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Title: In Byways of Scottish History
Author: Barbé, Louis A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      A carat character is used to denote superscription. The
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[Illustration: _Mary Queen of Scots_
(_The "Morton" Portrait_)]




Officier d'Académie
Author of "The Tragedy of Gowrie House" "Viscount Dundee"
"Kirkcaldy of Grange" etc.

[Illustration: Publisher Mark]

Blackie and Son Limited
London Glasgow Bombay


When the author of the following papers came to Scotland, many years
ago, he knew nothing of the country that was to become his home, and was
hardly less ignorant of its history. To acquire some acquaintance with
both he followed the same plan: he began with the highways, as
indicated, in the one case, by the advertisements of the railway and
steamboat companies, and, in the other, by the works of Tytler and Hill
Burton. Before long, however, he learned that the knowledge thus
obtained might be pleasantly supplemented by independent excursions off
the beaten track. Topographically the result was the discovery of
charming bits of scenery, of which he still recalls the picturesque
beauty with delight. Historically, too, he found his way into
interesting nooks and corners which his early guides had either ignored
entirely or contented themselves with referring to in the briefest
words. The outcome of some of his explorations--if it be not
presumptuous to apply such a term to them--is set forth in the present
volume. In venturing to publish it, he is not without a hope that the
interest which he has felt in his rambles through some of the byways of
Scottish history may, to some extent, be shared by others. If he should
be disappointed in this, he will have to admit that he has done less
than justice to subjects that had it in them to be made pleasant and

Those subjects are varied, but, as regards most of them, not wholly
unconnected. Dealing, as they mainly do, with the sixteenth and early
seventeenth centuries, they have, at least, a certain chronological
unity, and may, in some slight degree, help to supplement the general
knowledge of one of the most picturesque periods in the history of

What has so far been said does not, it must be allowed, apply very
directly to one of the papers contained in the present collection. It
cannot be claimed for the "Longtail" myth, of which the story is here
given, that it is essentially Scottish. It may, however, be urged in
support of its right to appear here, that it was French at a time when,
as regards antipathy against England, the agreement between France and
Scotland was a very close one. And, if further justification be needed,
it may be found in the fact that some of the Scottish chroniclers are
amongst those who supply the most valuable information concerning both
the prevalence and the alleged origin of the quaint medieval belief that
Englishmen had tails inflicted on them in punishment of the impiety of
some of their pagan forefathers.

In connection with this paper the author has the pleasant duty of
expressing his thanks to Dr. George Neilson, to whom he is indebted for
several illustrative passages; and also to Mr. Barwick, of the British
Museum, without whose ready help a number of others would have remained

Some of the papers have appeared, mostly in a condensed form, in the
_Glasgow Herald_ and the _Evening Times_, and thankful acknowledgment is
made of the permission readily granted to make further use of them.

Responsibility is admitted, at the same time that indulgence is craved,
for the translations of old French poetry and medieval Latin verse which
occur in some of the sketches.

In the case of the latter, more particularly, it has not always proved
an easy task to supply English versions of the monkish doggerel. It is
hoped, however, that if the letter has been freely dealt with, the
spirit has been preserved.


  MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS                                    1
  THE FOUR MARYS                                         25
  MARY FLEMING                                           35
  MARY LIVINGSTON                                        49
  MARY BETON                                             61
  MARY SETON                                             69
  THE SONG OF MARY STUART                                79
  MAISTER RANDOLPHE'S FANTASIE                           91
  LORETTO                                               141
  THE ISLE OF MAY                                       153
  EDINBURGH AND HER PATRON SAINT                        191
  THE ROCK OF DUMBARTON                                 199
  JAMES VI AS STATESMAN AND POET                        209
  THE INVASION OF AILSA CRAIG                           225
  A RAID ON THE WEE CUMBRAE                             247
  RIOTOUS GLASGOW                                       253
  THE OLD SCOTTISH ARMY                                 267
  THE STORY OF THE "LONG-TAIL" MYTH                     291
  INDEX                                                 361



A Brilliant Personality

More than three hundred years have elapsed since Mary Stuart was sent to
the scaffold by Elizabeth, and met death with that noble fortitude which
awed her enemies and which has half redeemed her fame in the eyes even
of those who regard the tragedy of Fotheringay as an act no less of
justice than of expediency. But even at the present time interest in her
memory has not died away; nor can the question of her innocence or of
her guilt be yet said to have been definitely settled by all that has
been written about her in the interval. It hardly seems probable that it
ever will be, for it is still a question of politics with some and of
religion with many. And even in the rare instances where judgment is not
blinded by the prejudice or the partiality of party or of creed, it is
affected by an influence, nobler and more excusable indeed, but not
less powerful nor less misleading--by unreasoning sentiment, by the
sympathy which the romance of the unfortunate Queen's chequered career,
her legendary beauty, her long captivity, and her heroic death awaken.

In the controversy which has now raged for three centuries, and in the
course of which every incident of Mary's life has repeatedly been
submitted to the closest scrutiny, anxiety to get at facts, to add to
the weight of evidence, to discover fresh witnesses, to unearth new
documents bearing on the points at issue, has led to a disregard of her
personality more complete, perhaps, than in the case of any of her
contemporaries, and contrasting strangely with the abundance of intimate
details which go to make up our knowledge of her great rival. To most of
us Elizabeth is as distinctly, almost tangibly, present as though she
had reigned in our day. She moves through the pages of history
surrounded by a train of courtiers scarcely less familiar to us than
those of our own generation. The Queen of Scots, on the contrary, seems
to be but little more than an historical abstraction. It is scarcely too
much to say that many for whom it would be an easy task to follow her,
step by step, from Linlithgow to Fotheringay, to recall all the events
of which she was the central figure, to discuss all the problems which
her name suggests, would be at a loss to furnish such details as could
bring before us the features of the woman whose beauty doubtless finds
frequent mention in their discourses, or bring together such particulars
as would justify all that they are ready to admit, and perhaps even to
assert, concerning her talents and her accomplishments. It may,
therefore, be neither inopportune nor uninteresting if, forgetting for a
while the history of the Queen, we give our attention to the
individuality of the woman; if, turning to the "treasures of antiquity
laid up in old historic rolls", we endeavour, not to clear up the
mystery of Darnley's murder, nor to explain the fatal marriage with
Bothwell; not to pronounce on the authenticity of the sonnets, nor to
solve the enigma of the famous letters; but to present a picture of the
first lady of the land as she appeared to the crowds that had hurried to
Leith to welcome her return, or that lined the Canongate as she rode to
the Parliament House; to show her at her sports with her attendant Marys
at Stirling or at St. Andrews; to listen to the conversation with which
she entertained the courtiers of Amboise and of Holyrood, and to glance
at the pages of the volumes over which she mused in the retirement of
her library or the solitude of her prison.

The historians of Mary Stuart all agree in telling us that she was the
most beautiful woman of her age; and it must be admitted that this is
fully borne out by all that can be gathered from contemporary writers.
It is not only such poetic enthusiasts as Michel de l'Hôpital, Du
Bellay, and Ronsard, or such courtly flatterers as Brantôme and
Castelnau, who pronounce her beauty to have been matchless--far
exceeding "all that is, shall be, or has ever been", but the serious and
dignified chroniclers whom Jebb has brought together in his valuable
folios--Strada, Blackwood, and even de Thou--also grow eloquent in
praise of her charms. But perhaps the most convincing testimony that can
be adduced is contained in a poem,[1] composed by an Englishman who was
confessedly hostile to Mary, and whose satire was so keenly felt by her
that she made it the subject of a formal complaint to Elizabeth. The
words attributed to her--for the passage in which they occur is in the
form of a confession on her part--are scarcely less forcible than those
of her avowed partisans and admirers:

    But I could boast of beauty with the best,
    In skilful points of princely attire
    And of the golden gifts of nature's behest,
    Who filled my face of favor fresh and fair.
    My beauty shines like Phoebus in the air,
    And nature formed my features beside
    In such proport as advanceth my pride.
    Thus fame affatethe (_proclaims_) my state to the stars,
    Enfeoft with the gifts of nature's device
    That sound the retreat to other princes' ears,
    Wholly to resign to me the chiefest prize.

It is most remarkable, however, that no extant portrait justifies the
praises so lavishly bestowed on Mary. As to this, the courtesy of the
late Mr. Wylie Guild, of Glasgow, afforded us an opportunity of forming
an opinion based on the evidence of his remarkable collection of
portraits of the Queen of Scots--a collection which comprised, besides
reproductions of most of the paintings claiming to be authentic, a
series of over four hundred engravings, many of them by Clouet, and
dating from the period of Mary's stay in France. We were compelled to
agree with the possessor of that unique iconography that none of them
showed the dazzling charms which poets and chroniclers have celebrated.
And the portraits which various exhibitions have since then enabled us
to examine, have only confirmed that earlier judgment. To reconcile this
very striking contradiction seems difficult. Possibly the truth may be
that the fascination of Mary's face consisted less in the regularity of
outline or the striking beauty of any one feature than in the expression
by which it was animated.[2] Her complexion, though likened by
Ronsard to alabaster and ivory,[3] does not seem to have possessed the
clearness and brilliancy which the comparison implies; for Sir James
Melville, though anxious to vindicate his Queen's claim to be considered
"very lovely" and "the fairest lady in her country", acknowledged that
she was less "white" than Elizabeth.[4] The brightness of her eyes,
which Ronsard likened to stars, and Chastelard to beacons,[5] has not
been questioned; but their colour is a point about which there is less
unanimity, opinions varying between hazel and dark grey. As regards her
hair the discrepancy of contemporary authorities is even greater.
Brantôme and Ronsard describe a wealth of golden hair, and this is to a
certain extent confirmed by Sir James Melville, who, when called upon by
Elizabeth to pronounce whether his Queen's hair was fairer than her own,
answered that "the fairnes of them baith was not their worst
faltes".[6] To this, however, must be opposed the testimony of Nicholas
White, who, writing to Cecil in 1563, described the Queen as
black-haired. The explanation of this may possibly lie in Mary's
compliance with the fashion, introduced about this time, of wearing
wigs. Indeed, Knollys informed White that she wore "hair of sundry
colours",[7] and, in a letter to Cecil, praised the skill with which
Mary Seton--"the finest busker of hair to be seen in any country"--"did
set such a curled hair upon the Queen, that was said to be a perewyke,
that showed very delicately".[8]

According to one account, the Queen of Scots wore black, according to
another, auburn ringlets on the morning of her execution. Both, however,
agree in this, that when the false covering fell she "appeared as grey
as if she had been sixty and ten years old".

Mary's hand was white, but not small, the long, tapering fingers
mentioned by Ronsard[9] being, indeed, a characteristic of some of her
portraits. She was of tall stature, taller than Elizabeth, which made
the Queen of England pronounce her cousin to be too tall, she herself
being, according to her own standard, "neither too high nor too
low".[10] Her voice was irresistibly soft and sweet. Not only does
Brantôme extol it as "très douce et très bonne",[11] and Ronsard
poetically celebrate it as capable of moving rocks and woods,[12] but
Knox, although ungraciously and unwillingly, also testifies to its
charm. He informs us that, at one of her Parliaments, the Queen made a
"paynted orisoun", and that, on this occasion, "thair mycht have been
hard among hir flatteraris, '_Vox Dianæ!_' The voice of a goddess (for
it could not be _Dei_) and not of a woman! God save the sweet face! Was
thair ever oratour spack so properlie and so sweitlie!"[13]

When, to this description, we have added that Mary Stuart was of a full
figure[14] and became actually stout in later life; that she is
described in the report of her execution and represented in several
portraits as having a double chin, we shall have given a picture of her
which, though wanting in some details, is as complete as it is possible
to sketch at this length of time.

Mary Stuart is not infrequently mentioned as one of the precocious
children of history. But the legend of her scholarly acquirements
originates with Brantôme, an authority not always above suspicion when
the glorification of princes is his theme, and it is not unnecessary to
look more closely into the matter before we accept his glowing panegyric
of the youthful prodigy. He informs us that Mary was "very learned in
Latin",[15] and that, when only thirteen or fourteen years of age, she
publicly delivered at the Louvre, in the presence of King Henry II,
Catherine de' Medici, his Queen, and the whole French Court, a Latin
discourse which she had composed in justification of her own course of
studies, and in support of the view that it is befitting in women to
devote themselves to letters and to the liberal arts. This speech is
also referred to by Antoine Fouquelin in the dedication of a textbook of
Rhetoric which he composed for the young Princess.[16] He records the
admiration with which Mary had been listened to by the noble company,
and the high hopes which the elegant oration had awakened. That she
herself set some value on this production may be assumed from the fact
that she was at the pains of translating it into French; and the mention
of it in the inventory of books delivered by the Earl of Morton to James
VI in 1578, where it appears as "ane Oratioun to the King of Franche of
the Quenis awin hand write", would seem to imply that she looked back
with pride upon her youthful triumph. This interesting manuscript has
now disappeared; nevertheless, it is not impossible to obtain from
another source a fairly accurate idea of the speech which called forth
such high praise from the French courtiers. It happens that the National
Library in Paris possesses the Latin themes written by Mary Stuart in
1554, the year before the oratorical performance at the Louvre. Amongst
the exercises contained in the morocco-bound volume, fifteen refer to
the same subject as the speech, and, it is fair to suppose, were
intended as a preparation for the princely pupil's "speech-day".[17]
Disappointing as it may be to ardent admirers of the Queen of Scots, it
must be admitted that her themes do not bear out the praises bestowed on
her Latinity, but contain such solecisms as would probably have been
fraught with unpleasant consequences to a less noble and less fair
scholar. Neither need the substance of Mary's apology for learned women
excite our enthusiasm. To string together, with a few commonplace
remarks, lists of names evidently supplied by her tutor and taken by him
from Politian's Epistles, was no very remarkable achievement on the part
of a child who, if she began her classical studies as early as her
fellow pupil and sister-in-law Elizabeth did, had already devoted fully
five years to Latin at the date of her famous speech.

But, though the Queen's early proficiency may have been overrated, there
can be no doubt that, in later life, she possessed considerable
familiarity with the language of Virgil and of Cicero. We know from
contemporary letters that, after her return to Scotland, she continued
her studies under Buchanan[18] and that, faithful to the habit which she
had acquired in France, of devoting two hours a day to her books,[19]
she regularly read "somewhat of Livy" with him "after her dinner".

The catalogue of the books[20] contained in the royal library affords
further information as to the nature and extent of her acquaintance with
Latin literature. In it we find mention, amongst others of lesser note,
of Horace, Virgil and Cicero, of Æmilius Probus and Columella, of
Vegetius and Boethius. Neither did she neglect the Latinity of the
Middle Ages. In prose it is represented by such forgotten names as those
of Bertram of Corvey, of Ludolph of Saxony, of Joannes de Sacrobosco,
and of Nicolaus de Clamangiis, the authors of ponderous treatises on
science and on theology; the latter subject being one which her interest
in the great ecclesiastical revolution of the age rendered particularly
attractive to her. Amongst contemporary Latin poets her favourites seem
to have been Petrus Bargæus, Louis Leroy, Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton,
and George Buchanan, whose dedication to her of his translation of the
Psalms has not unjustly been pronounced to stand "unsurpassed by all the
verses that have been lavished upon her during three hundred years by
poets of almost every nation and language of Europe".[21]

Whether the Queen of Scots was acquainted with Greek cannot be
determined with certainty. Neither Brantôme nor Con nor Blackwood has
given information on this head. If, on the one hand, her numerous Latin
and French translations of Greek authors do not point to a great
familiarity with it, on the other, the knowledge that she used such
versions for the purpose of linguistic study, and the presence on her
shelves of Homer and Herodotus, of Sophocles and Euripides, of Socrates
and Plato, of Demosthenes and Lucian in the original tongue, justify the
supposition that, even though she may not have rivalled the fair pupils
of Ascham and of Aylmer, the productions of Athenian genius were not
sealed books to her.

Amongst modern languages Spanish was that with which Mary had the
slightest acquaintance, and so far as may be judged from the works which
she possessed, her reading in it was limited to a book of chronicles and
a collection of ballads.[22] As might be expected from her early
surroundings, she was more familiar with Italian. She could both speak
and write it. Indeed, among the verses attributed to her there is an
Italian sonnet addressed to Elizabeth. It is scarcely credible that she
had not read Dante; nevertheless, it is worthy of notice that his
"Divine Comedy" does not appear in the catalogue of her library[23]
where, however, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Ariosto figure by the side of
the less-known Bembo.

Though born in Scotland, Mary Stuart never possessed great fluency in
the language of the country over which she was called to rule. Her
knowledge of it was acquired chiefly, if not wholly, after her return
from France. Her father, from whom she might have learnt it in
childhood, she never knew. For her mother the northern Doric remained
through life a foreign tongue. The attendants with whom she was
surrounded in her earliest infancy were either French or had been
educated in France. It is therefore questionable whether she could
express herself in what was nominally her native tongue, even when she
sailed from Dumbarton on her journey to the court of the Valois. That
she forgot whatever she may then have known of it is beyond doubt. Seven
years after she had left France she was still making efforts to learn
English, using translations--amongst others an English version of the
Psalms--for the purpose, but not meeting with signal success. Conversing
with Nicholas White, in 1569, she began with excuses for "her ill
English, declaring herself more willing than apt to learn the
language".[24] It was on the 1st of September of the preceding year that
she wrote what she herself describes as her first letter in English.
This circumstance may warrant its reproduction, though as an historical
document merely, it possesses no importance. It is addressed to Sir
Francis Knollys: "Mester Knollis, y heuu har sum neus from Scotland; y
send zou the double off them y vreit to the quin my gud sister, and pres
zou to du the lyk, conforme to that y spak zesternicht vnto zou, and sut
hesti ansur y refer all to zour discretion, and wil lipne beter in zour
gud delin for mi, nor y kan persuad zou, nemli in this langasg; excus my
iuel vreitin for y neuuer vsed it afor, and am hestet.... Excus my iuel
vreitin thes furst tym."[25]

The testimony of Mary's library,[26] to which we have already appealed,
and which is the more valuable and the more trustworthy that the books
which it contained were undoubtedly collected by herself and for her own
use, bears out what has been so often stated with regard to her love of
French literature. In history it shows her to have been acquainted not
only with the foremost chroniclers; not only with Froissart, in whose
picturesque narrative her native Scotland is mentioned with such
grateful remembrance of the hospitality shown him; not only with
Monstrelet, from whose ungenerous treatment of the heroic Joan of Arc
she may have learnt, even before her own experience taught her the hard
lesson, how the animosity of party can blunt all better feeling; but
also with the lesser writers, with those whose works never reached
celebrity even in their own day and whose names have long ceased to
interest posterity, with Aubert and Bouchet, Sauvage and Paradin.

It may be regarded as a proof of her good taste that she set but little
store on the dreary romances of the time, written either in imitation or
in continuation of "Amadis de Gaul", whilst to Rabelais,[27] on the
contrary, she accorded the place of honour which he deserved.

As regards the poets of France, all that Brantôme has told us of her
partiality for them finds its justification in the almost complete
collection of their works which she brought to Scotland with her.
Amongst all others, however, Du Bellay, Maison-Fleur, and Ronsard were
her special favourites. For the last, in particular, her enthusiasm was
unbounded. It was to the verses in which he embodies the love of a whole
nation that she turned for solace when the fresh sorrow of her departure
from France was her heaviest burthen; it was over his pages that her
tears flowed in the bitterness which knew no comfort as she sat a lonely
captive in the castles of Elizabeth. As a token of her admiration she
sent him from her prison a costly service of plate with the flattering
inscription: "A Ronsard, l'Apollon des Français".[28]

It has been asserted by Brantôme, and repeated ever since on his
authority, that Mary Stuart herself excelled in French verse. The
elegiac stanzas quoted by him have been admired in all good faith by
succeeding generations "for the tender pathos of the sentiments and the
original beauty of the metaphors". It is painful to throw discredit on
the time-honoured tradition, but the late discovery of a manuscript once
in Brantôme's possession has proved, beyond the possibility of a doubt,
that the "Elegy on the Death of Francis II" was not composed by his
wife. This was at once established by Dr. Galy of Périgueux, the
possessor of the manuscript. Having since then been favoured by him
with a copy of other poems contained in it and acknowledged by Brantôme
as his own productions, and having compared them carefully with the
"pathetic sentiments" and "original metaphors", as well as with the
expressions and even the rhymes of the Elegy, we have no hesitation in
going a step further, and pronouncing that the latter is from the pen of
the unscrupulous Lord Abbot himself.[29] Apart from this, there still
remain a few poems attributed to Mary, and authenticated, not indeed by
her signature, but by what is almost as authoritative, her anagrams: "Sa
vertu m'atire", or "Va, tu meriteras".[30] However interesting these
poetical effusions may be as relics, their literary merit is of no high
order, and they are assuredly not such as to deserve for the author a
place amongst the poets of her century.

Before closing our remarks on Mary Stuart's scholarship and literary
acquirements we would dwell for a moment on the subject of her
handwriting, for that too has been made the subject of admiring comment
by some of her biographers. Con has recorded that "she formed her
letters elegantly and, what is rare in a woman, wrote swiftly".[31] Some
reason for his admiration may be found in the fact that Mary had
adopted what Shakespeare styles "the sweet Roman hand", which at that
time was only beginning to take the place of the old Gothic, and, in
Scotland particularly, had all the charm of a fashionable novelty. The
specimen now before us shows a bold, rather masculine hand, of such size
that five short words--"mon linge entre mes fammes"--fill a line six
inches long. The letters are seldom joined together, and the words are
scattered over the page with untutored irregularity and disregard for
straight lines. On the whole we cannot but allow the force of Pepys'
exclamation on being shown some of the Queen's letters: "Lord! How
poorly methinks they wrote in those days, and on what plain uncut

Our sketch of Mary Stuart would not be complete if we limited ourselves
to the more serious side of her character merely. If she did not deserve
the reputation for utter thoughtlessness and frivolity which some of her
puritanical contemporaries have given her, she was undoubtedly fond of
amusements. The memoirs and correspondence of the time often show her
seeking recreation in popular sports and pastimes; indeed, Randolph
describes life at the Scottish Court for the first two years after her
return from France as one continual round of "feasts, banquetting,
masking, and running at the ring, and such like".[33] It was to Mary, as
Knox testifies, that the introduction into Scotland of those primitive
dramatic performances known as Masques or Triumphs was due. They soon
became so popular that they formed the chief entertainment at every
festival. The Queen herself and her attendants, particularly the four
Marys, often took part in them, either acting in mere dumb show or
reciting the verses which the elegant pen of Buchanan supplied, and
singing the songs which Rizzio composed, and of which the melodies may
very possibly be those which, wedded to more modern verse, are still
popular amongst the Scottish peasantry. Not only were these masques
performed in the large halls of the feudal castles, but in the open air
also, near the little lake at the foot of Arthur's Seat. It may cause
some astonishment at the present day to find not only the maids of
honour, but even the Queen herself, assuming the dress of the other sex
in these masquerades. Yet the _Diurnal of Occurrents_[34] records,
without expressing either indignation or even astonishment at the fact,
that "the Queen's Grace and all her Maries and ladies were all clad in
men's apparel" at the "Maskery or mumschance" given one Sunday evening
in honour of the French Ambassador.

Like her cousin of England, Mary was fond of dancing, and, as her Latin
biography informs us, showed to great advantage in it.[35] From a
passage quaintly noted as "full of diversion" in Sir James Melville's
Memoirs, we learn that the knight being pressed by Queen Elizabeth to
declare whether she or his own sovereign danced best, answered her with
courtly ambiguity that "the Queen dancit not so hich and so disposedly
as she did".[36] In reply to the same royal enquirer he also stated that
Mary "sometimes recreated herself in playing upon the lute and
virginals", and that she played "reasonably for a queen", not so well,
however, as Elizabeth herself.[37] We gather from Con[38] and Brantôme
that her voice was well trained, and that she sang well.

The indoor amusements in favour at Holyrood were chess, which James VI
condemned as "over wise and philosophic a folly",[39] tables, a game
probably resembling backgammon, and cards. That these last were not
played for "love" merely, is shown by an entry in the Lord Treasurer's
accounts of "fyftie pundis" for Her Majesty "to play at the cartis".[40]
Puppets or marionettes were also in great vogue. A set of thirty-eight,
together with a complete outfit of "vardingaills", "gownis",
"kirtillis", "sairkis slevis", and "hois", is mentioned in an inventory
of the time, where we see these "pippenis"--an old Scottish corruption
of the French "poupine"--dressed in such costly stuffs as damask
brocaded with gold, cloth of silver, and white silk.[41]

Quieter employment for the leisure hours of the Queen and her ladies
was supplied by various kinds of fancy-work, amongst which knitting and
tapestry are particularly mentioned. To the latter she devoted much of
her time, both at Lochleven, where she requested to be allowed "an
imbroiderer, to draw forth such work as she would be occupied
about",[42] and in England. Whilst she was at Tutbury, Nicholas White
once asked her how she passed her time within doors when the weather cut
off all exercises abroad. She replied "that all that day she wrought
with her needle, and that the diversity of the colours made the work
seem less tedious, and continued so long at it till very pain made her
to give over.... Upon this occasion she entered into a pretty disputable
comparison between carving, painting, and working with the needle,
affirming painting, in her own opinion, for the most commendable

At his interview with Elizabeth, Sir James Melville was asked what kind
of exercises his Queen used. He answered, that when he received his
dispatch, the Queen was lately come from the Highland hunting. Her
undaunted behaviour on this occasion is recorded by an eyewitness, Dr.
William Barclay of Gartley, who tells us that she herself gave the
signal for letting the hounds loose upon a wolf, and that in one day's
hunting three hundred and sixty deer, five wolves, and some wild goats
were slain.[44]

In common with her father, who took great pains to introduce "ratches"
or greyhounds and bloodhounds into Scotland, and with her
great-grandson, Charles II, who gave his name to a breed of spaniels,
Mary Stuart shared a great fondness for dogs. In her happier days she
always possessed several, which she entrusted to the keeping of one
Anthone Guedio and a boy. These canine pets were provided with a daily
ration of two loaves, and wore blue velvet collars as a distinguishing
badge.[45] During her captivity, her dogs were amongst her most faithful
companions. Writing from Sheffield to Beton, Archbishop of Glasgow, she
said: "If my uncle, the Cardinal of Guise, has gone to Lyons, I am sure
he will send me a couple of pretty little dogs, and you will buy me as
many more; for, except reading and working, my only pleasure is in all
the little animals that I can get. They must be sent in baskets
well-packed, so as to keep them warm."[46] The fidelity of one of these
dumb friends adds to the pathos of the last scene of her sad history.
"One of the executioners," says a contemporary report, "pulling off her
clothes, espied her little dog which was crept under her clothes, which
would not be gotten forth but by force, and afterwards would not depart
from the dead body, but came and lay betwixt her head and shoulders, a
thing diligently noted."[47]

In recording one of his interviews with Queen Mary, Knox gives us
information concerning another of the sports with which she beguiled her
time, for he tells us that it was at the hawking near Kinross that she
appointed him to meet her.[48] Archery, too, seems to have been a
favourite amusement. She had butts both at Holyrood and St. Andrews.
Writing to Cecil in 1562, and again in 1567, Randolph informs him that
the Queen and the Master of Lindsay shot against Mary Livingston and the
Earl of Murray; and that, in another match, the Queen and Bothwell won a
dinner at Tranent from the Earl of Huntley and Lord Seton.[49] Neither
did she neglect the "royal game", for one of the charges brought against
her and embodied in the articles given in by the Earl of Murray to Queen
Elizabeth's commissioners at Westminster, stated that a few days after
Darnley's murder "she past to Seytoun, exercing hir one day richt
oppinlie at the feildis with the pallmall and goif".

To sketch Mary's character further would be trenching on debatable
ground and overstepping the limits which we have imposed upon ourselves.
There is one trait, however, which may be recorded on the authority even
of her enemies--her personal courage. Randolph represents her as riding
at the head of her troops "with a steel bonnet on her head, and a pistol
at her saddle-bow; regretting that she was not a man to know what life
it was to lie all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway with
a jack and a knapscull, a Glasgow buckler, and a broadsword". The
author of the poem preserved in the Record Office, to which we have
already made reference, allows that "no enemy could appal her, no
travail daunt her intent", that she "dreaded no danger of death", that
"no stormy blasts could make her retire", and he likens her to Tomiris:

                      Tomiris hir selffe
    Who dreaded (_awed_) great hosts with her tyrannye
    Cold not showe hir selffe more valiant.

But never, surely, was her fortitude shown more clearly to the world
than when, three hundred years ago, "she laid herself upon the block
most quietly, trying her chin over it, stretching out her hands, and
crying out: 'In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum'".


[1] For an account of this poem, _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_, see
pages 91-98.

[2] As bearing on the subject of Mary's personal appearance and the
fidelity of her portraits, the following passages from an article
contributed to the _Glasgow Herald_, as a review of Mr. J. J. Foster's
work, _Concerning the True Portraiture of Mary Queen of Scots_, may here
be reproduced: "Mr. Foster points out 'in some cases a slight but
perceptible squint'. We have noticed this in one or two instances only,
and in portraits which, though they may be authentic, are technically
inferior; and we are consequently more inclined to attribute the defect
to the artist than to nature. The majority of the most trustworthy
portraits agree in making the upper eyelids thick, with an uninterrupted
curve, in setting the arched, well-marked eyebrows wide apart, and in
giving an exceptionally broad space between the eyes and the ears. The
oval face, the high cheek-bones, the round, well-proportioned and
capacious forehead, the long but shapely Greek nose, are features with
regard to which there is practical unanimity. Even if Sir George Scharf
had not pointed it out, it would hardly be possible to overlook the
peculiarity of the compressed lips. They are not thin, however, though,
on the other hand, they are very far from possessing that fulness which
physiognomists look upon as an indication of sensuality. Another
feature, so often reproduced as to be almost characteristic and
distinctive, is the strongly-marked V depression in the middle of the
upper lip. The cheek is full in its lower part, but not unduly so. The
chin is well-developed, but is neither cloven nor dimpled.... Prince
Labanoff declared that, with the exception of one portrait--and that of
dubious authenticity--none renders even youth or average beauty. Quite
recently Major Martin Hume wrote of Mary that 'a contemplation of her
known authentic portraits, even those taken in the best years of her
youth and happiness, does not carry conviction that her physical beauty
alone can have been the cause of the extraordinary influence she
exercised over the men who came within the sphere of her attraction'.
And now we have Mr. Foster admitting that 'scarcely any of the so-called
portraits of Mary Stuart bear out the reputation of her beauty'; and
that 'all her pictures entirely lack that indefinable charm which
captivated everyone brought in contact with her'. He seems to attribute
this, in some measure, at least, to the imperfections of the artists of
the time. He might perhaps have added, to the unfavourable circumstances
under which they worked. For, as M. Dimier tells us, 'the oil-painting
was never attempted from life. The artist brought away from his model
nothing but the crayon and some written notes concerning the complexion,
colour of hair, and of the eyes; he handled the colours only in his
studio, and finished the work at his leisure'. We know, too, of Mary
Stuart, in particular, that she ordered portraits of herself to be
painted in France, fourteen years after leaving the country."

[3] _OEuvres_, vol. ii, p. 1172.

[4] _Memoirs_, p. 124.

[5] _Brantôme_, t. v, p. 94.

[6] _Memoirs_, p. 123.

[7] T. Wright's _Queen Elizabeth and her Time_, vol. i, p. 311.

[8] G. Chalmers, _Life of Queen Mary_, vol. i, pp. 443-4.

[9] _OEuvres_, vol. ii, pp. 1172-4.

[10] Melville's _Memoirs_, p. 124.

[11] T. v, p. 86.

[12] _OEuvres_, l. c.

[13] _History of the Reformation_, vol. ii, p. 381.

[14] Teulet, _Papiers d'État_, t. ii, p. 883.

[15] T. v, pp. 83-4.

[16] _Rhétorique Françoise_, Paris, 1555.

[17] _Latin Themes of Mary Stuart_, published by Anatole de Montaiglon.

[18] Letter from Randolph to Cecil, 7 April, 1562.

[19] _Brantôme_, t. v., p. 84.

[20] _Inventories of Mary Queen of Scots_. Bannatyne Club, p. 179 _et

[21] _Inventories_, p. cv.

[22] "Concionero de Romances", _Inventories_, p. cxlvi.

[23] Unless it be he that is meant in the entry: "Danies Vgieri in
Italian", _Inventories_, p. cxliv.

[24] Haynes's _Collection of State Papers_, p. 509.

[25] Sir H. Ellis's _Original Letters Illustrative of English History_,
First Series, vol. ii, p. 252.

[26] _Inventories_, p. 179.

[27] "Pantagruell in Frenche", _Inventories_, p. cxlvi.

[28] _OEuvres de Ronsard_, vol. ii, p. 1171.

[29] For a full account of this literary forgery, see below, pp. 79-90.

[30] The following scheme shows how these anagrams were formed:--

    1  2  3  4  5    6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13
    M  A  R  I  E    S  T  V  V   A   R   T   E

    6  2    8  5  3  7  9    1  10  12  4  11  13
    S  A    V  E  R  T  V    M'  A   T  I   R   E

    8  2    7  9    1  5  3  4  12  13  11  10  6
    V  A,   T  V    M  E  R  I   T   E   R   A  S

[31] "G. Conaei vita Mariae Stuartae, 1624", in _Jebb_, vol. ii, p. 15.

[32] Diary, 24 Nov., 1665.

[33] Letter from Randolph to Cecil, 15 May, 1563.

[34] P. 87.

[35] Con, in _Jebb_, vol. ii, p. 15.

[36] P. 125.

[37] _Ibid._

[38] In _Jebb_, l. c.

[39] _Basilikon Doron_, p. 125, edit. 1603.

[40] _Compotum Thesaurarii Reginæ Scotorum_, 30 Nov., 1565.

[41] Thomson's _Collection of Inventories_, pp. 238-40.

[42] _Inventories_, p. cxxi.

[43] Letter to Cecil, in Haynes's _State Papers_, pp. 509-10.

[44] _De Regno et Regali Potestate_, edit. 1612, pp. 279-80.

[45] _Inventories_, pp. xc, 141, 148.

[46] Prince Labanoff, _Lettres de Marie Stuart_, t. iv, pp. 228-9.

[47] Cf. "Le Vray Rapport de l'exécution faicte sur la personne de la
Royne d'Escosse", published by Teulet, _Papiers d'Etat_, &c., p. 884.

[48] _History of the Reformation_, vol. ii, p. 373.

[49] _Inventories_, p. lxix.


Reference is seldom made to the Queen's Marys, the four Maids of Honour
whose romantic attachment to their royal mistress and namesake, the
ill-fated Queen of Scots, has thrown such a halo of popularity and
sympathy about their memory, without calling forth the well-known lines:

        Yestreen the Queen had four Maries,
        The night she'll hae but three;
    There was Marie Seton, and Marie Beton,
        And Marie Carmichael and me.

To those who are acquainted with the whole of the ballad, which records
the sad fate of the guilty Mary Hamilton, it must have occurred that
there is a striking incongruity between the traditional loyalty of the
Queen's Marys and the alleged execution of one of their number, on the
denunciation of the offended Queen herself, for the murder of an
illegitimate child, the reputed offspring of a criminal intrigue with
Darnley. Yet a closer investigation of the facts assumed in the ballad
leads to a discovery more unexpected than even this. It establishes,
beyond the possibility of a doubt, that, of the four family-names given
in the stanza as those of the four Marys, two only are authentic. Mary
Carmichael and Mary Hamilton herself are mere poetical myths. Not only
does no mention of them occur in any of the lists still extant of the
Queen's personal attendants, but there also exist documents of all
kinds, from serious historical narrative and authoritative charter to
gossiping correspondence and polished epigram, to prove that the
colleagues of Mary Beton and Mary Seton were Mary Fleming and Mary
Livingston. How the apocryphal names have found their way into the
ballad, or how the ballad itself has come to be connected with the Maids
of Honour, cannot be determined. There is, however, in Knox's _History
of the Reformation_, a passage which has been looked upon as furnishing
a possible foundation of truth to the whole fiction. It is that in which
he records the commission and the punishment of a crime similar to that
for which Mary Hamilton is represented as about to die on the gallows.
"In the very time of the General Assembly there comes to public
knowledge a haynous murther, committed in the Court; yea, not far from
the queen's lap: for a French woman, that served in the queen's chamber,
had played the whore with the queen's own apothecary. The woman
conceived and bare a child, whom with common consent, the father and
mother murthered; yet were the cries of a new-borne childe hearde,
searche was made, the childe and the mother were both apprehended, and
so was the man and the woman condemned to be hanged in the publicke
street of Edinburgh. The punishment was suitable, because the crime was
haynous."[50] Between this historical fact--for the authenticity of
which we have also the testimony of Randolph[51]--and the ballad, which
substitutes Darnley and one of the Maids of Honour for the queen's
apothecary and a nameless waiting-woman, the connection is not very
close. Indeed, there is but one point on which both accounts are in
agreement, though that, it is true, is an important one. The unnatural
mother whose crime, with its condign punishment, is mentioned by the
historian, was, he says, a French woman. The Mary Hamilton of the
ballad, in spite of a name which certainly does not point to a foreign
origin, is also made to come from over the seas:

        I charge ye all, ye mariners,
        When ye sail ower the faem;
    Let neither my father nor my mother get wit
        But that I'm coming hame.

           *       *       *       *       *

        O, little did my mother ken,
        The day she cradled me,
    The lands I was to travel in,
        Or the death I was to dee.

It does not, however, come within the scope of the present paper to
examine more closely into the ballad of Mary Hamilton. It suffices to
have made it clear that, whatever be their origin, the well-known verses
have no historical worth or significance, and no real claim to the title
of "The Queen's Marie" prefixed to them in the _Minstrelsy of the
Scottish Border_.[52] Except for the purpose of correcting the
erroneous, but general belief, which has been propagated by the singular
and altogether unwarranted mention of the "Four Marys", and the
introduction of the names of two of them in the oft-quoted stanza, there
would, in reality, be no necessity for any allusion to the popular poem
in a sketch of the career of the fair Maids of Honour, whose touching
fidelity through good and evil fortune has won for them a greater share
of interest than is enjoyed by any of the subordinate characters in the
great historical drama of which their royal mistress is the central

The first historical and authoritative mention of the four Marys is from
the pen of one who was personally and intimately acquainted with
them--John Leslie, Bishop of Ross. It occurs in his description of the
departure of the infant Mary Stuart from the small harbour at the foot
of the beetling, castle-crowned rock of Dumbarton, on that memorable
voyage which so nearly resembled a flight. "All things being reddy for
the jornay," writes the chronicler, in his quaint northern idiom, "the
Quene being as than betuix fyve and sax yearis of aige, wes delivered
to the quene dowarier hir moder, and wes embarqued in the Kingis awin
gallay, and with her the Lord Erskyn and Lord Levingstoun quha had bene
hir keparis, and the Lady Fleming her fadir sister, with sindre
gentilwemen and nobill mennis sonnes and dochteres, almoist of hir awin
age; of the quhilkes thair wes four in speciall, of whom everie one of
thame buir the samin name of Marie, being of four syndre honorable
houses, to wyt, Fleming, Levingstoun, Seton and Betoun of Creich; quho
remainit all foure with the Quene in France, during her residens thair,
and returned agane in Scotland with her Majestie in the yeir of our Lord
I^{m}V^{c}lxi yeris."[53] Of the education and early training of the
four Marys, as companions and playmates of the youthful queen, we have
no special record. The deficiency is one which our knowledge of the wild
doings of the gayest court of the age makes it easy to supply. For the
Scottish maidens, as for their mistress, intercourse with the frivolous
company that gathered about Catherine de' Medici was but indifferent
preparation for the serious business of life. Looking back on "those
French years", doubtless they too, like her, "only seemed to see--

    A light of swords and singing, only hear
    Laughter of love and lovely stress of lutes,
    And in between the passion of them borne
    Sound of swords crossing ever, as of feet
    Dancing, and life and death still equally
    Blithe and bright-eyed from battle."

Brantôme, to whom we are indebted for so much personal description of
Mary Stuart, and so many intimate details concerning her character,
tastes, and acquirements, is less communicative with respect to her
four fair attendants. He merely mentions them amongst the court
beauties as "Mesdamoiselles de Flammin, de Ceton, Beton, Leviston,
escoissaises".[54] He makes no allusion to them in the pathetic
description of the young queen's departure from her "sweet France" on
the fateful 24th of August, a date which subsequent events were destined
to mark with a fearful stain of blood, in the family to which she was
allied. Yet, doubtless they, too, were gazing with tearful eyes at the
receding shore, blessing the calm which retarded their course, trembling
with vague fears as their voyage began amidst the cries of drowning men,
and half wishing that the English ships of the jealous Elizabeth might
prevent them from reaching their dreary destination. That they were with
their royal namesake, we know. Leslie, who, with Brantôme and the
unfortunate Chastelard, accompanied the idol of France to her
unsympathetic northern home, again makes special note of "the four
maidis of honour quha passit with hir Hienes in France, of her awin
aige, bering the name everie ane of Marie, as is befoir mencioned".

During the first years of Mary Stuart's stay in her capital, the four
maids of honour played conspicuous parts in all the amusements and
festivities of the court, and were amongst those who incurred the
censure of the austere Reformers for introducing into Holyrood the
"balling, and dancing, and banquetting"[55] of Amboise and Fontainbleau.
Were our information about the masques acted at the Scottish Court less
scanty, we should, doubtless, often find the names of the four Marys
amongst the performers. Who more fit than they to figure in the first
masque represented at Holyrood, in October, 1561, at the Queen's
farewell banquet to her uncle, the Grand Prior of the Knights of St.
John, and to take their places amongst the Muses who marched in
procession before the throne, reciting Buchanan's flattering verses in
praise of the lettered court of the Queen of Scots?

    Banished by War, to thee we take our flight,
      Who still dost worship at the Muses' shrine,
    And, solaced by thy presence, day and night,
      Nor murmur at our exile, nor repine.

Had Marioreybanks given us the names of those who took part in the
festivities which he describes as having taken place on the occasion of
Lord Fleming's marriage, can we doubt that the Marys would have been
found actively engaged in the open-air performance "in the Parke of
Holyroudhous, under Arthur's Seatt, at the end of the loche"?[56]
Indeed, it is not matter of mere conjecture, but of authentic historical
record, that on more than one occasion Buchanan did actually introduce
the Queen's namesakes amongst the dramatis personæ of the masques
which, as virtual laureate of the Scottish Court, he was called upon to
supply. The _Diurnal of Occurrents_ mentions that "upoun the ellevint
day of the said moneth (February) the King and Quene in lyik manner
bankettit the samin (French) Ambassatour; and at evin our Soveranis maid
the maskrie and mumschance, in the quhilk the Queenis Grace and all hir
Maries and ladies were all cled in men's apperell; and everie ane of
thame presentit ane quhingar, bravelie and maist artificiallie made and
embroiderit with gold, to the said Ambassatour and his gentilmen, everie
ane of thame according to his estate".[57] That this, moreover, was not
the first appearance of the fair performers we also know, for it was
they who bore the chief parts in the third masque acted during the
festivities which attended the Queen's marriage with Darnley; and it was
one of them, perhaps Mary Beton, the scholar of the court, who recited
the verses which Buchanan had introduced in allusion to their royal
mistress's recovery from some illness otherwise unrecorded in history:

    Kind Goddess, Health, four Nymphs their voices raise
    To welcome thy return and sing thy praise,
    To beg as suppliants that thou wouldst deign
    To smile benignly on their Queen again,
    And make her royal breast thy hallowed shrine,
    Where best and worthiest worship shall be thine.

That the four Nymphs mentioned in this, the only fragment of the masque
which has been preserved, were the four Marys, is explained by
Buchanan's commentator, Ruddiman: "Nymphas his vocat quatuor Mariæ Scotæ
corporis ministras, quæ etiam omnes Mariæ nominabantur". It is more than
probable, too, that the Marys were not merely spectators of the masque
which formed a part of the first day's amusements, and of which they
themselves were the subject-matter. It may still be read under the title
of "Pompa Deorum in Nuptiis Mariæ", in Buchanan's Latin poems. Diana
opens the masque, which is but a short mythological dialogue, with a
complaint to the ruler of Olympus that one of her five Marys--the Queen
herself is here included--has been taken from her by the envious arts of
Venus and of Juno:

    Five Marys erst my boast and glory were,
    Each one in youthful beauty passing fair;
    Whilst these enhanced the splendour of my state
    To all the gods I seemed too fortunate,
    Till Venus, urged by Juno in her ire,
    Stole one away and marred my comely quire,
    Whereof the other four now grieve that they
    Must, like the Pleiads, shine with lessened ray.

In the dialogue which follows, and in which five goddesses and five gods
take part, Apollo chimes in with a prophecy which was only partially

    Fear not, Diana, cast away thy care,
    And hear the tidings which I prescient bear;
    Juno decrees thy Marys shall be wed,
    And in all state to Hymen's altar led,
    But each to fill its lessened ranks again,
    Will add her offspring to thy beauteous train.

In his summing up, which, as may be imagined, is not very favourable to
the complainant, the Olympian judge also introduces a prettily turned
compliment to the Marys:

    Five Marys erst were thine and each one meet
    With goddesses in beauty to compete;
    Each worthy of a god, if iron fate
    Allowed the gods to choose a mortal mate.

The whole pageant closes with an epilogue spoken by the herald
Talthybius, who also foretells further defections from Diana's maidens:

    Another marriage! Hear the joyful cry:
    Another Mary joined in nuptial tie!

As was but natural, the Queen's favourite attendants possessed
considerable influence with their royal lady, and the sequel will show,
in the case of each of them, how eagerly their good offices were sought
after by courtiers and ambassadors anxious for the success of their
several suits and missions. In a letter which Randolph wrote to Cecil on
the 24th of October, 1564, and which, as applying to the Marys
collectively, may be quoted here, we are shown the haughty Lennox
himself condescending to make pretty presents to the maids with a view
to ingratiating himself with the mistress. "He presented also each of
the Marys with such pretty things as he thought fittest for them, such
good means he hath to win their hearts, and to make his way to further


[50] Knox's _History of the Reformation_, pp. 373, 374.

[51] Writing to Cecil on the 31st of December, 1563, Randolph reports:
"The frenche potticarie and the woman he gotte with chylde were bothe
hanged thys present Fridaye".

[52] In Mr. Andrew Lang's book, _The Valet's Tragedy and other Studies_,
pp. 291-311, there is an exhaustive discussion of the various points
that arise in connection with the ballad of "The Queen's Marie".

[53] Bishop Lesley's _History of Scotland_, p. 209.

[54] _Brantôme_, t. v, p. 74.

[55] Knox's _History of the Reformation_, book v, vol. ii, p. 495.

[56] _Annals of Scotland_, p. 14.

[57] _Diurnal of Occurrents_, p. 87.

[58] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. ix.


It is scarcely the result of mere chance that, in the chronicles which
make mention of the four Marys, Mary Fleming's name usually takes
precedence of those of her three colleagues. She seems to have been
tacitly recognized as "prima inter pares". This was, doubtless, less in
consequence of her belonging to one of the first houses in Scotland, for
the Livingstons, the Betons, and the Setons might well claim equality
with the Flemings, than of her being closely related to Mary Stuart
herself, though the relationship, it is true, was only on the side of
the distaff, and though there was, moreover, a bar sinister on the royal
quarterings which it added to the escutcheon of the Flemings. Mary
Fleming--Marie Flemyng, as she signed herself, or Flamy, as she was
called in the Queen's broken English--was the fourth daughter of
Malcolm, third Lord Fleming. Her mother, Janet Stuart, was a natural
daughter of King James IV. Mary Fleming and her royal mistress were
consequently first cousins. This may sufficiently account for the
greater intimacy which existed between them. Thus, after Chastelard's
outrage, it was Mary Fleming whom the Queen, dreading the loneliness
which had rendered the wild attempt possible, called in to sleep with
her, for protection.

Amongst the various festivities and celebrations which were revived in
Holyrood by Mary and the suite which she had brought with her from the
gay court of France, that of Twelfth Night seems to have been in high
favour, as, indeed, it still is in some provinces of France at the
present day. In the "gâteau des Rois", or Twelfth Night Cake, it was
customary to hide a bean, and when the cake was cut up and distributed,
the person to whom chance--or not infrequently design--brought the piece
containing the bean, was recognized sole monarch of the revels until the
stroke of midnight. On the 6th of January, 1563, Mary Fleming was
elected queen by favour of the bean. Her mistress, entering into the
spirit of the festivities, with her characteristic considerateness for
even the amusement of those about her, abdicated her state in favour of
the mimic monarch of the night. A letter written by Randolph to Lord
Dudley, and bearing the date of the 15th of January, gives an
interesting and vivid picture of the fair maid of honour decked out in
her royal mistress's jewels: "You should have seen here upon Tuesday the
great solemnity and royall estate of the Queen of the Beene. Fortune was
so favourable to faire Flemyng, that, if shee could have seen to have
judged of her vertue and beauty, as blindly she went to work and chose
her at adventure, shee would sooner have made her Queen for ever, then
for one night only, to exalt her so high and the nixt to leave her in
the state she found her.... That day yt was to be seen, by her princely
pomp, how fite a match she would be, wer she to contend ether with Venus
in beauty, Minerva in witt, or Juno in worldly wealth, haveing the two
former by nature, and of the third so much as is contained in this
realme at her command and free disposition. The treasure of Solomon, I
trowe, was not to be compared unto that which hanged upon her back....
The Queen of the Beene was in a gowne of cloath of silver; her head, her
neck, her shoulders, the rest of her whole body, so besett with stones,
that more in our whole jewell house wer not to be found. The Queen
herself was apparelled in collours whyt and black, no other jewell or
gold about her bot the ring that I brought her from the Queen's Majestie
hanging at her breast, with a lace of whyt and black about her neck." In
another part of the same letter the writer becomes even more
enthusiastic: "Happy was it unto this realm," he says, "that her reign
endured no longer. Two such nights in one state, in so good accord, I
believe was never seen, as to behold two worthy queens possess, without
envy, one kingdom, both upon a day. I leave the rest to your lordship to
be judged of. My pen staggereth, my hand faileth, further to write....
The cheer was great. I never found myself so happy, nor so well treated,
until that it came to the point that the old queen herself, to show her
mighty power, contrary unto the assurance granted me by the younger
queen, drew me into the dance, which part of the play I could with good
will have spared to your lordship, as much fitter for the purpose."[59]

The queen of this Twelfth-Tide pageant was also celebrated by the court
poet Buchanan. Amongst his epigrams there is one bearing the title: "Ad
Mariam Flaminiam sorte Reginam":

    Could worth or high descent a crown bestow,
    Thou hadst been Queen, fair Fleming, long ago;
    Were grace and beauty titles to the throne,
    No grace or beauty had outshone thine own;
    Did vows of mortal men avail with Fate,
    Our vows had raised thee to the royal state.
    The fickle Deity that rules mankind,
    Though blind and deaf and foolish in her mind,
    Seemed neither foolish, deaf, nor blind to be
    When regal honours she accorded thee;
    Or, if she were, then 'twas by Virtue led
    She placed the diadem upon thy head.[60]

The "Faire Flemyng" found an admirer amongst the English gentlemen whom
political business had brought to the Scotch Court. This was Sir Henry
Sidney, of whom Naunton reports that he was a statesman "of great
parts". As Sir Henry was born in 1519, and consequently over twenty
years older than the youthful maid of honour, his choice cannot be
considered to have been a very judicious one, nor can the ill-success of
his suit appear greatly astonishing. And yet, as the sequel was to
show, Mary Fleming had no insuperable objection to an advantageous
match on the score of disparity of age. In the year following that in
which she figured as Queen of the Bean at Holyrood, the gossiping
correspondence of the time expatiates irreverently enough on Secretary
Maitland's wooing of the maid of honour. He was about forty at the time,
and it was not very long since his first wife, Janet Monteith, had died.
Mary Fleming was about two-and-twenty. There was, consequently, some
show of reason for the remark made by Kirkcaldy of Grange, in
communicating to Randolph the new matrimonial project in which Maitland
was embarked: "The Secretary's wife is dead, and he is a suitor to Mary
Fleming, who is as meet for him as I am to be a page".[61] Cecil appears
to have been taken into the Laird of Lethington's confidence, and
doubtless found amusement in the enamoured statesman's extravagance.
"The common affairs do never so much trouble me but that at least I have
one merry hour of the four-and-twenty.... Those that be in love are ever
set upon a merry pin; yet I take this to be a most singular remedy for
all diseases in all persons."[62] Two of the keenest politicians of
their age laying aside their diplomatic gravity and forgetting the
jealousies and the rivalry of their respective courts to discuss the
charms of the Queen's youthful maid of honour: it is a charming
historical vignette not without interest and humour even at this length
of time. We may judge to what extent the Secretary was "set on a merry
pin", from Randolph's description of the courtship. In a letter dated 31
March, 1565, and addressed to Sir Henry Sidney, Mary Fleming's old
admirer, he writes: "She neither remembereth you, nor scarcely
acknowledgeth that you are her man. Your lordship, therefore, need not
to pride you of any such mistress in this court; she hath found another
whom she doth love better. Lethington now serveth her alone, and is
like, for her sake, to run beside himself. Both night and day he
attendeth, he watcheth, he wooeth--his folly never more apparent than in
loving her, where he may be assured that, how much soever he make of
her, she will always love another better. This much I have written for
the worthy praise of your noble mistress, who, now being neither much
worth in beauty, nor greatly to be praised in virtue, is content, in
place of lords and earls, to accept to her service a poor pen
clerk."[63] We have not to reconcile the ill-natured and slanderous
remarks of Randolph's letter with the glowing panegyric penned by him
some two years previously. That he intended to comfort the rejected
suitor, and to tone down the disappointment and the jealousy which he
might feel at the success of a rival not greatly younger than himself,
would be too charitable a supposition. It is not improbable that he may
have had more personal reasons for his spite, and that when, in the same
letter, he describes "Fleming that once was so fair", wishing "with
many a sigh that Randolph had served her", he is giving a distorted and
unscrupulous version of an episode not unlike that between Mary Fleming
and Sir Henry himself. To give even the not very high-minded Randolph
his due, however, it is but fair to add that his later letters, whilst
fully bearing out what he had previously stated with regard to
Maitland's lovemaking, throw no doubt on Mary's sincerity: "Lethington
hath now leave and time to court his mistress, Mary Fleming";[64] and,
again, "My old friend, Lethington, hath leisure to make love; and, in
the end, I believe, as wise as he is, will show himself a very fool, or
stark, staring mad".[65] This "leisure to make love" is attributed to
Rizzio, then in high favour with the Queen. This was about the end of
1565. Early in 1566, however, the unfortunate Italian was murdered under
circumstances too familiar to need repetition, and for his share in the
unwarrantable transaction, Secretary Maitland was banished from the
royal presence. The lovers were, in consequence, parted for some six
months, from March to September. It was about this time that Queen Mary,
dreading the hour of her approaching travail, and haunted by a
presentiment that it would prove fatal to her, caused inventories of her
private effects to be drawn up, and made legacies to her personal
friends and attendants. The four Marys were not forgotten. They were
each to receive a diamond; "Aux quatre Maries, quatre autres petis
diamants de diverse façon",[66] besides a portion of the Queen's
needlework and linen: "tous mes ouurasges, manches et collets aux quatre
Maries".[67] In addition to this, there was set down for "Flamy", two
pieces of gold lace with ornaments of white and red enamel, a dress, a
necklace, and a chain to be used as a girdle. We may infer that red and
white were the maid of honour's favourite colours, for "blancq et rouge"
appear in some form or another in all the items of the intended

As we have said, the Secretary's disgrace was not of long duration.
About September he was reinstated in the Queen's favour, and in December
received from her a dress of cloth of gold trimmed with silver lace:
"Une vasquyne de toille d'or plaine auecq le corps de mesme fait a
bourletz borde dung passement dargent".[69]

On the 6th of January, 1567, William Maitland of Lethington and Mary
Fleming were married at Stirling, where the Queen was keeping her court,
and where she spent the last Twelfth-Tide she was to see outside the
walls of a prison. The Secretary's wife, as Mary was frequently styled
after her marriage, did not cease to be in attendance upon her royal
cousin, and we get occasional glimpses of her in the troubled times
which were to follow. Thus, on the eventful morning on which Bothwell's
trial began, Mary Fleming stood with the Queen at the window from which
the latter, after having imprudently refused an audience to the
Provost-Marshal of Berwick, Elizabeth's messenger, still more
imprudently watched the bold Earl's departure and, it was reported,
smiled and nodded encouragement. Again, in the enquiry which followed
the Queen's escape from Lochleven, it appeared that her cousin had been
privy to the plot for her release, and had found the means of conveying
to the royal captive the assurance that her friends were working for her
deliverance: "The Queen", so ran the evidence of one of the attendants
examined after the flight, "said scho gat ane ring and three wordis in
Italianis in it. I iudget it cam fra the Secretar, because of the
language. Scho said, 'Na, ... it was ane woman. All the place saw hir
weyr it. Cursall show me the Secretaris wiff send it, and the vreting of
it was ane fable of Isop betuix the Mouss and the Lioune, hou the Mouss
for ane plesour done to hir be the Lioune, efter that, the Lioune being
bound with ane corde, the Mouss schuyr the corde and let the Lioune

During her long captivity in England, the unfortunate Queen was not
unmindful of the love and devotion of her faithful attendant. Long
years after she had been separated from her, whilst in prison at
Sheffield, she gives expression to her longing for the presence of Mary
Fleming, and in a letter written "du manoir de Sheffield", on the 1st of
May, 1581, to Monsieur de Mauvissière, the French ambassador, she begs
him to renew her request to Elizabeth that the Lady of Lethington should
be allowed to tend her in "the valetudinary state into which she has
fallen, of late years, owing to the bad treatment to which she has been

But the Secretary's wife had had her own trials and her own sorrows. On
the 9th of June, 1573, her husband died at Leith, "not without suspicion
of poison", according to Killigrew. Whether he died by his own hand, or
by the act of his enemies, is a question which we are not called upon to
discuss. The evidence of contemporaries is conflicting, "some supponyng
he tak a drink and died as the auld Romans wer wont to do", as Sir James
Melville reports;[72] others, and amongst these Queen Mary herself, that
he had been foully dealt with. Writing to Elizabeth, she openly gives
expression to this belief: "the principal (of the rebel lords) were
besieged by your forces in the Castle of Edinburgh, and one of the first
among them poisoned".

Maitland was to have been tried "for art and part of the treason,
conspiracy, consultation, and treating of the King's murder". According
to the law of Scotland, a traitor's guilt was not cancelled by death.
The corpse might be arraigned and submitted to all the indignities which
the barbarous code of the age recognized as the punishment of treason.
It was intended to inflict the fullest penalty upon Maitland's corpse,
and it remained unburied "till the vermin came from his corpse, creeping
out under the door of the room in which he was lying".[73] In her
distress the widow applied to Burleigh, in a touching letter which is
still preserved. It bears the date of the 21st of June, 1573.

            My very good Lord,--After my humble commendations,
          it may please your Lordship that the causes of the
          sorrowful widow, and orphants, by Almighty God
          recommended to the superior powers, together with the
          firm confidence my late husband, the Laird of
          Ledington, put in your Lordship's only help is the
          occasion, that I his desolat wife (though unknown to
          your Lordship), takes the boldness by these few lines,
          to humblie request your Lordship, that as my said
          husband being alive expected no small benefit at your
          hands, so now I may find such comfort, that the
          Queen's Majestie, your Sovereign, may by your travell
          and means be moved to write to my Lord Regent of
          Scotland, that the body of my husband, which when
          alive has not been spared in her hieness' service, may
          now, after his death, receive no shame, or ignominy,
          and that his heritage taken from him during his
          lifetime, now belonging to me and his children, that
          have not offended, by a disposition made a long time
          ago, may be restored, which is aggreeable both to
          equity and the laws of this realme; and also your
          Lordship will not forget my husband's brother, the
          Lord of Coldingham, ane innocent gentleman, who was
          never engaged in these quarrels, but for his love to
          his brother, accompanied him, and is now a prisoner
          with the rest, that by your good means, and
          procurement, he may be restored to his own, by doing
          whereof, beside the blessing of God, your lordship
          will also win the goodwill of many noblemen and

Burleigh lost no time in laying the widow's petition before Elizabeth,
and on the 19th of July a letter written at Croydon was dispatched to
the Regent Morton: "For the bodie of Liddington, who died before he was
convict in judgment, and before any answer by him made to the crymes
objected to him, it is not our maner in this contrey to show crueltey
upon the dead bodies so unconvicted, but to suffer them streight to be
buried, and put in the earth. And so suerly we think it mete to be done
in this case, for (as we take it) it was God's pleasure he should be
taken away from the execucion of judgment, so we think consequently that
it was His divine pleasure that the bodie now dead should not be
lacerated, nor pullid in pieces, but be buried like to one who died in
his bed, and by sicknes, as he did."[75]

Such a petitioner as the Queen of England was not to be denied, and
Maitland's body was allowed the rites of burial. The other penalties
which he had incurred by his treason--real or supposed--were not
remitted. An Act of Parliament was passed "for rendering the children,
both lawful and natural, of Sir William Maitland of Lethington, the
younger, and of several others, who had been convicted of the murder of
the King's father, incapable of enjoying, or claiming, any heritages,
lands, or possessions in Scotland".

The widow herself was also subjected to petty annoyances at the
instigation of Morton. She was called upon to restore the jewels which
her royal mistress had given her as a free gift, and in particular, "one
chayn of rubeis with twelf markes of dyamontis and rubeis, and ane mark
with twa rubeis".[76] Even her own relatives seemed to have turned
against her in her distress. In a letter written in French to her
sister-in-law, Isabel, wife of James Heriot of Trabroun, she refers to
some accusation brought against her by her husband's brother,
Coldingham--the same for whom she had interceded in her letter to
Burleigh--and begs to be informed as to the nature of the charge made to
the Regent, "car ace que jantans il me charge de quelque chose, je ne
say que cest".[77] The letter bears no date, but seems to have been
penned when the writer's misery was at its sorest, for it concludes with
an earnest prayer that patience may be given her to bear the weight of
her misfortunes.

Better days, however, were yet in store for the much-tried Mary Fleming,
for in February, 1584, the "relict of umquhill William Maitland, younger
of Lethington, Secretare to our Soverane Lord", succeeded in obtaining
a reversion of her husband's forfeiture. In May of the same year,[78]
the Parliament allowed "Marie Flemyng and hir bairns to have bruik and
inioy the same and like fauour, grace and priuilege and conditioun as is
contenit in the pacificatioun maid and accordit at Perthe, the xxiii day
of Februar, the yeir of God I^{m} V^{c} lxxxij yeiris".

With this document one of the four Marys disappears from the scene. Of
her later life we have no record. That it was thoroughly happy we can
scarcely assume, for we know that her only son James died in poverty and


[59] _Miscellany of the Maitland Club_, vol. ii, pp. 390-3.

[60] _Epigrammatum_, lib. iii.

[61] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. ix, No. 47 B.

[62] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. x, Feb. 28, 1565.

[63] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. x, 31 March, 1565.

[64] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. x, 3 June, 1565.

[65] _Calendar of State Papers, Eliz._, vol. xi, 31 Oct., 1565.

[66] _Inventories_, p. 113.

[67] _Inventories_, p. 124.

[68] "A Flamy. Vne brodure dor esmaille de blancq et rouge contenante
xxxvij pieces.

Vne brodure dorelette de mesme façon garnye de lj piece esmaille de
blancq et rouge.

Vne cottouere de mesme façon contenante soixante piece esmaille de blanc
et rouge.

Vng quarquan esmaille aussy de blancq et rouge garny de vingt une piece.

Vne chesne a saindre en semblable façon contenante lij pieces esmaillez
de blanc et rouge et vng vaze pandant au bout."--_Inventories_, p. 116.

[69] _Inventories_, p. 69.

[70] MS. Fragment in the Register House; cf. _Inventories_, p. 1.

[71] Prince Labanoff, _Lettres de Marie Stuart_, t. v, p. 222.

[72] _Memoirs_, p. 256.

[73] Calderwood, _History of the Kirk of Scotland_, vol. iii, p. 285.

[74] G. Chalmers, _Life of Mary Queen of Scots_, vol. iii, p. 615.

[75] _Calendar of State Papers_, vol. iv, p. 599.

[76] Thomson's _Collection of Inventories_, p. 193; cf. _Calendar of
State Papers_, vol. iv, Oct. 19, 1573; and _Inventories of Mary_, p.

[77] Printed in _Letters from Lady Margaret Burnet to John, Duke of
Lauderdale_, p. 83. Bannatyne Club.

[78] _Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland_, vol. iii, p. 313.


Mary Livingston, or, as she signed herself, Marie Leuiston, was the
daughter of Alexander, fifth Lord Livingston. She was a cousin of Mary
Fleming's, and, like her, related, though more distantly, to the
sovereign. When she sailed from Scotland in 1548, as one of the
playmates of the infant Mary Stuart, she was accompanied by both her
father and her mother. Within a few years, however, she was left to the
sole care of the latter, Lord Livingston having died in France in 1553.
Of her life at the French Court we have no record. Her first appearance
in the pages of contemporary chroniclers is on the 22nd of April, 1562,
the year after her return to Scotland. On that date, the young Queen,
who delighted in the sport of archery, shot off a match in her private
gardens at St. Andrews. Her own partner was the Master of Lindsay.[79]
Their opponents were the Earl of Moray, then only Earl of Mar, and Mary
Livingston, whose skill is reported to have been--when courtesy allowed
it--quite equal to that of her royal mistress.

The next item of information is to be found in the matter-of-fact
columns of an account book, in which we find it entered that the Queen
gave Mary Livingston some grey damask for a gown, in September,
1563,[80] and some black velvet for the same purpose in the following
February.[81] Shortly after this, however, there occurred an event of
greater importance, which supplied the letter-writers of the day with
material for their correspondence. On the 5th of March, 1564, Mary
Livingston was married to James Sempill, of Beltreis. It was the first
marriage amongst the Marys, and consequently attracted considerable
attention for months before the celebration. As early as January, Paul
de Foix, the French Ambassador, makes allusion to the approaching event:
"Elle a commencé à marier ses quatre Maries", he writes to Catharine de'
Medici, "et dict qu'elle veult estre de la bande".[82] In a letter,
dated the 9th of the same month, Randolph, faithful to his habit of
communicating all the gossip of the Court in his reports to England,
informs Bedford of the intended marriage: "I learned yesterday that
there is a conspiracy here framed against you. The matter is this: the
Lord Sempill's son, being an Englishman born, shall be married between
this and Shrovetide to the Lord Livingston's sister. The Queen, willing
him well, both maketh the marriage and indoweth the parties with land.
To do them honour she will have them marry in the Court. The thing
intended against your lordship is this, that Sempill himself shall come
to Berwicke within these fourteen days, and desire you to be at the
bridal."[83] Writing to Leicester, he repeats his information: "It will
not be above 6 or 7 days before the Queen (returning from her progress
into Fifeshire) will be in this town. Immediately after that ensueth the
great marriage of this happy Englishman that shall marry lovely
Livingston."[84] Finally, on the 4th of March, he again writes: "Divers
of the noblemen have come to this great marriage, which to-morrow shall
be celebrated".[85] Randolph's epistolary garrulity has, in this
instance, served one good purpose, of which he probably little dreamt
when he filled his correspondence with the small talk of the Court
circle. It enables us to refute a calumnious assertion made by John Knox
with reference to the marriage of the Queen's maid of honour. "It was
weill knawin that schame haistit mariage betwix John Sempill, callit the
Danser, and Marie Levingstoune, surnameit the Lustie."[86] Randolph's
first letter, showing, as it does, that preparations for the wedding
were in progress as early as the beginning of January, summarily
dismisses the charge of "haste" in its celebration, whilst, for those
who are familiar with the style of the English envoy's correspondence,
his very silence will appear the strongest proof that Mary's fair fame
was tarnished by no breath of scandal. The birth of her first child in
1566, a fact to which the family records of the house of Sempill bear
witness, establishes more irrefutably than any argument the utter
falsity of Knox's unscrupulous assertion.

John Sempill, whose grace in dancing had acquired for him the surname
which seems to have lain so heavily on Knox's conscience, and whose good
fortune in finding favour with lovely Mary Livingston called forth
Randolph's congratulations, was the eldest son of the third lord, by his
second wife Elizabeth Carlyle of Torthorwold. At Court, as may have been
gathered from Randolph's letters, he was known as the "Englishman",
owing to the fact of his having been born in Newcastle. Although of good
family himself, and in high favour at Court, being but a younger son he
does not seem to have been considered on all hands as a fitting match
for Mary Livingston. This the Queen, of whose making the marriage was,
herself confesses in a letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow, reminding
him that, "in a country where these formalities were looked to",
exception had been taken to the marriage both of Mary and Magdalene
Livingston on the score that they had taken as husbands "the younger
sons of their peers--_les puînés de leurs semblables_".[87] Mary Stuart
seems to have been above such prejudices, and showed how heartily she
approved of the alliance between the two families by her liberality to
the bride. Shortly before the marriage she gave her a band covered with
pearls, a basquina of grey satin, a mantle of black taffety made in the
Spanish fashion with silver buttons, and also a gown of black taffety.
It was she, too, who furnished the bridal dress, which cost £30, as
entered in the accounts under date of the 10th of March:--

            Item: Ane pund xiii unce of silver to ane gown of
          Marie Levingstoune's to her mariage, the unce xxv s.
          Summa xxx li.

The "Inuentair of the Quenis movables quhilkis ar in the handes of
Seruais de Condy vallett of chalmer to hir Grace", records, further,
that there was "deliueret in Merche 1564, to Johnne Semples wiff, ane
bed of scarlett veluot bordit with broderie of black veluot, furnisit
with ruif heidpece, thre pandis, twa vnderpandis, thre curtenis of
taffetie of the same cullour without freingis. The bed is furnisit with
freingis of the same cullour." To make her gift complete, the Queen, as
another household document, her wardrobe book, testifies, added the
following items:--

   Item: Be the said precept to Marie Levingstoun xxxi elnis
         ii quarters of quhite fustiane to be ane marterass,
         the eln viii s. Summa xii li xii s.
   Item: xvi elnis of cammes to be palzeass, the eln vi s.
         Summa iiij li xvj s.
   Item: For nappes and fedders; v li.
   Item: Ane elne of lane; xxx s.
   Item: ij unce of silk; xx s.

The wedding for which such elaborate preparation had been made, and for
which the Queen herself named the day, took place, in the presence of
the whole Court and all the foreign ambassadors, on Shrove Tuesday,
which, as has already been mentioned, was on the 5th of March. In the
evening the wedding guests were entertained at a masque, which was
supplied by the Queen, but of which we know nothing further than may be
gathered from the following entry:--

            Item: To the painter for the mask on Fastionis evin
          to Marie Levingstoun's marriage; xij li.[88]

The marriage contract, which was signed at Edinburgh on the Sunday
preceding the wedding, bears the names of the Queen, of John Lord
Erskine, Patrick Lord Ruthven, and of Secretary Maitland of Lethington.
The bride's dowry consisted of £500 a year in land, the gift of the
Queen, to which Lord Livingston added 100 merks a year in land, or 1000
merks in money. As a jointure she received the Barony of Beltreis near
Castle Semple, in Renfrewshire, the lands of Auchimanes and Calderhaugh,
with the rights of fisheries in the Calder, taxed to the Crown at £18,
16s. 8d. a year.[89]

A few days after the marriage, on the 9th of March, a grant from the
Queen to Mary Livingston and John Sempill passed the great seal. In this
official document she styles the bride "her familiar servatrice", and
the bridegroom "her daily and familiar serviter, during all the
youthheid and minority of the said serviters". In recognition of their
services both to herself and the Queen Regent, she infeofs them in her
town and lands of Auchtermuchty, part of her royal demesne in Fifeshire,
the lands and lordships of Stewarton in Ayr, and the isle of Little
Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde.

After her marriage "Madamoiselle de Semple" was appointed lady of the
bedchamber, an office for which she received £200 a year. Her husband
also seems to have retained some office which required his personal
attendance on the Queen, for we know that both husband and wife were in
waiting at Holyrood on the memorable evening of David Rizzio's murder.
The shock which this tragic event produced on Mary was very great, and
filled her with the darkest forebodings. She more than once expressed
her fear that she would not survive her approaching confinement. About
the end of May or the beginning of June, shortly before the solemn
ceremony of "taking her chamber", she caused an inventory of her
personal effects to be drawn up by Mary Livingston and Margaret Carwod,
the bedchamber woman in charge of her cabinet, and with her own hand
wrote, on the margin opposite to each of the several articles, the name
of the person for whom it was intended, in the event of her death and of
that of her infant. Mary Livingston's name appears by the side of the
following objects in the original document, which was discovered among
some unassorted law papers in the Register House, in August, 1854:--

     Quatre vingtz deux esguillettes xliiij petittes de mesme
   facon esmaillez de blancq.
     Une brodure du toure contenante xxv pieces esmaille de
   blanc et noir facon de godrons.
     Vne brodeure doreillette de pareille facon contenante
   xxvij pieces esmaillees de blanc et noir.
     Vne cottouere de semblable facon contenante lx pieces de
   pareille facon esmaillee de blanc et noir.
     Vng carcan esmaille de blanc et noir contenant dixsept
   pieces et a chacune piece y a vng petit pandant.
     Vne chesne a saindre de semblable facon contenante liiij
   pieces esmaillees de blanc et noir et vng vaze au bout.
     Vne corde de coural contenante lxiij pieces faictes en vaze.
     Vne aultre corde de coural contenante treize grosses pieces
   aussy en vaze.
     Vne aultre corde de coural contenante xxxviij pieches plus
   petittes aussy en vaze.
     Vng reste de patenostres ou il a neuf meures de perles et
   des grains dargent entredeux.
     Vne saincture et cottouere de perles garnie bleu et grains
   noir faict a roisteau.
     Item: haill acoustrement of gold of couter carcan and
   chesne of 66 pyecis.

Only on one occasion after this do we find mention of Mary Livingston in
connection with her royal mistress. It is on the day following the
Queen's surrender at Carberry, when she was brought back a prisoner to
Edinburgh. The scene is described by Du Croc, the French Ambassador. "On
the evening of the next day," he writes in the official report forwarded
to his court, "at eight o'clock, the Queen was brought back to the
castle of Holyrood, escorted by three hundred arquebusiers, the Earl of
Morton on the one side, and the Earl of Athole on the other; she was on
foot, though two hacks were led in front of her; she was accompanied at
the time by Mademoiselle de Sempel and Seton, with others of her
chamber, and was dressed in a night-gown of various colours."[90]

After the Queen's removal from Edinburgh the Sempills also left it to
reside sometimes at Beltreis, and sometimes at Auchtermuchty, but
chiefly in Paisley, where they built a house which was still to be seen
but a few years ago, near what is now the Cross. Their retirement from
the capital did not, however, secure for them the quietness which they
expected to enjoy. They had stood too high in favour with the captive
Queen to be overlooked by her enemies. The Regent Lennox, remembering
that Mary Livingston had been entrusted with the care of the royal
jewels and wardrobe, accused her of having some of the Queen's effects
in her possession. Notwithstanding her denial, her husband was arrested
and cast into prison, and she herself brought before the Lords of the
Privy Council. Their cross-questioning and brow-beating failed to elicit
any information from her, and it was only when Lennox threatened to "put
her to the horn", and to inflict the torture of the "boot" on her
husband, that she confessed to the possession of "three lang-tailit
gowns garnished with fur of martrix and fur of sables". She protested,
however, that, as was indeed highly probable, these had been given to
her, and were but cast-off garments, of little value or use to anyone.
In spite of this, she was not allowed to depart until she had given
surety "that she would compear in the council-chamber on the morrow and
surrender the gear".

Lennox's death, which occurred shortly after this, did not put an end to
the persecution to which the Sempills were subjected. Morton was as
little friendly to them as his predecessor had been. He soon gave proof
of this by calling upon John Sempill to leave his family and to proceed
to England, as one of the hostages demanded as security for the return
of the army and implements of war, sent, under Sir William Drury, to lay
siege to Edinburgh Castle.

On his return home, Sempill found new and worse troubles awaiting him.
It happened that of the lands conferred upon Mary Livingston on her
marriage some portion lay near one of Morton's estates. Not only had the
Queen's gift been made by a special grant under the Great and Privy
Seals, but the charter of infeofment had also been ratified by a further
Act of Parliament in 1567, when it was found that the proposal to annul
the forfeiture of George Earl of Huntly would affect it. It seemed
difficult, therefore, to find even a legal flaw that would avail to
deprive the Sempills of their lands and afford the Regent an opportunity
of appropriating them to himself. He was probably too powerful, however,
to care greatly for the justice of his plea. He brought the matter
before the Court of Session, urging that the gift made by the Queen to
Mary Livingston and her husband was null and void, on the ground that
it was illegal to alienate the lands of the Crown. It was in vain that
Sempill brought forward the deed of gift under the Great and Privy
Seals, the judges would not allow his plea. Thereupon Sempill burst into
a violent passion, declaring that if he lost his suit, it would cost him
his life as well. Whiteford of Milntoune, a near relative of Sempill's,
who was with him at the time, likewise allowed his temper to get the
better of his discretion, and exclaimed "that Nero was but a dwarf
compared to Morton". This remark, all the more stinging that it was
looked upon as a sneer at the Regent's low stature, was never forgiven.
Not long after the conclusion of the lawsuit, both Sempill and Whiteford
were thrown into prison on a charge "of having conspired against the
Regent's life, and of having laid in wait by the Kirk, within the
Kirkland of Paisley, to have shot him, in the month of January, 1575, at
the instigation of the Lords Claud and John Hamilton". After having been
detained in prison till 1577, John Sempill was brought up for trial on
this capital charge. His alleged crime being of such a nature that it
was probably found impossible to prove it by the testimony of witnesses,
he was put to the torture of the boot, with which he had been threatened
on a former occasion. By this means sufficient was extorted from him to
give at least a semblance of justice to the sentence of death which was
passed on him. In consideration of this confession, however, the
sentence was not carried out. Ultimately he was set at liberty and
restored to his family. His health had completely broken down under the
terrible ordeal through which he had gone, and he only lingered on till
the 25th of April, 1579.

Of Mary Livingston's life after the death of her husband but little is
known. From an Act of Parliament passed in November, 1581, it appears
that tardy justice was done her by James VI, who caused the grants
formerly made to "umquhile John Semple, of Butress, and his spouse, to
be ratified". Her eldest son, James, was brought up with James VI, and
in later life was sent as ambassador to England. He was knighted in
1601. There were three other children--two boys, Arthur and John, and
one girl, Dorothie.

The exact date of Mary Livingston's death is not known, but she appears
to have been living in 1592.


[79] G. Chalmers' _Life of Queen Mary_, vol. i, p. 109.

[80] _Inventories_, p. 139.

[81] _Ibid._, p. 145.

[82] Teulet, _Papiers d'Etat relatifs à l'Histoire de l'Ecoss_, t. ii,
p. 32.

[83] Miss Strickland's _Lives of the Queens of Scotland_, vol. iv, p.

[84] _Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland_, vol. i, p. 204.

[85] _Ibid._, p. 207.

[86] _History of the Reformation_, vol. ii, p. 415.

[87] Prince Labanoff, _Lettres de Marie Stuart_, t. iv, p. 341.

[88] _Inventories_, pp. xlvii, 31, 65, 68, 70.

[89] _Ibid._, p. xlvii.

[90] Teulet, op. cit., p. 167.


The family to which Mary Beton, or, as she herself signed her name,
Marie Bethune, belonged, seems to have been peculiarly devoted to the
service of the house of Stuart. Her father, Robert Beton, of Creich, is
mentioned amongst the noblemen and gentlemen who sailed from Dumbarton
with the infant Queen, in 1548, and who accompanied her in 1561, when
she returned to take possession of the Scottish throne. His office was
that of one of the Masters of the Household, and, as such, he was in
attendance at Holyrood when the murderers of Rizzio burst into the
Queen's chamber and stabbed him before her eyes. He also appears under
the style of Keeper of the Royal Palace of Falkland, and Steward of the
Queen's Rents in Fife. At his death, which occurred in 1567, he
recommends his wife and children to the care of the Queen, "that scho be
haill mantenare of my hous as my houpe is in hir Maiestie under God".
His grandfather, the founder of the house, was comptroller and treasurer
to King James IV. His aunt was one of the ladies of the court of King
James V, by whom she was the mother of the Countess of Argyll. One of
his sisters, the wife of Arthur Forbes of Reres, stood high in favour
with Queen Mary, and was wet-nurse to James VI. His French wife,
Jehanne de la Runuelle, and two of his daughters, were ladies of honour.

Of the four Marys, Mary Beton has left least trace in the history of the
time. It seems to have been her good fortune to be wholly unconnected
with the political events which, in one way or another, dragged her fair
colleagues into their vortex, and it may be looked upon as a proof of
the happiness of her life, as compared with their eventful careers, that
she has but little history.

Though but few materials remain to enable us to reconstruct the story of
Mary Beton's life, a fortunate chance gives us the means of judging of
the truth of the high-flown compliments paid to her beauty by both
Randolph and Buchanan. A portrait of her is still shown at Balfour
House, in Fife. It represents, we are told, "a very fair beauty, with
dark eyes and yellow hair", and is said to justify all that has been
written in praise of her personal charms.[91] The first to fall a victim
to these was the English envoy, Randolph. A letter of his to the Earl of
Bedford, written in April, 1565, mentions, as an important fact, that
Mistress Beton and he had lately played a game at biles against the
Queen and Darnley, that they had been successful against their royal
opponents, and that Darnley had paid the stakes.[92] In another letter,
written to Leicester, he thinks it worthy of special record that for
four days he had sat next her at the Queen's table, at St. Andrews. "I
was willed to be at my ordinary table, and being placed the next person,
saving worthy Beton, to the Queen herself." Writing to the same nobleman
he makes a comparison between her and Mary Fleming, of whom, as we have
seen, he had drawn so glowing a description, and declares that, "if
Beton had lyked so short a time, so worthie a rowme, Flemyng to her by
good right should have given place".[93] Knowing, as we do, from the
testimony of other letters, how prone Randolph was to overrate his
personal influence, and with what amusing self-conceit he claimed for
himself the special favours of the ladies of the Scottish Court, there
is every reason to suspect the veracity of the statement contained in
the following extract from a letter to Sir Henry Sidney: "I doubt myself
whether I be the self-same man that now will be content with the name of
your countryman, that have the whole guiding, the giving, and bestowing,
not only of the Queen, and her kingdom, but of the most worthy Beton, to
be ordered and ruled at mine own will".

Like her colleague, Mary Fleming, "the most worthy Beton" had her hour
of mock royalty, as we learn from three sets of verses in which Buchanan
extols her beauty, worth, and accomplishments, and which are inscribed:
"Ad Mariam Betonam pridie Regalium Reginam sorte ductam". In the first
of these, which bears some resemblance to that addressed to Mary Fleming
on a similar occasion, he asserts, with poetical enthusiasm, the mimic
sovereign's real claims to the high dignity which Fortune has tardily
conferred upon her:--

    Princely in mind and virtue, and so fair,
    You've long seemed fit a diadem to wear;
    And Fortune, blushing to have stood aloof,
    Now lavishes her gifts to your behoof;
    Deeming atonement for her tardiness
    Demands in justice she should do no less,
    She brings the Queen whom all the rest obey
    A willing subject to your sovereign sway.

In his next effusion the poet rises to a more passionate height in his
admiration. It is such as we might imagine Randolph to have penned in
his enthusiasm, could we, by any flight of fancy, suppose him capable of
such scholarly verses as those of Buchanan:--

    Should I rejoice, or should my heart despair,
    That Beton's yoke the Fates have made me bear?
    O, Comeliness, what need have I of thee,
    When hope of mutual love is dead for me?
    For favours such as these, in life's young day,
    E'en life had seemed no heavy price to pay;
    And though my earthly bliss had been but brief,
    Its fulness would have soothed my dying grief;
    Now, ling'ring fires consume; I lack life's joy,
    And death would bring me comfort, not annoy;
    In life, in death, be this my comfort still,
    That life and death are at my Lady's will.

The third epigram is more particularly interesting, as bearing
reference, we think, to Mary Beton's literary tastes:--

    Beneath cold Winter's blast the fields are bare,
    Nor yield a posy for my Lady fair;
    E'en so my Muse, luxuriant in her prime,
    Has felt the chill and numbing grip of time;
    Could lovely Beton's spirit but inspire,
    'Twere Spring again, with all its life and fire.

The will drawn up by Mary Stuart, in 1556, which, it is true, never took
effect, seems to point to Mary Beton as the most scholarly amongst the
maids of honour. It is to her that the French, English, and Italian
books in the royal collection are bequeathed; the classical authors
being reserved for the University of St. Andrews, where they were
intended to form the nucleus of a library: "Je laysse mes liuures qui y
sont en Grec ou Latin à l'université de Sintandre, pour y commencer une
bible. Les aultres ie les laysse à Beton."[94]

This is further borne out by the fact that, many years later, William
Fowler, secretary to Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James VI, dedicated
his "Lamentatioun of the desolat Olympia, furth of the tenth cantt of
Ariosto" "to the right honourable ladye Marye Betoun, Ladye Boine". Of
the literary accomplishments which may fairly be inferred from these
circumstances, we have, however, no further proof. Nothing of Mary
Beton's has come down to us, except a letter, addressed by her in June,
1563, to the wife of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, whose acquaintance she
may have made either in France or in Scotland, Sir Nicholas having been
English Ambassador in both countries. In this short document the writer
acknowledges the receipt of a ring, assures the giver that she will
endeavour to return her love by making her commendations to the Queen,
and begs her acceptance in return, and as a token of their good love and
amity, of a little ring which she has been accustomed to wear daily.[95]

In the month of May, 1566, Mary Beton married Alexander Ogilvie, of
Boyne. But little is known of this marriage beyond the fact that the
Queen named the day, and beyond such circumstances of a purely legal and
technical nature as may be gathered from the marriage contract, which is
still extant, and has been published in the Miscellany of the Maitland
Club. It sets forth that the bride was to have a dowry from her father
of 3000 merks, and a jointure from her husband of lands yielding 150
merks and 30 chalders of grain yearly. This legal document derives its
chief interest from bringing together in a friendly transaction persons
who played important and hostile parts in the most interesting period of
Scottish history. It bears the signatures of the Queen and Henry
Darnley, together with those of the Earls of Huntly, Argyll, Bothwell,
Murray, and Atholl, as cautioners for the bridegroom, that of Alexander
Ogilvie himself, who subscribes his territorial style of "Boyne" and
that of "Marie Bethune". The signature of the bride's father, and that
of Michael Balfour, of Burleigh, his cautioner for payment of his
daughter's tocher, are wanting.

It would appear that Mary Beton, or, as she was usually called after her
marriage, "the Lady Boyn", or "Madame de Boyn", did not immediately
retire from the Court. In what capacity, however, she kept up her
connection with it, cannot be ascertained. All that we have been able to
discover is that after her marriage she received several gifts of
ornaments and robes from the Queen. Amongst the latter we notice a dress
which was scarcely calculated to suit the fair beauty: "Une robbe de
satin jeaulne dore toute goffree faicte a manches longues toute chamaree
de bisette d'argent bordee dung passement geaulne goffre d'argent!"[96]

Both Mary Beton and Alexander Ogilvie are said to have been living as
late as 1606. All that is known as to the date of her death is that it
occurred before that of her husband, who, in his old age, married the
divorced wife of Bothwell, the Countess Dowager of Sutherland.

It is interesting to note the contrast between the comparatively
uneventful reality of Mary Beton's life and the romantic career assigned
to her in one of the best-known works of fiction that introduces her in
connection with her royal and ill-fated mistress. In Mr. Swinburne's
_Mary Stuart_, the catastrophe is brought about by Mary Beton. For some
score of years, from that day forth when she beheld the execution of him
on whom she is supposed to have bestowed her unrequited love, of the
chivalrous, impetuous Chastelard, when her eyes "beheld fall the most
faithful head in all the world", Mary Beton, "dumb as death", has been
waiting for the expiation, waiting

    Even with long suffering eagerness of heart
    And a most hungry patience.

It is by her action in forwarding to Elizabeth the letter in which Mary
Stuart summed up all the charges brought against her rival, that the
royal captive's doom is hastened, that Chastelard's death is avenged. It
would be the height of hypercritical absurdity to find fault with the
poet for the use which he has made of a character which can scarcely be
called historical. Nevertheless, as it is often from fiction alone that
we gather our knowledge of the minor characters of history--of those
upon which more serious records, engrossed with the jealousies of
crowned heads, with the intrigues of diplomatists and the wrangles of
theologians, have no attention to bestow--it does not seem altogether
useless at least to point out how little resemblance there is between
the Mary Beton of real life and the Nemesis of the drama.


[91] _Inventories_, xlviii.

[92] _Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland_, vol. i, p. 208.

[93] _Inventories_, p. xlviii.

[94] _Inventories_, p. 124.

[95] _Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland_, vol. ii, p. 825.

[96] _Inventories_, p. 63.


"The secund wyf of the said Lord George (Marie Pieris, ane Frenche
woman, quha come in Scotland with Quene Marie, dochter to the Duik of
Gweis) bair to him tua sonnis and ane dochter ... the dochter Marie."
This extract from Sir Richard Maitland's _History of the House of Seton_
gives us the parentage of the fourth of the Maries.[97] She was the
daughter of a house in which loyalty and devotion to the Stuarts was
traditional. In the darkest pages of their history the name of the
Setons is always found amongst those of the few faithful friends whom
danger could not frighten nor promises tempt from their allegiance. In
this respect Mary Seton's French mother was worthy of the family into
which she was received. At the death of Marie de Guise, Dame Pieris
transferred not only her services, but her love also, to the infant
Queen, and stood by her with blind devotion under some of the most
trying circumstances of her short career as reigning sovereign. The
deposition of French Paris gives us a glimpse of her, attending on Mary
and conferring secretly with Bothwell on the morning after the King's
murder. At a later date we find her conspiring with the Queen's friends
at what was known as the council "of the witches of Atholl", and
subsequently imprisoned, with her son, for having too freely expressed
her loyalty to her mistress.[98] We may, therefore, almost look upon it
as the natural result of Mary Seton's training, and of her family
associations, that she is pre-eminently the Queen's companion in
adversity. It seems characteristic of this that no individual mention
occurs of her as bearing any part in the festivities of the Court, or
sharing her mistress's amusements. Her first appearance coincides with
the last appearance of Mary Livingston in connection with Mary Stuart.
When the Queen, after her surrender at Carberry, was ignominiously
dragged in her nightdress through the streets of her capital, her
faltering steps were supported by Mary Livingston and Mary Seton. At
Lochleven, Mary Seton, still in attendance on her mistress, bore an
important part in her memorable flight, a part more dangerous, perhaps,
than Jane Kennedy's traditional leap from the window, for it consisted
in personating the Queen within the castle, whilst the flight was taking
place, and left her at the mercy of the disappointed jailers when
faithful Willie Douglas had brought it to a successful issue.[99] How
she fared at this critical moment, or how she herself contrived to
regain her liberty, is not recorded; but it is certain that before long
she had resumed her honourable but perilous place by the side of her
royal mistress. It is scarcely open to doubt that the one maid of honour
who stood with the Queen on the eminence whence she beheld the fatal
battle of Langside was the faithful Mary Seton.

Although, so far as we have been able to ascertain, Mary Seton's name
does not occur amongst those of the faithful few who fled with the Queen
from the field of Langside to Sanquhar and Dundrennan, and although the
latter actually states in the letter which she wrote to the Cardinal de
Lorraine, on the 21st of June, that for three nights after the battle
she had fled across country, without being accompanied by any female
attendant, we need have no hesitation in stating that Mary Seton must
have been amongst the eighteen who, when the infatuated Mary resolved on
trusting herself to the protection of Elizabeth, embarked with her in a
fishing smack at Dundrennan, and landed at Workington. A letter written
by Sir Francis Knollys to Cecil, on the 28th of June, makes particular
mention of Mary Seton as one of the waiting-women in attendance on the
Queen, adding further particulars which clearly point to the fact that
she had been so for at least several days:--

            Now here are six waiting-women, although none of
          reputation, but Mistress Mary Seton, who is praised by
          this Queen to be the finest busker, that is to say,
          the finest dresser of a woman's head of hair, that is
          to be seen in any country whereof we have seen divers
          experiences, since her coming hither. And, among other
          pretty devices, yesterday and this day, she did set
          such a curled hair upon the Queen, that was said to be
          a perewyke, that showed very delicately. And every
          other day she hath a new device of head-dressing,
          without any cost, and yet setteth forth a woman gaylie

For the next nine years Mary Seton disappears almost entirely in the
monotony of her self-imposed exile and captivity. A casual reference to
her, from time to time, in the Queen's correspondence, is the only sign
we have of her existence. Thus, in a letter written from Chatsworth, in
1570, to the Archbishop of Glasgow, to inform him of the death of his
brother, John Beton, laird of Creich, and to request him to send over
Andrew Beton to act as Master of the Household, Mary Stuart incidentally
mentions her maid of honour in terms which, however, convey but little
information concerning her, beyond that of her continued devotion to her
mistress and her affection for her mistress's friends. "Vous avez une
amye en Seton," so the Queen writes, "qui sera aussi satisfayte, en
votre absence, de vous servir de bonne amye que parente ou aultre que
puissiez avoir aupres de moy, pour l'affection qu'elle porte à tous
ceulx qu'elle connait m'avoyr esté fidèles serviteurs."

The royal prisoner's correspondence for the year 1574 gives us another
glimpse of her faithful attendant, "qui tous les jours me fayct service
tres agreable," and for whom the Archbishop is requested to send over
from Paris a watch and alarum. "La monstre que je demande est pour
Seton. Si n'en pouvez trouver une faite, faites la faire, simple et
juste, suyvant mon premier mémoyre, avec le reveil-matin à part."[101]

Three years must again elapse before Mary Seton's next appearance. On
this occasion, however, in 1577, she assumes special importance, and
figures as the chief character in a romantic little drama which Mary
Stuart herself has sketched for us in two letters written from her
prison in Sheffield to Archbishop Beton.

It will be remembered that when, in 1570, death deprived Queen Mary of
the services of John Beton, her Master of the Household, she requested
that his younger brother should be sent over from Paris to supply his
place. In due time Andrew Beton appeared at Sheffield and entered upon
his honourable but profitless duties. He was necessarily brought into
daily contact with Mary Seton, for whom he soon formed a strong
affection, and whom he sought in marriage. The maid of honour, a
daughter of the proud house of Winton, does not appear to have felt
flattered by the attentions of Beton, who, though, "de fort bonne
maison", according to Brantôme,[102] was but the younger son of a
younger son. Despairing of success on his own merits, Andrew Beton at
last wrote to his brother, the Archbishop, requesting him to engage
their royal mistress's influence in furtherance of his suit. The Queen,
with whom, as we know, match-making was an amiable weakness, accepted
the part offered her, and the result of her negotiations is best
explained by her own letter to the Archbishop:--

            According to the promise conveyed to you in my last
          letter, I have, on three several occasions, spoken to
          my maid. After raising several objections based on the
          respect due to the honour of her house--according to
          the custom of my country--but more particularly on the
          vow which she alleges, and which she maintains, can
          neither licitly nor honourably be broken, she has at
          last yielded to my remonstrances and earnest
          persuasions, and dutifully submitted to my commands,
          as being those of a good mistress and of one who
          stands to her in the place of a mother, trusting that
          I shall have due consideration both for her reputation
          and for the confidence which she has placed in me.
          Therefore, being anxious to gratify you in so good an
          object, I have taken it upon myself to obtain for her
          a dispensation from her alleged vow, which I hold to
          be null. If the opinion of theologians should prove to
          coincide with mine in this matter, it shall be my care
          to see to the rest. In doing so, however, I shall
          change characters, for, as she has confidently placed
          herself in my hands, I shall have to represent not
          your interests, but hers. Now, as regards the first
          point, our man, whom I called into our presence,
          volunteered a little rashly, considering the
          difficulties which will arise, to undertake the
          journey himself, to bring back the dispensation, after
          having consulted with you as to the proper steps to be
          taken, and to be with us again within three months,
          bringing you with him. I shall request a passport for
          him; do you, on your part, use your best endeavours
          for him; they will be needed, considering the
          circumstances under which I am placed. Furthermore, it
          will be necessary to write to the damsel's brother, to
          know how far he thinks I may go without appearing to
          give too little weight to the difference of degree and

After having penned this interesting and well-meaning epistle, the Queen
communicated it to Mary Seton, to whom, however, it did not appear a
fair statement of the case, and for whose satisfaction a postscript was

            I have shown the above to the maiden, and she
          accuses me of over-partiality in this, that for
          shortness' sake, I have omitted some of the
          circumstances of her dutiful submission to me, in
          making which she still entertained a hope that some
          regard should be had for her vow, even though it prove
          to be null, and that her inclination should also be
          consulted, which has long been, and more especially
          since our captivity, rather in favour of remaining in
          her present state than of entering that of marriage. I
          have promised her to set this before you, and to give
          it, myself, that consideration which is due to her
          confidence in me. Furthermore, I have assured her
          that, should I be led to persuade her to enter into
          that state which is least agreeable to her, it would
          only be because my conscience told me that it was the
          better for her, and that there was no danger of the
          least blame being attached to her. She makes a great
          point of the disparity of rank and titles, and
          mentions in support of this that she heard fault found
          with the marriage of the sisters Livingston, merely
          for having wedded the younger sons of their peers, and
          she fears that, in a country where such formalities
          are observed, her own friends may have a similar
          opinion of her. But, as the Queen of both of them, I
          have undertaken to assume the whole responsibility,
          and to do all that my present circumstances will
          allow, to make matters smooth. You need, therefore,
          take no further trouble about this, beyond getting
          her brother to let us know his candid opinion.

With his mistress's good wishes, and with innumerable commissions from
her ladies, Andrew Beton set out on his mission. Whether the
dispensation was less easy to obtain than he at first fancied, or
whether other circumstances, perhaps of a political nature, arose to
delay him, twice the three months within which he had undertaken to
return to Sheffield had elapsed before information of his homeward
journey was received. He had been successful in obtaining a theological
opinion favourable to his suit, but it appeared that Mary Seton's
objections to matrimony were not to be removed with her vow. This seems
to be the meaning of a letter written to Beton by Mary Stuart, in which,
after telling him that she will postpone the discussion of his affairs
till his return, she pointedly adds that Mary Seton's letters to him
must have sufficiently informed him as to her decision, and that she
herself, though willing to help him by showing her hearty approval of
the match, could give no actual commands in the matter. A similar letter
to the Archbishop seems to point to a belief on Mary's part that, in
spite of the dispensation, the match would never be concluded, and that
Beton would meet with a bitter disappointment on his return to
Sheffield. It was destined, however, that he should never again behold
either his royal lady or her for whom he had undertaken the journey. He
died on his way homewards; but we have no knowledge where or under what
circumstances. The first intimation of the event is contained, as are,
indeed, most of the details belonging to this period, in the Queen's
correspondence. In a letter bearing the date of the 5th of November she
expresses to the Archbishop her regret at the failure of her project to
unite the Betons and the Setons, as well as at the personal loss she had
sustained by the death of a faithful subject and servant.[104]

With this episode our knowledge of Mary Seton's history is nearly
exhausted. There is no further reference to her in the correspondence of
the next six years, during which she continued to share her Queen's
captivity. About the year 1583, when her own health had broken down
under the hardships to which she was subjected in the various prisons to
which she followed Mary Stuart, she begged and obtained permission to
retire to France. The remainder of her life was spent in the seclusion
of the abbey of St. Peter's, at Rheims, over which Renée de Lorraine,
the Queen's maternal aunt, presided.

The last memorial which we have of Mary Seton is a touching proof of the
affection which she still bore her hapless Queen, and of the interest
with which, from her convent cell, she still followed the course of
events. It is a letter, written in October, 1586, to Courcelles, the new
French Ambassador at Holyrood; it refers to her long absence from
Scotland, and concludes with an expression of regret at the fresh
troubles which had befallen the captive Queen.

            I cannot conclude without telling you the extreme
          pain and anxiety I feel at the distressing news which
          has been reported here, that some new trouble has
          befallen the Queen, my mistress. Time will not permit
          me to tell you more.[105]

It may be supposed that what the faithful maid of honour had heard was
connected with Babington's conspiracy and its fateful failure.


[97] P. 42.

[98] _Inventories_, p. lii.

[99] Miss Strickland's _Lives of the Queens of Scotland_, vol. vii, pp.
266, 271, 441.

[100] G. Chalmers' _Life of Queen Mary_, vol. i, pp. 443-4.

[101] Labanoff, op. cit., t. vii, p. 123; t. iii, p. 116; t. iv, p. 215.

[102] T. v, p. 98.

[103] The original is written in French.

[104] Labanoff, op. cit., t. iv, pp. 341-4, 377-81, 389, 390, 401, 402.

[105] _Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland_, vol. ii, p. 1014.


An Undetected Forgery

Those who are acquainted with Brantôme's delightful collection of
biographical sketches of Illustrious Ladies, will remember that one of
the most noteworthy of them is devoted to Marie Stuart. In it, amongst
many other interesting details, he states that the Queen used to compose
verses, and that he had seen some "that were fine and well done, and in
no wise similar to those which have been laid to her account, on the
subject of her love for the Earl of Bothwell, and which are too coarse
and ill-polished to have been of her making". In another passage he says
that Mary "made a song herself upon her sorrows"; and he quotes it.[106]
For close on two centuries and a half the "_Chanson de Marie Stuart_",
as given by him, has been reproduced in biographies of the Queen of
Scots, and has found its way into numberless albums and anthologies.
That it should have been accepted without hesitation on Brantôme's
authority is hardly surprising. Of those who have written from personal
acquaintance with Mary, few were in a better position than was the
French chronicler to know the truth about her. He remembered her from
her very childhood. He was familiar with all the circumstances of her
training and education at Saint-Germain. He had witnessed the precocious
development of the talents which excited the admiration of the courtiers
that gathered about Henry II and Catharine de' Medici. He did not lose
sight of her when, at a later date, her marriage with the heir to the
crown of France gave her a household of her own in the stately residence
of Villers-Côterets. He witnessed the enthusiasm which greeted her as
Queen-Consort, as well as the deep and universal sympathy which her
early bereavement called forth; and when the "White Queen", the dowager
of seventeen, left the country of her affection to undertake the heavy
task of governing her northern kingdom, he was amongst those who
accompanied her on her fateful journey. In the circumstances, it did not
occur, even to those who, knowing Brantôme's character, might feel that
much allowance was to be made for the conventional enthusiasm of the
courtier, to suspect that any of his statements concerning Mary Stuart
was to be rejected as wholly devoid of foundation. And yet, we are in a
position to prove that, in one instance, he asserted what he knew to be
false; and we shall follow that up by producing the strongest evidence
in support of the further charge that he was guilty of a literary

In his sketch of Mary Stuart, Brantôme does not place her "Song" where
it would most naturally be looked for, that is, immediately after the
passage in which he refers to her poetical talent. He introduces it
clumsily, and in a way which, though perhaps not sufficient of itself to
justify suspicion, is, at least, calculated to strengthen it when once
it has been aroused. He begins by giving a description of the Queen, as
she appeared in her white widow's weeds. "It was", he says, "a beautiful
sight to see her, for the whiteness of her face vied for pre-eminence
with the whiteness of her veil. But, in the end, it was the artificial
whiteness of her veil that had to yield, and the snow of her fair
complexion effaced the other. And so there was written at Court a song
about her in her mourning garments. It was thus:" and here the anonymous
poem is quoted. It consists of two stanzas, each containing six short
lines. They depict the Goddess of Beauty, attired in white, wandering
about, with the shaft of her inhuman son in her hand, whilst Cupid
himself is fluttering over her, with the bandage, which he has removed
from his eyes, doing duty as a funereal veil on which are inscribed the
words: "Mourir ou estre pris". These verses, in which it is difficult to
discover any special application to the widowed Queen, are followed,
though not immediately, by a reference to her bereavement: "Hers was a
happiness of short duration, and one which evil fortune might well have
respected on this occasion; but, spiteful as she is, she would not be
deterred from thus cruelly treating the Princess, who herself composed
the following song on her loss and affliction". The poem thus attributed
to Mary is then brought in. It consists of the eleven well-known
stanzas, and begins with the line "En mon triste et doux chant"--"In my
sad and sweet strains". Nobody ever thought of questioning its
genuineness. The obviously fragmentary nature of the first poem, and the
similarity of rhythm and metre in both did not suggest the possibility
of a connection between them. Nor did it appear to be incongruous and in
bad taste that, if the Queen undertook to write her own elegy, she
should begin by praising its sweetness. A comparatively recent
discovery, however, has placed it beyond doubt that Brantôme wittingly
foisted on his readers verses which he very well knew had not been
written by Mary Stuart.

Some years ago, whilst hunting through the dusty shelves of an old
bookshop at Périgueux, Dr. E. Galy chanced upon a manuscript collection
of poems of the sixteenth century. The gilt-edged and leather-bound
folio was found to consist of two distinct parts. The first contained,
together with a few anonymous poems, extracts from the works of Clément
Marot, Pierre de Ronsard, and other writers of the period. The second,
and, from the literary point of view, more interesting section was made
up of a number of poems, chiefly sonnets, composed by Brantôme, and
bearing the general title: _Recueil d'aulcunes rymes de mes Jeunes
Amours que j'ay d'aultres fois composées telles quelles_, that is,
"Collection of Certain Rhymes of my early loves, which I formerly
composed, such as they are". This portion of the manuscript was
published for private circulation, by the fortunate finder, to whose
kindness we were indebted for a copy of the first edition of the
hitherto unsuspected poetical works of Pierre de Bourdeille, Lord Abbot
of Brantôme, Baron of Richemont.[107]

In the first division of the collection a very interesting discovery was
made. It was found to contain both the anonymous "Song" composed "at
Court", in honour of Mary Stuart, and the "Song" attributed to the Queen
herself. The two poems, it was now seen, were not originally distinct,
the anonymous verses being merely an introduction to the longer "Song",
and joined to it by three stanzas, which are neither quoted nor alluded
to in Brantôme's sketch of Mary. In its new form, and as it was
published in a very limited edition of one hundred copies by Dr. Galy,
the _Chanson pour la Royne d'Ecosse portant le dueil_,[108] is by no
means a masterpiece. It has, however, the merit of composing an
harmonious whole. The "Complaint" is preceded by an introduction which,
both as regards its length and the train of thought running through it,
is not out of keeping with the subject. It is followed by a concluding
stanza, which, though not absolutely necessary, gives fullness and
completeness to the picture called up by the elegy. One advantage which
the new version of the longer song possesses over the old is the
modification of the first jarring line. "En mon triste et doux chant,"
becomes "J'oy son triste et doux chant," that is, "I hear her sad and
sweet strains". This reading adapts itself to the context, and connects
the descriptive stanzas with those of the lament in a simple and natural

As Dr. Galy pointed out, the new version of the "Song", to which, it
should be stated, no author's name is attached, established, on the
authority of Brantôme himself, that he had attributed to Mary Stuart
verses which he knew were not hers. It did not, however, afford any clue
to the real authorship, and the possibility that the whole poem was of
Brantôme's own composition does not seem to have occurred to Dr. Galy.
That such is the case is our firm belief. A careful comparison of the
anonymous "Chanson" with the various poems avowedly by Brantôme has
revealed such similarity, not only of thought and imagery, but even of
expression, as convinces us that nobody but himself can be the author of
_The Song of Mary Stuart_.

The 102nd sonnet in Brantôme's collection is one which he addressed to
Mlle de Limeuil. Not only is the whole tone of it strikingly similar to
that of the "Song", but it contains passages which cannot be explained
away on the assumption of mere chance resemblance. Thus, in the
thirteenth stanza of the "Song", Mary is represented as seeing her
husband if she happens to look into the water: "Soudain le voy en
l'eau". In the sonnet, Brantôme says; "_Soudain_ il m'advise qu'_en
l'eau je voy_ Limeuil". In the first part of the same stanza, the
mourning Queen is supposed to behold in the clouds the features of her
lost husband. The same idea, expressed in similar language, and with
precisely the same rhymes, occurs in some stanzas which Brantôme
addressed to a lady "Sur un ennuy qui luy survint". The main idea of the
"Song"--that of the sorrowing lady followed by the image of her lost
love, wherever she may wander--recurs repeatedly in the sonnets, of
which, indeed, several may, without exaggeration, be described as mere
expansions of some of the lines in the "Song". Altogether, we have noted
distinct parallelisms to five of the stanzas in the alleged "Chanson".
When it is remembered that, as Brantôme gives it, it consists of no more
than eleven stanzas, the proportion must appear striking. In addition to
this, it must also be noted that, in the eleven stanzas of the lament
itself, there are a number of variants--we have counted nine
altogether--which, not being attributable to inaccurate copying, or
necessary for mere adaptation, testify to a deliberate revision, hardly
likely to have been the work of anyone but the original author. In the
face of such evidence it seems to us that no alternative is left, and
that we must place Brantôme on the same level as Meunier de Querlon, who
published the once popular song, "Adieu, plaisant pays de France," and
attributed it to Mary Stuart, though he was himself the author of it.
Indeed, of the two, Brantôme is the less excusable; for, in his case, it
cannot be pleaded as an extenuating circumstance, as it can in that of
de Querlon, that he subsequently acknowledged his "mystification". In
any case, there seems to be no reasonable doubt that we must diminish by
one the number of poems hitherto believed to have been written by Mary

Though the "Song" can no longer claim the authorship of Mary Stuart, it
still retains some interest by reason of its strange story. To the best
of our knowledge, the original and complete poem, of which, as we have
stated, only 100 copies were published in France, for private
circulation, has never been reproduced in this country. We therefore
append it.



    Je voy, sous blanc atour,
    En grand dueil et tristesse,
    Se pourmener maint tour
    De beauté la Déesse;
    Tenant le traict en main
    De son filz inhumain.


    Et Amour, sans fronteau.
    Vollette à l'entour d'elle,
    Desguisant son bandeau
    En un funèbre voelle
    Où sont ces mots escrits:
    "Mourir ou estre pris".


    Deux arcs victorieux
    Je voy sous blanche toyle,
    Et sous chacun d'iceux
    Une plus claire estoille
    Qu'au plus net et pur aër
    Du ciel l'astre plus clair.


    Et du haut d'un rocher,
    Je voy singlant maint voile
    D'un fanal s'approcher,
    Dont la clarté est telle
    Que sans elle tous lieux
    Me semblent ténébreux.


    Je voy, d'ordre marchant,
    Une troupe dolente
    Peu à peu s'approchant
    D'une Dame excellente,
    Qui de piteuse voix
    Fait retentir un bois.


    J'oy son triste et doux chant,
    Qui, d'un ton lamentable,
    Jette un regret trenchant
    De perte incomparable,
    Et, en souspirs cuisants
    Passe ses meilleurs ans.


    "Fut-il de tel malheur
    De dure destinée,
    Ne si juste douleur
    De Dame fortunée,
    Qui mon coeur et mon oeil
    Voy en bière et cercueil!


    "Qui, en mon doux printemps
    Et fleur de ma jeunesse,
    Toutes les peines sens
    D'une extrême tristesse,
    Et en rien n'ay plaisir
    Qu'en regret et désir.


    "Ce qui m'estoit plaisant
    Ores m'est peine dure,
    Le jour le plus luisant
    M'est nuit noire et obscure,
    Et n'est rien si exquis.
    Qui de moi soit requis.


    "J'ay au coeur et en l'oeil
    Un portraict et image
    Qui figure mon dueil
    En mon pasle visage
    De violettes teint,
    Qui est l'amoureux teint.


    "Pour mon mal estranger
    Je ne m'arreste en place,
    Mais j'ai beau lieu changer
    Si ma douleur j'efface,
    Car mon pis et mon mieux
    Sont les plus déserts lieux.


    "Si en quelque séjour
    Suis, en bois ou en prée
    Soit sur l'aube du jour
    Ou soit sur la vesprée,
    Sans cesse mon coeur sent
    Le regret d'un absent.


    "Si parfois vers les cieux
    Viens à dresser ma veüe,
    Le doux traict de ses yeux
    Je voy en une nue;
    Soudain le voy en l'eau
    Comme dans une tombeau.


    "Si je suis en repos,
    Sommeillant sur ma couche,
    J'oy qu'il me tient propos,
    Je le sens qui me touche;
    En labeur ou requoy
    Toujours est près de moi.


    "Je ne voy autre object
    Pour beau qu'il se présente;
    A qui que soit subject
    Oncques mon coeur consente,
    Exempt de perfection
    A ceste affection.


    "Mets, chanson, icy frain
    A si triste complainte,
    Dont sera le refrain:
      'Amour vraye et non faincte
      Pour séparation
      N'a diminution'."


    Tel estoit le doux chant
    De Dame souveraine,
    Qui, mon coeur arrachant
    D'une fuite soudaine,
    Me donna en ce lieu
    Coup mortel d'un Adieu.

We recall that the stanzas which we have numbered I and II constitute
the Song which, according to Brantôme, was composed "at Court"; and that
those from VI to XVI, inclusively, are, with an alteration of the first
line, and some slight variations elsewhere, what he called the Song of
Mary Stuart herself. The title, the three connecting stanzas III-V, and
also the last, XVII, were discovered in the Périgueux manuscript


[106] T. v, pp. 84, 85, 88-90, 123.

[107] Périgueux, Cassard frères.

[108] _Ibid._


A Suppressed Satire

About the middle of May, 1566, Robert Melvill was dispatched by Mary,
Queen of Scots, as a special envoy to the English Court. The ostensible
purpose of his mission was to request Queen Elizabeth to stand godmother
to the royal infant whose birth was shortly expected.[109] And it was,
indeed, with this object that his journey had, in the first instance,
been resolved upon. But, three or four days before the time originally
fixed for his departure,[110] he had been hastily summoned to Holyrood
and ordered to set out at once, and with all speed, on an errand of a
very different kind. According to the tenor of his later instructions,
he was the bearer not of a friendly message from Mary Stuart to her
loving cousin, but of a bitter complaint from the Queen of Scotland to
the English sovereign. Mary had been informed by one of her agents at
Berwick that "there was a booke wrytten agaynst her, of her lyf and
govermente".[111] Though possessing no actual knowledge of the contents
of the obnoxious libel and acquainted with its general tone and purport
only, she had "taken it so grevouslye as noth[=y]ge of longe time had
come so near her hearte".[112] Not only did she resent the insult as a
sovereign, but she also felt the outrage as a woman, and expressed her
fear lest, having come to her so suddenly and at so critical a time, the
unwelcome intelligence "sholde breed daynger to her byrthe or hurte to
her selfe".[113] And Melvill had been hurried off to London to inform
Elizabeth of the crime committed by one of her subjects, "that in tyme
this worke mighte be suppressed and",[114] more important still,
"condign punishment taken upon the wryter"; for by this means alone, the
indignant Queen declared, could it be made apparent that he was not
"mayntayned against her, not only by advise and counsell to move her
subiects agaynste her, but also by defamations and falce reports mayke
her odious to the werlde".[115]

The work at which such grievous offence had been taken was entitled
_Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_, and the informant who had given Mary
notice of its publication had also assured her that it was in reality
what it purported to be, the production of the agent who, till within a
short time previously, had represented England at the Scottish Court.
She accepted the charge without question and without doubt. In her mind
Thomas Randolph was associated with all the intrigues which had
culminated in the open defection and organized opposition of the most
powerful of her nobles, and she felt conscious of having treated him
with a harshness calculated to add an ardent desire for revenge to the
malevolent intentions by which she believed him to be actuated. During
the last six months of his residence in Edinburgh he had been subjected
to a series of petty vexations, of personal attacks and of open
accusations, which even his avowed partisanship could not justify, and
which were not less discreditable to the instigators of them than
insulting to the sovereign whom he represented. On the formation of the
league to which Mary's marriage with Darnley had given rise he had been
threatened with punishment "for practising with the Queen's
rebels".[116] Mary herself had shown her displeasure in so marked a
manner that Randolph had sent to England a formal complaint of the
difficulties thrown into his way by her refusal to give him access to
her presence, even on official business.[117] When at last she did grant
him an audience, it was not for purposes of political negotiation, but
solely to upbraid him "for his many evil offices" towards her.[118] The
dread of immediate imprisonment,[119] and the personal violence to which
he was actually subjected,[120] had rendered his position so intolerable
that he petitioned for permission to retire to Berwick.[121] His
request was denied him; but the consequences of the refusal soon showed
how ill-advised had been the action of those who had insisted upon his
continuance in functions for which he now lacked the essential
conditions of favour and security. In the beginning of the following
year he was summoned before the Queen in Council, and publicly accused
of abetting the Earl of Murray in his treasonable designs, and supplying
him with funds to carry them out.[122] In spite of his direct and
explicit denial of a charge which was in reality without foundation, he
was ignominiously ordered to leave the country.[123] Anxious as he had
been to be relieved from duties which had become as dangerous as they
were difficult, Randolph nevertheless refused to obey. He appealed from
Mary and her Lords to Elizabeth, to the sovereign to whom he owed his
allegiance, and was answerable for his conduct, by whose favour he had
been appointed to a position of confidence and honour, and at whose
command alone he would consent to surrender his trust. On hearing the
slight which had been put upon her accredited representative, the Queen
of England took up his cause with characteristic promptitude and energy.
She at once dispatched a letter to the Queen of Scots complaining "of
her strange and uncourteous treatment of Mr. Randolph",[124] and
informing her that his departure from Edinburgh would be the signal for
the dismissal of the Scottish agent from the English Court. In spite of
Elizabeth's remonstrances, and in the face of a threat which was so far
from being idly meant that it was peremptorily carried out less than a
fortnight later,[125] Randolph's expulsion was insisted upon. After
having twice again received orders from the Lords,[126] he at length
yielded to necessity and retired across the Border to Berwick.

That Randolph, smarting under such treatment, should have made use of
his enforced leisure and of the knowledge which he had had special
opportunities for acquiring to write a book by which he hoped to injure
her cause and tarnish her reputation, doubtless seemed to Mary to be so
natural that she deemed it unnecessary to institute further enquiries
into the truth of the charge brought against him. His guilt was assumed
as soon as the accusation was made, and, by a singular coincidence, if,
indeed, it was not of set purpose, the same Minister whose dismissal had
followed his own disgrace was sent back to Elizabeth to demand his

Randolph's reply was not delayed. He was at Berwick when Melvill passed
through it on his way to London, and learnt directly from his own lips
all the particulars of the alleged libel, of the Queen's anger, and of
her determination to bring down exemplary chastisement upon the
offender's head. At once availing himself of the advantage which this
early information afforded him, he drew up an emphatic and indignant
denial of the whole indictment and a firm vindication of his conduct at
the Scottish Court. He wrote with a manly frankness and dignity which
are not always characteristic of his correspondence, adding considerable
weight to his solemn protestations of innocence by the candid avowal of
the suspicion with which he viewed the Queen's policy, and to which he
had more than once given expression in his official communications to
the home Government. "I coulde hardelye have beleved,"[127] he said,
"that anye suche reporte coulde have come owte of this towne to that Q:
or that her g. wolde upon so slender information so suddaynlie agayne
gyve credit to anye such report, in specaill that she wolde so hastelye
w^{th}owte farther assurance thus grevouslye accuse me to my Soveraign.
The rem[=e]brance hereof hathe some what greved me, but beinge so well
hable to purge my selfe of anye suche crime, and knowinge before whom I
shal be accused and hearde, with suche indifferencie as I neade not to
dowte of any partialitie, and pardoned to stond stiflye in defence of my
honestie, I condene my selfe that I sholde tayke anye such care as
almoste to pass what is sayde of me by suche, as throughe blamynge of me
wolde culler suche Iniuries as I have knowne and daylye see done to my
mestres, to my Soveraign and Countrie, to w^{ch} I am borne, w^{ch} I
will serve w^{th} boddie and lyf trewlye, and carles what beco[=m]ethe
of me, more desierus to leave behynde me the name of a trewe servante
then to possesse greate wealthe. I, therfore, in the presence of God and
by my allegens to my Soveraign, affirme trewlye and advisedlye, that I
never wrote booke agaynste her, or gave my consent or advise to anye
that ever was wrytten, nor at this hower do knowe of anye that ever was
set forthe to her defamation or dyshonour, or yet ever lyked of anye
suche that ever dyd the lyke. And that this is trewe, yt shalbe
mayntayned and defended as beco[=m]ethe one that oughte to have greater
regarde of his honestie and trothe then he doth regarde what
beco[=m]ethe of his lyf. I knowe that vnto your h: I have wrytten divers
times maynie thynges straynge to be hearde of in a princesse that boore
so greate a brute and fame of honour and vertu, as longe tyme she dyd. I
confesse a mislykinge of her doings towards my mestres. I feared ever
that w^{ch} still I stonde in dowte of, les over myche credit sholde be
given whear lyttle is mente that is spoken. I wolde not that anye waye
my mestres sholde be abused, w^{ch} made me wryte in greater vehemencie
and more ernestlye then in matters of les consequence; but yf yt be ever
provyd that I ever falcelye imagined anye thinge agaynste her, or
untrewlye reported y^{t} w^{ch} I have hearde willinglye, or dyd reveele
that w^{ch} I do knowe to anye man, savinge to suche as I am bounde
ether for deuties sake, or by co[=m]andemente, I am contente to tayke
this crime upon me, and to be defamed for a villayne, never to be better
thought of then as mover of sedition and breeder of dyscorde betwene
princes, as her g: hathe termed me. Of that w^{ch} I have wrytten to
yo^{r} h: I am sure ther is nothynge come to her eares; w^{ch} was
so farre from my mynde to put in a booke, that I have byne maynie tymes
sorrie to wryte yt vnto yo^{r} h: from whome I knowe that I ought to
keape nothynge whearby the Q. Ma^{tie} myght vnderstonde this Q: state,
or be assured what is her mynde towards her. Yf in this accusation I be
founde giltles bothe in deade and thoughte (thoughe more be to be
desyered of a gentleman that livethe onlye by the princes credit, and
seekethe no other estimation then is wone by faythefull and trewe
service) yet I will fynde my selfe satisfied, myche honered by the Q.
Ma^{tie} and bounde vnto y^{r} h: that such triall maye be had of this
matter that yt maye be knowne w^{ch} way and by whome in this towne anye
suche reporte sholde come to her g: eares; w^{ch} I require more for the
daynger that maye growe vnto this place to have suche persones in it,
then I desyer my selfe anye revenge, or, in so falce matters do mayke
greate accompte what anye man saythe or howe theis reporte of me, for
that I am assured that more shame and dyshono^r shalbe theirs in their
falce accusations, then ther cane be blamed towards me in my well

In the face of this unqualified disclaimer, it would have required not
merely suspicion founded on the unsupported assertion of a nameless
informer, but the most direct and irrefutable evidence, to substantiate
the charge brought against Randolph. His letter bore its own
confirmation on the face of it. It was not meant for the public, who
might perhaps have been put off by high-sounding phrases and
protestations; neither was it intended for the Scottish Queen, who,
though better informed, had no special facilities for testing the
statements which it contained. It was addressed to Cecil, to the
Minister with whom Randolph had been in constant correspondence for
years, to whom he had communicated the trifling events of each
day--incidents of Court life and scraps of Court gossip--who knew the
extent of his experience of Scottish affairs, and was as familiar with
his views as with his peculiarities of style and diction in expressing
them; to the last man, in short, whom it would have been possible to
hoodwink as to the authorship of a work bearing traces of either the
hand or the inspiration of his subordinate.

But, if Randolph had been the author of the poem bearing his name,
besides being deterred from any attempt at deception by the almost
certainty of failure, he would doubtless have remembered that Cecil was
one of the bitterest enemies of the Queen of Scots, and that, at the
pitch which party animosity had reached, even though, for the sake of
appearances, some indignation might be simulated, no serious offence was
likely to be taken at a work tending to vilify the rival with whom, in
spite of the hollow show of friendship still maintained, an open
rupture was imminent, whose difficulties, far from calling forth
sympathy, were the subject of thinly-veiled exultation, whose
indiscretions were distorted into faults, and whose errors were
magnified into crimes. Had he been concerned in the production of the
_Fantasie_, he possessed sufficient shrewdness to know that his wisest
and safest course did not lie in a denial of which the falsehood could
not escape exposure, but in a confession which, whilst attended with no
real danger, might actually tend to his credit.

Cecil accepted Randolph's disclaimer without demur, and in a manner
which left no doubt that he was thoroughly convinced of its absolute
truth. It was deemed of sufficient importance to be answered with no
further delay than was rendered necessary by the slow means of
communication of the time. To his letter of the 26th of May Randolph
received a reply as early as the 6th of the following month. It has,
unfortunately, not been preserved; but, though it is impossible to
reproduce the language in which it was couched, it is easy to judge of
its purport and of the tone which pervaded it. These may be gathered
from the grateful acknowledgment which it called forth from Randolph.
"Yt may please yo^{r} H:," he wrote in a letter dated from Berwick on
the 7th of June, "that yesterdaye I receaved yo^{r} letter of the thyrde
of this instant for w^{ch} I do most humblye thanke you and have therby
receaved maynie thyngs to my c[=o]tentation. In speciall for the
wrytinge of that fantasie or dreame called by my name, that I am thought
fawltles, as in deade I am, but still greeved that I am so charged, but
that waye seeke no farther to please then with my deutie maye stonde. Yf
M^{r} Melvill remayne so well satysfied that he thinke me cleare, I
truste that he will performe no les then he promised, that the reporter
bycawse he is in this towne shalbe knowne, at the leaste yf not to me, I
wolde y^{r} h: were warned of such."[128]

A few days after the receipt by Randolph of Cecil's letter, Elizabeth
dispatched from Greenwich an answer to the complaints of which Melvill
had been the bearer. It was a singular document in which words were
skilfully used to veil the writer's meaning, and irony was disguised
beneath the fairest show of sympathy. While seeming to promise complete
satisfaction, it contained no expression but might be explained away,
and it carefully refrained from putting forth any opinion with regard to
Randolph's guilt or innocence. It began by assuring the Queen of Scots
that she was not the only one who had been moved to anger on hearing of
_Randolphe's Fantasie_, and by asserting, with feigned indignation, that
even to dream treason was held to be a crime worthy of banishment from
England, where subjects were required to be loyal not in their words
merely, but in their very thoughts also; it bade her rest satisfied
that, for the investigation of the subject complained of, such means
should be used as would let the whole world know in what esteem her
reputation was held; and it concluded by hinting at no less a punishment
than death when the truth was found out: "Mais quant je lisois la
fascherye en quoy vous estiez pour avoir ouy du songe de Randolphe"--so
ran the letter--"je vous prometz que nestiez seule en cholere. Sy est ce
que l'opinion que les songes de la nuit sont les denonciations des
pensées iournelles fussent verefyez en luy, s'il n'en eust que songé et
non point escript, je ne le penserois digne de Logis en mon Royaulme.
Car non seulement veul je que mes subiectz ne disent mal des princes,
mais que moins est, de n'en penser sinon honorablement. Et sois asseurée
que pense tellement traicter ceste cause, que tout le monde verra en
quel estyme je tiens [~vre] reno[=m]ée, et useray de telz moyens pour
en cognoistre la vérité, qu'il ne tiendra a moy sy je ne la scache. Et
la trouvant, je la laisseray a [~vre] jugement si la pugnition ne soyt
digne pour telle faulte, combien que je croy que la vye d'aulcun n'en
pourra bonnement equivaller la cryme."[129]

Whatever may have been Mary's opinion as to the true spirit of this
reply, she saw that its language left no ground for further
remonstrance. Perhaps, too, doubts may have entered her own mind as to
the authenticity of the obnoxious poem. At any rate she seems to have
thought it wise to urge the matter no further. It dropped and died away;
no reference to it again occurs in the correspondence of the period.

It would be vain to search the literature of the sixteenth century for
any trace of _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_. No mention of it is to be
found even in the most minute and detailed of contemporary chroniclers.
In modern histories its very name is unknown. No copy of it is preserved
in our great libraries, and if a stray one should have escaped the
summary suppression which the angry Queen demanded of Elizabeth,[130] it
must be lying hidden amongst pamphlets and broadsides on the shelves of
some private collection. But, by some strange chance, though the printed
work has disappeared, the manuscript has survived; and we are still able
to satisfy our curiosity with regard to the contents of the obnoxious
satire which gave such grave offence to the Queen of Scots.[131]

In the manuscript copy preserved amongst the documents of the Record
Office,[132] _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_--the sub-title of which
conveys the information that it is "a breffe calgulacion of the
procedinge in Scotlande from the first of Julie to the last of
December"--is prefaced by an "Epistle dedicatorie" addressed "to the
right worshipfull M^{r} Thomas Randolphe esquyre Resident for the Quenes
Ma^{ties} affaires in Scotlande". The author begins this quaint,
diffuse, and at times obscure production by setting forth the reasons
which have led him to look for "some ripe and grave patronage" for his
"small travell". He pleads the precedent of "eloquent wryters", who,
"albeit there excellent works learnedlie compiled, needed no patronage,
not onelie appeled to others learned, but sought th'awctorytie of the
gravest men, to sheld them from th'arrogant curyous and impewdent
reprehendors". With much rhetorical amplification he then proceeds to
enumerate the qualifications which seem more particularly to designate
Randolph as a fitting patron and protector. "Well may I, knowing yo^r
zelous nature and inclynacion to letters attempt to royst under the
protexion of yo^{r} name. Who can better judge of theis whole
proceedings than you? Who can so well wyttnes it as yo^{r} dailie
attendaunce? Who may better defende it then yo^{r} learned experience?
Who so well deserves the memorye hereof then yo^r long and wearye
service, especiallie sithence the troblesome broiles and monstrouous
eschange in this transformed and blundered comon-weale? Who may so well
auctoryshe the vnlearned aucto^r as yo^{r} w: to whom justlie awaytinge
yo^{r} succor, simplie I retyre." From this apostrophe he passes on to a
justification of his poem, in which he claims to have "delt franklie"
and, "as God shall bee his judge, not pertiallie", and which he has
produced solely in compliance with the earnest and repeated
solicitations of influential friends. "I had not compiled this tragidye,
as iustlie I may terme it", he writes, "yf some my contremen, resolved
of muche better then I can or ought conceyve of my selffe, by there
sundrye letters and meanes entreated me to wryte what I sawe, w^{ch}
chefflie by there procurement I have doen, who, havinge care of my well
doinge, perswaded me howe profytable and necessarye it was to vse my
terme and travell, and imploy that talent that might tend to my great
comodytie and avale. Theis indenyable requestes and ffrendlie reasons
did so charme me, albeit long deaffe at there enchantments, that I cold
not refuse to susteane this charge, that nowe enforcethe my well
meanynge to run post (I knowe) to some vnwelcome gwides, that w^{th}
twyned mynde will intercept my meanynge. Thus tranede and, as it were,
bewytched w^{th} this vnweldye charge of request, I pushe forthe this
vnpolished phantasey, a breffe calgulacion of theis procedinges." Though
confessedly anxious to reap any reward which his poetical venture may be
thought to deserve, the author does not appear to be equally willing to
monopolize the "blame and infayme, yf any there bee". On the contrary,
he is careful to point out--"to make his blames more excusable for there
importunytie"--that they who have urged him to write are "accessaryes yf
not principalls in his unwillinge cryme", and that it would be a cruel
hardship, indeed, were he doomed "to thole ignomynye" and "live a
condempned byarde", for the sake of "cleringe others". It is with the
evident intention of giving force to this plea that, whilst seeming to
prefer a humble request that Randolph "will not refuse to surname" the
offspring of his "restless Mewse", he takes the opportunity of pointing
him out "as the cheffe parent thereof". With what success this
questionable device was attended Mary's complaint to Elizabeth has
already set forth.

After having fenced himself round, in his dedication, with all these
rhetorical safeguards, the author turns to the reader with a poetical
appeal to "arrest his judgement", and then addresses himself to the task
of recording the "proceedings" of the eventful six months which followed
Mary's ill-advised marriage with Darnley.

The first part of the _Fantasie_ opens with a poetical sketch, in which
the author represents himself as sunk in melancholy meditation, and
endeavouring to find relief from the heavy burthen which the intrigues
and disappointments of Court life have cast upon him:--

      fforwerièd[133] with cares   and sorrowes source supprest,
    and worldlie woos of sharpe repulse   that bredes vnquyet rest,
      confus'd with courtlie cares,   a seate of slipper[134] stay,
    that yeldes the draught of bitter swete   to such as drawes that way,
      in silent sort I sought   unwist of any wight
    to attempt some meane howe well I cold   my heavy burden light.

Whilst he is thus revolving "what fyttest were for feble myndes", his
conflicting thoughts, personified as "Desire", "Tyme", "Fansye", and
"Reason", appear before him and volunteer, in turn, such advice as
seems best suited to the situation. "Desire", whose opinion is naturally
the first to find expression, suggests that he should seek "such rest as
may revive his pensive thought, with sorrow so opprest". "Tyme",
however, interposes with a reminder that "feldishe sports be now
exempt", and that the season is not "mete" for the amusements that might
delight his spirits. This affords "Fansye" an opportunity of making
herself heard.

    assay yf that thie Mevses trades   may ought dissolve thie care,
      pervse[135] some pleasunte stile that may delight the brayne
    and prove by practyse of the pen   to file thie wyttes agayne.

But this advice does not meet with the approval of "Reason". She points
out to the poet that

    Devyne Camenes never cold   with Mavors' rage agree,
      Ne yet Minerva mewse   with skill was depelie scande[136]
    When as[137] Bellona did decree[138]   with bloody sworde in hande;

and that, if he should allow himself to be hurried by his sympathies
into championing every cause and "wrastling in eche wrong", the result
must be as useless as though "he shold stope the streame, or sporne
against the sone". Bidding him be ruled by her, she counsels him to
"mesure by myrthe some meane that may his grieves disgest", to "solace
the rage of hevmayne cares within a gladsome brest", and to follow the
safer course of "sojourning with silence", unless, indeed, he should be
able to find "a frend on whom he may repose the secretes of his mynde".
But "rareness of suche one" suggests moral reflections on the dangers of
flattery, with its "sewgred speech", and on the fickleness of
friendship, "a flyinge birde with wings of often change". These, and a
further recommendation to prudent silence, which, though it "do allay no
rage of stormy thoughte", is at least preferable to the "bankroote gest"
distrust, bring Reason's harangue to a close.

In a passage of some merit, but so singularly out of place that it
suggests an error of transcription, the poet proceeds to describe the
dreary season to which Fancy has already made reference:--

      It was when Awtum had   fild full the barnes with corne,
    And he that eats and emtyes all   away had Awtum worne,
      And wynter windes approcht   that doth ibayre the trene,
    And Saturne's frosts, that steanes the earth   had perst the
              tender grene,
      And dampishe mystes discendes   when tempests work much harme,
    And force of stormes do make all cold   that somer had made warme,
      whose lustie hewe dispoiled   cold not possess the place,
    ne yet abide Boreas' blasts   that althings dothe deface.

After this digression Reason's advice is taken into consideration.
Recognizing its wisdom, the poet at first "seeks by solitarye meanes to
recreate his minde". The attempt is not, however, crowned with success.
He experiences that, "as the sowthfast sayen", "solytarynes" is but
"hewe of dispaire, ffoo to his weale, and frendlie to ech payne", and
that slender indeed "are the greves that silence do unlade". In his
solitude the evils of his own position crowd up before him, he "beats
his branes with bitter bale and woos of worldlie force", he recalls the
"painful years" which he has "lingered forth" in Scotland, with the sole
reward of seeing "his credyt crak the string with those with whome in
faythfull league he long before had bene", and himself "rolled out of
Fortune's lappe". By a natural transition he passes from his own
grievances to a consideration of the political events which have
produced them; his "bewsye heade" calls up the "sowre change", the
"sodaine fall" of the realme "from weale to woo, from welthe to wast,
and worce if ought might be".

The cue for it being thus given, there follows a recapitulation of the
"proceedings" which are the real subject of the _Fantasie_. "I saw", the
poet says:

      I saw the Quene whose will   occurant with her yeres
    was wone[139] to worke oft that she wold   by counsaile of her peres.
      It was the winged boy   had perst[140] her tender thought,
    and Venus' joyes so tickled her   that force avaled nought;
      on Darlie did she dote   who equall in this mase[141]
    sought to assalt the forte of fame   defenst with yeas and nayes,
      which for a while repulst   and had no passage in:
    but still porsewt did rase the seige[142]   that might the fortresse
      who, stronglie thus beseiged   with battry rounde aboute,
    at last was forst to yeld the keis,   she cold not holde hym owte,
      but rendered sacke and spoile   unto the victor's grace,
    so ritch a pray did not the Greks   by Helen's meanes possesse.
      To regall charge of rule   she did advaunce his state,
    and gave the sworde into his hand   that bred civill debate.
      This was affection force   that blewe this gale of winde;
    this regestreth the found pretence[143]   within a woman's mynde
      this calls us to reporte[144]   and proves the proverbe trewe,
    that wemens wills are sonest wone   in that they after rewe.
      This brede a brutyshe broile   and causèd cankred spight
    to move the myndes of such as did   envy a stranger's might;
      vnder w^{ch} shade was shrowde   an other fyrme intente,
    and so, by color of that change   to doe what he was bente,
      w^{ch} made much myserye   and wrought this realme to wracke,
    and sturde[145] a stiveling sture[146]   amongst the muffled
      that mustrèd eche where[148]   in forme and force of warre,
    and clapt on armor for the feld   as the comannded warre.

Here the poet, who seems anxious to lose no opportunity of pointing a
moral, interrupts for a while his sombre description of the state of
Scotland under this "reckles rule", to introduce his own reflections
upon "the slipper state of worldlie wealth that heare on earth we
finde". Resuming his lamentation, he records the undeserved disgrace of
"those whose grave advice in judgement semed vpright", and the unwise
promotion to offices of trust of those "which grated[149] but for gayne
and gropt for private pray", who presumptuously attempted to "gwide a
shipe against the storme", though they "had not the skill in calm to
stire a barge".

Lest the application of the general statement should remain doubtful, it
is illustrated by reference to the leading men of the Queen's party. To
each of them a couplet is dedicated, the symmetry being broken in favour
of Maxwell alone, who is thought worthy of a double share of satire.
Unfortunately, however, the allusions are so vague and the language in
many cases so obscure, that it is difficult to catch more than the drift
of what is intended to characterize the conduct and unveil the motives
of each individual:--

      I sawe Adthole abridge   with craft to conquere cost,
    and forge that fact by forraigne foos   that his discent might bost;
      I sawe what Merton ment   by shufflinge for his share,
    imbrasinge those that shrowdes the shame   of his possessed care;
      I sawe howe Cassells crowcht   affirmynge yea and na,
    as redyest when chaunce brings chang   to drive and drawe that way;
      I sawe Crawforde encroche   on slipperie renowne,
    that curre favell[150] in the court   might retche to higher rowme;[151]
      I sawe howe Lyddington   did powder it[152] with pen,
    and fyled so his sewgred speche   as wone the wills of men;
      I sawe howe Lyndsey lurkt   vnconstant of his trade[153]
    alludinge[154] by his duble meanes   that might his lust unlade;[155]
      I sawe howe Hume in hope   did hoist the sale aloft,
    and howe he anker weighed with those   that most for credyt sought;
      I sawe howe Ruthven reigned   as one of Gnator's kinde,
    and howe he first preffer'd his ple   respondent to his mynde.
      I sawe what Maxwell mente   in kindlinge the flame,
    and after howe he sought new meanes   to choke the smoke agayne;
      whose dowble dealinge did   argewe vnconstant fayth,
    and shamefull wayes blowes forthe the brute[156]   that may record his
      with feble force I sawe   howe Leonox did entende,
    as thriftie of a princelie rewle   to regestre his ende;
      I sawe the weake advise   that Darlie did aforde,
    as yonge in wytt as fewe of yeres   to weld the regall sworde;
      and sodainelie I saw   howe Bulforde credyt sought,
    and howe from nought he start aloft   to bear the freey in court.[157]

The political correspondence and historical records of the period allow
us to remove, in some slight degree, the obscurity which veils this
passage, and supply concerning the conduct of some of the characters
alluded to in it such particulars as may help us to understand, if not
the special point of the poet's satire, at least the general reasons
which aroused his indignation and drew forth his censure.

It would have been difficult for the most bitter opponent of the royal
cause to find in Athole's conduct during the period here referred to
anything to justify an attack on his personal character. There is
consequently no matter for astonishment in the fact that the
satirist--if our interpretation of the couplet be the correct one--has
no more heinous offence to reproach him with than fidelity to his trust
and loyalty to his Queen. These, it is true, he manifested on more than
one critical occasion. It was to Athole's house in Dunkeld that Mary,
knowing herself to be surrounded with spies in Perth, determined to
retire after the memorable convention at which the intended marriage
with Darnley was made known. When, a few days later, intelligence was
brought by Lindsay of Dowhill of a plot formed by the confederate Lords
to seize the Queen's person at Parenwell, to tear her intended husband
and his father from her side, and to slay all who offered resistance to
the deed of violence, it was with Athole that Mary concerted measures to
frustrate the lawless attempt, and it was by his exertions that a body
of two hundred gentlemen was raised to serve as an escort for her. At
the public solemnization of the Queen's marriage it was Athole who, in
recognition of his faithful service, led both bride and bridegroom to
the altar, and who, at the banquet which followed, acted as her carver.
That these marks of favour were not the only rewards bestowed upon his
loyal attachment is shown by Randolph in a letter which he wrote to
Cecil a few months later,[158] and in which he states the Earl of
Athole's influence to be paramount, greater even than Bothwell's. If we
be right in interpreting the charge of "abridging with craft to conquer
cost" to mean that Athole endeavoured to husband the resources of the
kingdom, it was a course which the state of the Queen's finances more
than justified. The pecuniary difficulties in which she was involved are
repeatedly alluded to in Randolph's despatches. On the 4th of July we
find him informing Cecil of the arrival of a chest supposed to contain
supplies of money, and significantly adding that "if that way the Queen
and Darnley have either means or credit, it is so much the worse".[159]
A fortnight later[160] he refers more plainly still to the desperate
condition of the royal exchequer, and states that Mary "is so poor at
present that ready money she hath very little and credit none at all".
In August[161] he announces that "she hath borrowed money of divers, and
yet hath not wherewith to pay so many soldiers as are levied for two
months". If, under these circumstances, Athole set himself the arduous
and thankless task of narrowly watching over the expenditure of funds
which it was so difficult to raise, and even if the allusion contained
in the enigmatical accusation of "forging that fact by forrayne foos"
should point to any part taken by him in obtaining "about fifteen
hundred francs which had been sent out of France", no impartial judge
can behold in this a proof of anything but loyalty to his kinswoman and

The charge of "shufflinge for his share", the only intelligible count in
the indictment contained in the couplet devoted to Morton, is fully
justified by the able but unscrupulous statesman's conduct during the
period of civil strife to which the _Fantasie_ refers. On the formation
of the league for which Mary's intentions towards her cousin had
afforded a pretence, Morton had joined the ranks of the confederate
Lords. Before long, however, his opposition to the marriage was overcome
and his services secured for the royal cause by the sacrifice on the
part of Lennox and Darnley of their claims to the honours and estates of
Angus. Though his motives were very far from being disinterested, his
conduct was for a while in strict conformity with the pledge which had
been bought from him, and he successfully exerted his influence to
conciliate some of the bitterest opponents to the royal marriage. Such
as it was, however, his loyalty was but shortlived. He took umbrage at
the part assigned to Lennox in the command of the army which marched out
to encounter the confederates. In the month of October his treasonable
designs were so far from being a secret that Randolph described him as
"only making fair weather with the Queen till he could espy his
time".[162] But by her prompt and energetic action in compelling him to
surrender the Castle of Tantallon to the Earl of Athole,[163] the Queen
obliged him to declare himself sooner than he had intended, and before
his treachery could do any material injury to her cause.

Like his kinsman Morton, Ruthven, though serving in the royal army, was
in league with the rebels. Between him and Mary there had never existed
any great sympathy, though, out of consideration for Lennox, whose
intimate associate he was, she admitted him for a while to her favour
and confidence. As early as the beginning of July, however, it was
reported that "the Lord of Ruthven had entered into suspicion",[164] and
three months later he was also mentioned amongst those who were "only
making fair weather with the Queen".[165] His final defection took place
at the same time and for the same cause as Morton's, the "plee" which he
"preffered"--that is, the claim which he also laid to a part of the
Angus estates, in right of Janet Douglas, his wife--having been set
aside by the royal order which made over Tantallon to Athole.

The lines directed against Lennox and Darnley require neither
explanation nor comment. The ambition of the one and the boyish weakness
and vanity of the other are well known. In selecting these as the
objects of his satirical allusions, the poet has not treated them with
greater severity than they deserved, nor, indeed, than they have met
with at the hands of both contemporary and subsequent historians.

As regards Maxwell, it is not difficult to account for the prominence
given to him, nor for the "unconstant fayth and shamefull ways" with
which he is reproached. At the outbreak of hostilities he held the
office of Warden of the Western Border. The confidence placed in him,
however, he betrayed, not only by allowing the insurgents to remain
unmolested within the district under his keeping, and actually giving
them entertainment, but also by subscribing with them[166] and devoting
a thousand pounds, which he had received from England, to the equipment
of a troop of horse for service against his sovereign. Mary took his
treason so greatly to heart that, in a letter to Beton, Archbishop of
Glasgow, she inveighed in terms seldom to be met with in her
correspondence against "the traitor Maxwell, who, to his great disgrace,
had basely violated his faith to her, and sent his son as his pledge to
England, undeterred by the remembrance of the treatment to which his
other boy was exposed, of which he had told her himself".[167] After the
Queen's bloodless victory over her rebellious nobles, and the retreat of
Moray and his associates from their last city of refuge in Scotland,
Maxwell, fearful of the consequences of his own treasonable conduct,
begged to be allowed to return to his allegiance. Three days after
Mary's arrival at Dumfries, he was brought before her by Bothwell and
some of the loyal lords who offered to become sureties for his fidelity.
He was received with generous kindness by his sovereign, who not only
granted him a free pardon, but carried her magnanimity so far as to
accept the hospitality of his castle of Lochmaben, where she remained
until her return to Edinburgh.

The couplet in which the satirist tells us how Ledington "did powder it
with pen, and fyled so his sewgred speech as wone the wills of men",
pithily characterizes the secretary's conduct, not merely on the special
occasion to which allusion is here made, but throughout the whole of his
eventful career. The other names introduced into the passage are known
to be those of noblemen who embraced the Queen's cause, but the records
of the period make no reference to any acts of theirs of sufficient
importance to call for either praise or censure, though the subsequent
defection of some of their number seems to justify the doubt cast on the
sincerity of their motives. With regard to the last of these names, that
of Bulford is probably a corrupted form of some more familiar
appellation. It may possibly be intended to designate James Balfour,
Parson of Fisk, who "at this time", according to John Knox, "had gottin
all the guiding in the Court" and "was preferred before all others, save
only the Erle of Athole".[168]

With this black list of those who "prowld for private pray", the poet
contrasts the confederate Lords by whom "right was erect and wilfull
wronge supprest", whose "judgements ever vncontrolde did floryshe with
the best", who "sought by civill meanes for to advaunce the realme", but
who were "chast away" because "the Quene wold not abide there grave
advise that counsaled her to watch a better tide". The names held up for
special reverence are those of Murray, Hamilton, Argyle, Rothose,
Glencairn, Boyd, Ochiltree, and Grange, and it is open to question
whether their action, in revolting from their sovereign and entering
into negotiations with Elizabeth and her agents, warrants the praise
bestowed upon them in the following lines:--

      ffor Murray's constant fayth   and ardent zeale to truthe
    had not the grace to fordge and feane   that worldlie wytts pursewthe;
      nor Hamilton cold have   no hope to hold his seate;
    nor yet Argile to abide the court   the pirrye[169] was to greate;
      Rothose might not resyst   that stedfastnes profest;
    nor Glencarne cold averde   with wrong that rigor had incest;[170]
      nor Boide wold not attempt   the trades[171] of no mystrust;
    nor Ogletree concure with such   as rewlèd but for lust;
      Grange wold not grate for grace,   no burden he wold beare
    whose horye head expert in warrs   did bred the courtyers feare.

Having thus recorded the relative strength and merits of the contending
parties, the poet completes his picture of the lamentable state to which
the kingdom has been reduced by civil discord; then, with his natural
inclination to give prominence to his own troubles, bewails the "unrest"
which embitters his life and is "powdering the heires upon his head".
For solace he "retyres unto his booke a space", there to contemplate,
"with rufull eye, what bale is incident in everie estate where tirants
do prevale", and to gather "examples that bloodye feicts dothe aske
vengiance and thrists for bloode againe". Cyrus, Tomiris, Cambyses,
Brutus, Cassius, Bessus, Alexander, and Dionysius are called up "to
represent the fine of tirants' force", and to show "howe the gwiltless
bloode that is vniustlie shede dothe crave revenge". Sheer weariness,
however, puts an end to the dismal meditation, and as the poet sinks
into "swete slepe" it seems to him that a messenger is "thrust in at the
doore" to inform him that the Queen herself is at hand. Hereupon Mary
enters, and without further preface begins "her tale", to which the
second part of the _Fantasie_ is devoted.

The opening words of the Queen's confession, for such is the form into
which her "complante" is thrown, assume that she is acquainted with
Randolph's purpose of recording the events of which he has been a
witness, and are a request that he will "inwrape her woos within his
carefull clewe, that when the recorde is spread everywhere, the state of
her comber first may appear". Her grief, however, as she at once
explains, is not for herself--there is no cause why she should repine,
for all things have succeeded according to her will--it is for the
miserable state to which her headstrong resistance to the advice of
those who counselled wise and moderate government has reduced her realm.
But, before entering fully into her subject, by a clever paralepsy she
digresses into an account of her birth and accomplishments. Written as
it is by a professed enemy of Mary Stuart's the passage is of
considerable interest, and may help to settle the disputed question of
her personal gifts:--

    I hold it nedles to bragg of my birthe,
    by loyall dascent endowed a quene;
    my ffather doth wytness it even to his death,
    who in this weale most noblie did reigne;
    and that halffe a Gwyssian[172] by birth I bene,
    and howe the Frenshe Kinge in marag did endowe
    me with royall right, a madlie[173] widowe.

    But I cold bost of bewtie with the best,
    in skilfull poincts of princelie attire,
    and of the golden gwiftes of nature's behest
    who filed my face of favor freshe and fayre;
    my bewtie shynes like Phebus in the ayre,
    and nature formed my feater beside
    in such proport[174] as advanseth my pride.

    Thus fame affatethe[175] my state to the stares,
    enfeoft with the gwyftes of nature's devise,
    that soundes the retreat to others princes eares
    whollie to resigne to me the chefest price;
    but what doth it avale to vant in this wyse?
    for as the sowre sent the swete tast do spill
    so are the good gwyftes corrupted with ill.

Foremost amongst the defects that mar the high gifts of nature she
mentions the "Gwyssian" temper which she has received from her mother,
and by which she has been led to take the first false step "to wedd as
she wold, suche a one as she demed wold serve her lust rather then might
her weale well upholde". The fatal marriage being thus introduced, she
naturally refers to its results, to the opposition of those who, having
"ever tendered her state, cold not abyde to see this myscheffe", and
whom, in her ungovernable temper, in her "rigour and hate", she "sought
to subject to the sword". This is followed by the names of her chief
opponents, the list being augmented by a few names which do not appear
in the first part. Here a passage of singular significance even at the
present day is unexpectedly brought in, in connection with the Duke of
Argyle. It is a description of the Irish. They are stigmatized "a bloody
crewe that whoso they take they helples downe hewe", and their barbarous
manner of carrying on war and inhuman treatment of the enemy is thus set

    This savage kinde, they knowe no lawe of armes,
    they make not warrs as other do assay,
    they deale not deathe by [_without_] dredfull harmes,
    yeld or not yeld whoso they take they slay,
    they save no prysonners for ransome nor for pay,
    they hold it hopeles of the bodye dead
    except they see hym cut shorter by the heade.

From this point the Queen's "complante" becomes a
narrative--interspersed with moral reflections on the dangers of
despotic government and the horrors of civil wars--of the victorious
though bloodless expedition against the confederate Lords. It is
noteworthy that, however depreciatory the judgment which she is made to
pass upon her own conduct, her energy and courage are repeatedly
insisted upon in terms of unqualified praise: "The dread of no enemy
cold me appaile, nor yett no travell endaunte my entent; ... I dreaded
no daunger of death to ensewe, no stormy blasts cold make me retyre".
Indeed, in one stanza she actually likens herself to Tomiris, and
though, from the fact that it appears to be made by herself, the
comparison at first strikes us as unnatural and exaggerated, looked at
in its proper light, as the testimony of an avowed enemy, it is
undoubtedly a high tribute of admiration to her indomitable spirit:--

    Amidde w^{ch} rowte, yf thou thie selffe had bene,
    and seen howe I my matters did contryve,
    thou woldest have reckened me the lustyest Quene
    that ever Europe fostred heare to live;
    yea, if Tomiris her selffe had bene alive,
    who dreaded great hosts with her tyrannye,
    cold not shewe herself more valiant then I.

The first episode referred to by the Queen is the pitching of her camp
near Glasgow, for the purpose of intercepting the rebels who had taken
up their position near Paisley, but who, dismayed at the rapid march of
the royal army, hastily retired towards Edinburgh. This was on August
31. The poetical narrative is as follows:--

    In Glasco towne I entrenched my bandes,
    and they in Paselee, nor far distant from thence,
    where erelie on the morrowe, west by the sande,[176]
    they gave me larum with warlicke pretence;
    we were in armes but they were gone thence,
    to the ffeldes we marcht in battell array,
    expectinge our foos, but they were awaye.

           *       *       *       *       *

    when fame had brought that the Llords were gone
    to Edenbrough towne to wage[177] men of warre,
    to supplie there force, and make them more stronge
    of expert trayns[178] to joyne in this jarre,
    I hasted forwarde to interrupt them there,
    but by the way I harde they were gone
    from Edenbrough, and had clene left the towne.

In a stanza following immediately upon this, and descriptive of the
course adopted by Mary on her arrival in Edinburgh, we find the
confirmation of a statement made by Captain Cockburn,[179] but
indignantly denied as a shameless fabrication by those historians whose
aim it has been to clear the Queen from every imputation. He asserts,
not only that she imposed a fine of £20,000 on certain of the burgesses
of Edinburgh after the termination of the expedition, but also that
previously to this she had extorted 14,000 marks from them for the
support of her army. It is the latter part of this statement which has
been challenged, but which undoubtedly receives strong support from the
following verses:--

    And some that had incurred my blame,
    by worde or wronge or other like meane,
    for redye coigne I compounded with them,
    that I might better my soulgiers maynteyne,
    th'unwonted charge that I did susteane
    was thus considered in everie dome[180]
    to surpasse the yerelie revenue of my crowne.

Passing over the Queen's expedition into Fifeshire and the capture of
Castle Campbell, "the castle of gloom", a formidable stronghold
belonging to her rebel brother-in-law, the Duke of Argyle, the
historical part of the narrative hastens on to the final act, the march
to Dumfries and the Lords' retreat across the Border. The inglorious
termination of the rebellion has been pithily summed up by Sir James
Melville in his Memoirs: "Her Majesty again convened forces to pursue
the rebels, till at length they were compelled to flee into England for
refuge, to her who promised by her ambassadors to wear her crown in
their defence, in case they were driven to any strait for their
opposition unto the marriage".[181] The poet is scarcely less concise in
his record of an event which he could neither hide nor gloss over, but
upon which he evidently had no wish to dwell:--

    We came to Domfreis to attempt our might,
    but all was in vane, our foos were awaie;
    there was none there that wold us resiste,
    nor yett affirme that I did gainesaye.

           *       *       *       *       *

    They unable to abide or resist my might
    entred perforce into th'inglishe pale.
    In Carlile they all were constrayned to light,
    where the Lord Scrowpe entreated them all;
    and th'Erle of Bedforde leivetenante generall
    of th'inglish northe, whose fervent affection
    I ever dreaded to deale in this action,
    whose noble hart enflamed with ruthe
    to see theis Llords driven to dystresse,
    sought the meanes he could to advance the truthe.

           *       *       *       *       *

    What racke, Randolphe? Thou thie selffe knowes
    I retorned a victore without any blows.

Though this seemed to indicate a point where the _Fantasie_ might come
to a fitting close, it is drawn out for fully a hundred lines in order
that the moral of the whole narrative may be duly brought home to the
reader. So far as Mary herself is concerned, the gist of her long homily
may be given in her concluding words:--

                    'Tis fittest for a prince,
    and such as have the regyments of realmes,
    there subjects hartes with myldnes to convince,
    and justice mixt, avoydinge all extremes;
    ffor like as Phebus with his cherefull beames
    do freshlie force the fragrant flowers to floryshe,
    so rulers' mildness subjects love do noryshe.

The poet's own moralizing, with which, as with an epilogue, the whole
poem is brought to an end, is wider in its application. The dangers
which beset greatness and the advantages which accompany "golden
mediocrity" are its leading theme, and are set forth in a passage which
brings together a number of familiar illustrations drawn from inanimate

      I then said to myself   methinkes this may assure
    all those that clyme to honor's seate   there state may not endure;
      the hills of highest hight   are sonest perskt with sone,
    the silver streames with somer's drowght   are letten oft to rone,
      the loftiest trees and groves   are ryfest rent with winde,
    the brushe and breres that thickest grow   the flame will sonest finde,
      the loftie rerynge towers   there fall the ffeller bee,
    most ferse dothe fulgent lyghtnyng lyght   where furthest we may see,
      the gorgyous pallace deckt   and reared vp to the skye
    are sonner shokt with wynter stormes   then meaner buildings bee,
      vpon the highest mounts   the stormy wynds do blowe,
    the sewer seate and quyet lief   is in the vale belowe;
      by reason I regawrde   the mean estate most sure,
    that wayteth on the golden meane   & harmles may endure;
      the man that wyselie works   in welthe doth feare no tide,
    when fortune failes dispeareth not   but stedfastlie abide,
      for He that sendeth stormes   with windes and wynter blasts,
      and steanes with hale the wynter face   & fils ech soile with frosts
      He slaks the force of cold   he sends the somer hote,
    he causethe bayle to stormy harts   of joy the spring & rote.
      Reader regawrde this well   as I of force nowe must,
    appoinct thie mewse to merke my verse   thus ruffled up in rust,
      and lerne this last of me:   Imbrace thie porpose prest,
    and lett no storme   to blowe the blasts to lose the port of rest;
      and tho the gale be great   & frowarde fortune fayle,
    againe when wynde do serve at will   hoist not to hye the saile
      ffor prowffe may toche the stone   to prove this firme and plaine,
    that no estate may countervale   the gyld or golden meane.

Both the poem and the Epistle Dedicatory bear the signature of Thomas
Jenye. It is the name of an unscrupulous adventurer who held some
subordinate position in the service of Thomas Randolph, whilst he was in
Scotland, and afterwards of Sir Henry Norris, in the Netherlands. From
the literary point of view, the most noteworthy feature of his
_Fantasie_ is the barefacedness with which he pilfered, not only the
ideas, but the actual words of others. Indeed, in its introduction and
conclusion, which consist, for the most part, of moral reflections,
Jenye's satire is little better than a patchwork, rather cleverly made
up, it is true, of lines purloined from Surrey, Grimsald, Sackville, and
the other writers who figure with them in _Tottell's Miscellany_. But
besides being a curiosity in plagiarism, the _Fantasie_ is a valuable
historical document, by reason of the accuracy with which it describes
the various incidents of Murray's revolt, of which Jenye was practically
an eyewitness.


[109] Earl of Morton to the Earl of Bedford, 24 May, 1566.

[110] Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil, 26 May, 1566.

[111] _Ibid._

[112] Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil, 26 May, 1566.

[113] _Ibid._

[114] _Ibid._

[115] _Ibid._

[116] Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil, 20 Aug., 1565.

[117] _Ibid._ 9 Sept., 1565.

[118] _Ibid._ 15 Dec., 1565.

[119] Thomas Randolph to the Earl of Bedford, 30 Sept., 1565.

[120] "Instructions for certain persons to be sent into Scotland to
commune respecting ... assaults upon Thomas Randolph."--_State Papers._

[121] Thomas Randolph to the Earl of Leicester, 18 Oct., 1565.

[122] Thomas Randolph to Sir W. Cecil, 19 Feb., 1566; the Queen of Scots
to Queen Elizabeth, 20 Feb., 1566.

[123] _Ibid._

[124] Queen Elizabeth to the Queen of Scots, 3 March, 1566.

[125] Queen Elizabeth to the Queen of Scots, 15 March, 1566.

[126] Thomas Randolph to Sir W. Cecil, 6 March, 1566.

[127] Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil, 26 May, 1566.

[128] Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil, Berwick, 7 June, 1566.

[129] Queen Elizabeth to the Queen of Scots, Greenwich, 13 June, 1566.

[130] Randolph to Cecil, 26 May, 1566.

[131] Several years after this was written, the _Fantasie_ was published
in one of the volumes of the "Scottish Texts Society". It has not,
however, been thought necessary to alter the present, or any other,
reference to the poem, or the documents bearing on it, as inedited.

[132] _State Papers. Scotland--Elizabeth_, vol xi., 31 Dec., 1565.

[133] _fforwerièd_, wearied out.

[134] _slipper_, slippery.

[135] _pervse_, employ, have recourse to.

[136] _scande_, attended to.

[137] _When as_, whilst.

[138] _decree_, hold sway.

[139] _wone_, wont.

[140] _perst_, pierced.

[141] _mase_, wild fancy.

[142] _rase the seige_, carry on the siege with increased vigour.

[143] _regestreth the found pretence_, shows the infatuation.

[144] _reporte_, quote.

[145] _sturde_, stirred up.

[146] _stiveling sture_, stifling passion.

[147] _mufflled contre-packe_, secret opposition party.

[148] _eche where_, everywhere.

[149] _grated_, sought with importunity.

[150] _curre favell_, curried favour.

[151] _rowme_, position.

[152] _powder it_, create bustle or pother.

[153] _trade_, course.

[154] _alludinge_, deceiving.

[155] _vnlade_, give free scope to.

[156] _brute_, report.

[157] _to bear the freey in court_--this expression, which is evidently
intended to convey the idea of influence or exalted position, may be
connected with the French _faire les frais_.

[158] Randolph to Cecil, 31 Oct., 1565.

[159] Randolph to Cecil, 4 July, 1565.

[160] _Ibid._, 19 July, 1565.

[161] Cecil's Journal.

[162] Randolph to Cecil, 12 Oct., 1565.

[163] _Diurnal of Occurrents._

[164] Randolph to Cecil, 2 July, 1565.

[165] _Diurnal of Occurrents._

[166] Knox's _History of the Reformation_.

[167] Queen Mary to Archbishop Beton, 1 Oct., 1565.

[168] _History of the Reformation_, p. 383.

[169] _pirrye_, peril.

[170] _incest_, given rise to.

[171] _trades_, course of action.

[172] _Gwyssian_, belonging to the Guise family.

[173] _madlie_, maidenly.

[174] _proport_, proportion.

[175] _affatethe_, proclaims.

[176] Probably _Sandyford_, close to the river Cart, between Paisley and
Renfrew. A tradition, still current in the neighbourhood, asserts that
Mary once slept at Crookston Castle then belonging to the Lennox family.
It may have been on this occasion, documentary evidence of any other
opportunity for a visit to the Castle not being extant.

[177] _to wage_, to raise.

[178] _trayns_, bands.

[179] Capt. Cokbourn to Cecil.

[180] _dome_, judgment, opinion.

[181] P. 135.


Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded in 1587. Fourteen years later there
was published in Rouen a play which bore the title of _Tragédie de la
Reine d'Escosse_, and which had for its subject the condemnation and
death of Elizabeth's unfortunate prisoner. The author styled himself
Anthoine de Montchrestien sieur de Vasteville; but it was alleged by his
enemies that he was nothing more aristocratic than the son of an
apothecary of Falaise called Mauchrestien. He had, however, the good
fortune to be brought up, though in what connection is uncertain, with
two lads belonging to a family of authentic nobility; and by the time he
reached his twentieth year, he had the training and education of a
gentleman of the period. With the sword which he assumed as the emblem
of the class to which he claimed to belong, he adopted the fashionable
readiness to draw it on the slightest provocation. His first recorded
encounter, however, very nearly proved his last. With the odds of three
to one against him, he was grievously wounded and left for dead on the
highway. But he recovered, and, in the true spirit of a Norman, consoled
himself for his defeat and his injuries by suing the chief of his
adversaries, the Baron de Gouville. That he obtained damages to the
amount of 12,000 livres may be taken as a proof that all the blame was
not on his side. The success of this legal action encouraged him to take
proceedings against one of his trustees, who had failed to do his duty
by him. A further indemnity of 1000 livres was the result. About this
time, too, he married a rich widow whose good graces he had previously
secured by helping her to win a lawsuit in which her husband had been
the defender.

As early as 1596, Montchrestien had published the tragedy of
_Sophonisbe_. Five years later there appeared a volume bearing his name,
and containing a miscellaneous collection of prose and verse, including
five tragedies, of which one was the Mary Stuart play, with the running
title of _l'Escossoise_. In the midst of a literary success to which
numerous sets of complimentary verses testify, a real tragedy changed
the whole course of the Norman adventurer's career. In a duel with a
young nobleman, he killed his adversary. Whether he did so in fair fight
or, as his detractors alleged, by means of a disloyal stratagem, he was
equally amenable to the severe law against single combat which Henry IV
had lately promulgated. To no purpose did the poet appeal to the king in
some eloquent verses in which he begged to be allowed to expiate his
offence by dying for his sovereign on the field of honour:--

    "Armé sur un cheval, en tenant une pique,
    Non sur un échafaud en vergogne publique."[182]

He was obliged to seek safety in exile, and retired to England. There
his "Stuart" tragedy was of service to him. He presented it to James,
who showed his appreciation of the work by interceding with the King of
France on behalf of the author. The result was favourable, but not
immediate; and several years had to elapse before the outlawry was

Montchrestien had gone to England in the character of a poet and a
gentleman. He returned to France to become an economist and
manufacturer. In 1615 he published a volume entitled, _Traicté de
l'OEconomie Politique_. Never before had the term been used; and the
subject dealt with was as novel as its name. Shortly after this, the
founder of the science for which such great destinies were in store,
established a cutlery on the banks of the Loire. That his venture was
successful seems hardly probable, for less than four years later he was
engaged in the shipping trade. The story that he endeavoured to better
his financial position by the desperate expedient of counterfeiting the
coin of the realm rests on no trustworthy authority, and may be
dismissed as one of the many calumnies by which his enemies sought to
blacken his memory after his tragic death. That event took place in
1621; and the various incidents that led up to it might well be shaped
into a novel of adventure, though they must here be summarized in a few
brief sentences. When religious troubles again broke out in France,
after the Assembly of La Rochelle, Montchrestien threw in his lot with
the Protestant party. He went about for some months in his native
province of Normandy, endeavouring to organize an insurrection. On the
7th of October he, together with his servant and six Huguenot captains,
was taken by surprise in an inn. In the scuffle that followed, a pistol
shot through the head put an end to his adventurous career. According to
the barbarous custom which then prevailed in France, as it did in
Scotland also, sentence was pronounced over his dead body. It was burnt
and the ashes were scattered to the winds.

When Montchrestien wrote _l'Escossoise_, six years before the birth of
Corneille, tragedy made no attempt to depict the conflict of
antagonistic passions, but contented itself with the exposition of a
pathetic situation, considered from various points of view. When this
had been set forth with sufficient detail, the _dénouement_, instead of
being enacted before the spectators, was indicated in a concluding
narrative. All Montchrestien's tragedies are drawn up on this plan; and
he is so faithful to the old classic form that he retains even the
chorus. It is worthy of notice, however, that what has been called
"dialogue cornélien", that quick alternation of antithetical couplets
and even single lines, suggestive of the sharp clashing of swords in the
hands of two well-matched opponents, is one of the characteristics of
his manner, and is handled by him with considerable skill and vigour.

In the Stuart tragedy the "entreparleurs" are the Queen of Scots, the
Queen of England, an anonymous Councillor, Davison, a Master of the
Household, a Messenger, a Page, and two Choruses, one composed of Mary's
female attendants, and another consisting of the "Estates" of England.
The first act is opened by Elizabeth, who, in a long speech which she
addresses to her Councillor, bewails her hard fate and her precarious
tenure of both crown and life. She is particularly hurt at the
ingratitude of the Queen of Scots, whom she has deprived of her liberty,
it is true, but otherwise treated right royally. And apostrophizing the
rival whose fair face hides so much disloyalty, envy, and spite, so much
fury and so much daring, she asks her whether her heart is not touched
at the thought of the countless ills to which England must become a prey
if it should lose its lawful Sovereign.

    "Une Reine exilée, errante, fugitive,
    Se degageant des siens qui la tenoient captive,
    Vint surgir à nos bords contre sa volonté:
    Car son cours malheureux tendoit d'autre costé.
    Je l'ay bien voirement dés ce temps arrestée,
    Mais, hors la liberté Royalement traitée;
    Et voulant mille fois sa chaine relascher,
    Je ne sçay quel destin est venu m'empescher.

           *       *       *       *       *

    O coeur trop inhumain pour si douce beauté,
    Puis que tu peux couver tant de desloyauté,
    D'envie et de despit, de fureur et d'audace,
    Pourquoy tant de douceur fais-tu lire en ta face?
    Tes yeux qui tous les coeurs prennent à leurs appas,
    Sans en estre troublez, verront-ils mon trespas?
    Ces beaux Astres luisans au ciel de ton visage,
    De ma funeste mort seront-ils le présage?

    N'auras-tu point le coeur touché d'affliction,
    Voyant ceste belle Isle en desolation,
    En proye à la discorde en guerres allumée,
    Au meurtre de ses fils par ses fils animée?
    Verras-tu sans douleur les soldats enragez,
    Massacrer à leurs pieds les vieillards outragez,
    Egorger les enfants presence de leurs peres
    Les pucelles forcer au giron de leurs meres,
    Et les fleuves encor regorger sur leurs bords
    Par les pleurs des vivans et par le sang des morts?"[183]

Enlarging on this idea, the Councillor urges the Queen to put her
prisoner to death:--It is a pious deed to kill a murderess; it cannot be
displeasing to a just God that punishment should be inflicted on the
wicked; and, moreover, has not the impunity of vice often brought ruin
and death on kingdoms and on kings? To such arguments as these,
Elizabeth replies that kings and queens are answerable to God alone;
that Sovereigns who put their enemies to death increase instead of
diminishing their number; and that severity only engenders hatred. And
her last words contain the half-expressed resolve to try what clemency
will do to disarm her rival. This the Councillor meets with the
significant question--

                    "d'un ingrat obligé
    Que peut-on espérer que d'en être outragé?"[184]

To close the act the Chorus then appears and sings the delights of the
golden age and the simple life, as compared with the troubles and
anxieties that embitter the existence of princes.

When the short second act opens, sentence of death has been passed on
Mary Stuart, and the Estates of England appear before their Queen to
demand that, for their safety, the sentence shall be carried out.
Elizabeth accedes so far as to promise that she will leave the matter in
their hands. But that is only a device to gain time. As soon as she is
by herself, she calls up a vivid picture of what foreign nations and
posterity will think of her if she allows the blood of a Sovereign to
stain the scaffold, and is so horrified at it that she determines to
interfere. She leaves the stage and disappears from the tragedy with the

    "Je rompray cependant le coup de l'entreprise".[185]

In spite of the hopes inspired by Elizabeth, the next act introduces
Davison, who has been dispatched to notify her sentence to the royal
prisoner, and who, in an effective monologue, expresses his sense of the
responsibility which he is incurring and of the odium which he will be
made to bear:

    "La charge qu'on m'impose est certes bien fascheuse,
    Mais je crains qu'elle soit encor plus perilleuse:
    Je vay fraper un coup, mais soudain je le voy,
    Je le voy, malheureux, retomber dessus moy.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Justement poursuivi de rancune et d'envie,
    Pour m'estre à ce forfait ainsi tost resolu,
    De tous également je seray mal voulu.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Sur moy seul tout de mesme on voudra desormais
    Prendre vengeance d'elle, et je n'en pourray mais:
    Où ceux qui sont auteurs du mal de ceste Reine,
    Au milieu de mes pleurs se riront de ma peine.
    Le sort est bien cruel qui me donne la loy!
    Je ne le veux point faire et faire je le doy:
    Il faut bien le vouloir; car c'est force forcée;
    Tremblant je m'y resous."[186]

Davison is followed by Mary, whom her attendants accompany. In a
touching speech she tells the sad story of her life--her unhappy
childhood, her brief reign in France, her return to her Scottish
kingdom, of which the distracted state is described in a few vigorous

    "Ayant laissé glisser dedans la fantaisie
    La folle opinion d'une rance hérésie,
    Ayant pour un erreur fardé de nouveauté
    Abreuvé son esprit de la déloyauté,
    Il esmeut furieux des querelles civiles,
    Il révolte les champs, il mutine les villes,
    Il conjure ma honte et me recherche à tort
    Croyant qu'à mon espoux j'eusse brassé la mort."[187]

To this accusation of having plotted the death of her husband she
replies with an impassioned apostrophe to him, calling upon him to rise
from the dead and bear witness to her innocence. Then she recalls her
flight from Scotland, and, forgetful of historical fact, attributes it
to adverse fate and a furious storm that she was obliged to land on the
inhospitable shores of the barbarous English:

    "Peuple double et cruel, dont les suprêmes loix
    Sont les loix de la force et de la tyrannie,
    Dont le coeur est couvé de rage et félonie
    Dont l'oeil se paist de meutre et n'a rien de plus cher
    Que voir le sang humain sur la terre espancher."[188]

And now that no hope of liberty remains, the royal captive longs for the
death which she believes to have already been prepared for her. At this
point there is a really dramatic situation. The sorrowing Queen has
scarcely been assured by the Chorus that her enemies will not dare
proceed to such extremes, when a page announces the approach of a royal
messenger. It is Davison. He has come to make her death sentence known
to the prisoner, who welcomes it as the news of her speedy deliverance.

The fourth act is a lofty elegy--Mary's farewell to the world. The
tender and touching lines with which it opens indicate the spirit with
which it is animated throughout.

    "Voici l'heure dernière en mes voeux désirée
    Où je suis de longtemps constamment préparée;
    Je quitte sans regret ce limon vitieux
    Pour luire pure et nette en la clarté des Cieux,
    Où l'esprit se radopte à sa tige éternelle,
    Afin d'y refleurir d'une vie immortelle.
    Ouvre-toi, Paradis!...
    Et vous anges tuteurs des bienheureux fidèles,
    Déployez dans le vent les cerceaux de vos ailes,
    Pour recevoir mon âme entre vos bras, alors
    Qu'elle et ce chef royal voleront de mon corps ...
    Humble et dévotieuse, à Dieu je me présente
    Au nom de son cher fils, qui sur la croix fiché
    Dompta pour moi l'Enfer, la mort et le péché ...
    Tous ont failli, Seigneur, devant ta sainte face;
    Si par là nous étions exilés de ta grâce,
    A qui serait enfin ton salut réservé?
    Qu'aurait servi le bois de tant de sang lavé?"[189]

In the fifth act, devoted to the usual narrative of the catastrophe, a
messenger tells the Master of the Household how nobly and bravely his
mistress met her death:

    "Comme elle est parvenue au milieu de la salle,
    Sa face paroist belle encor qu'elle soit palle,
    Non de la mort hastée en sa jeune saison,
    Mais de l'ennuy souffert en si longue prison.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Comme tous demeuroient attachez à sa veue
    De mille traits d'amour mesme en la mort pourveue,
    D'un aussi libre pied que son coeur estoit haut,
    Elle monte au coupeau du funebre eschaffaut,
    Puis sousriant un peu de l'oeil et de la bouche:
    Je ne pensois mourir en cette belle couche;
    Mais puis qu'il plaist à Dieu user ainsi de moi,
    Je mourray pour sa gloire en deffendant ma foy.
    Je conqueste une Palme en ce honteux supplice,
    Où je fay de ma vie à son nom sacrifice,
    Qui sera celebrée en langages divers;
    Une seule couronne en la terre je pers,
    Pour en posseder deux en l'eternel Empire,
    La Couronne de vie, et celle du Martyre.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Ce dit sur l'eschaffaut ployant les deux genoux,
    Se confesse elle mesme, et refrappe trois coups
    Sa poitrine dolente et baigne ses lumieres
    De pleurs devotieux qui suivent ses prieres.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Puis tournant au Bourreau sa face glorieuse:
    Arme quand tu voudras ta main injurieuse,
    Frappe le coup mortel, et d'un bras furieux
    Fay tomber le chef bas et voler l'âme aux cieux.
    Il court oyant ces mots se saisir de la hache;
    Un, deux, trois, quatre coups sur son col il delasche;
    Car le fer aceré moins cruel que son bras
    Vouloit d'un si beau corps differer le trespas.
    Le tronc tombe à la fin, et sa mourante face
    Par trois ou quatre fois bondit dessus la place."[190]

The lamentations of the Chorus close the pathetic scene. This is not yet
tragedy; but it is not far from being splendid in parts. It is the work,
if not of a dramatist, at least of an eloquent rhetorician combined with
a lyric poet of high gifts. And when it is remembered that the play was
written before his twenty-fifth year, by the man who afterwards showed
his keen power of analysis and his psychological insight in his treatise
on political economy, it is justifiable to regret that the circumstances
of his adventurous life induced him to abandon the literary career which
had opened so auspiciously for him.


[182] _Les Tragédies de Montchrestien_, Paris, 1891, p. xxij.

[183] Op. cit., pp. 72-3.

[184] Op. cit., p. 80.

[185] Op. cit., p. 87.

[186] Op. cit., pp. 88, 89.

[187] Op. cit., p. 92.

[188] Op. cit., p. 93.

[189] Op. cit., pp. 101, 102.

[190] Op. cit., pp. 109, 110.


The original Loretto--or, as it should more correctly be spelt,
Loreto--is an Italian town situated in the province of Ancona, and only
a few miles from the shores of the Adriatic. Its four to five thousand
inhabitants consist mainly of dealers in objects of piety and in
beggars, and its only importance lies in the fame of its shrine, to
which many thousands of pilgrims resort yearly.

The cult of Our Lady of Loreto is based on one of the most marvellous,
not to say the most daring, of medieval legends. According to the
traditional account, St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, had caused a
church to be built at Nazareth, over the cottage which the Blessed
Virgin had once inhabited. That church the Saracens overthrew. They were
preparing to destroy the Santa Casa itself when, on the night of May 12,
1291, angels, anticipating and surpassing the feats of modern
engineering, transported it into Dalmatia. For various reasons it was
again removed three successive times from one locality to another, until
it finally took its stand on the high road between Recanati and the sea.
There is a divergence of opinions as to the origin of the name by which
the magnificent shrine which shelters the Santa Casa has become known
through the whole world. Some authorities attribute it to the fact that
the Holy House was deposited in a field belonging to a widow called
Lauretta, whilst others connect it with the existence of a laurel grove
on the site chosen by the carrier angels. In addition to the cottage,
and within it, there is a statue of the Madonna. It is attributed to St.
Luke, whom medieval legends commonly regarded as portraitist-in-ordinary
to the Virgin Mary. Another relic consists of the dish out of which the
Virgin ate. The popularity which the shrine of Loreto acquired through
the ages may be estimated from the fact that towards the end of the
eighteenth century its wealth was valued at more than a million
sterling. In 1797 Pius VI was obliged to draw on its treasury in order
to fulfil the conditions imposed on him by the Treaty of Tolentino. War
having again broken out, the French occupied Loreto and took possession
of the miraculous statue, which was relegated to a shelf beneath that
occupied by a mummy in the Cabinet des Médailles of the Bibliothèque
Nationale. Napoleon restored it to the Pope in 1802.

The fame acquired by the Italian Loreto led to the establishment, in
other countries, of similar shrines--branch establishments for the
granting of indulgences and the performance of miracles. Of such
Scotland possessed at least two. One of them, which does not seem to
have acquired more than a local reputation, was in Perth. The other
stood "beyond the eastern gate of Musselburgh and on the margin of the
links". The date and circumstances of its foundation are set forth by
the _Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents_, which, amongst the entries for
1533, has the following:--"In this mene tyme thair came ane heremeit,
callit Thomas Douchtie, in Scotland, quha haid bein lang capitane
(?captive) before the Turk, as was allegit, and brocht ane ymage of our
Lady with him, and foundit the Chappel of Laureit, besyid Musselburgh".
In addition to this evidence there is a charter of James V, dated July
29, 1534, and confirming the grant by the Bailies, of a "petra" of land
in the territory of Musselburgh, to Thomas Duthy, of the Order of St.
Paul, first hermit of Mount Sinai, for the erection of a chapel in
honour of Almighty God and of Blessed Mary of Laureto.[191]

Beside sanctioning the foundation of the shrine, James gave it a
tangible proof of his patronage. In August, 1534, as is shown by the
Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, he spent £22, 13s. 2d. in
purchasing the materials and paying for the making and ornamenting of
albs, amices, stoles, chasubles, and altar towels.[192] We learn from
John Lesley, Bishop of Ross, that, in 1536, before setting out on his
voyage to France for the purpose of bringing home the Lady Magdalene as
his bride, the King, being in Stirling, "passit thairfra on his feitt,
in pilgrimag to the Chappell of Lorrett, besid Mussilburgh". This
statement is borne out by an entry in the _Liber Emptorum_: "Hodie (9th
August), soluto disjunio, rex pedestre peregrinavit de Stirling versus
Sanctam Mariam de Laureit et pernoctabat in Edinburgh".[193] The
Accounts supply the further information that on this occasion he made a
gift of four altar towels, two of "Dornik", that is, of the diapered
linen cloth manufactured at Tournay, and two of bleached Breton canvas.
Including twenty shillings "for sewing of XX crocis upoun the saidis
towellis", the expense incurred amounted to £6, 11s. 6d. The sum of
fourteen shillings was left with the "chapellanis of Lawrete to pray for
the Kingis Grace"; and a further offering of two crowns was made after
the actual embarkation at Newhaven.[194]

Thomas Duthie's foundation throve under the influence of royal favour,
and from all parts of the country, pilgrimages to the shrine were
performed, as Sir David Lyndsay testifies:

    "I have seen pass ane marvellous multitude
    Young men and women flingand on thair feit,
    Under the forme of feinzeit sanctitude,
    For till adore ane image in Laureit."[195]

The satirist taxes the pilgrims with licentiousness, and alleges that

    "Mony came with thair marrowis for to meit".[196]

Against the "Heremeit of Lawreit" himself he brings the charge that

    "He pat the common peple in beleve
    That blynd gat seycht and crukit gat their feit,
    The quhilk that palyard no way can appreve".[197]

According to Row's _History of the Kirk of Scotland_, the popularity of
the Musselburgh shrine was enhanced by the claim that it possessed, in
addition to its general healing powers, a special obstetrical virtue, of
which women secured the benefits by sending handsome presents to the
priest and friars.[198]

That Duthie was a personage of some importance in his day may be
gathered from the fact that the Earl of Glencairn wrote a "pasquinal"
which Knox and Calderwood have preserved and which was entitled "Ane
Epistill direct frae the halie Hermeit of Alareit to his Brethren the
Gray Friars". But the success of his venture engendered envy, and
Calderwood tells, with many caustic comments, how John Scott, "a landed
man", having failed to get himself accepted as a partner in the Loretto
concern, set up in competition with it. This John Scott had had a
strange career, of which the sketch given by the historian, in his
quaint language, is interesting enough to be reproduced. "Before his
departure out of this country, he had succumbed in an action of law, and
because he was not able to pay the sum which the other party had
evicted, he took sanctuary at Holyroodhouse. There he abstained from
meat and drink certain days. The bruit of his abstinence coming to the
King's ears, the King caused put him into David's tower, in the Castle
of Edinburgh, and bread and water to be set beside him. He abstained
from eating and drinking thirty-two days. When he was let forth, the
people came flocking to him. He uttered many idle speeches, and among
the rest, that by the help of the Blessed Virgin, he could fast suppose
never so long time. He went to Rome, where he was committed to prison,
by Pope Clement, till trial was taken of his abstinence. He is set at
liberty, and a sealed testimonial granted to him, with a seal of lead,
and some mass clothes. After he had given the like proof at Venice, he
got fifty ducats to supply his charges to Jerusalem. He brought with him
from Jerusalem some date-tree leaves, and a pocke full of stones, which
he fained were taken out of the pillar to which Christ was bound when he
was scourged. By the way, when he was at London, he made an harangue
against King Henry's divorce, and shaking off the Pope's authority, at
Paul's Cross. He was thereupon committed to prison, but was set at
liberty, after he had been keeped fifty days, all which space he
abstained from meat and drink." It was on his return to Scotland,
shortly after this, that Scott tried to get himself associated to
Duthie. His overtures having been rejected, he "erected an altar in a
chamber near Edinburgh, whereon he set his daughter, a young maid, and
wax candles about her burning, to be worshipped in place of the Virgin
Mary".[199] But the fame of Loretto was proof against such competition,
and Scott had to retire from the unequal contest with Duthie.

In 1544, the Chapel of Our Lady of Lauret, together with a part of
Musselburgh, was "brennt and desolated" by the English army under the
Earl of Hertford. The shrine was rebuilt, however, and continued to
attract devotees till the Restoration closed it. Very shortly before
this, its prestige is said to have suffered greatly from the alleged
discovery of a fraud practised by its priests in pretending to have
restored the sight of a boy whom they falsely affirmed to have been born

The whole incident is set forth at great length in Row's _History_. The
hero of the story is Robert Colvill, Laird of Cleishe, who was commonly
known as Squire Meldrum, and who, on that account, has sometimes been
mistaken for the character celebrated by Lyndsay. He is described as "a
gentleman of good understanding and knowledge, sound in the Reformed
religion, and most zealous and stoute for the Reformation". But his
wife, one of the Colquhouns of Luss, was a Catholic, and finding herself
in need of such help as "the Ladie and Saints of Allarite" were supposed
to have it in their power to give, she posted off her servant "with ane
offering of gold, with her sarke (according to the custome), that shee
might get easie delyverie". Her husband learning this, also hurried off,
with the intention of hindering such a superstitious use of his money.
He rode all the way to Loretto, however, without overtaking the
messenger; and, on his arrival at the shrine, he was no less scandalized
than surprised to find "the whole adjacent countrey of Mers, Tweedale,
East, Middle, and West Lothians, convened to see ane miracle", the
performance of which had been announced for that very day. "For the
Papists, perceiving the Reformation to goe on quicklie, and fearing that
their religion should be abandoned, the kirkmen, the Archbishops,
Bishops, Preists, Freires, &c., consulted and advysed, and, after
deliberation, resolved, that the best wayes to maintaine and uphold
their Religion, wes to worke some miracle to confirme the people, (as
they thought) that Poperie wes the true religion; and, therefore, they
caused proclame in Edinburgh that on such a day there wes a great
miracle to be wrought at St. Allerite's Chapell, for a man that wes
borne blind, and had begged all his dayes, being a blind man, wes to be
cured and receive his sight."

Such was the performance for which Squire Meldrum had arrived in time.
And, indeed, he saw how an apparently blind beggar was brought forward
on to a platform, and how, after certain ceremonies had been gone
through, he seemed to recover the use of his eyes, and came down
rejoicing amongst the people, who gave him money. But the Squire was not
to be so easily convinced. On the contrary, he determined "to doe his
best to find out the lurking deceit whereby the people were miserablie
deceived". With this object in view, when the beggar, in whose way he
contrived to put himself, asked him for a dole, he gave him not only an
exceptionally large sum of money, but sympathetic words as well. "You
are a verie remarkable man," he said, "on whom such a miracle has been
wrought, I will have you to goe with me to be my servant." The beggar
readily agreed, and mounting on horseback behind the Squire's attendant,
rode off with his new master to Edinburgh. When the party reached
Meldrum's lodgings, matters took a new turn. Locking the door upon
himself and his new servant, drawing his sword, and assuming "a fierce
countenance", the Squire said to the man: "Thou villane and deceiver of
the people of God, either tell me the treuth of these things that I am
to aske of you now presentlie, or els I will take upon me, with my
sword, to cutt off thy head; for I am ane magistrate appointed by God to
doe justice; and I am assured that all the preists and freirs, all the
saints, nor the Pope himselfe, cannot work a miracle such as they
pretend to do, namely, to cure a blind man. Therefor thou and they are
but deceivers of the people; and either tell me the veritie, or els with
this sword I will presentlie--as ane magistrate in this case--put ye to
death." The poor wretch, thus taken unawares and terrified out of all
thought of resistance, consented to do and to say whatever might be
required of him. And the remarkable story which he told is reported in
what professes to be his own language:--

"When I wes a young lad I wes a herd, and keeped the Sisters of the
Sheines's sheep, and in my wantonness and pastime I used often to flype
up the lids of my eyes, so that any bodie wold have trewed that I wes
blind. I using often to play this pavie, the nunnes, the Sisters of the
Sheines (so they were commonly called), did sometymes see me doe it and
laugh at me. Then the Sisters send in word to Edinburgh that their
sheppeard lad could play such a pavie. The kirkmen in Edinburgh hearing
of such a thing, came out to the Sheines, and desired to see that
sheppeard lad. I being brought and playing this pavie befor them,
walking up and doune with my eyelids up, and the whyte of my eyes turned
up as if I had been blind. The kirkmen that conveened there to see me,
advised the Sisters, the Nunnes of the Sheines, to get another lad to
keep their sheep, and to keep me hid in one of their volts or cellars
for some years, ay till they thought meet to bring me out, and to make
use of me as they pleased, and so, Sir, I wes keeped and fed in one of
the volts, no bodie knowing that I wes there but the kirkmen and the
Nunnes of the Sheines, for the space of seven or eight years. Then, Sir,
they conveened me againe, and brought me befor them, and caused me
sweare a great oath that I sould faine my selfe to be a blind man, and
they put one to lead me through the countrey that I might beg as a blind
man in the day tyme; but in the night, and also when I pleased, I put
doune my eyelids and saw well enough, and I to this houre never revealed
this to any; yea, my leader knew not but I wes blind indeed."

Next morning Squire Meldrum and the detected impostor, in accordance
with a plan carefully devised by the former, betook themselves to the
Mercat Crosse. There, after having attracted the attention of the public
by thrice repeating the accustomed cry of "O yes!" the erstwhile blind
beggar recited a speech which Meldrum had prepared for him, and in which
he gave those who had seen the miraculous cure of the day before all the
details of the fraud which he had helped to practise on them. Then,
springing on to horses that were held in readiness for them, Meldrum and
he galloped away towards Queensferry, on their way to Fifeshire, where
they could depend on the protection of the Lords of the Congregation,
and where they might defy "the preists, freiers, and the rest of that
deceiving rabble".[200] And with this incident there is an end to the
story of Loretto as a wonder-working shrine.

There is a charter which shows that, in 1569, Gavin Walker, "Chapline of
the Chaplainerie of Loretto",[201] restored to the town the ground
originally granted by it to Thomas Duthie. According to the brief notice
contributed by "Jupiter" Carlyle to the old _Statistical Account_, the
Chapel was demolished in 1590, and the materials were utilized for the
building of a new tolbooth. He states that "this is said to have been
the first religious house in Scotland whose ruins were applied to an
unhallowed use". That is not improbable. But when "Jupiter" goes on to
record that for this act "the good people of Musselburgh are said to
have been annually excommunicated, till very lately, at Rome", he helps
to perpetuate a tradition of which his own common sense might have shown
him the improbability--not to use a harsher term.


[191] _History of the Regality of Musselburgh_, p. 95.


Item, for xxxvj elnis and ane quarter blechit bertane canwes to be thre
albis, thre ametis, and thre altar towellis to oure Lady Chapell of
Laureit, price of the elne iijs. iiijd.; summa ... ... ... vj_li._ x_d._

Item, to be thre croces to the chesabillis and to paill the fruntale,
v-1/2 elnis quhite satyne, price of the elne xxxijs.; summa ... ... ...
viij_li._ xvj_s._

Item, to be armes apoun the thre chesabillis and fruntell, ane quarter
yallow satyne, price ... ... ... viij_s._

Item, to be frenzeis to the fruntell, ij unces silk, price thairof ...
... ... x_s._

Item, for bukrem, rubanis, making and uthir furnessing of the thre
vestimentis, fruntell, stoill and parolis ... ... ... iiij_li._ v_s._
Item, to the broidstar for brodering of the Kingis armes apoun the
saidis thre vestimentis and fruntell ... ... xxvj_s._ viij_d._

Item, for weving of the frenzeis to the fruntell, sewing of the albis,
and croces to the towellis ... ... ... xxvj_s._ viij_d._ --Vol. vi, pp.

[193] _Accounts_, vol. vi, p. lxij.

[194] _Accounts_, p. 299.

[195] _Ane Dialog betuix Experience and ane Courteour_, ll. 2661, _et

[196] _Ibid._, l. 2665.

[197] _Ibid._, ll. 2690-2.

[198] "In these tymes there was besyde Mussilburgh, St. Allarit's
chapell, and in these tymes of ignorance and superstition, it was
believed that if women that were in hard labour did sent ane offering to
the Preist and Freirs there, they wold get easy delyverance."--_History
of the Regality of Musselburgh_, p. 101.

[199] Calderwood, _History of the Kirk of Scotland_, vol. i, pp. 101-2.
Another and less prejudiced account of this John Scott is given by Peder
Swave, who visited Scotland in 1535, as Ambassador from Christian II of
Denmark to James V: "On the 11th of May I met with a hermit, named John
Scott, a person of noble rank, who had quitted a beautiful wife, and
children, and all his household, and determined to live by himself in
solitude. He ate nothing but bread, and drank nothing save water or
milk. He is believed to have endured a fast of forty days and nights in
Scotland, England, and Italy. He also says that, when impelled by a
higher power, he could not perish by fasting, as by the kindness of the
Holy Virgin he has already been able to prove; if he should wish to do
this by way of wager or bargain, that he would fail. He declares that he
has no sensation of hunger when he fasts, that he loses neither his
strength nor his flesh, feels neither heat nor cold, goes about with
head and feet naked equally in summer and winter, and that his manner of
life does not induce the approaches of age. Asked by me why he left such
a beautiful wife, he replied that he wished to be a soldier of Heaven,
and that whether his wife determined to serve God or the world was a
matter of indifference to him. By chance there was amongst us a canon
regular who said that he had been asked by the hermit's wife to
reconcile them, but had taken the task upon him to no purpose."--Hume
Brown, _Early Travellers in Scotland_, p. 56.

[200] Row, _History of the Kirk of Scotland_, Woodrow Society's edition.

[201] _History of the Regality of Musselburgh_, p. 106.



The May, situated at the entrance to the Firth of Forth, is the largest
of the islets that stud the waters of the estuary between the coast of
Fife and that of the Lothians. It lies ten miles to the north-east of
Dunbar, and five to the south-west of Fifeness. Its greatest length is
from east to west, and measures about a mile. Its width is greatest at
the western extremity, and may be estimated at rather more than half a
mile. The shape of the island is exceedingly irregular. At the
south-western point a mass of precipitous rock gives it an imposing and
picturesque appearance, but to the east and to the north the cliffs
terminate abruptly, and are flanked by stretches of comparatively
low-lying coast. Between their respective extremities the seaboard,
which faces the north-east, is rugged and difficult of access, but does
not otherwise present a striking outline.

In former days there were four landing-places, known as Tarpithol,
Altarstanes, Pilgrims-haven, and Kirk-haven. At present there are but
two. One of them is on the western side, where a gully, forming a kind
of natural harbour, has been provided with a ladder, which is not,
however, always available to large boats, and at certain states of the
tide access to the island involves a considerable amount of clambering
over the rocks. The other is situated on the north-east shore. It
consists of a wharf, or rather slip, built at the head of one of the
many coves. Its depth of water is less than that of the western harbour,
but it has the advantage of being more sheltered.

The surface of May Island is uneven, but covered in most parts with
excellent turf; and, according to Sibbald, its name, "which in the
ancient Gothic signifieth a green island", was given to it "because of
its commodiousness for pasture, for it is all green grass". According to
the same writer, it was supposed to afford ample sustenance for a
hundred sheep and some twenty cows, and was let as a grazing ground for
£26 per annum. In the _Statistical Account of Scotland_, published in
1792, the Reverend James Forrester states, on the authority of a "very
intelligent farmer", who had dealt in sheep for above thirty years, and
who had had them from all the different corners of Scotland, that there
is no place so well adapted for improving wool as the Island of May;
that the fleeces of the coarsest-woolled sheep that ever came from the
worst pasture in Scotland, when put on the island, became as fine as
satin in the course of one season; that their flesh had also a superior
flavour; and that rabbits bred on the May had a finer fur than those
which were reared on the mainland.[202] The waters in the neighbourhood
of the isle were long famous for their abundance of fish; and an old
writer states that, in his time, many seals were slain on the east side
of it.[203] At the present day the seals have wholly disappeared, and
the fishing grounds are practically deserted. In a few of the more
sheltered spots some attempt at cultivation has been made, but the
result hardly seems to repay the labour. One feature which has always
been considered of special importance is the possession of fresh water.
The names of five wells are given--the Lady's Well, the Pilgrim's Well,
St. John's Well, St. Andrew's Well, and the Sheep Well; but the water is
not equally good in all. The most accessible is not far from the western
landing-place, and by the side of the cart road that runs through the
length of the island. A small lake mentioned by Sibbald is still to be
seen, and is utilized.

Ecclesiastically the Isle of May belongs to the parish of
Anstruther-Wester; and in the days when it was inhabited by fourteen or
fifteen families, the minister of the mother church was supposed to
visit them once every year.

The earliest description of the Isle of May is given by Jean de Beaugué,
a French gentleman who came to Scotland in 1548 in the company of
Monsieur de Dessé, the leader of the forces sent over by Henry II in
support of the party that opposed the aggressive policy of England. His
account represents the island as possessing coal mines, stone quarries,
excellent pasturage, and abundant springs of fresh water, and as being
admirably suited to afford safe anchorage to thirty or forty ships. If
it were fortified and inhabited, he says, the Scotch and those
foreigners who traded with them might navigate freely, without being
reduced to the necessity of waiting for favourable winds to enable them
to sail from Leith or Burntisland. By this means the whole country would
derive immediate benefit from the proximity of an island that had
hitherto served no better purpose than that of affording a convenient
retreat to all the pirates who infested the coast, and who not only
interfered with the fisheries and with the trade, but also harassed the
armaments of the Scotch and of their allies.[204]

In Hector Boece's account of Scotland there is but a brief reference to
the Isle of May "amang mony uther ilis" in the Firth of Forth. He
mentions, as a natural curiosity, that, "in the middis of this Ile there
springis ane fontane of fresche and purifyit water outhrow ane roche
crag, to the gret admiratioun of peple, considerin it lyis in the middis
of the seis". But its chief distinction, in his eyes, is that it was
"decorit with the blude and martirdome of Sanct Adriane and his

The history, or, as it is perhaps more correct to call it, the legend of
Adrian the Martyr of the May, is to be found in the Breviary of
Aberdeen. It is there stated that he was born in the parts of Hungary
and in the province of Pannonia, that he was of royal descent and of
episcopal rank, and that his diligence in the sacred order was testified
by the many clerics and seculars who were his companions. Desiring to
benefit other nations, and inflamed with zeal for the Christian
religion, Adrian betook himself to the eastern parts of Scotia, then
occupied by the Picts, having along with him six thousand six hundred
and six companions, among whom the most noteworthy were Glodiarus, who
was crowned with martyrdom; Gayus and Monarus, white-robed confessors;
Stobrandus, and other bishops adorned with the mitre. The names of the
rest are written in purple blood in the Book of Life.

These holy men wrought many signs and wonders in the midst of the Picts;
but at length, desiring a habitation of their own, they expelled the
demons and wild beasts from the Island of May, and there made a place of
prayer. They gave themselves up to devotion until the Danes, after
devastating all Britannia, which is now called Anglia, landed on the
island, when the holy confessors of God opposed them with the spiritual
weapons of heavenly warfare. The enemy, not brooking their zealous
preaching and their increasing confession of the most glorious name of
Christ, rushed with their swords on the Blessed Adrian, the victim of
the Lord, and crowned him with a glorious martyrdom. And in order that,
concerning them, the words of the prophet should be verified anew, where
the disconsolate Rachel is said to have bewailed her children, those
most cruel executioners fell upon the holy and heavenly multitude who
persevered in confessing Christ, and who, like sheep, fell under their
swords in the Isle of May, where the martyrs of God, who, in this life,
loved to serve him together, in death were not separated. There was one
spirit in them and one faith. In that Isle of May there was anciently
erected a monastery of well-hewn stone, which was destroyed by the
Angles. But the church remains to this day, much visited for its
miracles by the people, and women who go thither in the hope of
offspring are not disappointed. There is also a famous cemetery, where
the bodies of the martyrs repose. Such is the account of the
Breviary.[206] The date ascribed to the event narrated in it is the
fourth day of March, in the year 875.

In his _Cronykil of Scotland_ Andrew Wyntoun sums up the legend in the
following lines:

    "This Constantyne than regnand,
    Oure the Scottis in Scotland,
    Saynt Adriane wyth hys cumpany
    Came off the land off Hyrkany,
    And arrywyd in to Fyffe,
    Quhare that thai chesyd to led thar lyff.
    At the Kyng than askyd thai
    Leve to preche the Crystyn fay.
    That he granted wyth gud will,
    And thaire lykyng to fulfille,
    And [leif] to dwell in to his land,
    Quhare thai couth ches it mayst plesand.
    Than Adriane wyth hys cumpany
    Togydder come tyl Caplaweby.
    Thare sum in to the Ile off May
    Chesyd to byde to thare euday.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Hwb, Haldane, and Hyngare
    Off Denmark this tyme cummyn ware
    In Scotland wyth gret multitude,
    And wyth thare powere it oure-yhude (over-ran).
    In hethynes all levyd thai;
    And in dispyte off Crystyn fay
    In to the land thai slwe mony,
    And put to dede by martyry.
    And upon Haly Thurysday
    Saynt Adriane thai slwe in May
    Wyth mony off hys cumpany;
    In to that haly Ile thai ly."[207]

It may be incidentally mentioned that another saint, Mungo, the patron
of Glasgow, is slightly and indirectly connected with the May. According
to legend, St. Thenaw's father ordered her to be stoned and cast in a
chariot from the top of Taprain Law, in punishment of her supposed sin.
Having been miraculously preserved from destruction, she was then
accused of witchcraft, and the father was urged by his heathen subjects
to expose her in a boat made of twigs and pitch and covered with
leather. In this coracle she was carried out to the Ile of May, whence,
attended by a company of fishes, she was wafted to Culross, where she
gave birth to St. Mungo.[208] There may not impossibly be some
connection between this legend and the efficacity subsequently
attributed to pilgrimages to the May when performed by women; and it is
said to be from St. Thenaw that various spots in the island--the Lady's
Well, the Lady's Bed, the Maiden Rocks, and the Maiden's Hair--are

It is usually stated that the monastery to which the Breviary of
Aberdeen makes reference was founded by King David, and that he bestowed
it upon the monks of Reading, in England, as a "cell", or dependency of
their great abbey. But, as Dugdale points out, there is no actual proof
of this in that monarch's charters. By the first of them he merely gives
to the Church of May, and to the Prior and monks of the same place, a
certain toft in Berwick in perpetual alms for the sake of his soul and
the souls of his ancestors and successors; and by the second he enlarges
his donation by gifts in Balegallin and other places, to hold, indeed,
of him and of his heirs, but without any indication that he was the
founder. At the same time, it must be admitted that the silence of the
charters is no convincing proof of the contrary.

King William, grandson of David, confirmed to God and the Church of All
Saints of May, and to William, the Prior, and to his successors,
brethren of the Cluniac order, in free and perpetual alms, the donations
made by his grandfather David, of pious memory, and by his predecessor
and brother, King Malcolm. The contribution of the latter sovereign to
these benefactions appears to have been the grant of a toll of five
marks by the year from ships arriving at Perth. King William also
enjoins all persons fishing round the Island of May to pay their due
tithes to God and the aforesaid church without reserve. He also commands
that no one shall unjustly detain from them the tithes to which they
were entitled in the time of King David, on pain of forfeiture; nor
shall anyone presume to fish in their waters, to construct buildings on
the Isle of May, to dig land, or to cut grass there, without their
licence. He moreover grants and confirms to them one mansion, with a
toft in Dunbar, and the use of a vessel for transporting the necessaries
of their household, as Earl Gospatric had granted, and King Malcolm
confirmed to them. By later charters he bestows upon the Priory a grant
of fourpence from all ships having four hawsers, coming to the ports of
Pittenweem and Anstruther for the purpose of catching or selling fish,
and also from boats with fixed helms. Of the "can" or duty collected at
those ports he enjoins that the tenth penny shall be paid to the monks,
but reserves the bulk for himself. He also gives them the lands of
Petother, and further shows his goodwill towards them by exempting the
men dwelling on their lands from military service--de exercitu et
expeditione--and also from the payment of can and toll, and by extending
the latter privilege to all who come to fish in their waters.[209]

It was not only to the liberality of their kings that the Monks of the
May were indebted for the extensive and valuable lands which they owned
on both sides of the firth. From Gospatric, the powerful Border Earl,
they received a toft near his harbour of Bele. To this his successor,
Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, added five acres of land near the same harbour.
He also made over to them all the land "from Windydure to Kingissete,
and so by the footpath coming down to Kingsburn, and from thence up by
the high road which goes by the Rede Stane and by that road to
Windydure, with common pasture". In addition to this he released them
from the annual payment of a cow, which they had made till then for the
lands which they held from him in Lambermor.[210]

Another benefactor, whose liberality is recorded in the Registry of the
Priory of St. Andrews, was John Fitz-Michael. From him the monks got the
lands of Mayschelis, in the Lambermor, on the south side of Calwerburne,
together with an acre of meadow, and with pasture sufficient for three
hundred mother sheep, thirty bearing cows, and twenty-four brood mares
with their young. They were, further, to have ten sows with their brood
in Fitz-Michael's pasture; and the men living on the land were allowed
the privilege of taking as much peat and turf as was necessary for use
in their own houses. To complete this handsome donation, it was declared
free from all hosting, service, exaction, and multure.[211] The lands of
Ardarie, in Fife, consisting of a carucate and a bovate, were made over
to the prior and monks of May by William of Beaueyr, in perpetual alms,
for the salvation of Countess Ada, of Malcolm the King, her son, and of
William, the reigning sovereign. The island community was also to have
the reversion of two bovates which William had given in dowry to his
wife, and of one bovate which he had granted in life tenure to his
sergeant, Ralph.[212] From Eggou Ruffus the monks received some land
adjoining his own property of Lingoch; whilst Alexander Cumyn, Earl of
Buchan, made a yearly donation of a stone of wax, or forty shillings, to
be received at Rossy, at the fair of St. Andrew. Finally, a part of the
Moor of Barewe, extending westwards from the foot of the hill of
Whitelawe, was gifted to the priory by Gilbert of Saint Martin.[213]

But, besides the records which thus testify to the esteem in which the
Monks of May were held, and to the substantial marks of favour granted
them by munificent patrons, there also exist documents which tell of
less friendly relations between them and other landowners on the
mainland, and of protracted litigation with rival claimants. Thus, an
agreement arrived at in the year 1260, between the community on the one
side and Sir John de Dundemore on the other, with regard to the
ownership of the lands of Turbrech, in Fife, refers to the "many
altercations" to which the question had given rise, and sets forth the
terms of settlement arrived at by the contending parties. Sir John was
to make over to the monks the contested property, in "free and perpetual
alms, for the weal of his soul and the souls of his predecessors and of
his successors". In return for this substantial concession, the Prior
and Brethren undertook to grant him and his heirs in perpetuity a monk
to perform divine service for them in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. In addition to this, they bound themselves to pay him, at their
own option, either half a mark of silver yearly, or sixty
"mulwelli"--probably haddock. If they chose to make payment in kind, the
fish were to be supplied in two instalments--thirty at Whitsuntide and
thirty at Martinmas. They further granted him and his heirs a glass lamp
in the church of Ceres, with two gallons of oil, or twelve pence,
yearly, for feeding it. The Lairds of Dundemore do not appear to have
been altogether satisfied with the terms of a compromise which, so far
as material interests were concerned, was obviously one-sided. As a
protest against the total alienation of the lands of Turbrech, Henry de
Dundemore demanded that the Prior of the May should swear fealty to him
on account of them. The claim, which nothing in the charter formerly
granted by Sir John seems to have justified, was resisted, whereupon
Henry, compensating himself in a high-handed and tangible manner,
distrained a horse belonging to the monks. The matter was referred to
William, Bishop of St. Andrews. His decision is contained in a document
dated in Cupar, on the first Monday after the Purification of the
Blessed Virgin, in the year of the Lord 1285. It is wholly adverse to
the layman, whom it orders to restore the horse, within eight days, to
its rightful owners.[214]


In the year 1242 we find the House of May appealing to the Court of the
Archdeaconry of Lothian against the encroachment of an ecclesiastic. The
case for the monks was that Adam Black, of Dunbar, had bequeathed to
them a house and croft, together with two "perticates" of arable land,
but that, at his death, the property in question had been occupied and
unjustly detained by Patrick, Chaplain of Dunbar. When the matter came
before the authorities, Patrick could not deny the justice of the claim
put forward. That he himself was not without some justification for the
course he had taken is suggested by the decision of the Court. It was
that he should remain in possession of the house and grounds, but should
make to the Priory a payment of three shillings a year for them. This
settlement was made by William Mortimer as representing the Bishop of
St. Andrews, and by Baldred, Dean of Lothian, within the parish church
of Haddington, in presence of the incumbent and of the vicar of North

When David I conveyed the Priory of May to the Monks of Reading, he also
granted them the lands of Rindalgros, in Perthshire, where another cell
for monks was erected, subject to the House of May. Here, too, questions
of property and privilege brought the monks into conflict with their
neighbours. Thus, between them and Duncan of Inchesiryth a dispute arose
with regard to their respective fishing rights. The matter was so
adjusted that both parties should be entitled to cast their nets in the
contested waters, as it might suit them, and with no further restriction
than the common use of the country.[216]

The records of the Priory also furnish details of disputes that arose
between the Monks of May and other religious houses. Thus, in 1231, a
case in which they were the pursuers came before a commission appointed
by the Pope, and consisting of the Prior and of the Archdeacon of St.
Andrews, together with the Dean of Fife. They complained that, although
the church of Rind, with the teinds of the whole parish, belonged in
property to them, the Brethren of Scone detained from them the tithes of
four fishings--namely, of Sleples, Elpenslau, Chingil, and
Inchesiryth--all situated within the bounds of the parish. After hearing
the pleadings, allegations, and exceptions of both parties, the judges
and their legal assessors decided that, for the sake of peace, the Monks
of Scone should pay two merks of silver yearly to the House of May, and
should, in return, be held free from all claims for the tithes.[217]

A few years before this, in 1225, the Prior and Brethren of the May
were themselves the defendants in an action raised by the House of
Dryburgh. From the official statement of the case it appears that the
Parish Church of Anstruther belonged to the former and that of Kilrenny
to the latter, and that the two parishes were separated from each other
by a stream. In view of the fact that the boats which fished in this
stream were moored on the Kilrenny side and that their anchors were
fixed within the bounds of the parish, where they remained for the
night, the Canons of Dryburgh maintained that they were entitled to
one-half of the tithes arising from such boats, whilst the Monks of May
levied the whole. The Abbot and the Prior of Melrose and the Dean of
Teviotdale, acting as Papal Commissioners, decided that, "for the sake
of peace, the Monks of May should pay yearly one merk of silver within
the Parish Church of Kilrenny to the Canons of Dryburgh, for which
payment the monks were to be free of all claim on the part of the
canons, providing the latter should receive full tithes from their
proper parishioners--that is, from the parishioners receiving spiritual
benefits in the church of Kilrenny and using the said part of the shore;
and that the monks should receive full tithes from all coming from other
quarters, and using the said part of the shore".[218]

Amongst the documents relating to the May there is one which records an
agreement arrived at between the Prior and Convent on the one hand and
Malcolm, the King's Cupbearer, on the other, with regard to the Chapel
of Ricardestone. The monks authorized the celebration of mass in the
chapel by a chaplain from the House of Rindalgros, or some other in his
stead, on every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as on the
principal feast days, such being Christmas and the three days after it,
the Purification, Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost, the Assumption, the
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and All Saints. They also permitted that
the holy bread--that is to say, the loaf offered by the people, blessed
by the priest before the beginning of the mass, and distributed amongst
the congregation--should be given there, but only by the men of the
vill. There, too, the women of the vill--but they alone--might be
churched, and also be heard in confession; but they were to pay the
offering for wax to the Mother Church of Rindalgros, and there, too,
were to receive communion at Easter. The Cupbearer himself and all his
successors were to be at liberty to communicate either in the chapel or
in the Mother Church. Malcolm might also have a priest attached to his
chapel, provided such priest acknowledged submission to the Church of
Rindalgros. In return for these concessions and privileges, the
Cupbearer not only confirmed the gifts of land made by his father to the
chapel, but also added a grant of other four acres in pure and perpetual

Apart from such incidents as the Records of the Priory of May indicate,
there seems to have been only one event of importance in connection with
it for more than a century from the time when King David conveyed it to
the Monks of Reading, on condition that they should maintain in it nine
priests of their brethren, to offer up the Mass for the benefit of his
soul and of the souls of his predecessors and successors, Kings of
Scotland. It is briefly referred to by the chronicler Torfæus in his
account of one of Swein Asleif's expeditions. Steering southwards, he
says, Swein and his followers arrived at the Isle of May. In that island
there was a monastery, the abbot of which was named Baldwin. Being
detained there for seven days, they professed to be ambassadors from
Earl Ronald to the King of Scotland. The monks, suspecting them to be
robbers, sent to the mainland for help. On this, Swein plundered the
monastery, and took much booty. As a strangely inconsistent sequel to
this story, Torfæus adds that Swein then sailed up the Firth of Forth,
and found King David in Edinburgh; that the King received Swein with
much honour, and entreated him to remain; and that Swein told David all
that had occurred between him and Earl Ronald, and how he had plundered
the Isle of May. The same historian also states that on another occasion
Swein anchored at the Isle of May, from which he dispatched messengers
to the King at Edinburgh.[220]

Spottswood states, in his _List of Religious Houses in Scotland_, that
the Priory of the May, originally put under the patronage of All Saints,
was subsequently consecrated to the memory of St. Adrian. He does not,
however, mention on what occasion. He adds that William Lamberton,
Bishop of St. Andrews, purchased it from the Abbot of Reading, and
notwithstanding the complaints made thereupon by Edward Longshanks, King
of England, bestowed it upon the canons regular of his cathedral. Fordun
and Prynne both give details of the transaction; but from documents
discovered at a later date and published in the _Records of the Priory
of the Isle of May_,[221] it appears that neither of them states the
case quite fully nor quite correctly. It is to be gathered from the
proceedings relative to the claim of the Abbot and Convent of Reading on
the Priory, that it was Robert de Burghgate, Abbot of Reading, who sold
the Scottish "cell" to William, Bishop of St. Andrews, and that he
received from him 1100 merks on account of the price. It would seem,
however, that he effected this transaction contrary to the wish of the
majority of his monks; and, on this ground, his successor, Abbot
William, attempted to overturn it. In the Parliament of John Baliol,
held at Scone on the 10th of February, 1292, John Sutton and Hugh
Stanford, appearing as his representatives, demanded either possession
of the Priory of May or payment of the balance of the price agreed to be
paid for it, together with the fruits and rents accruing from it during
the preceding four years. Failing recognition of their claims, they were
empowered to appeal to the judgment of the King of England--a
significant instruction which shows that Edward intended to turn the
dispute to account in the prosecution of his designs against the
independence of Scotland.

When the English representatives presented their abbot's petition they
were asked whether he was prepared to repay to the Bishop of St. Andrews
the 1100 merks already received on account. They cautiously replied that
they had not been sent to make any payment, and could not undertake to
do so; and they requested that the case, which had been brought to a
deadlock by reason of the Scottish counterclaim, might be adjourned to
the next, or to some subsequent Parliament, so that they might have time
to consult both the Abbot of Reading and the English King. To escape
from the necessity of either recognizing or challenging the sovereign
authority which Edward claimed, and by virtue of which it was intended
to get the dispute settled in favour of the Monks of Reading, the Bishop
of St. Andrews, on his side, appealed to the Roman See. The case being
thus removed from the Scottish Court, Baliol had a plausible reason for
refusing to proceed further in the matter. The English abbot's attorneys
were not, however, satisfied with this move on the part of their
opponents. Alleging a denial of justice in the Scottish Court, they
appealed to King Edward as Lord Superior of the Kingdom of Scotland. He
consequently issued a writ, dated at Dunton on the 2nd of September,
1293, by which he cited John Baliol to appear before him within a
fortnight of the feast of St. Martin. Baliol disregarded not only this
first summons, but also two others, which respectively called upon him
to appear within the octave of the feast of the Holy Trinity, and within
a month after Easter. A fourth writ was then forwarded to the Sheriff of
Northumberland. It was to be served by him in person on the Scottish
King, whom it commanded to appear before his suzerain within a month
after Michaelmas, and to bring with him the record of the proceedings in
the Scottish Court prior to the appeal to the Holy See. In the absence
of further documents bearing on the case, it may be assumed that "the
final overthrow of the paramount claims of England, which was one of the
happy results of Bannockburn, of course precluded any further English
interference with the agreement which had rescued the Priory of May from
an alien mother".[222]

The first extant document subsequent to the severance of the connection
between the Scottish cell and the English monastery is dated the 1st of
July, 1318, and is a deed of gift by which William, Bishop of St.
Andrews, makes over to the Canons of the Monastery of St. Andrews an
annual pension of sixteen merks formerly due by the Priory of May to the
Monastery of Reading.[223] In 1415 there is an obligation by Henry,
Bishop of St. Andrews, for payment to the same canons of twenty pounds
Scots out of the sequestrated revenues of the Priory of May. About the
middle of the century the "Priory of Pittenweem or May" was annexed by
Pope Paul II to the See of St. Andrews, as a mensal possession of the
bishop's, during his lifetime. In 1472 this annexation was made
perpetual by Pope Sixtus IV.[224]

In this deed of annexation, and in others anterior to it, from 1318
onwards, the alternative appellation "May or Pittenweem" occurs.
According to the editor of the _Records_, the explanation seems to be
"that the Monks of May had, from the first, erected an establishment of
some sort on their manor of Pittenweem, on the mainland of Fife, which,
after the priory was dissevered from the House of Reading and annexed to
that of St. Andrews, became their chief seat, and that thereafter the
monastery on the island was deserted in favour of Pittenweem, which was
less exposed to the incursions of the English, nearer to the superior
house at St. Andrews, and could be reached without the necessity of a
precarious passage by sea".[225]

By a charter bearing the date of the 30th of January, 1549, John Roull,
Prior of Pittenweem, feued the Isle of May to Patrick Learmonth of
Dairsy, Provost of St. Andrews. The deed of conveyance describes the
island as waste and spoiled by rabbits, which had once been an important
source of revenue, but of which the warrens were now completely
destroyed. As reasons justifying the alienation of the May, Roull
referred to its remoteness and to the consequent difficulty of access to
it, to its unprofitableness, and to its liability to invasion by those
ancient enemies, the English, who on the outbreak of hostilities were
wont to take possession of it, thus rendering it a useless adjunct to
his monastery. Amongst the rights ceded to Learmonth was that of
patronage of the church, which was to be maintained, and to which he was
to appoint a chaplain, for the purpose of continuing divine service
therein, out of reverence for the relics and sepulchres of the saints
interred in the island, and for the reception of pilgrims and their
offerings, according to the custom of old times, and even within memory
of man.[226]

Numerous records testify to the reverence in which the island shrine of
St. Adrian was held during the fifteenth and the sixteenth century.
Thus, it is stated that when Mary of Gueldres was on her way to Scotland
in June, 1449, to become the wife of James II, she anchored near the
May, and performed her devotions in the chapel before proceeding on her
voyage to Leith.[227] It may be seen from entries in the Accounts of the
Lord High Treasurer for Scotland that King James IV was a very assiduous
pilgrim to the island, and a liberal patron of the hermit who had
established his cell there. They record a visit which he paid in 1503.
It was not his first, as there is a brief notice of his having landed
in 1490; but it is the earliest of which any details are supplied. He
sailed from Leith, accompanied by a considerable retinue, amongst whom
were the clerks of the Chapel Royal, who sang mass in the chapel on the
island. After the celebration the Royal party took boat again, and,
safely piloted in "the litill bark callit the _Columb_" by Robert
Barton's mariners, who got fourteen shillings for their trouble, landed
at Anstruther. On that occasion the hermit of May received nine
shillings by the King's command. In the beginning of July, 1505, John
Merchamestoun was commissioned to pass to Kinghorn, Dysart, and
Kirkcaldy to seek mariners against the King's passing to May. Previous
to the voyage, the King himself drew a hundred French crowns for his own
purse. The men that rowed him to the ship received six shillings, and
next day, those "that rowit the King fra his schippes to Maij, and to
the schippes agane", got seven. Nine shillings were paid "to the botemen
that brocht the Kingis stuf, and the maister cuke with the Kingis souper
fra the schip to Maij, and fra Maij to the schip agane". The donation to
the hermit amounted to five shillings and fourpence. Similar entries
occur in 1506 and 1507; but those of the former of these years show
additional sums for offerings of candles and of bread, and for a
donation on behalf of the Queen. They also show that the royal ship was
provided with nine cross-bows. In 1508 there is evidence of a shooting
party on the May. On the last day of June in that year sixteen pence
were paid "to ane row bote that hed the King about the Isle of Maij to
schut at fowlis with the culveryn". There were other three boats "that
hed in the Kingis folkis and chanounis, with pairt of lardis of the
contree". It was in the _Lion_ that James came over from the mainland;
and amongst the provisions with which she was supplied for the voyage
mention is made of one puncheon of wine, three barrels of ale, and one
hundred and four score "breid of wheat". It is not unworthy of notice
that a charter, dated only a few days before the death of James IV at
Flodden, makes special mention of the May.[228] It erects certain lands
into a free barony in favour of Sir Andrew Wood of Largo on condition
that he or his heirs should accompany the King and his Consort, or their
successors, on their pilgrimages to the island.


An entry in the Register of the Privy Council for the year 1577 not only
bears out de Beaugué's statement with regard to the presence of pirates
about the May, but it also suggests the complicity of the people on the
neighbouring coast. It sets forth that "the Council has thought
convenient that the persons, buyers, and intromettors with the goods
taken in piracy by a French ship of war lately frequenting about the
May, shall be called before my Lord Admiral and his deputies, as well
to make surety that the same shall be forthcoming to the just owners,
friends, and confederates of this realm, as to underlie punishment for
buying and resset of unlawful gudis upon the stream, according to the
laws and justice".

A peculiar use to which the May was put in 1580 is recorded in the same
Register. Certain persons "infectit with the pest" having arrived within
the waters and river of Tay, on board a ship of which John Anderson was
master, charge had been given them to withdraw themselves, together with
their ship and goods, with all possible diligence, to the Isle of May,
and to remain there, under pain of death, till they were cleansed and
had obtained licence to depart. In spite of that, they had gone farther
up the Tay, with the intention of landing and selling their goods. They
were consequently ordered a second time, under the same penalty, to be
rigidly executed, to repair to the Isle of May; and the lieges were
commanded, by open proclamation, at all places needful, not to suffer
any of them to come to land or harbour, under the same penalty of death.
If any of the infected persons violated the order, the Provost and
Magistrates within whose bounds the transgression had taken place were
to cause them and those who harboured them to be apprehended and
executed; the infected houses were to be closed, and the ship, boats,
and goods to be burnt.

The first lay proprietor of the May, Patrick Learmonth, retained
possession of the island for only two years. In 1551, it was conferred
on Andrew Balfour of Monquhannie. Seven years later, it was again
granted to John Forret of Fyngask, with the proviso that, in view of the
exposed situation of the isle, he should not be bound to pay the feu
duty at any time when there was war between Scotland and any foreign
nation. A still later owner of the May was Allan Lamont, by whom it was
sold to Alexander Cunningham, Laird of Barnes. Cunningham built on it "a
convenient house, with accommodation for a family". It was he, too, who,
at the request and for the benefit of the seafaring population of the
towns situated on the northern coast of the firth, set up a lighthouse,
the first on the Scottish seaboard, on the Isle of May. The Register of
the Privy Council enables us to follow some of the negotiations entered
upon with a view to its erection. In January, 1631, the Lords of the
Privy Council, in consequence of Cunningham's application, ordered
letters to be directed, charging the Provosts and Bailies of Edinburgh,
Dundee, St. Andrews, Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, Dysart, Kirkcaldy,
Kinghorn, and Burntisland to send commissioners to represent them before
the Council, and to give their advice and opinion "anent ane
propositioun made to the Kingis Majestie for erecting of lichts upon the
Isle of May, as ane thing thought to be most necessarie and expedient
for the saulfetie of shippes arryving within the Firth". The question of
the costs which the upkeep of the light would entail appears to have
presented considerable difficulty at first. In spite of petitions from
skippers and others most directly interested in the scheme, "the Lords
of the Secret Council having heard and considered the report made by the
commissioners for the burghs touching the lights craved by Alexander
Cunningham of Barnes to be erected on the Isle of May, and being well
advised therewith, and with the reasons and grounds of the same", found
"no reason for imposing any duty to be uplifted towards the maintenance
of the said lights". The matter was not, however, allowed to drop; and
on the 22nd of April, 1636, the King at length acceding to the request
of the coast towns, authorized Cunningham to build a lighthouse and to
keep it up for nineteen years. Funds for its maintenance were to be
obtained directly from those most benefited by it, by the imposition of
a duty of two shillings Scots--that is, two pence sterling--per ton, on
all ships sailing between St. Abb's Head and Dunottar. Cunningham
erected in the same year, "a tower forty feet high, vaulted to the top
and covered with flagstones, whereon all the year over, there burned in
the night-time a fire of coals for a light". Sibbald states that the
coals employed were from Wemyss, and that these were preferred on
account of their hardness and of the clearness of their light, that
about three hundred and eighty tons were consumed annually, and that
three men were employed in keeping the beacon, two of whom were always
on watch during the night. In the edition of Sibbald's work published
in 1803, it is mentioned that prior to 1790, but subsequently to the
time when the dues had been fixed at three-halfpence per ton for
Scottish ships, and threepence for foreign--including English--vessels,
the revenue of the lighthouse was farmed at £280 per annum, that it then
rose to £960, and that in 1800 it was further augmented to £1500--"a
striking proof of the increase of trade in this country". To commemorate
the erection of this earliest of the Northern Lights, and to
indicate--not absolutely correctly, however--the date, a scholar of St.
Andrews composed these two lines of Latin doggerel:

    Flumina ne noceant neu flumina lumina Maia
    PrebVIt et MeDIIs InsVLa LVX et aqVIS.

There is a tradition that the architect who planned and built the tower
perished, on his voyage to the mainland, in a storm which some old
women, then supposed to be witches, were burnt for raising.

In the description of the May contributed to the _Statistical Account of
Scotland_ published in 1792, the Rev. James Forrester reports a very
melancholy accident which happened whilst he was employed in drawing up
his notice, and which he thinks ought to be recorded as a warning for
future times. "The keeper of the lighthouse, his wife, and five children
were suffocated. One child, an infant, is still alive, who was found
sucking at the breast of its dead mother. Two men, who were assistants
to the keeper, were senseless, but got out alive. This truly mournful
event was owing to the cinders having been allowed to accumulate for
more than ten years. The cinders reached up to the window of the
apartments where these unfortunate people slept. They were set on fire
by live coals falling from the lighthouse, and the wind blowing the
smoke into the windows, and the door below being shut, the consequences
were inevitable. These persons were the only inhabitants, and all of
them lodged in the lighthouse. The families who formerly resided there
lodged in houses detached from it. The old plan is to be again adopted,
and houses are preparing for lodging the keeper and a boat's crew, which
will be of advantage to all the coast, as they will be ready to give
intelligence when the herrings come into the Firth."

After the Union the unequal incidence of the duties leviable for the
light of May--English and Irish vessels being charged double rates as
foreigners--gave rise to much dissatisfaction. In addition to this,
there was a general feeling that anything that was payable in the form
of a tax ought not to be held as private property. With regard to the
light itself, it gradually became more evident that a coal fire, exposed
in an open choffer to the vicissitudes of the weather, was altogether
inadequate to the requirements of the shipping trade. After the
appointment of a Lighthouse Board in Scotland in the year 1786, those
most directly affected often expressed a wish that the light of May
should be included as one of the Northern Lights; that it should get
the benefit of the most recent improvements; that, in accordance with
the spirit and conditions of the Act for the regulation of the Northern
Lighthouses, the invidious distinction between the shipping of the three
kingdoms should be done away with; and, further, that there should be
some prospect of the duties being modified and ultimately ceasing
altogether. Moved by these various considerations, the shipping trade of
the Firth of Forth repeatedly approached the family of Scotstarvit, into
whose hands the property and light of May had come by purchase, in 1714,
with a view to the improvement of the old beacon. In consequence of
representations from the Chamber of Commerce of Edinburgh, which visited
the island in 1786, the choffer was enlarged to the capacity of a square
of three feet, and the quantity of fuel annually consumed increased to
about 400 tons. The Chamber further recommended that the stock of coals,
hitherto exposed to the open air on the island, should in future be kept
under cover, and that the supply should invariably be obtained from the
collieries of Wemyss, of which the coal was considered fittest for
maintaining a steady light, and was consequently employed at Heligoland
and other coal lights on the Continent. All these conditions were
complied with by Miss Scott of Scotstarvit's tutors, and from that time
the May beacon became the most powerful coal light in the kingdom, the
capacity of its choffer being double that of any other. But even these
improvements could not prevent it from being unsteady in bad weather,
and there still remained the great disadvantage that limekilns and other
accidental open fires upon the neighbouring coast were apt to be
mistaken for the May light. To obviate the possibility of such mistakes,
the Trinity House of Leith, in 1790, presented a memorial to the Duke of
Portland, who, through his marriage with Miss Scott, had become
proprietor of the May, and requested him to replace the coal-beacon by
an oil-light with reflectors, enclosed in a glazed light-room. In spite
of this application and of many others from various quarters, no further
improvements were introduced at the time.

In the year 1809, Robert Stevenson, engineer to the Northern Lights
Board, foreseeing that, notwithstanding the recent erection of the Bell
Rock Lighthouse, the navigation of this part of the coast would still be
very dangerous unless the light of May were improved, took an
opportunity of bringing the matter under the notice of the
Commissioners, who were not of opinion, however, that it could be taken
up by them except at the instance of the proprietor. In the following
year the question was brought into prominence by an event of serious
importance. Early in the morning of the 19th of December two of His
Majesty's ships, the frigates _Nymphen_ and _Pallas_, were wrecked near
Dunbar, in consequence, it was believed, of the fire of a limekiln on
the Haddingtonshire coast having been mistaken for the May light. The
ships were completely lost, but, the weather being moderate, only nine
men were drowned out of the joint crews of some 600. It was a remarkable
circumstance attending the catastrophe, that, although the two ships had
sailed in company, and had struck within a few miles of each other,
their similar fate was perfectly unknown to the respective crews till
late in the day.

This loss of £100,000 roused the Government to action. Lord Viscount
Melville, who was First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, applied to
the Lighthouse Board to take over the light of May as one of the
Northern Lights. In the negotiations that ensued, the Duke of Portland
proposed a scheme, in accordance with which he was to carry out the
suggested alterations, and the Commissioners were to become his lessees.
This proposal did not, however, meet with the approval of the latter,
their opinion being that the only position they could assume in the
transaction was that of purchasers for the public. The ultimate result
was the acquisition of the Isle of May, together with the light duties,
for the sum of £60,000--£3000 less than the Duke of Portland had
originally demanded. This was in 1814. That same year an Act was passed
reducing the light duty to one penny per ton for all British ships.
Immediate measures were also taken for carrying out the necessary
improvements. In the course of the following summer, a new lighthouse
was erected, and a light from oil, with reflectors, was exhibited on the
1st of February, 1816. The following official description of the new
light of May was published at the time:--

"The lighthouse on the Isle of May is situate at the entrance of the
Firth of Forth, in North lat. 56° 12´, and long. 2° 36´ west of London.
From the lighthouse Fifeness bears by compass N. by E. 1/2 E., distant
five miles; and the Staples Rocks, lying off Dunbar, S. by W. 1/2 W.,
distant ten miles. The light, being formerly from coal, exposed to the
weather in an open grate or choffer, was discontinued on the night of
the 1st of February, 1816, when a light from oil, with reflectors, known
to mariners as a Stationary Light, was exhibited. The new lighthouse
tower upon the Isle of May is contiguous to the side of the old one, and
is elevated 240 feet above the medium level of the sea, of which the
masonry forms 57 feet, and is therefore similar to the old tower in
point of height. The new light is defended from the weather in a glazed
light-room, and has a uniform steady appearance, resembling a star of
the first magnitude, and is seen from all points of the compass, at the
distance of about 7 leagues, and intermediately, according to the state
of the atmosphere."

In the summer of 1814, shortly after the May had been acquired by the
Northern Lights Board, Sir Walter Scott accompanied the Commissioners on
their visit of inspection. In the Diary which he kept during the cruise,
the following entry occurs under date of the 29th of July, the day on
which the lighthouse yacht sailed from Leith:--"Reached the Isle of May
in the evening, went ashore, and saw the light--an old tower, and much
in the form of a border-keep, with a beacon-grate on the top. It is to
be abolished for an oil revolving-light, the grate-fire only being
ignited upon the leeward side when the wind is very high.... The isle
had once a cell or two upon it. The vestiges of the chapel are still
visible. Mr. Stevenson proposed demolishing the old tower, and I
recommended 'ruining' it 'à la picturesque', i.e., demolishing it
partially. The island might make a delightful residence for
bathers."[229] Scott's romantic suggestion was not, however, adopted.
The old lighthouse tower on the Isle of May was reduced in height to
about 20 feet, and by direction of the Board was converted into a
guardroom for the convenience of pilots and fishermen. The square,
battlemented, white building is still standing at the present day. Above
the door there is a tablet with a figure of the rising sun over the date
1636. It is surmounted by a lion holding an escutcheon, on which the
armorial bearings--probably those of the builder--are no longer
decipherable. In the vaulted room within the tower there is an old iron
grate with the initials A. C., which suit Alexander Cunningham, and are
doubtless his.

The ruins mentioned by Sir Walter are also visible at the present day,
though in an even more dilapidated state than when he saw them. They are
situated in a hollow, towards the south-east end of the island, probably
near the spot where the monastery stood. They are doubtless the remains
of St. Adrian's Chapel, which continued to be visited by pilgrims long
after the destruction of the monastery itself. The space within the
walls measures about 32 feet in length and 15 feet in breadth. In the
west wall are two windows, of which the semi-circular interior openings
seem to indicate Norman work, and suggest the thirteenth century as the
date of the building. There are also remnants of windows both in the
south and in the north wall. A shapeless gap near the southern extremity
shows the position of the door. Just within it there may still be seen
what is perhaps a fragment of the holy-water stoup. From the fact that
the ruins lie north and south, it has been thought that the chapel
occupied only a part of the building, and duly lay east and west within
it. If such were the case, it must have been of exceptionally small
dimensions, and have contained a very diminutive altar. At the present
time no attempt seems to be made to prevent the venerable relic from
falling further into decay; and the rough enclosure within which it
stands is used as a sheep-pen.

The lighthouse now on the May is situated close to the old tower. It is
a massive quadrangular stone building surmounted by a square tower which
at a distance gives it the appearance of a church. It first came into
use on the 1st of December, 1886. For fifteen years previously the
Commissioners of the Northern Lights had been anxious to establish an
electric light on the Scottish coast; but it was not till 1883 that the
Board of Trade was able to sanction the expenditure, and suggested its
introduction at the Isle of May, on the ground that "there was no more
important station on the Scottish shores, whether considered as a
landfall, as a light for the guidance of the extensive or important
trade of the neighbouring coast, or as a light to lead into the refuge
of the Forth". The new buildings, engines, electric machines and lamps
cost £15,835; but, including old material which it was found possible to
utilize, the total installation was estimated at £22,435. As to
technical details, it may suffice to mention that the generators are two
of De Meritens's alternate-current magneto-electric machines, weighing
about four and a half tons each. The engines are a pair of horizontal
surface-condensing steam engines, each with two cylinders 9 inches in
diameter and 18 inches stroke, making 140 revolutions per minute. There
are two steam boilers, of which only one is in use at a time. Each of
them is 20 feet long and 5 feet 6 inches in diameter. Only one of the
three electric lamps is used at a time, and is changed once an hour to
allow it to cool. The light is about 25,000 candle-power, but when seen
from the water gives a flash equal to 3,000,000 candles, which can be
increased to 6,000,000. The May apparatus is so designed as to give a
group of four flashes in quick succession, followed by an interval of
darkness lasting thirty seconds. The highest recorded distance at which
the reflection of the light has been observed is 61 nautical miles. The
May is also provided with a powerful horn, of which the sound serves as
a guide during the frequent "haars" or sea-fogs that rise from the North
Sea. In addition to this, it has a smaller fixed light which serves as a
leading light for ships coming down from Fifeness. It is visible on one
side of the island only.

Owing to the increased cost of maintenance of the May light--it is
estimated at more than £1000 a year--an Order in Council was issued in
1886, authorizing the collection of two-sixteenths of a penny per ton,
as light dues, from vessels carrying cargo or passengers, which may pass
or derive benefit from the light when on a coasting or home-trade
voyage, and of one penny per ton when on an oversea voyage, subject to
the usual deductions.

The May light is served by seven keepers, the chief of whom does not,
however, share the watches. Their quarters, which are neat and
commodious, and sufficiently large for the accommodation of such of them
as have families, are situated at some distance from the lighthouse,
between two hills that afford protection from the prevalent gales. Close
to them is the engine-house, with its tall chimney-stalk. The necessary
supply of water for it is drawn from the little lake, of which early
descriptions of the island make mention, and which has now been turned
into a reservoir.


[202] _Statistical Account of Scotland_, vol. iii, p. 84.

[203] Sibbald, _History of Fife_, p. 101.

[204] Hume Brown, _Early Travellers in Scotland_, pp. 68-69.

[205] Hume Brown, _Scotland before 1700_, p. 78.

[206] _Breviar. Aberdonen._, _Pars Hyemalis_, fol. lxii.

[207] Book vi, c. 8.

[208] _Vita S. Kentigerni_, pp. lxxxiii-iv.

[209] _Carte Prioratus Insule de May_, Charters 12-18.

[210] _Records of the Priory of the Isle of May_, p. xiv.

[211] _Carte Prioratus_, Charter 24.

[212] _Carte Prioratus_, Charter 25.

[213] Charters 26, 27, 33.

[214] _Carte Prioratus_, Charters 29, 30.

[215] Charter 35.

[216] _Carte Prioratus_, Charter 38.

[217] Charter 39.

[218] _Records of the Priory of the Isle of May_, p. xx and Charter 40.

[219] _Records of the Priory of the Isle of May_, p. xxi and Charter 41.

[220] _Records of the Priory of the Isle of May_, p. ix.

[221] "Proceedings Relative to the Claim of the Abbot and Convent of
Reading on the Priory of the Isle of May", op. cit., p. lxxxv, _et seq._

[222] Op. cit., p. xxv.

[223] Op. cit., p. lxxxiij.

[224] Op. cit., p. xxviij.

[225] Op. cit., p. xxvi.

[226] Op. cit., pp. xcvij, _et seq._

[227] Pinkerton, _History of Scotland_, vol. i, p. 208.

[228] _Records of the Priory of the Isle of May_, p. lxxvi, _et seq._

[229] Lockhart, _Life of Sir Walter Scott_, chap. xxviii.


Although Edinburgh does not appear to manifest any consciousness of the
fact, the 1st of September is the feast of her patron saint. There was a
time when solemn celebrations marked the event. But centuries have
passed since then; and it would not be very rash to assume that, at the
present day, for every thousand of its Presbyterian population, at any
rate, the city does not contain one man, woman, or child who knows of
any connection between St. Giles and any special day in the year.

In this respect, it is true, Edinburgh is not more indifferent than
Glasgow. Every year the 13th of January passes by without the slightest
official recognition on the part of the commercial metropolis. In spite
of that, however, St. Mungo and St. Giles stand on a very different
footing in their respective cities. All Glaswegians know something of
their saint. Indeed, their municipal coat of arms makes it impossible
for them to be wholly ignorant of his story. The very children amongst
them are familiar with the incidents which the bird, the tree, and the
ring commemorate; and reference to the capital of the West as the city
of St. Mungo is by no means uncommon. But whoever heard Edinburgh call
herself the city of St. Giles? Nor is this difference in the esteem in
which the two patrons are held unnatural or unaccountable. For, whilst
Glasgow's tutelar saint was a true Scot, he under whose special
protection the capital chose to put itself was simply an alien. Not but
what he was a well-born and eminently venerable person. We are told that
St. Giles, or, to give him his Latin name, Egidius, was born in Greece
in the seventh century. According to the Roman Breviary, he was of royal
lineage. The same authority states that from his youth he showed a great
love for sacred learning and for works of charity, and that, at the
death of his parents, he bestowed his whole inheritance on the poor. The
miracles which he was reported to have wrought brought him a fame which
was distasteful to him. To escape from it he retired to Arles, in
France. He remained there but a short time, however, having determined
to lead the life of a hermit. For this purpose he betook himself to a
forest near Gards, in the diocese of Nîmes. There he lived for a long
time upon the roots and herbs and the milk of a hind which came to him
at regular hours--an act of kindness for which the charitable and
faithful animal was not to go unrewarded, and to which, indeed, she owes
the honour of figuring in the arms of the city of Edinburgh, of which
she is the sinister supporter. One day the hind was chased by the King's
hounds, and took refuge in Giles's cave. "Thereby," says the Breviary,
"the King of France was moved earnestly to entreat that Giles would
allow a monastery to be built in the place where the cave was. Yielding
to the pressing solicitations of the King, he took the rule of this
monastery, although himself unwilling, and discharged this duty in a
wise and godly manner for some years, until he passed away to

The biographical sketch supplied by the Breviary suggests no connection
between Giles and any part of Britain--north or south; neither does
there seem to be anything extant to account for his being chosen as the
tutelar saint of Edinburgh. There are, however, documents which prove
that, as far back as the thirteenth century, the parish church was
dedicated to him. Arnot states, on the authority of a charter in the
Advocates' Library, that, in the reign of James II, Preston of Gortoun,
having got possession of a relic which was alleged to be an arm-bone of
St. Giles, bequeathed it to the mother kirk.[231] In gratitude for this
gift, the magistrates of the city granted a charter in favour of the
heirs of Preston, entitling the nearest heir of the donor, being of the
name of Preston, to carry this sacred relic in all processions. The
magistrates, at the same time, obliged themselves to found in this
church an altar, and to appoint a chaplain, for celebrating an annual
mass of requiem for the soul of the donor. They also ordered that a
tablet, displaying his arms and describing his pious donation, should be
put in the chapel. The relic, enshrined in silver, was kept amongst the
treasures of the church till the Reformation.[232]

The outburst of iconoclasm which is chronicled by John Knox as one of
the marks of progress of the Reformation in Scotland proved fatal to St.
Giles. "The images were stolen away in all parts of the country," says
the historian, "and in Edinburgh was that great idol called St. Giles
first drowned in the North Loch, and after burned, which raised no small
trouble in the town." This was in 1557. But twelve months later there
occurred what may be looked upon as the public and formal denial by
Edinburgh of her patron saint, and his violent and shameful deposition
by his whilom devotees. This "tragedy of St. Giles" is recorded by Knox
with that grim humour which is characteristic of him. He relates that,
on the approach of St. Giles's day, the bishops gave charge to the
Provost, Bailies, and Council of Edinburgh, either to get the old St.
Giles again, or else to provide a new image at their expense. To this
the Council answered, in words that breathe the very spirit of the
reformer himself, "That to them the charge appeared very unjust. They
understood that God, in some places, had commanded idols and images to
be destroyed, but where He had commanded images to be set up, they had
not read; and they desired the Archbishop of St. Andrews to find a
warrant for his commandment."

In spite of this refusal, the priests and friars determined to have
"that great solemnity and manifest abomination which they accustomably
had upon St. Giles's day", or, in other words, to hold the annual
procession. To replace the statue that had come to grief the year
before, "a marmoset idol" was borrowed from the Grey Friars; who, as
security for its safe return, required the deposit of "a silver piece".
It was made fast with iron nails to a feretory, or portable shrine.
"There assembled priests, friars, canons, and rotten Papists, with
tabours and trumpets, banners and bagpipes. And who was there to lead
the ring but the Queen Regent herself, with all her shavelings, for
honour of that feast?" For all her unpopularity, Mary exercised a
restraining influence on the mob. But that day she was to dine "in
Sandie Carpetyne's house, betwixt the Bows"--that is to say, between the
West Bow and the Nether Bow; and so when, after going down the High
Street and as far as the foot of the Canongate, "the idol returned back
again, she left it and passed in to her dinner".

The Regent's withdrawal from the procession was the signal for the
outbreak of the riot which Knox dignifies with the title of "the
enterprise". They that were of it at once approached to the statue, and
pretended they were anxious to help in bearing it. Having got the
feretory upon their shoulders, they began to shake it roughly, thinking
that this would bring down the "idol". But the iron nails resisted such
slight efforts, and, casting aside all pretence, they pulled it down
violently to the cry of "Down with the idol! down with it!" "Some brag
made the priests' patrons at the first," records Knox; "but they soon
saw the feebleness of their god, for one took him by the heels, and
dadding his head to the causeway, left Dagon without head or hands, and
said, 'Fie upon thee, thou young St. Giles, thy father would have
tarried for such!' This considered, the priests and friars fled faster
than they did at Pinkie Cleuch! Down go the crosses, off go the
surplices, and the round caps corner with the crowns. The Grey Friars
gaped, the Black Friars blew, the priests panted and fled, and happy was
he that first go into the house; for such a sudden fray came never among
the generation of Antichrist within this realm before."[233]

These riotous proceedings chanced to be witnessed by a "merry
Englishman", who, seeing that there was more noise and confusion than
hurt or injury, and that the discomfiture was bloodless, thought he
would add some merriment to the matter. And the gibes in which he
indulged so tickled Knox's sense of humour that he duly records them:
"Fie upon you, why have ye broken order? Down the street ye passed in
great array and with great mirth. Why fly ye, villains, now without
order? Turn and strike every man a stroke, for the honour of his god!
Fie, cowards, fie, ye shall never be judged worthy of your wages again!"
"But," adds the chronicler, "exhortations were then unprofitable; for
after Baal had broken his neck there was no comfort to his confused

From that memorable fall of his, on September 1, 1558, St. Giles has
never recovered. His name, indeed, is not wholly forgotten, and cannot
be, so long as Edinburgh's venerable cathedral bears it; but if he be in
honour anywhere, it is not in the city which once chose him for its
patron, even in preference to any in the respectable company of
home-bred saints that lay ready at hand in the calendar.


[230] _Pars Estiva_, Folio xcvi.

[231] _History of Edinburgh_, pp. 267-8.

[232] _History of Edinburgh_, pp. 267-8.

[233] _History of the Reformation_, pp. 95-6.


Some Incidents in its History

The Castle of Dumbarton is one of the Scottish fortresses for the
maintenance of which special provision was made in the Treaty of Union.
In its case, however, little more than the mere letter of the law has
been observed. For years past its sole garrison has consisted of a
caretaker; and, in so far as any practical purpose is concerned, it has
ceased to be a stronghold at all. But, though no longer possessing any
military importance, the old "Fort of the Britons" is still interesting
and noteworthy for the part that it played, through so many centuries,
in the national history.

There is no evidence to prove that the wall built across the country by
the Roman invaders extended quite as far as Dumbarton. It cannot be
supposed, however, that they ignored the strategic importance of the
Rock, and failed to occupy a position which was practically the key to
the West of Scotland. As to the existence of a fort during the period
that followed the evacuation of Britain by the Romans, there can be no
doubt. The Welsh chronicles refer to it under the name of Alclud, or
Alcluid, that is, "the Rock of the Clyde". Further, it is recorded in
the _Historia Britonum_ "that, as the result of a battle fought between
the Britons and the sons of Ida, in 573, the greater part of the North
Country fell into the hands of a king called Ryderchen, who chose as his
seat the stronghold known to the Gaels by the name of Dunbraton," or the
fort of the Britons--the original form of the modern Dumbarton. In
confirmation of this sixth-century occupation of the Rock, there is a
passage in the life of Columba where Adamnan states that the saint was
consulted by King Rodorcus, son of Totail, who reigned on the Rock of
the Clyde.[234] Under the date of 870, the _Annals of Ulster_ and other
Irish chronicles record that the Norse leaders Amlaiph and Imhar laid
siege to Strathclyde, in Britain. Besides cutting off all provisions,
they were able to draw off, "in a wonderful manner", the water of the
well within the fortress. By reducing the defenders to such a state of
weakness that they could not repulse their assailants, hunger and thirst
gave the Norsemen possession of the fortress.[235]

At the time of the dispute between Bruce and Baliol, the Castle of
Dumbarton was in the keeping of Nicholas de Segrave. By virtue of the
right that he claimed as feudal superior, Edward I commanded the
fortress to be handed over to the competitor in whose favour he had
pronounced. It was not till 1296, however, that the English King was
able to enforce his order, and to appoint a Governor of his own
choosing. This was Alexander de Ledes, whom he also made Sheriff of the
County. De Ledes was succeeded by Sir John Menteith, who earned an
unenviable notoriety by the betrayal and capture of Wallace, and to
whose keeping the illustrious prisoner was entrusted prior to his being
removed to London. The Scottish hero's sword was long preserved as an
historical relic in the Castle. An entry in the Accounts of the Lord
Treasurer shows that it was there at the time of James IV's visit, in
1505, and that the King paid for "binding of Wallass sword with cordis
of silk, and new hilt, and plomet, new skabbard, and new belt to the
said sword".[236] It was not till 1888 that this interesting memorial of
the patriot was transferred to Stirling.

On the doubtful authority of a passage to be found in some of the
manuscript versions of Bower's continuation of Fordun, Dumbarton is made
the scene of one of Bruce's many narrow escapes from falling into the
hands of his enemies. The account given is to the effect that the
Scottish King, wishing to obtain possession of the Castle, entered into
negotiations with Menteith, by whom it was still held for the English,
and that the treacherous Governor, on the understanding that he should
receive the Earldom of Lennox as his reward, consented to deliver the
fortress. As Bruce, with a number of followers, was on his way to enter
into possession, in accordance with the agreement, he was met by a
carpenter whom Bower calls Roland, who warned him that Menteith meant to
capture or kill him. Being thus forewarned, the King was able to turn
the tables on his intending captor, who was himself confined in the
Castle till shortly before Bannockburn, when he was released on
condition that he should fight against the English.[237]

Another romantic episode, to which no date can be assigned, is related
by Sir William Fraser, on the authority of "tradition". The sovereign
that occupied the throne of Scotland at the time, he says, had lost
Dumbarton Castle, and was anxious to recover it. Having applied to one
of the Colquhouns for assistance, the answer he got from the Laird of
Luss was, "If I can". "Colquhoun let a stag loose on the level ground
within sight of the Castle, and got up a mock hunt after it, with great
blowing of horns, and other noises, to attract the attention of the
garrison, hoping that they might be induced to join in the sport and
leave the fortress undefended. Everything happened as Colquhoun had
wished. Nearly the whole of the garrison went forth to take part in the
pastime. During their absence, Colquhoun and the men that he had
selected hastened into the Castle, overpowered the feeble remainder of
its defenders, and made themselves its masters."[238] This incident of
"early times" may possibly be authentic; but it looks rather
suspiciously like an ingenious attempt to find a plausible and
picturesque origin for the Colquhoun motto, "Si je puis".

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Castle of Dumbarton was
made to serve a very singular purpose. In circumstances of which no
explanation is given, an individual whom Wyntoun describes as

    "Mastere Waltere off Danyelstoune,
    Off Kyncardyn in Nele Persowne",[239]

took possession of the fortress, and, as Fordun adds, held it "with a
large military force, to the great annoyance of the King and the
kingdom". The Government being unable to drive him out, was obliged to
accept the condition on which he offered to surrender his capture. It
was nothing less than his appointment to the See of St. Andrews; and he
had his way, being elected Bishop in 1402. He did not, however, long
enjoy the dignity with which he had got himself clothed,

    "Agane conscience of mony men,"


    "Sone efftyre, at the Yule deit he;
    Swa litill mare than a halff yere
    Lestyt he in his powere."[240]

The latter years of the same century witnessed one of the most important
events in the history of Dumbarton Castle. In 1488, it was entrusted to
the keeping of the Earl of Lennox and his eldest son, Matthew Stuart,
who, in the course of the following year, engaged, with Lord Lyle and
others, in a conspiracy for the overthrow of the Government, and
fortified the stronghold accordingly. Repeated summons to surrender
having been disregarded, messengers were dispatched through the whole
county to convoke the militia; and it was arranged that, whilst James
proceeded in person to Crookston and Duchal, Colin, first Earl of
Argyle, should lay siege to Dumbarton Castle; and elaborate preparation
was made for the transport of the most powerful artillery of the day,
including the famous Mons Meg, into the rebellious West. The smaller
strongholds were soon reduced, but the Rock held out, and the defenders,
making a vigorous sally, dislodged their assailants by burning the town,
and so raised the siege. The Royal forces, on being thus driven off,
fell back upon Dunglas, where new materials were quickly collected,
another great gun, "callit Duchal", being brought from Arkil, near
Paisley, the boats conveyed overland from Daldres--the present
Grangemouth--and from Blackness. With all this, it was not till the
second week in December, fully seven months after the commencement of
operations, that the stronghold was obliged to surrender. A formal
sentence of forfeiture and death was passed on Lennox and his son, but
annulled on their appeal by reason of some technical flaw.

Passing over the lesser siege of 1513-14, the occupation of 1543 in the
interest of Henry VIII, the departure of the child-queen Mary, in 1548,
and other events of slighter importance, we come to the most sensational
episode of all. It was after Langside. Lord Fleming had returned from
accompanying Queen Mary to England, and had resumed his governorship of
the fortress which he held for her. The Regent Murray was desirous of
obtaining possession of so important a position, and, negotiations
having failed, went down in person to open the siege. So strict was the
blockade that Fleming was on the point of surrendering when the
assassination of Murray brought him some respite. Lennox, who succeeded
as Regent, was equally bent on the capture of the Castle, and
endeavoured to obtain help from England. But Elizabeth was opposed to
hostile measures, and sent Drury to reopen negotiations with Lord
Fleming and John Hamilton, Bishop of St. Andrews, who was with him. The
mission nearly proved fatal to the English ambassador. He was enticed
within gunshot and deliberately, though unsuccessfully, fired upon.[241]
This dastardly attempt is the subject of a contemporary poem entitled
_The Tressoun of Dunbartane_.

The siege continued to drag on slowly, when about the end of March,
1571, a man named Robertson, who had formerly belonged to the garrison,
but who wished to be revenged for some punishment inflicted on his wife,
suggested a plan for taking the Castle by surprise. It was adopted, and
Captain Thomas Crawfurd of Jordanhill was entrusted with the desperate
enterprise. On the evening of the 31st, Crawfurd sent forward some
horsemen to intercept all communication with Dumbarton, he himself
following about midnight with a body of resolute men. After a short halt
at Dumbuck, the party, provided with ropes and ladders, proceeded to the
foot of the Rock, which was to be scaled at the "Beik", for although
this was the highest point, it offered the advantage of being unguarded,
by reason of its supposed inaccessibility. At the first attempt the
ladder slipped back with the weight of the climbers. On the second it
was found that it did not reach within twenty feet of a tree to which it
was intended to make it fast. The difficulty was overcome by Crawfurd,
who, crawling up to the tree, threw a rope around it, and thus enabled
his party to reach this first stage. The operation was being repeated
for a further ascent when an accident nearly brought disaster on the
whole undertaking. One of the men fell into a kind of fit whilst on the
ladder, and remained clinging desperately to the rungs and blocking the
way. But, even for this, Crawfurd's readiness devised a remedy. Lashing
the man to the ladder, he turned it round, so that the remainder of the
party could mount over their comrade's upturned body. Owing to the delay
caused by these untoward occurrences, it was nearly daylight when the
first of the assailants reached the top. They were seen by the sentries
through the fog, which had so far favoured them, and the alarm was
given. The resistance offered was, however, but feeble. Three men of
the garrison were killed. Many of the others, including Fleming himself,
succeeded in escaping. Amongst those that were taken prisoners was the
Bishop of St. Andrews. He was subsequently hanged for complicity in the
murders of Darnley and of Murray.[242]

Another noteworthy capture of Dumbarton Castle occurred in 1639. At that
time the fortress was held for the king by Sir William Stewart. On the
last Sunday in March, having gone to the Communion service in Dumbarton,
he was invited to dinner by Provost Sempill, a zealous Covenanter. To
his refusal Sempill replied, "I require you to go with me." Thereupon
the Governor and his party were surrounded by forty armed men and
hurried off to the Provost's house, where, under threats of death,
Stewart was obliged to send for the keys and to hand them over to his
captor. The sequel is told by Spalding. "Stewart," he says, "was
compelled to cast off his clothes, which were shortly put upon another
gentleman of his shape and quantity, and he put on his clothes upon him
again. Thus, apparel interchanged, they commanded the Captain, under
pain of death, to tell the watchword, which, for fear of his life, he
truly told. Then they go in the night quietly, unseen by the Castilians,
and had this counterfeit captain with them, who cried and called by the
watchword, which heard, yetts are cast open, in go these Covenanters
with greater power than was within to defend it, take in this strong
strength, man and fortify the same to their mind."[243]

The further vicissitudes of Dumbarton Castle--its alternate occupation
by Royalists and Parliamentarians during the Civil War, its use at
various periods as a place of confinement for such different prisoners
as Ogilvie the Jesuit, Carstairs and his fellow Covenanters, the Marquis
of Tullibardine and other Jacobites--would require to be recorded in
detail in a more complete sketch of the history of the Rock. They may be
passed over without further mention in what lays no claim to do more
than to recall some of the leading incidents in its chequered story.


[234] Sir W. Fraser, _The Lennox_, vol. i, p. 43.

[235] Ware, _Irish Antiquities_, p. 108.

[236] Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., p. 76.

[237] Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., pp. 78 and 236.

[238] _Ibid._, p. 77.

[239] Wyntoun's _Orygynale Cronykil_, vol. ii, p. 397.

[240] _Ibid._, p. 398.

[241] _State Papers, Scotland_: _Elizabeth_, vol. xviii, No. 45.

[242] _Bannatyne's Memoriales_, p. 196.

[243] _History of the Troubles in Scotland and England_, vol. i, pp.
157, 158.



Those who accept the traditional estimate of James VI's character may
deem it little short of preposterous to connect his name with the idea
of statesmanship. To them he appears as a garrulous pedant and a coarse
buffoon, whose rickety walk was the outward sign of a feeble,
vacillating temper; as a would-be autocrat who, whilst constantly
obtruding his despotic theories on his subjects, lacked the strength of
mind and the energy to put them into practice; and, to express it
briefly and bluntly in the words of Macaulay, as "a drivelling idiot"
and "a finished specimen of all that a king ought not to be".[244] But
there is another portrait that may be drawn of him. Materials for it
will be found not in the rhetorical descriptions of writers whose aim
was literary effect or political denunciation, but in those absolutely
trustworthy, if most prosaic and unimaginative documents, the Acts of
the Privy Council. And it was Professor Masson, the editor of those
records, who asserted that it is impossible for anyone duly acquainted
with them "to think of James as other than a man of a very remarkable
measure of political ability and inventiveness, with a tenacity and
pertinacity of purpose that could show itself in a savage glitter of the
eye whenever he was offended or thwarted, and in a merciless rigour in
hunting down and crushing his ascertained opponents".[245] It is worth
going to the same sources of information for the purpose of determining
to what extent this view is justified.

In any attempt at a survey of the administration of James VI it is
important to remember that, although he became nominal sovereign at an
early age, it was not until he had reached his thirtieth year that he
got the reins of government fully into his own hands. That occurred
towards the close of 1595, at the death of Lord Maitland of Thirlstane,
after a Chancellorship and Premiership of over eight years. It was then
that on being asked how he intended to fill up the vacant office, James
replied that he was resolved no more to use great men as Chancellors in
his affairs, but only such as he could correct and were hangable.[246]

The peculiar idea of kingship or sovereign authority which the
enfranchised monarch thus expressed, and which he took every opportunity
of repeating in both his speeches and his writings, is the more
noteworthy that it was opposed to the principles which must have been
inculcated upon him in his early years. For it must be remembered that
his tutor, Buchanan, was a politician as well as a scholar, and that it
was he who wrote the famous treatise, _De Jure Regni apud Scotos_, that
vigorous exposition of liberal and constitutional monarchy which
justifies the description of its author as "the first Whig". It is
certainly not to him that James's training in autocracy is to be
attributed, but rather to Thirlstane. That statesman, it is true, ruled
the Court and the country for years with a fixity of purpose and a
firmness of hand that bore down opposition, and did not allow the King
himself any opportunity of asserting his independence. At the same time,
however, he did not fail to urge upon him the necessity for dealing
energetically with the abuses which had arisen owing to the turbulent
insolence and the intolerable oppression of the arrogant nobility. James
had not been deaf to advice so conformable with his character and
disposition. He had taken it so thoroughly to heart that, although he
could not shake himself free from his Minister's despotism, it had
become irksome and galling to him. When Maitland lay on his deathbed his
Sovereign refused repeated requests to visit him, and it was even said
that he had whispered in a courtier's ear that "it would be a small
matter if the Chancellor were hanged".[247] The years that intervened
between Maitland's death and James's departure from Scotland at length
gave the King his opportunity, and not only did he at once show his
determination of becoming master within his own kingdom, but he also
succeeded in actually carrying it out to a very noteworthy degree. And
of the qualifications that enabled him to do so none was more
conspicuously displayed than his ability to extract power to shape
things according to his mind from the very incidents that the opposition
to his royal will and pleasure evoked. An instance of this was afforded
by his energetic conduct when the Edinburgh riot of December, 1596,
originating in a demonstration in favour of the rights of Presbytery, as
championed by Mr. David Black, of St. Andrews, gave him a chance of
striking at the antagonists to his notion of supremacy. And the same
inflexibility of purpose and dexterous management of circumstances
appeared, four years later, in the use which he made of the Gowrie
tragedy as an instrument for the subjection of the Scottish clergy. The
monarch who could turn such occurrences as those to political profit had
some right to boast of his "kingcraft". We may not approve of the system
which he followed of marking out individual opponents and of striking
them down with a strong and merciless hand, but we must admit that it
proved effectual, and acknowledge that the man whose conduct of the
bitter struggle it characterized cannot be contemptuously dismissed as
"a nervous, drivelling idiot".

One of the special points with regard to which James has a claim to
recognition is the zeal with which he undertook and consistently
performed the task of checking the lawlessness and rebellion that had
been rampant in Scotland during his minority. The Royal Declaration in
which he announced his intention of bestowing his "haill travellis,
moyane, and diligens" on the work of reform was not allowed to remain a
dead letter. Page after page of the records testify to the resoluteness
with which he enforced the laws which had for their object the
restoration of order throughout the kingdom, and which were directed
more particularly against two classes of offenders--the "horners" and
the members of families at hereditary feud. Horners, as they were called
in Scotland, were all persons who stood out in denounced disobedience to
the decrees of any law court, for any kind of offence from simple debt
to murder and treason. At one time the country was full of such. Mere
proclamations against them having proved of little avail, James at
length had recourse to a measure which proved more effectual. He
established a flying police, consisting of a body of forty well-equipped
horsemen, "to be in reddiness at all occasiounis to hunt, follow and
perseu all and quhatsumevir rebellis within this countrie, without
respect of persones, quhither thair rebellioun be for civill or
criminall caussis, and to tak thair houssis and uplift thair eschaitis
as thai salbe directit and commandit".[248] The beneficial result of
these stringent disciplinary measures was soonest and most distinctly
apparent in the Borders, or, as James desired them to be called after
his accession to the English throne, "the Midland Shires of Britain",
which, within the space of four or five years, were so thoroughly
subdued that they ceased to be a sanctuary for rough-riding reivers, and
entered upon that more peaceful era of their existence which has now
lasted for three hundred years.

In an Act "anent deidly feidis", evidently emanating from James himself,
the Council reminded the lieges that "The Kingis most gratious Majestie,
ever since his first cuming to yeiris of perfectioun", had displayed
"ain maist ernest and ardent zaill and desyer to have removit frome
amange his subjectis of the cuntrey of Scotland all sic custumis,
faschiounnis, and behaviouris as did in ony weyis smell of barbarity and
sevegnes", and had been unremitting in his endeavours to suppress the
"barbarous and detestable consuetud of deidly feids".[249] Nothing could
be better founded than the claim thus put forward on the King's behalf,
for one of the most commendable features in his administration is to be
found in the perseverance with which he strove to put an end to this
characteristically Scottish form of disorder by means both of preventive
and punitive legislation. He did not succeed in wholly rooting out the
"weid of deidly feid", but there is abundant evidence to prove that,
thanks to vigilant care and vigorous action, he was able to check its
baneful growth.

In taking the measure of James VI as a statesman, it is important not
to overlook the method which he adopted to carry on the government of
Scotland as an absentee king. It is assuredly no sign of weakness or
incapacity that the nearest approach to that absolutism that he had set
up as his ideal was made by him after his departure to take possession
of the crown left him by Elizabeth. What he achieved in this respect was
once set forth by him in a speech to his refractory English Parliament.
"This I must say for Scotland, and may truly vaunt it: here I sit and
govern it with my pen; I write and it is done; and by a Clerk of the
Council I govern Scotland now--which others could not do by the
sword."[250] That such was literally the case, that he kept himself
fully acquainted with everything that went on in his northern kingdom,
and that the measures adopted by his Ministers for its control and
management were nothing but the embodiment of his Royal will, is
established beyond dispute by the letters which he periodically sent to
Edinburgh from his palace in the capital or one of his hunting seats in
the shires.

Even the most hostile of James VI's critics give him credit for having
endeavoured to promote one excellent measure--the union of England and
Scotland. To what negotiations the scheme gave rise, how it was
discussed in both Parliaments, what eloquent testimony Sir Francis Bacon
bore to the statesmanlike character of the King's views and intentions,
and in what circumstances the projected treaty broke down under the
weight of English prejudice and jealousy--those are the details of a
story which cannot be told now. It must suffice to recall that, if James
had had his way, history would have been anticipated by a whole century.


The "bagage littéraire" of James VI is but slight, and if the profound
indifference of all and the absolute ignorance of most as to its very
existence be taken as representing a fair estimate of its merit it must
in truth be worthless. But if, on the other hand, we consult his
contemporaries we must, unless we are prepared to dismiss them all as
more shamelessly fulsome in their adulation than the average of courtly
flatterers, at least recognize the possibility of his having been a
little better than posterity has been taught to believe. Long before
James VI became James I his reputation as a poet had reached England,
and helped to swell the chorus of welcome that greeted him on his
arrival. In 1598 Barnfield made the King's love of poetry the point of
one of his sonnets:--

    And you, that discommend sweet Poesie,
    (So that the Subject of the same be good)
    Here may you see your fond simplicitie,
    Sith Kings have favored it, of royal Blood.
    The King of Scots--now living--is a poet,
    As his "Lepanto" and his "Furies" show it.[251]

Before this, Harvey in his _Pierce's Supererogation_, had already
proclaimed the poetical merit of "Lepanto", declaring it, in his
high-flown style, to be "a short, but heroicall worke, in meeter, but
royall meeter, fitt for a David's harpe".[252] Two years later the
judgment of Vaughan was that "James is a notable Poet, and daily setteth
out most learned poems, to the admiration of all his subjects".[253] In
1600 Allott gave ten quotations from James in his _England's Parnassus_,
and Bodenham claims that in "The Garden of the Muses", from "what workes
of Poetrie have been put to the world's eye by that learned and right
royall King and Poet, James King of Scotland, no one sentence of worth
has escaped".[254] After the accession to the English throne, Jonson
addressed "To King James" an epigram of ten lines, in which he expanded
the idea of the monarch's excellence as both prince and poet:--

    "How, best of kings, dost thou a scepter bear?
    How, best of poets, dost thou the laurel wear?
    But two things rare the Fates had in their store,
    And gave thee both, to show they could no more.
    For such a poet, while thy days were green,
    Thou wert, as chief of them are said t'have been.
    And such a prince thou art, we daily see,
    As chief of those still promise they will be.
    Whom should my Muse then fly to, but the best
    Of Kings, for grace; of poets, for my test?"[255]

And Sir John Beaumont, in a carefully polished poem written before, but
published after James's death, and entitled "To His late Maiesty,
concerning the True Forme of English Poetry", bestowed upon him the more
subtle flattery of calling him the Master whose "judicious rules" have
been his guide.[256] Here the reference is to James, not only as a poet
but as a critic also. For one of his early prose treatises was entitled
_Reulis and Cautelis to be Observit and Eschewit in Scottis Poesie_.
This was the manifesto of a group of poets, amongst whom were, in
addition to the King himself, Alexander Montgomerie, the author of _The
Cherry and the Slae_; Fowler, and the Hudsons, and whose aim was to
found a school of Scottish poetry. This document contained a passage
which is interesting enough to be quoted. Setting forth the "twa
caussis" that have induced him to compose his treatise, the Royal
lawgiver of Parnassus says: "The ane is; as for thame that wrait of
auld, lyke as the tyme is changeit sinsyne, so is the ordour of poesie
changeit. The other cause is; that as for thame that has written in it
of late, there has never ane of thame written in our (Scottis) languag.
For albeit sindrie hes written of it in English, quhilk is lykest to our
language, zit we differ from thame in sindrie reulis of poesie, as ze
will find be experience."[257] And we believe there are Scotsmen who
will account it to James for righteousness that he at least made an
attempt, abortive though it proved, to maintain Scotland's autonomy in
language and in poetry.

In forming an estimate of the King's poetical productions, it is but
fair to bear in mind that "all of his poems, save three or four sonnets
and the revisions of his early paraphrases of the Psalms, belong to the
period of his reign in Scotland", and that "the greater portion of them
were composed either before the publication of the first volume of his
poems in his nineteenth year or in the time of romantic enthusiasm
excited by his marriage".[258] We have "The First Verses that ever the
King Made". They are written in a sententious vein which might be looked
upon as characteristic of the author, were it not that this special
feature "is one of the commonest in Scottish poetry of the Chaucerian
tradition". And if, on the one hand, it cannot be claimed for them that
they bear evidence of exceptional talent, on the other it must be
admitted that, as the production of a lad of fifteen, they were quite

    Since thought is free, thinke what thow will,
      O troubled heart, to ease thy paine!
    Thought unreveeled can doe no ill,
      But words past out turne not again.
    Be cairfull, ay, for to invent
    The way to gett thyne owne intent.

    To play thyself with thy conceate,
      And lett none know what thow doth meane;
    Hope ay at last, though it be lait,
      To thy intent for to atteane:
    Whiles, lett it breake furth in effect,
    By ay lett witt thy will correct.

    Since fool-haste is not greatest speed,
      I would thou shouldest learne to know
    How to make vertue of a need,
      Since that necessitie hath no law.
    With patience, then, see thow attend,
    And hope to vanquishe in the end.[259]

James was still, as he puts it himself, in his "verie young and tender
yeares: wherein nature (except shee were a monster) can admit no
perfection", when he wrote his "Lepanto", which his contemporaries seem
to have looked upon as the best of his poems, and to which Du Bartas
paid the compliment of translating it into French. It is no masterpiece,
but Mr. Westcott, the editor of the _New Poems by James I of England_,
does not exaggerate the author's merit when he says that "his style in
the description of the battle between the Christian and the Turkish
navies is concrete and lively, and at times achieves an almost
ballad-like simplicity". This seems to us to be justified by such lines
as those which describe the gathering of the Christian forces:--

    There came eight thousand Spaniards brave
      From hotte and barren Spaine,
    Good order kepars, cold in fight,
      With proud disdainfull braine.
    From pleasant, fertill Italie
      There came twelve thousand als,
    With subtill spreites bent to revenge,
      By craftie meanes and fals.
    Three thousande Almans also came,
      From Countries colde and wide;
    These monney men with awfull cheare
      The chok will dourelie bide.[260]

James did not make frequent use of this metre, but he adopted it for
another poem of a very different kind, "A Dreame on his Mistris my Ladie
Glammes", in which he displays some ingenuity and inventive skill.
Interpreting one of the tokens that have been left him--an amethyst--he

    The secret vertues that are hidd
      Into this pretious stone
    Indues me with meete qualities
      For serving such a one;
    For as this stone by secret force
      Can soveraignlie remeade
    These daizeled braines whome Bacchus' strength
      Ou'rcomes as they were deade,
    And can preserve us from the harme
      Of the envenomed sting,
    Of poysoned cuppes, that to our tombe
      Untymelie does us bring,
    So shall my hart be still preserved
      By vertue from above,
    From staggering like a drunken man
      Or wavering into love:
    Bot by this soveraigne antidote
      Of her whom still I serve,
    In spite of all the poysoned lookes,
      Of Dames I shall not swerve.[261]

There are 268 lines altogether, and the discovery of them ought to
contribute in some degree to the poetical rehabilitation of the author.

As a knowledge of James's character would suggest, his interest in the
art of poetry was mainly directed to the details of verse making and
diction, and it seems natural in such a stickler for metrical propriety
that in his shorter poems his favourite form should have been the
sonnet. His highest achievement in this department has always been
considered to be the sonnet to his son Henry, at the beginning of the
_Basilicon Doron_:--

    God gives not Kings the stile of Gods in vaine,
    For on his Throne his Scepter doe they swey:
    And as their subjects ought them to obey,
    So Kings should feare and serve their God againe:
    If then ye would enjoy a happie raigne,
    Observe the Statutes of your heavenly King,
    And from his Law make all your Lawes to spring:
    Since his Lieutenant here ye should remaine,
    Reward the just, be stedfast, true and plaine,
    Represse the proud, maintayning aye the right,
    Walk alwayes so, as ever in his sight,
    Who guardes the godly, plaguing the prophane;
      And so ye shall in Princely virtues shine,
      Resembling right your mightie King Divine.

Of this poem Bishop Percy said that it would not dishonour any writer of
that time, and a later critic has pronounced that it is by far James's
best performance, "which just misses being really fine". By the side of
it there may now be placed, by reason of their "sustained music,
conformity to the technique of the sonnet, and prettiness of fancy, if
not elevation", at least three others which figure amongst the
twenty-six hitherto unpublished poems included in the manuscript which
Mr. Westcott has discovered. One of them refers to a lady, probably the
daughter of Sir John Wemyss, whose name was Cicely:--

    Faire famous Isle, where Agathocles rang;
    Where sometymes, statly Siracusa stood;
    Whos fertill feelds were bathed in bangster's blood
    When Rome and ryvall Carthage strave so lang:
    Great Ladie Mistriss, all the Isles amang,
    Which standes in Neptune's, circle mouving, flood;
    No, nather for thy frutefull ground nor good;
    I chuse the, for the subject of my sang:
    Nor for the ould report, of scarce trew fame;
    Nor heeretofore, for farelies in the found;
    But, for the sweet resemblance of that Name,
    To whom thou seemest, so sibb, at least, in sound;
      If then, for seeming so, thy prays bee such,
      Sweet She herselfe, dothe merit more than much.[262]

On the strength of this, or of anything we have quoted from James's
poems, it would be supremely unreasonable to claim for him a place on
the same level as that of the authors either of "The King's Quhair" or
of "The Gaberlunzie Man". But it may be less unjustifiable to suggest
that he is not absolutely undeserving of a corner in anthologies of the
Scottish poems of the sixteenth and of the early seventeenth century.
That he is altogether contemptible is an opinion that might be
maintained if we had nothing better of his than the string of punning
rhymes quoted in the notes to Walpole's _Royal and Noble Authors_, for
the purpose of making him appear ridiculous.[263]


[244] _Essay on John Hampden._

[245] _Register of the Privy Council of Scotland_, vol. vii, p. xxvii.

[246] Tytler, _History of Scotland_, p. 238.

[247] Tytler, _History of Scotland_, p. 238.

[248] _Register of the Privy Council of Scotland_, vol. vi, pp. 581-2.

[249] _Register of the Privy Council of Scotland_, vol. vi, p. 594.

[250] _Register of the Privy Council of Scotland_, vol. vii, p. xxv.

[251] Westcott, _New Poems by James I of England_.

[252] Westcott, _New Poems by James I of England_.

[253] _Ibid._

[254] _Ibid._

[255] Op. cit., p. lxxx.

[256] Op. cit., p. lxxxi.

[257] Edited by R. P. Gillies, Edin., 1814; _The Authour to the Reader_.

[258] Westcott, op. cit., p. xlv.

[259] Calderwood, _Historie of the Kirk of Scotland_, vol. iii,
Appendix, p. 784.

[260] Op. cit., p. lxix.

[261] _Ibid._, p. 15-16.

[262] Op. cit., p. 39.

[263] "In the _Muses' Welcome to King James_, printed at Edinburgh in
1618, folio, the royal visitor greeted his Scottish subjects with a
string of punning rhymes on the names of certain learned professors,
which some of them were sagacious enough to turn into Latin. As a sample
of the literary taste which prevailed at this academic visitation, these
quibbling verses on the name of the college disputants are here

As _Adam_ was the first of men, whence all beginning tak So _Adam-son_
was president, and first man in this act. The theses _Fair-lie_ did
defend, which though they lies contain, Yet were _fair-lies_ and he the
same right fairlie did maintain. The field first entred master _Sands_,
and there he made me see That not all _Sands_ are barren sands, but that
some fertile bee. Then master _Young_ most subtilie the theses did
impugne, And kythed _old_ in Aristotle, although his name bee Young. To
him succeeded master Reid, who though _reid_ be his name Neids neither
for his disput blush, nor of his speach think shame. Last entred master
_King_ the lists, and dispute like a _King_ How reason reigning as a
_queene_ should anger underbring. To their deserved praise have I thus
played upon their names; And wills their colledge hence be called the
Colledge of KING JAMES."

--Horace Walpole, _Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors_, Edit. 1806,
vol. i, p. 125.


Although in the possession of the historic family of Kennedy, to the
head of which it gives his title, Ailsa Craig, the imposing "ocean
pyramid" that rises in solitary grandeur to a height of over 1100 feet
above the waters of the Firth of Clyde, does not figure prominently in
the annals of the country, nor in the special records of the district to
which it belongs. Its whole story consists of a single episode, which,
though hardly noticed by modern historians, created some excitement,
both in Scotland and in England, at the time of its occurrence, and may
be read with interest at the present day. That incident, the invasion of
Ailsa Craig, which it is here intended to relate on the authority of
contemporary documents, takes us back to the year 1597. The chief actors
in it were Hugh Barclay, Laird of Ladylands, an Ayrshire gentleman of
good family, whose estate was situated in the neighbourhood of Irvine,
and Andrew Knox, "minister of God's worde at Paselye".

Though originally a member of the Presbyterian Church, Ladylands had
made "defectioun and apostacie fra the said trewe religioun". In the
correspondence of the time he is usually to be found figuring in the
lists of those whom it was customary to describe as "practising
Papists", a designation not undeserved in his case, for amongst the
religious enthusiasts who devoted themselves to the restoration of the
old religion none displayed a greater fixity of purpose, a more
unscrupulous contempt for the law, or a more reckless disregard of
personal danger. Andrew Knox, on the other hand, in spite of his
peaceful calling, gave proof of equal determination and equal audacity
in the fulfilment of the self-imposed mission of hunting down "Jesuitis,
seminarie preistis, and suspect trafficquaris with the King of Spain,
and utheris foreynaris". The plotting of the laird and the
counter-plotting of the minister had more than once brought the two men
into personal conflict. Indeed, so far as extant documents go, the
career of the one is practically identified with the career of the

In 1592, which seems to be the year in which he abandoned
Presbyterianism, Ladylands was "excommunicated for Papistrye", but
granted "a licence to departe out of the realme". Before his departure,
however, it was discovered that he and "twoe Inglishmen of the worst
sorte haunted togither" at Irvine and other places in the west.[264] In
consequence of this, it was at once resolved to take him and his
accomplices "quietlie", and to bring them back to Edinburgh. The
difficult task of apprehending him was undertaken by Andrew Knox, and
successfully carried out, though at "no little paines and perill". He
pursued the conspirators through Glasgow and towards Irvine, and pressed
them so closely that Ladylands was driven to the necessity of giving
himself up to James Hamilton, the eldest son of Lord Claude, though not
till, by some means which are unfortunately not recorded, he had
provided for the safety of his confederates. Under the charge of Andrew
Knox and Captain Hamilton he was led back to Edinburgh, and handed over
to the Provost's keeping. On being examined he "confessed himselfe
excommunicated and to be of the Catholique Romaine Church and not of the
Church established in Scotlande, and he agreed to answer to any
interrogatorye charginge him in cryme of treason wherein he pleaded his
inocencye, but he derectlie refused to answere to anye question
touchinge matter of religion, or as micht accuse or charge anye person
other than himselfe onlye".

The object of the conspiracy in which Ladylands had been engaged soon
became apparent. Towards the end of December, George Ker, brother to
Mark Lord Newbottle, came down to Fairlie, intending to set sail from
the "West Sea Bank". His presence in the neighbourhood and his frequent
visits to the Island of Cumbrae having aroused suspicion, he was
narrowly watched, and "his speeches taken heed to", with the result
that, as Calderwood states it, "he was perceaved to be a Papist passing
to Spaine, to traffique betwixt the King of Spaine and some Scottish
noblemen". Andrew Knox, to whom the information was brought, lost no
time in setting himself upon the track of the suspected conspirator.
Accompanied by a number of Glasgow students, he proceeded to Fairlie,
where he found, however, that Ker had already crossed over to the
Cumbrae. Following him to the island, he succeeded in apprehending him
just as he was ready to embark. On being searched, his coffers were
found to contain "diverse letters and blankes directed from George Erle
of Huntlie, Francis Erle of Erroll, and William Erle of Angus, the
Lairds of Auchindoun and Fintrie, and other practisers, some in Latine,
some in Frenche, together with their caschets and signets".[265]

There could be no reasonable doubt that Ladylands was connected with the
plot, which, though treasonable as to the means to be employed, aimed at
nothing more criminal, even on the showing of Calderwood, than the
"procuring libertie of conscience". Fortunately for him, however,
nothing was found in the intercepted letters or extorted from those of
the conspirators who had been arrested that could be turned into legal
evidence against him. Two months after his apprehension it was reported
by the English agent in Edinburgh that "the arraignement of the Larde of
Ladilands was differed in regarde that the cause and evidence against
him were not rype and sufficient to proove him gilty of treason".[266]
On Sunday, the 25th of March, 1593, he was "lett free out of the
Tolbuith of Edinburgh, at the King's command, foure sureties being
taikin for his re-entering in ward at Glasgow at the King's pleasure".
It was at first intended that he should be kept in "straite warde", but,
by the influence of the Duke of Athole, from whom he brought letters
with him, he obtained the privileges of "free warde within the Castle".
During his confinement he was visited by his captor, Andrew Knox, and it
was reported that he had been "wonne, and was contented bothe to
subscribe to the articles of religion, and also to discover manye
practizes and practisers not yet revealed". The Paisley minister,
however, had but little cause to congratulate himself on his theological
triumph. As soon as Ladylands had succeeded, by his pretended
conversion, in allaying his jailers' suspicions, and inducing them to
relax their vigilance, he escaped out of the Castle and fled to the Isle
of Bute, whence he subsequently made his way to the Continent.[267]

For the next four years both Ladylands and Andrew Knox disappear from
contemporary records. But in the month of February, 1596, Robert Bowes,
writing to England, informs Lord Burghley that the plotting Laird had
returned to Scotland, and "was lurking about his own house and in parts
near Glasgow". He was said to have offered "uppon twoe or three lynes of
the King's hand to come and reveale to him great secrets". Though urged
to give these "lynes", James refused to comply, but appeared willing
"ether to send one of his owne servants to attache him or else to derect
the Provost of Glasgow to inclose his house and take him". To those who
knew how little the King sympathized with the coercive measures enforced
by the Presbyterians against their Catholic fellow subjects, his
sincerity was the subject of considerable doubt. The suspicion expressed
by Bowes that the apprehension of Ladylands was not likely to be
effected by his means appears to have been justified, for three months
later, in May, 1597--it is well to remember that at this time the year
began in March--the "buissy negociator with the King of Spayne and the
Pope" was still at large, and "banded with some of the Montgomeries,
Stewarts, Murrays, and others, beinge Papists".[268]

On this occasion the object of the conspirators was "to take and
surpryse the island and house of Aylsaie, in the mouth of the Clyde, a
place of good strength which mycht much annoye the west parts of
Scotland, and to keipe the same for the benifyt of ther Catholique
freinds, domesticall and forraigne".[269] To accomplish their purpose
they were reported "to have prepared and rigged a shipp, furnished with
armour, weapons, powder, lead, and other requesyts for warr". Still the
King seemed disinclined to adopt stringent measures. But whilst he was
hesitating Andrew Knox solved the difficulty by taking possession of
Ailsa Craig, at the head of a small body of nineteen men, with whom he
stationed himself on the solitary rock to await the course of events.
Before long, Ladylands, ignorant of Knox's movements and wholly
unconscious of the ambush laid for him, sailed to Ailsa with thirteen of
his fellow conspirators, intending "to have fortefeit and victuallit the
same for the ressett and comforte of the Spanishe armey, luiked for be
him to have cum and arryvit". On reaching the spit of shingle on the
east side, which affords the only landing-place, he found himself
suddenly opposed by a band of determined men, who at once "forgadderit
with him and his compliceis, tuke some of his associates and desireit
himselfe to rander and be takin with thame, quha wer his awne freindis,
meaning nawayis his hurte nor drawinge of his blude". Though taken at a
disadvantage, the Laird was not of a temper to yield without a struggle;
"withdrawing himself within the sey cant", he resolutely defended
himself against his opponents till, having been forced to retreat step
by step to the very edge of the cliff, he was thrust "backwart in the
deip, drownit and perisheit in his awne wilfull and disperat

In the heat of the struggle no attention had been given to the mooring
of the boat in which Ladylands and his accomplices had come across. Not
till the skirmish had ceased was it discovered that it had drifted out
to sea, bearing with it the Laird's "coffers" and the important
documents that they were believed to contain. This untoward accident,
however, delayed the clearing up of the plot for but a short time. A few
days later the masterless craft was picked up off South Annan. In
Ladylands' coffers were found, as had been expected, letters which
revealed the whole extent and importance of the treasonable scheme in
which he had been engaged.

It appeared "that the conspiracye to have been accomplished by the
takinge and forcinge of Ailsa was devysed by the larde of Ladylands,
Corronall (Colonel) Hakerson, and the Spanish Ambassador".

On the previous October the three conspirators had met at the town of
Nantes, in France, for the purpose of considering the details of their
bold undertaking of enlisting the men, and raising the funds necessary
for carrying it out. In order to secure the co-operation of those who,
had they known the size and position of Ailsa Craig, might have felt
considerable doubt as to the advantages to be derived by obtaining
possession of it, the rock "was termed the island of Guyanna, and given
out as very fertile and commodious for fishinge, but inhabited by
barbarous people, and ance possessed, not recoverable be noe enemy out
of the hands of men of warr".

To meet the expenses of the enterprise "ther was contribution promised
by sondry noblemen of Fraunce, and of Englande, and of Scotland". The
agents to whom the task of levying the "contribution" was entrusted were
Hakerson in France, Richard Skeldon in England, and in Scotland
Ladylands himself. It was arranged that Ladylands should, in the first
place, get possession of the island, and then send William Liddell to
Spain "with message of their interpryse, and to crave mony and

The papers also gave further details of the special objects which the
conspirators had in view. In the first place, it was intended to "sett
upp and manteyne ane publique masse in this Islande, quhilk should be
patent (open) to all distressed papists, where fra so ever they should
come". Next to this, there was to be "ane place of releife and
refreshment to the Spanyart, or rather a porte to them, at ther arryvall
in Ireland". Finally, it was a part of the plan to establish "ane
storehouse to keip furnishing and all things profytable to the use of
the Erle of Tyrone, with the quhilk Erle, Ladylands, by his
commissioners, had been buissy sen his last coming to Scotland".

It may be incidentally mentioned that amongst those who lent their
support to Barclay's wild scheme, there was one who possesses another
and a better claim to be remembered. It was the author of _The Cherrie
and the Slae_. In the Acts of the Privy Council[270] it is recorded that
Alexander Montgomerie, brother of the Laird of Heslott (Hasilhead),
having failed to appear to answer for being art and part with the late
Hew Barclay of Ladylands in the treasonable enterprise for the taking of
Hisha for the use of the Spanish army, was denounced as a rebel, on the
14th of July, 1597.

Even after the failure of the first part of the plot and the death of
Ladylands, it was deemed advisable to provide against the possibility of
further surprise on the part of "some practysers for Ireland whose eyes
were espyed to be sett uppon the place". But, singular as it must
appear, the Scottish Government, or rather the Scottish King, still
remained inactive. It was through English influence that the necessary
measures of safety were adopted. Bowes, the English agent, "spoke with
and moved the Erle of Cassilis", obtaining from him a vague promise "to
gyve regarde to yt". As this, however, only resulted in entrusting the
custody of Ailsa to Thomas Hamilton, whom Bowes considered "not very
fytt for the charge", recourse was again had to the indefatigable Andrew
Knox. He readily undertook "both to awayte uppon the further progress of
the surpryse, and also to prevent the interpryse in dewe tyme and sorte
as before had been performed". It does not appear, however, that the
Paisley minister had further occasion to sally forth hurriedly from his
residence, at No. 25 in the High Street, and to display his energy for
the protection of Ailsa. The whole plot had really collapsed with the
death of the prime mover, the bold and unscrupulous Laird of Ladylands.

Not the least singular part of the whole episode is the treatment of
Andrew Knox. Far from securing for him the favour of the Court, his
"action against the papists and practysers for Spayne" brought upon him
the ill will of some of the most influential nobles in the realm. It was
officially reported by Bowes, who acknowledged that he himself had been
"alwayes privye with him in these affayres", that he had "entred into
dangerous feuds by his commendable behaviour", and that "his lyfe was
gredely sought by many and strong persons". The agent's recommendation
that he "should be tymelye and favorablie comforted" was doubtless acted
upon, and it may be looked upon as the result of the interference of the
English Government that the Privy Council, "by direction given by His
Majesty in his letter from Striveling upon the 6th of June", issued a
proclamation which recognized Knox's conduct "to have been loyal and
good service done to His Majesty and the country", and warned all
persons, under pain of treason, against "troubling" any of those
concerned in the expedition which had resulted in the death of the Laird
of Ladylands.[271]

With this one episode the history of Ailsa Craig seems to have begun and
ended. There is no trace of its connection with the political events of
any previous or subsequent period.


[264] _State Papers, Scotland: Elizabeth_, vol. xlix, No. 51. Robert
Bowes to Lord Burghley.

[265] Calderwood, _Historie of the Kirk of Scotland_, vol. v, pp. 192,

[266] _State Papers, Scotland: Elizabeth_, vol. l, No. 30. Bowes to

[267] _State Papers, Scotland: Elizabeth_, vol. i, No. 62.

[268] _State Papers, Scotland: Elizabeth_, vol. lx, Nos. 34, 80.

[269] _Ibid_., vol. lxi, Nos. 12, i; 17; _Register of the Privy
Council_, vol. v, pp. 393, 394.

[270] Vol. v, p. 402.

[271] _Register of the Privy Council_, vol. v, p. 394.


The ballad of "Kinmont Willie", as to the genuineness of which we are
not among those who entertain doubts that reflect on the good faith of
Sir Walter Scott, is not only one of the most spirited to be found in
all the Border minstrelsy, it is also noteworthy as being in the number
of the comparatively few popular poems that have a real historical event
as their foundation. And a further interest attaches to it from the
circumstance that the incident which it sets forth was of sufficient
importance to give rise to a diplomatic correspondence between the
Ministers of James VI and those of Elizabeth, and, indeed, to be the
subject of an indignant letter from the Queen herself. The actual facts
of the capture and rescue of William Armstrong, commonly known as
Kinmont Willie, are in the main such as they are related in the ballad.

In 1596, on one of those customary "days of truce" agreed upon by the
officials on both sides of the Border for the purpose of discussing and,
if it were possible, of settling in a friendly manner any quarrels that
might have arisen between the turbulent inhabitants of the respective
marches, Thomas Salkeld, the "fause Sakelde" of the ballad, as deputy
for the English Warden, Lord Scroope, had met Robert Scott of Haning,
the representative of Sir Walter Scott, "the Bauld Buccleuch", Keeper of
Liddisdale. The conference had taken place at a spot where the Kershope,
a small tributary of the Liddel, formed the boundary line between the
two countries. Nothing untoward had happened. The two officials had
parted on friendly terms, and the Scots Borderers, of whom Robert
Scott's escort consisted, had set out for their respective homes. One of
these happened to be William Armstrong of Kinmont. He was well known to
the Englishmen as a "bauld reiver", against whom they had many a
complaint of long standing.

It was well understood that the "days of truce" lasted until sunrise on
the morning after the breaking up of the meeting, so that all who had
been present at it might have ample time to perform the return journey
homewards without being exposed to molestation. Trusting to this,
Armstrong, whose way lay in the same direction as that of the English
Borderers, rode on unconcernedly on his own side of the Liddel and in
full sight of them. Their sense of honour was not proof against the
temptation of availing themselves of so favourable an opportunity.
Making it an excuse for their violation of Border law that at one point
Armstrong was obliged to pass out of the territory included in Buccleuch
jurisdiction, they crossed the stream, thus committing an act of
invasion, fell upon him at such odds as made resistance vain, took him
prisoner and carried him off to Carlisle, where he was lodged in the
Castle. The indignation aroused by this unwarrantable breach of faith
was all the greater from the fact that Willie was popular amongst his
kinsmen and neighbours for the daring and resourcefulness which had
often ensured the success of the raids on which they had sallied out
together. Buccleuch protested against the violation of the truce and
demanded Kinmont's liberation; but his remonstrances produced no result.
Neither was the Scottish Government itself more successful with Scroope
when the general outcry obliged it to interfere.

Buccleuch then resolved to take the law into his own hands. As a first
step towards the execution of the bold plan which he had conceived, he
got his signet ring conveyed to the prisoner. This he contrived to do
through the agency of one of the Grames, who, though English Borderers
themselves, appear, from Scroope's repeated complaints against them, to
have been in league with the Scottish Warden. A horse race promoted by
him afforded him an opportunity of communicating with Kinmont's kinsmen
and friends without exciting suspicion. He had no difficulty in
enlisting recruits, mainly from amongst the Scotts, the Elliots, the
Bells, and, as a matter of course, the Armstrongs, including Willie's
sons. Before Kinmont, whose capture had been effected on March 17, had
been a month in Carlisle Castle, where, after promising that he would
make no attempt at escape, he appears to have been treated with some
consideration, everything was ready for a dash into England.

On the evening of April 13, a troop of horsemen numbering five hundred,
according to Scroope's estimate of them, crossed the Border in a storm
of wind and rain. They were led by Buccleuch, who, before passing into
English territory, left one detachment under the Laird of Johnston, and
another with the Goodman of Bonshawe, to lie in ambush close to the
frontier line in order to check pursuit if, as might well happen, the
raiders should return with the English at their heels. Those that rode
on towards Carlisle were provided with gavelocks, crowbars, pickaxes,
axes, and scaling ladders. They reached the Castle at dead of night,
and, making for the postern, set about undermining it. The guards had
either fallen asleep or got under cover to protect themselves from the
violence of the weather; moreover, the howling of the storm covered the
noise unavoidably made by the sappers, quietly as they tried to work,
and nothing happened to give either Scroope or Salkeld, both of whom
were within the walls, the least warning of what was going on. In a
short time the Scots had penetrated into the courtyard. Buccleuch was
the fifth to pass through the trench. When he had the rescuing party
about him he encouraged them to "Stand to it", as he had vowed to God
and his Prince to fetch Kinmont out of England dead or alive; and
assured them that, when it was done, he would maintain his action "with
fire and sword against all resisters". With this he led them to the
room where Will Armstrong was confined. Here one of Scroope's servants,
who had been stationed as a guard, had to be overpowered, and sustained
some slight injuries. The door was broken open and Armstrong was carried
off. As the rescuers were retiring they encountered two men of the outer
watch. These were promptly prevented from giving the alarm, but escaped
with their lives, Buccleuch having given strict orders that no
unnecessary violence should be used and no wanton damage done, lest
their enterprise should appear to have had other objects in view than
the rescue for which it was solely planned. Then the whole party
galloped back to Scotland with their prize.

Even in those days news of so startling an occurrence spread fast.
Within a few weeks the daring exploit had aroused the keenest excitement
in both North and South Britain. In Scotland Buccleuch's action "was
greatly commended by the great people". In England there was a feeling
of intense indignation at the "outrageous fact". Robert Bowes, the
Ambassador at the Court of King James, gave expression to it at a
Convention of the Estates. He had been commissioned to "aggravate the
heinousness" of the aggression, and did so in a long oration,
"concluding that peace could no longer continue betwixt the two realms
unless Buccleuch was delivered into England, to be punished at the
Queen's pleasure".[272] The Keeper of Liddisdale was present, and spoke
in his own defence. He maintained that, in rescuing a Scottish subject
who had been wrongfully captured, he had done nothing but what honour
dictated and duty required. He declared, however, that he was willing to
submit the case to Commissioners appointed by the English Queen on the
one hand, and by the Scottish King on the other, and to abide by their
decision. This suggestion met with the approval of the Estates, who
accordingly proposed that, "conform to the ancient treaties of peace,
and custom observed between the two realms, Scottish and English
Commissioners should meet on the Borders to decide upon the said

The Estates had come to this decision on the 25th of May. A few days
later, on the 4th of June, James himself wrote to Elizabeth in regard to
the "late attempt of Buccleuch". He begged her to bear in mind that all
the information she had so far received proceeded from her own officer
who, as a direct party in the matter, might reasonably be suspected of
partiality. And he urged this as a reason for her consenting to the
appointment of a Commission, in accordance with the proposal made by
Buccleuch and adopted by the Convention. Before the end of the same
month, both the Privy Council of England and Queen Elizabeth had
dispatched replies to Edinburgh. The former, after communicating her
Majesty's dissatisfaction at what had taken place and at the turn which
matters were taking, confined itself to the expression of a hope that
the King, in his own princely judgment, would reverse the Act of his
Council, and not show favour to a person so notoriously reported to be
factious, seditious, and a favourer of the King's rebels.

The Queen's letter was far more uncompromising in its tone. It contained
an emphatic refusal to entertain any thought of a Commission, and it
prefaced this vigorously-worded decision with a rebuke such as might
have been administered to a naughty child. She told James that she
looked upon him as a rare example of a king seduced by evil information.
Was it ever seen that a prince, from his cradle preserved from
slaughter, upheld in Royal dignity, preserved from many treasons,
maintained in all sorts of kindness, should remunerate with so hard
measure such dear deservings, and hesitate to yield a just reply to a
friend's lawful demand? Ought there to be any question as to whether a
King should act rightfully by his equal, and should his Councillors be
asked their pleasure as to what he might do? Had this occurred in the
nonage of the Prince, it might have some colour; but in a "fatherage" it
seemed strange, and, she dared say, was without example. However little
regard her "dear Brother" might have for herself, yet she would grieve
much to see him neglectful of his own dignity, as the English, whose
good opinion she doubted not but he had in some esteem, would measure
his love by his deeds, and not by his words on paper. In so far as she
was concerned, she told him plainly that she considered herself as ill
treated by her professed friend as she could be by her declared foe. Was
any castle of hers to be assailed by a night-prowler and her ally not
send the offender to his due punisher? Should a friend stick at a demand
that he ought rather to anticipate? For other doubtful and litigious
Border cases she was willing to appoint Commissioners, if she found it
needful, but never in a matter of such villainous usage as this.[273]
Nor was this the worst. James was further informed, and that not in a
private letter, but through Bowes, that Elizabeth had resolved to stop
his yearly gratuity if he did not satisfy her in the redress demanded
against Buccleuch.

The correspondence of the time shows that of all who were variously
affected by Buccleuch's raid, it was James who, all along, found himself
in the most difficult and delicate position. Whilst willing to
conciliate Elizabeth, he hesitated to condemn an action of which his
subjects were proud as of a triumph over England. He now began to
understand that he would have to yield to the imperious Queen. But he
was still anxious to delay the inevitable surrender, knowing that
amongst the people generally the feeling of opposition to the delivery
of Buccleuch was as keen as ever. As a means of gaining time, he raised
a new issue, by writing a strong letter of indignation at the Queen of
England's threat to stay the payment of his annuity, and at her
treatment of him as if he were her pensioner, whereas the money that he
received was in return for concessions he had made. This, he thought,
was a greater breach of the alliance between them than his not giving
up Buccleuch; and to prove that he, for his part, had always been
faithful to it, he recapitulated the various acts by which he had always
shown his attachment to England.

This led to a prolongation of the correspondence and negotiations
between the two countries; and matters dragged on in this way till the
month of August, when Bowes was at length able to inform Lord Burghley
that Buccleuch had been commanded to ward by the King, and that the
place of his detention was St. Andrews. Recognizing this as a step in
the right direction, Elizabeth wrote to James to express her
satisfaction at his having done what beseemed him. At the same time she
gave him to understand that she would not consider herself fairly dealt
with until Buccleuch was delivered up to herself. This was again
followed by a long exchange of communications, of which the tone,
however, marked a gradual approach towards a settlement of the dispute.
Before that was reached, James found an opportunity of retaliating in a
characteristically petty manner. As Elizabeth insisted that Buccleuch
should be delivered over to her for punishment because of his attack on
Carlisle Castle, so he demanded that Edmund Spenser should be called to
account for his reflections on the character of Mary Stuart. What we
know about this new and singular development is contained in a dispatch
from Bowes to Burghley. "The King," writes the English agent in
Edinburgh, "has conceived great offence against Edmund Spenser, for
publishing in print, in the second part of the _Faerie Queen_, chapter
IX, some dishonourable effects, as the King deemeth, against himself and
his mother deceased. I have satisfied the King about the privilege under
which the book is published, yet he still desireth that Edmund Spenser,
for this fault, may be duly tried and punished." It does not appear from
anything to be found in the State Papers that this frivolous matter
received serious attention on the part of Elizabeth, or was further
insisted upon by James himself.[274]

As for the Border incident, after all these negotiations, enquiries, and
recriminations, it was brought to a close by Buccleuch's surrendering
himself into English custody at Berwick. His captivity lasted from
October 6th, 1597, till March 21st following. On his release his
ten-year-old child took his place as a hostage. It is noteworthy that
the redoubtable Borderer not only ceased to give trouble, but even
co-operated with the English Wardens in maintaining peace in the
marches. There is said to be a tradition in the Buccleuch family that he
was presented to Elizabeth, who admired him for his daring, in spite of
the annoyance which it had caused her.


[272] _Spottswood_, p. 415.

[273] _Register of the Privy Council_, vol. v, p. 761-2.

[274] _Register of the Privy Council_, pp. 323, 324.


Just off the east side of that southern part of the Little Cumbrae which
is included in the parish of West Kilbride, and on a low-lying turf and
weed-covered rock, which, according to the ebb and the flood of the
tide, is itself alternately a peninsula or an islet, there stands the
ruin of an ancient castle. It is still a massive pile of masonry, the
ground plan of which nearly forms a square, the difference between
length and breadth being less than ten feet. Its distance from the
Ayrshire coast and from Millport, on the Great Cumbrae, is about the
same; and owing to the comparative inaccessibility which the two or
three miles of sea give it, its interior is somewhat less dilapidated
than is usually the case with similar relics of the past to be met with
on the mainland. The partition walls of the several rooms have, it is
true, almost disappeared, so that, for instance, the storey immediately
above the vaults on the ground floor would appear to have consisted of
one hall, if it were not for the fact that it contains two large
chimneys. The ceilings are arched throughout, and it is doubtless due to
this architectural peculiarity that each of them is still intact and
supplies a solid floor for the storey immediately above. The narrow
stone staircase is still practicable in its first flight, but
fragmentary and rather unsafe beyond that. In its general appearance the
Cumbrae castle is very similar to that of Portencross, over the water.
It is probable that they both date from the same period, and are the
work of the same builder. Both belonged to the Boyd family.

At the present day the Wee Cumbrae, as it is popularly called, is
practically uninhabited. At its westermost point it has a lighthouse
with the usual staff, and opposite the castle itself there are two
houses serving, the one as a shooting-box, the other as a dwelling for
the present tenant's gamekeeper. Closer examination of the island,
particularly in winter, when the ground is free from bracken, reveals
the remains of a dozen or more cottages, which tell of the existence in
former days of a small colony on the less exposed half of it.

In the last year of the sixteenth century several of the families that
composed the small population were of the name of Montgomery. The castle
itself was inhabited by Robert Boyd of Badinhaith. He was a man of some
initiative, and had formed a plan for the building of a harbour for "the
commone welle and benefite of the haill liegeis of this realme haveing
ony trade and handling in the west seyis". In the year 1599, as a first
step towards the accomplishment of this praiseworthy scheme, he had
purchased "eleven score of joists of oak of twenty-four foot long and a
foot and a half of the square". The cost of each joist was £8, and the
whole outlay amounted to £1760. Although this, being in Scots currency,
represented less than £150 sterling, the sum in view of the value of
money in those days was not inconsiderable.

Whatever may have been the relation in which Robert Boyd stood to the
other inhabitants of the Little Cumbrae, their attitude towards him was
distinctly hostile. There is good reason to believe that these immediate
neighbours of his were not all respectable, peace-abiding folk, but that
the island served as a convenient refuge for "rebels, fugitives, and
ex-communicates". And it is quite intelligible that these outlaws did
not approve of the laird's enterprise, one of the results of which would
be to bring their sea-girt asylum into closer touch with the outer world
and its justice. Whether for this reason or for the mere sake of
plunder, it happened that one day, in 1599, some thirty men, with half a
dozen of the Montgomerys as their leaders, came to the fortalice with
hagbuts, pistols, culverins, swords, and other weapons, and violently,
"with engyne of smythis", broke up the doors and gates, and, after
having destroyed the glass windows, boards, and ironwork, "spuilzied"
the furniture, together with the materials intended for the construction
of the harbour. The perpetration of this outrage was followed by the
forcible occupation of the castle by four of the Montgomerys, who
fortified it "with men, ammunition, and armour", and "resetted within it
not only the disorderit thevis and lymmaris of the Ilis, but also such
other malefactors as, for eschewing punishment, resorted towards them".

The document[275] which contains the narrative of the "spulzie" on the
Little Cumbrae is interesting, not only because of the glimpse which it
affords of the state of the country three hundred years ago, but also,
and even more, because of the minute inventory which it includes of the
articles either "spulzied" or destroyed in the various parts and
chambers of Boyd's castle, together with the value put upon each article
or set of articles. In the first place the list indicates the internal
structural arrangement of such a dwelling. It consisted of a hall, a
kitchen, a chamber, a lower wester chamber and a high wester chamber, a
low easter chamber, a wardrobe, a brew-house, and vaults. The contents
of the several apartments do not point to luxurious appointment, even in
what may be taken as a fair specimen of an ancient Scottish house of the
larger and better sort.

The distinction between public rooms and bedrooms does not appear to
have existed. There were two or three "stand beds", that is to say, beds
with posts, as distinguished from beds that might be folded up, in each
of the "chambers". Most of them were of "fir", or plain deal, and valued
at £8 Scots, or 13s. 4d. sterling, each. The oak bedsteads, of which
there were only two, were set down at 20 marks, or about 23s. sterling
apiece. According to the same difference of wood, the "chalmer buirds",
as distinct from the "fauldand buird", or dining-table of the kitchen,
were worth £4 or £5 respectively. Three beds and a table constituted the
sole furniture of the "low easter chalmer" and of the "high wester
chalmer". The "lower wester chalmer" was the room which yielded most
loot to the raiders. In a cupboard within it they found a "silver piece"
of 17 oz. in weight and a cup with a silver foot weighing 7 oz., at £3,
that is to say, 5s. an ounce, besides "contracts, obligations,
evidents, and books, worth £2000." The same room contained a lockfast
chest, which served as a repository for "a doublet and breiks of dun
fustian cut out on tawny taffety, a pair of tawny worsted stockings, two
linen shirts, two pairs of linen sheets, four pillowslips, two pairs of
tablecloths, two broad cloths of linen of five ells in length, two broad
towels, and two dozen serviettes".

In the kitchen the utensils were on a scale as moderate as that of the
furniture through the whole house. The items which it supplies in the
inventory are: Two brass pots, two pans, two spits, a pair of andirons,
an iron ladle, a dozen and a half of plates, knives, forks, and spoons
for six people, a dozen trenchers, and a folding table. The only engines
of war contained in Boyd's fortalice consisted of two "cut-throat guns
of iron". They were located in the hall. The whole damage done by the
plunder of all the movables and the destruction of such fixtures as
doors and windows is estimated at £4776, 10s. 6d. Scots, that is,
well under £400 sterling. By no stretch of the imagination can the raid
of the Little Cumbrae be considered an event of historical importance.
It is rescued from insignificance, however, by virtue of the valuable
data which it has been the indirect means of preserving for the
information of posterity.


[275] _Register of the Privy Council_, vol. vi, pp. 279-281.


In 1605 Glasgow could lay no claim to the position of second city of the
kingdom that had virtually, though not yet legally, become United by
reason of the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne.
It was not in the first rank, even on its own side of the Tweed, and in
a gracious and flattering reference to its condition and estate His
Majesty could not go beyond the qualified statement that, "in quantitie
and number of trafficquers and others inhabitants", it was inferior to
few of the cities and burghs in his northern dominions.[276] There was,
indeed, one matter with regard to which it stood on a lower municipal
level than either Edinburgh or Perth, Stirling or Dundee. In the choice
of its Provost and Magistrates it did not enjoy the full freedom that
was the privilege of those more important centres of population.

Prior to the Reformation, and as late after it as the closing year of
the sixteenth century, the nomination of the Provost and the selection
of the Bailies lay with the Archbishops as temporal, no less than
spiritual, superiors of Glasgow. In 1600, however, the King, by a
charter dated November 17th, granted to Ludovic, Duke of Lennox, the
castle of Glasgow and the heritable right of appointing the civic

On September 30th of the same year, Sir George Elphinstone of Blythswood
appeared before the Town Council, and presented a letter from Duke
Ludovic nominating him Provost for the ensuing year. He was also the
bearer of an official communication from the King himself, whose friend
and favourite he was, and who warmly recommended him for the dignity.
The nomination of Sir George, a clever lawyer, who subsequently rose to
the rank of Lord Justice-Clerk, appears to have been popular, and he was
duly accepted.

With regard to the election of Bailies, the Council was less
accommodating. The letter brought by Elphinstone directed that the leet
from which a selection was to be made should be submitted, not to
himself, but to the Sheriff, to whom he delegated his authority. Such a
course was objected to as being both derogatory and contrary to use and
wont; and the Council firmly refused to present the leet to any
substitute, or to recognize any nomination but such as came from his
Lordship's own mouth. In accordance with the resolution arrived at in
vindication of their dignity, the Corporation sent Thomas Pettigrew, as
its commissioner, to Brechin, where the Duke was staying at the time,
and, through him, submitted a list of eight names from which Lennox was
to select three.

Unprepared as was Duke Ludovic for such prompt and resolute action on
the part of the Glasgow Municipality, he adopted the judicious course of
yielding temporary acquiescence to its claims, and on October 7th,
Pettigrew was able to report, as the successful result of his mission,
that Robert Rowat, James Forett, and Alexander Baillie had been chosen
to fill the vacant magisterial seats. Owing to a regrettable gap of
nearly four years in the Burgh Records, it is impossible to ascertain
what further steps were taken by either side during the period extending
from October 27th, 1601, to June 13th, 1605. The only available
information bearing on this point is to be gathered from the Register of
the Privy Council of Scotland. From a statement to be found there, it
appears that Lennox had not maintained his conciliatory attitude towards
the Town Council, but that, persisting in his original course, he had
devised a means by which the Stewarts of Minto had, under him, "the
exercise of the officeis of the said town in their personis".[277]

By August 3rd, 1605, the Municipal Authorities had realized that a
greater power than theirs was required to secure for them the free
exercise of what they claimed to be rights and privileges sanctioned by
the King. On that day a deputation, headed by Sir George Elphinstone and
consisting of the Dean of Guild, of one of the Bailies, and of four
Councillors, was appointed to go to Edinburgh to settle and end the
matter by an appeal to the Privy Council. This further step having
proved unavailing, the Corporation, on the 27th of the same month,
"ernestlie requestit and desyrit" their Provost to undertake a journey
to London, in order to invoke the intervention and aid of James himself.
Thanks to Sir George's personal influence and to the favour in which he
stood with his sovereign, as much, perhaps, as to the justice of his
cause, Lennox was at length prevailed upon to grant the persistent
petitioners "the full libertie, fredome, and priviledge of the electioun
of thair Magistrattis", without, however, renouncing in any other
respect his right of justiciary and bailliary of regality within and
around the city.

Sir George Elphinstone's colleagues were not slow to give practical
expression to the gratitude that they felt for his public-spirited
conduct and to the value that they set on the success of his efforts on
their behalf. On October 2nd, 1665, after he had been "removeit of
Counsall", they all, with one voice, in respect of the singular care,
great zeal and love had and borne by him to the weal and liberty of the
Burgh, nominated, elected, and chose him for their Provost. On the same
day and in the further exercise of the freedom which he had secured, a
list of nine names, including those of three of the "auld Bailies", was
submitted to the remainder of the Council, who, by plurality of votes,
chose William Anderson, Mathew Turnbull, and Robert Rowat. In
recognition of the honour conferred upon them, the new Provost and
Magistrates renounced the right which the custom of the time appears to
have given them, to the fines levied for certain offences.

Amongst the citizens of Glasgow there was a minority which, looking at
the extension of municipal liberty from the point of view of personal
interest, felt deeply aggrieved by the new system of magisterial
election. It consisted of the members and friends of the house of Minto,
a family which had for many generations possessed considerable local
influence, and of which the head, Sir Mathew Stewart, had himself filled
the position of Provost. It was plain to them, however, that as long as
the Council remained united, resistance would be futile, and that their
only hope of worsting their opponents lay in dividing them.

For the attainment of this object the means that suggested itself as
most feasible was the formation of a faction amongst the craftsmen of
the city, "for the most part rude and ignorant men", of whom plausible
arguments might make blind and determined partisans. The deacons of some
of the numerous crafts or incorporations were first approached. The
Stewarts represented to them that the liberty newly acquired by the
Council was "nothing else but a manifest thraldom and tyranny against
the crafts, a dissolution of the estate of the town, and an heritable
establishing of the offices and jurisdiction of the town in the persons
of a small number". So widely and successfully did the agitators
propagate their "subtile and fals informatioun" that in the end it was
"embraced for a treuth be the haill ignorant multitude".

Encouraged by these results, Sir Mathew Stewart saw his way to give more
definite and formal shape to his opposition. Shortly before the time
when the Provost and his fellow Magistrates were to apply to Parliament
for the ratification of their liberty and freedom of election he
convoked a meeting, which was held at seven o'clock in the morning, in
the house of John Ross, a Town Councillor whom he had won over to his
side, and at which between forty and fifty prominent citizens were
present. The malcontents drew up a petition against the ratification
craved by the Town Council, and, after having appended their several
signatures to it, entrusted it to John Ross, James Braidwood,
deacon-general, and Ninian Anderson, deacon of the Cordwainers, to be
presented to the Lords of the Articles, by whom its prayer was duly

To protect themselves from the consequences of proceedings that might be
made to appear factious and seditious, seeing that the meeting had taken
place without the presence, knowledge, or consent of the Magistrates,
the Stewarts procured from the Lords of Council and Session an exemption
in favour of all who had subscribed the application.

Of the sequel there is only one detailed account. It is contained in the
complaint subsequently brought before the Privy Council by the Provost
and Magistrates, and embodying what is essentially the official view of
the case. Whilst it would be unjustifiable to impugn the veracity of
this document, there can be no doubt that it places facts in the light
least favourable to the agitators; and that in the motives and
intentions which it imputes to them it goes further than those facts
seem to warrant. It sets forth that, the further to irritate and incense
the common multitude against the Magistrates, and to make it appear that
they had credit and power to overthrow these at their pleasure, Minto
and his accomplices, accompanied by a crowd of some three or four score,
all in arms, with targets, swords, and other invasive weapons, came in a
very tumultuous and unseemly manner to the Market Cross, whilst the
Magistrates were sitting in Council close by; and that, disdaining to
ask for the key of the Cross, although it was lying in the Tolbooth
ready to be delivered to them, they clambered in, and proclaimed their
exemption, "quhilk in effect importit a liberty to thame to do quhat
they pleasit, without controlment".

It is alleged that the object of this "tumultuous and barbarous"
demonstration was to draw the Magistrates from the Council chamber, and
to tempt them to find fault with the proceedings, which would have
supplied a pretence for fastening a quarrel upon them and "persewing
them of their liveis". If such a design really existed, it was
frustrated by the conciliatory attitude assumed by the Provost and his
colleagues. Seeing the wisdom of coming to terms with the malcontents,
they made arrangements for a conference with the deacons, who, next to
the Stewarts themselves, appear to have taken the most prominent part in
the movement. The meeting was to take place on July 24th, 1606; and all
the ministers in the city, together with the regents of the College,
were summoned to attend it.

According to the official account, the Stewarts were apprehensive of the
result of the appointed conference, and resolved "to procure some
trouble and unquietness in the citie", for the purpose of preventing it
from being held. Three of them, it is alleged--Sir Walter, John, and
Alexander--knowing that Sir George Elphinstone had arranged to shoot off
an archery match at the Castle butts, on the evening of July 23, lay in
wait for him near the Drygate with a band of some forty men close at
hand at the Wyndhead--all "bodin in feir of weir", that is, equipped for
a warlike expedition, with steel bonnets, secret armour, plait sleeves,
longstaffs, and other weapons. As the Provost and his friends, who were
but five in number and bore no arms but their unbended bows, reached the
Drygate, one of them, James Forrett, left the party for the purpose of
fetching some arrows from his house. Before he could reach it, Sir
Walter, uttering insulting language, attacked him with drawn sword. By
this time Sir George had reached the Castle gate, but hearing the
altercation, he turned back and endeavoured to pacify the assailant with
"fair and gentle" words. "Sir," he said, "I pray you to go youre way; no
man sal offend you." His request was unheeded; and then, by the
authority of his office, as Provost of the city, he commanded Sir
Walter, in His Majesty's name, to go his way.

At this moment the alleged accomplices made their appearance on the
scene, and "concurring together, maist cruelli and feirslie set upoun
Sir George, and be force and violence drave him and his company back to
the Castell porte, quhair he was fred and relevit of the present
danger". Thereupon the Stewarts and their party retired to the Wyndhead,
where they remained, whilst James Braidwood, by their direction, ran
down the High Street, crying: "Arme you! arme you! They are yokit!" This
brought up a reinforcement of some two score "airmed men of the
seditious faction", headed by Sir Mathew Stewart. With united forces and
"with grite furie", the rioters made an onset on the Castle gate, where
the Provost was still in shelter. They were checked by the Earl of
Wigtown, the Master of Montrose, and the Laird of Kilsyth, three of His
Majesty's Privy Councillors, who happened to be at hand.

Being unable to get at Sir George with their longstaffs and weapons,
they spitefully threw a volley of stones at him, then rushed
tumultuously and apparently aimlessly, "doun the gait to the Barras yet,
far beneth the Croce". The tumult, however, was not yet over. Once again
the crowd made for the Castle gate, swollen by the accession of some 300
of the "rascall multitude", whom the prospect of plunder had attracted,
and who, as they trooped on, indicated their intentions by calling out
to each other, "I sall have this buith and thou sall have that buith".
Before their arrival the Provost had been removed to the shelter of the
Earl of Wigtown's mansion. An attempt was made to storm it; but the
Privy Councillors again intervened, and succeeded in dispersing the

The Privy Councillors, to whose opportune intervention the quelling of
the disturbance was mainly due, at once took vigorous measures to
prevent the recurrence of outbreaks. The Lairds of Minto were confined
by them to the Castle of Dumbarton, whilst Sir George Elphinstone and
James Forrett were interned in that of Glasgow. On August 9th, the ward
was changed in both cases to the town of Stirling, where the several
parties were bound to remain under caution in sums ranging from 5000
merks to £5000, to keep the king's peace. Of the other persons
implicated, some were charged to enter ward in Perth, others in Dundee.
The 28th of the same month was appointed for the meeting of the Council
in Stirling, "to tak tryell in this commotion of Glasgow". The venue
was, however, subsequently changed owing to the breaking out of the

It happened that a fortnight before the Minto riots, on July 9th, 1606,
Parliament had passed an "Act for Staying of Unlawful Conventions within
Burgh". The Glasgow disturbance was the first occurrence that called for
the application of this Act. It was embodied in a "proclamation about
Glasgow", issued by the Privy Council on July 31st. The preamble
referred to the many good Acts of Parliament made by the king and his
predecessors, with regard to the modest, good, and peaceable behaviour
of the inhabitants within burgh, and to the staying of all tumults,
unlawful meetings and convocations, "quhairby it is expressly prohibite
and forbidden that all manner of persons within burgh, of quhatsumever
rank, qualitie, or condition thai be of, presume or take upon hand,
under quhatsumever cullor or pretext, to convein or assemble
thaimselffis upon any occasion, except thai make due intimation of the
lawfull causes of thair meittings to the Provost and Baillies of the
burgh, and obtain thair licence thairto, and that nothing salbe done be
thaim in thair saids meittings quhilk may tend to the derogation or
violation of the Acts of Parliament, lawis and constitutions made for
the wele and quietness of the said burghs"; and whereby also, "the saids
unlawfull meittings, and the persons present thereat, are by the saids
Acts of Parliament declairit to be factious and seditious; and all thair
proceidings thairin to be null and of non availl, and the saids persons
ordained to be punished in thair bodies and gear with all rigour". This
was followed by a narrative of the recent disturbance between the
citizens and the Magistrates--"A thing very undecent and unseamlie and
without ony preceiding example in ony burgh within this kingdome". Then
came instructions to the officers of arms to pass to the Mercat Cross of
Glasgow and there, by open proclamation, "to command and charge the
haill inhabitants of the said citie to lay asyde thair armour
immediatelie after the publication heirof, conteyne thaimselfis in
quietness, and behave them as modest, quiet, and peaceable citizens,
forbearing to convocat or assemble upon ony occasion thaimselfis
togidder fra this tyme furth, under quhatsumever cullor or pretext,
without the knowledge, consent, and licence of the saids Magistrates,
nor yit to do, practize nor attempt anything hurtfull or prejudiciall to
the saids Acts of Parliament, lawis and constitutions of the said citie:
certifying thaim that sall do in the contrair, that thai salbe repute,
haldin, esteimit, perseuit and punisht as factious and seditious
persons, perturbers of the peace and quiet of the said citie, with all
rigour and extreamitie, conforme to his Hienes laws and Acts of
Parliament made thairanent".

Complaints had been laid before the Privy Council, on the one side by
the Provost and Magistrates of the City of Glasgow against the Stewarts
and their abettors, on the other by Sir Walter Stewart of Arthurlie
against Sir George Elphinstone and the friends who accompanied him on
the eventful evening of July 23rd. Both cases were heard in Edinburgh on
August 27th, 1606. With respect to that in which the opponents of the
Corporation were the defenders, it was declared that those persons had
committed a "verie grite insolence and ryot". For this they were
condemned to be warded in the burgh of Linlithgow till His Majesty's
will was made known concerning them. At the same time the Lords
"assoilzed simpliciter" the Lairds of Minto, elder and younger, and all
the other defenders, from forethought felony intended against the
pursuers, and from the charge of "thair lying at await" for the Provost
at the Wyndhead of the city, the pursuers having failed to prove that
part of their complaint. On similar grounds, decree of absolvitor was
pronounced in favour of Sir George Elphinstone and his fellow defenders
in the suit brought against them at the instance of Sir Walter Stewart.

The King's pleasure was made known to his Privy Council in a letter
dated from Hampton Court on October 1st, 1606. After expressing his
astonishment that the information communicated to him was so scant as to
render it impossible for him to "mak ony distinctioun of offendouris in
that ryotte, that, according to the difference of thair faultis,
directioun micht haif bene gevin for inflicting upoun several personis
the moir mylde and moir hard punishment", His Majesty directed that the
meaner offenders should be released, after being bound in "greate
pecunnial sowmes for their due obedience to the Magistrates", but that
the Lairds of Minto, elder and younger, should both be "fynned in great
sowmes", and retained in ward until these were paid.

Such is the information to be gathered concerning an incident which is
of sufficient importance in itself to be recorded with greater detail
than is given in the local histories written before the publication of
the _Register of the Privy Council_. Another circumstance that lends
interest to the happily unique collision between the municipal
authorities and the citizens, is the coincidence that it was the first
occasion for the application of an Act to which, exactly three hundred
years later, the Magistrates of Glasgow found it expedient to appeal for
the staying of such "unlawfull conventions within burgh" as the
mustering and parading of street bands.


[276] _Register of the Privy Council_, vol. vii, p. 141.

[277] The official records bearing on "this commotioun of Glasgow" are
to be found in the _Register of the Privy Council_, pp. 230-1, 233, 235,
240-7, 500, 501-2.


One of the earliest, if indeed it be not actually the most ancient of
extant enactments for the organization of the national forces of
Scotland, is a Latin document drawn up in the form and style of a
proclamation and purporting to be based on "the Book of Wyntoun laws".
It is undated, but this reference to Edward I's Statute of Winchester
shows it to have been subsequent to the year 1285. This Scottish
adaptation of the English system required every man between sixteen and
sixty years of age to be provided with defensive and offensive armour in
proportion to the quantity of lands and chattels which he possessed. The
owner of chattels to the value of 40 marks was to have a horse; an
habergeon, or sleeveless coat of mail; a chaplet, that is to say, an
iron skull-cap without vizor; a sword, and "a knife called dagger". The
equipment of such as held land worth 40s. or upwards, but less than
100s., was to consist of a bow and arrows, a dagger, and a knife; and,
in their case, the absence of defensive armour suggests that they were
intended as light infantry. The lesser people, with an income under
40s. were expected to have a hand-axe, bow and arrows. All others,
whose means allowed of it, were to be armed with a bow and arrows if
they dwelt outside forest lands, or a bow and "pyles" if within them.
These pyles being square-headed quarrels or bolts, it may be supposed
that the use of them was prescribed because they were looked upon as
less suitable for the purposes of poaching. The same ordinance also
enjoined that there should be two wapenshaws or inspections every

Earlier, though more incidental indication of a system of military
service, is to be found, however, in an enactment which is ascribed to
William the Lion, who began his reign in 1165, and which set forth that
if a man borrowed a horse to join the King's army and the horse were
challenged as stolen, he was to be allowed respite until his return to
the county within which he alleged that the horse had been lent him.
And, rather more than half a century later, in 1220, under Alexander II,
further evidence of military obligation is supplied by a statute fixing
the fines to be imposed on men of various ranks for remaining away from
the King's host in Inverness. A thane was to forfeit six cows and a
heifer; an "ochtyern", which is interpreted as meaning "one equal in
rank to a thane's son", was liable to be mulcted in the amount of
fifteen sheep and 6s., and a yeoman in that of a cow and a sheep.

In 1318, under Robert Bruce, it was ordained that, in time of war, every
layman in the realm who had £10 in goods, should have for his body, in
the defence of the country, a sufficient acton--a kind of padded and
quilted coat, which protected not only the breast but the lower part of
the body also; a bascinet or light unvizored helmet; and gloves of
plate, with a spear and a sword. The acton and bascinet might, however,
be replaced by an habergeon and "a hat of iron". Whoever failed to
comply with the requirements of the statute was to forfeit all his
goods, of which one-half was to go to his immediate superior, the laird
on whose lands he dwelt, and the other half to the King. It was also
decreed that every man having in goods the value of a cow should have a
stout spear or a serviceable bow, with a sheaf of twenty-four arrows. In
the same year another Act ordained that men on their way to join the
army should pay for what they took, but enjoined, at the same time, that
they should be supplied at moderate rates.

When James I returned from his captivity in England, he lost no time in
putting into practice the lesson which he had learnt there as to the
efficiency of the bow. Amongst the enactments of his first Parliament
there was one which ordained that every male person should, from his
twelfth year, busk himself to be an archer; that, near every parish
church, "bow marks should be made, at which, on holidays, men might come
and shoot, at least thrice about", and have usage of archery; and that
whoever did not use the said archery, the laird of the land or the
sheriff should raise of him a wedder.[279] This was in 1424. In the
same year it was also enacted that, in every sheriffdom, four musters
should be held every year for the inspection of arms.[280]

Following closely upon this, there were issued supplementary
instructions of a somewhat more comprehensive nature than hitherto.
Gentlemen having £10 worth of land, or more, were to provide themselves
with a bascinet with whole legharness, that is to say, complete
coverings which came up to the hips, and with spear, sword, and dagger.
Gentlemen owning less land, or no land at all, were to be accoutred "at
their goodly power", subject to the oversight and discretion of the
sheriff. Honest yeomen, "having sufficient power", and willing to serve
as men-at-arms, were to be "harnessed sufficiently" to the satisfaction
of the same official; whilst all other yeomen in the realm, within the
statutory limits of age, that is, between sixteen and sixty, were to be
"sufficiently bowit and schaffit", or, in other words, adequately
equipped with a good bow and a suitable supply of arrows, and were also
to have a sword, buckler, and knife. All burgesses and indwellers in the
burghs of the realm were to be similarly armed. Failure to attend the
four wapenshaws involved fines ranging from 40s. to £10, according to
the number of absences, in the case of a gentleman; and from 10s. to
40s. in that of a bowman.[281]

Four years later, in 1429, "by the advice of the whole Parliament",
further modifications were made, both in the outfit and in the valuation
according to which it was regulated. Every man who disposed of a yearly
rent of £20, or who possessed £100 in movable goods, was required to be
well horsed and "haill enarmyt", which meant completely armed from head
to foot, as a gentleman ought to be. The man of lower standing, with no
more than £10 of rent, or £50 of movable goods, was to provide himself
with a gorget--a piece of armour which protected the throat and upper
part of the chest; with rearbraces and vambraces, as the coverings for
the upper arm and the forearm were respectively called; with gloves of
plate, breastplate, leg-splints, and knee-pieces, "at the least, or
better, if he liked". The yeomen were divided into three classes, of
which the highest, consisting of those whose property amounted to £20 in
goods, was to be equipped with a good "doublet of fence", an iron hat,
bow and sheaf of arrows, sword, buckler, and knife. Yeomen possessing no
more than £10 in goods formed the second class. They were required to
have a bow and arrows, sword, buckler, and knife; but though no
defensive armour was mentioned in their case, it may be assumed that
they were not expected to be less protected than the yeoman of the third
class, who was no archer and could not deal with a bow, but for whom a
good "suir" hat and a "doublet of fence" were prescribed, in addition to
a sword, a buckler, and a good axe, or else a staff with a sharp iron
point. Every citizen having £50 in goods was placed on the same level as
a gentleman, and was required to be armed in the same manner as one. The
burgess of lower degree, whose property was not valued at more than £20,
was to provide a "suir" hat and doublet, an habergeon, sword, and
buckler; a bow with the necessary sheaf of arrows; and a knife. Barons
and bailies were required to see that these enactments were duly
complied with in their respective districts, under certain pains and
penalties which the sheriff was empowered to impose.

During the fifteenth and the sixteenth century there were several other
Acts of Parliament and of the Privy Council dealing with wapenshaws. It
may be gathered from the preambles to some of them that these periodical
inspections were occasionally discontinued for years together; whilst
the repeated injunctions to the various local authorities and officials
to use their utmost diligence in enforcing the law afford proof that the
burden of military service was irksome to those on whom it fell. But the
special interest of those enactments lies in the information which they
supply both as to the variations in the assessment on which that service
was based and as to the changes which took place in the outfit of the
several classes of fighting men.

In 1456 it was made obligatory on every man whose goods amounted to 20
marks to be provided at least with a jack having sleeves to the hands,
or, failing that, with a pair of "splints" encasing the arms; with a
sallet--a light helmet, of which the characteristic feature was a
projection behind--or with a spiked hat; and with a sword, buckler, and
bow together with a sheaf of arrows. Such as could not shoot were to be
armed with an axe, and with a targe either of leather or of deal, with
two bands on the back.[282] In the following year steps were taken to
organize a system of military training. As a preliminary measure, golf
and football were to be "utterly cried down". "Bow marks" were to be set
up. The smaller parishes were not required to have more than a pair of
these butts; but, in the larger, according to their size, there were to
be three, four, and even five. All the male inhabitants, from twelve to
fifty years of age, were expected to practise every Sunday, and to shoot
at least six shots. Defaulters were liable to a fine of not less than
2d.; and the money thus raised was to be given to those who were more
regular in their attendance "to drink". This archery practice was to be
kept up from Easter to Allhallowmas. As a necessary supplement to these
ordinances, every county town was to have a bowyer and a fletcher,
otherwise a maker of bows and a maker of arrows, and was to furnish them
"with stuff and graith that they might serve the country with".[283]
But as Scotland was not self-sufficing in the matter of either weapons
or accoutrements, there was a further enactment which required all
merchants of the realm passing over the sea for merchandise to bring
home at each voyage as they might "goodly thole" harness and armours,
spear-shafts and bow staves "after the quantity of their merchandise".

No further Act of Parliament concerning the equipment of the Scots
fighting men was passed till 1471. In that year it was found necessary
to fix the length of the spear, or rather, to forbid either the
importation or the making of any that fell short of the six ells that
had always constituted the regulation size. For those yeomen who could
not handle the bow, the substitution of a good axe and a targe of
leather was authorized, as it had been in 1456. With regard to the
latter, a suggestive standard of toughness and strength was indicated.
It was to be sufficiently stout "to resist the shot of England". And a
characteristic remark concerning it was, that it would entail "no cost
but the value of a hide".[284]

There was practically no change in arms and accoutrement during the
fifteenth century; and an Act passed in 1491 is almost verbally
identical with that of 1425. More than forty years were yet to elapse
before James V, realizing the advantage which other nations had secured
for themselves by the adoption of "small artillery", and the consequent
necessity of providing himself with similar "instruments of war and
battle", caused an Act to be passed with a view to bringing Scotland's
armament abreast of that "commonly used in all countries both by sea and
land". This was in 1535.[285]

Hand-guns, or hand-cannon as they were called, had been introduced into
England in the year 1471, when Edward IV, landing at Ravenspur, in
Yorkshire, brought with him, amongst other forces, three hundred
Flemings armed with those new weapons. They are also said to have been
used at the siege of Berwick in 1521. These portable firearms soon got
to be known under the names of culverins and hagbuts. The culverin was
originally a small tube of half or three-quarters of an inch internal
diameter, fixed to a straight piece of wood or welded to an iron handle.
The smallest were about four feet long and weighed some fifteen pounds,
and the management of them was as complicated as the weapons themselves
were unwieldy. The culveriner had, in addition to his cumbrous piece,
"his coarse powder, for loading, in a flask; his fine powder, for
priming, in a touch-box; his bullets in a leathern bag, with strings to
draw to get at them; whilst in his hand were his musket rest and his
burning match". The hagbut was a smaller and improved culverin. At their
first introduction into Scotland these firearms appear to have been used
mainly for purposes of sport; but it is suggestive of a lack of
familiarity with them to find James V paying 40s. to "Walter
Cunynghame's wife in Stirling" for a cow which he had slain with a

By the Act of 1535, which was repeated in 1540, it was ordained that
every landed man should have a hagbut of cast-iron, called "hagbut of
crochert", together with the mould, bullets, and "pelloks" of lead or
iron, and with the powder convenient thereto for every £100 of land that
he owned. He that had but 100 marks of land was to supply two culverins;
whilst only one was required of the smaller landowner whose valuation
did not exceed £40. These pieces were to be furnished with all the
necessary accessories. Those who supplied the weapons were also called
upon to provide men, not only to fire them, but also to teach others to
do so. Neither the clergy nor even women were exempted from the general
obligation; and the fine to be imposed on all who neglected to comply
with the requirements of the Act was fixed at twice the price that would
buy "each piece of the said artillery". As to the burghs, a commission
was to be appointed for the purpose of deciding in what proportion each
of them was to contribute. And, as a corollary to this enactment, it was
further ordained that, because neither artillery nor harness could be
furnished nor made ready unless the same were imported into the country,
every merchant sailing forth of the realm or exporting goods amounting
to a last, that is to twelve tons, should bring home two hagbuts or
more, in proportion to the quantity of merchandise shipped, with powder
and moulds, or else as much metal as would make the hagbuts.

From another Act passed in the same year it appears to have been
anticipated that, in spite of these ordinances, the number of men that
could be armed with hand-guns would be but slight as compared with those
who would still have to retain the older weapons, for no alteration was
prescribed in the matter of defensive armour. This statute is
noteworthy, however, by reason of a paragraph bearing the heading, "That
the army of Scotland be unhorsed, except great Barons".[286] It was
introduced by a reference to the great hurt, scaith, and damage done by
the coming, in multitude, of horsemen, through the destruction of
cornfields and meadows and the harrying of poor folk, and also to the
great impediment made by them in the host, where all men had to fight on
foot. It then went on to ordain that no manner of men should have
horses with them, but should be ready to march on foot from the first
meeting-place it might please the King to assign. For the journey to
that meeting-place, however, the use of palfreys was authorized. And if
any man came on horseback, or brought horses with him, he was to send
them home again immediately, but only with a riding-boy, and not with
anyone able to bear arms. The matter was considered to be of such
importance that no less a penalty than death was to be imposed for
disobedience of the order. A proviso was, however, added, excepting
earls, lords, barons, and great landed men from the operation of the

There is a further clause to which also special interest attaches from
the fact that it supplies the first evidence to be met with in
Parliamentary records of an attempt at organizing a system of military
drill. It ordained that a board consisting of the local authorities, the
most able persons in the shire, and the commissioners appointed by the
King, should, in every parish, choose a suitable man for each company
levied within it, and should assign to him the duties of Captain. It was
to be his special office to teach the men to march together and to bear
their weapons, so that they might be "the more expert to put themselves
in order hastily and keep the same in time of need". The companies were
to muster for drill before noon on at least two of the most suitable
holidays during each of the three summer months, and as often as could
be conveniently arranged for during the other nine.

Such efforts were well meant; but perseverance, the first of the
conditions necessary to ensure their success, appears to have been
wanting. In 1546, a special wapenshaw was ordered to be held on Low
Sunday, and the reason given for this step was, that the lieges were out
of use of armour and weapons because such inspections had been
neglected.[287] The accoutrements mentioned as requiring to be produced
on this occasion were practically the same as formerly. In so far as
evidence can be found in Acts of either Parliament or Privy Council,
this was one of the last occasions on which specific mention was made of
the armour and weapons to be borne by the respective classes of fighting
men. In the closing years of the sixteenth century, however, the
periodical complaint of laxity in the performance of military duties in
time of peace again appears in an Act which, besides appointing a
general wapenshaw to be held on the 1st of May, 1599, specifies the arms
with which persons of various ranks were to be furnished, and thus
affords material for an estimate of the change which had taken place in
the equipment of the Scots forces, as well as on the obligations which
military service now entailed. Earls, lords, barons, and gentlemen were
to be armed with corslet of proof, headpiece, vambraces, teslets or
coverings for the thighs, and a Spanish pike. In addition to this, every
earl was to have twenty stands of similar armour for his household;
every lord, ten; and every baron, one, for every 15 chalders of corn.
Every baron and gentleman whose living did not depend upon
"victual"[288] was to provide a complete stand for every 1000 marks of
his yearly rent; every gentleman worth 300 marks in yearly rent was to
be furnished with a light corslet and pike, or else with a musket,
together with rest and bandoleer, and a headpiece. The regulation was to
extend to the burghs; and the local authorities were to see that every
burgess worth £500 of free gear should have a light corslet, a pike and
halbard, or a two-handed sword, or else a musket, with its accessories,
and a headpiece. But they were also to arrange in such a way that, for
every light corslet and pike within the burgh, there should be two
muskets. The penalties with which defaulters were threatened afford
evidence that, although the country was still far from rich, it had made
considerable progress since the days when fines were levied in kind.
They were graded as follows: Every earl, 2000 marks; every lord, 1000
marks; every baron, for every 15 chalders of victual that he could
spend, 100 marks; and every other person of the rank and substance
indicated, £40.

It was one thing to require all ranks, degrees, and qualities to provide
themselves with arms on this liberal scale, but it was another to put it
into the power even of the most willing, to comply with the order. As a
subsequent Act frankly admitted, there was "no such quantity of armour
made within the realm as anywise might furnish the lieges thereof", and
there consequently arose "a great necessity of bringing of the same
home, forth of other countries". It was Sir Michael Balfour of Burleigh
who, "not upon any respect of gain and profit that he might reap
thereby, but upon the earnest affection and great regard he had to his
Majesty's service and to the benefit of the realm", suggested a way out
of the difficulty. He undertook to bring home 10,000 stands of armour,
of which 2000 were to be for horsemen--figures which, in default of more
precise data, are of some assistance towards forming an estimate of the
military strength of the country.[289]

Sir Michael Balfour's offer was accepted; and the conditions of the
contract duly fixed. The outfit for horsemen was to be complete in all
pieces, and was to be supplied in two qualities: lance and sword proof,
and hagbut proof. The former was to cost £50, and the latter £10 more. A
complete suit of armour for a footman was to be charged £18, and was to
be of one quality only--lance and sword proof. The price of a hagbut,
with flask or bandoleer, was set at £6, 13s. 4d.

From the long list of defaulters that might be made up from the records
of the Privy Council, and in which the names of all sorts and conditions
of the lieges, of earls and of yeomen alike, would figure side by side,
as well as from the legal proceedings which were taken by Sir Michael
Balfour, on the one hand, and, on the other, by those who, on various
grounds, claimed to be exempted from the operation of the Act, it
appears that there was but little military enthusiasm in the country at
this time. And this is borne out by an Act of Privy Council passed in
July, 1607. It set forth that, notwithstanding the Act of 1599 for
general arming and wapenshawing, there had been no inspection within the
kingdom for several years past, and that the "lovable custom, which of
old was very precisely kept and was very necessary and expedient for the
good of the kingdom", had fallen into desuetude by reason of the
negligence of the sheriffs and other officials; and it required these
"to charge all and sundry, by open proclamation at the market crosses of
the head burghs, to give and make their musters and wapenshawing" on the
4th of the following month. A few days later, however, the order was
prorogated, for no more urgent reason than the meeting of Parliament;
and with that, the periodical inspection of arms appears to have been
finally abandoned for the remainder of the reign of James VI, who, by
this time, had become James I of England also, a circumstance which goes
far to explain the general indifference on the subject.

The first and main object that was always kept in view, and towards
which Scotland's military dispositions were directed, was the protection
of the country against the attacks of the "old enemy", as England was
repeatedly styled. In more than one of the ordinances it was expressly
set forth, that all manner of men were to hold themselves in readiness
"to come to the Border for the defence of the land when any wittering
came of the incoming of a great English host". And if the ever-present
danger assumed more definite form and an invasion was actually expected,
letters were sent throughout the country, charging all the lieges to be
prepared to take the field in all possible haste, well equipped and duly
supplied with provisions for a fixed number of days, usually forty, as
soon as they were summoned. Warning of the approach of an invading army
was signalled round the country by means of bale-fires which were
lighted on certain specified hills.

For the purpose of defraying the expenses entailed by a campaign,
recourse was had to extraordinary taxation. In 1550, for instance, the
Privy Council ordained that "for resisting of our auld ynemyis of
Ingland, the defence of the West Borders, and the repairing of a fort of
strength in the town of Annan, the sum of £4000 should be raised and
uplifted of the prelates and clergy of the realm. If the amount were
"thankfullie payit and debursit", exemption from further taxation for
the next year was promised.

To meet the requirements of the transport service, certain districts
were laid under requisition. Thus, for the same campaign, the sheriffs
of Edinburgh principal, Edinburgh lying within the constabulary of
Haddington, Selkirk, and Lauderdale, were called upon to assist and
concur with the Lairds of Lethington, Whittingham, Elphinstone,
Trabroun, and Wauchton, in devising measures for furnishing the oxen and
pioneers required for the forthbringing of the munition and artillery to
the host and army which was to assemble in Edinburgh.

It was not solely for the defence of their own country that Scotsmen
were obliged to bear arms. Occasion might arise when, in conformity with
the "old leagues, bands, amity and alliance" which were supposed to have
been entered upon by King Achaus and the Emperor Charlemagne, and to
have been renewed and confirmed by every king and prince since that
time, Scotland was obliged to furnish a contingent for the support of
the Most Christian King. Such was the case in 1552. In the month of
November of that year, the Regent Arran and the Lords of the Secret
Council ordained that every 40-mark land, whether it were royal,
temporal, or spiritual, should supply "one able, sufficient footman,
well furnished, clad in new hose and a new doublet of canvas at the
least, with a jack of plate, steel bonnet, splint sleeves of mail or
plate, with a spear of six ells long or thereby". Every burgh within the
realm was to provide a company consisting of 300 men, who were, as far
as possible, to be hagbutters, furnished with powder flask, morsing
horn, and all other gear belonging thereto. Two further companies of
footmen were likewise to be raised in the highland parts of the realm,
within the bounds of Lord Huntly's lieutenancy. Horsemen to the number
of 400, each having "ane dowbill horse", were to be supplied by the
bishops, abbots, priors, and prelates, earls, lords, and barons of the
Borders and Lowlands. Gilbert, Earl of Cassillis, was appointed
Lieutenant-General of the army, and Patrick, Lord Ruthven, Colonel of
the footmen. The subordinate officers numbered fifty-five. The expense
of the expedition was to be borne by the King of France.[290]

It was not only when Scotland was engaged in actual warfare, either on
her own account or as the ally of France, that she required to call out
her fighting men. The state of the country was such that the "fencibles"
of some district might, at any moment, be required to take the field.
Within less than a decade--between 1569 and 1578--there were at least
twelve local levies. The first and five others of them, that is to say,
a full half of the whole number, were raised for purposes similar to
those indicated by an Act of Privy Council, in September, 1569, "to pass
forthward for pursuit and invasion of the thieves, traitors, and
rebellious subjects, inhabitants of the bounds of the Middle and West
Wardencies". For such an expedition as that, there were called out "all
and sundry his Majesty's lieges betwixt 40 and 16 years, and other
fencible persons" dwelling in 12 sheriffdoms, 2 stewartries, and 3
bailliries. And they were required to assemble, not only "weill bodin in
feir of weir"--the current phrase for complete fighting equipment--but
also to bring with them twenty days' victuals and provisions, and to
provide themselves with tents to lie in the fields.

As it was impossible for every man to carry with him twenty days'
provisions otherwise than in the shape of money wherewith to buy them, a
commissariat of some kind became a matter of necessity. To provide it,
the inhabitants of some town might be required, as was the case with
those of Glasgow, in 1572, "to follow the army where it shall repair,
with bread, ale, and all other kinds of vivers for men and horse, which
shall be bought from them with ready money and thankful payment". If
circumstances made it more convenient, a number of burghs, towns, and
other places where "hostelry was used" were informed beforehand, by
public proclamation, that they would have to "prepare and have in
readiness, baked bread, brewed ale, wine, and all other manner of horse
meat and men's meat, and address them to transport and carry the same,
by land or sea, to the camp, where it shall happen to be, there to be
sold upon sufficient and good prices". If, as might be the case in the
"countries most ewest of the Borders", lochs or rivers should have to be
crossed or otherwise utilized for the purpose of the expedition,
commandment and direction was given to all and sundry owners, masters,
and skippers of ships, barks, "birlingis", boats, and other vessels meet
for ferrying, to have their craft prepared and in full readiness to
receive, carry, and transport men, munition, horses, victuals, or other
warlike provisions to such place as should be specially appointed. For
disobedience to any of the orders issued for the purpose of levying an
expeditionary force or of furthering its movements and operations, the
penalty to be imposed was always the same, "forfeiture of life, lands,
and goods".

The last phase in the development of the old Scots army began at the
death of James VI. Shortly after the accession of his successor, the
Estates issued a proclamation which had for its object the revival of
"that lovable custom of wapenshawings" which "the laziness of the people
themselves", but "specially the sloth and careless negligence" of the
magistrates whose office it was to make arrangements for those
inspections, had allowed to lapse. And the reason given for this renewal
of interest in the ancient institution was contained in a reference to
the "universal combustion and bruittis, and rumours of foreign
preparation throughout Christendom". But nothing more practical was yet
to come of it than an order for the holding of a muster. Nearly twenty
years were to elapse before the same Estates were moved to give "their
most serious consideration" to the reorganization of the national
forces. This had become necessary by reason of "the great and imminent
danger of the true Protestant religion and of the peace of the kingdom
from the treacherous and bloodie plots, conspiracies, attempts, and
practices of papists, prelates, malignants, and their adherents". In
order to put the kingdom, with all possible speed, in a posture of
defence, order was given that all fencible persons within sixty and
sixteen years of age, should provide themselves with forty days'
provisions of all sorts, in the most substantious manner, for horse and
foot, with tents and all other furnishing requisite; that horsemen
should be armed with pistols, broadswords, and steel caps; that where
those arms could not be had, jacks or secrets, lances, and steel
bonnets, and swords should be substituted for them. Footmen were to be
armed with musket and sword, or pike and sword; but, failing these, they
were to be furnished with halbards, Lochaber axes, or Jedburgh staffs,
and swords. Colonels of horse and foot, and Committees of War were
appointed in each sheriffdom, and were enjoined to form "their whole
fencible persons into regiments, foot companies, and horse troops". The
men were to be "drilled and exercised in managing their arms--every
regiment once in the month, every company and troop once in the week".
The captains of each company were to be provided with colours and drums,
and the "rootmasters", or captains of horse, with trumpets and cornets.
For the purpose of enforcing this Act, another was passed in the
following year, again requiring all to arm, under a penalty of £20 to be
paid by those who, being in a position to buy a musket and sword, should
yet be found unprovided with them. Those who, though able to purchase a
pike, neglected to do so, were to be fined 10 marks. Yeomen or servants
lacking the means to provide themselves with the weapons prescribed by
the Act were to be equipped by their respective heritors or masters.
Further, the Committees of War in each shire were called upon to
acquire and store, two pounds weight of powder and four pounds weight of
match and ball, for every fencible person within their district.

It was at this time, too, that the first Act dealing with desertion from
the army was passed. It gave strict injunctions to the Colonels and
Committees of War to apprehend all those, both of horse and foot, who
ran away from their colours, and empowered them, if they thought it
expedient for the good of the army, to "decimate the fugitives, and
cause hang the tenth man". If there were less than ten offenders, one
might still be put to death, "for terrifying others"; and if there were
only one, he might be made to suffer the extreme penalty.

Milder legislation originated at this time, too. It was in 1645 that an
Act "in favour of lamed soldiers" promised maintenance upon the public
charges to all who were so hurt and wounded in the defence of the public
cause as to be unfit for their ordinary employment; and that another
appointed a Committee to devise measures for the relief of the widows
and orphans of those who fell. And so anxious were the Estates that
their good faith should not be doubted, that they pledged the honour of
the kingdom in proof of it.

From this point, the story of the Scots army merges into that of the
civil wars of the period. And to relate it further would be to
recapitulate what general histories of Scotland have already made more
or less familiar to all.


[278] _Act Parl._, vol. i, Coll. Frag., p. 752.

[279] It has been suggested that _Christis Kirk of the Grene_, being "a
jocund skit upon the ludicrous incapacity of the Scottish rustic to
handle a bow", may have been intended "to fortify the statutes of law by
the aids of ridicule and satire" (Ross, _Early Scottish History and

[280] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 8.

[281] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 10.

[282] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 45.

[283] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 48.

[284] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 100.

[285] _Act Parl._, vol. ii, p. 346.

[286] This was in accordance with the very first of the instructions
embodied in the Bruce's "Testament", those fourteen lines of which Mr.
Oman says that they "contain all the principles on which the Scots, when
well advised, acted for the next two hundred and fifty years".

"On fut suld be all Scottis weire, By hyll and mosse themselff to reare.
Lat woods for wallis be bow and speire, That innymeis do them na deire.
In strait placis gar keip all store, And byrnen ye planeland thaim
before. Thane sall thai pass away in haist When that thai find na thing
but waist. With wyles and waykings of the nyght And mekill noyis maid on
hytht, Thaim sall ye turnen with gret affrai, As thai ware chassit with
swerd away. This is the consall and intent Of gud King Robert's

[287] _Reg. Priv. Coun._, vol. i, p. 62.

[288] "Victual" is the old Scots term for grain of any kind.

[289] _Reg. Priv. Coun._, sub. ann. cit.

[290] _Reg. Priv. Coun._, sub. ann. cit.


The 17th of December, 1566, was the christening day of Mary Stuart's
infant son. Amongst the festivities arranged in celebration of the
event, there was a "great banquet", to which the representatives of
foreign sovereigns had been invited, and at which a foremost place had
been assigned to Hatton and the Englishmen who had accompanied him to
Scotland. To enliven the entertainment, George Buchanan had written a
masque, in which the actors were satyrs who, whilst reciting his
complimentary verses, were to bring various symbolical gifts to the
royal infant. The performance of this interlude had been entrusted to a
Frenchman named Bastien. As the meat was being brought through the great
hall, on a "trim engine", that seemed to move of itself, he made his
appearance with a band of men disguised to represent the mythological
monsters, and wearing long tails, in keeping with their assumed
character. But he and his associates "were not content only to red
roun". Whether merely acting on a mischievous impulse or deliberately
carrying out a preconcerted joke, the mummers, as they passed near the
English guests, put their hands to their tails and began wagging them.
Hatton and his party "daftly apprehending that which they should not
seem to have understood", and placing the worst construction on the
silly and unseemly trick, chose to believe that it had been planned in
derision of them and out of spiteful jealousy "that the Queen made more
of them than of the Frenchmen". To mark their sense of the insult
offered them, "they all set down upon the bare floor behind the back of
the board, that they should not see themselves scorned, as they
thought". In relating the incident to Sir James Melville, who records it
in his _Memoirs_, Hatton added that, if it had not taken place in the
Royal palace and in presence of the Queen herself, he would "have put a
dagger to the heart of the French knave Bastien".[291]

Coarse and unmannerly as was the satyrs' by-play, it would hardly seem
to have deserved to be taken so seriously and so ill by the English
guests, if it were not remembered that it expressed in dumb show what
had for centuries been looked upon by Englishmen as a deadly insult--a
reference to the popular belief that they were distinguished from the
natives of other countries by the physical monstrosity of bearing tails.
That this was accepted as an actual and disgraceful fact there is
abundant evidence to prove. In a medieval Latin poem[292] devoted to an
enumeration of the distinctive characteristics of the various nations of
Europe, the unflattering lines that fall to the share of the English,
jeer at them for this deformity, whilst not omitting to denounce the
treachery so commonly and so spitefully attributed to them by their

    A brute beast is the Englishman,
      For he doth bear a tail;
    Beware, and treat him as a foe,
      E'en when he bids thee "Hail!"[293]

The anonymous satirist, however, was not original. He had not the merit,
such as it might be, of having invented the slander which he flung as an
insult at the people against whom he obviously entertained a bitter
animosity. If, as there is reason to believe, he was a Frenchman, he
merely repeated a gibe which had long been one of the commonplaces of
vulgar vituperation amongst his compatriots. In the description which
the thirteenth-century chronicler, Jacques de Vitry, gives of the
depraved state of Paris in his day, and more particularly of the rude
behaviour and coarse jests of the students who flocked to its famous
university, he states that diversity of nationality aroused amongst them
dissensions, hatred and violent animosities, to which they gave vent by
indulging in all kinds of invectives against each other. As an example
of their scurrility, he mentions that they called the English drunkards
and "tailards".[294] To suppose, from the very absurdity of the
imputation, that it was merely cast as a taunt, and that no actual
belief lay behind it, would be to ignore all that medieval credulity was
capable of. Moreover, the attitude taken up by the English themselves,
implied shame at an alleged deformity fully as much as anger at a wanton
insult. On this point evidence is supplied by the Dominican monk Etienne
de Bourbon, a moralist who flourished about the middle of the thirteenth
century. In a treatise which is devoted to the exposition of subjects
suitable for the pulpit, and which abounds in quaint stories as well as
in caustic commentaries on contemporary manners, he does not omit to
deal with the inordinate love of dress displayed by women, and to
denounce the prevailing fashion of wearing extravagantly long trains to
their gowns. He rebukes them for impiously presuming to better God's
work, for doing away with the honourable distinction conferred upon them
as human beings, and for deliberately assuming that which brings them
down to the same level as brute beasts. As a climax, he inveighs against
their shamelessness in making themselves what the English blush to be

The events that were chiefly instrumental in bringing the English into
either contact or conflict with Continental nations, during the Middle
Ages, were the Crusades and the Hundred Years' War. The chronicles that
deal with these are not wanting in instances from which it may be
gathered how readily the obnoxious gibe came to the lips of those that
wished to show their contempt for the islanders. Richard of Devizes, who
wrote one of the earliest and most authentic narratives of the reign of
Richard I, with whom he was contemporary, describes how, in 1190, the
inhabitants of Messina manifested their hatred for the strangers whom
the King had brought to their shores, and how they tried to wreak
vengeance on him and his "tailards"; for, explains the chronicler, the
Greeks and the Sicilians gave the name of "tailards" to all who followed
the English monarch.[296]

Another very early reference to the use of the term "tailard" as an
opprobrious synonym for "Englishmen" is that which occurs in a metrical
romance dealing with the same period and also recording, but with
poetical freedom, the life and exploits of Richard Coeur de Lion. The
exact date of the poem is unknown; but the fact of its being mentioned
in the _Chronicles_ of Richard of Gloucester and in those of Robert de
Brunne, supplies evidence of its having been written earlier than the
year 1300. It is confessedly a translation from the French; and that may
account for the appearance in it of an insulting epithet which an
English writer might have hesitated to use, even as an invective in the
mouth of an enemy. The Second Book of this romance is devoted to a
journey to the Holy Land, which the English King is supposed to have
undertaken prior to the actual crusade, but which is, however, made to
include the well-known incident of his capture. The poet tells how, when
returning from Palestine, with "Sir Foulke Doyly of renown, and Sir
Thomas of Multoun", Richard was betrayed, captured, and brought as a
prisoner before the King of Allemayne; and how, when he represented
himself and his companions as pilgrims,

            "The Kyng callid Rychard be name,
    And clepyd him 'taylard', and sayde him schame."[297]

In the Sixth Book of the same poem, it is related how the English King,
on his way to Acre, put in at Cyprus and sent messengers to the Emperor,
and how that monarch "began to rage", threw a knife at one of them, and
followed this up by peremptorily ordering them out of his presence, with
the words:--

    "Out, 'taylards', of my paleys!
    Now go and say your 'tayled' King
    That I owe him no thing."[298]

When the Emperor's steward ventured to represent to his master that
such treatment of honourable knights who came to him in the character of
ambassadors was not justifiable, the furious but apocryphal potentate

    "Carved off his nose by the grusle,
    And said: Traytour, thief, steward,
    Go, playne to English 'taylarde'."[299]

There is a further account of Richard's journey to the Holy Land in a
poem by a writer of whom we know that his name was Ambrose, and that he
witnessed various historical events between 1188 and 1196. It would also
appear from his narrative that he actually accompanied the Crusaders on
the expedition which he records. He, too, refers to the hostile attitude
assumed by the inhabitants of Messina towards the English King's
followers, and states that they jeered at the foreigners and called them
"foul dogs", an epithet which, in the light of the parallel texts, may
be looked upon as an allusion to the tails which the English were
commonly believed to bear.[300]

At the beginning of the thirteenth century, there is an instance of the
use of the offensive gibe which shows to what purpose it was beginning
to be turned by the literate class of the day. During the minority of
Henry III, Louis VIII, continuing the aggressive policy inaugurated by
his father, Philip Augustus, against the incapable administration of
King John, made a vigorous effort to wrest Poitou from the English.
Amongst the most noteworthy achievements of this campaign, was the
capture of La Rochelle, in 1224. In celebration of this event, a
poetaster of the day wrote some doggerel verses, which the _Chronicle of
Lanercost_[301] has preserved:--

    'Tis our own native King, 'tis a stranger no more,
    Who reigns in Rochelle, by the fortune of war;
    And the fear of the English no longer prevails,
    For he's made them all harmless by breaking their tails.[302]

On the other side, however, it was not forgotten that, a few years
earlier, in 1217, the same Louis, after being deserted by the
discontented barons who had called him over, had suffered a crushing
defeat at Lincoln. This supplied fair material for a retort in the same

        We have dragged our French foes,
        Strung like larks in long rows,
    And made fast to our tails with a rope;

        That it really was so,
        Why, there's Lincoln to show,
    And that won't be questioned, I hope.[303]

The circumstances in which we next hear the contemptuous appellation of
"tailards" applied to the English are particularly dramatic. It is in
the course of the seventh crusade, that which was undertaken, in 1248,
by Louis IX with an English contingent, and of which Matthew of Paris is
one of the chroniclers. This time, however, it is not from the enemy
that the insult comes. It is from an impetuous and overbearing ally,
from the French King's brother, Count Robert of Artois. The Count was
jealous of William Longsword; and on one occasion, when the leader of
the English was returning from a successful but unauthorized raid, he
was arbitrarily deprived by his arrogant rival of the booty which he was
bringing back to the camp. Having in vain appealed to Louis, who appears
to have been quite powerless against his brother's presumption, the
English chief retired to Acre, with his two hundred knights; and the
news of their departure drew from Artois the scornful exclamation that
the army of the noble French was well purged of those "tailards".[304]
Longsword was ultimately prevailed upon by the king to return; but it
was not long before he had again to bear the brunt of Artois'
overweening pride and insolence. A difference of opinion had arisen
between the rash and headstrong Count and the more cautious Master of
the Templars, as to the advisability of following up a successful attack
that had just been made on the infidels. Longsword was present and
attempted to intervene as a peacemaker between the disputants; but he
only succeeded in drawing on himself the anger of the hot-headed
Frenchman, who put a climax to his violent invectives by insultingly
referring to the pusillanimity of the timid "tailards", and expressing a
wish that the army might, once for all, be purged of tails and
"tailards".[305] Even the dignified self-possession of Longsword was not
proof against such jeers. "Count Robert," he replied, "I shall certainly
proceed, undismayed by any peril of impending death. We shall, I fancy,
be to-day where you will not dare to touch my horse's tail."[306] In the
engagement thus recklessly forced on--it was the battle of
Mansourah--both Artois and Longsword perished. But whilst the French
prince lost his life when trying to swim his horse across a river, after
ignominiously turning tail,[307] the English knight fell fighting
valiantly with his face to the overwhelming foe.

The chronicles which record the events that marked the closing years of
the thirteenth century supply a grim illustration of the ignominious
treatment which their reputation as "tailards" sometimes brought upon
the English. The war which broke out about this time between Edward I
and Philip IV of France had for its cause, or, perhaps more correctly,
for its pretext, one of the brawls which frequently arose when the
sailors of the two countries met in the ports on either side of the
Channel. Whether rightly or wrongly, the Frenchmen represented the
English as the aggressors. They brought the matter under the notice of
their own king, and represented it as an insult to him and to the whole
nation that they should have been so wantonly ill-used by the
"tailards". In the reprisals which followed, Philip's brother, Charles,
took a conspicuous part. Having a previous and personal grievance
against the English, he vented his spite even on unoffending pilgrims
and students. He hanged several of the poor wretches who fell into his
hands; and, adding insult to injury, strung up dogs side by side with
them, to intimate, says the _Chronicle of Lanercost_, the resemblance
which he thought to exist between the two, or, as another record even
more plainly puts it, to show that he made no difference between a dog
and an Englishman. Amongst the State Papers relative to the history of
Edward I, there is a document which very strikingly confirms the truth
of this barbarous incident. It consists of a long roll containing an
account of the various outrages committed by the French on English
mariners and on inhabitants of the Cinque Ports. One of the charges
brought against the Norman seamen is illustrated in the margin by a
contemporaneous sketch representing a row of Englishmen hanging up, with
a dog between each two.[308]

It is suggestive of the annoyance which the English felt at their
opprobrious nickname that, when we find their writers noticing it, it is
almost invariably under provocation and in a tone of indignant protest.
One noteworthy exception to this is to be met with in a curious,
half-literary, half-historical production, attributed to John of
Bridlington. It is a political retrospect of the reign of Edward III,
and consists of a supposed ancient text, in Latin verse, with a recent
commentary on it. The poem itself purports to be a prophecy, whilst the
notes indicate in what manner the predictions were fulfilled. As the
leading event for the year 1356, the date of the battle of Poitiers, it
is foretold that,

    "The four cockrels shall learn what defeat is, that day
    When the French meet the English in battle array,
    And the big-buttocked bullies are shamefully routed
    By the men whom as 'tailards' their ribaldry flouted".[309]

The imaginary scholiast explains the meaning of this to be, that the
brood of the Gallic cock, or, in other words, the French, will be
vanquished by the English, whom they jeeringly call "tailards"; that the
appellation which is here applied to them and which has been somewhat
euphemistically translated by "big-buttocked", is intended as a set-off
against the ignominious term by which they commonly designate the
English; and that the four cockrels especially referred to, are the king
and his three sons. "And, indeed, these four," it is added, "were
actually vanquished in that battle, the King himself being captured with
one of his sons, whilst the other two fled from the field."[310]

After Poitiers, the invasion of France by Henry V is chronologically the
next important event in the long medieval struggle between England and
France. The initial success of the English, whilst embittering the
animosity of their enemies, inspired a restraining respect; and there is
an expression of those mingled feelings of aversion and of fear in the
lines which a poetaster of the day addressed to the invaders, partly as
a reproach, partly as an appeal:

    "Perfidious race that perjured England breeds,
    Whose evil nature shows in all your deeds,
    Why must you still, with baneful purpose, seek
    Your spite on righteous Frenchmen thus to wreak?
    Christ's servants they, and constant to the faith
    Which twice from you has suffered wanton scathe;
    Your words are fair, but yet in all you do,
    The crooked paths of falsehood you pursue;
    Cut off that poisonous tail you long have worn,
    A byword to the nations, and their scorn!
    For thee, their king, be not my warning vain,
    And, in thy mem'ry let this truth remain:
    That God who willed thou shouldst a 'tailard' be
    Has not denied his hallowing grace to thee."[311]

But the fortune of war began to turn against the English on the death of
Henry V in 1422; and the exultation caused by that event is voiced by
Olivier Basselin, in one of his popular poems:--

    "The King who sat upon the English throne
    The crown of France claimed also for his own;
    He strove to drive as outcasts from their land
    The men that dared to stem the invading tide;
    But, when death dashed the sceptre from his hand,
    The alien host was scattered far and wide,
    And France is now from English 'tailards' freed;
    May curses light on all the recreant breed!"[312]

A few years later, possibly about 1430, a popular ballade, in which an
unknown writer celebrated the exploits of Jeanne d'Arc, opened with a
repetition of the old insult:--

    "Back, English 'tailards', back!"[313]

And Enguerrand de Monstrelet, the Burgundian chronicler of the events
that marked the latter half of the Hundred Years' War, records another
historical occasion on which the French gave utterance to their triumph
in the traditional gibe at the alleged monstrosity of their old enemies.
In his account of the evacuation of Paris, in 1436, he relates that, as
the English retired from the city which they had held for sixteen years,
the inhabitants hooted them with great cries of "Tails!"[314]

Coming down to the sixteenth century, we find that, in the early years
of it, when hostilities broke out between Louis XII and Henry VIII, the
old insult fell readily from the pen of the French versifiers who found
subjects for their rhymes in the military incidents of the time. Thus,
in the _Dépucellage de la ville de Tournay_, the town, referring to its
ill-advised refusal of help when the English laid siege to it, is made
to say:--

    "To guard my ramparts from the foe's attack
    A ready offer from the King was brought;
    But, I refused, and sent the answer back:
    'With men for watch and ward, no means I lack
    To bring the "tailards'" enterprise to nought'".[315]

But pride went before a fall. Tournay was occupied by the English in

In Anatole de Montaiglon's collection of fifteenth and sixteenth century
verse, there is a poem which bears the title of _Courroux de la Mort
contre les Anglois_, and which is in substance a bitter invective
against the English generally. It is undated; but an allusion to the
porcupine, the well-known emblem of Louis XII, points to its having also
been written at this same period. In an apostrophe, the poet promises
his countrymen an easy victory over the English:--

    "In war your arms will speedily prevail
    Against your foe, the King 'that wears a tail'".[316]

The fight of Guinegate, commonly known as the battle of the Spurs, can
hardly have been looked upon by him as a fulfilment of his prophecy. It
may rather, if that were still possible, have increased the animosity
which inspired the two scurrilous lines in which he strung together as
many opprobrious epithets as the measure of his verse would admit, and
which duly included the traditional slander, linked, in this instance,
with the equally popular nickname of "godon", supposed to have
originated in the frequent and profane use which the English made of
God's name:--

    "Ye noisome, greedy, fetid braggarts, go!
    Ye 'tailard' godons, rid me of your sight!"[317]

So far, the use of the abusive term "tailard", in French _coué_ and in
Latin _caudatus_, has been traced in immediate connection with events
that brought the English into direct conflict with their enemies. There
are not wanting instances, however, to show that no special provocation
was required, and that from century to century it currently served the
purpose of those whom national antipathy prompted to revile the English,
or to hold them up to ridicule. To begin with Eustache Deschamps, the
most prolific and versatile versifier of the late fourteenth and the
early fifteenth centuries, we find him giving Englishmen and their tails
a conspicuous place in his satirical verses. In a poem of which only a
fragment remains, he describes how

    "They swagger grandly down the street,
    An awsome sight to all they meet";

but how, in order not to mar the effect of the imposing appearance which
they assume,

    "Between their legs they hide with care
    The tail which rumour says they wear".[318]

The Englishmen's tails also supply the subject of a rondeau in which
Deschamps mockingly compares the strength of the French with that of the
English, ironically proclaiming the superiority of the latter as proved
by the greater mass of flesh they have to carry, and the additional
appendage they are obliged to drag about with them:--

    The English are more stout, 'tis clear,
    Than any Frenchman you can meet.

    Slight burdens only Frenchmen bear;
    The English are more stout, 'tis clear.

    Two butts they carry everywhere,
    And eke a tail, so trig and neat,
    The English are more stout, 'tis clear,
    Than any Frenchman you can meet.[319]

In addition to this, Deschamps has a satirical ballade, in which he
again drags in the English by the tail, professing concern for the
inconvenience which it must cause them, and earnestly advising them to
hold it up. "Billy", the predecessor of John Bull, as a typical
Englishman, opens the poem with a gibe at the "French dogs", who "do
nothing but drink wine". "Frenchy" does not deny the soft impeachment,
but retorts that he considers it better to indulge in the juice of the
grape than to swill beer. Then, by an abrupt transition and, if with
rhyme, without any special reason, he compares red-haired Englishmen to
mastiffs. On the strength of that canine similitude, he impresses upon
them the necessity for holding up their tails. He commiserates them on
the additional burden which they have to carry, though not endowed with
the physical vigour of Jacques Thommelin, the strong man of the day. He
warns them against walking abroad in dirty weather; and if, in spite of
the rain, they must take their corn to the mill or gather grapes in the
vineyard, he bids them imitate their four-footed neighbours the dogs,
and hold up their tails to prevent their trailing in the mud. The satire
is not keen, nor is the humour brilliant; and the whole point lies in
the rather scurrilous than apt refrain:--


        (Sur les Anglais)

    "Franche dogue," dist un Anglois,
    "Vous ne faites que boire vin."
    "Si faisons bien," dist le François,
    "Mais vous buvez le henequin;
    Roux estes com pel de mastin,
    Vuillequot, de moy aprenez,
    Quant vous yrez par le chemin:
    Levez vostre queue, levez!

    Vous n'estes pas de membres fais
    Si comme est Jaques Thommelin
    Qui porte si merveilleus fais
    Que vous n'y pourriez mettre fin:
    Ce sont deux tonneaulx de sapin,
    C'est voir, et la queue delez.
    Advisez-vous, dit Franchequin;
    Levez vostre queue, levez!

    N'alez a piet, par le temps frais,
    Porter vostre blé au moulin;
    S'il pluet, troussez vo queue près,
    Autel facent vostre voisin;
    Et si vous pinciez le raisin,
    Afin que vous ne vous crotez,
    Soit en France ou en Limosin,
    Levez vostre queue, levez!"[320]

Another ballade records an incident which is supposed to have happened
in Calais. In company with Granson, a mercenary captain in English pay,
but without the necessary safe-conduct, the poet entered the town,
which was then in possession of the English. He was at once pulled up by
two men-at-arms who addressed him in language of which he quotes such
scraps as "dogue" and "goday", "ride" and "commidre". He, on his side,
intimated his recognition of their nationality by exclaiming: "Oh yes! I
see your tail!" Whilst Granson, who had led him into the trap, made off
laughing and calling out that he had no wish to stand surety for him,
Deschamps was told that he would be kept in durance, an announcement
which again drew from him the taunt, "Oil, je voy vo queue!" Though
confessedly blue with fright, he nevertheless summoned up enough courage
to make a dash for liberty. Digging his heels vigorously into his cob,
he made it rear with a suddenness that sent his captors sprawling; and
whilst they lay helplessly on the ground, he hastily betook himself out
of their reach, uttering the inevitable refrain:--


      (Récit d'une Aventure à Calais)

    Je fu l'autrier trop mal venuz
    Quant j'alay pour veir Calays;
    J'entray dedenz comme cornuz,
    Sanz congié; lors vint deux Anglois,
    Granson devant et moy après,
    Qui me prindrent parmi la bride:
    L'un me dist: "dogue", l'autre: "ride";
    Lors me devint la coulour bleue:
    "Goday", fait l'un, l'autre: "commidre".
    Lors dis: "Oil, je voy vo queue."

    Pour mal content s'en est tenuz
    L'un d'eulx, qui estoit le plus lays,
    Et dist: "Vous seres retenuz
    Prinsonnier, vous estes forfais."
    Mais Granson s'en aloit adès
    Qui en riant faisait la vuide:
    A eulx m'avoit trahi, ce cuide,
    En anglois dist: "Pas ne l'adveue."
    Passer me font de Dieu l'espite;
    Lors dis: "Oil, je voy vo queue."

    Puis ay mes talons estenduz
    De mon roucin, le serray près,
    Lors sault, si furent espanduz;
    Delez Granson fut mes retrais
    Là ne me vault treves ne pais,
    De paour la face me ride,
    De tel amour ma mort me cuide;
    Au derrain leur dist: "Je l'adveue."
    "Chien, faisoit l'un, vez vous vo guide?"
    Lors dis: "Oil, je voy vo queue!"[321]

Another writer of the same period, Olivier Basselin, refers to the
Englishmen's tails in a satirical poem, in which he alleges this
physical deformity as his reason for not wishing to live in their

    "Do you think it's a joke that I never would dwell
      'Mongst the English, as oft I declare?
    Nay, believe me, my friend, 'tis the truth that I tell,
      For I hate the long tails that they wear."[322]

In one of his minor poems, Jean Molinet, part-author of the _Roman de
la Rose_, who also belongs to the fifteenth century, humorously goes one
step further than his fellow satirists, and gives even animals of
English race a share in the distinctive peculiarity which birth in
England entailed on the human Islanders. Of a certain tom-cat he says:--

    "This Cat for his mother had Cathau the Blue,
      To Calais he does not belong;
    There's something about him of English breed, too,
      And that's why his tail is so long."[323]

About the beginning of the sixteenth century, Crétin, a Norman poet,
combines encouragement of the French with the usual abuse of the

    "Praise shall reward the doughty deeds you do,
    And store of crowns, and golden angels, too;
    And, in the ransom of the 'long-tailed' crew,
    Their flesh and bone shall be as gold to you."[324]

As late as the seventeenth century, an echo of the gibe may still be
heard. Larivey, in one of his comedies, _Les Tromperies_, makes a
swaggering captain boast of the reputation which he has acquired by
valiantly charging the English "tailards" when they attempted to land
at Dieppe.[325] Still nearer our own day, Saint-Amant, who, indeed, is
so modern that he was one of the original members of the French Academy
and figures in Boileau's satires, has a reference to the English
longtails in his _Rome Ridicule_. He incidentally claims for the French
the strange merit of having rid their country of the goitre and of the
king's evil by making carrion of the English invaders:--

    "The goitre now we never see,
    And cruels, too, have ceased to be,
    E'er since we slew our 'tailard' foes
    And made them food to gorge the crows".[326]

By this time, however, the tradition had ceased to be popular; for in a
note on this passage, Saint-Amant's contemporary, Conrart, thought it
necessary to give an explanation of the epithet "quouez". According to
him, it was justified by the fact that, in the case of the majority of
Englishmen, the end of the os sacrum, called _coccyx_, actually
protrudes and forms a tail![327]

But, even yet, the old cry has not wholly died out. In the Island of
Guernsey, that genuine bit of Normandy, where it was once so frequently
heard, it is perpetuated by the country children. They have a custom of
slyly throwing at passers-by a hairy, clinging weed, which grows
abundantly by the wayside. If any of it catches on to the victims of
their childish trick, these are made aware of it by hearing themselves
jeered at with cries of "la Coue!" The words are the very same as those
recorded by Monstrelet; and this identity seems to justify the belief
that they are a survival of the medieval scoff.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Scots, sharing as they did the feeling of animosity entertained by
the French against their English foes, were no less ready than they to
give it expression; and the insulting taunt which they had learnt from
their continental allies was adopted as an effective means to that end.
It is not, however, amidst the excitement of international strife that
the cry is first heard. The earliest instance of its use in the North
Country is given by Bower. Under the date of 1217, he has an account of
the mission to Scotland, undertaken by the Prior of Durham and the
Archdeacon of York, in connection with the interdict under which the
kingdom had been laid. These two prelates made themselves very unpopular
by the mercenary spirit which they displayed; and a monkish satirist
voiced the irritation which they aroused, in a strongly worded Latin
poem, containing amongst other terms of reproach and invective, a
denunciation of them as "tailards":--

    "Those clerics, both in treach'rous England born,
    Are of the breed by whom long tails are worn".[328]

As regards the other instances supplied by the chroniclers, it is
noteworthy that the insult was, in each case, avenged by the defeat of
those who flung it at their enemies. The first occasion on which this is
reported to have occurred was the battle of Dunbar, in 1296. The Castle,
at that time one of the most important in Scotland, had been delivered
over to the Scottish leaders by the Countess of Dunbar. Edward I at once
sent John Plantagenet, Earl of Warrenne and Surrey, to recapture it. The
garrison, conscious of its inability to hold out against the ten
thousand foot and the thousand heavy-armed horse which the English
leader commanded, agreed to surrender to him if it were not relieved
within three days. In the meantime, John Baliol, anxious to retain so
important a stronghold, sent his whole army of forty thousand foot and
fifteen hundred horse to its succour. When the besieged saw this
formidable force encamped on the heights above Spot, they felt confident
of success; and in their premature exultation, they jeered at the
English, calling them "tailed dogs", and threatening not only to kill
them, but also to cut off their tails. Their boasts were not justified
by the result. In the engagement that followed, the rashness of the
Scots in abandoning their favourable position proved disastrous. Ten
thousand of them fell on the field or during the pursuit; and next day
the Castle surrendered at discretion to Edward, who came up from Berwick
with the remainder of his army.[329]

In the following year, Lord Robert Clifford made an incursion into
Annandale, at the head of twenty thousand infantry, preceded by a body
of only one hundred cavalry. On passing the Solway, it was proclaimed by
sound of trumpet that every soldier might plunder for himself and keep
his own booty. On hearing this welcome announcement, the infantry
dispersed over the country, and the horse alone remained together and
marched on Annan, where the Scots, thinking they had to do with a mere
handful, received them with jeers and insults, as a pack of "tailed"
dogs. But when it came to actual fighting, the heavy-armed cavalry
proved too much for the dalesmen. They were driven into marshy ground,
where they were easily overpowered by the infantry that had hurried up
to reinforce the vanguard. Over three hundred of the Scots were slain,
many prisoners were taken; and before the Englishmen returned to
Carlisle with their booty, the destruction of ten villages had given the
scoffers good reason to think less contemptuously of the

At least once again the ill-omened cry was heard. It was on the eve of
the battle of Dupplin, which was fought on the 12th of August, 1332,
between Edward Baliol, with his English supporters, and the army of
David II, under the Earl of Mar. Trusting to their superior numbers and
to their advantageous position, the Scots were confident of success.
They spent a part of the night in drinking and in singing songs that
contained insulting reference to

    "The English 'tailards', jeered at for their tails",

and they bragged that they would turn those same tails to practical use,
by binding their wearers, and dragging them to the gallows with
them.[331] But the boastful Scots were beaten, and one of the
chroniclers who record their defeat, reminds them of Seneca's saying,
that never did proud joy stand on a sure footing. "Now," he adds, by way
of moral, "you who, but the day before, declared you would make ropes of
the Englishmen's tails to bind them with, are yourselves bound in real

In Wright's collection of medieval political songs, there are some
doggerel verses, which are ascribed to this same half of the fourteenth
century, and which probably refer to the driving out of the English from
some of the strongholds which they had occupied. In his crabbed Latin,
the writer, doubtless some monkish patriot, bids Scotland rejoice at the
happy deliverance:

    "The 'tails' appeared, a while they held their sway,
    But now, at last, they've all been lopped away;
    The 'tails' have gone, and fearlessly we may
    Proclaim 'O Scotland, hail the happy day!'"[333]

Those lines, such as they are, may serve as a connecting link between
the historical instances of the use of the derogatory appellation and
those which refer to no special incident, but are merely adaptations of
the old scoff for the purpose of literary invective. The latter are not
numerous; but one of them is interesting from the fact that it
introduces the familiar "tails" under a new name. It occurs in The
_Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy_, that remarkable production which,
though probably nothing more than a _jeu d'esprit_, a kind of friendly
sparring-match between two adversaries "who give each other plaguy
knocks with all the love and fondness of a brother", is assuredly one of
the most astonishing instances of verbal scurrility to be found in
literature. In this wordy tournament the two poets allude in
uncomplimentary language to each other's family history, and Kennedy
reproaches Dunbar, who was a native of Lothian, with being descended
from a traitor, from Corspatrick, who,

    "Throu his tressoun brocht Inglis 'rumpillis' in".[334]

John Skelton, a satirist of the late fifteenth and the early sixteenth
century, has preserved three Latin hexameters in which a Scottish
scholar, George Dundas, at one time a professor at the University of
Aberdeen, scoffs at the English in the familiar way, by alluding to
their tails. The Englishman himself, after the battle of Flodden, had
written against the Scots, with the scurrility which characterized him
and which made him obnoxious even to his own countrymen; and it seems
probable that Dundas's lines occurred in a poem written as a retort. The
only connection between them, however, consists in the repetition of the
same idea in a slightly different form; and it is hardly possible to
assume that they stood together, and are to be taken as an epigram. It
may also be noted that the first of them is almost identical with one
that is known to have been current at a much earlier date:

    "An Englishman's a dog, because we find
    That, like a dog he bears a tail behind".

    "Thou English 'tailard', hold thy tail with care,
    For fear it drop from thee, at unaware."

    "By reason of their tails, the English race
    Must bear about a burden of disgrace."[335]

In whatever connection the lines may have appeared, they provoked "the
noble poet Skelton", as he styles himself, to a reply which has for its
heading the statement that, "The most vile Scot, Dundas, alleges that
Englishmen have tails". Apostrophizing him as a "shameless, noxious,
foul-mouthed, lying Scot", he asks him how he dares utter such a
slander. Then, dropping into macaronic verses, he adorns them with such
flowers of vituperation as these:

    This Dundas,
    This Scottishe as,
    He rymes and railes
    That Englishmen have tailes.

    Skelton Laureat
    After this rate
    Defendeth with his pen
    All Englishmen
    Agayn Dundas
    The Scottishe as.
    Shake thy tayle, Scot, like a cur,
    For thou beggest at every mannes dur.
    Tut, Scot, I sey,
    Go, shake the, dog, hey!
    Dundas of Galaway
    With thy versyfyeng rayles
    How they have tayles.[336]

Though recalled, some half a century later, by the insulting piece of
by-play which it suggested to Mary Stuart's French courtiers, and at
which, as we have already recorded, Hatton and his countrymen waxed so
wroth, the "tailard" taunt is not again heard in the story of the old
feud between England and Scotland. From the sixteenth century to its
final disappearance from use and even from memory, it seems to have
remained as exclusively French as it doubtless was in its origin.


The use which some of the Latin chroniclers and verse-makers make of the
words _caudatus_ and _cauda_ suggests that the former of these may have
been intended to bear the sense of "cowed" or "coward", and the latter
to symbolize the evil qualities, more particularly, perhaps, the
treachery ascribed to the English. Thus, in Matthew of Paris, one, at
least, of Count Robert's insulting outbursts, though hardly both,
remains perfectly intelligible even if a figurative rather than a
literal meaning be given to the epithet.[337] And, again, when John
Oxenedes, in his account of the battle of Lewes, fought, in 1264,
between Henry III and the Barons, under Simon of Montfort, places it in
immediate juxtaposition to "full of guile", "false", "unstable", and
"dispirited", it seems more natural to interpret it as a reference to a
moral defect than to take it as a taunt at a physical deformity.[338] As
regards the substantive, a symbolical sense, not, indeed, excluding the
primary meaning, but rather taken in combination with it, is obviously
consistent with the anonymous poetaster's advice to "cut off that
poisonous tail".[339] And the _Annales Gandenses_, the most noteworthy
chronicle of the closing years of the thirteenth and the beginning of
the fourteenth century, whilst doubtless alluding to the popular belief
in a real caudal appendage worn by Englishmen, seem to employ the word
metaphorically in the passage which records the incendiarism and the
looting by which the troops of Edward I disgraced themselves in Ghent,
where they had been cordially received and hospitably entertained by the
inhabitants in 1298. "The English, like the most ungrateful men that
they were," says the Minorite author, "dragging after them their
habitual tail, and eager to plunder the town of Ghent and to slay those
that resisted them, set fire to it in four places, at the four corners,
so to speak, in order that the people of Ghent, whilst endeavouring to
extinguish the conflagration, should be less careful about the custody
of their property."[340] In the _Eulogium Historiarum_, too, there is a
passage where the word _cauda_ occurs in such a connection as to make it
quite clear that the literal acceptation would be out of place, the more
so, indeed, from the circumstance that the "tail" is bestowed, not on
an Englishman, but on a Scot, and on a Scot no less genuine than Robert
the Bruce. Referring to the capture and punishment of the Scottish
King's adherents, the chronicler adds that Bruce himself found safety in
flight and concealment, but that this did not in the least trouble
Edward, who, now that his enemy's tail was completely cut off, was quite
willing that he should wander about, wherever he found it easiest to
save his life.[341] And if, in this instance, the amputation of the tail
is a figure of speech intended to convey the notion of reducing to
powerlessness, it might be argued, with some show of reason, that, even
when applied to Englishmen, as in the lines which exultingly proclaim
how the French King made them harmless by submitting them to similar
treatment, the expression does not necessarily imply the actual
possession of a real tail. This would add yet another passage to those
which, if they stood by themselves, would justify some hesitation in
accepting them as proofs of a serious conviction as to the alleged
anatomical peculiarity of Englishmen. But when the fullest allowance has
been made for all of them, they do not appreciably affect the evidence
of the many witnesses who not only testify to the general acceptance of
the phenomenon as an actual fact, but are also ready with a reason for
its cause and an explanation of its origin. The first of these in age,
and by no means the least in point of standing and respectability, is
the biographer Goscelin. He is said to have been born at or near
Terouanne, and was originally a monk in the monastery of St. Bertin, but
was brought over to England, possibly as early as 1053, by Hermann,
Bishop of Salisbury. Being a monk at Canterbury, he became interested in
the founder of the see, and not only drew up an account of the
translation of Augustine, a ceremony at which he was present, but also
wrote a life of the Saint. He professes to have based this work on older
records; and it may be assumed that it embodied local tradition as it
existed prior to the Norman Conquest. It consists of two versions of the
story of the life of the Apostle of England. One of them, known as the
_Historia Minor Sancti Augustini_, is brief and compendious. The other,
or _Historia Major_ as it is called, which enjoys the distinction of
having been selected by the Bollandists for inclusion in their Acta
Sanctorum, whilst identical with it in substance, has that greater
fulness of details which its title suggests.

Both texts relate an incident which is said to have taken place in the
province of Dorset, in a little village which, for its heathenish
impiety, is likened to the nether regions themselves. There, the
devil-inspired inhabitants not only refused to give the messenger of the
Gospel a hearing, but also raised a very storm of mocking and contumely
against the Saint and his companions. In their shameless audacity, they
fastened the tails of sea-fish to the garments of the holy men.
Indignant at this sacrilegious outrage, the Spirit of the Lord, through
the mouth of Augustine, condemned those who had committed it to
perpetuate in themselves and in all their posterity the ignominy to
which they had submitted the saints of God.[342]

Shorn of its miraculous and spiteful sequel, and presented in a form to
which critical history is not compelled to raise objection, the same
episode reappears about the middle of the twelfth century, that is,
approximatively, a hundred years later, in the _Gesta Pontificum_ of
William of Malmesbury. The chronicler narrates how, at Cerne, in
Dorsetshire, the infuriated inhabitants, at the instigation of the Evil
One, attacked Augustine and his brethren, and expelled them from their
midst, after having heaped insults upon them, and how they carried the
indignity of their conduct so far as to fasten the tails of ray-fish, or
skate, to the clothes of the holy missionaries. The attitude which
William of Malmesbury credits Augustine with assuming in the
circumstances seems less in keeping with what we elsewhere read of the
Saint's temper than does the vengeful sentence which Goscelin makes him
pronounce against the offenders. William says of him that, for Christ's
sake, he bore their affronts patiently, modestly, and even joyfully, and
shaking against them the dust of his feet, retired a distance of some
three miles, as a precaution against further irritating the insane anger
of the poor people.[343]

When next the story of the insult offered to Augustine reappears, the
Divine vengeance, which Goscelin hardly does more than suggest, is
unhesitatingly asserted, and is recorded with a fullness of details such
as medieval credulity would readily accept as evidence of a genuine
miracle. The writer to whom we owe the legend in this complete form is
Robert Wace, of Jersey, the Anglo-Norman poet and author of the _Brut_,
a rhymed chronicle written but a few years, probably not more than a
decade, after William of Malmesbury's _Gesta Pontificum_. Differing from
his predecessors who referred to a small village as the scene of the
incident, Wace lays it in Dorchester itself, although the conduct which
he attributes to its inhabitants seems in keeping with rural coarseness
rather than with the more refined civilization of a county town:

    "Saint Austine came and to the heathen folk
    He preached God's law. Full earnestly he spoke;
    But they, as men by nature vile and naught,
    Were careless of the holy truths he taught;
    And even as he stood before them, there,
    --One sent by God, God's precepts to declare--
    They fastened to his garments tails of ray,
    And with those tails they drove the Saint away.
    Then Austine prayed that, for His servant's sake,
    The judgment of the Lord might overtake
    The impious scoffers and His wrath proclaim
    Against the men who did the deed of shame.
    And so it was and shall be through all time,
    In punishment of their detested crime:
    For, sooth to say, to every man among
    The rabble rout by whom the tails were hung
    There grew a tail; and thus, for evermore
    This token of disgrace the tailards bore;
    And all their progeny, from sire to son,
    Have suffered for the deed which then was done;
    And so 'tis now, for all the kith and kin
    Are tailards, too, in memory of the sin
    Incurred by those who, lewd and reprobate,
    Defiled the friend of God with tails of skate."[344]

Some fifty years after Robert Wace wrote his _Brut_, Layamon translated,
or rather, paraphrased and expanded the poem. In this Old English
version of it, St. Augustine's adventure is enriched by the addition of
further details. Layamon's most interesting contribution to the history
of the development of the legend consists of the information that an
exaggerated notion as to the extent of the Saint's vengeance had, by
this time, got abroad, and that foreigners now credited all Englishmen
indiscriminately with the tails which the transgressors themselves and
their posterity had alone been condemned to bear. That those tails were
called "muggles", and that the men whom they disgraced were nicknamed
"mugglings", are further circumstances for the knowledge of which we are
indebted to Layamon. And the fact that, whilst one manuscript of his
poem follows Wace with regard to the locality of the incident, another
transfers it from Dorchester to Rochester, suggests a desire on the part
of the scribe to exonerate the West Country, with which he may possibly
have been connected.[345] In Sir F. Madden's prose rendering of the old
English _Brut_, the whole episode is thus given:

"And so St. Austin drew southward, so that he came to Dorchester; there
he found the worst men that dwelt in the land. He told them God's lore,
and they had him in derision; he taught them Christendom, and they
grinned at him. Where the Saint stood, and his clerks with him, and
spake of Christ, as was ever their custom, there they approached to
their injury, and took tails of rays and hanged them on his cope, on
each side. And they ran beside, and threw at him with the bones, and
afterwards attacked him with grievous stones. And so they did him shame
and drove him out of the place. To St. Austin they were odious, and he
became exceeding wroth; and he proceeded five miles from Dorchester, and
came to a mount that was mickle and fair; there he lay on his knees in
prayer and called ever toward God, that he should avenge him of the
cursed folk, who had dishonoured him with their evil deeds. Our Lord
heard him, in heaven, and sent his vengeance on the wretched folk that
hanged the rays' tails on the clerks. The tails came on them--therefore
they be tailed! Disgraced was all the race, for muggles they had; and in
each company men call them mugglings, and every freeman speaketh foul of
them, and English freemen in foreign lands have a red face for the same
deed, and many a good man's son, in strange lands, who never came there
nigh, is called base."[346]

The same occurrence is related in the English prose version of the
_Brut_, with the addition of aggravating circumstances of violence and
contumely. But what imparts special interest to the passage is the
mention of the ingenious means adopted for the purpose of evading the
hereditary curse:

"And in the menewhile that the peple turnede ham to God, seynt Austyn
came to Rochestre and there prechede Goddis worde. The paynnemys
therefor him scornede and caste uppon hym reyghe tayles, so that al his
mantel was hongede ful of reyghe tailes; and for more despite thai keste
uppon hym the guttis of reyghes and of other fysshe, wherefore the good
man seynt Austyn was sore anoyede and grevede, and prayede to God that
alle the childerne that shulde be borne afterward in that citee of
Rochestre muste have tayles. And wherre the kyng herde and wiste of this
vengaunce that was falle thurghe seynt Austynus praier, he lette make
one howse in the honoure of God, wherein wymmen shulde have hire
childerne, at the brugges ende: in whiche howse wymmen yette of the
citee be delyveride of child."[347]

The _Story of Inglande_, written by Robert Manning of Brunne, in 1338,
contains a section which has the marginal summary, "Qua de causa Anglici
vocantur Caudati". In his explanation of the reason why Englishmen are
called "tailards", Manning closely follows Wace, some of whose lines,
indeed, he translates with literal accuracy. He closes his narrative of
the incident, however, in the same manner as does Layamon, with a
protest against the unfairness of attributing to all Englishmen
indiscriminately the degrading stigma inflicted on a few only of his

    "But there he stod them to preche
    And ther savacion for to teche;
    Byhynd hym on his clothes they henge
    Righe taillis on a strenge.
    When they had don that vyleny
    They drof hym thenne wyth maistri;
    Fer weys they gan hym chace;
    Tailles they casten in hys face.
    Thys holy man God bisought,
    For they hym that vileny wrought,
    That on them and on al their kynde
    Tailled alle men schulde hem fynde;
    And God graunted al that he bad,
    For alle that kynde tailles had--
    Taillis hadde and tailles have;
    Fro that vengaunce non may them save;
    For they wyth tailles the goodeman schamed,
    For tailles al Englische kynde ys blamed;
    In manie sere londes seyd
    Of tho tailles we have umbreyde."[348]

The Bibliothèque Nationale possesses a manuscript,[349] which is
ascribed by experts to the fourteenth century, and in which the legend
of St. Augustine and the tails--no longer those of ray-fish,
however--supplies materials for a quaint satire against the inhabitants
of Rochester. It begins with a mock-serious discussion as to the species
of animals to which they belong. That they are not men is quite clear,
for they have tails, and Aristotle has conclusively established that men
have no tails. And yet those strange animals have something human about
them, too--they reason and have laws. For all that, however, there
remains the stern fact that they bear tails, and this quite precludes
the possibility of classing them as perfect human beings. In the course
of the satire reference is naturally made to the outrage of which St.
Augustine was the victim. After giving an account of the saint's mission
to England, the anonymous author continues: "As he went about from city
to city, preaching, it happened that he preached in the city which is
called Rochester. But, whilst he was preaching, the inhabitants of the
city flocked together about him, and, deeming his words to be lies,
subjected him to many insults. After reviling him with opprobrious
words, they fastened tails of swine and of cows to the skirt of his
garments, spat into his face, and drove him out of the city."[350] The
saint prayed that they who had insulted him might be punished, to the
end that the divinity of his mission should be brought home to them. At
the conclusion of his prayer, he wept bitterly, but was comforted by
receiving the assurance that his petition would be granted. And so, God,
wishing to avenge the insult done to Him and to his servant, ordained
that all who, from that time, might be born in the city of Rochester,
should have tails, after the fashion of swine. And nothing could be done
to prevent their having tails. From that day to this, the natives of
Rochester have been tailed, and they shall remain tailed for ever. It is
consequently evident that they are not human beings. Amongst the
inconveniences resulting from this peculiarity of theirs, is that of not
being able to sit down when they are angry; for, at such a time, their
tails stand erect, as is the case with other animals.[351]

During the fourteenth century, too, the myth, in its restricted and
local form, makes its appearance in Continental literature, other than
that of France. It is referred to by Fazio degli Uberti, an Italian poet
who lived between 1326 and 1360, and whom D. G. Rossetti deals with and
translates in his work _Italian Poets chiefly before Dante_. In a
description of England which Fazio gives in the _Ditta Mondo_, he says:

    "Now this I saw not; but so strange a thing
    It was to hear, and by all men confirmed,
    That it is fit to note it as I heard,
    To wit, there is a certain islet here
    Among the rest where folk are born with tails,--
    Short as are found in stags and suchlike beasts".[352]

Fazio is probably Boccaccio's authority for the statement, unaccompanied
with any further details, however, that "certain Englishmen were born
with tails".[353]

The chronicle which is commonly known as Alexander of Essebye's, and
which exists in manuscript only, has been quoted as briefly stating that
"when fish tails were despitefully thrown at him by certaine men of
Dorsetshire", St. Augustine "was so furiously vexed therewith that he
called upon God for revenge and He forthwith heard him and strake them
with tails for their punishment". Greater interest attaches to the story
as told in the English version of the _Golden Legende_. Though not less
credulous than were his predecessors as to the punishment inflicted on
the impious people who insulted the saint, the writer who interpolated
the narrative--for it does not appear in the Latin original--prepares
the way of the sceptic by limiting the duration of the penalty, and by
testifying with an earnestness suggestive of personal knowledge to the
immunity of some, at least, of those who were believed to be stricken
for the transgression of their forefathers:

"After this Saynt Austyn entryd into Dorsetshyre and came into a towne
whereas were wycked peple and refused his doctryne and prechyng utterly,
and droof him out of the towne, castyng on him the tayles of thornback
or like fisshes, wherefor he besought Almyghty God to shewe his jugement
on them, and God sente to them a shameful token, for the children that
were borne after in that place had tayles, as it is said, tyl they had
repented them. It is sayd comynly that thys fyl at Strode in Kente; but,
blessyd be God, at this day is no such deformyte."[354]

By the middle of the fifteenth century, the legend of the tails had
undergone important modifications. The original account of the outrage
and of its punishment was still current; but, by the side of it, there
existed several versions which affected not merely the circumstances of
time and place, but also the individuality of the persons concerned in
the incident. We are indebted to Walter Bower, who expanded and
continued Fordun's _Scotichronicon_, for an interesting passage in which
the old story and its subsequent variants are presented together. The
Scottish chronicler, taking Wace's narrative as his starting-point,
relates that when St. Augustine was preaching the word of life to the
heathen, amongst the West Saxons, in the county of Dorset, he came to a
certain town where no one would receive him or listen to his preaching.
They opposed him rebelliously in everything, contradicted all he said,
did their utmost to distort his actions, on which they put sinister
interpretations, and, impious to relate, carried their audacity so far
as to sew and hang fish tails to his garments. But what they intended as
an insult to the holy father brought eternal disgrace on themselves and
on their posterity, and opprobrium on their unoffending country. He
smote them in the hinder parts and cast lasting shame upon them by
causing similar tails to grow both on their own persons and on those of
their offspring. And here the Abbot of Inchcolm becomes particularly
interesting by reason of the wholly new information which he imparts. He
states that there was a special name for the punitive tail. "Such a
tail," he says, "is called Mughel by the natives, in the language of
their country; and because of this, the place where St. Augustine was
thus insulted received the name of Muglington, that is, the town of the
Muglings, and still bears it at the present day." It is to be regretted
that the topographical indication is not more definite. The modern map
of England knows no Muglington. Wherever it may have been, it would seem
that it did not stand alone as a monument of St. Augustine's power and
spite. According to Bower, it is also related that a similar indignity
was done to him in the province of Mercia, by the inhabitants of a town
called Thamewyth. But they were not allowed to go unpunished either;
for, "as is known to all", they were put to shame by the infliction of
the like opprobrious punishment.

It is from its concluding part, however, that Bower's account derives
its chief importance and its value as a contribution to the history of
the development of the myth. "Something similar," he says, "happened at
a later period, during the exile of St. Thomas, Primate of England, when
the people of Rochester, intending it as an insult to him, docked his
horse's tail. But their iniquitous action was foiled of its purpose and
recoiled on themselves; for it was found that thenceforth all the
children born in that place were tailed."[355] From this we first learn
that a new character had by this time assumed a part in the story.
Hitherto, the responsibility for having endowed Englishmen with tails
had rested with St. Augustine alone. And his monopoly of the doubtful
honour had endured through four centuries. Henceforth, though he was not
to disappear altogether, he was to have a rival.

In the case of Becket, as in that of his predecessor, there was a basis
of historical fact on which to build up a legend.

The chroniclers Ralph de Diceto, Roger de Hoveden, and both William and
Gervase of Canterbury,[356] who record the murder of Becket, and whose
proximity, in point of time, to the events that took place on those
memorable December days of the year 1170, gives them indisputable
authority, all agree in narrating, with such slight variations in
matters of detail as serve to show that they did not merely repeat each
other, an incident which happened to the Archbishop shortly before his
death. They state that Robert Broc, a groom of the royal bedchamber,
who, together with Nigel de Sacheville, incumbent of Harrow, was
solemnly excommunicated by the Primate, on Christmas day, had cut off
the tail of Becket's horse, as an insult to its owner. According to the
two brother-monks, the Archbishop made direct reference to this
indignity in his interview with the four conspirators, Reginald
Fitzurse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton.
"The tail of a mare in my service," he said, "has been shamefully cut
off, as if I could be disgraced by the docking of a brute beast."[357]
It was not, however, for this cowardly and contemptible act of spite
that Broc was excommunicated, but because, being a layman, he had
appropriated ecclesiastical revenues. And, though William of Canterbury
records that the very dogs refused to be fed by the hand of the man whom
the Prelate had banned, neither he nor any of the other chroniclers
refers to the infliction of tails on him or his posterity. It was only
at a later date, and when Broc had been lost sight of, as the
perpetrator of the outrage, that the miraculous punishment was thought

Although there is the evidence of Bower to show that, in his day,
Becket's name had already begun to be connected with the legend of the
tails, Augustine still continues to hold his own through the whole of
the first half of the sixteenth century. It is he who figures as the
hero, or the victim, in the account given by John Major, an account
which is noteworthy by reason of the very cautious spirit in which it is
written. It may be said to mark the beginning of a transition from
unquestioning credulity to uncompromising scepticism. It also seems to
imply that, so far as the author's reading of the chroniclers extended,
he found the English, if not yet ready to deny the supernatural
punishment of the insult offered to the saint, at least convinced that
it had not been perpetuated through the ages. The chapter in which Major
recapitulates the old story, is mainly devoted to the outward form and
appearance of the English, and contains a great deal about "skiey
influence". Thus, it comes of "skiey influence" that close by the Arctic
pole people are of foul aspect. And, if in some parts of Africa men are
born with the head of a dog, "this, too, is a matter of skiey influence
and carries with it no other influence". After this preamble the author
proceeds to relate the conversion of Kent--how Augustine laboured so
strenuously that, in a short space of time, he brought to the faith the
king himself and almost the whole people; how, passing on to Rochester,
he began there, too, to preach the word of God; and how the common
people derided him, and threw fish tails at the holy man. "Wherefore
Augustine made his prayer to God that, for punishment of this sin, their
infants should be born with tails, to the end they might be warned not
to contemn the teachers of divine things. And, for this reason, as the
English chroniclers relate, the infants were born with tails; but for a
time only, and to the end that an unbelieving race might give credence
to their teacher, was this punishment inflicted." The Scots and the
Gauls, it is true, "assert the opposite". But, Major "cannot agree with
them". And, further, the phenomenon having been only temporary, he gives
it as his opinion that it had "very little to do with the skiey

Nicole Gilles whose "very elegant and copious annals of Gaul" were
published in 1531, being a French chronicler, is one of those who
believe that the divine anger has not ceased to manifest itself, and
that the descendants of the men of Dorchester, who mocked and derided
St. Augustine, still have "tails behind, like brute beasts, and are
therefore called tailed Englishmen". It is worthy of notice that, owing,
doubtless, to the misreading of some Latin text and to the intelligible
confusion of _raia_ or _raria_, both of which are used to translate
"rayfish", with the more familiar _rana_, Gilles makes the impious
Dorchestrians hang frogs--"des _raynes_ ou grenouilles"--to St.
Augustine's garments.[359]

Bellenden, who belonged to the next generation, took the liberty of
introducing the Augustinian myth into his Scottish prose rendering of
Hector Boece, although there was nothing in the Latin original to
justify him in doing so.

"Quhen this haly man, Sanct Austine, wes precheand to the Saxonis in
Miglintoun," he says, "thay wer nocht onlie rebelland to his precheing,
but in his contemptioun thay sewit fische talis on his abilyements.
Otheris alliegis thay dang him with skait rumpillis. Nochtheless, this
derisioun succedit to thair gret displesoure: for God tuke on thaim sic
vengeance, that thay and thair posteritie had lang talis mony yeris
eftir. In memorie heirof, the barnis that are yit borne in Miglintoun
hes the samin deformite, but the wemen havand experience thairof fleis
out of this toun in the time of thair birth and eschapis this
malediction be that way."[360]

Bower and the prose _Brut_ are obviously the authorities for Bellenden's
statements, and it is not without interest to note that whilst drawing
from the latter his knowledge of the subterfuge by means of which
cunning mothers might secure for their children immunity from the
consequences of the saint's vindictiveness, it is from his Scottish
predecessor that he takes the name of the town which witnessed the
affront, and in which the punishment was perpetuated. And the question
arises whether the chronicler's apparently deliberate choice of
Miglinton is to be taken as evidence that a place bearing that name, or
rather nickname, really existed.

Though Dunbar's brief reference to the insult offered to St. Augustine
proves nothing beyond his acquaintance with the legend, it may be
quoted, for the sake of completeness. It occurs in the _Flyting with
Kennedy_, at whom his adversary flings the jeer,

        "he that dang Sanct Augustine with an rumple
    Thy fowll front had".[361]

The Frenchman Génébrard is the last of those who, as long as the story
continued to be accepted or, at least, not openly scouted, connected it
with Augustine. He confines himself to recording the outrage, and to
stating, with due caution, that, because of it, the people of Dorchester
"are said to have had tails like beasts". His own belief in the prodigy
does not appear to have been very firm.[362]

Of those who, after Bower, present St. Thomas as the central figure in
the incident, the first in date is a foreigner, Wilwolt of Schaumburg.
This German gentleman errant visited England about the end of the
fifteenth century, and an account of his travels was published in 1507.
He appears to have been greatly impressed by the story of St. Thomas of
Candlwerg, as he calls him, and relates how "he left behind him a
wonderful token which will perhaps endure to the day of judgment". On
one occasion, he says, riding like a pious and upright man, on his
little ass, the holy man came to a certain village where he stopped to
take some food. Here the country folk made fun of his lowly mount, and
cut off the poor ass's tail. Thereupon, the dear saint complained to
Almighty God, and prayed to such purpose that, even to this very day,
all the boys that are born in that village bring with them into the
world little tails rooted to their hinder parts. From this circumstance
has arisen the byword which so greatly annoys the English: "Englishman,
show your tail!" And continues Wilwolt, "I should like to see the
foolhardy man who dared to call out, 'English tailard' in that same
village. He would have to take himself off very quickly if he did not
wish to be beaten to death." The German traveller also learnt how, at
the right moment, women could avert from the expected child the grievous
consequences of its forefathers' fault. They only had to cross the water
and go into the next village.[363]

Another and better known foreigner, no less a personage, indeed, than
Polydore Vergil, continues, at the same time that he considerably
restricts, the legend of the tails. As narrated by him in the _Anglica
Historia_, published in 1534, Becket's misadventure appears to have been
one of the minor incidents in the quarrel between him and the king. It
had become known that Henry had been moved to exclaim, "Wretched me! Can
I not have peace in my own kingdom because of one priest? Is there none
of all my subjects who will rid me of that annoyance?" And there were
not wanting evil men who understood this to mean that, in his heart, he
desired the death of the Archbishop who, in consequence, began to be
generally neglected, despised, and hated. Such was the position of
affairs when Thomas one day came to Stroud, on the Medway, near
Rochester. There, the inhabitants, anxious to inflict some insult on the
good father, now that he was in disgrace, did not hesitate to cut off
the tail of the horse on which he was riding. By this act, however, it
was on themselves that they brought lasting shame. For, by the judgment
of God, it happened that the descendants of the men who had perpetrated
this outrage were born with tails, like brute beasts. But if the
learned Italian was superstitious enough to believe in the miraculous
punishment of an offence which, at its worst, involved far less moral
guilt than was incurred by the murderers of Becket, against whom no
divine retribution was recorded, he was too intelligent not to see the
absurdity of making it perpetual, and of inflicting it on the community
at large, as earlier chroniclers had done. He admitted that the mark of
infamy had not survived the family of the immediate offenders.[364]

The next and last writer of what may be called the period of credulity,
though that credulity had begun to wane long before it reached its
vanishing phase in him, was Guillaume Paradin, of Cuiseaux. He confesses
to a suspicion that what tradition has handed down concerning the tails
of Englishmen is mere nonsense, and apologizes for reproducing it, on
the score that English chroniclers themselves report it quite seriously.
The Becket legend which he thus introduces affords him an opportunity
of adapting to the English the words of the Royal prophet, "He smote
them in the hinder parts and put them to a perpetual shame"; and of
perpetrating, at their expense, some doggerel lines of which he has the
good sense not to acknowledge the authorship:--

    Of old, some Britons docked the tail
      Of Becket's nag, they say,
    And that is why all Englishmen
      Have short tails to this day.[365]

By the middle of the sixteenth century, saints had ceased to command the
same popular reverence as before, and their alleged miracles were put by
many on the same level as the myths of antiquity. There is,
consequently, from that date onwards an absolute change in the tone and
temper of those who allude to the legend of the tails. Most of them,
indeed, do so for the sole purpose of denying the miracle and of
sneering at those who superstitiously gave it credence. The first and
not least indignant of the denunciators is John Bale, Bishop of Ossory.
After indicating the discrepancy between John Capgrave and Alexander of
Esseby--that is, Ashby--who record that, "for castynge of fyshe tayles
at thys Augustine, Dorsett shyre men had tayles ever after", and
Polydore Vergil, who "applyeth it unto Kentysh men at Stroude, by
Rochester, for cuttynge of Thomas Beckett's horse's tayle", the author
of the _Actes of Englysh Votaryes_ says: "Thus hath England, in all
other landes, a perpetual dyffamy of tayles by their wrytten legendes of
lyes, yet can they not wele tell where to bestowe them trulye".[366] In
another passage he inveighs still more bitterly against "the Spiritual
Sodomytes" who "in the legends of their sanctyfied sorcerers", have
"dyffamed the Englyshe posteryte with tayles", and to whom it is due
"that an Englishman now cannot travayle in any other lande by way of
merchandyce or anye other honest occupyenge, but yt ys most
contumelyousslye throwne in his teeth, that all Englishmen have tayles".
And concludes the Bishop in his wrath, "that uncomlye note and report
have the nacyon gotten without recover, by these laysye and idell
lubbers, the munkes and the prestes, whiche coulde fynde no matters to
advance their canonysed Cayns by, or their Sayntes (as they call them)
but manyfest lyes and knaveryes".[367]

Bale's _Actes_ appeared in 1546. Seventy years later, William Lambarde
published a _Perambulation of Kent_. Coming to Stroud, in this
topographical and historical account of his native county, he eagerly
avails himself of the opportunity offered him to record his protest
against the attribution of tails, not only to the natives of that
locality, but to the Kentish men generally, and that--unkindest cut of
all--by their own fellow countrymen. He is evidently acquainted with
several versions of the story; but whilst denouncing the authors of all
of them, he is particularly incensed against Polydore, whom he quite
unjustly accuses of "lashing out further" than his authorities, and of
endeavouring "to outly the lowdest Legendaries". It is bad enough that
"the whole English nation should be earnestly flowted" with the
"dishonourable note" of having tails; but what Lambarde obviously finds
it more difficult to bear, and makes Polydore responsible for, is that
"Kentish men be heere at home merily mocked". In his most entertaining
contribution to the history of the legend, the Kentish apologist says:

"A name, or family of men, sometime inhabiting Stroude (saith Polydore)
had tailes clapped to their breeches by Thomas Becket, for revenge and
punishment of a dispite done to him, in cutting of the taile of his
horse. The author of the new Legend saith, that after St. Thomas had
excommunicated two Brothers (called Brockes) for the same cause, that
the Dogges under the table would not once take bread at their hands.
Such (belike) was the vertue of his curse, that it gave to brute beasts,
a discretion and knowledge of the persons, that were in danger of it.
Boetius (the Scotishe chronicler) writeth, that the lyke plague lighted
upon the men of Midleton in Dorsetshire: who because they threwe Fish
tailes in great contempt at Saint Augustine, were bothe themselves and
their posteritie, stricken with tailis, to their perpetual infamy and
punishment. All whiche their reportes (no doubt) be as true, as Ovides
Historie of Diana, that in great angre bestowed on Actæon a Deares head
with mighty anthlers.

"Much are the Western men bound (as you see) to Polydore, who taking the
miracle from Augustine, applieth it to S. Thomas, and removing the
infamous revenge from Dorsetshire, laieth it upon our men of Kent. But
little is Kent, or the whole English nation beholding, either to him, or
his fellowes, who (amongst them) have brought upon us this ignominie and
note with other nations abrode, that many of them believe as verity,
that we have long tailes and be monsters by nature, as other men have
their due partes and members in usual number. Polydore (the wisest of
the companye) fearing that issue might be taken upon the matter,
ascribeth it to one speciall stocke and family, which he nameth not, and
yet (to leave it the more uncertain) he saith, that, that family is
worne out long since, and sheweth not when; he goeth about in great
earnest (as in sundrie other things) to make the world beleave he cannot
tell what: he had forgotten the Lawe whereunto an Hystorian is bound,
'Ne quid falsi audeat, ne quid veri non audeat'. That he should be bold
as to tell the trueth, and yet not so bolde as to tell a lye."

To his credit, however, Lambarde does Polydore the justice of admitting
that his history, "without all doubt", is "a worthy work", in places not
blemished with such follies. But, seeing that he does insert them often
and without discretion, he must be read with great suspicion and
wariness. "For, as he was by office Collector of the Peter pence to the
Popes gaine and lucre, so sheweth he himselfe throughout by profession,
a coveteous gatherer of lying fables, fained to advance the Popish
religion, kingdome and myter."[368]

In the seventeenth century, the story of the tails, which, by that time,
however, had ceased to be attributed to Englishmen at large and were
humorously regarded as distinctive of Kentish men alone, was
incidentally referred to by several poets. It supplied Sir John Mennis,
the author of _Musarum Deliceæ_, with a coarse joke. Andrew Marvel, in
his _Loyal Scot_, cites it in illustration of the danger incurred by
provoking the anger of a prelate:--

    "There's no 'Deliver us' from a Bishop's wrath:
    Never shall Calvin pardoned be for sales,
    Never, for Burnet's sake, the Lauderdales;
    For Becket's sake, Kent always shall have tails."[369]

In Drayton's _Polyolbion_, the "Blazons of the Shires", as set forth by
Helidon, open with the lines:

    "Kent first in our account, doth to itself apply
    (Quoth he) this Blazon first, 'Long tails and Liberty!'"[370]

Butler, in his _Hudibras_, has a couplet which declares that:

          tails by nature sure were meant
    As well as beards, for ornament.

According to an annotator, "Mr. Butler here alludes to Dr. Bulwer's
_Artificial Changeling_", where, besides the story of the Kentish men,
near Rochester, who had tails clapped to their breeches by Thomas à
Becket, he gives an account, on the authority of "an honest young man of
Captain Morris's company in Lieutenant-General Ireton's company", of how
"at Cashell in the County of Tipperary, in the province of Munster, in
Carrick Patrick church, seated on a hill or rock, stormed by the Lord
Inchequine, and where were neare 700 put to the sword and none saved but
the Mayor's wife and his son, there were found among the slain of the
Irish, when they were stript, divers with tailes near a quarter of a
yard long. The relator being very diffident of the truth of this story,
after enquiry was ensured of the certainty thereof by forty souldiers,
that testified upon their oaths that they were eyewitnesses, being
present at the action." With such testimony in support of his assertion
that "the rump bone among brutish and strong-docht nations doth often
spread out with such an excrescence or beastly emanation", Dr. Bulwer
is not disinclined to believe in the possession of tails by the
inhabitants of Stroud.

In the _Church History of Britain_ by Dr. Bulwer's contemporary, Thomas
Fuller, modern scepticism again asserts itself. Quoting from Hierome
Porter, in the _Flowers of the Lives of the Saints_, to the effect that
when the villagers in Dorsetshire beat Augustine and his fellows, and in
mockery fastened fish tails at their backs, in punishment hereof, "all
that generation had that given them by nature, which so contemptibly
they fastened on the backs of these holy men", Fuller adduces this to
show that "most of the miracles assigned unto Augustine, intended with
their strangeness to raise and heighten, with their levity and absurdity
do depress and offend, true devotion". In equal contempt of those who
relate such a story as that of the Dorsetshire folk and of those who
accept it, the author exclaims, "Fie for shame! He needs an hard plate
on his face that reports it, and a soft place in his head that believes

In his _Worthies of England_, the same writer discusses at some length
the origin of the nickname applied to the Kentish men. "Let me premise,"
he says, "that those are much mistaken, who first found the proverb on a
miracle of Austin the Monk, for the scene of this lying wonder was not
laied in any part of Kent, but pretended many miles off, nigh Cerne in
Dorsetshire." His own opinion is that the saying is "first of
outlandish extraction and cast by Forrainers as a note of disgrace on
all the English, though it chanceth to stick only on the Kentish men at
this day". In support of this view, Fuller relates the incident of the
quarrel "betwixt Robert, Brother of Saint Louis, King of France and our
William Longspee, Earle of Salisbury". Continuing his disquisition he

"Some will have the English so-called from wearing a pouch or poake (a
bag to carry their baggage in) behind their backs, whilst probably the
proud Monsieurs had their lacquies for that purpose; in proof whereof,
they produce ancient Pictures of the English Drapery and Armory, wherein
such conveyances doe appear. If so, it was neither sin nor shame for the
common sorte of people to carry their own necessaries; and it matters
not much whether the pocket be made on either side, or wholly behind. If
any demand how this nickname (cut off from the rest of England)
continues still entailed on Kent. The best conjecture is, because that
County lieth nearest to France, and the French are beheld as the first
founders of this aspersion. But if any will have the Kentish men
so-called from drawing and dragging boughs of trees behind them, which
afterwards they advanced above their heads, and so partly cozened,
partly threatened, King William the Conqueror to continue their ancient
customes; I say, if any will impute it to this original, I will not

The incident upon which Fuller bases the explanation which he considers
most plausible, without, however, expressing himself dogmatically with
regard to it, is related by the chronicler Willam Thorne, and also forms
the subject of an old ballad quoted by Thierry. So modern an historian
as Lappenberg thinks that "perhaps the tradition is not unfounded, that
the Kentish army, advancing under the covering of branches from the
trees, might have appeared to the enemy as a wood, until, standing in
face of them and casting down their leafy screen, they at once appeared
threatening with sword and spear". Freeman rejects the story altogether.
But even its truth, which Fuller may be excused for accepting, would
hardly support his theory. The only credit which it deserves is perhaps
the negative one of being a little less fanciful than that put forward
by Fynes Moryson, who states that "the Kentish men of old were said to
have tayles, because trafficking in the Low Countries, they never paid
full payments of what they did owe, but still left some part

The author of the early sixteenth-century _Mad Pranks and Merry Jests of
Robin Goodfellow_, contributes no less than three other explanations, of
which one bears considerable resemblance to that favoured by Fuller.
After relating how he dropped into an alehouse, whilst travelling in
"that noble county of Kent", he continues:--

"The ale being good, and I in good company, I lapt in so much of this
nappy liquor, that it begot in mee a boldnesse to talk and desire of
them to know what was the reason that the people of that country were
called Long-tayles. The hoast said, all the reason that ever he could
heare was, because the people of that country did use to goe in
side-skirted coates. There is (sayd an old man that sat by) another
reason that I have heard: that is this. In the time of the Saxons'
conquest of England there were divers of our countrymen slaine by
treachery, which made those that survived more carefull in dealing with
their enemies, as you shall heare. After many overthrowes that our
countrymen had received by the Saxons, they dispersed themselves into
divers companies into the woods, and so did much damage by their
suddaine assaults to the Saxons, that Hengist, their king, hearing the
damage that they did (and not knowing how to subdue them by force) used
this policy. Hee sent to a company of them and gave them his word for
their liberty and safe returne, if they would come unarmed and speake
with him. This they seemed to grant unto, but for their more security
(knowing how little hee esteemed oaths or promises) they went every one
of them armed with a shorte sword, hanging just behind under their
garments, so that the Saxons thought not of any weapons they had: but it
proved otherwise, for when Hengist his men (that were placed to cut them
off) fell all upon them, they found such unlooked a resistance that most
of the Saxons were slain, and they that escaped, wond'ring how they
could do that hurt, having no weapons (as they saw), reported that they
strucke downe men like lyons with their tayles; and so they, ever after,
were called Kentish Long-tayles. I told them this was strange, if true,
and that their countries honor bound them more to believe in this, than
it did me. Truly, Sir, said my hoastesse, I thinke we are called
Long-tayles, by reason our tales are long, that we use to passe the time
withall, and make ourselves merry."

Du Cange considered the problem more seriously, without, however, being
able to find a satisfactory solution. He suggests that the epithet
"tailed" may have been applied to Englishmen because of the excess to
which they carried the fashion of wearing toes of extravagant length to
their shoes, but admits that the explanation does not greatly appeal to
him. With still more diffidence he hints at the possibility of
considering the Latin "caudatus" as equivalent to either "foppish" or
"cowardly". But whilst none of the cited instances of its use justifies
the former of these interpretations, there are only a very few of them
that can be strained into imparting even slight plausibility to the
latter. Neither does there appear to be anything to support Professor
Wattenbach's suggestion that Englishmen may have been called "tailed"
because of the way in which they wore their hair. Finally, a work
entitled _England under the Normans_ has a chapter on the measurement of
land, in which the author states that "there was a mile peculiar to
Kent, as well as a customary field admeasurement", and that "these
'long tales' are possibly the 'long tails' of which the county used to
be so proud". The history of the medieval myth does not lead to the
belief that either Englishmen generally, or, as here stated, Kentishmen
in particular, ever looked upon the nickname otherwise than as an

The attempts that have been made to fix upon some actual fact as
originating the attribution of tails to Englishmen seem as uncalled for
as most of them are fanciful and absurd.[374] They are all based on the
hypothesis that the epithet "caudatus", "coué", and "tailard" was first
applied for some reason other than the belief in the existence of a
tail, and that only subsequently, if, indeed, ever, was it taken
literally. But our investigation has proved that there is nothing to
warrant this assumption. It has been shown that, on the contrary, the
actual monstrosity was accepted as a fact from the outset. Nor does it
seem impossible to explain how this came about. Given the insult offered
to St. Augustine, about which there is no room for scepticism, it only
requires a knowledge of the medieval spirit to account for the sequel.
Impressed by the sanctity of the apostle of England and by the
greatness, or, indeed, the divinity of his mission, the early biographer
looked upon it as inevitable that the sacrilege of those who dishonoured
him should draw down upon them the wrath of Heaven. Was not the
disrespect of the children who called the Prophet "bald head" visited
upon them? The conviction that this should be the case easily led to the
assumption that it was. And a very slight effort of imagination sufficed
to devise a punishment suited to the offence. It was suggested by the
very nature of the impious deed. And what, to the chronicler, seemed the
application of an obvious principle--that the transgression should fall
back upon the transgressor--was accepted by the credulity of the age.
Then there was the animosity of other nations, of France in particular,
and of Scotland, her ally. If, at home, the manifestation of divine
anger and of saintly power was thought to be limited to the kith and kin
of the offenders, such nicety of distinction was ignored abroad. It
suited the enemies of England that all Englishmen should be "tailards",
and "tailards" they were universally and indiscriminately called.


[291] Sir James Melville's _Memoirs_, pp. 171-2.

[292] Communicated by Professor Wattenbach, of Berlin, to the _Anzeiger
für Kunde der Deutschen Vorzeit_, 1874.


Anglicus a tergo caudam gerit: est pecus ergo;
Cum tibi dicit "Ave", sicut ab hoste cave.

[294] La diversité des contrées excitait entre eux des dissensions, des
haines et des animosités virulentes, et ils se faisaient impudemment les
uns aux autres toutes sortes d'affronts et d'insultes. Ils affirmaient
que les Anglais étaient buveurs et coués.--_Jacques de Vitry_,
Traduction Guizot, p. 292.

[295] Mirum est quomodo non erubescunt fieri similes jumentis
insipientibus, ut videantur animalia caudata; nec sufficit eis honor
creacionis, quod est quod inter cetera animalia eas Deus fecit sine
cauda. In hoc caudatae contumeliam Deo faciunt, cujus opus imperfectum
et insufficiens, quantum in ipsis est ostendunt, dum creacioni suae
caudas addunt. Item, mirum est quod non erubescunt esse caudatae, cum
Anglici erubescunt caudati vocari.--_Tractatus de Diversis Materiis
praedicalibus_, Société de l'Histoire de France, vol. 60, p. 234.

[296] Tota injuriarum de rege Anglorum et caudatis suis ultio quaeritur;
Graeculi enim et Siculi omnes hunc regem sequentes Anglos et caudatos
nominabant.--_Richard of Devizes_, English History Society, p. 20.

[297] _Richard Coer de Leon_, Weber's Metrical Romances, vol. ii, 31.

[298] P. 83.

[299] _Ibid._


. . . la Grifonaille
De la vile et la garçonaille,
Gent estraite de Sarazins,
Ramponouent noz pelerins;
Lor deiz es oilz nos aportouent
E chiens pudneis nus apelouent
E chascon jor nos laidissouent
E nos pelerins mordrissouent
E les jetouent es privees
Dont les oevres furent provees.
   --Monument. Germ., vol. xxvii, p. 535.

[301] P. 95.


Rex in Rupella regnat, et amodo bella Non timet Anglorum, quia caudas
fregit eorum.


Ad nostras caudas Francos, ductos ut alaudas Perstrinxit restis,
superest Lincolnia testis.

[304] Fertur etiam comes Atrabatensis super his dixisse cum
cachinno, "Nunc bene mundatur magnificorum exercitus Francorum
a caudatis".--Matthew Paris, vol. v, 134.

[305] Comes Atrabatensis rapiens verbum ab ore ejus, more Gallico
reboans et indecenter jurans, audientibus multis, os in haec convitia
resolvit, dicens, "O timidorum caudatorum formidolositas, quam beatus,
quam mundus praesens foret exercitus, si a caudis purgaretur et
caudatis".--_Id._, vol. v, p. 151.

[306] Erimus, credo, hodie, ubi non audebis caudam equi

[307] According to another account, based on Joinville's narrative,
Artois "was slain in the town, and his surcoat with the royal French
lilies was exhibited to the Moslems as a proof that the King of the
Franks had fallen".--Oman, _The Art of War in the Middle Ages_, p. 346.

[308] The authorities for this incident are:--

(I) _Rishanger_, "Tunc accesserunt ad Philippum, Regem Franciae, quibus
grata fuit regni turbatio; et ejus bilem contra Anglicos commoverunt,
dicentes turpe fore sibi, gentique suae, ut a caudatis taliter
tractarentur", p. 130-1.

(II) _The Chronicle of Lanercost_, "Hoc anno orta est guerra in Neustria
inter Francos et Anglos, apud Depe, dum cives illius loci inhumane
Portuenses nostros caede et rapina afficiunt, occasione unius rudentis,
quinimmo elatione sui principis provocati, videlicet, Karoli fratris
Regis Franciae, qui odium conceperat gentis nostrae, eo quod non potuit
fratrem proprium regno supplantare, Regis Edwardi consilio fulcitum in
hoc parte. Nam, ut virus conceptum evidentius evomeret, multas
peregrinis et scholasticis irrogavit molestias, quosdam etiam pauperes
suspendio trucidavit, et canes vivos, eorum ut reputabat similes,
lateribus eorum appendit", p. 150.

(III) Henri Knighton, "Et cum (Normanni) die quadam sex naves anglicanas
obvias habuissent, easdem hostiliter aggressi, duas ex ipsis continuo
perimerunt, suspendentes homines in navibus ad trabes navium suarum, et
sic per mare navigantes, nullam faciebant differentiam inter canem et
Anglicum", vol. i, p. 336.


Hoc quatuor cullos Gallorum tempore pullos
Vincent caudati, pro caudis improperati.

[310] Wright, _Political Poems and Songs_ (Rolls Series), vol. i.


O gens Anglorum, morum flos gesta tuorum, Cur tu Francorum procuras
damna bonorum, Servorum Christi, quos tractas crimine tristi? Et servant
isti fidem quam bis renuisti; Sub specie casti fraudem tu semper amasti.
Scindas annosam caudam quam fers venenosam, Exaudi praesto tu praesul et
memor esto: Qui te caudavit Deus ipsum sanctificavit. --Wright, op. cit.
vol. ii, p. 127-8.


Le Roy Engloys se faisoyt appeler Le roy de France, par s'appellation; A
voulu hors du pays mener Les bons Françoys horz de leur natyon. Or est
il mort à Sainct Fiacre en Brye. Du pays de France ils sont tous
deboutez: Il n'est plus mot de ces Engloys couez. Mauldicte en soyt tres
toute la lignye. --Chanson xiv, Edit. L. Du Bois, p. 173.

[313] "Arrière, Englois coués, arrière." The poem was discovered by M.
Paul Meyer, and published in _Romania_, 1892, p. 51.

[314] (Les Anglais) s'en alèrent à Rouen par eaue et par terre. Et a
leur département, firent lesdiz Parisiens grand huée, en criant: "A la
Keuwe!"--Chap. 198: De l'an 1436.


Le noble roy me voulut bailler garde, Pour me garder que point ne fusse
prise, Que refusay, disant que n'avoye guarde, Et que j'avois guect et
arrière garde, Pour desrompre des couez l'entreprise. --Arch. du Nord de
la France, nouv. ser., i, 376.


Incontinant vous gaignerez la guerre Contre le roy coué, vostre
adversaire. --_Poés. fr. des XV^e et XVI^e Siècles_, vol. ii, p. 80.


Allez, infectz, gloutons, puans, punais,
Godons couez, que jamais ne vous voye. --_Ibid._, p. 82.


Car leur grandeur est droite orribleté Quant on les voit aler par le
chemin, Mais leur queue mettent comme un mastin Soubz leur jambes, que
rumeur leur commande. --_OEuvres complètes_ (Société des Anciens Textes),
    vol. v, p. 20.



(Les Anglais out une queue)

Certres plus fors sont les Anglès
Que les Françoiz communement.

Les Françoiz portent petit fès;
Certres plus fors sont les Anglès.

Car deux tonneaux portent adès
Et une queue proprement.

Certres plus fort sont les Anglès
Que les Françoiz communement. --_OEuvres_, vol. iv, p. 130.

[320] _OEuvres_, vol. v, p. 48.

[321] _OEuvres_, vol. v, p. 80.


Hé! cuidez vous que je me joue,
Et que je voulsisse aller
En Engleterre demourer?
Ils ont une longue coue.--Chanson xviii, p. 177.


Ce Cat nonne vient de Calais,
  Sa mère fut Cathau la Bleue;
C'est du lignage des Anglois,
  Car il porte très longue queue.

--Du Cange, sub voce _caudatus_.


Si acquerrez loz,
Rides, angelotz,
L'or, la chair, et l'os
Des Angloys couez.

[325] Je scay que je suis monstré au doigt par les rues depuis que je
chargeay si bien les Anglois couez qui descendoient et prenoient terre à

--Act II, sc. 6.


Les goîtres et les écrouelles,
Après que des Anglois quouez
Nos corbeaux furent engouez,
Ont été mis par rouelles.
    --_Rome Rid._, st. xcvi.

[327] La plupart des Anglais ont le bout de l'os sacrum, que l'on nomme
coccyx, qui leur avance, ce qui fait une espèce de queue.--Quoted by
Godefroy sub voce _coé_.


Sunt praedicti clerici nuncii caudati,
De terra perfidiae falsa procreati.--Lib. ix, cap. 32.

[329] Venit exercitus multus a rege Scotorum missus, mille quingenti
equitantium et XL millia peditum, per clivum montis descendens ex
opposito de Dunbar, praeparatus ad bellum per turmas suas. Quod cum
vidissent novi castrenses, et ex visione tali jam laeti effecti, mox
eorum vexilla in propugnasculis castri erexerunt, clamantes ad nostras
et eos probrose vocantes canes caudatos et talia quaeque, insuper
comminantes in mortem et caudarum abscisionem.

--Hemingburgh, II, 103.

[330] Cumque venissent in mora juxta Anandiam, ecce incolae ejusdem
provinciae adunati venientes improperabant eis, vocantes eos canes
caudatos, et prae paucitate eos contemnentes, eo quod pedestres sui
longe fuerant ab eis separati.

--_Id._, II, 146-7.

[331] (Scoti) quasi securi, non posuerunt de nocte vigiles, sed cum
jocunditate vinum bibentes, propter paucitatem partis adversae eam
parvipendio habuerunt, depromentes cantus et dicentes quod--
      Anglici caudati pro caudis vituperati.

De caudis eorum, ut dixerunt, funes sibi facerent ad seipsos Anglos in
crastino vinciendos.--Bower, II, 304-5. _The Book of Pluscarden_
represents the Scots as saying "quod Anglicos caudatos per eorum caudas
ad suspendium traherent".--Lib. ix. cxxvii.

[332] Bower, loc. cit.


Caude causantur, regnarunt, apocopantur,
Privantur caude, fas fandi, "Scotia plaude".
       --Wright, _Political Songs_, p. 375.

[334] Ross, _The Book of Scottish Poems_, vol. i, p. 173.


Anglicus a tergo caudam gerit; est pecus ergo.
Anglice caudate, cape caudam, ne cadat a te.
Ex causa caudae manet Anglica gens sine laude.

[336] Skelton, vol. iii, p. 186 _et seq._

[337] See above, p. 262.

[338] Illo tempore baronibus illuxerat dies sanctificatus, ibi quicunque
fugerat Anglicus est caudatus, plenus versutiis, fallax et instabilis et
exanimatus.--P. 223.

[339] See above, p. 266.

[340] Anglici enim, sicut ingratissimi homines, ... consuetam trahentes
caudam, et villam dictam spoliare cupientes et sibi resistentes
trucidare, eam in quatuor locis, quasi in quatuor angulis, incenderunt,
ut sic Gandenses nitentes ignem exstinguere, circa custodiam bonorum
suorum essent minus cauti.--P. 7.

[341] Prostrati sunt autem omnes Scotti et per undique sparsi ac
desolati, decollati, incarcerati, suspensi, distracti, destructi,
membratim separati, nisi ille solus fugitivus Robertus le Bruys, qui in
latibulis circumvagat, sicut latro vel vispilio. Rex vero de eo nihil
curans ipsum permittit errare ubicumque melius vitam suam possit
salvare, quia cauda sua penitus amputatur.--Vol. iii, p. 191.

[342] As Goscelin is the first writer in whom there occurs mention of
the insult offered to St. Augustine and of its punishment, and as it
consequently seems to be with him that the "tail" myth originated, both
his versions of the incident are here given:--"Hinc divertens dux verbi
Domini, successit tandem cuidam profanae villulae in Provincia quae
dicitur Dorseta; ubi daemoniaca plebicola Sanctos Dei omnibus opprobriis
ac ludibriis dedecoravere; adeo ut (quod etiam referri injuria est)
productas piscium caudas ingererent. Unde indignatus Spiritus Domini in
hujus auctores sceleris et in omnem progeniem illorum suum dedecus per
os Augustini vatis perpetualiter sententiavit; et pravis propriam
ignominiam, Sanctis vero perennem gloriam refudit" (_Anglia Sacra_, II,
p. 67).--"Cumque (Augustinus) provinciam quae Dorsete appellatur,
attigisset, et ubique ut Angelus Domini reciperetur, simulque auditorum
fide quos pasceret pasceretur, incidit in quamdam villam, velut in
tartaream Plutonis sedem. Ibi plebs impia, tenebris suis excaecata, et
divinam lucem exosa, non solum audire nequibat vivifica documenta, verum
tota ludibriorum et opprobriorum tempestate in Sanctos Dei debacchata,
longe proturbat eos ab omni possessione sua; nec manu pepercisse
creditur effraenis audacia. At Dei nuntius, juxta Dominicum praeceptum
et apostolorum exemplum, excusso etiam pulvere pedum in eos, dignam suis
meritis sententiam (non maledicentis voto, quia omnium salutem optabat;
sed divino judicio et Eliae typo) atrocibus injecit, quatenus Sanctorum
contemptores tam in ipsis quam in omnibus posteris suis, debita poena
redargueret, qui vitae mandata repulissent. Fama est, illos
effulminandos, prominentes marinorum piscium caudas Sanctis appendisse;
et illis quidem gloriam sempiternam peperisse, in se vero ignominiam
perennem retorsisse, ut hoc dedecus degeneranti generi, non innocenti et
generosae imputetur patriae" (Bollandists, _Acta Sanctorum_, vol. for
May, p. 375).

[343] "Aggrediuntur ergo virum et sotios furiatis mentibus incolae, et
magnis dehonestatum injuriis, ita ut etiam caudas racharum vestibus ejus
affigerent, impellunt, propellunt, expellunt. Patienter ille et modeste
gaudensque pro nomine Jhesu contumeliam tulit, et, ne magis miserorum
irritaret insaniam, excusso pedum in eos pulvere, longe quasi miliariis
tribus recessit."--_De Gestis Pontificum_, lib. ii, § 84.


Sains Augustins les sermona Et la loi Deu lor preeça. Cil furent de male
nature Que de lor sermon n'orent qure. La ou li sains lor sermonoit Et
la loi Deu lor anonçoit, A ses dras de tries lor pendoient Keues de
raies qu'il avoient; Od les keues l'on envoièrent Et bien longement le
cachièrent. Et il proia nostre signor Que d'icele grant deshonor Et de
cele grant avilance Ait en ax s'ire et demostrance. Et il si orent
voirement Et aront pardurablement, Car trestot cil qui l'escarnirent Et
qui les keues li pendirent Furent coë et coës orent, Ne onques puis
perdre ne's porent. Tot cil ont puis esté coé, Qui furent de tel
parenté; Keues ont de tries en la car, En ramanbrance de l'escar Qu'il
firent al Deu ami Qui des keues l'orent laidi. --Wace, _Brut_, ll. 14165
_et seq._, B. M. copy, vol. ii, p. 251.

[345] The obnoxious tail appears to have been passed on to Cornwall. In
his _Curious Myths of the Middle Ages_, Mr. Baring Gould states that, as
a child, he firmly believed, on the authority of his nurse, that all
Cornishmen were born with tails. It required the solemn assurance of a
native to convince him of the contrary.

[346] Lines 29,544 _et seq._

[347] Early English Text Society, Part I, p. 97.

[348] Lines 15,193-15,212.

[349] Printed by Wright in his _Reliquiae Antiquae_.

[350] "Cumque de civitate in civitatem praedicando transiret, contigit
ut in civitate quae Roucestria dicitur semel praedicaret. Ipso autem
praedicante, concives civitatis accesserunt, et verba ejus mendacia
reputantes, multa ei obprobria intulerunt. Post multorum vere
obprobriorum angustiam, caudas porcorum et vaccarum fimbreis
vestimentorum ejus alligantes, in faciemque ejus conspuentes, ipsum de
civitate ejicerunt."

[351] "Volens igitur Deus de obprobrio sibi servoque suo illato
vindictam assumere, instituit ut omnes qui ex tunc in civitate
Roucestriae nascerentur caudas ad modum porcorum haberent.... Non tamen
potuit auferri quin caudas haberent; ex tunc enim et adhuc et in
aeternum existent caudati.... Quod autem univoce homines non sunt, ex
quo caudas habent manifestum est.... Cum igitur caudas habent, contigit
ut cum irascuntur caudas erigunt, quapropter cum irascuntur sedere


I' nol vidi, ma tanto mi fu nova
  Cosa ad udir, e per tutti si avvera,
  Che di notar, come l'udii, mi giova,
Che fra le altre una isoletta v'era,
  Dove con coda la gente vi nasce
  Corta, qual l'ha un cervo o simil fera. --Lib. iv, cap. 23.

[353] Quoted by Godefroy, _Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française_,
from Boccace, Nobles malh., vi, 9, f. 153, ed. 1515.

[354] _The Lyf of Saynt Austyn_, Golden Legende, clxxxiiii, ed. 1483.

[355] "Cum apud occidentales Saxones, in pago Dorsetensi, beatus
Augustinus verbum vitae gentilibus praedicaret, venit in vicum quendam,
ubi eum nemo suscipere vel ejus praedicationem audire voluit. Sed cùm in
omnibus ei rebelles existerent, et cunctis quae ab eo dicebantur
contradicerent, et omnia sinistrâ interpretatione obnubilare conarentur,
quod dictu nefandum est, caudas piscium in ejus vestibus suere et
supendere non timuerunt. Sed quod ipsi in Sancti patris injuriam facere
crediderunt, sibi et suis posteris in dedecus sempiternum, et innocenti
patriae verterunt in opprobrium. Nam percussit eos in posteriora,
opprobrium sempiternum dans illis, ita ut in partibus pudendis, tam in
ipsis quàm eorum successoribus, similes caudae nascerentur. Vocatur
autem hujusmodi cauda ab indigenis patriâ linguâ Mughel; unde et villa,
in qua beato Augustino hujusmodi irrogata est injuria, nomen sortita est
Muglington, id est villa Muglingorum, usque in praesentem diem. Fertur
etiam quòd, eorum exemplo, in provincia Merciorum, in villa quae
Thamewyth dicitur, beato viro ab incolis loci simile dedecus factum
fuerit; sed non impune: quia tam ipsi quam eorum posteri, sicut omnibus
notum est, pari poena et opprobrio verecundati sunt. Simile postea
accidit tempore exilii beati Thomae primatis Angliae, quod ad ejus
opprobrium, ut aestimabant, sed mentita est iniquitas sibi, illi de
Rocestria deturpaverunt et absciderunt caudam caballi ejus; unde et
posteri eorum illic nati inventi sunt caudati."--_Joannis Forduni
Scotichronicon cum Supplementis et Continuatione Walteri Boweri_, lib.
ix, cap. 32; ed. Edin., 1747.

[356] Ralph de Diceto, i, 342; Roger de Hoveden, ii, 14; Gervase of
Canterbury, i, 225; William of Canterbury, _Materials for History of
Thomas Becket_, i, 130.

[357] Jumentum in nominis mei contemptum, tanquam in diminutione bestiae
dehonestari possim, cauda truncatum est.

[358] B. ii, c. ix.

[359] "En l'an cinq cens iiii^{xx}xix, Sainct Augustin fut par Saint
Grégoire, lors pape de Romme, envoyé en Angleterre pour prescher et
publier la foy de Jesu-christ, et à sa prédication se firent baptizer
Eldret, roy d'Angleterre, et sa gent. Et advint que ledit Sainct
Augustin alla pour prescher en ung territoire qu'on appelle Dorocestre,
auquel lieu les gens d'icelluy territoire, par mocquerie et dérision luy
attachèrent à ses habillemens des raynes ou grenouilles. Et depuis ce
temps, par pugnition divine, ceulx qui naissoient audit territoire out
des queues par derrière comme bestes brutes, et les appelle on Anglois
couez."--_Les très élégantes et copieuses Annales ... des Gaules_; ed.
1531, fol. 27.

[360] Bellenden's Boece, B. ix, c. 17.

[361] Dunbar's Poems, ii, p. 15.

[362] "Cum Augustinus juxta Dorocaestriam predicaret, gentes illius loci
caudas Rariarum vestibus illius appendebant. Hinc ipsi et eorum posteri
caudas sicut pecudes referuntur habuisse."--Ed. 1609, B. M. copy.

[363] "Nit unbillich wirt der selbig lib heilig (Sant Thomas von
Candlwerg) wert gehalten, zu dem das man in seiner heiligen legend,
lumpartica historia, wie eins reines säligen lebens er gewesen, hat er
auch ein merklich zaichen, das vielleicht bis an den jüngsten tag wert,
hinter im verlassen; den in seinem leben reit er auf ein zeit als ein
gerechter, frommer man, auf seinem eslein, auf ein dorf zu essen. In dem
spotteten die baurn seiner reuterei und schnitten seinem esl den schwanz
ab. Darumb beklagt sich der lib heilig, das noch auf den heutigen tag
alle die knaben, die in dem dorf geboren werden, schwenzlein, das sie
zegelein nennen, ob dem hindern an der wurzln an die welt bringen.
Daraus ist das sprichwort entsprungen, das die Englosen hoch vertreust:
Engelman, den sterz her! Und ich wolt den fraidigen gern sehen, der in
dem selben dorf 'Englsterz' schreien dörft. Er müst sich kurz austreen,
wolt er nit erschlagen werden. Wölicher frauen aber, der lust oder zeit
in irer geberung wirdet, das sie nit mer, dan über das wasser, in das
ander dorflein kumbt, gebürt ir kint an (ohne) schwanz."--_Die
Geschichten und Taten Wilwolts von Schaumburg_, in the Publications of
the Stuttgart Literary Society, vol. for 1859, p. 78.

[364] "Haec et talia eiusmodi ita regem Henricum moverunt, ut ira
vehementer accensus, aliquando exclamavit: 'Me miserum, non possum in
meo regno pacem cum uno sacerdoti habere? Nec quisquam meorum omnium
est, qui hac molestia liberare velit?' Ex huiusmodi vocibus, fuerunt
improbi nonnulli, quibus visa est occulta voluntas regis esse, ut Thomas
è medio tolleretur, qui propterca velut hostis regis habitus, jam tum
coepit sic vulgo negligi, contemni, ac odio haberi, ut cum venisset
aliquando Strodum, qui vicus situs est ad ripam Medueiae fluminis, quod
flumen Rocestriam alluit, eius loci incolae cupidi bonum patrem ita
despectum ignominia aliqua afficiendi, non dubitarint amputare caudam
equi, quem ille equitaret, seipsos perpetuo probro obligantes; nam
postea, nutu Dei, ita accidit, ut omnes ex eo hominum genere, qui id
facinus fecissent, nati sint instar brutorum animalium caudati. Sed ea
infamiae nota jampridem una cum gente illa eorum hominum, qui peccarint,
deleta est."--Ed. 1610, p. 214.

[365] "_Anglos quosdam caudatos esse._ Suspicabar quod de Anglorum
caudis traditur, nugatorium esse, nec hoc meminissem loco, nisi ipsi
Anglicarum rerum conditores id serio traderent: nasci videlicet homines,
instar brutorum animalium caudatos apud Strodum Angliae vicum, ad ripam
fluvii Medueiae, qui Roffensem, sive Rocestrensem agrum alluit.
Narrantque ejus vici incolas, jumento quod D. Thomas Canthuariensis
episcopus insideret, per ludibrium caudam amputasse, ob idque divina
ultione adnatas incolis ejus loci caudas, ut in hos fatidici regis
carmen torqueri possit: 'Percussit eos (inquit) in posteriora eorum,
opprobrium sempiternum dedit illis'. De hujusmodi caudis quidam in hunc
modum lusit:--

    Fertur equo Thomae caudam obtruncasse Britannos,
    Hinc Anglos caudas constat habere breveis."

     --_Angliae Descriptionis Compendium, per Gulielmum Paradinum
       Cuiselliensem_, 1545, p. 69.

[366] Ed. 1546, pp. 29-30.

[367] Pp. 76-77.

[368] Ed. 1576.

[369] P. 91.

[370] Song 23.

[371] _Church History_, p. 67.

[372] P. 63.

[373] _Itinerary_, vol. iii, p. 53.

[374] As bearing out this opinion, the following passage from Tylor's
_Primitive Culture_ may be quoted: "But these apparently silly myths
have often a real ethnological significance. When an ethnologist meets,
in any district, with the story of tailed men, he ought to look for a
despised tribe of aborigines, outcasts, or heretics, living near or
among a dominant population who look upon them as beasts, and furnish
them with tails accordingly.... The outcast race of Cagots, about the
Pyrenees, were said to be born with tails; and in Spain the medieval
superstition still survives, that the Jews have tails, like the devil,
as they say. In England the notion was turned to theological profit by
being claimed as a judgment on wretches who insulted St. Augustine and
St. Thomas of Canterbury."--Vol. i, pp. 346-7.


   Act for Staying of Unlawful Conventions within Burgh,
          first applied in Glasgow, 262.
   Adrian, St., Martyr of the May, 156-8.
   Ailsa Craig, invasion of, 225-35.
   Alexander II, imposes fines for abstention from military service, 268.
   Amlaiph and Imhar, lay siege to Strathclyde, 200.
   Archbishops of Glasgow, temporal superiors, 253.
   Army, the old Scottish, 267-89.
     -- earliest enactment for organization of, 267.
     -- statute fixing fines for remaining away from King's host, 268.
     -- Robert Bruce's statute concerning military service, 268-9.
     -- James I encourages archery, 269.
     -- his enactments concerning military equipment, 270-1.
     -- military training organized, 273.
     -- hand-guns introduced, 274-5.
     -- Act concerning, 276.
     -- army of Scotland to be unhorsed, 277-8.
     -- military drill organized, 278.
     -- arms and accoutrement at close of 16th century, 279-80.
     -- main object of Scottish army, 282.
     -- expenses of campaign, how defrayed, 283.
     -- transport service, 283-4.
     -- foreign service, 284-5.
     -- military service on the Border, 285.
     -- Commissariat, 286.
     -- military service under Charles I, 287.
     -- Act dealing with desertion, 289.
     -- Act establishing pensions, 289.
   Artois, Count Robert of, and English "tailards", 299-300.
   Augustine, St., and "Longtail" myth, 325-38, 341, 342, 343.

   Balfour, Andrew, proprietor of May Island, 178.
   Balfour, Sir Michael, obtains monopoly for supply of arms, 281-2.
   Barclay, Hugh, Laird of Ladylands, 225-31.
     -- abandons Presbyterianism, 225.
     -- excommunicated, 226.
     -- apprehended by Andrew Knox, 226-7.
     -- taken to Edinburgh, 227.
     -- no evidence against him, 228.
     -- transferred to Glasgow, 229.
     -- escapes to the Continent, 229.
     -- reported to be lurking in Glasgow, 229.
     -- banded with Papists, 230.
     -- his plot to capture Ailsa Craig, 230.
     -- lands on the Craig, 231-2.
     -- his death, 231.
   Beaueyr, William of, his gift to Monks of May, 163.
   Beaugué, Jean de, his description of May Island, 154.
   Becket, his connection with "Longtail" myth, 339, 348.
     -- insulted by Robert Broc, 340.
   Beton, Andrew, romance of his courtship of Mary Seton, 73-7.
   Beton, Mary, 61-8.
     -- parentage, 61.
     -- her portrait, 62.
     -- Thomas Randolph in love with her, 62-3.
     -- as Queen of the Bean, 63.
     -- Buchanan's verses in praise of her, 64-5.
     -- most scholarly of four Marys, 65.
     -- Mary Stuart's intended bequest of books to her, 65.
     -- married to Ogilvie, of Boyne, 66.
     -- marriage contract, 66-7.
     -- gifts to her from Queen, 67.
   Black, David, and James VI, 212.
   Boece, Hector, his description of May Island, 156.
   Borders, pacified by James VI, 213-14.
   Boyd, Robert, of Badinhaith, inhabits Castle on Little Cumbrae, 248.
     -- projects a harbour, 248.
     -- inhabitants of Little Cumbrae hostile to him, 249.
   Bruce, Robert, at Dumbarton Castle, 201-2.
     -- enactment of, concerning military service, 268-9.
     -- "testament" of, 277 _n._
   Buccleuch meets Salkeld on a day of truce, 238.
     -- protests against violation of truce, 239.
     -- gets his signet ring conveyed to Will Armstrong, 239.
     -- communicates with Armstrong's friends at a horse-race, 239.
     -- organizes and heads an attack on Carlisle Castle, 240-1.
     -- his action popular in Scotland, 241.
     -- Robert Bowes demands that he should be delivered
          over to England, 241.
     -- defends himself at Convention of Estates, 241.
     -- offers to submit his case to Commissioners, 242.
     -- commanded to ward by James VI, 245.
     -- surrenders into English custody, 246.
     -- presented to Elizabeth, 246.
   Buchan, Earl of, his donation to Monks of May, 163.
   Buchanan, reads Livy with Mary Stuart, 10.
     -- verses in praise of Mary's lettered Court, 31.
     -- his verses on the Four Marys, 31, 32, 33, 34.
     -- to Mary Fleming, 38.
     -- to Mary Beton, 64, 65.
     -- tutor to James VI, 211.
     -- his _De Jure Regni apud Scotos_, 211.

   Carlyle, "Jupiter", his account of destruction of
          Chapel of Loretto, 152.
   Carstairs and Covenanters imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle, 208.
   Christening of James VI, practical joke at, 290.
   Clifford, Lord Robert, devastates Annandale, 317.
   Colquhoun, stratagem of Laird of, to recover Dumbarton Castle, 202.
     -- origin of family motto, 202.
   Colville, Robert, exposes sham miracle at Loretto, 148-9.
   Commissariat of Scottish Army, 286.
   Crawfurd, Thomas, of Jordanhill, captures Dumbarton Castle, 205-7.
   Cumbrae, raid on the Smaller, 247-52.
     -- Castle built by the Boyds, 248.
     -- inhabited by Robert Boyd of Badinhaith, 248.
     -- looted by the Montgomerys, 249.
     -- inventory of articles in several rooms of Castle, 250-1.
     -- gifted by Mary Stuart to Mary Livingston, 55.
   Cunningham, proprietor of May Island, sets up first lighthouse, 178.

   David, King, founds monastery on May Island, 160.
     -- said to have granted monastery to monks of Reading, 160.
   Days of truce on the Border, 238.
   Desertion, Act dealing with, 289.
   Douchtie (Duthie) founds the Chapel of Laureit, 143.
     -- charter confirming grant of land to him, 143.
   Dryburgh, House of, and Monks of May, 167.
   Dues for upkeep of May light, 179-82.
   Dumbarton, rock of, 199-208.
     -- and Treaty of Union, 199.
     -- early fort on, 199-200.
     -- besieged by Norsemen, 200.
     -- and Edward I, 200-1.
     -- Wallace's sword kept in Castle, 201.
   Dumbarton recaptured with the help of Laird of Colquhoun, 202.
     -- held by the Parson of Kincardine, 203.
     -- held by Earl of Lennox, 204.
     -- besieged and taken by Royal forces, 204.
     -- besieged by Regent Murray, 205.
     -- captured by Thomas Crawfurd of Jordanhill, 205-7.
     -- captured for Covenanters by Provost Sempill, 207.
     -- used as a prison, 208.
   Dunbar, Castle taken by English, 316-7.
   Dundemore, Sir John de, and Monks of the May, 164.
   Dupplin, Battle of, 318.

   Edinburgh and St. Giles, 190-7.
   Eggou Ruffus, gives land to Monks of May Island, 163.
   Elizabeth, Queen, and Mary Stuart, 1, 6, 7, 20.
     -- writes to Morton concerning burial of Secretary Maitland, 46-7.
     -- replies to Queen of Scots concerning
          _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_, 101-2.
     -- writes to James VI demanding the delivery of Buccleuch, 241.
   Elphinstone, Sir George, nominated Provost of Glasgow by Lennox, 254.
     -- appeals to the King, 256.
     -- elected Provost by colleagues, 256.
     -- attacked by Stewarts of Minto, 260-2.
     -- warded in Glasgow Castle, 262.
     -- suit brought against him by Stewarts of Minto, 265.
   Enactments concerning archery, 269, 273, 274.
   Englishmen as "tailards" (longtails, coués, caudati),
          references to, at christening of James VI, 290.
     -- in anonymous medieval poem descriptive of
          national characteristics, 293.
     -- in Jacques de Vitry, 293.
     -- in Etienne de Bourbon, 294.
     -- in Richard of Devizes, 295.
     -- in romance of _Richard Coer de Leon_, 296-7.
     -- in _Monument. Germ._, 297 and _n._
     -- in _Chronicle of Lanercost_, 288-9, 302.
     -- in Matthew of Paris, 299-300.
     -- in Rishanger, 302.
     -- in Henry Knighton, 302.
     -- in John of Bridlington, 302-3.
     -- in connection with invasion of France by Henry V, 304.
     -- in Olivier Basselin, 304-5, 312.
     -- in Ballade on Jeanne d'Arc, 305.
     -- in Monstrelet, 305.
     -- in _Dépucellage de la ville de Tournay_, 306.
     -- in _Courroux de la Mort contre les Anglois_, 306, 307.
     -- in Eustache Deschamps's works, 307-12.
     -- in Jean Molinet's poems, 313.
     -- in Crétin, 313.
     -- in Larivey's _Les Tromperies_, 313.
     -- in Saint-Amant's _Rome Ridicule_, 314.
     -- in Conrart, 314.
     -- in Bower, 315-16.
     -- in Hemingburgh, 316-17, 318.
     -- in Bower, 318.
     -- in anonymous political song, 319.
     -- in _Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy_, 319-20, 344.
     -- in Skelton, 320-1.
     -- in John Oxenedes, 322.
     -- in _Annales Gandenses_, 323.

   Feuds, measures against them taken by James VI, 214.
   Fitz-Michael, John, his liberality to Monks of May, 162.
   Fleming, Lord, besieged in Dumbarton Castle, 205.
   Fleming, Mary, 35-48.
     -- related to Mary Stuart, 35.
     -- as Queen of the Bean, 36-8.
     -- courted by Sir Henry Sidney, 38.
     -- courtship of, by Secretary Maitland, 39-41.
     -- marries Maitland, 42.
     -- with Mary Stuart on morning of Bothwell's trial, 43.
     -- sends ring to Mary at Lochleven, 43.
     -- is asked for by Mary at Sheffield, 44.
     -- death of her husband, 44.
     -- appeals to Elizabeth for burial of husband's body, 45-6.
     -- subjected to petty annoyances by Morton, 47.
     -- obtains reversion of husband's forfeiture, 48.
   Football and golf cried down to encourage archery, 273.
   Forret, John, proprietor of May Island, 178.

   Ghent, looted by English, 323.
   Gilbert of St. Martin, his gift of land to
          Monastery on May Island, 163.
   Giles, St., feast of, 190.
     -- history of, 192-3.
     -- parish church of Edinburgh dedicated to, 193.
     -- relic of, 193-4.
     -- statue of, destroyed, 194-6.
   Glasgow, Riotous, 253-266.
     -- position of, amongst Scottish burghs at beginning of
          17th century, 253.
     -- nomination of its Provost and selection of Bailies, 253-4.
     -- Sir George Elphinstone of Blythswood appointed Provost of, 254.
     -- Ludovic, Duke of Lennox, and Town Council of, 254-5.
     -- appeal of Town Council to Privy Council, 256.
     -- full liberty in election of Magistrates secured, 256.
     -- Sir George Elphinstone elected Provost by Town Council, 256.
     -- Stewarts of Minto oppose new system of election, 257-8.
     -- riotous proceedings of partisans of Stewarts of Minto, 259.
     -- Sir George Elphinstone attacked, 260-2.
     -- Act for Staying of Unlawful Conventions within Burgh
          first applied, 263.
     -- decision of Privy Council in the matter of issue between
          Sir George Elphinstone and the Stewarts, 264-5.
   Golf and football "cried down" to encourage archery, 273.
   Gospatric, Earl, his liberality to Monks of May, 161.
   Grames, the, act as Buccleuch's agents, 239.
   Guernsey, medieval cry of "la Coue" still heard in, 315.
   Guinegate, Battle of, 307.

   Hand-guns (hagbuts and culverins) introduced in Scottish army, 274-6.
   Helena, St., builds church at Nazareth, 141.
   Henry V, invasion of France by, 304.
   Hind, as sinister supporter in Edinburgh coat of arms,
          origin of, 192.
   "Horners", measures against them taken by James VI, 213.

   James I and archery, 269.
     -- and military equipment, 270-1.
   James IV, visits May Island, 174-6.
   James V, sanctions foundation of shrine of Loretto, 143.
     -- his pilgrimages and gifts to the shrine, 143-4.
     -- introduces "small artillery", 274.
   James VI, as statesman, 209-16.
     -- Macaulay's estimate of, 209.
     -- Professor Masson's, 209-10.
     -- and Maitland of Thirlstane, 210.
     -- his idea of kingship, 210-11.
     -- and Buchanan, 211.
     -- dexterous management of circumstances and
          inflexibility of purpose, 212.
     -- checks lawlessness and rebellion, 213.
     -- enforces the law against "horners", 213.
     -- puts down hereditary feuds, 213.
     -- establishes flying police, 213.
     -- pacifies the Border, 213.
     -- as absentee King, 215.
     -- and the Union of England and Scotland, 215.
     -- Bacon's estimate of, 215.
     -- as poet, 216-24.
     -- Barnfield on, 216.
     -- Harvey on his _Lepanto_, 217.
     -- Vaughan on, 217.
     -- quoted in Allott's _England's Parnassus_, 217.
     -- in Bodenham's _Garden of the Muses_, 217.
     -- Jonson's epigram on, 217.
     -- Sir John Beaumont's estimate of, 218.
     -- his _Reulis and Cautelis to be Observit and Eschewit
          in Scottis Poesie_, 218.
     -- his first verses, 219-20.
     -- his _Lepanto_ quoted, 220-1.
     -- his _Dreame on his Mistris my Ladie Glammes_ quoted, 221.
     -- his sonnet to his son Henry, 222.
     -- his sonnet on Sicily, 223.
     -- his punning rhymes, 224 _n._
     -- his objection to chess, 19.
     -- writes to Elizabeth complaining of
          Will Armstrong's capture, 242.
     -- complains to Elizabeth of Spenser's reflections
          on his mother, 245.

   Jenye, Thomas, author of _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_, 128.

   Ker, George, apprehended by Andrew Knox, 228.
   Kinmont Willie, story of Ballad of, 237-46.
     -- taken prisoner by Thomas Salkeld, 238-9.
     -- rescued by Buccleuch, 240.
   Knox, Andrew, hunts down "practising Papists", 226.
     -- apprehends Ladylands, 226-7.
     -- apprehends George Ker, 228.
     -- occupies Ailsa Craig, 231.
     -- incurs ill-will by his action, 235.
     -- proclamation on his behalf, 235.
   Knox, John, his reference to Mary Stuart's voice, 8.
     -- records introduction of Masques at Court, 17.
     -- his account of Court scandal, 26-27.
     -- his calumnious charge against Mary Livingston, 51.
     -- his account of destruction of statue of St. Giles, 194-6.

   Lamberton, William, purchases priory of May from
          Abbot of Reading, 170.
   Lamont, Allan, proprietor of May Island, 178.
   Learmonth, Patrick, first lay proprietor of May Island, 177-8.
   Ledes, Alexander de, Governor of Dumbarton Castle, 200.
   _Lepanto_, poem by James VI, 216, 217, 220-1.
   Lewes, Battle of, 322.
   Life at Scottish Court, 17-18.
   Lighthouse on Isle of May, 187-9.
   Lincoln, epigram on Battle of, 298-9.
   Livingston, Mary, 49-60.
     -- parentage, 49.
     -- Mary Stuart's gifts to her, 50, 53.
     -- married to James Sempill of Beltreis, 50.
     -- Knox's calumnious assertion concerning her, 51.
     -- wedding, 53-5.
     -- Queen's wedding gifts to her, 55.
     -- at Holyrood on night of Rizzio's murder, 55.
     -- Queen's intended bequests to her, 55-6.
     -- enters Edinburgh with Mary, after Carberry, 56-7.
     -- accused by Lennox of having royal jewels in
          her possession, 57-8.
   Longsword, William, and "tailard" gibe, 299-300.
   "Longtail Myth", Story of the, 290-360.
     -- origin of, as given by Goscelin, 325-6.
     -- in William of Malmesbury's _Gesta Pontificum_, 327.
     -- in Robert Wace's _Brut_, 328-9.
     -- in Layamon, 329-331.
     -- in English prose version of _Brut_, 331-2.
     -- in Robert Manning's _Story of Inglande_, 332-3.
     -- in Latin satire against inhabitants of Rochester, 333-4.
     -- in Fazio degli Uberti's _Ditta Mondo_, 335.
     -- in Boccaccio, 335.
     -- in Alexander of Essebye (Ashby), 336.
     -- in English version of _Golden Legende_, 336.
     -- in Walter Bower, 337-9.
     -- in John Major, 341-2.
     -- in Nicole Gilles, 342.
     -- in Bellenden, 343.
     -- in Dunbar, 344.
     -- in Génébrard, 344.
     -- in Wilwolt of Schaumburg, 344.
     -- in Polydore Vergil's _Anglica Historia_, 346-7.
     -- in Guillaume Paradin, 347-8.
     -- denounced as ridiculous by John Bale, 349.
     -- by William Lambarde, 349-352.
     -- by Thomas Fuller, 354.
     -- explanation of, suggested by Fuller, 355.
     -- by Fynes Moryson, 356.
     -- by the author of _Mad Pranks and Merry Jests of
          Robin Goodfellow_, 356-7.
     -- by Du Cange, 358.
     -- by Professor Wattenbach, 358.
     -- by the author of _England under the Normans_, 358.
     -- further suggestion as to origin of, 359-60.
   Loreto in Italy, 141.
     -- Legend and Cult of our Lady of, 141-2.
     -- origin of name, 142.
     -- wealth of, 142.
     -- statue of Our Lady of, carried off by the French, 142.
   Loretto (Laureto, Laureit), chapel of, founded by
          Thomas Douchtie, 143.
     -- patronized by James V, 143-4.
     -- healing power attributed to, 145.
     -- alleged imposture at, 148-52.
     -- destruction of, 147, 152.
   Ludovic, Duke of Lennox, heritable right of appointing
          Provost and Bailies of Glasgow granted to, 254.
     -- nominates Sir George Elphinstone Provost, 254.
     -- delegates his authority to Sheriff, 254.
     -- grants "exercise of the offices" of Glasgow to
          Stewarts of Minto, 255.
   Lyndsay, Sir David, his lines on shrine and hermit of Loretto, 144-5.

   _Maister Randolphe's Fantasie_, 91-128.
     -- analysis of poem, 103-128.
     -- authorship of, 128.
   Maitland, Secretary, courts and marries Mary Fleming, 39-42.
     -- death of, 44.
   Maitland of Thirlstane and James VI, 210-11.
   Malcolm, the King's Cupbearer, and Monks of May, 167-8.
   Marie, Ballad of the Queen's, question of its authenticity, 26-7.
   Mary, Queen of Scots, 1-23.
     -- her beauty, 3-4.
     -- her portraits, 4-5.
     -- her complexion, 5.
     -- her eyes, 6.
     -- her hair, 6-7.
     -- wears wigs, 7.
     -- her hands, 7.
     -- her voice, 7-8, 19.
     -- her stature, 7.
     -- her figure, 8.
     -- a precocious child, 8.
     -- her Latin discourse, 9.
     -- her books, 11, 14.
     -- her knowledge of Greek, 11.
     -- of Spanish and Italian, 12.
     -- of English, 12-13.
     -- her love of French poetry, 15.
     -- as a writer of French poetry, 15-16.
     -- anagrams on her name, 16.
     -- handwriting, 16-17.
     -- fond of amusements, 17-18.
     -- dancing, 18.
     -- plays the lute and virginals, 19.
     -- plays chess, tables, and cards, 19.
     -- her puppets, 19.
     -- fond of fancy-work, 19-20.
     -- as a sportswoman, 20.
     -- fond of dogs, 20-21.
     -- hawking, archery, pallmall, and golf amongst her pastimes, 21-2.
     -- her courage, 22-3.
     -- sails from Dumbarton, 28-9.
     -- makes her will, 41, 55.
     -- bequests to her Marys, 41-2.
     -- enters Edinburgh after Carberry, 56-7, 70.
     -- favours Andrew Beton's courtship of Mary Seton, 73-6.
     -- complains to Queen Elizabeth of a book written
          against her, 91-2.
   Marys, the four, 25-34.
     -- their popularity, 25.
     -- their family names, 25-6.
     -- sail from Dumbarton with Mary Stuart, 28-9.
     -- Leslie's mention of them, 28, 30.
     -- figure in masques, 31-2.
     -- Buchanan's verses to them, 32-4.
     -- courted for their influence with Mary Stuart, 34.
   May, the Isle of, 153-89.
     -- description of, 153-6.
     -- and St. Adrian, 156-9.
     -- monastery on, 160.
     -- grants and donations to monks, 160-3.
     -- litigations of monks with rival claimants, 163-7.
     -- plundered by Swein, 169.
     -- monastery sold to Bishop of St. Andrews, 170-2.
     -- severance of connection between Scottish "cell" of,
          and English monastery of Reading, 172.
     -- Mary of Gueldres at, 174.
     -- royal visits to, 174-6.
     -- pirates about, 176.
     -- used for quarantine, 177.
     -- lay proprietors of, 177-8.
     -- first lighthouse on Scottish seaboard, 178-80.
     -- new lighthouse built in 1816, 184-5.
     -- visited by Sir Walter Scott, 185-6.
     -- modern lighthouse, 187-9.
   Menteith, Sir John, Governor of Dumbarton Castle, 201.
   Military training organized in Scotland, 273.
   Montchrestien, Anthoine de, of doubtful nobility, 129.
     -- his education, 129.
     -- encounter with Baron de Gouville, 130.
     -- marries a rich widow, 130.
     -- publishes tragedy of _Sophonisbe_, 130.
     -- publishes his "Stuart" tragedy, _l'Escossoise_, 130.
     -- kills his adversary in a duel, 130.
     -- retires to England, 131.
     -- presents his tragedy to James VI, 131.
     -- returns to France, 131.
     -- writes the first treatise on political economy, 131.
     -- joins Protestant party, 131-2.
     -- is shot in encounter with Catholics, 132.
   Mungo, St., and Glasgow, 191.

   "Ochtyern", meaning of, 268.
     -- fine imposed on, for neglect of military service, 268.
   _OEconomie Politique, Traicté de l'_, published
          by Montchrestien, 131.
   Ogilvie, Alexander, of Boyne, marries Mary Beton, 66-7.
     -- the Jesuit, imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle, 208.
   Oman, Mr., his estimate of Bruce's "Testament", 277 _n._
   Origin, traditional, of "Longtail" myth, 325-6, 327,
          328-9, 329-31, 331-2, 332-3, 333-4, 335, 336,
          337-9, 341-2, 343, 344, 345, 346-7, 348-9, 349-352, 354.
     -- suggested, 355, 356, 356-7, 358, 359-60.

   Paris, evacuated by English, in 1436, 305.
   Patrick, chaplain of Dunbar, action raised against,
          by Monks of May, 165.
   Pensions established in Scottish army, 289.
   Poitiers, Battle of, 303.
   Preston of Gortoun gives relic of St. Giles to Edinburgh
          Parish Church, 193-4.
   Priory of Pittenweem or May, 173.

   Randolph, Thomas, his description of life at Scottish Court, 17.
     -- account of Court scandal, 27 _n._
     -- account of Maitland's courtship of Mary Fleming, 39-41.
     -- reports intended marriage of Mary Livingston, 50-51.
     -- in love with Mary Beton, 62-3.
     -- at Scottish Court, 92-5.
     -- accused of writing a satire against Queen Mary, 95.
     -- his denial, 95-8.
   Reading, monks of, and May Island, 160, 166, 170-2.
   Richard I, his followers jeered at as "tailards", 295, 296-7.
   Rochelle, la, epigram against "tailards" on taking of, 298.
   Rodorcus, King, reigns on the Rock of Clyde, 200.
   Roland, a carpenter, warns Bruce of Menteith's
          intended treachery, 202.
   Ronsard, Mary Stuart's admiration of, 15.
   Row, reference to shrine of Loretto in his history, 145.
     -- his account of alleged sham miracle at Loretto, 148-9.
   Ryderchen, obtains possession of stronghold of Dumbarton, 200.

   Salkeld, Thomas, takes Willie Armstrong of Kinmont prisoner, 238-9.
   Santa Casa removed by angels from Nazareth into Dalmatia, 141.
   Scone, Brethren of Scone and Monks of May, 166.
   Scott, John, the Fasting Man, 146-7.
   Scott, Miss, of Scotstarvit, improves May light, 182.
   Scott, Sir Walter, visits May Island, 185-6.
   Segrave, Nicholas de, Governor of Dumbarton Castle, 200.
   Sempill, James, of Beltreis, marries Mary Livingston, 50.
     -- his parentage, 52.
     -- imprisoned by Lennox, 57.
     -- sent to England as hostage, 58.
     -- incurs enmity of Morton, 59.
     -- put to the boot, 59.
     -- death, 60.
   Sempill, Provost of Dumbarton, gets possession of
          Castle for Covenanters, 207.
   Seton, Mary, 69-78.
     -- finest busker of hair, 7, 71.
     -- parentage, 69.
     -- enters Edinburgh with Mary Stuart after Carberry, 70.
     -- at Lochleven, 70.
     -- with Mary Stuart during captivity, 71-2.
     -- romance of Andrew Beton's courtship of her, 73-7.
     -- retires to Abbey of St. Peter's, Rheims, 77.
     -- last memorial of her, 77-8.
   Sheep, on May Island, 154.
   Sibbald, his account of May Island, 154.
   Song of Mary Stuart, 79-90.
     -- attributed to Mary by Brantôme, 79-81.
     -- discovery of manuscript copy by Dr. Galy, 82.
     -- "Song" composed at Court in honour of Mary Stuart,
          part of the original poem, 83.
     -- additional stanzas, 83.
     -- internal evidence of Brantôme's authorship, 84-6.
     -- the whole poem restored, 86-90.
   Stevenson, Robert, suggests improvement of May light, 183.
   Stewarts of Minto and Town Council of Glasgow, 257.
     -- organize opposition to extension of municipal liberty, 257-8.
     -- head a tumultuous demonstration, 259.
     -- attack Sir George Elphinstone, 260-2.
     -- charged to enter ward in Dumbarton, 262.
     -- ward changed to Perth and Dundee, 262.
     -- suit brought against them by Sir George Elphinstone, 264.
   "Stuart" tragedy, the first, 129-140.
     -- published in 1601, 130.
     -- presented to James VI, 131.
     -- analysis of tragedy, 132-40.
   Students, English, at Paris university jeered at as "tailards", 293.
   Swave, Peder, his account of John Scott, the Fasting Man, 147 _n._
   Swein, Asleif, plunders Monastery of May, 169.

   Thenaw, St., legend of, 159.
   Tournay, besieged by English in 1513, 306.
   Transport service in old Scottish army, 283-4.
   Treason of Dumbarton, 205.
   Tullibardine, Marquis of, and Jacobites imprisoned in
          Dumbarton Castle, 208.
   Twelfth-night or Feast of the Bean at Scottish Court, 36.

   Ulster, Annals of, record siege of Dumbarton, 200.
   Union of England and Scotland projected by James VI, 215.
   University of Paris, students of in 13th century, 255.
   University of St. Andrews, Mary's intended bequest of books to, 65.

   Value of furniture in Castle on Little Cumbrae, 250-2.
   "Victual", meaning of, 280.
   Vuillequot ("Billy"), name applied by French to
          Englishmen generally, 272.

   Walker, Gavin, Chaplain of Loretto, restores ground
          granted for shrine, 152.
   Wapenshaws, established, 267.
     -- James I's enactment concerning, 270.
     -- during 15th and 16th centuries, 272.
     -- evidence of their unpopularity, 272, 279.
   Wells on May Island, 155.
   William, King, confirms grants to Monks of May Island, 160.
     -- and military service, 268.
   Wreck of frigates _Nymphen_ and _Pallas_, 183.
   Wyntoun, Andrew, his account of martyrdom of St. Adrian, 158-9.
     -- his lines referring to the Parson of Kincardine's
          seizure of Dumbarton Castle, 203.

   Yeomen, equipment of in old Scottish army, 274.
     -- divided into three classes, 271.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Byways of Scottish History" ***

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