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MEMORIE OF THE SOMERVILLES,
For this young
part of ther father's estate, because he had This book was published last year brother's sone named Patrick, whom he de
no male children of his oune bodie but a from the original MS. in the posses- signed to have marryed upon his eldest sion of the present Lord Somerville. daughter, and given him the greatest part It is the composition of his ancestor, of his lands eftir his death ; but the misJames Somerville, who died in the carriage of his eldest daughter, which had year 1690,–who is styled in the title a tragicall end, frustrated all his hope and page, James Eleventh Lord Somer- expectatione that way. ville, but who in reality never found lady, as she was beautifull, inclyneing to it convenient, in the low state to which melanchollie, appeared to be very devote the affairs of his family were then re
in observeing strictly all rites and ceremo
nies of religion then in use, wherby it came duced, to assume any higher designa, to passe, frequenting much the abbacie of tion than that of the “ Laird of Drum.” Newbottle, she became acquainted with a His father was an officer of consider. young monk of the Sistertian order, or the able eminence in the Scottish army refyned Benedicts, belonging to that abduring the civil wars, but the author bacie ; who having insinuated himself much himself is of a different way of thinke in her favour under ane specious pretext of ing, being indeed a great stickler for holyness, did often converse with this lady the Divine right both of kings and of in her most private retirements, both in the
abbacie and at her father's house in Gillbishops. He is, notwithstanding, a
mertoune, without the least suspicione that very worthy sort of person, and gives he intended any villanie; but this rascal, good advice to his children, for whose by his divellish rhetorick and allurements, benefit only he professes to write, in a soe far prevailled upon the simplicitie of manner that does him much honour. this gentlewoman, that at lenth he deboshed
The history of the Somerville fami- her; and because he thought nether the ly, during the first ages of its appear
abbacie nor her father's house to be safe for apce in Scotland, is extremely inac
their intrigues of love, they agreed their curate ; dates and facts are often jum- meeting should be at a little ferme belongbled in a most absurd manner; and ing to John Herring, called the Grange, a
quarter of a myle or therby from Gillmerindeed nothing can be more uninter
toune, near by the road that leads to Newesting than both the subject and the bottle. The mistress of this country-house manner of this whole part of the work. being a young and a lascivious widow, some When, however, the author comes to tyme before hade been ensnared, and playtreat of events more near his own time, ed the wanton with his comerad; this house or when he favours us with the result was therfore thought the most convenient of his own reflections upon any gene
for them to meet at, which they often did, ral topic, there is commonly a consi- sione, and dishonour of the women, espe,
to the great scandal of the monkes' profesderable admixture both of shrewdness cially of the young ladie, which occasioned and naivete. Some of the anecdotes all ther ruines in the end. For, notwithwhich he relates are, moreover, singu- standing of the secresie of this affair, and larly picturesque, and for this reason circumspectione for appoynting fitt hours we have thought fit to present our
for their deeds of darkness, yet there was readers with a few of the most inter some suspicione from the too much familie esting passages.
aritie betwext Sir John's daughter and this The first which we shall extract is
woman soe far below her qualitie ; ther ofthe history of a domestic tragedy,
which her house, gave occasione of scandal to all ;
ten being together, and the frequenting of occurred in the reign of King Robert which coming to Sir John's ears, being a II. and about the year 1371. The forward and furious man, he threatened his story is told with much feeling, and daughter with noe lesse than death, if ever requires no commentary.
it came to his knowledge that she went to - Much about the beginning of this king's the Grange, or frequented that woman's reigne, ther happened a sad accident in the companie eftirwards. This she promised familie of Sir John Harring, laird of Ed. to her father to observe, but with noe in. mondstcune in Clidesdale, and of Gillmer- tentione to keep the same ; for no sooner toune in Mid Lothian. This gentleman was the darkness of the ensueing night haveing two beautifull daughters, the eldest come, but at her accustomed hour she goes named Margaret, and the youngest Geilles, out at the back entry that leads to the both in expectatione to be sharers in a great Grange, where the two brothers in iniquitie
had aryved some tyme before, to whom, postscript of the letter, he reads Speares and eftir ther dalliance, she imparts her father's Jacks instead of Speates and Raxes : wheresuspitione and terrible threatenings against upon my lady, all amazed, without consiher, which these gallants litle regarded, dering her husband's ordinary forme of protesting that they would make her father wrytting, falles a-weeping, supposeing her doe penance for that very suspitione, little lord had fallen at variance with some about dreameing that they themselves was soe the court, the king beginning about this neer destructione, for that very night all of tyme to discountenance his ancient nobilitie, them was brought to their end by a cruell and they again to withdraw both their affecrevenge ; for Sir John, missing his daugh- tiones and due alledgeance from him. Efter ter out of her chamber, concluded where the reading of the letter, James Inglis of she was, and went presently to the place Eistscheill was presently sent for, and comwith two of his domesticks, where finding mandement given to him and the officers, the doors of the house shut, and noe answear that all the vassalles, with the able tennents made to his demands, nor the doors opened that wer within the two barronies of Carnnotwithstanding of his threatenings, in a wath, Cambusnethen, and baillzierie of rage he sets fyre to the thatch with a (torch] Carstairs, should be ready with their horse his servant caryed, which immediately (the and armes to wait upon William Cleilland wind being somewhat high) set the wholl of that ilk be eight in the morning the enonsteed in a fyre, and burned it downe to suing day, and that in order to ther going the ground.* Ther perished in the Aame for Edinburgh. This command being puncand ruines above eight or nine persons ; for tually observed by the vassalles and the which cruell act, as it was highly aggravat substantiall tennents that wer in use, and ed in all the horrible circumstances by the obleidged to ryde, by ther holdings and churchmen then in being, this poor gentle- tackes, upon such occasions, they conveened man was forced to flee the country for a to the number of two hundred, with the tyine, his estate being forefaulted by the laird of Cleilland, and William Chancellor
of Quathquan, with the Baillzie upon ther The next extract relates to the visit heads. * By eleven. a clock they were adpaid by King James III. to the Lord vanced in ther journey for Edinburgh to Somerville
, at his castle of Cowthally, the side of that hill that is somewhat bewest near Carnwath, in the month of July fasted by nyne in the morning, had taken 1474.
horse, and was come the lenth of that little “ At which tyme the king, being dis watter a myle on this syde of the Corsettposed to take his pleasure at the poutting in hill, bussie, even then, at his sport upon Calder and Carnwath Muires, he acquaintes the rode, when the first of all the little the Lord Somervill with his resolutione, company that was with him observed the who, by accident, was then at court; his advance of a troope of men, with ther majestie being pleased withall to shew him lances, within a myle of him, or thereby. he was resolved for some dayes to be his Whereupon, all astonished, he calles hastily guest. Wherupon the Lord Somervill im for the Lord Somervill, who, being at some mediately despatches ane expresse to Cow. distance, came upon the spurre. The king thally (who knew nothing of the king's being of ane hastie nature, in great fury journey), with a letter to his lady, Dame demanded what the matter meaned, and if Maria Baillzie, wherein, according to his he had a mynde to betray him, and seize ordinary custome when any persones of upon his person the second tyme by ane qualitie wer to be with him, he used to other treacherous hunting : and withall wryte in the postscript of his letters, Speates swearing his head should pay for it, if he and Raxes ; and in this letter he had re himself escaped the hands of these traitors, doubled the same words, because of the ex who could be noe other but his vassalles traordinary occasione and worthyness of his and followers, brought
togither off purpose guest. This letter being delyvered, and the for some ill designe. The Lord Somervill, messenger withall telling his lord was very without making any reply, immediately pressing, that it might be speedily and se castes himself from his horse to the ground, curely put in her ladyship's hands, -where- and falles upon his knees, protesting, with upon she hastily breakes it up, commanding many solemn oaths, that he understood not the stewart to read the same, because she what the matter meaned, nor what the could read non herself. This gentleman company was, nor the cause of ther being being but lately entered to his service, and in yonder ploce; therefore he humblie unacquainted with his lord's hand and cus begged of his majestie that he would allow tome of wrytting, when he comes to the him to goe see what they wer, friends or
foes; and, for securitie, he had with him * Gilmerton Grange, where this tragedy his eldest sone and heir, William, barrone was acted, is near the village of Gilmerton, of Carnwath : iff all was not weill, and his about four miles from Edinburgh. It is majestie safe from all hazard, he desyred till called by the old people Burntdole, that his son's head may be strucken off rom that singular and melancholy event, fwhich is well remembered in the vicinage.
* i. e, at their head.
upon the place. This the king acceptes, discoursed of then, as it is to this day aand commands him to ryde up and discover mongst persons of qualitie; for of late the what they wer, and the intent of ther being Duke of Lauderdale, when he was comther ; and, according as he found occasione, missioner, at a full table of the greatest part to returne or give a signe for his retireing. of the nobilitie in Scotland, then dyneing
In the meantyme, his majestie, with his with him, related the wholl story almost in traine, being about twentieth horse, placed the same termes that I have set it doune. themselves upon the hight of the muir, to The king being come to Cowthally, he had marke the Lord Somervill's goeing, and the his entertainement great, and his welcome carriage of the horsemen they beheld, who heartie, albeit my Lady Somervill was somenow made ane halt, when they first ob- what out of countenance, all the discourse served the king's company, not knowing being anent the Speares and Jackes, which what they wer; but seeing them draw to the king could not forget, thinking it both gither, they apprehended they wer a good sport and ane easy mistake, because friends ; thairfore they resolved to advance of the neer spelling and sounding of the noe further, seeing a horseman comeing up words; and withall, his majestie was please to them with all the speed he could make, ed highly to commend the Lady Someruntil they knew for what intent he came. vill's love and respect to her husband, in The Lord Somervill was yet at some dis- being so active and diligent to conveen tance, when he was presently knoune by soe quickly her husband's friends and fol. severall of the company to be ther lord and lowers, in case ther had been any necessitie master; whereupon the laird of Cleilland, for them, telling my lady that he hoped and William Chancellor of Quathquan, she would use the same care and diligence galloped out to meet him. He was not a to conveen her lord's followers when he litle surprized when he saw them, and de. should call him and them to his service.” manded the occasione that had brought
In the next passage we have a cuthem togither in that posture and number. To which they answeared, It was by his rious view of the interior of the same lordship’s directione and his laddye's com
baronial residence during a visit of mand : that they wer comeing to Edinburgh James V. to waitt upon him, fearing he had fallen at “ The divertisement his majestie had variance and feed with some one or other without doores was halking ; being now in about the court. He desyred to see the the midle of Jully, the poutes wer for flight letter. They told him the Baillzie had it. whereof they killed many: these fields, not By this time they wer joined to the com- being sve much laboured then as now, yieldpany, where, calling for the letter, he made ed great store, which was the cause the king the same to be read, where ther was no resorted thither afterward when he mynded such directione nor orders given as they his sport ; but the recreatione he received pretended. He enquired who read the in the fields gave him nosuch content as what letter to his lady; they answered, his new he had within doores with the ladyes, who, stewart; who being present, was commanded seeing the young king amorously inclyned, to read it again, which he did ; and come. allowed him all the liberty that in honour ing to the postcript, reads Spears and he could requyre, or ther modesty permitt. Jacks, instead of Speates and Raxes; and “ Amongst all the ladyes that was there, herein lay the mistake, that the Lord So he fancyed non soe much as Katherine Carmervill knew not whether to laugh or be michaell, the captain of Craufuird's daugh. angry at the fellow. But mynding the fear ter, a young lady much about sexteinth he left the king in, and what apprehensiones years of age, admired for her beautie, handand jealousies his majestie might intertaine somenes of persone, and vivacity of spirit, upon his long communing with them, he whereby she attracted all eyes that beheld commanded that they should depart every her, but soe strongly the king's, that most man to their respective dwellings : and he of his discourse was with her, and he took himself, with the laird of Cleilland and it ill when he was interrupted, soe that all severall other gentlemen returned to the the ladyes and noblemen that was present king, who remained still upon the same took notice thereof, and gave way to his place where he had parted from him ; unto majestie's courting. I know ther was some whom being come he relates the wholl story, malitious tongues then, as there is not a whereat the king laughed heartily, calles few to this day, affirmes that it was at this for a sight of the letter, and reades it him. tyme, and in Cowthally-house, that the king self, swearing it was noe great mistake, for first procured this ladye's private favoures ; he might have been guiltie of that error but, by ther leave, it is a great mistake, and himself. His majestie having given back a most malitious calumnie ; for, albeit it the letter, it went from hand to hand a be true it was at this wedding he first mongst these few courtiers that was there, saw this young lady, and did affect her ex. as they proceeded on their journey, the let- tremely, beginning then his intrigues of ter itself containing noe matter of any con- love, yet had he noe opportunity allowed sequence but a naked compliment the Lord him to obtaine that which he aftirward re. Somervill had written to his lady. This is ceaved att the castle of Crawfuird, her fathat story of the Speates and Raxes so much ther's house. The Lady Somervill being
both virtuous and wise, observing the king's a table, and had soe provident a lady, that passione, commanded two of Cambusne- upon all occasiones gave evidence of an exthan's daughters, and as many of her oune, cellent house-wife. The Lord Somervill being then girles about eleven years of age, told the king, he was only sorry he had not in whom the king took likewayes delight to advertisement of his majesties comeing, discourse with, never to leave the roume, that himself and his friends might have unless Mistress Katherine Carmichaell came waited upon him ; but he was soon made with them, the which they particularly ob to understand the king's comeing incognito, served. But to put this beyond all cavill, and would admitt of noe more company this same lady being efterward marryed up save himself and other two besyde these that on young Cambusnethen, acknowledged came with him. By his, and some other her mother-in-law, that it was neer a year circumstances, he guessed some part of the efter she saw the king att Cowthally before king's earand, who, dureing supper, asked his majestie obtained any favour from her, severall questions at the Lord Somervill but what in civillitie she might have given (standing behind his chair) anent the Capto any persone of honour; and doubtlesse, taine of Crawfuird, his qualitie, condition, if it had been otherways, the Lady Cambus- and what he might have in estate, and by nethen would have divulged quickly the his office. Wherein being resolved soe far same to the prejudice of my Lord Somer as my lord knew, the king took occasione ville's familie, to which she had no great first to regrate the meannesse of his fortune, lykeing, notwithstanding of their late sub and the smallnesse of his sallary; and efter missione to the king, and the civilitie they some spaces, began to praise his daughter's paid to each other, because of ther neer re- breeding and beautie with some transport, latione.
lenth insinuate as much by his discourse “ This marriage being over, the king that he would see to the bettering of the fawent for Stirling, being waited upon by the ther's estate and advancement of the daughLord Somerville there some few dayes; and ter. Eftir supper the king held a long disnow being to retourne to his oune house, course with the Lady Somervill in his oune he comes to kisse his majestie's hand. The bed-chamber, which was named efter him king told him, with a kynde and pleasant so long as the house remained in its incountenance, the great intertainement and tegrity. What the import of ther discourse fair company he left att Cowthally made was these that wer present did but guesse, him resolve ere long for another visit, hope- for they stood at some distance ; however, ing he should be wellcome. Haveing it appeared that the king was very pressing said this, and raiseing him from his knee, to obtaine some promise of her, which, with the Lord Somervill replyed, what he had at much civilite, she begged his majestie par. present was by his majesties favour, and done; and at length somewhat loud, of the bounty of his royall predecessors, con purpose to be heard, and to be free from ferred upon him, and his forebearers, of the king's importunity, spoke thus, “Sir, which he was ever myndefull, and therfore her father's house is much fitter, where your was obleidged, as a duetifull subject, to ate majestie may expect kynde wellcome, being tend his majesties pleasure in all things, proprietar of the same, in honouring that haveing been soe highly honoured by his familie with your royall presence. Upon royall presence at his daughter's marriage, which the king called the Lady Carmichaell that was beyond all expressione of thankes that was next to them, and said, “Your Upon this he retired, haveing receaved the neighbour here, the Lady Somervill, is the particular thankes of all these noblemen and most courteous, or rather most scrupulous, gentlemen that attended the king during persone under heaven for another concerne ; his residence att Cowthally. Being return but I will have my revenge in being often ed, he lived at home untill the latter end of her guest, to eat up all the beef and pudSeptember. Upon Saturnes day, at night, ding too of this country).'. the king lighted att his house with Robert “ Airly upon the Sabbath the king causBartone, who was in speciall favour with ed the Lord Somervill send a horseman to him, and efterwards made thesaurer; James Craufuird castle, to advertise the captaine Hamilton of Finhard, who likewayes be- he would be there against night; and withfore his death was thesaurer, and lykewayes all, forbade to make any great provisione, master of the king's works ; Oliver Sinseing his traine would not exceed a duzone. clair, a brother of the house of Rosseline; This advertisement was soe unexpected and Sir David Lindsay of the Mount ; * short, that the captaine knew not what to
* and John Tennant, (efterward Laird think of it; however, he caused putt all of Cairness) a domestick and wairdropper to things in the best order that might be, and the king, who personated (four years after prepared for the king's coming. But ther this) his majestie, as he travelled incog was non soe much surprized with the news nito through France in suite of his queen. as the young lady, the captaine's daughter, These, with other seven, wer only his ma who, suspecting the king's earrand from jesties retinue when he came to Cowthally. what she had met with from him at the This surprizeall might have startled any marriage in Cowthally, she could have wishother albeit good housekeepers, but was alled herself not only out of her father's house one to this lord, that keeped soe plentifull but out of the world. Soe much terrour
and affrightment did seize upon her persone, or if you doe, you must not divulge it, unthat she knew not what to resolve on. Some lesse you be desperately resolved to forfault tymes she thought it fitt to acquaint her fa- both your life and fortune to the fury of ther and mother with her feares; and then ther amoures. Besydes these inducements, againe, without acquainting them with her and her father's interest, she might have thoughts, to slip doune to Lamingtoune. before her eyes the example of Elizabeth house, or the toune of Douglasse. But as Moore, Rowallane's daughter, who bare to modesty tyed up her tongue from the first, King Robert the Second three sones, long soe the shortness of tyme, and (the want of) before her marriage ; and at lenth, notane handsome pretext, hindered the later, withstanding of the king's haveing two sons for it was not possible to have keeped the in marriage by the Earle of Rosse's
daughter, knowledge of her removeall that day from she dying, and herself taken to be his queen, the king, which might have incensed him her sones was reputed and declared righteous exceedingly against her father, the greatest successores to the crowne, and that by conpart of whose fortune was mostly at that sent of Parliament. tyme at the king's disposeing, as heretable “ These reasones, with the splendent askeeper of the castle of Craufuird. Thus, pect of royall majestie, backed with a soveunresolved what to doe, or how to carry to- raigne power, might prevaill much upon this wards the king, great trouble of spirit, innocent lady, and inclyne her to a compoor lady, she remained in a carelesse dresse plyance, as not weill knowing how to refuise untill his majestie's arryveall.
the kynde offeres of soe obleidgeing a prince, “ The king, haveing breakfasted and the effects whereof, in four yeares tyme, heard messe att the colledge church of Carn. made her mother of two boyes and ane wath, made foirward on his journey to the daughter to the king." castle of Craufuird, being accompanyed with non but the Lord Somervill, and these few The reader will observe in what a he brought from Edinburgh with him. He style of courtly submission the author was mett by the captaine of Craufuird with talks of the insult offered by the royal some horsemen, some few myles on this side of the castle, with whom he discoursed Lady Somerville, and to the Captain of
visitor, both to his own ancestor the familiarly untill ther arryveal at the house, Crawfurd's family. In several posterior where his majestie was receaved at the by the lady and two of her daughters. What passages we find hints of the manner entertainement his majestie receaved from in which he regarded this sort of royal the captaine and his lady, and kyndenesse condescension. The ladies so honourfrom ther beautifull daughter upon his ed seem to be not a whit more contaamorouse addresse to her, is noe part of that minated by it his eyes, than they which I have in hand ; yet I am apt to be were in those of his kinsman, the Laird lieve, from severall circumstances and papers oï Cambusnethan, who married sucthat I have seen, that this interview proceeded noe farther than to useher the way,
cessively two concubines of James V. and give opportunitie to these more partie « very much illustrate the family
These ladies, according to one passage, cular and privat favoures his majestie receaved eftirward from this lady in the same and in another we are told, that their house. Whatever wer the intysing motives husband “was a plain country genthat prevailled over her vertue, and brought tleman, and an excellent housekeeper, her to the king's embracement, was best happy in both his marriages for beauknoune to herself; and although noe act of tiffull and vertuous ladies. Vol. 2. this nature be warrantable before God, yet
A second long digression is much may be said to take off the reproach, and justifie her to the world. It was her made in another place, in vindication king, not a subject, that made love to her ;
of the character of one of them, and a gallant young prince, for persone and parts
the noble author concludes in these the world then had not the better, laying words“ Thus far have I digressed asyde his dignitie and that supreme orbe in vindication of this excellent lady, wherein he moved. One of meaner degree, that it may appear it was neither her with half of these qualifications wherewith choyse, nor any vitious habit that this royall king was indued, might have vailled over her chastity, but ane ine
preprevailed much upon the budding affectiones of a tender virgin, unacquainted with viteable fate that the strongest resistthe blandishments of great ones and the en
ance could scarcely withstand."-Vol. tertainements of a royal court, whereinto
1. p. 388-anticipating, as the Editor your court ladyes are soe accustomed to ad has already observed, the indulgent dresses of persones of eminency, that they maxim of Prior, can putt off or conferre ther private favores as ther interest or inclinatione leades them ; “ That when weak women go astray and yet if they trip, you shall not knowe it, Their stars are more in fault than they."