EARL GEORGE APPOINTED LIEUTENANT—HIS DEATH—ANDREW,
EIGHTH EARL OF ERROLL—DEATH OF EARL ANDREW— FRANCIS, NINTH EARL.
IN 1559 Francis and Mary, King and Queen of Scots,
appointed the Earl of Erroll Lieutenant between the Water of Erne and the
North Water. He was invested with ample power to suppress disorder and
Earl George died in January, 1573, and was interred at
Erroll. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Andrew, eighth Earl of Erroll.
He married, first, Lady Jane Hay, only surviving child
of William, fifth Earl of Erroll, by whom he had three sons and one
daughter. He married, secondly, Lady Agnes Sinclair, a daughter of George,
fourth Earl of Caithness; and by her he had issue.
While he was Master of Erroll, on the 14th of November,
1572, he entered into an agreement with Andrew Tulidef, son and
heir-apparent of Alexander Tulidef of Raneistoun. The agreement was to the
effect—"That Andrew Tulidef, of his own free will and by the advice of his
dear father and friends, became man and servant, and also with him another
riding man, for all the days of his lifetime to the said noble lord. And
shall be ready upon horse and foot to serve, upon his lordship’s expenses.
And shall be sufficiently equipped with armour and weapons, according to
his rank. And shall be leal and true in word and deed, as becoming a
faithful servant to his lord and master, and should defend his lord in all
cases. For these services his lordship shall be thankfully content to pay
each year to Andrew Tulidef sixteen boIls of good oatmeal, to be yearly
uplifted and paid out of his lordship’s land of Neder Ardlethin—or,
failing this, out of any other lands within the barony of Slains; and the
meal to be carried to the said Andrew’s house of Mostoun or Raneistoun
between Yule and Candlemas. And, if the sixteen bolls of meal be not paid
to the said Andrew, then he shall be free of his servitude and promises.
Further, if it happens that the said Andrew’s horse dies or is killed in
his lordship’s company or service, then the said lord shall give to him
another horse as good as the one lost." This agreement was witnessed by
George Hay of Newraw, Neil Neilson, John Stone, and others.
On the 23rd of January, 1580, James VI. addressed a
letter charging the provosts and magistrates of Edinburgh, Linlithgow,
Stirling, Glasgow, Ayr, Perth, Cupar-in-Fife, St Andrews, Dundee,
Aberdeen, and all other burghs in the kingdom, "wherever our presence and
palace of honour shall be for the time. Forasmuch as the punishment of
trespassers, invaders, and shedders of blood within four miles of our
presence, it has pertained and pertains to our High Constable and his
deputies to take inquisition of all such persons, who commit crimes, to
put them before an unsuspected jury, and any person whatsoever apprehended
and being convicted, to be imprisoned and kept in prison until they make
satisfaction for their crimes, according to the laws and constitution of
the realm. For the effective execution of this, it is necessary that all
our prisons and warding-houses in our burghs and other parts of the
kingdom, wherever we happen to be for the time, be made patent to our High
Constable, his deputes and officers, for incarcerating all persons who
commit slaughter or crimes of violence And your assistance and support is
requisite for this, so that such criminals and trespassers may receive due
punishment for their crimes and offences as an example to others, who
disturb us and our right trusty Councillors daily attending and awaiting
upon us for the welfare of us and our realm and people. Therefore our will
is, and we charge and commend ye and each of you by yourselves and your
officers, in your name as ye shall be required herein, to concur, fortify,
and assist our right trusty Councillor, Andrew, Earl of Erroll, our High
Constable, and William Henderson, his deputy, and their officers in the
execution of the office in all time coming, according to the privilege and
jurisdiction thereof, of old use and wont in all points."
Earl Andrew in the later years of his life had
unhappily serious domestic troubles, which seem to have arisen from his
second marriage. It appears that there was a suspicion of the influence of
the second Countess over her husband, which might be turned to the
prejudice of the children of the first marriage. He died at Slains on the
8th of October, 1585, and was interred there.
He was succeeded by his son, Francis, ninth Earl of
Erroll. He married Lady Elizabeth Douglas, a daughter of William, sixth
Earl of Morton, by whom he had issue.
On the 17th of September, 1589, the Earl of Erroll
entered into a bond of friendship with the Earl of Huntly, which proceeded
on the ground—"That, seeing and considering the changes and controversies
daily occurring among all classes of this poor realm, to the great
disturbance of His Majesty’s good estate and the grief of all his good
subjects, and thereby perceiving our own peril and danger in particular,
and how necessary it is for us two to knit up a sure friendship, to
continue between us as two brothers born of one mother, in all time coming
during our lifetime: We therefore become bound to act faithfully to each
other, having sworn the great oath and touched the Holy Book, that we
shall keep and observe our sure and infallible affection, goodwill, and
friendship to each other, in such a way that any of our actions and causes
whatsoever— criminal or civil—shall be alike common to us both; to assist,
fortify, and defend in the law and by the law against all other persons,
the King’s own person only excepted." Further, it was stipulated that no
deadly feud should be reconciled or pacified by one of them without the
special consent and advice of the other; that no new friendship should be
contracted by either of them with any person without the mutual consent of
both of them. And in case it should be thought necessary to receive any
other noblemen into this bond of friendship, "the same to be done by both
of us." And, generally, that nothing shall be done by either of us in
prejudice "of this particular bond, under the pain of dishonour, and
defamation for ever." This bond is dated at Aberdeen, signed by the two
Earls, and witnessed by John Leslie of Balquhain, John Gordon of Buckie,
and Captain Thomas Ker.
The part played by this Earl of Erroll along with
Huntly in the reaction against Protestantism, was indicated in the
preceding chapter. In common with Huntly, he was subjected to persecution,
repeatedly excommunicated and confined in prison. After the battle of
Glenlivet, in 1594, the old Castle of Slains was almost demolished.
On the 8th of December, 1597, James VI. issued a letter
to the Provost and Magistrates of Edinburgh, commanding them not to
encroach upon the rights and duties of Francis, Earl of Erroll, High
Constable of Scotland; but to assist the Constable and his deputies in the
execution of the functions and duties of the office, when required:
"Commanding and charging them to readily answer and obey our High
Constable and his deputies in all things concerning their office in time
coming, under the penalties aforesaid as ye will answer to us thereupon."
In 1596 the King sharply rebuked the baillies of Leith
for encroaching on the High Constable’s privileges. It appears that the
baillies had tried a man named John Shanks, who should have been tried in
the Constable’s Court, and had declined to obey a messenger sent by the
King himself. His Majesty therefore wrote:—"We
command and charge every one of you, and those that shall be for the time
in your places, as ye will answer to us upon your obedience and under the
penalties that thereafter may follow. That ye nor your successors in any
time hereafter hold court to examine or put to trial any person or persons
whatsoever for such crimes committed within the four-mile limit, without a
licence from our High Constable or his deputies and substitutes. And if
any of you hereafter interpose your authority to stop or impede the same,
we will see that you be punished for your contempt."
In February, 1601, the Earl of Erroll received a bond
of service from Andrew Hering of Little Blair, upon the special
consideration of a free remission, "granted to me by Francis, Earl of
Erroll, Lord Hay, and High Constable of Scotland, for the slaughter of the
late James Hay, son of the late William Hay of Gourdie, committed by
me—thereby finding myself for ever obliged to this noble lord’s clemency.
Therefore, of my own accord and free will, I have become a servant to the
said noble lord and his heirs and successors for all the days of my life.
And faithfully promise henceforth to honour, reverence, serve, and obey
him and his heirs and successors, whom I acknowledge as my only lord and
master. And I will take part with them in all their actions, quarrels, and
affairs whatsoever to the utmost of my power against all persons,
excepting the King. This bond is dated at Perth, and witnessed by David
Hering, fier of Glasclune; James Ogilvie, fier of Cloway; Sir James
Stewart of Ballequhain; and Henry Drummond, tutor of Blair.