Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 19 Part 1
The Privy Council to Hertford.
The King has received his several letters containing his opinion for the fortification of Lythe, which show his earnest desire to do some notable exploit to the enemies' damage and his Highness' honor. Are commanded to thank him on the King's behalf, who thinks, as they all do, that his opinion has great appearance of reason; and therefore, notwithstanding the former determination, the King has, for a final resolution, both "himself considered and weighed the same most gravely and prudently, as you know well enough he can," and commanded the Council to consult thereupon and write the reasons against the said fortification, which are sent herewith. The fortification must therefore now be laid apart, whatsoever opportunities might, upon the place, suggest the contrary; yet the King would not have him abate his courage to persecute the enemies as in the Council's former letter. With the increasing dissension in Scotland, and the offer of service by the Master of Morton, it is thought that no great number of Scots can assemble; and therefore Hertford might join with the Border horsemen and return by land after burning and destroying Edinburgh; but this is left to his judgment. As the wardens promised to burn within 12 miles of Edinburgh they might pierce through the little way from thence; and Hertford is to consult with them and other expert men for this; and learn what empty carriages out of the Bishopric might go in with speed with the horsemen, to carry such victuals as men returning to their country will require, or else devise for carriage of victuals by horse, or sending of carriages by sea, and whether victuals from Wark or Berwick might meet him at Kelso in his return. But he is not to tarry for the wardens so as to pass any opportunity of departing out of that haven with the army, but only consult them if detained there by lack of wind.
While tarrying there for wind, he shall send for the Master of Morton and require him to render Temtallon castle to the King at once, before Hertford's entry into Scotland, showing him that, by delaying until Hertford's coming, he should seem only to practise his own surety; but not making any promise which might prevent the putting of Edinburgh to sword and fire. If the Master comes not, but repairs to Hertford in Scotland, he is to be kept and not suffered to come and go, although he offer hostages, "for under colour thereof might be wrought much falsehood." If Temtallon can be attained, the King's adherents will be encouraged; and it should be victualled, and a man of courage appointed to keep it. If the Master of Morton, before coming to Hertford in Scotland, require "assurance to go at his pleasure," Hertford should not grant it, but proceed to the devastation of the country; but if he render Temtallon more confidence may be put in him. If, after consulting the men of experience, he returns by land, the King thinks that the terror of his visage will cause Hume castle and other peels by the way to render at his summons, the keeping of which may serve for a further invasion better than any hurried fortification at Lythe or Edinburgh. In case he finds the enemies at Lythe in such force that he cannot land without danger, he shall land a number on the Fyfe side and waste and destroy there; and afterwards return to Edinburgh side and do the like, "without taking either the castle or town to mercy, though they would yield; for ye know the falsehood of them all and how little they care for the time to promise and offer whatsoever ye will demand, and afterward to break from you and observe no piece of their promise, if they shall think thereby to win anything."
The ships of war are not to enter Tynmouth haven, but tarry at Holy Island for the rest of the fleet; and the ships that come in to lade men or other things must at once pass out to Holy Island, so as not to pester the haven or be in danger of restraint if the wind turn. Westm., 17 April 1544. Signed by Cranmer, Suffolk, Russell, Essex, Winchester, Westminster, Wriothesley, Gage, Browne, Wyngfeld, Paget, Petre and Bakere.
"A consultation of the Council in these two articles":--
1. Whether the earl of Hertford should now enterprise any new fortification in Scotland?
2. What shall be written to the Earl for his return by land?
Resolved that the Earl should in no wise go about any fortification, for these reasons:--
(1) A fortification cannot be assured without perfect furniture, and must be so situated as to be subject to no hill, whereby the enemy may annoy it, and also easy of access by the friend for its relief.
(2) The Lighet is subject to a hill near it and can only be relieved by sea, which the continuance of the wind in one quarter shows now to be difficile, and, besides, the Scots with ordnance, on the shores and otherwise, may let the access of ships.
(3) To the honor of keeping a fortification in an enemy's country is annexed "great cure, care and study" lest the loss of it give courage to the enemy.
(4) It must be foreseen that the fortification annoy the enemies and be not closed in and contemned by them. Footmen fortified in Ligh could neither issue out nor let the resort of ships into Scotland which may go to the port on the other side of the water or to Mustelburgh.
(5) One month being now spent by contrary wind and the King's journey into France approaching (before which the army must return to keep the Borders, the lord Admiral to keep the Narrow Seas and others to attend the King's person), time cannot be spent in fortification, for fear of disappointing other purposes.
But we think the motion made by the earl of Hertford proceeds of an earnest mind to serve the King and realm; and so we humbly desire the King to take it and to signify the same by letter.
In the second article, concerning the joining of the Border horsemen with Hertford and all returning by land, "albeit, for the doubtfulness of th'enterprise there can be nothing precisely written"——(ends abruptly).
[With the papers ]Another copy 3 down to the end of the fifth article, concluding with a sixth article, viz., that the chief end of this enterprise being to prevent the Scots annoying this realm during the King's absence, it is thought, with the late experience of the falsehood of the Scots, better policy to destroy their victuals and chief places of resort, as Edinburgh and the villages thereabouts, than, upon hostages, which they smally regard, or promises, which are never remembered, to leave their chief town and country unhurt without any other surety than a small fortification which may be lost; whereas, the chief town of Scotland destroyed, there remains a perpetual memory to the renown of the Earl, as ordained to punish the falsehood of the Scots, to their reproach for ever.