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Sir Walter Scott
The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border
Letter From The Earl of Surrey to Henry VIII giving an account of the Storm of Jedburgh


"Pleisith it your grace to be advertised, that upon Fridaye, at x a clok at nyght, I returned to this towne and all the garrysons to their places assigned, the bishopricke men, my Lorde of Westmoreland, and my Lorde Dacre, in likewise, every man home with their companys, without loss of any men, thanked be God: saving viii or x slayne, and dyvers hurt, at skyrmyshis and saults of the town of Gedwurth, and the fortereissis; which towne is so surely brent that no garrysons ner none other shal bee lodged there, unto the time it bee newe buyided; the brennyng whereof I comytted to twoo sure men, Sir William Bulmer, and Thomas Tempeste. The towne was much better than I went (i.e. ween’d) it had been, for there was twoo tymys moo houses therein then in Berwicke, and well buyided, with many honest and fair houses therein, sufficiente to have lodged M horsemen in garryson, and six good towres therein; which towne and towres be clenely destroyed, brent, and throwen down. Undoubtedly there was noo journey made into Scotlande, in noo many day levying, with soo fewe a nombre, that us recownted to be soo high an enterprise as this, bothe with theis conremen, and Scottishmen, nor of truthe so much hurte doon. But in th’ ende a great misfortune ded fal, onely by foly, that such orare, as was commanded by me to be kepte, was not observed, the manner whereof hereaftr shall ensue. Bifore myn entred into Scotland, I appointed Sir William Bulmer and Sir William Evers to be marshallis of th’ army; Sir William Bulmer for the vanguard, and Sir William Evers for the rereguard. In the vanguard I appointed my Lord of Westmoreland, as chief, with all the bushopricke, Sir William Bulmer, Sir William Evers, my Lord Dacre, with all his company; and with me remained all the rest of the garrysons, and the Northumberland men. I was of counsall with the marshallis at th’ ordering of our lodging, and our campe was soo well envirowned with ordynance, carts, and dikes, that hard is was to entre or issue but at certain places appointed for that purpos, and assigned the mooste commodious place of the said campe for my Lord Dacre his company, next the water, and next my Lord of Westmoreland. And at suche tyme as my Lord Dacre came into the felde, I being at the sault of th’ abby, which conynned unto twoo houres within nyght, my seid Lord Dacre wolde in no wise bee contente to ly within the campe, whiche was made right sure, but lodged himself without, wherewith, at my returne, I was not contente, but then it was too late to remove; the next daye I sente my seid Lord Dacre to a stronghold, called Fernherste, the lord whereof was his mortal enemy; and with him, Sir Arthur Darcy, Sir Marmaduke Constable, with viii c of their men, one cortoute, and dyvers other good peces of ordynance for the feld (the seid Fernherste stode marvelous strongly, within a grete woods, the seid twoo knights, with the most part of their men, and Strickland, your grace’s servante, with my Kendall men, went into the woode on fote, with th’ ordynance, where the said Kendall men were so handled, that they found hardy men, that went noo foote back for theymn; the other two knightes were also soo sharply assayled, that they were enforced to call for moo of their men; and yet could not bring the ordynance to the fortrees, unto the tyme of my Lord Dacre, with part of his horsemen, lighted on fote; and marvelloously hardly handled himself, and finally, with long skirmishing, and moche difficultie, gat forthe th’ ordynance within the howse, and threwe down the same. At which skymyshe, my seid Lord Dacre, and his brother, Sir Cristofer, Sir Arthure, and Sir Marmaduke, and many other gentilmen, did marvelously hardly; and found the best resistance that hath been seen with my compying to their partieis, and above xxii Scottis sleyne, and not passing iiij Englishmen, but above xi hurt. Aftir that, my said lord returning to the camp, wold in no wise been lodged with me in the same, but where he lay the furst nyght. And he being with me at souper, about viij a clok, the horses of his company brak lowse, and sodenly ran out of his feld, in such nombre, that it caused a marvellous alarome in our feld; and our standing watche being set, the horses cam ronnyng along the campe, at whome were shot above one hundred shief of arrows, and dyvers gonnys, thinking they had been Scots, that wold have vaulted the campe; finally the horses were so madde, that they ran like wild dere into the feld, above xv e at the leest, in dyvers companys; and in one place, above L felle downe a grete rok, and slew theymself, and above ij e ran into the towne being of fire, and by the women taken, and carried awaye right evill brent, and many were taken agayne. But, finally, by that can esteem by the nombre of theym that I saw goo on foote the next daye, I think thare is lost above viij c horses, and all with foly for lak of not lying within the camp. I dare not write the wondres that my Lord Dacre, and all his company , doo saye theye sawe that nyght, vj tyms of spirits and fereful sights. And universally all their companys saye plainly, the devile was that nyght amoug theym vi tymys; which mysfortune hath blemyshed the best journey that was made in Scotland many yeres. I assure your grace I found the Scottes, at this tyme, the boldest men and the hotest that ever I sawe any nation: and all the journey, upon all parts of th’ armye, kepte us with soo continuall skyrmyshe, that I never saw the like. If they might assemble xi M as good men as I nowe sawe xv c or ij M, it wold be a hard encounter to mete theym. Pitie it is of my Lord Dacre losse of the horses of his companye; he brought with hym above iiij M men, and came and lodged one night in Scotland, in his moost mortal enemy’s centre. There is noo herdyer, ner bettir knight, but often tyme he doth not use the most sure order, which he hath nowe payd derely for. Written at Berwike the xxnij of September. Your most bownden, T. Surrey."

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