Thursday, February 11, 2010

Newton and Hamilton, Scottish Gentlemen, Accuse Each Other, 1548

The eight and twentith of Maie, his lordship wan the castell of Yester, after he had beaten it right sore with terrible batterie of canon shot for the time it lasted, and therewith hauing made a reasonable breach for the soldiers to enter, they within yéelded with condition to haue their liues saued: which the lord Greie was contented to grant to them all, one onelie excepted, who during the siege vttered vnséemelie words of the king, abusing his maiesties name with vile and most opprobrious termes. They all comming foorth of the castell in their shirts, hum|bled themselues to my lord Greie (as became them) and vpon strait examination who should be the rai|ler that was excepted out of the pardon, it was knowne to be one Newton a Scot: but he to saue himselfe, put it to one Hamilton, and so these two gentlemen accusing one an other, the truth could not be decided otherwise than by a combat, which they required, and my lord Greie therevnto assented, and pronounced iudgement so to haue it tried: which he did the rather, bicause all men doo séeme resolute in the triall of truth (as in a verie good cause) by losse of life to gaine an endlesse name; as one saith:

Mors spernenda viris vt fama perennis alatur.
At the appointed time they entered the lists, set vp for that purpose in the market place of Hading|ton, without other apparell sauing their doublets and hosen, weaponed with sword, buckler and dag|ger. At the first entrie into the lists, Hamilton kneeling downe, made his hartie praier to God, that it might please him to giue victorie vnto the truth, with solemne protestation that he neuer vttred anie such words of king Edward of England, as his ad|uersarie charged him with. On the other side New|ton being troubled (as it séemed) with his false accu|sation, argued vnto the beholders his guiltie conscience. Now were the sticklers in a readinesse, and the combattors with their weapons drawne fell to it, so that betwixt them were striken six or seuen blowes right lustilie. But Hamilton being verie fierce and egre, vpon trust of his innocencie, constreined Newton to giue ground almost to the end of the lists; and if he had driuen him to the end in déed, then by the law of armes he had woone the victorie. Newton perceiuing himselfe to be almost at point to be thus ouercome, stept forwards againe, and gaue Hamilton such a gash on the leg, that he was not able longer to stand, but fell therewith downe to the ground, and then Newton falling on him, incontinentlie slue him with a dagger.

There were gentlemen present that knowing as they tooke it for certeine, how Newton was the offendor (although fortune had fauoured him in the combat) would gladlie haue ventured their liues a|gainst him man for man, if it might haue béene granted: but he chalenging the law of armes, had it granted by my lord Greie, who gaue him also his owne gowne beside his owne backe, and a chaine of gold which he then ware. Thus was he well rewar|ded how so euer he deserued:. but he escaped not so, for afterwards as he was riding betwixt the borders of both the realms, he was slaine and cut in péeces.

Raphael Holinshed Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland London, 1587, Volume 6, pp. 992-993

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