The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

Appendix. No. I.

Letter from the Earl of Surrey, to Henry viii. Giving an Account of the Storm of Jedburgh.

Cott. MSS. Calig. B. III. fol. 29.

“Pleisith it your grace to be advertised, that upon Fridaye, at x a clok at nyght, I retourned to this towne, and all the garnysons to their places assigned, the bushopricke men, my Lorde of Westmoreland, and my Lord Dacre, in likewise evry man home with their companys, without los of any men, thanked be God; saving viii or x slayne, and dyvers hurt, at skyrmyshis and saults of the town of Gedwurth, and the forteressis, which towne is soo suerly brent, that no garnysons ner none other shal bee lodged there, unto the tyme it bee newe buylded; the brennyng whereof I comytted to twoo sure men, Sir William Bulmer, and Thomas Tempeste. The towne was moche bettir then I went (i.e. ween’d) it had been, for there was twoo tymys moo houses therein then in Berwike, and well buylded, with many honest and faire houses therein, sufficiente to have lodged M horsemen in garnyson, and six good towres therein; whiche towne and towres be clenely distroyed, brent, and throwen downe. Undoubtedly there was noo journey made into Scotland, in noo manys day leving, with soo fewe a nombre that is recownted to be soo high an enterprice as this, bothe with thies contremen, and Scottishmen, nor of truthe so moche hurt doon. But in th’ ende a great mysfortune ded fall, onely by foly, that such ordre, as was commaunded by me to be kepte, was not observed, the maner whereof hereaftir shall ensue. Bifore myn entre into Scotland, I appointed Sir William Bulmer and Sir William Evers too be marshallis of th’ army; Sir William Bulmer for the vangard, and Sir William Evers for the reregard. In the vangard I appointed my Lord of Westmoreland, as chief, with all the bushopricke, Sir William Bulmer, Sir William Evers, my Lord Dacre, with all his company; and with me remayned all the rest of the garnysons, and the Northumberland men. I was of counsaill with the marshallis at th’ ordering of our lodgingg, and our campe was soo well envirowned with ordynance, carts, and dikes, that hard it was to entre or issue, but at certain places appointed for that purpos, and assigned the mooste commodious place of the saide campe for my Lord Dacre company, next the water, and next my Lord of Westmoreland. And at suche tyme as my Lord Dacre came into the fald, I being at the sault of th’ abby, whiche contynued unto twoo houres within nyght, my seid Lord Dacre wold in nowise bee contente to ly within the campe, whiche was made right sure, but lodged himself without, wherewith, at my retourne, I was not contente, but then it was to late to remove; the next daye I sente my seid Lorde Dacre to a strong hold, called Fernherst, the lorde whereof was his mortal enemy; and with hym, Sir Arthur Darcy, Sir Marmaduke Constable, with viii c. of their men, one cortoute, and dyvers other good peces of ordynance for the feld (the seid Fernherste stode marvelous strongly, within a grete woode); the seid twoo knights with the moost parte of their men, and Strickland, your grace servaunte, with my Kendall men, went into the woode on fote, with th’ ordynance, where the said Kendall men were soo handled, that they found hardy men, that went noo foote back for theym; the other two knightes were alsoo soo sharply assayled, that they were enforced to call for moo of their men; and yet could not bring the ordynance to the forteresse, unto the tyme my Lord Dacre, with part of his horsemen, lighted on fote; and marvelously hardly handled himself, and fynally, with long skirmyshing, and moche difficultie, gat forthe th’ ordynance within the howse and threwe downe the same. At which skyrmyshe, my seid Lord Dacre, and his brother, Sir Cristofer, Sir Arthure, and Sir Marmaduke, and many other gentilmen, did marvellously hardly; and found the best resistence that hath been seen with my comyng to their parties, and above xxxii Scottis sleyne, and not passing iiij Englishmen, but above lx hurt. Aftir that, my seid lord retournyng to the campe, wold in nowise bee lodged in the same, but where he laye the furst nyght. And he being with me at souper, about viij a clok, the horses of his company brak lowse, and sodenly ran out of his feld, in such nombre, that it caused a marvellous alarome in our feld; and our standing watche being set, the horses cam ronnyng along the campe, at whome were shot above one hundred shief of arrowes, and dyvers gonnys, thinking they had been Scotts, that wold have saulted the campe; fynally the horses were soo madde, that they ran like wild dere into the feld; above xv c. at the leest, in dyvers companys, and, in one place, above I felle downe a gret rok, and slewe theymself, and above ij c. ran into the towne being on fire, and by the women taken, and carried awaye right evill brent, and many were taken agayne. But, fynally, by that I can esteme by the nombre of theym that I sawe goo on foote the next daye, I think thare is lost above viij c. horses, and all with foly for lak of not lying within the camp. I dare not write the wondres that my Lord Dacre, and all his company, doo saye they sawe that nyght, vj. tymys of spirits and fereful sights. And unyversally all their company saye playnly, the devill was that nyght among theym vi tymys; whiche mysfortune hath blemyshed the best journey that was made in Scotland many yeres. I assure your grace I found the Scottes, at this tyme, the boldest men, and the hotest, that ever I sawe any nation, and all the journey, upon all parts of th’ army, kepte us with soo contynuall skyrmyshe, that I never sawe the like. If they myght assemble xl M as good men as I nowe sawe, xv c or ij M, it wold bee a hard encountre to mete theym. Pitie it is of my Lord Dacres losse of the horses of his company; he brought with hym above iiij M. men, and came and lodged one night in Scotland, in his moost mortal enemy’s centre. There is noo herdyer, ner bettir knyght, but often tyme he doth not use the most sure order, which he hath nowe payed derely for. Written at Berwike the xxvij of September.

Your most bownden,

T. SURREY.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29