dumfries-1920/04-042

Transcription

HISTORICAL MONUMENTS (SCOTLAND) COMMISSION.

who was made warden in place of Herries, and Jardine of Applegarth. In company
with the Earl of Morton, he therefore paid a visit in the following year, in order,
by taking hostages, to secure a check upon the Border opposition.
The critical period ensuing on the Regent Murray's assassination in 1570 brought
about the armed intervention of England, and the spring and early autumn of that
year each saw one of those unwelcome visitations. On both occasions the objectives
were the lands of the Maxwells and the Murrays, as Mary's conspicuous champions.
In the first case, Lord Scrope, having burned Ecclefechan and the hamlets about
Hoddom and Ruthwell, seems to have made for Dumfries by the Cockpool route,
where he was attacked, unsuccessfully, by the young Lord Maxwell, but later held
up at Locharwood a stage farther on. The Earl of Sussex, Lieutanant of the North,
himself conducted the August expedition, in which he reported he had "thrown
down" the castles of Annan and Hoddom, belonging to Herries, of Dumfries and
Caerlaverock, which were Lord Maxwell's, and Tinwald (Tynhill) and Cowhill (Coohill),
which were also Maxwell houses. ¹ Sussex considered that, in the circumstances,
he had acted with great restraint, having refrained from indiscriminate plunder and
burning; but a complaint from the Scottish side to Queen Elizabeth accused him of
just the contrary, as well as of the destruction of ten of the principal castles, two
of which, Annan and Hoddom, "were most strong." ²
But the cause of the exiled Queen was foregone; and, when the temporary union
of the magnates in that cause dissolved, the local issues and problems reappeared in
even fiercer guise. In the Memorial of 1579 cited above, Lord Herries sketches out
roughly the character of the West March of Scotland in comparison with that of
England. In the latter country, he says, the West March was planted with strong-
holds even to the very frontier, strongholds including stone houses of every sort.
Moreover, the soil there was fertile, the corn crops good, and the laws well obeyed; in
which last quality Herries is certainly exaggerating. As against this, "Scotland
upoun that Marche is ane pastour ground, verray barrane quhill (till) it cum far
within the realme, and unproffitabill in a maner to the greit part, bot for bestiale; as
it is knawin ane man, to be sustenit honestlie upoun his stoir in lyk maner as his
nychbour salbe sustenit with cornis, sall occupy mair ground nor ten tymes he that
levis be the cornis dois in boundis; swa that the West Marchis of England is meikle
mair populous, and may, be the fertilitie of the ground, sustene mony ma men adjacent
to the fronteiris upon that Marche nor Scotland may." ³ That Dumfries was thus so
largely a cattle country, made the industry of thieving more feasible; grain is not
mobile. It also, as Herries indicates, made particularly difficult the problem of a
growng population. In such an atmosphere lordly jealousies and clan feuds
flourished handsomely.
It has been noted above how under these conditions the freebooting companies
on the eastern side of the county had pushed their activities and forcible settlements
beyond Annan, and had thus, too, weakened the power of the Government. For the
Government here meant the Warden of the West March, an office practically mono-
polised by the Maxwells. During the regency, however, they had been in opposition,
and so from 1568 to 1573 Douglas of Drumlanrig was Warden. In 1574 the young
eighth Lord Maxwell received the office, but the Earl of Angus intervened with a
lieutenancy over all the Marches for about a year, 1577-78, when Maxwell was re-

1 Calendar Scottish Papers, iii. No. 436.
2 Ibid., No. 441.
3 Register Privy Council, iii. p. 79.

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