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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Regencies of Lennox and Mar: 1570 - 1572


THE death of the Regent Moray proved a great blow to the infant king’s party, for there was no man of equal mark and energy to take his place. The friends of the exiled queen raised their heads again, and in a force which might well give the ruling party some anxiety. Seeing the imminence of the danger, Elizabeth yielded to the wishes of Mary’s enemies, and sent an army under the Earl of Sussex into Scotland in April, who ‘burnt, herrit, and destroyit sae mickle of the Merse and Teviotdale as they might be masters of, asseizit the castle of Farniehirst, and demolishit the same, and thereafter past to Hawick and to Branksholm, and burnt and herrit the same,’ thus punishing the Scotts, Kerrs, and others who had lately made a hostile incursion in Mary’s behalf into England. Towards the end of the month, they besieged and took Hume Castle. A similar army under Sir William Drury entered Scotland in the ensuing month, and committed the like havock in Lanarkshire, so as to disable the queen’s friends of the house of Hamilton. The sufferings thus occasioned in certain districts were dreadful, and the principal sufferers were the poor. In Hume Castle, when taken by Sussex, ‘was the hale guids and gear perteining to the hale tenants of my Lord Hume, where-through the saids puir tenants were allutterly herrit.’ The devastation at Hamilton was ‘in sic sort and maner as the like in this realm has not been heard before.’ And when the English troops came thence to Linlithgow on their return, ‘they herrit all the Monkland, the Lord Fleming’s bounds, my Lord Livingstone’s bounds, together with all their puir tenants and friends, in sic maner that nae heart can think thereon but the same must be dolorous.’—D. O. Yet this was but a foretaste of the woes which a disputed succession was now for three years to lay upon the land.

At the dictation of Elizabeth—for the Protestant lords in Scotland were wholly subservient to her—Matthew, Earl of Lennox, paternal grandfather of the young king, was elected Regent (July 17, 1570). The real ruling spirit was the Earl of Morton, who lost no time in proceeding against some friends of Queen Mary in the north. Taking the town of Brechin, which had been held for her, he caused thirty-one of the garrison to be mercilessly put to death. ‘The deaths of thir persons were greatomly bewalit by mony.’ At the same time, the Earl of Sussex made an inroad into Durnfriesshire, cast down many houses of Mary’s friends, ‘burnt certain houses in the town of Dumfries, and reft and spulyit all that they micht get.’ Three considerable districts in Scotland were this summer reduced to a desert.

The Gordon power in the north, that of the Hamiltons and Argyle in the west, and the Border chiefs, formed the great centres of Mary’s party, which altogether was so strong, that it must have triumphed but for the backing which the other party received from England. As matters stood, the king’s friends were able to maintain themselves in possession of the country at large, holding Stirling as the seat of government, while Kirkaldy of Grange, governor of the Castle of Edinburgh, unexpectedly went over to the queen’s side, as did Maitland of Lethington, and some others lately arrayed against her. Edinburgh and its castle consequently became a centre of operations for that party. Then commenced an intestine war, at first consisting of mutual devastations on each other’s lands, but soon assuming a sanguinary character. It is not consistent with our design to relate it in detail; but a few characteristic proceedings are given in the chronicle, usually in the simple and pathetic language of the time.

Lennox being killed in a surprise at Stirling (September 3, 1571), the Earl of Mar was chosen to the vacant regency. Under him the war advanced with even increased ferocity, until it came to be a rule that no quarter should be given on either side. In little more than a twelvemonth, this gentle-natured noble sunk under the burden of government; ‘the maist cause of his deid was that he lovit peace, and could not have the same.’—.D. 0. The Earl of Morton, the ablest man of the whole party since Moray, but merciless and greedy in the extreme, succeeded, with the full approbation of the Mistress of the Protestant party of Scotland.

1570, May
Lord Fleming being a conspicuous leader on the queen’s side, and captain of Dumbarton Castle, his lands in the counties of Lanark and Dumbarton were amongst those which fell under the vengeance of the ruling party. As one of the enormities perpetrated by the Earl of Lennox and his men on Lord Fleming’s estates—’ they have slain and destroyit the deer of his forest of Cumbernauld, and the white kye and bulls of the said forest, to the great destruction of policy and hinder of the commonweal. For that kind of kye and bulls has been keepit thir mony years in the said forest, and the like was not ma’intenit in ony other parts of the Isle of Albion, as is wed knawn.’

The ‘white kye and bulls’ here spoken of are believed to have been a remnant of the original wild cattle of the Caledonian forest. Boece describes them as white, with lion-like manes, fierce, untamable, and shunning human society—so misanthropical, indeed, that they would eat nothing which the hand of man had touched. He, like the writer quoted above, says that none of them were left but only in Cumbernauld. Leslie, however, tells us that they also existed in the parks of Stirling and Kincardine. Latterly, there have been herds of the same oxen (but perhaps imported) in the puke of Hamilton’s park of Cadzow, in Lanarkshire; in the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbeni’s at Drumlanrig; and in Lord Tankerville's park at Chillingham, in Northumberland.

Perhaps the seventies of the English army on this occasion were only what her Scottish allies would themselves have practised against their opponents. What follows, however, seems to have gone a little beyond the bounds of partisan vengeance, while it not less illustrates the sacrifice of national dignity at which the enemies of Mary were content to purchase the aid of the English queen.

May 29
Sir William Drury, returning with the English army from the
devastation of the Duke of Chatelherault’s country in Lanarkshire, resolved to destroy the town of Linlithgow, in retribution for its having proved a harbour for the enemies of Elizabeth and of her ally the young Scottish king. It seemed but right that the scene of the murder of Moray should thus suffer. He therefore called the provost of the burgh before him, and announced his intention, Saying, however, that he would allow time for the carrying away of any women in childbed or impotent people, and also conceding that a place should be appointed, to which the goods belonging to the citizens should be brought for preservation.

‘The time being come for this execution, the Earl of Morton, that still accompanied the English general, offered himself as an intercessor to entreat and sue for a pardon, bringing afore the general a multitude of wailing people, whose mournful and most piteous cries was lamentable and very importunate.’

Drury insisted that justice demanded an example being made of Linlithgow; but ‘the people of all sorts so pressed about him, and made such pitiful cries and sorrowful noise, with children sucking of their mothers’ breasts, that he, taking ruth of their miserable estates, at this their lamentable suit, especially at the great instance of the Earl of Morton, who came bareheaded to speak for them, the general was content to save the town and people therein.’ He took assurance from them, however, that the chief inhabitants should follow his camp to Berwick, and there wait the clemency of the queen of England .—Holinshed.

1570, July 4
‘. . . . at 10 hours at night, there was ane earthquake in the city of Glasgow, and lastit but ane short space; but it causit the inhabitants of the said city to be in great terror and fear.’—D. O.

‘In this time there was ane monstrous fish seen in Loch Fyne, having great een in the head thereof, and at some times wald stand aboon the water as high as the mast of a ship; and the said [creature] had upon the head thereof [twa crowns, ane] aboon little, and the downmaist crown meikle; whilk was reportit by wise men, that the same was ane sign and taiken of ane sudden alteration within this realm.’—D. O.

The low intelligence of the age is seen in nothing more conspicuously than in the numerous tales of animals alleged to have been seen, with peculiarities impossible in nature, and believed to be ominous of public calamity. The appearance of a similar animal in another of the Argyleshire lochs in 1510 is noted by Hector Boece, on the information of Duncan Campbell, a noble knight. This ‘terrible beast’ was ‘of the bigness of a greyhound, and footed like a gander. Issuing out of the water early in the morning about midsummer,’ he ‘did very easily and without any force or straining of himself overthrow huge oaks with his tail, and therewith killed outright three men that hunted him with three strokes of his said tail, the rest of them saving themselves in trees thereabouts, whilst the aforesaid monster returned to the water. Those that are given to the observation of rare and uncouth sights, believe that this beast is never seen but against some great trouble and mischief to come upon the realm of Scotland.’’

In Holinshed’s Chronicle (1577), the Firth of Forth is said occasionally to contain ‘sundry fishes of a monstrous shape, with cowls hanging over their heads like unto monks, and in the rest resembling the body of man. They shew themselves above the water to the navel, howbeit they never appear but against some great pestilence of men or murrain of cattle; wherefore their only sight doth breed great terror to the Scottish nation, who are very great observers of uncouth signs and tokens.’

On the whole, it is most likely that some species of the cetacea or phocida was concerned in giving rise to these tales of sea-monsters.

Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, who was living at this time, thus notes the appearance of an extraordinary animal in the year 1500: Hutcheon Frizell in Glenconie, the best and maist in estimation of the Lord Lovat’s kin, he and ane servand with him, being at the bunting on ane hie land amang very rank heather, twa arrow-draught frae him he heard like the call of ane ratch approaching near and near, while [till] at the last he saw it, and shot at it ane dead straik with ane arrow; where it lap and welterit up and down ane spear length of breadth and length. The heather and bent being mair nor ane foot of height, it being in the deid-thraw, brint all to the eird [earth], as it had been muirburn. It was mair nor twa eln of length, as great as the coist of ane man, without feet, having ane mickle fin on ilk side, with ane tail and ane terrible head. His great deer-dogs wald not come near it. It had great speed. They callit it ane dragon."

He commemorates a sea-animal not less wonderful, which was thrown upon the coast of Northumberland in 1544. ‘At the seaside at Bamburgh, there was nae kind of fish ta’en by the space of twa year; but the sea made ane great routing and horrible noise, which was by [beside] custom and use. So it chancit, at the hie spring [tide], that ane terrible beast was casten in dead, of the quantity [bulk] of ane man. Nae man could devise ane thing mair terrible, with horns on the head of it, red een, with misshapen face, with lucken [webbed] hands and feet, and ane great rumple hinging to the eird. It consnmit and stinkit sae, that in short time nae man nor beast might come near it; but all the country about saw it before, and sundry took great fear and dreadour for the sicht of it a lang space after. It was callit a Sea-devil. Witness the Laird of Mow.’

‘The summer right guid, and all victuals guid cheap; the August right fair and guid weather.’—C. F.

Sep 1
An extraordinary act of Gilbert, Earl of Cassillis, sometimes called KING OF CARRICK, on account of the great power which he possessed In that district.

The revenues of the abbey of Crossragnel, in Carrick, had been bestowed upon Master Allan Stewart. The earl had got a feu of the abbey from a predecessor of Stewart, but it never was confirmed. After some fruitless endeavours to obtain a confirmation from Stewart, the earl inveigled him to the castle of Dunure, a strong fortalice situated on a rocky part of the coast overlooking the Atlantic.

Here the Cammendator was bonourably entertained—’gif a prisoner can think ony entertainment pleasing. But after that certain days were spent, and that the earl could not obtain the feus of Crossraguel according to his awn appetite, he determined to prove gif a collation could work that which neither dinner nor supper could do of a long time. And so the said Master was carried to a secret chalmer [according to Stewart’s own account, to a house called the Black Voute (Vault) of Dunure; there is something horribly suitable in the name]. With him passit the honourable earl, his worshipful brother, and sic as was appointed to be servants at that banquet. in the chalmer there was a great iron chimney, under it a fire; other great provision was not seen. The first course was: "My lord abbot (said the earl), it will please you confess here, that with your awn consent ye remain in my company, because ye dare not commit you to the hands of others." The abbot answered: "Wald ye, my lord, that I should make a manifest leasing for your pleasure? The truth is, my lord, it is against my will that I am here; neither yet have I ony pleasure in your company." "But ye sall remain with me at this time," said the earl. "I am not able to resist your will and pleasure," said the abbot, "in this place." "Ye maun then obey me," said the earl. And with that were presented unto him certain letters to subscrive, amongst which there was a five-year tack [lease] and a nineteen-year tack, and a charter of feu of all the lands of Crossraguel, with all the clauses necessar for the earl to haste him to hell! For gif adultery, sacrilege, oppression, barbarous cruelty, and theft heaped upon theft, deserve hell, the great King of Carrick can no more escape hell, for ever, nor the imprudent abbot escaped the fire for a season, as follows.

‘After that the earl espied repugnance, and that he could not come to his purpose by fair means, he commandit his cooks to prepare the banquet. And so first they flayit the sheep, that is, they took off the abbot’s claithes, even to his skin; and next they band him to the chimney, his legs to the one end and his arms to the other; and so they began to beet the fire, sometimes to his buttocks, sometimes to his legs, sometimes to his shoulders and arms. And that the roast should not burn, but that it might roast in sop they spared not flamming with oil. (Lord, look thou to sic cruelty!) And, that the crying of the miserable man sould not be heard, they closed his mouth... In that torment they held the poor man, while that ofttimes he cried "for God’s sake to dispatch him; he had as meikle gold in his awn purse as wald buy powder eneugh to shorten his pain."

‘The famous King of Carrick and his cooks, perceiving the roast to be enengh, commandit it to be tane from the fire, and the earl himself began the grace in this manner: "Benedicite, Jesus, Maria! you are the most obstinate man that ever I saw! Gif I had known that ye had been so stubborn, I wold not for a thousand crowns handled you so. I never did so to man, before you." ‘—Ban.

The abbot’s own account, in the complaint which he afterwards rendered to the privy-council, is different, in as far as it describes him as now yielding to the earl’s desire, in order to save his life and free himself from the pain he was suffering. He also says that he at this time subscribed the papers presented by the earl, though, it would appear, in an incomplete manner. He goes on—’ which being done, the earl causit the tormentors of me sweir upon ane bible never to reveal ane word of this my unmerciful handling to ony person or persons.

‘Yet he, not being satisfied with their proceedings, came again upon the 7 day of the month, bringing with him the same charter and tack, which he compellit me to subscrive, and required me to ratify and approve the same before notar and witnesses; which alluterly I refused. And therefore he, as of before, band me, and put me to the same manner of tormenting, and I said; notwithstanding, "he should first get my life ere ever I agreed to his desire;" and being in so great pain as I trust never man was in, with his life, I cried: "Fye upon you! will ye ding whingers in me, and put me out of this world! Or else put a barrel of powder under me, rather nor be demeaned in this unmerciful manner!" The earl hearing me cry, bade his servant, Alexander Richard, put ane seriette [towel] in my throat, which he obeyed; the same being performed at 11 hours at night; wha then seeing that I was in danger of my life, my flesh consumed and burnt to the bones, and that I wald not condescend to their purpose, I was releivit of that pain; wherethrough I will never be able nor well in my life time.’

The abbot was relieved from Dunure by the Laird of Bargeny, an enemy of Cassillis The government was too weak and in too much trouble to avenge his cause against the earl, who thenceforth continued to draw the revenues of Crossraguel. But ‘my lord gave the abbot some money to live upon, whilk contentit him all his days.’ —Hist. Ken.

Sep 7
Robert Hepburn, second son of the Laird of Waughton, was a partisan of the queen. Travelling to visit his friends in Lothian, he was betrayed by a companion to the knowledge of a party of the king’s friends, consisting of the Lairds of Applegarth and Carmichael, who consequently made an attempt to lay hold of him as he was passing Bathgate. ‘He, being alone with ane boy, fled, and they chasit him continually fra the said place while he come to the castle of Edinburgh, wherein he was resavit with great difficulty; for when the said Robert was passand in at the castle-yett, his adversaries were at Patrick Edgar his house-end. Ane thing to be wonderit at that he could escape the hands of the said persons, considering their multitude and [their being] as weel horsit as he was; and he being riding upon ane brown naig, could never have space to change off the same upon his led horse, but continually rade while he come to the castle foresaid; but his pursuers not only changit horse, but also did cast from them saddles and other gear, to mak licht for pursuing of him.’ ‘—D.
O.

Oct 4
John Kello, minister of Spott, in Haddingtonshire, was executed in Edinburgh for the murder of his wife. The confession of this wretched man shews that he was tempted to the horrible act by a desire to marry more advantageously, his circumstances being somewhat straitened. He deliberated on the design for forty days; tried poison, which failed; then accomplished it by strangulation. His confession admits the amiable character of the victim; nay, he tells that, ‘in the verie death, she could not believe I bure her onie evil will, but was glad, as she then said, to depart, gif her death could do me either vantage or pleasure? According to a contemporary recital, ‘he stranglit her in her awn chamber, and thereafter closit the ordinar door that was within the house for his awn passage, and sae finely seemit to colour that purpose after he had done it, that immediately he passed to the kirk, and in the presence of the people made sermon as if he had done nae sic thing. And when he was returnit hame, he brought some neighbours into his house to vissie his wife, and callit at the ordinar door, but nae answer was made. Then he passed to another back passage with the neighbours, and that was fund open, and she hinging stranglit at the roof of the house. Then, with admiration, he cryit, as though he had knawn naething of the purpose, and they for pity in like manner cryit out. But, in [the] end, finding himself prickit with the judgments of God, of the grievous punishment wherewith transgressors have been plagued in time bygane, he thought gude to communicate his fact to ane of his brether in office, wha then was schoolmaster at Dunbar.’—H.
K. J.

To resume his own confession: ‘Mr Andrew Simson, minister of Dunbar, did so lively rype furth the inward cogitations of my heart, and discover my mind so plainly, that I persuaded myself God spak in him . . . . he remembered me of ane dream which in my great sickness did apparently present the self. "Brother," said he, "I do remember when I visited you in time of your sickness, ye did expose to me this vision, that ye were carried by ane great man before the face of ane terrible judge, and to escape his fury, ye did precipitate yourself in ane deep river, when his angels and messengers did follow you with two-edged swords, and sae when they struck at you, ye did decline and jouk in the water, while in the end, by ane way unknown to you, ye did escape. This vision I do interpret, that ye are the author yourself of this cruel murder then conceived in your heart, and ye were carried before the terrible judgments of God in your awn conscience, which now stands in God’s presence to accuse you; the messengers of God is the justice of the country before the which ye sall be presented; the water wherein ye stood is that vain hypocrisy of your awn, and feigned blasphemy of God’s name, whereby ye purpose to colour your impiety; your deliverance sail be spiritual." . . . . At this time did God move my heart to acknowledge the horror of my awn offence, and how far Sathan had obteinit victory ower me.’— Ban. J. ‘Briefly, by his awn confession, being clearly convict, he was condemnit to be hangit, and his body to be casten in the fire and brynt to ashes, and so to die without any burial. And thus he departit this life, with an extreme penitent and contrite heart, baith for this and all other his offences in general, to the great gude example and comfort of all beholders.’—H. K. S.

Oct
In those days, while as yet there were not only no newspapers, but no ready means of conveying letters, true intelligence made its way slowly, and the most ridiculous rumours obtained circulation. For example, on John Knox being at this time struck with apoplexy, ‘a bruit [report] went through Scotland and England, that he was become the most deformed creature that ever was seen; that his face was turned awry to his neck; and that he would never preach or speak again.’ In the ensuing year, while the venerable reformer lived at St Andrews, it was rumoured, and very generally believed as a serious truth, that he had been banished from the town, ‘because in his yard he had raised some sancts, among whom came up the devil with horns; which, when his servant, Richard Bannatyne, saw, he ran wood, and so died.’ It is stated that Lady Hume and some others thronged round the postman of St Andrews, with anxious inquiries whether it was true that Knox was banished from St Andrews, and that Bannatyne had run mad in consequence of seeing the devil raised.

At this time, the witches of Athole are spoken of as noted personages. In the late and present civil dissensions they sided with the unfortunate queen, having probably too much Highland feeling to dissent from the great man of the district, the Earl of Athole, who was one of her majesty’s warmest friends. About the time indicated, a present was sent to Mary, supposed to be from this uncanny portion of her late subjects. It was ‘a pretty hart horn, not exceeding in quantity the palm of a man’s hand, covered with gold, and artificially wrought. In the head of it were curiously engraven the arms of Scotland; in the nether part of it a throne, and a gentlewoman sitting in the same, in a robe-royal, with a crown upon her head. Under her feet was a rose environed with a thistle. Under that were two lions, the one bigger, the other lesser. The bigger lion held his paw upon the face of the other, as his lord and commander. Beneath all were written these words:

"Fall what may fail,
The lion shall be lord of all."'

This was evidently designed to convey a hope and wish that Mary should erelong, in spite of all contrarious circumstances, be in possession of England as well as of her native dominions. In the same spirit was a rhymed prophecy which, at the same time, came into circulation, but which was quickly falsified:

‘The howlet shall lead the bear to his bane,
The queen of England shall die the twelfth year of her reign;
The court of England that is so wanton,
Shall shortly be brought to confusion.’—Cal.

Nov 12
A sad picture of civil war is presented by the so-called Harrying of Bothwell Moor. ‘Captain Andrew Cunningham and Captain Thomas Crawford, accompanied with certain men of weir, departit of Glasgow, and passed in the night to Bothwell Moor, where they reft and spulyit all the inhabitants and tenants thereof; and because the Hamiltons was gathering to rescue the said guids, they fearit to return again to the said ton of Glasgow, but came to Edinburgh with the same. They brought to the said burgh of Edinburgh 400 kye and oxen, 600 sheep, and 60 mares and staigs [colts]; this done, they passed to my Lord Regent, he being in Dalkeith, and knew his mind, whither they should take ane composition from the poor tenants, awners of the same, or not; but the matter was sae unmercifully handled, that the said guids were proclaimit by sound of drum and trumpet, to be sauld [to] whatsomever persons wald buy the same... To hear the lamentable crying of the said poor tenants, for the unmerciful robbery and oppression committit upon the said persons by the men of weir, it wald made ane stane-heartit man to greit and bewail. But cry what they wald cry, and lament as they pleasit, there was nane that obtainit comfort at their unmerciful hands; for when the said poor creatures made their complaint o the Regent, he weld not hear them, while [till] the oppression was cryit out upon by John Craig, minister. And then the Regent and lords of secret council ordainit that ane half of the guids be renderit again to the said poor tenants; but ere this time, the men of weir had sparfilit the best of them, and then the poor tenants were constrainit either to take again the ane half of the want of the said guids that were left behind, or else they wald not have gotten naething.’_
D.O.

Dec 7
'....there was ane day of law betwixt the Hoppringles and Elliots in Edinburgh, wherein the ane party set upon the other, and, had not the town of Edinburgh redd [separated] them, there had been great slauchter done the said day.’— D.O.

1570, Dec 9
‘Patrick Moscrop, son to John Moscrop, advocate, and Eupham M’Calyean, only apparent heir to Mr Thomas M’Calyean ane of the senators of the College of Justice, were narried in the said Thomas M’Calyean’s house within Edinburgh, but nocht by permission of the kirk, and that for fear of tumult to be made by Archibald Ruthven, brother to William Lord Ruthven, wha allegit he had the first promise of her. . . . This order of marriage endured in ane manner ane slander to the kirk of God.’ ‘—D. O.

1571, Jan 15
From this day till the 22d March, ‘great frost, that nae plews gaed while aucht days; and men might pass and repass on the ice of Lyon the 3d day of March.’ February 22, after noon, ‘there came ane great storm, and snaw and hail and wind, that nae man nor beast might take up their heads, nor gang, nor ride, and mony beasts, and mony men and women, were perished in sundry parts, and all kind of victuals right dear, and that because nae mills might grind for the frost.’—C. F.

Mar
A General Assembly sitting in Edinburgh issued an order that adulterers, murderers, and others guilty of heinous offences, who might desire to be received back into Christian fellowship, should first appear penitently before their respective ministers, and then present themselves in linen clothes, bareheaded and barefooted, before the synod of their district. It was presently found, however, that divers of these penitents were too far distant from the meeting-places of the synods, and others were in such poverty, or under such terror of enemies, that they could not, or durst not travel through the country.

This fact verifies to us a passage in a contemporary historian: ‘The haill realm of Scotland was sae divided in factions, that it was hard for any peaceable man as be rade out the hie way, to profess himself openly, either to be a favourer of the king or queen. All the people were casten sae lowss, and were become of sic dissolute minds and actions, that nane was in account but he that could either kill or rieve his neghbour.’—H. K. J.

Incidents characteristic of such a time abound in the contemporary diarists. ‘March 27, David Lawtie, writer to the signet [in Edinburgh] was invaded by Thomas Douglas, and the maist part of his fore-finger strucken fra him.’—D. O. October 30, ‘There was ane combat betwixt Campbell on the king’s part, and ane Smith, a lieutenant or servant within Edinburgh. Campbell strack him twice through the body without blood drawn upon himself, except a scrape upon the thumb.’—Ban.

Apr 7
The castle of Dumbarton being taken by surprise, great joy was experienced by the king’s party on finding John Hamilton, archbishop of St Andrews, among the prisoners. The primate, a zealous adherent of the ancient faith, and partisan of the queen, was suspected of various crimes against the Protestant cause; so no mercy was to be expected for him. Then was seen the remarkable spectacle of the head of the church in Scotland—he whom Jerome Cardan travelled from London to Scotland only to cure of some trifling ailments—dragged with but little ceremony to a scaffold and put to a dog’s death—a victim of the frightful passions excited by civil war. In answer to a dittay which George Buchanan assisted in bringing against him at Stirling, he denied everything but a foreknowledge of and participation in the death of Moray, ‘of whilk he repentit, and askit God mercy. Being farther accusit gif ony of his surname or friends were upon the counsel thereof, he answerit that he wold accuse nae man at that time but himself. As touching his religion,’ says this chronicler, ‘I reasonit with him, and could find naething but that he was ane papist, and exhortit sic as were near hand upon the scaffold to abide at the Catholic faith—sae he termed the papistry. In the castle, he desirit some papist priest to whom be micht confess him, and of whom he micht resave consolation [absolution] of his sins, according to the order of the kirk (as he spak); and sae he continuit to the death in the papistry, as he livit. As the bell struck at six hours at even, he was hangit at the mercat-cross of Stirling, upon ane gibbet, on whilk was written thir twa verses following:

"Cresce diu, felix arbor, semperque vireto
Frondibus, ut nobis talia poma feras" ‘—D. O.

At this time, Mr William Collace was first regent in St Leonard’s College, St Andrews; he ‘had the estimation of being the maist solid and learnit in Aristotle’s philosophy.’ James Melville gives an interesting picture of this learned person, to whose class he came at fifteen years of age, so ill prepared for understanding the language (Latin) in which the prelections took place, that ‘I did naething,’ says Melville, ‘but bursted and grat at his lessons, and was of mind to have gone home again, were [it] not the loving care of that man comforted me; [he] took me in his awn chalmer, causit me to lie with himself, and every night teached me in private till I was acquainted with the matter. Then he gave us ane compend of his awn of philosophy and the parts thereof . . . whilk I thought I understood better. About the whilk time my father, coming to the town, begond to examine me, and, finding some beginning, was exceeding rejoiced, and uttered sweeter affection to me than ever before. He enterteinit my regent very heartily in his lodging, and gave him great thanks; he sent me to him, after he had taken leave, with twa pieces of gold in a napkin; but the geutleman was sae honest and loving, that he wald have none of his gold, but with austere countenance sent me back with it; nay, never wald receive gold or silver all the time of my course.’

Melville mentions having frequent opportunities at this time of seeing and hearing John Knox, who had taken refuge in St Andrews, while Edinburgh was possessed by the queen’s party. ‘Mr Knox wald some time come in and repose him in our college yard, and call us scholars unto him and bless us, and exhort us to knaw God and his wark in our country, and stand by the gude cause, and follow the guid example of our masters.’

‘I saw him every day of his doctrine go hooly and fair [softly and. fairly] with a furring of matricks about his neck, a staff in ane hand, and guid godly Richard Ballanden, his servant, halding up the other oxter [armpit] from the abbey to the parish kirk, and by the said Richard and another servant, lifted up to the pulpit, whaur he behovit to lean at his first entry, but ere he had done with his sermon, he was sae active and vigorous, that he was like to ding that pulpit in blads [knock the pulpit in splinters], and flie out of it.’

He adds: ‘This year, in the month of July, Mr John Davidson, ane of our regents, made a play at the marriage of Mr John Colvin, whilk I saw playit in Mr Knox’s presence, wherein, according to Mr Knox’s doctrine, the castle of Edinburgh was besieged, taken, and the captain, with ane or twa with him, hangit in effigy.’

This dramatic performance represented an unfulfilled prophecy of the reformer. When Kirkaldy of Grange, after many years of zealous service in the reforming cause, declared for the Queen, and held out Edinburgh Castle against the Regent, Knox, who had loved him much, was deeply grieved. He felt, however, no doubt as to the ultimate triumph of his own cause against all such opposition, and it was perhaps no great venture for so acute a person to utter the prediction that, notwithstanding the trust which Kirkaldy put in that powerful fortress, it should yet run like a sand-glass; it should spew out the captain with shame; he should not come out at the gate, but over the walls. Mr Robert Hamilton, minister of St Andrews, asking his warrant for this vaticination, he said: ‘God is my warrant, and ye shall see it.’ ‘As the other was scarcely satisfied,’ says James Melville, ‘the next sermon from the pulpit, he repeats the threatenings, and adds thereto: "Thou that will not believe my warrant, shall see it with thy e’es that day, and shall say: ‘What have I to do here?" This sermon the said Mr Robert’s servant wrote. . . . ‘—Ja. Mel.

This year ‘great weirs in the north land betwixt the Gordons and Forbeses, and the Forbeses put till the waist, and mony slain of them, and towns wasted and burnt.’—C. F

Adam Gordon, brother of the Earl of Huntly, was a leader in these broils, and of some avail in supporting the queen’s cause. He stained his name by a frightful act of cruelty. The house of Towie, belonging to Alexander Forbes, was maintained by his lady against Gordon. On his sending to demand its surrender, the ‘brave dame answered that she could not give it up without direction from her husband. Gordon then set fire to it, and burnt the heroic woman, her children and servants—twenty-seven persons in all!

June
The queen’s party, after holding a parliament in Edinburgh, where they affected formally to re-establish her government, sent a pursuivant to Jedburgh, ‘to proclaim the new erected authority,’ probably thinking that the man would be safe in the performance of his duty at that town through the favour of Kerr of Ferniehirst, their fellow-partisan. They little reckoned on the spirit of the Border burghers. ‘He was suffered to read his letters till he came to this point, that the lords assembled in Edinburgh had found all the proceedings against the queen null, and that all men should obey her only. Then the provost caused the pursuivant to come down from the cross, and eat his letters. Thereafter, [he] caused loose down his points, and gave him his wages
with a bridle; and threatened that if ever he came again, he should lose his life. Ferniehirst threatened the town: but they gave him the defiance ‘ - Cal.

A few months after, Ferniehirst and Buccleuch mustered a great multitude of the Border thieves, and came to take vengeance on the burghers of Jedburgh. The town, assisted by Kerr of Cessford, stood to its defence; and when Lord Ruthven came with a party of horse to aid them, they were able to beat back the assailants, many of whom fell into their hands.

Aug 1
‘There was ane sow farried in William Davidson’s house, flesher in Edinburgh, of thirteen gryces [pigs], of the whilk there was ane a monster. It had the gruntle [snout] in the heich of the heid, and under that it had twa een, ane nose and mouth, ane brow, aue cheek, ane tongue, and lugs like to the similitude of man in all sorts; the remaneut thereof was like ane other gryce without hair. This portendit some mischief to this burgh.’—.D. 0.

The Earl of Argyle, Robert Lord Boyd, and some other nobles, lately friends of the queen, were now brought over to the king’s side, after sundry meetings and discussions with the Regent. ‘The greedy and insatiable appetite of benefices was the maist cause thereof, for there was nane that was brought under the king’s obedience but for reward either given or promised. Als he [the Earl of Argyle] was greatumly persuadit hereto by Lord Boyd, wha persuadit the kirk to part the said earl and his wife, and [the earl] to marry his [Lord Boyd’s] daughter, wha was married upon the young laird of Cunninghamheid of before.’—D. O.

After these particulars, it is instructive to read the epitaph inscribed on Lord Boyd’s tomb in the Laigh Kirk (Burns’s Laigh Kirk) of Kilmarnock:

‘Heir lyis y godlie, noble, wyis Lord Boyd,
Quha kirk and king and commonweil decoird,
Quhilk war (quhill they yis jowell all injoyd)
Defendit, counsaild, governd, by that lord.’ &c.

Aug 28
The Regent Lennox held a parliament at Stirling, where he made an oration to the nobility. The king, five years old, was present, and, while his grandfather was speaking, he looked up and espied a hole in the roof, occasioned by ‘the lack of some sclates.’ At the conclusion of the harangue, the child remarked: ‘I think there is ane hole in this parliament.’

‘In effect, his majesty’s words came true; for the same month, about the end of the parliament (September 3), there came to Striviling in the night, ere the nobility or town knew, the Earl of Huntly, the queen’s lieutenant, Claud Hamilton, with the Lairds of Buccleuch and Ferniehirst, who, ere day brake, had possessed themselves of the town, crying "God and the Queen!" so that those that were for the King and his Regent could not, for the multitude of enemies, come to a head. Wherever they could see any that belonged to the Regent, him they killed without mercy. The Regent being taken prisoner by the Laird of Buccleuch, and horsed behind him, ane wicked fellow lift up his jack, and shot him through the body with a pistol [On a counter-surprise, the queen’s party] departed the town immediately. The Earl of Mar was declared Regent, and concluded the parliament. This was the hole which the young king did see in the parliament, although he meant nothing less.’—Bal.

Nov 10
Robert Lord Boyd entered this day into a bond of manred with William Fairly, brother of David Fairly of that Ilk. Manred, properly, is a service of allegiance; but in Scotland it had come, in the course of time, to be an agreement, sometimes between a great man and a less, sometimes between two or more equally great men, to stand by each other in all contingencies of war and law, excepting only (and perhaps it was but a hypocritical exception) where the king’s majesty and his commands were concerned. It was an arrangement dictated by the exigencies of a rude time, when law was but partial and uncertain in its acting; and natural feeling often called for something being done, whether the law would or no. As something not very consonant with good government, or even such attempts at the same as might be made in those days, manred had been denounced by a statute so long ago as 1457, when it was enacted ‘that nae man dwelling within burgh be fund in manrent, nor ride in rout in feir of weir with nae man, but with the king or his officer; or with the lord of the burgh.’ But acts of parliament were voices crying in the wilderness in Scotland, and manred still continued to have its place in the economy of life in this age.

On this occasion, William Fairly binds and obliges himself to be 'man and subject servant’ to Lord Boyd and his heirs, ‘aefaldly and truly to serve them upon their retinue and expenses in household and out of household, as best sall please them in all their affairs, and as weel in defence as pursuit, with whom or against whom it sall happen them to have action and ado,’ the king excepted. He is likewise  to help them with his good counsel, ‘and saIl never nor know their hurt, damage, nor skaith, in ony sort, but sall diligently sift out the same and mak true declaration thereof.’  The consideration for all this service is the possession of ‘the thretty’ shilling land of auld extent of Byrehill.’

This was but the first of a long series of similar engagements which Lord Boyd formed down to his death in 1589. For a forty-shilling land, the Laird of Fergushill becomes bound, October 26, 1572, in the same way as William Fairly, and to take part with the said lord and his heirs, in all their actions, quarrels, questions, and debates. The Laird of Lochrig, the Laird of Rowallan, Andrew Macfarlane of Arroquhar, and the Laird of Camstroddan, all in succession put themselves in this relation to his lordship. In March 1575, the Laird of Blair engaged with his friends, tenants, and servants, to ‘ride, gang, and assist with the said lord, in all kind of leeful conventions.’ It was with such satellites that a great man of that age, if to be tried on any criminal charge, appeared at the place of law, professedly that he might be sure of fair-play, but in reality with the effect of overbearing justice. It was with such assistants that two or three lords were sometimes enabled to take possession of the government, and for a time rule all at their pleasure. Amongst the most curious things in the early history of the reformed religion, are the occasions when it was manifestly indebted for its progress to associations of this irregular kind.

Dec 24
About this time, there was apprehended ‘one that keepit ane hostelry at Brechin, who before, at divers times, had murdered sundry that came to lodge with him, the wife being also as busy as the man with a mell [mallet], to fell their guests sleeping in their beds.’ —Ban.

1572, Jan
Among numberless skirmishes, surprises, and barbarous ravagings which marked the struggle between the friends of the queen and those of the infant king, was an affair of several parts or acts in this and the ensuing month. Lord Maxwell being contracted in marriage to a sister of the Earl of Angus, the lady’s relation, the Earl of Morton, proposed to give a banquet on the occasion at Dalkeith Castle. The wine required at the feast was to be brought in carts from Leith, together with some venison and a quantity of silver plate. Kirkaldy and his friends in the castle hearing of this, sent out a party of horse, which surprised Morton’s servants, and took as spoil the materials of the proposed banquet. Morton who, it was said, smarted more from the loss of the plate than the killing of a few of his servants in the struggle, immediately sent a party to requite Kirkaldy’s attack by laying waste his estate in Fife. Kirkaldy, again, repaid these attentions by sending a party a few nights after to set fire to the town of Dalkeith. On this occasion, he killed ten of Morton’s people, and took nine prisoners. ‘In their return [they] perceived fifty-sax horses from Dalkeith to Leith, passing laded with ale; they brake the barrels, and made prey of the horses, and brought into Edinburgh many kye and oxen forth of that lordship for supply of their scant and hunger.’— H. K, J. ‘These three scuffles went all under one name, and were ever after called Lord Maxwell’s Handfasting.’

Mar
The condition of the ordinary places of worship in this time of civil war is sketched in the Lamentation of Lady Scotland, printed by Lekprevik in 1572.

‘The rooms appointit people to consider,
To hear God’s word, where they suld pray together,
Are now convertit in sheep-cots and faulds,
Or else are fallen, because nane them uphalds.
The parish kirks, I ween, they sae misguide,
That nane for wind and rain therein may bide:
Therefore nae pleasure tak they of the temple,
Nor yet to come where nocht is to contemple,
But craws and dows, cryand and makand beir,
That nane throuchly the minister may hear.
But feathers, filth, and dung does lie abroad,
Where folk should sit to hear the word of God;
Whilk is occasion to the adversaries,
To mock and scorn sic things before your eyes.
Thus to disdain the house of orison,
Does mak folk cauld to their devotion;
And als they do disdain to hear God’s word,
Thinking the same to be ane jesting bourd;
They go to labour, drinking, or to play,
And not to you, upon the Sabbath day.’

The civil war told nowhere with more severity than on Edinburgh, Which was the scene of the principal transactions. The bringing of victuals or coal to the city was forbidden by the beleaguering troops under pain of death, and the penalty was exacted in many instances The consequence was ‘great penury and scant of vivres, sae that all was at ane exceeding dearth.’—D. O. In May, oatmeal was nine shillings of the native money per peck; eleven ounces of wheaten bread cost 8d., ‘and baps of nine [ounces] for 12d.’ It was found necessary to demolish some houses for the sake of the wood, to be used as fuel. At the commencement of a truce on the 22d of July, the meal had risen to twelve shillings, the boll of wheat to ten pounds, and a carcass of beef to sixteen pounds. On that day, ‘after noon, the victuals whilk was keepit to ane dearth was brought to Leith and sauld, the meal for five shillings the peck, . . . and [sae] very mickle bread baken, that it that was sauld for sixteen pennies was sauld for six pennies. Thanks to God.’ During the scarcity, ale not being to be had, a drink of vinegar and water was substituted.—D. O. ‘Nochttheless,’ if we are to believe the same chronicle, ‘the remainers therein [that is, in Edinburgh] abade patiently and were of good comfort, and usit all pleasures whilk were wont to be usit in the month of May in auld times, viz., Robin Hood and Little John.’

Apr 16
From the day here noted to the 8th of June, the war between the queen’s party in Edinburgh and the king’s beyond the city was conducted on the principle of No quarter. All who were taken on either side were presently put to death. The common belief was, that this frightful system originated with Morton, who conceived that by such severity the war would sooner cease. In the end, both parties, ‘wearied of execution daily made, were content to cease from such rigour, and use fair wars, as in former times.’—Spot.

Apr 21
‘. . . .
there was ane minister [named Robert Waugh] hangit in Leith (and borne to the gibbet, because he was birsit’ with the boots). The principal cause was that he said to the Earl of Morton, that he defended ane unjust cause, and that he wald repent when nae time was to repent. And when he was required by whom he was commanded to say the same, he answered and said: "By the haly spreit." ‘—D. O.

In the same year, Mr Andrew Douglas, minister of Dunglass, was first tortured, and then hanged, for publicly rebuking Morton on account of his living with the widow of Captain Cullen.

July 19
Another characteristic incident of the time, but of a somewhat mysterious character, occurred in a southern burgh. James Tweedie, burgess of Peebles, John Wightman, Martin Hay, and John Bower there, and Thomas Johnston, son to Thomas Johnston of Craigieburn, were tried for being concerned in ‘the cruel slaughter of the umwhile John Dickison of Winkston; committit within the town of Peebles on the 1st of Julii instant.’ They were acquitted. The fact is only worth mentioning here, to afford an opportunity of illustrating the long perseverance of tradition in certain favouring circumstances. In his youth, which was passed in the town referred to, the author distinctly remembers hearing an aged person speak of how Provost Dickison was long ago ‘stickit’ at the back of the Dean’s Well in the High Street. The event was then 240 years past.

Oct 20‘
The Earl of Mar, Regent, ended his life, about three hours in the morning. It was constantly affirmed, that about the time of his death, the trough of the water of Montrose, where it runneth through his lands, was dry, the water running nevertheless above [higher up]. At the same time, a violent wind drave a great number of sheep from the links of Montrose into the sea.’—Cal.

Some events of the kind did certainly occur about the time of the Regent’s death; but, contrary to all rule in such matters, they came after that event, if we are to believe another historian, who places them under November, and describes them as follows:

‘In this mean time was ane great ferly in Montrose. By the space of six hours, the water thereof was dry in the sea, and during the whilk space the people past within the said sea, and got sundry fishes... After the whilk space, the people on the sands perceiving the water as ane popill pitt, frae the whilk they fled to land, and syne it was sea again suddenly, and never nane perishit hereinto. Also there was ane hill callit ????, whilk burnt by the said space; men riding by the way, the manes and coils of their horses burnt, the wands of their hands burnt; poor men passing on the way, the staves in their hands burnt, and when they wald dight [wipe] off the fire thereof, it wald entres again.’—D. O.


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