BL MSS Cotton Caligula b. ix, 68

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BL MSS Cotton Caligula b. ix, 68

Wright Vol 1, 6 Page 16

Sir Ralph Sadler and Sir James Croft to Sir William Cecil. (1) Berwick, Oct. 24 1559

Transcribed by Thomas Wright, ‘Queen Elizabeth and her times,’ London, 1838

Sir, We wolde be loth to be thought negligent or sloathfull in writinge, and therefore, havinge none advertisement at all neyther by Randall (2) ne any others from the Protestants, nor of their intents and procedings syns their arryvall at Edinburgh, whereof we do not a litle mervaile, we have nevertheles thought it not amisse to occupie the posts with such matier as we can gette by espiell and otherwise by common brute. That is, that, as we wrote in our last letters, the Duke (3) and his sone(4), with sondry other Lordes, as the Prior of St. Andrewes, the Erles of Cassells (5), Glencarn (6), Monteth (7), Eglinton (8), the Lords Ruthvan (9), and Maxwell, &c. with five thousand horse, as they say, arryved at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 18th of this present, and after them, as it is sayed, cam four thousand fotemen which they have in wages, with a greate nomber besyds, bruted to be in the hole above ten thousand. And also they say that on Saterday last the Erle of Argile (10) arryved there with five thousand. All this we here, but we woll not write it for gospell that their power is so greate. Albeit it is comonly sayed that they be aboute fifteen or sixteen thousand men, which is like ynough to be trew. We here nothing of the Erie of Huntley (11) more then you know alredy, but som say that his eldest sone the Lord Gordon (12) is at Edinburgh, with the Protestants, and th'erle Morton also. We have it confirmed by sondry reports that sithens the Protestants arryvall at Edinburgh there have been dyvers hotte skyrmishes betwixt them and the French, and many hurte and slayne on both sides, and that Kyrcaldye (13) is evill hurte with the shotte of an harquebuss throughe his lefte shoulder, and a French capitayn of good reputation slayn. So that now . . . . . is bcgon, and being thus farre entered in bloode on both parts, we thinke it cannott be soone staunched. The Queue's Majestic hathe more for two thousand pounds than her Highnes father coulde obteyn for six thousand. Whether they woll assaulte the towne of Legh or not we cannot tell, but you know the Scotts woll clymbe no walles. We trust within a day or twoo to advertise you of theire doings more certenly. And because Randall writeth not, we judge that he woll be the first messenger himselfe. So we end till we have more matier to write of, and wishe you as well as to ourselfes. From Berwick, the 24th of October, 1559.

Your assured pore frends,


(1) This letter and the two which follow have already been printed among the Sadler papers, from the first draughts, - which differ somewhat from these present copies taken from the corrected letter sent to Cecil. Several others, printed in the book above quoted, are found in the Cottonian Library, in a more correct form.

(1) Thomas Randolph, or Randall, who sometimes corresponded under the assumed name of Barnabie, as may be seen in the Sadler papers, was one of the ablest of Elizabeth's agents, and was long employed in Scotland. In the course of the present work will be seen many of his letters.

(3) James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, and Duke of Chatelherault, Regent of Scotland, until he resigned that post in favour of the Queen-dowager in 1555, and received a pension and title from France. He afterwards, in 1559, joined the congregation, and was secretly passed into Scotland by the aid of Cecil, who also lent him money out of his own purse.

(4) Lord David Hamilton, fourth son of the Duke of Chatelherault.

(5) Gilbert Kennedy, fourth Earl of Cassilis.

(6) Alexander, fifth Earl of Glencairn.

(7) William Graham, fifth Earl of Monteith.

(8) Hugh, second Earl of Eglinton, married to Lady Jane Hamilton, fourth daughter of the Duke of Chatelherault.

(9) Patrick, third Lord Ruthven, whom Knox characterises as "a stout man, and discreet in the cause of God."

(10) Archibald Campbell, fifth Earl of Argyle. His mother was a daughter of the Earl of Arran.

(11) George, fourth Earl of Huntley. In a subsequent letter, we are told that "the Erie of Huntley remayneth at home in his countrey lyke a wylie fox."

(12) George, Lord Gordon, afterwards fifth Earl of Huntley.

(13) Sir James Kirkaldy, Laird of Grange. He was one of those of the Protestant party who received direct assistance from England. In a letter of Sadler and Croft to the Council, on the 25th of October, (one day later than the present,) they say " Lyke as we wrote to you, there have bene dyvers skyrmishes betwixt the Protestants and the French, which daylie do continue, with also mighty alarmes, and dyvers hurt and slayne on both syds, but Kirkaldy hath no suche hurte as we wrote of, the brute whereof did arryse of another Scottishman that was indede hurte in the same sorte as we dyd write, and before that in the same skyrmishe Kyrcaldy slew a Frenchman, whereby the Protestants had the fyrst blood, which they do take for good luck."

(14) Sir Ralph Sadler, son of Henry Sadler, Esq. was born at Hackney, in Middlesex, and rose to distinction under the patronage of Lord Cromwell. He distinguished himself so much at the battle of Pinkie, that he was made a knight banneret, and is said to have been the last knight banneret of England. He died in 1587, and his monument still remains at Standon church, in Hertfordshire. He married Lord Cromwell's laundress, whilst her first husband was still living, though at the time supposed to be dead in foreign parts. Fuller tells us that this Sir Ralph had a pardon of the Pope for the sins of his family for three generations to come, which had been obtained for him by another person, and which had just expired when Fuller wrote.

(15) Sir James Crofts, (sometimes called a Croft,) of Croft Castle, in Herefordshire. He was a worthy and valiant knight, and he was employed on the borders in Mary's reign. By that Queen he was imprisoned on a charge of being implicated in Wyat's treason. Elizabeth made him governor of Berwick, and controller of her household.