Lindesay on Pitscottie the historian
“After this hunting he hanged John Armstrang, Laird of Gilnockie, and his complices to the number of thirty-six persons. For the which many Scottishmen heavily lamented, for he was the most redoubted chieftain that had been, for a long time, on Borders either of Scotland or England. He rode ever with twenty-four able gentlemen well horsed; yet he never molested any Scottishman. But it is said that, from the Borders to Newcastle, every man, of whatsomever estate, paid him tribute to be free of his trouble. He came before the king with his foresaid number richly apparelled, trusting that, in respect of the free offer of his person, he should obtain the king’s favour. But the king, seeing him and his men so gorgeous in their apparel, with so many brave men under a tyrant’s commandment, forwardly turning him about, he bade take the tyrant out of his sight, saying, ‘What wants that knave that a king should have?’ But John Armstrong made great offers to the king. That he would sustain himself, with forty gentlemen, ever ready at his service, on their own cost, without wronging any Scottishman; secondly, that there was not a subject in England, duke, earl, or baron, but, within a certain day, he should bring him to his majesty, either quick or dead. At length he, seeing no hope of favour, said, very proudly: ‘It is folly to seek grace at a graceless face. But, had I known this, I should have lived on the Borders in despite of King Harry and you both; for I know that King Harry downweigh my best horse with gold to know that I work on them to die this day."
Back to Gilnockie