47. A wood in Cumberland, in which Suport is situated.--S.
76. Fergus Grame of Sowport, as one of the chief men of that clan, became security to Lord Scroope for the good behaviour of his friends and dependents, 8th January, 1662.--_Introduction to History of Westmoreland and Cumberland_, p. 111.--S.
87-8. According to the late Glenriddel's notes on this ballad, the office of Captain Bewcastle was held by the chief of the Nixons.
Catlowdie is a small village in Cumberland, near the junction of the Esk and Liddel.--S.
92. This was probably the famous Captain Jack Musgrave, who had charge of the watch along the Cryssop, or Kershope, as appears from the order of the watches appointed by Lord Wharton, when Deputy-Warden-General, in the 6th Edward VI.--S.
"A Bishopric Border song, composed in 1569, taken down from the chanting of George Collingwood the elder, late of Boltsburn, in the neighbourhood of Ryhope, who was interred at Stanhope, the 16th December, 1785.
"Rookhope is the name of a valley about five miles in length; at the termination of which, Rookhope burn empties itself into the river Wear, and is in the north part of the parish of Stanhope, in Weardale.
Rookhope-head is the top of the vale."--RITSON.
The date of the event, says Sir W. Scott, is precisely ascertained to be (not 1569 but) the 6th of December, 1572, when the Tynedale robbers were encouraged to make a foray into Weardale in consequence of the confusion occasioned by the rebellion of Westmoreland and Northumberland.
From Ritson's _Bishopric Garland_ (p. 54), with one or two slight verbal improvements from the _Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, ii.
Rookhope stands in a pleasant place, If the false thieves wad let it be, But away they steal our goods apace, And ever an ill death may they dee!
And so is the men of Thirlwall and Willie-haver,[L5] 5 And all their companies thereabout, That is minded to do mischief, And at their stealing stands not out.
But yet we will not slander them all, For there is of them good enow; 10 It is a sore consumed tree That on it bears not one fresh bough.
Lord God! is not this a pitiful case, That men dare not drive their goods to the fell, But limmer thieves drives them away, 15 That fears neither heaven nor hell?
Lord, send us peace into the realm, That every man may live on his own!
I trust to God, if it be his will, That Weardale men may never be overthrown. 20
For great troubles they've had in hand, With borderers pricking hither and thither, But the greatest fray that e'er they had, Was with the men of Thirlwall and Willie-haver.
They gather'd together so royally, 25 The stoutest men and the best in gear; And he that rade not on a horse, I wat he rade on a weel-fed mear.
So in the morning, before they came out, So weel I wot they broke their fast; 30 In the [forenoon they came] unto a bye fell,[L31]
Where some of them did eat their last.
When they had eaten aye and done, They say'd some captains here needs must be: Then they choosed forth Harry Corbyl, 35 And 'Symon Fell,' and Martin Ridley.
Then o'er the moss, where as they came, With many a brank and whew, One of them could to another say, "I think this day we are men enew. 40
"For Weardale-men is a journey ta'en; They are so far out o'er yon fell, That some of them's with the two earls,[L43]
And others fast in Bernard castell.
"There we shall get gear enough, 45 For there is nane but women at hame; The sorrowful fend that they can make, Is loudly cries as they were slain."[L48]
Then in at Rookhope-head they came, And there they thought tul a had their prey, 50 But they were spy'd coming over the Dry-rig, Soon upon Saint Nicolas' day.[L52]
Then in at Rookhope-head they came, They ran the forest but a mile; They gather'd together in four hours 55 Six hundred sheep within a while.
And horses I trow they gat, But either ane or twa, And they gat them all but ane That belang'd to great Rowley. 60
That Rowley was the first man that did them spy, With that he raised a mighty cry; The cry it came down Rookhope burn, And spread through Weardale hasteyly.
Then word came to the bailiff's house 65 At the East-gate, where he did dwell;[L66]
He was walk'd out to the Smale-burns, Which stands above the Hanging-well.[L68]
His wife was wae when she heard tell, So weel she wist her husband wanted gear; 70 She gar'd saddle him his horse in haste, And neither forgot sword, jack, nor spear.
The bailiff got wit before his gear came, That such news was in the land, He was sore troubled in his heart, 75 That on no earth that he could stand.
His brother was hurt three days before, With limmer thieves that did him prick; Nineteen bloody wounds lay him upon, What ferly was't that he lay sick? 80
But yet the bailiff shrinked nought, But fast after them he did hye, And so did all his neighbours near, That went to bear him company.
But when the bailiff was gathered, 85 And all his company, They were numbered to never a man But forty under fifty.
The thieves was numbered a hundred men, I wat they were not of the worst 90 That could be choosed out of Thirlwall and Willie-haver, [I trow they were the very first.][L92]
But all that was in Rookhope-head, And all that was i' Nuketon-cleugh, Where Weardale-men o'ertook the thieves, 95 And there they gave them fighting eneugh.
So sore they made them fain to flee, As many was 'a'' out of hand, And, for tul have been at home again, They would have been in iron bands. 100
And for the space of long seven years As sore they mighten a' had their lives, But there was never one of them That ever thought to have seen their 'wives.'
About the time the fray began, 105 I trow it lasted but an hour, Till many a man lay weaponless, And was sore wounded in that stour.
Also before that hour was done, Four of the thieves were slain, 110 Besides all those that wounded were, And eleven prisoners there was ta'en.
George Carrick, and his brother Edie, Them two, I wot they were both slain; Harry Corbyl, and Lennie Carrick, 115 Bore them company in their pain.
One of our Weardale-men was slain, Rowland Emerson his name hight; I trust to God his soul is well, Because he 'fought' unto the right. 120
But thus they say'd, "We'll not depart While we have one:--speed back again!"
And when they came amongst the dead men, There they found George Carrick slain.
And when they found George Carrick slain, 125 I wot it went well near their 'heart;'
Lord, let them never make a better end, That comes to play them sicken a 'part.'
I trust to God, no more they shall, Except it be one for a great chance; 130 For God will punish all those With a great heavy pestilence.
Thir limmer thieves, they have good hearts, They nevir think to be o'erthrown; Three banners against Weardale-men they bare, 135 As if the world had been all their own.