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FROM WHITEHALL TO JEDBURGH: PATRONAGE NETWORKS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SCOTTISH BORDERS, 1603 TO 1625*

  • ANNA GROUNDWATER (a1)

Abstract

When James VI and I arrived in London in 1603, he created a new bedchamber, which he filled with Scottish courtiers. This he positioned, antagonistically as it turned out, between himself and the more English privy chamber. These Scottish courtiers thus had the most intimate access to James, and were able to exercise great influence over the distribution of James's favour. Whilst their importance has been debated within an English context, their significance within James's government in Scotland has not yet been addressed. These Scotsmen became the focus for patronage networks stretching from Whitehall, through the privy council in Edinburgh, to the Scottish regional elites, and helped James retain the co-operation of those elites. Against the background of attempts to gain fuller union, James sought to demonstrate the benefits of regnal union by prosecuting a pacification of crime within the Scottish and English Borders, now rechristened the Middle Shires. Patronage networks from Whitehall to Roxburghshire secured the co-operation of the Scottish Borders elite, whilst acting as conduits for information and advice back to Whitehall. This article will suggest that these relationships were integral to Scottish governmental processes in James's absence, providing a much-needed cohesive force within his fragile new multiple monarchy.

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Department of Scottish History, University of Edinburgh, 17 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LNanna.groundwater@ed.ac.uk

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*

Much appreciation is due to Dr Jenny Wormald for her typically incisive comments on this article, and to Dr Julian Goodare for his pithy suggestions. Many thanks also to the anonymous readers, and, in particular, the editor, Prof. Julian Hoppit, who have much widened my perspective. Thanks also to those at the Early Modern History Seminar at Cambridge, the Seventeenth-Century Conference at Durham, and at St Andrews where versions of this article were given. Any mistakes that remain are, of course, solely mine.

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1 Neil Cuddy, ‘The revival of the entourage: the bedchamber of James I, 1603–1625’, in David Starkey, ed., The English court: from the Wars of the Roses to the civil war (London, 1987), pp. 173–225; Cuddy, ‘Anglo-Scottish union and the court of James I, 1603–1625’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. 39 (1989), pp. 107–24; Cuddy, ‘Reinventing a monarchy: the changing structure and political function of the Stuart court, 1603–38’, in Eveline Cruikshanks, ed., The Stuart courts (Stroud, 2000), pp. 59–85, at pp. 67–8, 70–5.

2 For a discussion of the significance of such access, in a Tudor context but with relevance to the Stuart court, see Elton, Geoffrey, ‘Tudor government: the points of contact; iii. The court’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. 26 (1976), pp. 211–28.

3 James D. Marwick, ed., Records of the Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1866–70), ii, p. 190. Thanks to Dr Alan MacDonald for this point.

4 M. Wood, R. K. Hannay, and H. Armet, eds., Extracts from the records of the Burgh of Edinburgh (9 vols., Edinburgh, 1927–67), ii, pp. 160–2, 241.

5 Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC) Report on the manuscripts of … the duke of Portland: preserved at Welbeck Abbey (10 vols., London, 1891–1931), ix, p. 113. Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, pp. 199–200. John Chamberlain was often caustic about the Scottish presence, recounting John Hoskins's notorious ‘Vesperae Sicilianae’ speech against the Scottish courtiers of 1614. The letters of John Chamberlain, ed. N. E. McClure (2 vols., American Philosophical Society, 1939), i, pp. 510, 538.

6 Chamberlain, Letters, i, p. 348.

7 Cuddy, , ‘Anglo-Scottish union and the court of James I’; Jenny Wormald, ‘O brave new world? The union of England and Scotland in 1603’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 127, (2005), pp. 1336; idem, James VI and I: two kings or one? ’, History, 68, (1983), pp. 187209; Brown, K. M., ‘The Scottish aristocracy, anglicization and the court, 1603–1638’, Historical Journal, 36, (1993), pp. 543–76, at pp. 544–6, 552–5, 557–8.

8 Journals of the House of Commons, 1547–1626 (London, 1803), i, pp. 1033–4.

9 Bruce Galloway, The union of England and Scotland, 1603–1608 (Edinburgh, 1986). See also Allan I. Macinnes, ‘Regal union for Britain, 1603–1638’, in Glenn Burgess, ed., The new British history: founding a modern state, 1603–1715 (London, 1999), pp. 33–64, at pp. 35–8, 45; Brian P. Levack, The formation of the British state: England, Scotland, and the union, 1603–1707 (Oxford, 1987).

10 Mark Greengrass, ‘Introduction: conquest and coalescence’, in Mark Greengrass, ed., Conquest and coalescence: the shaping of the state in early modern Europe (London, 1991), pp. 1–24; Elliott, John Huxtable, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, Past and Present, 137, (1992), pp. 4871; Thomas Ertman, Birth of the Leviathan: building states and regimes in medieval and early modern Europe (Cambridge, 1997).

11 Elliott, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, pp. 54–6; Edward Opalinski, ‘The path towards the commonwealth of the two nations’, in Allan I. Macinnes, and Jane Ohlmeyer, eds., The Stuart kingdoms in the seventeenth century: awkward neighbours (Dublin, 2002), pp. 49–61, at pp. 57–9; Sharon Kettering, Patrons, brokers and clients in seventeenth-century France (Oxford, 1986), pp. 5–11, quotation at p. 6; Kettering, , ‘Brokerage at the court of Louis XIV’, Historical Journal, 36, 1 (1993), pp. 6987, at pp. 69, 71–2, 82, 86–7; William Beik, Absolutism and society in seventeenth-century France: state power and provincial aristocracy in Languedoc (Cambridge, 1985).

12 M. J. Braddick, State formation in early modern England, c. 1550–1700 (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 340, 346, 359; Joseph S. Nye, Soft power: the means to success in world politics (New York, NY, 2004), pp. 5–11.

13 As Julian Goodare observes ‘there was still only one privy council. Not only did it not move to London, but no second council for Scottish affairs was established.’ Not only was it able to make its own decisions, but that it ‘was the government, or at least the daily central government’. Julian Goodare, The government of Scotland, 1560–1625 (Oxford, 2004), pp. 142, 138.

14 Elliott, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, pp. 52–3, 57, 61–2; Opalinski, ‘The path towards the commonwealth’, pp. 57–8.

15 Elliott, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, pp. 54–6; Greengrass, ‘Introduction: conquest and coalescence’, pp. 11–13, 16–17.

16 Opalinski, ‘The path towards the commonwealth’, pp. 57–60.

17 For Wales, see J. Gwynfor Jones, Early modern Wales, c. 1525–1640 (Basingstoke, 1994); Braddick, State formation in early modern England, pp. 347–55; Peter Roberts, ‘The English crown, the principality of Wales, and the Council in the Marches, 1534–1641’, in Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill, eds., The British problem, c. 1534–1707: state formation in the Atlantic archipelago (Basingstoke, 1996), pp. 118–47. For Ireland, see Ciaran Brady, ‘England's defence and Ireland's reform: the dilemma of the Irish viceroys, 1541–1641’, in ibid., pp. 89–117.

18 Braddick, State formation in early modern England, p. 347; Jones, Early modern Wales, pp. 27, 31, 42–6, 78–81, 88–9, 101–3, quotation at p. 43.

19 Braddick, State formation in early modern England, pp. 379–97, quotations at pp. 379–80.

20 Nicholas Canny, ‘Irish, Scottish and Welsh responses to centralization, c. 1530–c. 1640: a comparative perspective’, in Alexander Grant and Keith J. Stringer, eds., Uniting the Kingdom? The making of British History (London, 1995), pp. 147–69, at pp. 150–3.

21 For comparisons between Wales and Ireland, see Brendan Bradshaw, ‘The Tudor Reformation and Revolution in Wales and Ireland: the origins of the British Problem’, in Bradshaw and Morrill, eds., The British problem, pp. 39–65, and, with Scotland, Steven G. Ellis, ‘Tudor state formation and the shaping of the British Isles’, in Steven G. Ellis and Sarah Barber, eds., Conquest and union: fashioning a British state, 1485–1725 (London, 1995), pp. 40–63; Steven G. Ellis, Tudor frontiers and noble power: the making of the British state (Oxford, 1995).

22 Pauline Croft, ‘Can a bureaucrat be a favourite? Robert Cecil and the strategies of power’, in J. H. Elliott and L. W. B. Brockliss, eds., The world of the favourite (London, 1999), pp. 81–95; Cuddy, ‘The revival of the entourage’; idem, ‘Anglo-Scottish union and the court of James I’; Linda Levy Peck, ‘Monopolizing favour: structures of power in the early seventeenth century English court’, in Elliott and Brockliss, eds., The world of the favourite, pp. 54–70; Linda Levy Peck, Northampton: patronage and policy at the court of James I (London, 1982); P. R. Seddon, ‘Patronage and officers in the reign of James I’ (Ph.D. thesis, Manchester, 1967).

23 Brown, ‘Scottish aristocracy’, pp. 553–4, 569–70; Maurice Lee, Great Britain's Solomon: James VI and I in his three kingdoms (Chicago, IL, 1991) pp. 240–1; Macinnes, ‘Regal union for Britain’, pp. 49–50.

24 Seddon, P. R., ‘Robert Carr, earl of Somerset’, Renaissance and Modern Studies, 14, (1970), pp. 4868; Croft, ‘Can a bureaucrat’, p. 91.

25 Mike Braddick notes the ‘willing cooperation of local elites’ with the state, including in Scotland, where the mutuality of interest between crown and nobility encouraged their co-operation in the suppression of feuding from the 1590s: State formation in early modern England, pp. 337–9, 358–60, quotation at p. 338.

26 National Archives of Scotland (NAS), Lothian papers, GD40/2/13, fos. 2, 20; Calendar of state papers … Venice, 1603–1675 (CSP Ven), ed. H. F. Brown et al. (38 vols., London, 1864–1947), xii, pp. 135–6.

27 Cuddy, ‘Reinventing the monarchy’, pp. 72–3.

28 Croft, ‘Can a bureaucrat’, pp. 90–1; Peck, ‘Monopolizing favour’, p. 59.

29 Beik, Absolutism and society, pp. 15–16.

30 For Sharpe, Kevin, ‘access to and influence at court was the first goal of all political ambition’: ‘Crown, parliament and locality: government and communication in early Stuart England’, English Historical Review, 101, (1986), pp. 321–50, quotation at p. 324; Peck, ‘Monopolizing favour’, p. 63; Cuddy, ‘Reinventing a monarchy’, p. 71–2.

31 National Library of Scotland (NLS), Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 6, fo. 52, vol. 5, fo. 143.

32 Elton, ‘Tudor government: the points of contact’, pp. 216–17.

33 Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, pp. 177, 183, 185, 187. Dunbar's tenure as keeper of the privy purse, May 1603–Apr. 1605. The National Archives (TNA), E351/2792.

34 Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, pp. 86 n. 22, 190, 206–8.

35 Kettering, Patrons, brokers and clients, pp. 16–18; Braddick, State formation in early modern England, pp. 87–8; M. J. Braddick, ‘Administrative performance: the representation of political authority in early modern England’, in M. J. Braddick and J. Walter, eds., Negotiating power in early modern society: order, hierarchy and subordination in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 166–87, at p. 171.

36 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 5, fo. 103.

37 Kettering, Patrons, brokers and clients, pp. 3–5, 7, 11; Beik, Absolutism and society, pp. 15–16, 234–44.

38 Peck, ‘Monopolizing favour’, pp. 56, 62; Beik, Absolutism and society, pp. 233, 239.

39 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 1, fo. 12; Sharpe, ‘Crown, parliament and locality’, pp. 336, 339–40, 346, quotation at p. 324.

40 King James VI and I, Political writings, ed. Johann P. Sommerville (Cambridge, 1994), p. 177.

41 The register of the privy council of Scotland, 1545–1625 (RPCS), ed. J. Buron and D. Masson (13 vols., Edinburgh, 1877–98), vi, pp. 560–1.

42 James, Political writings, p. 25.

43 Michael B. Wasser, ‘The pacification of the Scottish Borders, 1603–1612’ (M.A. diss., McGill, 1986); Jared Sizer, ‘Law and disorder in the “Middle Shires” of Great Britain, 1603–1625’ (Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge, 2001); Anna Groundwater, The Scottish Middle March, 1573 to 1625: power, kinship, allegiance (Woodbridge, 2010), ch. 7.

44 Ellis, Tudor frontiers, pp. 5, 16, 254–5, 267–70; Jones, Early modern Wales, pp. 58–70.

45 Sheldon J. Watts and Susan J. Watts, From Border to Middle Shire Northumberland, 1586–1625 (Leicester, 1975); Spence, R. T., ‘The pacification of the Cumberland Borders, 1593–1628’, Northern History, 13, (1977), pp. 59160; Maureen M. Meikle, A British frontier? Lairds and gentlemen in the eastern Borders, 1540–1603 (East Linton, 2004); Diana Newton, North-East England, 1569–1625: governance, culture and identity (Woodbridge, 2006).

46 Ellis, ‘Tudor state formation’, p. 61.

47 Brady, ‘England's defence and Ireland's reforms’, pp. 89–90, 92, 99–102.

48 Canny, ‘Responses to centralization’, pp. 163, 169.

49 HMC, The manuscripts of the marquess of Salisbury (24 vols., London, 1883–1970), xviii, p. 371; Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, pp. 175, 187, 189, 198; Sizer, Jared, ‘The good of this service consists in absolute secrecy: the earl of Dunbar, Scotland and the Border, 1603–1611’, Canadian Journal of History, 36, (2001), pp. 229–57.

50 HMC Salisbury, xvi, p. 78, xvii, pp. 223–4, 591, xix, pp. 31, 44, 164, 184, 192, 207–8, 209–10, 247, 254, 315, 350–1.

51 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 3, fo. 23.

52 RPCS, ix, pp. 54, 75–6, 523, xi, pp. 11–12.

53 As elsewhere in Scotland, owners of baronies held private jurisdiction within them and did challenge some external summonses, though the commissioners' powers usually superseded these. Also, as elsewhere, the sheriffs of the Borders shires held heritable jurisdictions, though those of Berwick and Selkirk surrendered them before 1625. Generally, however, the holders of these jurisdictions did not use them to obstruct the pacification, their extra judicial power usually being used co-operatively, they themselves members of the wider patronage networks. RPCS, 2nd ser., i, p. 659; Julian Goodare, State and society in early modern Scotland (Oxford, 1999), pp. 89–90.

54 RPCS, xii, pp. 675–9.

55 Chamberlain, Letters, i, pp. 487, 504, 507; National Register of Archives Scotland (NRAS), Roxburgh, 1100/1611, fo. 2.

56 NRAS 1100/1011, 1100/1277; Chamberlain, Letters, ii, p. 102.

57 Chamberlain, Letters, ii, p. 45; RPC, xii, pp. 59–60.

58 Elliott, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, p. 56.

59 NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/13, fo. 2.

60 Ibid., GD40/2/12, fo. 20.

61 CSP Ven, xii, pp. 115–16, 135–6; Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, p. 208.

62 Salisbury had died in May 1612. From July 1612, English ambassadors and foreign dignitaries in Europe addressed their correspondence to Ker. TNA, SP77/10–11, 78/59 fos. 195, 204, 214, 78/60–2, 80/3, 81/12–13, 82/5, 84/68–70, 92/1–3, 94/19–22, 99/10–20; Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, pp. 209, 211.

63 NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/12, fo. 22. For example, Ker disposed of Maxwellhaugh to James Ker of Overcrailing near Jedburgh. Registrum Magni Sigill Regum Scotorum (RMS), ed. J. M. Thomson et al. (11 vols., Edinburgh, 1882–1914), vii, nos. 217, 613, 786; GD40/2/12, fo. 34.

64 NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/12, fo. 44.

65 Letters of James VI and I, ed. G. P. V. Akrigg (Berkeley, CA, 1984), p. 340.

66 RPCS, x, pp. 157, 170, 176, 184, 200; Anna Groundwater, ‘The Middle March of the Scottish Borders, 1573 to 1625’ (Ph.D. Edinburgh, 2007) app. O.

67 RPCS, x, p. 164, xi, pp. 344–8, xii, pp. 582–4, 657–60.

68 RPCS, xi, p. 217, xii, pp. 658–9.

69 RPCS, ix, p. 232; RMS, vii, nos. 636, 754.

70 RPCS, x, p. vii.

71 RPCS, vii, pp. 714–17; NAS, Lothian, GD32/20/19, GD224/918/27, fos. 4, 5.

72 NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/13, fo. 1. Details of Ancrum's career, and some of his correspondence, are in Correspondence of Sir Robert Ker, first earl of Ancram and his son William, third earl of Lothian, ed. D. Laing (Edinburgh, 1875); the original letters are in GD40/2/13.

73 Chamberlain, Letters, i, p. 625.

74 NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/19/1, fo. 8.

75 RPCS, xii, pp. 59–60; NAS, Lothian papers, GD40/2/13, fo. 28, 40/9/8, fo. 1.

76 Ibid., GD40/2/13, fos. 6, 12, 29.

77 TNA, E214/641; British Library (BL), Eg. 2553, fo. 82.

78 Brown, ‘Scottish aristocracy’, pp. 550, 564, 574–6.

79 TNA, E214/701, E134/7Jas1/Hil13, E134/8Jas1/East18; NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 31.1.7, vol. 22, fo. 38; Chamberlain, Letters, ii, pp. 318, 412.

80 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 31.1.1, vol. 10, fos. 112, 135.

81 RPC, xiii, pp. 542–3.

82 Cuddy, ‘Revival of the entourage’, p. 198. He was keeper of the privy purse to at least 1625. BL, Add. 35832, fo. 153.

83 Bacon is almost certainly referring to Somerset here. NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.7, vol. 22, fo. 15; Chamberlain, Letters, i, p. 521. Bacon and Lochmaben corresponded from at least 1607 to 1615. NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.7, vol. 22, fos. 7, 8, 13, 17; BL, Sloane 3078, fo. 51b; BL, Add. 4106, fos. 95, 96, 96b, 98b.

84 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.7, vol. 22, fos. 23, 83, 86; Brown, ‘Scottish aristocracy’, p. 572.

85 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 5, fos. 45, 47, 48, 103.

86 Ibid., vol. 6, fos. 51, 52.

87 Ibid., vol. 6, fo. 57, vol. 7, fo. 2.

88 Ibid., fos. 9, 32.

89 Ibid., vol. 5, fos. 103, 139, 141, vol. 10, fo. 111.

90 Ibid., fo. 50.

91 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.3.12, vol. 15, fo. 30.

92 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 5, fo. 50.

93 Elliott, ‘A Europe of composite monarchies’, p. 64.

94 Ibid., p. 55.

95 Chamberlain, Letters, i, p. 510.

96 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS 33.1.1, vol. 5, fos. 67, 99, 103.

97 HMC Portland, ix, p.113; Chamberlain, Letters, i, p. 538.

98 NLS, Denmilne, Adv. MS, 33.1.1, vol. 1, fo. 5, vol. 5, fo. 48.

* Much appreciation is due to Dr Jenny Wormald for her typically incisive comments on this article, and to Dr Julian Goodare for his pithy suggestions. Many thanks also to the anonymous readers, and, in particular, the editor, Prof. Julian Hoppit, who have much widened my perspective. Thanks also to those at the Early Modern History Seminar at Cambridge, the Seventeenth-Century Conference at Durham, and at St Andrews where versions of this article were given. Any mistakes that remain are, of course, solely mine.

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