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“The same preyste shawydde me thatte he dydde knawe a poore manne the whyche persuynge the trade offe one oxe, thatte was bereavydde hym, fownde hyme lyyoge aponne a petie gentylmans floore & durste notte speake oone worde offe chalenge for fearr offe hys lyyffe. An honeste poore manne, dwellynge in Falodon besyde Alneweyke, sayde to me thatte wheer he hadde denyyde to a gentylmanne hys neybor an unreasonable requeste, he answerydde rygorosely thease wordys," I shalle alyghtne the offe thatte thynge whyche thawe beeryste the bolde offe," & wythynne fowre howres affter was reavydde hyme seyxteyne headd off nowte. Sythe Christenmas laste a poor manne dwellynge in Fleytham complaynydde to me thatte Rollande Bradforde, baylye offe Tughalle, hadde forcybly takenne hys cowe frome hyme, whome I advysydde to complayne to the cowncelle beynge thenne atte Nywe Castelle, & the sayde Rollande hearynge theroffe sende the poore mans cowe home agayne, for fearr off complaynte. Concernynge the day offe truesse I heere poor menne say thatte hytte ys fulle offe collusione, soche as thys; whenne the bylle ys laydde to a gentylmans shepherde or servante wyttyngly forswearynge hytte, other appoyntydde for bys purgatione aponn perelle off hys sawle wylle forswear the same, thenne the bylle happenythe sometyme to be shyfftydde to the mayster, & yffe he also wylle forswear hytte, takynge the hoolle perelle to hys owne sawle, hys purgatione wylle doo 800 to, knowynge or atte the leaste dowtynge alle to be false, yffe the gentylmanne wylle notte swear so knowlegynge hymselfe secretly to hys freyndys, thenne the servante conveythe hyme selfe away & the bylle is yette shyfftydde to the byarr offe soche goodds; thus the doer & the berer goo free, the thyrde paythe the bylle. The keyppars offe the kynge hys peace & of the spiritualle cowrtys as thay name thayme have beyne hytherto verey necligente in thayr offices; examples ther be over many & to longe for yowre lordshyppe to hear. As towchynge the syncere settynge forthe offe goddes holy Worde & the kynge hys supreme aucthoritie & power I hear offe no preachar betwyxe Nywe Castelle & Berweyke & veray fewe in alle Westmorlande, Cumberlande, Durhamshyre, & the weste parte offe Yorkeshyar, wythe moche of the northe parties.
I beseyche yowre lordeshyppe to pardon my rudenesse & longe rehersalle, &c.'*
These were strange times when parsonages were ever 'free' for thieves and reavers, and when a man dare not claim an ox as his own though he saw it standing in front of him. But Bamburgh parsonage was not the only clerical establishment where scenes of violence were enacted at this time. The story of the dissolution of Hexham Priory is so animated and dramatic that it deserves to be told.
* Abstracted in Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII., Vol. xiv. Part II. Appendix 7.
In September 1536 certain commissioners of Henry VIII. were riding west along the Tyne, with the purpose of putting an end to the priory at Hexham.
When they reached Dilston the news reached them that the canons were up in arms, and had fortified their house, which they meant to defend against all comers. On their arrival at Hexham, the royal officers found that the news was true. The narrow streets of the town were full of excited men, who were hastening to arm themselves, in response to the clanging of the alarm bell of the town and the 'fray bell' of the priory. The gates of the priory were bolted and barred, and one of the leading men of the house, the • Master of Ovingham,' stood upon the walls in complete harness, with a strung bow in his hands. When the commissioners displayed the king's writ and seal, and demanded admittance, the Master of Ovingham boldly replied: • We be twenti brethern in this hous, and we shall dye all,
or yt shall ye have this house. After further parleying and display of credentials by the royal officers, the master retired to take counsel with his colleagues, but shortly after returned with the sub-prior, and said:
"We doo nott doubte bott ye bring with you the king's seall of auctorite for this hous, albeitt ye shall se here the king's confirmacion of our hous under the great seall of King Henry the VIIIth. God save his grace.
We think it nott the king's honor to gyff furth oon seall contrarye to an other, and afore any other of our landes, goods, or hous be takin frome us we shall all dye, and yt is our full answer.'
The royal officers must have felt the force of the words of the Master of Ovingham, who was backed up by at least sixty armed men. They therefore retired, to report to the king on what had taken place. In the meantime, the resistance offered by the canons of Hexham was the signal for a general revolt, and within three days of the departure of the commissioners from Hexham the rising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace began. That the rising, though at one time formidable, was eventually suppressed, is a matter of common knowledge; but it is satisfactory to know that the canons of Hexham, though deprived of their ancient house, escaped with their lives. This clemency was not due to any scruples of the king, however, for he gave special instructions for all the monkes and chanons that be in any wise faultie to be tyed uppe.'
A valuable feature of these volumes is the ample store of information which they contain as to village life and tenure of land in the times of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. This in,
formation is largely derived from surveys of the estates of the Earl of Northumberland, made shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries, which are in many cases printed at considerable length. The surveys are illustrated by a series of manorial maps, made at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
The surveyor had especial regard to the military equipment of the tenants, and the maintenance of the hedges, with which villages were then encompassed. These hedges (the “zarebas' of the period) were doubtless very necessary to afford protection against sudden inroads and the raids of cattle-lifters; but it seems that a more substantial protection was frequently required. Many of the farmhouses of the North still incorporate within their walls the remains of the ancient and massive tower, or peel, in which refuge was sought in times gone by. It is evident that churches, too, were often made to serve a secular purpose ; and in his survey of one village, the surveyor remarks that 'the chirche and steple of this towne is the great strenth that the poore tenants have to drawe to in the tyme of warre,' for wbich reason it was very necessary that it should be kept in good reparations.'
Fortunately for us, the surveyor was a somewhat garrulous man, and frequently makes a digression from his theme of the number of tenants and the amount of their rent and holdings, into matters of historical interest, and he seldom misses an opportunity of touching on topics affecting the social and material welfare of the villagers. The account which he gives of Alnmouth, the small seaside town now chiefly known as a junction for Alnwick, and a resort of golfers, is very full. He states how the town was founded by one of the early lords of the Barony of Alnwick, how it prospered and afterwards decayed, and makes several suggestions as to means whereby its prosperity might be revived.
At the time these surveys were made the ancient methods of agriculture had already begun to undergo some change. The inconveniences of the system then prevailing are frequently referred to, and it seems that at several places the lord's land had been separated from that of the villagers. A map of one manor, that of Rock, made in 1599, shows this change in progress. Not long afterwards the whole system of land tenure was changed: the old customary rents were abolished, and the customary tenants were made to take leases. Many are the laments of those who thought
that they were safe in the enjoyment of their lands at the old accustomed rent by tenant right,' but found themselves reduced to the status of lessees, or mere tenants from year to year. This change of land tenure was nothing less than a social revolution. It has not hitherto received the attention it deserves, and would well repay special study and research. The departure of James II. was more noisy and dramatic, but not more far reaching in its consequences, than the almost silent 'flitting' of the small customary tenant.
The civil wars of the time of Charles I. were the occasion of much distress in the outlying northern districts, where the heavy assessments for the maintenance of the troops of both parties were doubly grievous by reason of the scarcity of money. One writer says that when the money was scraped together it was rejected 'in respect some of it is • light: poore people hath much adoe to gett it ether light ' or weight, nay, many are forced to sell the corne growing
on the ground, & the grasse that should relieve their • beastes for winter,' wherefore he earnestly desired that order might be given to receive such money as poore
people cann gett to pay. Several letters written by an agent of the Earl of Northumberland refer to the chief military events of the time. Writing from Alnwick Castle on August 31, 1648, the agent says: “Since the daite hereof is comd some of ye Parliament troopes, and have viewed the castle, and meaneing to make their winter quarter in this towne, pitch upon the castle to place their ' provicon of hay and what ells they please with the roomes • therein.' Again he writes on September 12: The greatest
of miseries that as yet was among us was the comeinge of Mounroe, with his forces who have swept the countrie clean.
Leiutenant-Generall Cromwell and his forces are now heare advanceing northwards. Most of his forces goe eastwarde and westward by the towne. What may ensew of their designe is in the power of the Almighty.' Again, on September 11, 1650, he writes: “As noe question
but yow heare of a greate defeate given the Scotts, ' for å testimony whereof weare 6,000 prisoners lodged
within these walls one night, betwixt the middle and upper gaite. In this passage he refers to the battle of Dunbar, fought on September 3. The wretched prisoners were then on their way south to Durham, 'where they were 'confined in the Cathedral, in which building large numbers of them died. They used the woodwork for firewood, and
mutilated many of the monuments. The survivors were • divided among the officers set over them, and were sold into servitude abroad.'
Even after these wars were over Northumberland had not seen the last of civil strife. The rebellion of 1715 was largely supported in Northumberland, especially by Thomas Forster, a descendant of the house of Forster of Adderstone, in the parish of Bamburgh. He possessed neither experience nor capacity, and a movement which depended on such a man for a leader was doomed to failure. The rebel
general,' as he was called, was fortunate enough to save his life by escaping from Newgate to Boulogne.
In the eighteenth century the annals of Northumberland lose much of the element of romance, which is their most marked characteristic. But the volumes contain a great mass of pedigree and family history, the work principally of Mr. John Crawford Hodgson, the able and diligent editor, under whose care the work is now progressing. One of the longest and most illustrious of these pedigrees is that of the family of Earl Grey, which occurs in the account of Howick in the second volume of the work. It is there noted that among the pictures at Howick Hall are two portraits, one of Dr. Benjamin Franklin and the other of the Emperor Napoleon I., which are rendered of especial interest by the circumstances under which they came into the possession of the Grey family. The circumstances are narrated in a letter written by the third Earl Grey (born December 28, 1802, died October 9, 1894) to the editor of this history shortly before his death. It is as follows:
The picture of Dr. Franklin was sent here by my grandfather, who, being in command of a brigade of the royal army during the war of the American Revolution, had received it from his aide-de-camp, Captain André. Mr. Bache, Franklin's son-in-law, wrote on July 14, 1778, after the evacuation of Philadelphia, that the British officers, who had occupied Franklin's house for eight months, left it in much better order than he expected, but that “ a Captain André took with him the picture of you which hung in the dining-room.” I have not the means of referring to a letter of Dr. Franklin himself on the same subject which, unless my memory deceives me, is also to be found in Sparks's “Life of Franklin.” In this letter Dr. Franklin expresses his regret that this picture had been taken away, as it was considered very like him. The Captain André already mentioned was the same officer who afterwards was hanged as a spy by Washington. This, there is no reason to doubt, was a legitimate exercise of the rights of war, as recognised by civilised nations, but I have always considered it to have been a cruel one. With regard to the other picture, it was