“Pardon to those involved in the rebellion of Lord Leonard Dacre” – MS Hunter 3, folio 56

MS Hunter 3, fol.56. Special Collections, Glasgow University Library

MS Hunter 3, fol.56. Special Collections, Glasgow University Library



Catalogue details

Archive reference: MS Hunter 3, fol. 56. Special Collections, Glasgow University Library

Date: March 1569 (March 1570 in fact, see our Transcription Policy for more information on dating issues)

Document details: Signed by Queen Elizabeth. Declaring pardon to those ordinary citizens who rose up in rebellion under Lord Leonard Dacre, following the failure of the Northern Rebellion of 1569.

Transcription policy:  https://huntingrebels.wordpress.com/transcripts/

PDF edition of  Modernised Transcript of fol. 56


MS Hunter 3, fol. 56. Close up of signature.

MS Hunter 3, fol. 56. Close up of signature.


1.  Elizabeth R            By the Queen

2.                                   A proclamation of the Queen’s Majesty’s pardon to certain of her

3.                                   subjects upon the west borders having offended, by Leonard

4.                                   Dacre’s abusing of them, in a rebellion lately strived by him.

5.  The Queen’s Majesty being informed that in a late rebellion attempted by Leonard Dacre in Cumberland, within the West Wardenry upon

6.  the frontiers of Scotland, the greater number of subjects that came to him were abused and falsely allured to aid him, partly for defence of his position

7.  which he had gotten of certain houses whereunto he pretended title, though against the laws of the realm, and partly to withstand certain incursions

8.  that he untruly pretended should be shortly made into those borders by the outlaws of Scotland and the rebels lately fled out of England. And now

9.  since the said Leonard Dacre, contrary to his false persuasions, hath manifestly deceived himself by his traitorous acts to have assembled this power only

10. to make a new rebellion against Her Majesty and the crown of this realm, the multitude of her said poor subjects which were by false and traitorous

11. devices allured to come to him in force and arms without knowledge of his traitorous intents, have most lamentably acknowledged and confessed their errors,

12. and with clamours and outcries have accursed the said Leonard Dacre as a most wicked and pernicious traitor, making the most pitiful intercessions by

13. means of Her Majesty’s right trusty and well-beloved cousin the Lord of Hunsdon, Governor of the town of Berwick, and the Lord Warden of the East Marches towards

14. Scotland, that they might be received to Her Majesty’s mercy and have their pardons with full intent to be hereafter during their lives more careful how to be

15. abused in like manner to assemble and arm themselves upon provocation of any private subject having no offence nor authority under Her Majesty, as indeed

16. that the said Leonard Dacre had none. Hereupon Her Majesty being specially moved by the information of her said cousin the Lord of Hunsdon and also of

17. the Lord Scrope, her warden upon the same West borders, as well as of the abuse and errors of her said subjects as of their repentance (amongst whom

18. to Her Majesty’s great comfort no gentleman of blood and estimation hath been as yet found to have offended) hath been pleased to extend her mercy in this sort

19. following: That it shall be lefull for all her said subjects which in this rebellion were in company with the said Leonard Dacre, or any wise attending

20. or assisting him with the xixth and xxth of the last month of February, to return to their habitations and dwelling places. And immediately assume as they

21. may, to give knowledge to the Lord Warden of the said West Marches or to the Sheriff of any of the shires where their habitations were before their

22. offences, or to such Inferior Officers as they shall appoint for that purpose. And thereupon Her Majesty willith and commandith that no manner of officer

23. or other person shall molest them in their persons, goods, chattels or lands for their assisting and aiding of the said Leonard Dacre in his said treason.

24. So as every such person, after notice given to the said Lord Warden, Sheriff or their ministers, shall by direction of them submit themselves to

25. such orders as by them shall be notified for recognition of their offences. And so consequently every of them shall have and every of their pardons

26. from Her Majesty when so ever they shall sue for the same in the Chancery. Provided always that this Her Majesty’s pardon shall not extend by any

27. construction to the said Leonard Dacre nor any of his brethren, nor to any that did before offend in the late rebellion with the two Earls of Northumberland

28. and Westmoreland, nor to any Justices of Peace, Constables, Reeves or Bailiffs or towns or Land Sergeants. Nor to any that at the publication of this

29. proclamation shall be in prison detained for this rebellion. Nor to any persons that shall be by the Lord Warden of the West Borders thought for their

30. wilful and contemptuous behaviour in this rebellion, or for lack of their due repentance, unworthy of this mercy. So as the names of the said persons

31. so to be thought unworthy be in writing set up to be read and openly seen at the market cross of Carlisle, or other market towns in the said

32. wardenry the day of the publication hereof. And because the unworthiness of the said traitor Leonard Dacre may in some part the more appear

33. to such as be ignorant thereof , Her Majesty content it to be understood that she hath been by the goodness of her nature abused by the two late Earls of Northum –

34. berland and Westmoreland, so was she even in the beginning of the said earls’ rebellion contented upon suit made by the said Leonard Dacre (notwithstanding

35. she had heard that he had been the sower before secretly conversant with the said earls) to admit him at Windsor to her presence. Where being privately with

36. herself he made offers of his service against the said earls being then proclaimed traitors. And most earnestly requested Her Majesty therein to commit trust

37. to him as a most faithful subject and servant. Using many kinds of speeches not without assurances by oaths to provoke Her Majesty not only to offer

38. him her favour but to commit to him charge to repair into the place where he now committed this treason and there to join with her warden in service

39. against the said earls. According whereunto he departed in all haste. And (as hath been since discovered to Her Majesty) did then immediately in his journey,

40. coming near the rebels, renew his former conspiracies by secret comforting the said rebels with promises of aid of money and men. Using for now

41. credit the names of princes’ ambassadors. And after that conspired with them by letters and messages under colour of gathering of force for service of

42. Her Majesty to have traitorously destroyed the Lord Scrope in the field, and to have taken the city and castle of Carlisle and there to have murdered

43. the bishop. And not being able to compass the same as he desired, seeing the two earls forced to fly the realm, he sent messages and letters

44. of his own hand (which are extant to be seen) to certain in Scotland requiring favour to be shown to the said earls. And promising (as soon as he could

45. find time) to show himself as open friend to them. And so did he manifestly and traitorously perform the same, by fortifying the castle of Naworth

46. with men, munition and vitell, by assembling the Queen’s Majesty’s subjects with firing of beacons, and in the end finding his power increased with

47. great number of Scots, did enter into the plain field against the Queen’s Majesty’s power under the conduct of the Lord of Hunsdon. Which when he

48. would have vanquished (as he certainly accompted that he might by reason of his great numbers) he was forced like a traitor to fly. And all his

49. own power vanquished by the justice of Almighty God assisting Her Majesty’s Wardens of her East and Middle Marches, being in number far

50. inferior, but in the goodness of the cause far superior. And of them through God’s goodness very few were hurt. Whereof it is good for all persons to

51. take example, and to beware how they shall follow the lewd persuasions of any other in causes unjust against their Sovereign Lady, being by

52. Almighty God’s (as is manifestly seen) ordained to be the superior and vanquished of all wicked persons and their attempts. Given at the Queen’s

53. Majesty’s honour of Hampton Court, the fourth day of March 1569. In the twelfth year of Her Majesty’s reign.

54.                                          God save the Queen.



MS Hunter 3, fol. 56. Special Collections, Glasgow University Library. Zoom view of bold text.

MS Hunter 3, fol. 56. Special Collections, Glasgow University Library. Zoom view of bold text.

Accompted: to reason or reckon on something

Chancery: The court of the Lord Chancellor of England, the highest court of judicature next to the House of Lords; but, since the Judicature Act of 1873, a division of the High Court of Justice. [Oxford English Dictionary (OED) http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/view/Entry/30441?redirectedFrom=chancery#eid, last accessed 03/11/2014]

chattels: property, goods or money. In earlier use chattel stood to mean cattle which isn’t surprising since for many people livestock would have made up much, if not all, of their property or financial capital.  [See the OED http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/view/Entry/30963?redirectedFrom=chattel#eid, last accessed 03/11/2014]

constables: a military officer or an officer of the peace, similar to the Justice of the Peace. Often constables were governors or wardens of royal fortresses or castles.

East, Middle, West Marches: the border between England and Scotland was split into these three marches for administrative purposes with each having their own warden. By splitting the border into three marches, security was increased since it was not left to one warden to patrol a large area of land.

Inferior Officers: officers appointed by various wardens, governors etc.

Justice of the Peace: officers of the law. The position was much sought thanks to the influence it provided the keeper of this office in their jurisdictions.

Land sergeants: the steward of an estate.

lefull: can mean faithful or lawful

Leonard Dacre: Dacre (1533-1573) was brother of Thomas Dacre, 4th Baron Dacre. He was supportive of Mary, Queen of Scots and initially supported the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland in their rebellion. However he later betrayed them and refused to allow them access to Naworth Castle when they fled north. He went on to trick Queen Elizabeth I into allowing him to return north to raise a force against the rebels. Once returned north however he once again supported the earls. He later fled to Scotland after being defeated by Lord Hunsdon in battle. From there he reached Flanders and like many other exiled Catholics succeeded in receiving a pension from Phillip II of Spain.

Lord of Hunsdon: Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526-1596). Hunsdon was Queen Elizabeth’s cousin since his mother Mary Boleyn, was Anne Boleyn’s (Elizabeth’s mother) sister. He had various appointments throughout Elizabeth’s reign and was also the patron of William Shakespeare’s playing company. He was appointed Lieutenant General of the royal forces during the Northern Rebellion of 1569 and defeated a second rebel force led by Leonard Dacre despite being outnumbered.

Lord Scrope: Henry Scrope, 9th Baron Scrope of Bolton (1534-1592). Scrope was Captain of Carlisle during the Northern Rebellion of 1569 and helped to hunt down the rebels as they fled into Scotland. Mary, Queen of Scots was held at his Yorkshire home, Bolton Castle, when she first arrived in England in 1568.

Naworth: Naworth Castle is in Cumbria and was the seat of the Barons Dacre. It is still occupied by the Earls of Carlisle today. Leonard Dacre claimed Naworth Castle and fortified it during his rebellion.

Reeves: an official of high rank, similar to the position of Sheriff in that reeves could collect royal revenues and administer justice.

vitell: archaic spelling of victual meaning provisions i.e. food and supplies that are necessary during the fortification or defence of a castle, fortress or anywhere under siege.

“whereunto he prentended title…”: Leonard Dacre’s nephew George Dacre, 5th Baron Dacre was killed whilst a youngster and since he was heir to the Dacre estates this inheritance passed to his three sisters who were wards of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Leonard Dacre was unhappy that this inheritance passed to the three girls and especially riled that the control of the inheritance was held by the Duke of Norfolk. Here the reference is to his pretence that he was the holder of the patrimony of the Dacres as well as to him claiming great houses such as Naworth Castle, which were ancestral estates of the Dacres but not lawfully his to hold.



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