_. Since his time it has been often reprinted.


* * * * *

Sum speikis of lords, sum speikis of lairds,
And sick lyke men of hie degrie;
Of a gentleman I sing a sang,
Sum tyme called laird of Gilnockie.

The king he wrytes a luving letter,
With his ain hand sae tenderly,
And he hath sent it to Johnie Armstrang,
To cum and speik with him speedily.

The Eliots and Armstrangs did convene;
They were a gallant cumpanie--
"We'll ride and meit our lawful king,
And bring him safe to Gilnockie."

"Make kinnen[118] and capon ready then,
And venison in great plentie;
We'll wellcum here our royal king;
I hope he'll dine at Gilnockie!"

They ran their horse on the Langhome howm,
And brak their speirs wi' mickle main;
The ladies lukit frae their loft windows--
"God bring our men weel back agen!"

When Johnie cam before the king,
Wi' a' his men sae brave to see,
The king he movit his bonnet to him;
He ween'd he was a king as well as he.

"May I find grace, my sovereign liege,
Grace for my loyal men and me?
For my name it is Johnie Armstrang,
And subject of your's, my liege," said he.

"Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!
I grantit nevir a traitor's life,
And now I'll not begin wi' thee."

"Grant me my life, my liege, my king!
"And a bonny gift I'll gie to thee--
"Full four and twenty milk-white steids,
"Were a' foaled in ae yeir to me.

"I'll gie thee a' these milk-white steids,
"That prance and nicker[119] at a speir;
"And as mickle gude Inglish gilt[120],
"As four of their braid backs dow[121] bear."

"Away, away, thou traitor strang!
"Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!
"I grantit never a traitor's life,
"And now I'll not begin wi' thee!"

"Grant me my life, my liege, my king!
"And a bonny gift I'll gie to thee--
"Gude four and twenty ganging[122] mills,
"That gang thro' a' the yeir to me.

"These four and twenty mills complete,
"Sall gang for thee thro' a' the yeir;
"And as mickle of gude reid wheit,
"As a' their happers dow to bear."

"Away, away, thou traitor strang!
"Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!
"I grantit nevir a traitor's life,
"And now I'll not begin wi' thee."

"Grant me my life, my liege, my king!
"And a great gift I'll gie to thee--
"Bauld four and twenty sister's sons,
"Sall for thee fecht, tho' a' should flee!"

"Away, away, thou traitor strang!
"Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!
"I grantit nevir a traitor's life,
"And now I'll not begin wi' thee."

"Grant me my life, my liege, my king!
"And a brave gift I'll gie to thee--
"All between heir and Newcastle town
"Sall pay their yeirly rent to thee."

"Away, away, thou traitor strang!
"Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!
"I grantit nevir a traitor's life,
"And now I'll not begin wi' thee."

"Ye lied[123], ye lied, now king," he says.
"Altho' a king and prince ye be!
For I've luved naething in my life,
"I weel dare say it, but honesty--

"Save a fat horse," and a fair woman,
"Twa bonny dogs to kill a deir;
"But England suld have found me meal and mault,
"Gif I had lived this hundred yeir!

"Sche suld have found me meal and mault,
"And beif and mutton in a' plentie;
"But nevir a Scots wyfe could have said,
"That e'er I skaithed her a pure flee.

"To seik het water beneith cauld ice,
"Surely it is a greit folie--
"I have asked grace at a graceless face,
"But there is mine for my men and me!

"But, had I kenn'd ere I cam frae hame,
"How thou unkind wadst been to me!
"I wad have keepit the border side,
"In spite of al thy force and thee.

"Wist England's king that I was ta'en,
"O gin a blythe man he wad be!
"For anes I slew his sister's son,
"And on his breist bane brake a trie."

John wore a girdle about his middle,
Imbroidered ower wi' burning gold,
Bespangled wi' the same metal;
Maist beautiful was to behold.

There hang nine targats[124] at Johnie's hat,
And ilk are worth three hundred pound--
"What wants that knave that a king suld have,
But the sword of honour and the crown!

"O whair got thou these targats, Johnie,
"That blink[125] sae brawly abune thy brie?"
"I gat them in the field fechting,
"Where, cruel king, thou durst not be.

"Had I my horse, and harness gude,
"And riding as I wont to be,
"It suld have been tald this hundred yeir,
"The meeting of my king and me!

"God be with thee, Kirsty,[126] my brother!
"Lang live thou laird of Mangertoun!
"Lang may'st thou live on the border syde,
"Ere thou see thy brother ride up and down!

"And God be with thee, Kirsty, my son,
"Where thou sits on thy nurse's knee!
"But and thou live this hundred yeir,
"Thy father's better thou'lt nevir be.

"Farewell! my bonny Gilnock hall,
"Where on Esk side thou stand est stout!
"Gif I had lived but seven yeirs mair,
"I wad hae gilt thee round about."

John murdered was at Carlinrigg,
And all his gallant cumpanie;
But Scotland's heart was ne'er sae wae,
To see sae mony brave men die--

Because they saved their countrey deir,
Frae Englishmen! Nane were sae bauld,
Whyle Johnie lived on the border syde,
Nane of them durst cum neir his hauld.

[Footnote 118: _Kinnen_--Rabbits.]

[Footnote 119: _Nicker_--Neigh.]

[Footnote 120: _Gilt--Gold_.]

[Footnote 121: _Dow_--Able to.]

[Footnote 122: _Ganging_--Going.]

[Footnote 123: _Lied_--Lye.]

[Footnote 124: _Targats_--Tassels.]

[Footnote 125: _Blink sae brawly_--Glance so bravely.]

[Footnote 126: Christopher.]


* * * * *

The editor believes, his readers will not be displeased to see a Bond
of Manrent, granted by this border freebooter to the Scottish warden
of the west marches, in return for the gift of a feudal casualty of
certain lauds particularized. It is extracted from _Syme's Collection
of Old Writings, MS. penes_ Dr. Robert Anderson, of Edinburgh.


Be it kend till all men, be thir present letters, me, Johne
Armistrang, for to be bound and oblist, and be the tenor of thir
present letters, and faith and trewth in my body, lelie and trewlie,
bindis and oblissis me and myn airis, to are nobil and michtie lord,
Robert Lord Maxwell, wardane of the west marches of Scotland, that,
forasmikle as my said lord has given and grantit to me, and mine airis
perpetuallie, the nonentries of all and hail the landis underwritten,
that is to say, the landis of Dalbetht, Shield, Dalblane,
Stapil-Gortown, Langholme, and--with their pertindis, lyand in the
lordship of Eskdale, as his gift, maid to me, therupon beris in
the self: and that for all the tyme of the nonentres of the samyn.
Theirfor, I, the said Johne Armistrang, bindis and oblissis me and
myne airis, in manrent and service to the said Robert Lord Maxwell,
and his airis, for evermair, first and befor all uthirs, myne
allegiance to our soverane lord, the king, allanerly except; and to be
trewe, gude, and lele servant to my said lord, and be ready to do
him service, baith in pece and weir, with all my kyn, friends, and
servants, that I may and dowe to raise, and be and to my said lord's
airis for evermair. And sall tak his true and plane part in all maner
of actions at myn outer power, and sall nouther wit, hear, nor se my
said lordis skaith, lak, nor dishonestie, but we sall stop and lett
the samyn, and geif we dowe not lett the samyn, we sall warn him
thereof in all possible haist; and geif it happenis me, the said Johne
Armistrang, or myne airis, to fail in our said service and manrent,
any maner of way, to our said lord (as God forbid we do), than, and
in that caiss, the gift and nonentres maid be him to us, of the said
landis of Dalbetht, Schield, Dalblane, Stapil-Gortown, Langholme,
and--with the pertinentis to be of no avale, force, nor effect; but
the said lord and his airis to have free regress and ingress to the
nonentres of the samyn, but ony pley or impediment. To the keeping and
fulfilling of all and sundry the premisses, in form above writtin, I
bind and obliss me and my airis foresaids, to the said lord and his
airis for evermare, be the faithis treuthis in our bodies, but fraud
or gile. In witness of the whilk thing, to thir letters of manrent
subscrievit, with my hand at the pen, my sele is hangin, at Drumfries,
the secund day of November, the yeir of God, Jaiv and XXV. yeiris.

JOHNE ARMISTRANG, with my hand
at the pen.

The lands, here mentioned, were the possessions of Armstrong himself,
the investitures of which not having been regularly renewed, the
feudal casualty of non-entry had been incurred by the vassal. The
brother of Johnie Armstrang is said to have founded, or rather
repaired, Langholm castle, before which, as mentioned in the ballad,
verse 5th, they "ran their horse," and "brake their spears," in the
exercise of border chivalry.--_Account of the Parish of Langholm, apud
Macfarlane's MSS_. The lands of Langholm and Staplegorton continued
in Armstrong's family; for there is, in the same MS. collection, a
similar bond of manrent, granted by "Christofer Armistrang, calit
_Johne's Pope_," on 24th January, 1557, to Lord Johne Lord Maxwell,
and to Sir Johne Maxwell of Terreglis, knight, his tutor and governor,
in return for the gift of "the males of all and haill the landis whilk
are conteint in ane bond made by umquhile Johne Armistrang, my father,
to umquhile Robert, Lord Maxwell, gudshore to the said Johne, now Lord
Maxwell." It would therefore appear, that the bond of manrent, granted
by John Armstrong, had been the price of his release from the feudal
penalty arising from his having neglected to procure a regular
investiture from his superior. As Johnie only touched the pen, it
appears that he could not write.

Christopher Armstrong, above-mentioned, is the person alluded to in
the conclusion of the ballad--"God be with thee, Kirsty, my son."
He was the father, or grandfather, of William Armstrong, called
_Christie's Will_, a renowned freebooter, some of whose exploits the
reader will find recorded in the third volume of this work.



* * * * *

_The castle of Lochmaben was formerly a noble building, situated upon
a peninsula, projecting into one of the four lakes which are in
the neighbourhood of the royal burgh, and is said to have been the
residence of Robert Bruce, while lord of Annandale. Accordingly,
it was always held to be a royal fortress, the keeping of which,
according to the custom of the times, was granted to some powerful
lord, with an allotment of lands and fishings, for the defence and
maintenance of the place. There is extant a grant, dated 16th March,
1511, to Robert Lauder of the Bass, of the office of captain and
keeper of Lochmaben castle, for seven years, with many perquisites.
Among others, the_ "land, stolen frae the king," _is bestowed upon the
captain, as his proper lands.--What shall we say of a country, where
the very ground was the subject of theft_?

* * * * *

O heard ye na o' the silly blind Harper,
How lang he lived in Lochmaben town?
And how he wad gang to fair England,
To steal the Lord Warden's Wanton Brown!

But first he gaed to his gude wyfe,
Wi' a' the haste that he could thole--
"This wark," quo' he, "will ne'er gae weel,
Without a mare that has a foal."

Quo' she--"Thou hast a gude gray mare,
That can baith lance o'er laigh and hie;
Sae set thee on the gray mare's back,
And leave the foal at hame wi' me."

So he is up to England gane,
And even as fast as he may drie;
And when he cam to Carlisle gate,
O whae was there but the Warden, he?

"Come into my hall, thou silly blind Harper,
And of thy harping let me hear!"
"O by my sooth," quo' the silly blind Harper,
I wad rather hae stabling for my mare."

The Warden look'd ower his left shoulder,
And said unto his stable groom--
"Gae take the silly blind Harper's mare,
And tie her beside my Wanton Brown."

Then aye he harped, and aye he carped[127],
Till a' the lordlings footed the floor;
But an' the music was sae sweet,
The groom had nae mind of the stable door.

And aye he harped, and aye he carped,
Till a' the nobles were fast asleep;
Then quickly he took aff his shoon,
And saftly down the stair did creep.

Syne to the stable door he hied,
Wi' tread as light as light could be;
And when he opened and gaed in,
There he fand thirty steeds and three.

He took a cowt halter[128] frae his hose,
And o' his purpose he did na fail;
He slipt it ower the Wanton's nose,
And tied it to his gray mare's tail.

He turned them loose at the castle gate,
Ower muir and moss and ilka dale;
And she ne'er let the Wanton bait,
But kept him a-galloping hame to her foal.

The mare she was right swift o' foot,
She did na fail to find the way;
For she was at Lochmaben gate,
A lang three hours before the day.

When she cam to the Harper's door,
There she gave mony a nicker and sneer--[129]
"Rise up," quo' the wife, "thou lazy lass;
Let in thy master and his mare."

Then up she rose, put on her clothes,
And keekit through at the lock-hole--
"O! by my sooth," then cried the lass,
Our mare has gotten a braw brown foal!"

"Come, haud thy tongue, thou silly wench!
The morn's but glancing in your e'e."--
I'll[130] wad my hail fee against a groat,
He's bigger than e'er our foal will be."

Now all this while, in merry Carlisle,
The Harper harped to hie and law;
And the[131] fiend thing dought they do but listen him to,
Until that the day began to daw.

But on the morn, at fair day light,
When they had ended a' their cheer,
Behold the Wanton Brown was gane,
And eke the poor blind Harper's mare!

"Allace! allace!" quo' the cunning auld Harper,
"And ever allace that I cam here!
In Scotland I lost a braw cowt foal,
In England they've stown my gude gray mare!"

"Come! cease thy allacing, thou silly blind Harper,
And again of thy harping let us hear;
And weel payd sall thy cowt-foal be,
And thou sall have a far better mare."

Then aye he harped, and aye he carped;
Sae sweet were the harpings he let them hear!
He was paid for the foal he had never lost,
And three times ower for the gude GRAY MARE.

[Footnote 127: _Carped_--Sung.]

[Footnote 128: _Cowt halter_--Colt's halter.]

[Footnote 129: _Nicker and sneer_--Neigh and snort.]

[Footnote 130: _Wad my hail fee_--Bet my whole wages.]

[Footnote 131: _Fiend thing dought_--Nothing could they do.]


* * * * *

The only remark which offers itself on the foregoing ballad seems
to be, that it is the most modern in which the harp, as a border
instrument of music, is found to occur.

I cannot dismiss the subject of Lochmaben, without noticing an
extraordinary and anomalous class of landed proprietors, who dwell
in the neighbourhood of that burgh. These are the inhabitants of four
small villages, near the ancient castle, called the Four Towns of
Lochmaben. They themselves are termed the King's Rentallers, or kindly
tenants; under which denomination each of them has a right, of an
allodial nature, to a small piece of ground. It is said, that these
people are the descendants of Robert Bruce's menials, to whom he
assigned, in reward of their faithful service, these portions of land,
burdened only with the payment of certain quit-rents, and grassums or
fines, upon the entry of a new tenant. The right of the rentallers is,
in essence, a right of property, but, in form, only a right of lease;
of which they appeal for the foundation on the rent-rolls of the lord
of the castle and manor. This possession, by rental, or by simple
entry upon the rent-roll, was anciently a common, and peculiarly
sacred, species of property, granted by a chief to his faithful
followers; the connection of landlord and tenant being esteemed of
a nature too formal to be necessary, where there was honour upon
one side, and gratitude upon the other. But, in the case of subjects
granting a right of this kind, it was held to expire with the life
of the granter, unless his heir chose to renew it; and also upon
the death of the rentaller himself, unless especially granted to his
heirs, by which term only his first heir was understood. Hence, in
modern days, the _kindly tenants_ have entirely disappeared from the
land. Fortunately for the inhabitants of the Four Towns of Lochmaben,
the maxim, that the king can never die, prevents their right of
property from reverting to the crown. The viscount of Stormonth, as
royal keeper of the castle, did, indeed, about the beginning of
last century, make an attempt to remove the rentallers from their
possessions, or at least to procure judgment, finding them obliged to
take out feudal investitures, and subject themselves to the casualties
thereto annexed. But the rentallers united in their common defence;
and, having stated their immemorial possession, together with some
favourable clauses in certain old acts of parliament, enacting, that
the king's _poor kindly tenants_ of Lochmaben should not be hurt, they
finally prevailed in an action before the Court of Session. From the
peculiar state of their right of property, it follows, that there is
no occasion for feudal investitures, or the formal entry of an heir;
and, of course, when they chuse to convey their lands, it is done by a
simple deed of conveyance, without charter or sasine.

The kindly tenants of Lochmaben live (or at least lived till lately)
much sequestered from their neighbours, marry among themselves, and
are distinguished from each other by _soubriquets_, according to
the ancient border custom, repeatedly noticed You meet, among their
writings, with such names as _John Out-bye, Will In-bye, White-fish,
Red-fish_, &c. They are tenaciously obstinate in defence of their
privileges of commonty, &c. which are numerous. Their lands are,
in general, neatly inclosed, and well cultivated, and they form a
contented and industrious little community.

Many of these particulars are extracted from the MSS. of Mr. Syme,
writer to the signet. Those, who are desirous of more information, may
consult _Craig de Feudis_, Lib. II. dig. 9. sec. 24. It is hoped the
reader will excuse this digression, though somewhat professional;
especially as there can be little doubt, that this diminutive republic
must soon share the fate of mightier states; for, in consequence of
the increase of commerce, lands possessed under this singular tenure,
being now often brought to sale, and purchased by the neighbouring
proprietors, will, in process of time, be included in their
investitures, and the right of rentallage be entirely forgotten.


* * * * *

_There is another ballad, under the same title as the following, in
which nearly the same incidents are narrated, with little difference,
except that the honour of rescuing the cattle is attributed to the
Liddesdale Elliots, headed by a chief, there called Martin Elliot of
the Preakin Tower, whose son, Simon, is said to have fallen in the
action. It is very possible, that both the Tiviotdale Scotts, and the
Elliots were engaged in the affair, and that each claimed the honour
of the victory_.

_The editor presumes, that the Willie Scott, here mentioned must have
been a natural son of the laird of Buccleuch_.

* * * * *

It fell about the Martinmas tyde,
When our border steeds get corn and hay,
The captain, of Bewcastle hath bound him to ryde,
And he's ower to Tividale to drive a prey.

The first ae guide that they met wi',
It was high up in Hardhaughswire;
The second guide that they met wi',
It was laigh down in Borthwick water.

"What tidings, what tidings, my trusty guide?"
"Nae tidings, nae tidings, I hae to thee;
But, gin ye'll gae to the fair Dodhead,
Mony a cow's cauf I'll let thee see."

And whan they cam to the fair Dodhead,
Right hastily they clam the peel;
They loosed the kye out, are and a',
And ranshackled[132] the house right weel.

Now Jamie Telfer's heart was sair,
The tear aye rowing in his e'e;
He pled wi' the captain to hae his gear,
Or else revenged he wad be.

The captain turned him round, and leugh;
Said--"Man, there's naething in thy house,
But ae auld sword without a sheath,
That hardly now wad fell a mouse!"

The sun was na up, but the moon was down,
It was the gryming[133] of a new fa'n snaw,
Jamie Telfer has run ten myles a-foot,
Between the Dodhead and the Stobs's Ha'.

And whan he cam to the fair tower yate,
He shouted loud, and cried weel hie,
Till out bespak auld Gibby Elliot--
"Whae's this that brings the fraye to me?"

"Its I, Jamie Telfer o' the fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I think I be!
There's naething left at the fair Dodhead,
But a waefu' wife and bairnies three."

"Gar seek your succour at Branksome Ha',
For succour ye'se get nane frae me!
Gae seek your succour where ye paid black mail,
For, man! ye ne'er paid money to me."

Jamie has turned him round about,
I wat the tear blinded his e'e--
"I'll ne'er pay mail to Elliot again,
And the fair Dodhead I'll never see!

"My hounds may a' rin masterless,
My hawks may fly frae tree to tree,
My lord may grip my vassal lands,
For there again maun I never be!"

He has turned him to the Tiviot side,
E'en as fast as he could drie,
Till he cam to the Coultart Cleugh,
And there he shouted baith loud and hie.

Then up bespak him auld Jock Grieve--
"Whae's this that bring's the fray to me?"
"It's I, Jamie Telfer o' the fair Dodhead,
A harried man I trew I be.

"There's naething left in the fair Dodhead,
But a greeting wife and bairnies three,
And sax poor ca's[134] stand in the sta',
A' routing loud for their minnie."[135]

"Alack a wae!" quo' auld Jock Grieve,
"Alack! my heart is sair for thee!
For I was married on the elder sister,
And you on the youngest of a' the three,"

Then he has ta'en out a bonny black,
Was right weel fed wi' corn and hay,
And he's set Jamie Telfer on his back,
To the Catslockhill to tak the fraye.

And whan he cam to the Catslockhill,
He shouted loud, and cried weel hie,
Till out and spak him William's Wat--
"O whae's this brings the fraye to me?"

"Its I, Jamie Telfer of the fair Dodhead,
A harried man I think I be!
The captain of Bewcastle has driven my gear;
For God's sake rise, and succour me!"

"Alas for wae!" quo' William's Wat,
Alack, for thee my heart is sair!
I never cam bye the fair Dodhead,
That ever I fand thy basket bare."

He's set his twa sons on coal-black steeds,
Himsel' upon a freckled gray,
And they are on wi' Jamie Telfer,
To Branksome Ha' to tak the fraye.

And whan they cam to Branksome Ha',
They shouted a' baith loud and hie,
Till up and spak him auld Buccleuch,
Said--"Whae's this brings the fraye to me?"

"It's I, Jamie Telfer o' the fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I think I be!
There's nought left in the fair Dodhead,
But a greeting wife, and bairnies three."

"Alack for wae!" quoth the gude auld lord,
"And ever my heart is wae for thee!
But fye gar cry on Willie, my son,
And see that he come to me speedilie!

"Gar warn the water, braid and wide,
Gar warn it sune and hastilie!
They that winna ride for Telfer's kye,
Let them never look in the face o' me!

"Warn Wat o' Harden, and his sons,
Wi' them will Borthwick water ride;
Warn Gaudilands, and Allanhaugh,
And Gilmanscleugh, and Commonside.

"Ride by the gate at Priesthaughswire,
And warn the Currors o' the Lee;
As ye cum down the Hermitage Slack,
Warn doughty Willie o' Gorrinberry."

The Scots they rade, the Scots they ran,
Sae starkly and sae steadilie!
And aye the ower-word o' the thrang
Was--"Rise for Branksome readilie!"

The gear was driven the Frostylee up,
Frae the Frostylee unto the plain,
Whan Willie has looked his men before,
And saw the kye right fast driving.

"Whae drives thir kye?" can Willie say,
To mak an outspeckle[136] o' me?"
"Its I, the captain o' Bewcastle, Willie;
I winna layne my name for thee."

"O will ye let Telfer's kye gae back?
Or will ye do aught for regard o' me?
Or, by the faith of my body," quo' Willie Scott,
"I'se ware my dame's cauf's skin on thee!"

"I winna let the kye gae back,
Neither for thy love, nor yet thy fear;
But I will drive Jamie Telfer's kye,
In spite of every Scot that's here."

"Set on them, lads!" quo' Willie than;
Fye, lads, set on them cruellie!
For ere they win to the Ritterford,
Mony a toom[137] saddle there sall be!"

Then till't they gaed, wi' heart and hand;
The blows fell thick as bickering hail;
And mony a horse ran masterless,
And mony a comely cheek was pale!

But Willie was stricken ower the head,
And thro' the knapscap[138] the sword has gane;
And Harden grat for very rage,
Whan Willie on the grund lay slane.

But he's tane aff his gude steel cap,
And thrice he's wav'd it in the air--
The Dinlay[139] snaw was ne'er mair white,
Nor the lyart locks of Harden's hair.

"Revenge! revenge!" auld Wat can cry;
"Fye, lads, lay on them cruellie!
We'll ne'er see Tiviotside again,
Or Willie's death revenged sall be."

O mony a horse ran masterless,
The splintered lances flew on hie;
But or they wan to the Kershope ford,
The Scots had gotten the victory.

John o' Brigham there was slane,
And John o' Barlow, as I hear say;
And thirty mae o' the captain's men,
Lay bleeding on the grund that day.

The captain was run thro' the thick of the thigh,
And broken was his right leg bane;
If he had lived this hundred years,
He had never been loved by woman again.

"Hae back thy kye!" the captain said;
"Dear kye, I trow, to some they be!
For gin I suld live a hundred years,
There will ne'er fair lady smile on me."

Then word is gane to the captain's bride,
Even in the bower where that she lay,
That her lord was prisoner in enemy's land,
Since into Tividale he had led the way.

"I wad lourd[140] have had a winding-sheet,
And helped to put it ower his head,
Ere he had been disgraced by the _border Scot_,
Whan he ower Liddel his men did lead!"

There was a wild gallant amang us a',
His name was Watty wi' the Wudspurs,[141]
Cried--"On for his house in Stanegirthside,
If ony man will ride with us!"

When they cam to the Stanegirthside,
They dang wi' trees, and burst the door;
They loosed out a' the captain's kye,
And set them forth our lads before.

There was an auld wyfe ayont the fire,
A wee bit o' the captain's kin--
"Whae dar loose out the captain's kye,
Or answer to him and his men?"

"Its I, Watty Wudspurs, loose the kye!
I winna layne my name frae thee!
And I will loose out the captain's kye,
In scorn of a' his men and he."

When they cam to the fair Dodhead,
They were a wellcum sight to see!
For instead of his ain ten milk kye,
Jamie Telfer has gotten thirty and three.

And he has paid the rescue shot,
Baith wi' goud, and white monie;
And at the burial o' Willie Scott,
I wat was mony a weeping e'e.

[Footnote 132: _Ranshackled_--Ransacked.]

[Footnote 133: _Gryming_--Sprinkling.]

[Footnote 134: _Ca's_--Calves.]

[Footnote 135: _Minnie_--Mother.]

[Footnote 136: _Outspeckle_.--Laughing-stock.]

[Footnote 137: _Toom_--Empty.]

[Footnote 138: _Knapscap_--Headpiece.]

[Footnote 139: _The Dinlay_--is a mountain in Liddesdale.]

[Footnote 140: _Lourd_--Rather.]

[Footnote 141: _Wudspurs_--Hotspur, or Madspur.]


* * * * *

_It was high up in Hardhaughswire_.--P. 140. v. 1.

Hardhaughswire is the pass from Liddesdale to the head of Tiviotdale.

_It was laigh down in Borthwick water_.--P. 140. v. 1.

Borthwick water is a stream, which falls into the Tiviot, three miles
above Hawick.

_But, gin ye'll gae to the fair Dodhead_.--P. 140. v. 2.

The Dodhead, in Selkirkshire, near Singlee, where there are still the
vestiges of an old tower.

_Now Jamie Telfer's heart was sair_.--P. 140. v. 4.

There is still a family of Telfers, residing near Langholm, who
pretend to derive their descent from the Telfers of the Dodhead.

_Between the Dodhead and the Stobs's Ha'_.--P. 141. v. 1.

Stobs Hall, upon Slitterick. Jamie Telfer made his first application
here because he seems to have paid the proprietor of that castle
_black-mail_, or protection-money.

_Gar seek your succour at Branksome Ha'_.--P. 141. v. 4.

The ancient family-seat of the lairds of Buccleuch, near Hawick.

_Till he cam to the Coultart Cleugh_.--P. 142. v. 2.

The Coultart Cleugh is nearly opposite to Carlinrig, on the road
between Hawick and Mosspaul.

_Gar warn the water, braid and wide_.--P. 144. v. 4.

The water, in the mountainous districts of Scotland, is often used to
express the banks of the river, which are the only inhabitable parts
of the country. _To raise the water_, therefore, was to alarm those
who lived along its side.

_Warn Wat o' Harden, and his sons_, &c.--P. 144. v. 5.

The estates, mentioned in this verse, belonged to families of the name
of Scott, residing upon the waters of Borthwick and Tiviot, near the
castle of their chief.

_Ride by the gate at Priesthaughswire_.--P. 145. v. 1.

The pursuers seem to have taken the road through the hills of
Liddesdale, in order to collect forces, and intercept the foragers
at the passage of the Liddel, on their return to Bewcastle. The
Ritterford and Kershope-ford, after mentioned, are noted fords on the
river Liddel.

_The gear was driven the Frostylee up_.--P. 145. v. 3.

The Frostylee is a brook, which joins the Tiviot, near Mosspaul.

_And Harden grat for very rage_.--P. 146. v. 4.

Of this border laird, commonly called _Auld Wat of Harden_, tradition
has preserved many anecdotes. He was married to Mary Scott,
celebrated in song by the title of the Flower of Yarrow. By their
marriage-contract, the father-in-law, Philip Scott of Dryhope, was to
find Harden in horse meat, and man's meat, at his tower of Dryhope,
for a year and a day; but five barons pledge themselves, that, at
the expiry of that period, the son-in-law should remove, without
attempting to continue in possession by force! A notary-public signed
for all the parties to the deed, none of whom could write their names.
The original is still in the charter-room of the present Mr. Scott of
Harden. By the Flower of Yarrow the laird of Harden had six sons;
five of whom survived him, and founded the families of Harden (now
extinct), Highchesters (now representing Harden), Reaburn, Wool, and
Synton. The sixth son was slain at a fray, in a hunting-match, by the
Scotts of Gilmanscleugh. His brothers flew to arms; but the old laird
secured them in the dungeon of his tower, hurried to Edinburgh, stated
the crime, and obtained a gift of the lands of the offenders from the
crown. He returned to Harden with equal speed, released his sons, and
shewed them the charter. "To horse, lads!" cried the savage warrior,
"and let us take possession! the lands of Gilmanscleuch are well worth
a dead son." The property, thus obtained, continued in the family
till the beginning of last century, when it was sold, by John Scott of
Harden, to Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch.

_John o' Brigham there was slane_.--P. 147. v. 3.

Perhaps one of the ancient family of Brougham, in Cumberland. The
editor has used some freedom with the original in the subsequent
verse. The account of the captain's disaster _(tests laeva vulnerata_)
is rather too _naive_ for literal publication.

_Cried--"On for his house in Stanegirthside_.--P. 148. v. 3.

A house belonging to the Foresters, situated on the English side of
the Liddel.

An article in the list of attempts upon England, fouled by the
commissioners ar Berwick, in the year 1587, may relate to the subject
of the foregoing ballad.

October, 1582.

Thomas Musgrave, deputy {Walter Scott, laird } 200 kine and
of Bewcastle, and {of Buckluth, and his} oxen,300 gait the
tenants, against {complices; for } and sheep.

_Introduction, to History of Westmoreland and Cumberland_, p. 31.


* * * * *

This poem is published from a copy in the Bannatyne MS. in the
hand-writing of the Hon. Mr. Carmichael, advocate. It first appeared
in _Allan Ramsay's Evergreen_, but some liberties have been taken by
him in transcribing it; and, what is altogether unpardonable, the MS.,
which is itself rather inaccurate, has been interpolated to favour his
readings; of which there remain obvious marks.

The skirmish of the Reidswire happened upon the 7th of June, 1575,
at one of the meetings, held by the wardens of the marches, for
arrangements necessary upon the border. Sir John Carmichael, ancestor
of the present Earl of Hyndford, was the Scottish warden, and Sir John
Forster held that office on the English middle march.--In the course
of the day, which was employed, as usual, in redressing wrongs, a
bill, or indictment, at the instance of a Scottish complainer, was
fouled (_i.e._ found a true bill) against one Farnstein, a notorious
English freebooter. Forster alleged that he had fled from justice:
Carmichael considering this as a pretext to avoid making compensation
for the felony, bade him "play fair!" to which the haughty English
warden retorted, by some injurious expressions respecting Carmichael's
family, and gave other open signs of resentment. His retinue, chiefly
men of Reesdale and Tynedale, the most ferocious of the English
borderers, glad of any pretext for a quarrel, discharged a flight of
arrows among the Scots. A warm conflict ensued, in which, Carmichael
being beat down and made prisoner, success seemed at first to incline
to the English side; till the Tynedale men, throwing themselves too
greedily upon the plunder, fell into disorder; and a body of Jedburgh
citizens arriving at that instant, the skirmish terminated in a
complete victory on the part of the Scots, who took prisoners, the
English warden, James Ogle, Cuthbert Collingwood, Francis Russel,
son to the Earl of Bedford, and son-in-law to Forster, some of the
Fenwicks, and several other border chiefs. They were sent to the Earl
of Morton, then regent, who detained them at Dalkeith for some days,
till the heat of their resentment was abated; which prudent precaution
prevented a war betwixt the two kingdoms. He then dismissed them with
great expressions of regard; and, to satisfy Queen Elizabeth,[142]
sent up Carmichael to York, whence he was soon after honourably
dismissed. The field of battle, called the Reidswire, is a part of
the Carter Mountain, about ten miles from Jedburgh.--See, for these
particulars, _Godscroft, Spottiswoode_, and _Johnstone's History_.

[Footnote 142: Her ambassador at Edinburgh refused to lie in a bed of
state which had been provided for him, till this "_oudious fact_" had
been enquired into.--_Murden's State Papers_, Vol. II, p. 282.]

The editor has adopted the modern spelling of the word Reidswire, to
prevent the mistake in pronunciation which might be occasioned by the
use of the Scottish _qu_ for _w_. The MS. reads _Reidsquair. Swair_,
or _Swire_, signifies the descent of a hill; and the epithet _Red_
is derived from the colour of the heath, or, perhaps, from the
Reid-water, which rises at no great distance.


* * * * *

The seventh of July, the suith to say,


Back to Full Books