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ed 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 Heron Family.
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 the agent for the lead mines there, who communicated it to my friend and correspondent, R. Surtees, 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 same irregular stanza and wild chorus.
* See Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. I. p. 250.
Hoot awa', lads, hoot awa',
There was Willimoteswick,
And Hardriding Dick,
I canno' tell a', I canno' tell a',
And he run, and he run,
And afore they were done,
Nicol, and Alick, and a'.
1 Pronounced Awbony.
2 Skelp signifies slap, or rather is the same word which was originally spelled schlap.
3 Hold their jaw, a vulgar expression still in use.
Hoot, hoot, the auld man's slain outright!
Janet, thou donot, 5
I'll lay my best bonnet,
Tak’ up the dead man, and lay him anent the bigging;
That sup'd up the broo', and syne in the piggin.7
In explanation of this ancient ditty, Mr Surtees has fure nished me with the following local memorandum: Willimoteswick, now more commonly called Ridley Hall, is si
3 Belly. 4 Bellowing. 5 Silly slut. The Border Bard calls her so, because she was weeping for her slain husband; a loss which he seems to think might be soon repaired.
6 The Bailiff of Haltwhistle seems 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.
tuated at the confluence of the Allon and Tyne, and was the chief seat of the ancient family of Ridley. 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 expences incurred by the loyalty of the proprietor, the immediate ancestor of Sir Matthew Ridley. Will of the Wa' seems to be William Ridley of Walltown, so called from its situation on the great Roman wall. Thirlwall Castle, whence the clan of Thirlwalls derived their name, is situated on the small river of Tippell, near the western boundary of Northumberland. It is near the wall, and takes its name from the rampart having been thirled, i. e. pierced, or breached, in its vicinity. Featherston Castle lies south of the Týne, towards Alston-moor. Albany Featherstonhaugh, the chief of that ancient family, made a figure in the reign of Edward VI. A feud did certainly exist between the Ridleys and Featherstones, productive of such consequences as the ballad narrates. 24 Oct. 22do Henrici Svi. Inquisitio capt. apud Hautwhistle, sup. visum corpus Alexandri Featherston, Gen. apud Grensilhaugh, felonice interfecti, 22 Oct. per Nicolaum Ridley de Unthanke, Gen. Hugon Ridle, Nicolaum Ridle, et alios ejusdem nominis. Nor were the Featherstones without their revenge ; for 36to Henrici 8vi, we have—Utlagatio Nicolai Fetherston, ac Thome Nyxson, fc. fc. pro homicidio Willmi. Ridle de Morale.
Then did I march with Surrey's power,
What time we razed old Ayton tower.-P. 40. The story of Perkin Warbeck, or Richard, Duke of York, is well known. In 1496, he was received honourably in Scotland ; and James IV., after conferring upon him in marriage his own relation, the Lady Catharine Gordon, made war on England in behalf of his pretensions. To retaliate an invasion of England, Surrey advanced into Berwickshire at the head of considerable forces, but retreated after taking the inconsiderable fortress of Ayton. Ford, in his Dramatic Chronicle of Perkin Warbeck, makes the most of this inroad :
SURREY. Are all our braying enemies shrunk back;
Hid in the fogges of their distempered climate,