On the night of 13th/14th April, in the “deade time” William Armstrong of Kinmont was rescued from the apparently impregnable Carlisle Castle.
The weather that night was foul, many of the guard took shelter from “the violence of the wether”. Others, who had held office within the castle, Thomas Carlton and his brother Lancelot, were in league with the rescuers.
Walter Scott of Buccleuch, the Bauld Buccleuch, seems to have been the mastermind, and the leader of the rescue. Indeed, he was in the van – the fifth man in – , and was seen in the castle’s courtyard.
Thomas Scrope’s worst nightmares had been realised, and he had the unenviable task of reporting the audacious rescue to Elizabeth’s Court … it is not wonder, perhaps, that he seems to have exaggerated the numbers involved:
500 horsemen of Buclughes and Kinmontes frendes, did come armed and
appointed with gavlockes and crowes of iron, handpeckes, axes and skaillinge
lathers, unto an owtewarde corner of the base courtof this castell, and to
the posterne dore of the same— which they undermyned speedily and
quietlye and made them selves possessores of the base courte, brake into the
chamber where Will of Kinmont was, carried him awaye, and in their discoverie
by the watch, lefte for deade two of the watchmen, hurt a servante of
myne one of Kynmontes keperes, and were issued againe onte of the posterne
before they were discried by the watche of the innerwarde, and ere resistance
could be made. The watch, as yt shoulde seeme, by reason of the stormiye
night, were either on sleepe or gotten under some covert to defende them
selves from the violence of the wether; by meanes wherof the Scottes
atcheived theire entreprise with lesse difficultie.
Scrope to the Privy Council