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In single fight.- P. 128. It may easily be supposed, that trial by single combat, so peculiar to the feudal system, was conimon on the Borders. In 1558, the well-known Kirkaldy of Grange fought a duel with Ralph Evre, brother to the then Lord Evre, in consequence of a dispute about a prisoner said to have been ill treated by the Lord Evre. Pitscottie gives the following account of the affair : “ The Lord of Ivers his brother provoked William Kircaldy of Grange to fight with him, in single combat, on horseback, with spears; who, keeping the appointment, accompanied with Monsieur d'Ossel, lieutenant to the French king, and the garrison of Haymouth, and Mr Ivers, accompanied with the governor and garrison of Berwick, it was discharged, under the pain of treason, that any man should come near the champions within a flight-shot, except one man for either of them, to bear their spears, two trumpets, and two lords to be judges. When they were in readiness, the trumpets sounded, the heraulds cried, and the judges let them go. Then they encountered very fiercely ; but Grange struck his spear through his adversary's shoulder, and bare him off his horse, being sore wounded : But whether he died, or not, it is uncertain."-P. 202.
The following indenture will shew at how late a period the trial by combat was resorted to on the Border, as a proof of guilt or innocence :
“ It is agreed between Thomas Musgrave and Lancelot Carleton, for the true trial of such controversies as are be
twixt them, to have it openly tried by way of combat, before God and the face of the world, to try it in Canonbyholme, before England and Scotland, upon Thursday in Easter-week, being the eight day of April next ensuing, A.D. 1602, bet wixt nine of the clock, and one of the same day, to fight on foot, to be armed with jack, steel cap, plaite sleeves, plaite breaches, plaite sockes, two basleard swords, the blades to be one yard and half a quarter of length, two Scotch daggers, or dorks, at their girdles, and either of them to provide armour and weapons for themselves, according to this indenture. Two gentlemen to be appointed, on the field, to view both the parties, to see that they both be equal in arms and weapons, according to this indenture; and being so viewed by the gentlemen, the gentlemen to ride to the rest of the company, and to leave them but two boys, viewed by the gentlemen, to be under sixteen years of age, to hold their horses. In testimony of this our agreement, we have both set our hands to this indenture, of intent all matters shall be made so plain, as there shall be no question to stick upon that day. Which indenture, as a witness, shall be delivered to two gentlemen. And for that it is convenient the world should be privy to every particular of the grounds of the quarrel, we have agreed to set it down in this indenture betwixt us, that, knowing the quarrel, their eyes may be witness of the trial.
The Grounds of the Quarrel. “ 1. Lancelot Carleton did charge Thomas Musgrave before the lords of her Majesty's privy council, that Lancelot Carleton was told by a gentleman, one of her ma. jesty's sworn servants, that Thomas Musgrave had offered to deliver her majesty's castle of Bewcastle to the King of Scots; and to witness the same, Lancelot Carleton had a letter under the gentleman's own hand for his discharge.
66 2. He chargeth him, that whereas her majesty doth yearly bestow a great fee upon him, as Captain of Bew. castle, to aid and defend her majesty's subjects therein ;
Thomas Musgrave hath neglected his duty, for that her majesty's castle of Bewcastle was by him made a den of thieves, and an harbour and receipt for murderers, felons, and all sorts of misdemeanors. The precedent was Quintin Whitehead and Runion Blackburne.
“ 3. He charged him, that his office of Bewcastle is open for the Scotch to ride in and through, and small resistance made by him to the contrary.
" Thomas Musgrave doth deny all this charge; and saith, that he will prove that Lancelot Carleton doth falsely bely him, and will prove the same by way of combat, according to this indenture. Lancelot Carleton hath entertained the challenge ; and so, by God's permission, will prove it true as before, and hath set his hand to the same. (Signed) “ THOMAS MUSGRAVE.
" LANCELOT CARLETON.”
Note XXII. He, the jovial Harper.-P. 132. The person here alluded to, is one of our ancient Bor. der minstrels, called Rattling Roaring Willie. This
soubriquet was probably derived from his bullying disposition ; being, it would seem, such a roaring boy, as is frequently mentioned in old plays. While drinking at Newmill, upon Teviot, about five miles above Hawick, Willie chanced to quarrel with one of his own profession, who was usually distinguished by the odd name of Sweet Milk, from a place on Rule water so called. They retired to a meadow on the opposite side of the Teviot, to decide the contest with their swords, and Sweet Milk was killed on the spot. A thorn-tree marks the scene of the murder, which is still called Sweet Milk Thorn. Willie was taken and executed at Jedburgh, bequeathing his name to the beautiful Scotch air, called “ Rattling Roaring Willie.” Ramsay, who set no value on traditionary lore, published a few verses of this song in the TeaTable Miscellany, carefully suppressing all which had any connexion with the history of the author, and origin of the piece. In this case, however, honest Allan is in some degree justified, by the extreme worthlessness of the poetry. A verse or two may be taken, as illustrative of the history of Roaring Willie, alluded to in the text.