Walter Scott, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch

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For other people called Walter Scott of Buccleuch, see Walter Scott of Buccleuch (disambiguation).

Walter Scott, 5th of Buccleuch, 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch (1565 – 15 December 1611) was a Scottish nobleman and famous border reiver, known as the “Bold Buccleuch” and leader of Kinmont Willie’s Raid. Scott was the son of Sir Walter Scott, 4th of Buccleuch (himself grandson of Walter Scott of Branxholme and Buccleuch) and Margaret Douglas.

Family[edit]

Scott married (contract dated 1 October 1586) Mary, daughter of Sir William Kerr of Cessford and Janet Douglas. They had four children:

  1. Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch (d. 20 November 1633)
  2. Margaret Scott (died 5 October 1651) married first James Ross, 6th Lord Ross; married second Sir Alexander Seton of Foulstruther, later Montgomerie, 6th Earl of Eglinton
  3. Elizabeth Scott who married (contract dated 22 November 1616) John Cranstoun, later 2nd Lord Cranstoun
  4. Jean Scott (died after 21 November 1613).

Scott also had (apparently by Delia, daughter of Captain Thomas Butler in Holland) an illegitimate daughter, Jean, who married Robert Scott of Whitslaid. He further had an illegitimate son, John (probably to be identified with John Scott, Provost of Crichton, who died in 1646).[1]

Biography[edit]

Knighted by King James VI of Scotland in 1590, Buccleuch was then appointed by him Keeper of Liddesdale and Warden of the West March (borders).

In 1594, Buccleuch was re-appointed Keeper of Liddesdale, and it was in this capacity that two years afterwards he effected the rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong, an exploit famous in border lore.

Armstrong, a well known border reiver, was captured by English soldiers led by Deputy Warden Salkeld on 17 March 1596, in violation of a truce day. He was taken to Carlisle and imprisoned in Carlisle Castle.

Buccleuch, in his capacity as Keeper, petitioned the English Warden Sir Thomas Scrope for Armstrong’s release without success. Unable to effect Armstrong’s release by diplomatic means, on the night of 13 April 1596 Buccleuch led a party of about eighty men to Carlisle. Leaving the main body of his men a small distance outside the city to ambush any pursuers, Buccleuch took a small raiding party on to the castle where Armstrong was imprisoned. Finding their ladders too short to scale the walls, the raiding party breached a postern gate — or more probably bribed a contact inside the castle to open it for them — located Armstrong’s cell and freed him, returning him back across the Scottish border. No fatalities were occasioned on either side.

The raid on Carlisle created a diplomatic incident between England and Scotland, and war between the two nations appeared imminent until Buccleuch surrendered himself to the English authorities. Tried and found guilty, Buccleuch was placed in the custody of the English Master of the Ordnance at Berwick, Sir William Selby, and was afterwards sent to London.

When Buccleuch reached London, and, having been presented to the Queen, was asked by Elizabeth I of England how he dared to undertake an enterprise so desperate and presumptuous, Buccleuch is reported to have replied, "What is it that a man dare not do?" Unaccustomed though she must have been to such rejoinders from her own courtly nobles, Elizabeth not only did not resent the answer, but turning to a lord-in-waiting, said, "With ten thousand such men, our brother in Scotland might shake the firmest throne of Europe."

Buccleuch's kinsman, the author Sir Walter Scott, transcribed a well known ballad about the raid entitled Kinmont Willie in his collection Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. 1.

He was created a Lord of Parliament, as Lord Scott of Buccleuch, in 1606 (pursuant to a commission from King James dated 18 March 1606).[1]

From 1604 until the truce of 1609, Buccleuch led a company of Borderers in the service of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange during the Dutch Revolt.

Buccleuch died on the 15th of December 1611, and was interred at St Mary's Kirk, Hawick.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, volume II (Edinburgh, 1905), at page 233

See also[edit]

Peerage of Scotland
New creation Lord Scott of Buccleuch
1606–1611
Succeeded by
Walter Scott