481 The Historical Families of Dunfriesshire and the Border Wars - Chapter VIII

Additional Info

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Share

Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The Historical Families of Dunfriesshire and the Border Wars
CHAPTER VIII


Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig, who succeeded Lord Herries as Warden of the Borders in 1553, retained it and his allegiance to the Ministry in power till his death in 1578, notwithstanding a near relationship to Lord Maxwell and Gordon of Lochinvar, and a family connection with the other leading insurgents. In 1564 he obtained a charter of the Barony of Mouswald from marriage or exchange with one of the heiresses of Simon Carruthers. His eldest daughter was married to Charteris of Amisfield, a second to Edward, Lord Crichton of Sanquhar, a third to Grierson of Lag, a fourth to James Tweedie of Drumelzier, a fifth to Alexander Stewart of Garlies, and a sixth to John Jardine of Applegirth; and his son William married to his cousin, the daughter of Lochinvar. At this period nearly all the chief families were related to each other. The eldest son of Lord Maxwell [The superiority of Maxwell to the other Border chiefs is shown by a deed in which he asked the pardon of Robert Dalziell for having killed his father.] (who died in 1546), like his father, had been a prisoner in England. He did not survive his release many years, but having married Lady Beatrice Douglas, left a posthumous son, Robert, to inherit his honours in 1552, under the guardianship of Lord Herries, often called the master of Maxwell, being the heir-presumptive to the title.

The old Laird of Johnstone died Nov. 8, 1567, leaving a grandson, John, who the next year was engaged at Langside on the part of the Queen. His daughters were married to John Maitland of Auchencastle, to Adam Grahame, to a Carruthers of Mouswald, and to Christopher Irving of Bonshaw (a valiant soldier, who had been a prisoner in the hands of the English), and his granddaughter Janet was married to the eldest son of Lord Carlyle. His will, [A codicil to this will was the subject of a long lawsuit by his heir against his widow and youngest son. Nicholas Douglas, the widow, pleaded that he was a very old man, and could no longer write, so she had signed it for him.] made in 1562, left Lord Herries joint executor with his widow, and also desired his heir to be guided by the counsels of Lord Herries and the Lairds of Drumlanrig and Elphinstone. He bequeathed his horse, hart, sword, and dogs to Lord Herries. His younger son John was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle in 1564, at "the instance of John Douglas of Raecleuch, for not desisting and ceasing from the lands of Raecleuch," but was released on bail a few months afterwards, his securities being John Johnstone, commendator of Salsit, and James Johnstone, burgess of Edinburgh.

Adam Johnstone of Corry, another brother, was dead in October, 1544, leaving a son, James. William Johnstone of Newbie and Graitney was dead in 1565. His eldest legitimate son John, Baron of Newbie, married Marion Carruthers, and another son became Laird of Cummertrees. William, heir of Newbie, married a relation of Lord Maxwell, the daughter of John Maxwell of Brackenside or of Hills, and died before his father, leaving a young son, John. In 1574 a dispute had arisen between several of the Laird of Johnstone’s followers and the young Lord Maxwell, which extended to both chiefs, for both aspired to the Wardenry of the West Marches, which Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig had virtually resigned from age and infirmity, though no other was appointed till after his death. The Earl of Morton, also a Douglas, who became Regent in 1572, desired the two families to refer their difficulties to the Lords in Council, and the Laird of Johnstone and Lord Maxwell each appointed certain noblemen and friends to represent them in Edinburgh, any four, three, or two on each side being empowered to act for all. Maxwell selected his own relations and kinsmen. Johnstone also nominated relations and connections—John Johnstone of Newbie, the Earl of Rothes, Sir James Balfour, Sir James Hamilton, William Livingstone of Jerviswood, Thomas Johnstone of Craighopburne, Robert Douglas of Cassehogil, Walter Scott of Guildlands, and Walter Scot of Tuschelaw. The deputies were to meet at Edinburgh on the next Feb. 15th, both parties promising to keep good rule in the country during their absence. John Johnstone of Newbie died in Edinburgh, Feb. 1577; but the dispute seems to have been settled to the advantage of his chief, who, the following year was made Warden of the Borders and knighted, an honour enjoyed by some of his ancestors. He also came forward as a candidate, though unsuccessfully, for the office of Provost of Dumfries, which had hitherto been held by the members or friends of the Maxwell family. His audacity in contesting it gave additional displeasure to Lord Maxwell, who prevented him and his followers from entering the town with an armed force. A family feud of old standing was revived, till Maxwell having quarrelled with the King’s favourite (Lord Arran) was declared an outlaw by James VI., on the ground that he protected the robber Armstrongs. Johnstone, in his capacity of Warden, was ordered to pursue and arrest him, and two bands of soldiers under William Baillie of Lamington and Captain Cranstown were sent to assist him. The soldiers were defeated at Crawfordmuir by Maxwell’s half-brother Robert, and as the Johnstones were a much smaller clan than Lord Maxwell’s, whose cadets were now established in all parts of Dumfriesshire, they were also dispersed, and Lochwood Tower besieged and burned; Robert Maxwell observing as he watched the flames that he would give Lady Johnstone light to set her hood. Among other losses the ancient family deeds were destroyed. Johnstone again attacked his rival, but was taken prisoner, and though released in little more than a year, when a compromise was made by the King with his rebel subject, he died very soon afterwards—it is said from shame and grief at his defeat—1586. Maxwell, with Scot of Buccleuch and a company of Nithsdale men, besides Beatties, Littles, and Armstrongs, and 340 from Lower Annandale, marched upon Stirling, and effected their purpose of deposing the favourite Arran, who was deprived of his title and estates, and of obtaining from the Parliament a full amnesty for themselves and their allies. Those from Lower Annandale consisted of Bells, Carrutherses, and Irvings, and a troop of cavalry furnished by George Carruthers of Holmains and Charles Carruthers, his son. The tenants of the Newbie, Graitney, and Cummertrees estates, of course, followed their chief.

Spedlings

After the death of Johnstone, Maxwell was appointed Warden of the Marches, and formed a bond of affiance with the young James, Laird of Johnstone, when he married Sarah Maxwell, the granddaughter of the celebrated Lord Herries, who had died in 1582. One of Johnstone’s sisters was also married to Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardstone; so that for some years there was peace between the two families. The young Laird of Newbie was married to a daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart of Garlies (son-in-law to Douglas of Drumlanrig, the late Warden of the Marches), and lived chiefly in Edinburgh; but five of his uncles represented the Newbie Johnstones in Dumfriessshire.

The will of his grandfather, John, Laird of Newbie, shows the extent of their lands. "The Testament and inventory of the gudes, geir, soumes of money, and debts pertaining to the late John Johnstone of Newby, within the Sheriffdom of Dumfries the time of his decease, who died on the 10th day of February, the year of God, 1577, faithfully made and given up by Marioun Carruthers, his relict, whom he nominated his only executor in his latter will underwritten of the date, at the lodging of the late Mr James Lyndsay, within the burgh of Edinburgh, upon the 5th and 6th days of February, 1577, beforesaid, before these witnesses—Robert Johnstone in Cummertrees, John Johnstone oy (grandson) and apparent heir to the Laird of Holmendes, John Brown of the Land, and John Johnstone, writer in Edinburgh, and divers others. . . . The said John Johnstone of Newby being sick in body, but whole in mind, submits himself soul and body to the mercy of God, recommending his wife and bairnes to the favour, protection, and maintenance of the Regent’s grace and the Earl of Angus, Lieutenant and Warden of the West Marches, which he is persuaded they shall find for the good and true service that he has made, and always intended to make, under the King’s majesty for ever if it had been God’s pleasure longer to continue his days, beseeching the said Earl of Angus that by his lordship’s means it may please the Regent’s grace to dispone the ward and marriage of the said John, grandson to the said Marioun Carruthers, his wife, for the help of his four younger sons. He makes and constitutes the said Marioun Carruthers, his wife, so continuing in her pure widowhood, tutrix testamentor to his grandson and apparent heir. He makes Robert Johnstone, his son, his assignee to his right possession and kindness of his lands in the town of Annan, except such as is annexed and possessed with the Mains of Newbie, and wills the said Robert to be good and friendly to the poor men of Annan, occupiers of the same land. He leaves to the said Robert his right possession and kindness to the kirk and tithes of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, and also makes him assignee to his lease to run of the lands of — within the lordship of Dundrennan, recommending the said Robert to the favour, protection, and maintenance of my Lord Herries, beseeching his lordship not only to extend the same to the said Robert, accepting him in his lordship’s service and continuing him in the lease and possession of that land for his service, and also to stand good lord to his wife and remaining bairns. To his son John he leaves his house in Dumfries and money; to his brother, John Johnstone of Cummertrees, a portion of his lands of Ryehill, and the remaining portion to his son Edward; to his fifth son, Abraham, he leaves lands in Middlebie, and to his son William lands in Stapleton. To his youngest son David he leaves lands in Robgill, and also the lease of certain lands which had been settled upon his widowed daughter-in-law and her husband on their marriage, the said David paying to her thankfully the duty contained in the said lease during her lifetime."

In 1582 Robert Johnstone received a grant of the lands of Northfield and Brigholme, near Annan, from the King, "who followed the good example of his noble ancestors," so the charter runs, "in rewarding useful lieges, and solicitous for good and honest holders of the royal lands," hereby infefted "the son of the late John Johnstone of Newbie" in lands joining his nephew’s property of Newbie and Stapleton and his own inheritance; one of his neighbours, as the charter also states, being Christopher Irving, or "Black Christie," on the land of Galabank, this Christopher being son-in-law to the late Laird of Johnstone.

The Lairds of the West Marches able to keep order on the Borders in 1587 are given in the 95th Act of the 11th Parliament of James VI.—"Lord Maxwell; Douglas, Laird of Drumlanrig; the Laird of Johnstone; Jardine, Laird of Applegirth; Carruthers, Laird of Holmains; Johnstone, Laird of Graitney; Maxwell, Lord Herries; the Laird of Dunwidie (an estate lying between Wamphray, Corrie, and Kirkpatrick-Fleming), and Gordon, Laird of Lochinvar." The same were appointed Constables on the Borders in 1597, and also Johnstone of Newbie. A grandson of James Johnstone of Wamphray brought about a serious civil feud. He was known as the Galliard (a gay, reckless character), and in 1593 was seized by some of the Crichtons while carrying off one of their horses, and he was hung before his nephew William’s eyes in spite of the younger Johnstone’s offers and entreaties. This led to a skirmish, when, according to the ballad of "The Lads of Wamphray," "the Biddes burn three days ran blood," and the Crichtons, who suffered the most, appealed for redress to the Warden, Lord Maxwell; while fifteen widows whose husbands had fallen in the fight went to Edinburgh to lodge a petition with the King and his council, and caused a great sensation by marching through the streets carrying the dead men’s blood-stained clothes. The Laird of Johnstone was summoned to Edinburgh to answer the charge, and was imprisoned in the Castle, but escaped on the 4th of June, 1593, and returned to Dumfriesshire to collect his followers. He was proclaimed an outlaw, and Maxwell ordered to arrest him; but before attempting it the Warden formed a secret bond of manrent with Douglas of Drumlanrig, Crichton, Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, and others who agreed to support him. He had signed an agreement with Johnstone only the previous year, in which they had obliged themselves to "freely remit and forgive all rancours of mind, grudge, malice, and feuds that had passed or fallen between them in any time bygone." The new agreement was, according to Spottiswood, "kept so carelessly that it fell into the hands of Johnstone of Cummertrees," not a vassal of Maxwell’s, as is sometimes stated, and he gave it up to his chief, who on receiving Maxwell’s formal summons to surrender for trial scornfully cast it aside and prepared for battle. Maxwell was assisted by some of the royal troops, and assembled two thousand men under his banner at Lochmaben; but Johnstone, assisted by his mother’s relations, the Scots of Eskdale and Teviotdale, the Elliots of Liddesdale, and the divisions of his own clan, who counted among their retainers the Bells, Irvings, and Grahames of Graitney, brought more than half that number to Dryfesdale, where, near a farm and moor called Torwood, the battle of Dryfe Sands was fought. The young Laird of Newbie seems to have abstained from taking a personal part in the battle, his maternal grandfather, Maxwell of Brackenside, being on the opposite side with eighty followers, as well as his wife’s relations, but his uncle, Robert Johnstone, was there, two Johnstones of Cummertrees (one of whom was killed), as well as the Johnstones of Graitney, with the Newbie and Graitney tenants. The Johnstones were entrenched in a good position when Maxwell’s army crossed the Annan to attack them, but it is said that they disdained to take this advantage of the enemy, and came down into the open plain, where, owing to the skill with which he handled his men, Sir James Johnstone (for he had been knighted) gained a complete victory. Before the battle Maxwell had offered a ten pound land to the soldier who should bring him Johnstone’s head or hand. Hearing of this, Sir James declared that he had not a ten pound land to give, but he would reward any man with a five merk land who should bring him Maxwell’s head or hand and the prize was gained by William Johnstone of Wamphray (the nephew of the Galliard), who pursued him as he was flying, and struck off the hand which he stretched out for quarter, while Douglas, Kirkpatrick, and Grierson escaped by the fleetness of their horses. A story is some times told that Maxwell finally perished by the hand of a daughter of that Laird of Johnstone, who had been his prisoner, and who had died in consequence of shame and grief, but this is generally discredited. Another story states that this female fiend was the wife of James Johnstone of Kirkton, [Sir Archibald Johnstone (he spelt it Johnstown) of Warriestoun executed in 1663 for his share in the Revolution, was son of James Johnstone of Beirholme, who, in 1608, was returned heir to his grand father, Gavine Johnstone of Kirkton in Kirkpatrick-Juxta. They came of the Elsieschellis family. The Johnstones of Castlemilk migrated about 1620 from Dumfriesshire to the east borders, where they founded a family, being previously of Kellobank, a branch of the Johnstones of Elsieschellis who are found in the 15th century. The old poet-laureate Rare Ben Jonson, imagined that his ancestors came from Annandale, but there is no proof of it, and I cannot find the name Benjamin in any branch of the Johnstones. Born in 1574, the son of a clergyman, he was educated at Westminster School, and ran away from home to serve as a soldier in the Netherlands to escape being employed as a builder, which was his step-father’s trade. At one period of career, as an actor and poet, he did undertake a tour on foot to Annandale with the hope of finding relations there, but we do not hear that he succeeded, and Jonson is a very old English name. It is distinguished from the Scottish Johnestoune as early as Edward I.] who lived not far from the field, and had come to seek her husband among the wounded, when Maxwell lying fainting under a tree appealed to her compassion, William of Wamphray having abstained from putting him to death, as he was the King’s lieutenant. At any rate, Maxwell, a brave and well educated nobleman, was killed in carrying out the King’s express command, and Sir James Johnstone and his companions were at once outlawed, "no man daring," as a contemporary diarist states, "to take any of them into his house."

It was a curious result of the battle of Dryfe Sands that, little more than two years after Sir James Johnstone had defied the King’s lieutenant and caused his death, he should have been invested with his victim’s office of Warden of the Marches; but the Scottish Cabinet had conceived a great dread of the power of England during Elizabeth’s reign, and avoided nothing more than a breach of their present harmony. For this it was essential that the outlaws on the Border should be kept from troubling their formidable neighbour, and the Laird, under whose banner they had lately fought, was the most likely to be able to do it. So much were they feared that a law passed in 1587 prevented any Border man from even entering Fife, Peebles, or Lothian without a pledge, in consequence of an application to the convention of Royal Burghs from the town of Peebles, June 4, 1583. "The same day a complaint was given in anent the great injuries done to them by the four clans of Johnstone, Grahames, Elliots, and Armstrongs, and what redress may be reasonablest obtained thereof." Perhaps the King also remembered that the death of Johnstone’s father was caused by a similar defiance of his delegated authority on the part of Maxwell, the King having prevented a reconciliation between the rival chiefs. A letter from the Master of Gray to Johnstone, dated Stirling, September 4, 1585, informs him "of a report having reached His Majesty and the Court that all the Johnstones had appointed with Maxwell." "The King," he says, "disbelieves it, but desires to be advertised with certainty." William Johnstone, one of the original students of the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1587, was presented by James VI. to the living of Lockerbie about 1592. He requested the Presbytery to give him an exchange, as he "durst not repair to Dumfriesshire on account of the feud between the Maxwells and the Johnstones," but his petition was not attended to; and he was killed in the street of Lockerbie in 1595, being only 29 years of age, merely because of his name. Those members of the Maxwell, Johnstone, Douglas, and Scot families of an unwarlike disposition had no resource but to leave Dumfriesshire; and several went to Edinburgh, where they became merchants, and were often much richer than the chiefs of their clans. A warrant was obtained by Sir James Johnstone in 1594, under the King’s sign manual, directing the Privy Council to grant a respite for five years, Dec. 24, in favour of Sir James and eight score followers, for the pursuit and slaughter of John Lord Maxwell, His Majesty’s lieutenant and Warder for the time, and of sundry other his Majesty’s subjects who were in company with him, the ruining and burning of the Kirk of Lochmaben, and the slaughter of Captain Oliphant and others. The names of those respited are given in the following order:—"Sir James Johnstone of Dunskellie, John Carmichael, Robert Johnstone of Raycleuch (who was only eleven years old), Symon Johnston, (half) brother to the Laird of Johnstone, Robert Johnstone in Brigholme (of Newby), William Johnstone, younger of Graitney, John Johnstone in Cummertrees, William Johnstone of Elsiechellis, Adam, his brother, and many other Johnstones, including those of Kirkhill, besides Irvings, Moffats, Carrutherses, Scots, Elliots, Stewarts, Chisholm, Grahame, Armstrong, and Murrays." Lord Herries, who immediately succeeded Maxwell as Warden, paid little attention to this respite, although he was Johnstone’s brother-in-law, but tried to pursue and punish some of Johnstone’s followers, till he kept the country in such a state of confusion that the King ended in superseding him by Johnstone himself. The Johnstones were certainly regarded with more favour by Lord Scrope and the English Cabinet than the Maxwell family, who were supposed to be attached to France. There is a letter preserved in the English Record Office from Sir James Johnstone to the Earl of Bothwell, 1592, promising "upon his faith, honour, and truth to support whatever he shall promise to the Queen of England concerning the forthsetting of religion, the surety of the King, and the preservation of the amity with England." Another letter from the English Ambassador to Cecil, [Queen Elizabeth’s Secretary, and ancestor to Lord Salisbury.] in 1599, recommending Edward Johnstone (one of the Newbie family), a merchant in Edinburgh, who was going to the Low countries, and offered to do service there for the English, states that Edward Johnstone is very "inward"— i.e., intimate—with his chief, who is one of the "most honest men in these parts."

With the appointment of Johnstone as Warden of the Middle Marches, and his relation Scot of Buccleuch as Warden of the East Marches, the Border disturbances seem to have been compressed into personal quarrels between the chiefs. Maxwell married Hamilton’s daughter, and this powerful Laird (as well as Douglas of Drumlanrig) could not forgive their defeat at Dryfe Sands. On July 13th, 1597, there was a fight between the Laird of Drumlanrig and Johnstone, and "their assisters," and shortly afterwards Johnstone was again deprived of the Wardenry, but it was given to his ally, Sir John Carmichael. Birrell, the Edinburgh diarist, writes, May 27th, 1598—"The Laird of Johnstone’s picture was hung at the (market) cross of Edinburgh with his head downwards, and declared a mansworn man, and upon June 5 he and his accomplices were put to the born and pronounced rebels at the cross by open proclamation." This appears to have been in consequence of Johnstone having failed to seize "John and Jock Armstrong and others," as he had been directed by the Privy Council, June 29, 1597; so his enemies accused him of collusion with them. A letter from the English Ambassador to Cecil, Oct. 12, 1599, alludes to this faction against Johnstone. "On Tuesday last the Council going to the King to Linlithgow for resolution about the Border causes, the Earl of Angus, the Lord Hamilton, and sundry others being there in Johnstone’s contrary, and the Lord of Buccleuch and others there in his favour, the matter was hardly reasoned that day and the next day forenoon, Angus (for now the cause is his against the Lord of Johnstone) alleging he could get no sufficient pledges of the Johnstones; and Johnstone that sufficient pledges were offered him, and needlessly and wrongfully he raised these troubles in Annandale. But the trial thereof is continued till Tuesday se’ennight, and George Murray, one of the King’s chamber, sent to receive Lochmaben Castle for the King, Johnstone being directed to write with him to that effect. This George Murray is Johnstone’s own. In all appearance the day of trial and confronting the lieutenant and Johnstone will be exceeding great, and may well breed a great stir, which I verily look far. In the meantime Angus is not to meddle with the Johnstones." On November 12th, 1599, the Ambassador writes again. "On Thursday the Laird of Johnstone brought in most of his pledges, and is gone to bring the rest of Thursday next, and thereafter to be freed and go hence; the Laird of Buccleuch staying only to see him at good peace hath brought the matter between him and Sanquhar and Drumlanrig to end in effect, Johnstone having subscribed an assurance, and they two to do the like, or the King to strait them, but they have promised the King to subscribe; the Laird of Buccleuch hereon hath taken leave of the King and Queen and gone by sea."

"The Lord-lieutenant Angus came not with his pledges, but excused the same, and is to bring them this week; the country they mean thus to quiet, and that Carmichael shall be Warden, and Johnstone to assist him."

Johnstone’s "assurance," above mentioned, is signed by himself and by his pledges, John Johnstone of Graitney and Gilbert Johnstone of Wamphray. On July 2, 1600, he was solemnly acquitted, and "restored to his honours," writes Birrell, at the cross of Edinburgh by the proclamation of a herald and four trumpets. The same year he was again made Warden, Carmichael having been murdered by some of the Armstrongs as he was going to open a court at Lochmaben. [In 1602, James Johnstone of Westraw pledged himself for William Irving, the younger of Kirkton, and Robert Carlile of Bridekirk, while Sir James Johnstone of Dunskellie guaranteed James Carlile of Soupilbank. The heirs of the Carliles of Bridekirk possess the monument of their ancestor who was buried in Annan Churchyard. On it he is called Herbert, yet the printed Acta Dom.Con, always call him Robert. He married Margaret Cunningham. "Heir lyes the body of a worthy gentleman Herbert Carliell, Laird of Brydekirk, who lived in credit and commendation among his friends, and died in Christ Sept. 1632, of his age 74." The arms are below.]

On March 14th, 1600, Nicolson writes to Cecil that "Johnstone has twice stayed the Armstrongs very honestly," and that he begins "to smell" that he has been put in fear of Borders breaking by device. In another letter he alludes to the anxiety felt for James VI. to succeed Queen Elizabeth on the English throne, as it was thought that otherwise Scotland would be certainly annexed to England by conquest. The Scots, he said, were greatly disheartened by their losses in the last war with England.

An uncle of Sir John Carmichael had entered the service of Muscovy, and assisted the Czar, Ivan the Terrible, in 1569 to subdue the rebellious towns of Novogorod and Pleskof. He was made Governor of Pleskof.

Since the reformed Catholic religion was established in Scotland in 1560 the alliance with France had been much weakened. It was clear to the Scottish leaders that their country could not long continue to maintain its independence, and if it were to be annexed by one or the other, of course the reformers preferred England, who was doing them good service by keeping their unhappy Queen in prison. In the French archives a deed is preserved, dated April 14 (Easter Eve), at Fontainebleau, evidently obtained from the youthful Mary under pressure from her future father-in-law, Henry II., and her other relatives. It is endorsed in French. "Act by which the Queen of Scots, considering the great expenses made by the late King, Francis I., and by the reigning King, Henry II., to protect the Kingdom of Scotland against the English, and after having taken counsel of her best and special friends, the Rev, and Illustrious Cardinal Lorraine and M. le Duc de Guize, her uncles, declares, wills, and ordains that, in default of heirs of her body, the King of France, who is or will be, shall have and enjoy the Kingdom of Scotland, its revenues, &c., till the payment of a million of gold for the cost of maintaining the kingdom." Just a year later Mary was married to the Dauphin, afterwards Francis II., who died in 1559.

The subsequent rigour of the Scottish Government against Roman priests, who were liable to execution if found in Scotland, while any accused of attending their ministrations, or of even professing Romanism, were exiled, is explained by the constant intrigues carried on by the Pope and his allies in France and Spain against Elizabeth and James for the sake of re-establishing the Roman supremacy where it had been lost, and as a faithful daughter of the Roman Church, Mary could hardly avoid sharing in them. It is easy to imagine the horror with which the news of the suppression of the monastries, the confiscation of Church property, the execution of the abbots and priests who refused to acknowledge Henry. VIII. instead of the Pope as the head of the Church, and the prohibition of the Mass was received by devout Churchmen on the continent.

The reign of Mary I. in England had been long enough to restore a large portion of its confiscated property to the Church, so the State could no longer be pointed out as the recipient of stolen goods; but Rome had not the distribution of them, and the Pope saw that Elizabeth’s comparative tolerance was more fatal to his cause than the avaricious ferocity of the King, whom his predecessor had styled the Defender of the Faith.

In 1586 Robert Bruce, a Scotsman, wrote to invite Philip II. of Spain to occupy Scotland, and "in this way bring back, the Catholic faith in the end also to England and Ireland; for in Scotland heresy would be destroyed at its root, the English would be expelled from the low countries, and France would thus obtain the key to their kingdom."

The agitation on the Scottish Borders was undoubtedly sustained by the imprisoned Queen’s emissaries, but at last, in November, 1587, her fate was sealed. On the 23d she wrote to the Spanish Ambassador in England after her condemnation thanking him "for the last time" for the interest he had taken in her captivity, and esteeming herself "happy to die for the Catholic religion, though her enemies say that she is dying for having wished to murder the Queen." A general mourning was ordered throughout Scotland, and it was openly said that nothing but war could wash off the blot from Scotland’s shield. This feeling was so strong on the Borders that in addition to the irritation caused by the Reformation, there was a pretext for constant bickering where the English and Scots came so closely in contact. A letter is preserved with the signature in cipher addressed from Greenwich to a counsellor of James VI, March, 1588. It seeks to prove to him that "the King of Scotland ought not to undertake to avenge the death of his mother, but, on the contrary, to do everything possible to bring about the union of the two crowns, for if for that occasion he tries to make war against this kingdom, he must consider two points—first, if the war would appear just and honest in the sight of any one, and of the means of persevering in it, and what would be the conclusion and end; and secondly, that his pretensions to the succession might fall in the struggle." The author of the letter, after a long dissertation on each of these points, concludes that the end of the war would be the ruin of Scotland, and begs the King not to attempt it.

Another letter of 1597 from Queen Elizabeth to James VI., preserved in the London Record Office, contains a sharp rebuke; the King having opened his Parliament with a speech in which he complained of the wrong done him in the death of his mother, holding back his annuity, and efforts to deprive him of his title to the Crown of England. "When the strange blast of flying fame," she writes, "first pierced her ears she thought that it had brought report of some untruth, but when the records of his Parliament were witness of his pronounced words she wondered what evil spirits had possessed him to set forth such infamous devices void of any show of truth. She is sorry that he is so fallen, and will need throw himself into such a hurpoole of bottomless credit. She never yet loved him so little as not to moan his infamous dealings, but he must be assured that he deals with such a King as will bear no wrongs, nor endure infamy, and that without large amends she may not and will not slupper up such indignities." This letter produced an apology from King James, but it shows that he was not quite so indifferent to the fate of his mother as was affirmed by Queen Elizabeth’s enemies, who had hoped that he would cast off the English alliance and the Reformed faith as soon as he came of age. The Spanish Ambassador, writing to the King of Spain in 1587, thinks that James had a secret preference for the Roman faith. "The King of Scotland," he writes, "arrived on the 12th of April at Dumfries to put his hand on Maxwell’s collar." But the last, who was the prop of the Roman faith in Dumfriesshire, "had gone the preceding night, being warned by the great lords." He suspects it to have been by order of the King himself.

When the Roman priests were dismissed from the country no one took their place in some instances for thirty or forty years, and even more, on the Borders. Early in the 17th century James VI. issued a proclamation to appoint clergy throughout Annandale. "The inhabitants thereof," says this document, "are for the most part wild heathen men," and for at least a generation they had no chance of being anything else. John Johnstone of Newbie, from his will in 1578, seems to have outwardly embraced the Reformed opinions, like his chief; but his grandson was outlawed in 1593 and 1602 for hearing Mass, and having his children baptized by Roman priests; and in 1595 the Laird of Johnstone, Robert Johnstone of Newbie, and Charles Murray of Cockpool were charged with the same, and for entertaining Roman Catholic priests. The Church lands had been sold to laymen, and the monastic estates distributed among the King’s favourites. Graitney had been for years without divine service, till Murray obtained a charter of the Barony of Dundrennan, and it was stipulated that he should pay the parson of Graitney an income of 400 marks. The zeal or half-heartedness with which the Border chiefs threw off Romanism had undoubtedly much to do with their success at that time; and while the Buccleuchs, Griersons, Douglases, Murrays, and some others, who were staunch Protestants, received honours and lands, the Johnstones of Newbie and Graitney, and a few more who were secretly Romanists were spoiled.

It is often forgotten that Presbyterianism did not immediately succeed Romanism, but that the Episcopal Church remained in Scotland for nearly a century simply divested of certain Romish principles. So late as 1649 Acts of Parliament were passed forbidding the use of meat in Lent. The Courts of Justice were generally held on Sunday morning, showing a laxity which perhaps accounts for the reaction in that respect when the second Reformation was established. [Speed (temp. James Vi.) describes the Scottish gentry and nobility as very studious of learning, for which end they not only frequent the Universities, but also much addict themselves to travel in foreign countries.]

The want of money in Scotland, and the love of war and adventure which characterised her hardy sons, induced many of the younger members of the Scottish families to take service in the armies on the Continent, particularly during the reign of Oliver Cromwell and after the accession of William III., when political reasons deterred some of them from accepting a commission under the Princes whom they considered to be usurpers. To be a Scotsman was undoubtedly a drawback to promotion in England till the reign of George III. or later, and the British army was very small compared to what it is now, and a commission and outfit more expensive than in a foreign force. A journey by land to London cost more than from Leith to Holland or Bremen by sea. But the sons of Scottish ministers till far into the present century crowded into the ranks of the Scottish regiments, and were distinguished for their courage and steadiness. There was not space in Scotland for the number of educated men who annually left the colleges in search of employment, so the list of the pioneers in India, America, and the West Indies is filled with Scottish names, and every army on the Continent, including the Turkish, contained officers of Scottish birth. One instance was Patrick Gordon, who entered the Swedish army under the grandfather of Charles XII. In a war with Poland he was captured by the enemy, and as the Poles in the days seldom exchanged prisoners, he took service with the King of Poland, who was then at war with Russia. He was impressed with the miserable condition of some Russian prisoners of war in a dungeon in Warsaw, and did his best to keep them from starvation; and in a subsequent battle with the Czar Alexis of Muscovy (father to Peter the Great), when he fell into the hands of the Russians, the Czar sent for him to thank him for having, as he had heard, "been kind to his poor subjects in Warsaw," Thereupon Gordon offered his sword to Muscovy. He and his son, and another Scotsman named Bruce, assisted the Russian armies throughout the reign of Peter the Great, and the younger Gordon published by far the best work on the reign of that monarch.

Admiral Gordon, in the service of Catherine I., was employed by Prince James, the old Chevalier, as the English Jacobite envoy at the Russian Court. Christopher Carlile, one of the Cumberland Newbie branch, commanded the Russian navy when Carmichael was governor of Pleskof, under Ivan the Terrible. He had married a daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, and, as befitted the descendant of crusaders, he wrote a book against the commercial treaty which was formed between the Turks and England at that period. He pointed out the great risks that the traders incurred from the piratical Barbary States, on the north of Africa, and that it cost them 2000 a year in presents alone to secure even partial safe These pirates, he added, were equally dreaded by our Italian traders, and our sailors were forced to pay enormous ransoms to the Algerians for their rescue from slavery. Many petitions appear at that time, and later, among the Scottish records from prisoners captured by the Turks and Moors for assistance in paying their ransoms. One as sent from Algiers by Alexander Sanders, George Anderson, and Andrew Monro. They state that, they cannot repeat to Christian ears all the horrors they have suffered, and the scenes they daily witnessed while held in chains, the Lords in Council directed that an offertory should be made in the churches on their behalf.

In Monypeny’s Chronicle, published in 1587, sixty-five lairds and gentlemen are enumerated as residing in Dumfriesshire, and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Nine were Johnstones, viz., the Lairds of Johnstone, of Newbie, of Graitney, of Wamphray, [Wamphray is described in an act and decreet, 1611, as a "gentleman of very mean rent—nothing like a great baron," and his brothers "but young gentlemen without any rent or means of living."] of Corrie, of Corhead, of Craighopburne, of Newtone, and of Kirkton. Six were Gordons, viz., Lochinvar, Traquhair, Barskeoche, Airdis, Skernaes, and of the Cule. Murray of Broghton; Glendyning of Portoun; Maclellan of Bomby, and of Mertoun; Dalbeattie; Lindsay of Barcloy; Lidderdaill of St. Mary’s Isle; Herries of Madinhoip, and Herries of Mabie; eight were Maxwells; Rorison [The Rorisons were M’Rories, Lords of Bute, which devolved on a son of Robert II. when the old family were deposed.] of Bardannoch; four Douglases; Macnaught of Kilquhanatie; Stewart of Fintillouche; Livingston of Little Ardie; Macnaught of that Ilk; two Crichtons; Menzies of Castlehill, and of Auchensell; Maitland of Auchencastle; Kirkpatrick of Closeburne; Kirkmichael; Grier of Lag; Charteris of Amisfield; Broune of the Lande; Cunningham of Kirkshaw; Fergusson of Craigdarroch; Hunter of Balagan; Kirk of Glenesslane, and the Gudeman of Friar Kerse; Jardine of Apilgirth; Murray of Cockpool, and of Morayquhat; Carruthers of Holmendes, and of Wormanbie; the Laird of Knock; and the Gudeman of Granton and of Boidisbek. There were also twenty "chief men of name, not being lairds," Adam Carlile of Bridekirk, Alexander Carlile of Eglisfechan, Edward Irving of Bonshaw, Lang Ritchie’s Edward, John, the young Duke, Chrystie’s Dick, Chrystie the Cowquhat, Willie of Gretna Hill (all these were Irvings), Roger Rome, Mickle Sandie Rome, David Gass, John Gass, Michil’s son in Rig, George Grahame, Arthur Grahame, Richie Grahame, Will Bell, John Bell, Andro Bell, Matthie Bell, Will Bell of Redkirk, Young Archie Thomson, and Sym Thomson. A gudeman was a tenant who did not own the estate on which he lived.

"The Sheriffdoms, Stewardships, and Bailiwicks of Scotland," wrote Speed, in the reign of James VI., "are for the most part inheritary unto honourable families." Early in the year 1600 there was a constant interchange of letters respecting the incursions of the Grahames and Armstrongs on both the Scottish and English territories, and Johnstone had interviews with Lord Scrope and his deputy, Mr Lowther, to concert measures for their arrest. On the 7th of April, 1601, Nicolson informs Cecil of the redress he had demanded of the King of Scots for Border disorders, and encloses this letter from James VI., to Johnstone, dated Holyrood House, March 31, 1601:--

"Right trusty friend, we greet you heartily well. Albeit by sundry our former letters, we earnestly willed you to keep good rule and quietness in the country, and specially to stay all attempts by the broken men and thieves within your bounds upon England to the disturbing of the peace now in the dangerous time; yet perceiving you not to be so careful therein as your duty and charge required, in respect of the continual complaints still made to us of the daily incursions of the broken men committing burnings, thefts, taking of prisoners, and such like attempts in England, we cannot but impute the blame to you, who neither stayed the same nor gave us any advertisement of your inability so to do, that we ourselves might have taken care and order therein. We cannot be content that those people our neighbours shall be overcome with such rated thieves and rebellious sinners, and that the peace shall be endangered, and therefore we have given liberty to your opposites (the English Wardens) of the Middle and West March to take the opportunity of the outlaws, and rebel murderers of our late Warden, and of all such other notorious sinners, disturbers of the peace and countries, of such incursions within England, for whom you will not answer and give justice, and to pursue, take, or stir them at their advantage either in England or Scotland, without having any answerable or honest subject unless in their own default of being in company, assisting or defending the rebels, who in that case we will not hold our subjects which we have thought good to signify to you, and according to our former directions to desire you to concur with your opposites in that case, and in all other things that may stay and repress the unhappy and wicked course of these rebellious outlaws about which we look yet for a better proof of your care and good will, pursue them with fire and sword, and forbid them rest or comfort within our realm under pain of death, for we have promised to your opposites to cause the same be done by you with all diligence, and so resting persuaded to find your amendment in anything ye have overseen or lacked hitherto in your matters touching us so nearly as ye tender our favour and good will, and other ways will be acceptable to us upon your duty and obedience, we commit you to God. "JAMES R.."

Nicolson also wrote to the Laird of Johnstone, and received this answer from him:—"After my commendations in lawful manner, I received your letter wherein I perceive ye think I do not my duty in meeting your officers for the taking of good order anent the punishment of six malefactors as trouble both the countries. I assure you it has been the thing I have been most careful of ever since I accepted this office, and to that effect have craved oft and divers times meetings of my Lord Scrope, and could never get none as yet, but ever deferring answers which I sent to his Highness, the King’s Majesty, both my request and his answers, which I doubt not you have seen. His Highness nor ye neither can put no fault to me, for I assure ye, the Lord Scrope is the wite of all done since my acceptance of office, and about meeting them that he left behind him in his room, I can have no certainty, because they are changed every fifteen days, and if ever I get a meeting set down with them that wrote to me last those are changed and others put in their room; wherefore I must earnestly desire you to cause a special man to be appointed that will remain still, and that the Border fears, for they will do nothing, for none of them that has been in my lord’s room. I have taken some special Border men of the clan of Armstrong, and have them in sure custody, and that for the performance of such attempts as they have committed against England, and have likewise charged the whole Borders to be before me on Saturday to come, where I shall take such like order as His Majesty has given direction, providing that I may receive the like; so I commit you to God.

"Of the Loughwood, 9th April, 1601, your friend in lawful manner, "JOHNSTONE."

Nicolson enclosed this letter to Sir Robert Cecil, asking him to "take care of the West Border, for if your Honour do not it will breed worse. The Laird writes for a resident and a man that will be feared, Johnstone hath done great service in taking these men, and he would be thanked. He hath sent the word of it and prays him to send warrant to keep them, and not to deliver them unless for justice to England, notwithstanding any warrants to be after written in the contrary; a square and honest meaning in the Laird. I beseech your honour consider well of those Borders; my Lord Scrope thinks much for my plain writing, and will think more if he knows I send this. Would God he had been as his father was, then I had had his favour the more if I had made him such service."

On April 11th, Nicolson writes that "Francis Armstrong and others, the late spoilers, have been taken by the Laird of Johnstone, and recommends that they may be delivered up to Her Majesty’s officers." On the 22d he encloses a letter from James VI., "by which your honour may see how he storms at me for importunities, or rather diligence to the full of my mean wit, to commend the amendment of those things to his good consideration. Anent his writing that at my desire, he sent David Murray to the Laird of Johnstone to see and advertise if there was any need of his presence. Indeed, I would the King earnestly go in person, and so did Johnstone, by letters which seeing it would not be I dealt with him to send some of his own to charge Johnstone to do diligence, so that the thieves might see that their misrule displeased him, and should be punished. But now the Border is quiet through Johnstone’s diligence, who hath gotten the best of the rest of the thieves, had met Mr Lowther, meets him again for justice, and keepeth those thieves to do justice with, as the King shall be pleased, which he will obey. So as there is no fault in Johnstone; no doubt but these late disorders shall redress and all be quiet."


Return to Book Index Page