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“About this tyme there was a greate feste made yn Lincolnshir, to which came many gentilmen and ladies; and amonge them one lady brought a healme for a man of were, with a very rich creste of gold, to William Marmion, knight, with a letter of commandement of her lady, that he should go into the daungerest place in England, and ther to let the heaulme be seene and known as famous. So he went to Norham; whither within 4 days of cumming cam Philip Moubray, guardian of Berwicke, having yn his bande 40 men of armes, the very flour of men of the Scottish marches. “Thomas Gray, capitayne of Norham, seynge this, brought his garison afore the barriers of the castel, behind whom cam William, richly arrayed, as al glittering in gold, and wearing the heaulme, his lady's present. “Then said Thomas Gray to Marmion, ‘Sir knight, ye be cum hither to fame your helmet: mount up on yor horse, and ryde lyke a valiant man to yowr foes even here at hand, and I forsake God if I rescue not thy body deade or alyve, or myself wyl dye for it.’ “Whereupon he toke his cursere, and rode among the throng of ennemyes; the which layed sore stripes on hym, and pulled hym at the last out of his sadel to the grounde. “Then Thomas Gray, with al the hole garrison, lette prick yn among the Scottes, and so wondid them and their horses, that they were overthrowan; and Marmion, sore beten, was horsidagayn, and, with Gray, persewed the Scottes yn chase. There were taken 50 horse of price; and the women of Nor
ham brought them to the foote men to follow the chase.”
Sir Hugh the Heron bold, Baron of Twisell, and of Ford, And Captain of the Hold.—P. 34. Were accuracy of any consequence in a fictitious narrative, this castellan's name ought to have been William ; for William Heron of Ford, was husband to the famous Lady Ford, whose syren charms are said to have cost our James IV. so dear. Moreover, the said William Heron was, at the time supposed, a prisoner in Scotland, being surrendered by Henry VIII., on account of his share in the slaughter of Sir Robert Ker of Cessford. His wife, represented in the text as residing at the court of Scotland, was, in fact, living in her own castle at Ford.— See Sir Richard Heron's curious Genealogy of the IJeron
The whiles a Northern harper rude
Page 35. This old Northumbrian ballad was taken down from the recitation of a woman eighty years of age, mother of one of the miners in Alston-moor, by an agent for the lead mines there, who communicated it to my friend and correspondent, R. Sur
tees, Esquire, of Mainsforth. She had not, she said, heard it for many years; but when she was a girl, it used to be sung at merry makings, “till the roof rung again.” To preserve this curious, though rude rhyme, it is here inserted. The ludicrous turn given to the slaughter, marks that wild and disorderly state of society, in which a murder was not merely a casual circumstance, but, in some cases, an exceedingly good jest. The structure of the ballad resembles the “Fray of Suport,” having the
Hoot awa', lads, hoot awa',
The auld man went down, but Nicol, his son,
* See Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. I. p. 250. * Pronounced Awbony.
Nicol, and Alick, and a'.
Ane gat a twist o' the craig;4
Janet, thou donot,8
I'll lay my best bonnet,
"Skelp signifies slap, or rather is the same word which was originally spelled schlap.
? Hold their jaw, a vulgar expression still in use.
3 Got stolen or, or were plundered; a very likely termination of the fray.'
4 Neck. 5 Panch. 6 Belly. 7 Bellowing.
8 Silly slut. The Border Bard cails her so, because she was weeping for ber slain husband; a loss which he seems to think might be soon repaired.
In explanation of this ancient ditty, Mr. Surtees has furnished me with the following local memorandum: Willimoteswick, the chief seat of the ancient family of Ridley, is situated two miles above the confluence of the Allon and Tyne. It was a house of strength, as appears from one oblong tower, still in tolerable preservation.” It has been long in possession of the Blacket family. Hardriding Dick is not an epithet referring to horsemanship, but means Richard Ridley, of Hardriding," the seat of another family of that name, which, in the time of Charles I., was sold on account of expenses incurred by the loyalty of the proprietor, the immediate ancestor of Sir Matthew Ridley. Will of the Wa seems to be William Ridley of
* The Bailiff of Haltwhistle secms to have arrived when the fray was over. This supporter of social order is treated with characteristic irreverence by the moss-trooping poet. *An iron pot with two ears. * Willimoteswick was, in prior editions, confounded with Ridley Hall, situated two miles lower on the same side of the Tyne, the hereditary seat of William C. Lowes, Esq. * Ridley, the bishop and martyr, was, according to some authorities, born at Hardriding, where a chair was preserved, called the Bishop's chair. Others, and particularly his biographer and namesake Dr. Glocester Ridley, assign the honour of the martyr's birth to Willimoteswick.