Had Will been alive today his activities would’ve been a frequent feature in the popular press. Unfortunately only a few of his outstanding feats are recorded.
Do you remember the story of how poor old Judge Durie was kidnapped by Will as a consequence of an arrangement he had made with the Earl of Traquair? Will carried out that assignment with the skill of the seasoned operative to the great satisfaction of Traquair. But now, the Earl, was in trouble again, and again he sought the services of Christie’s Will.
On the verge of bankruptcy, Traquair, in an effort to bolster up his finances, required a packet of important papers to be conveyed to the king in London and to bring other papers back to the Earl.
That sounded to Will a comparatively easy undertaking but it very nearly cost him his life.
Cromwell got wind of this transaction, and although we don’t know the contents of the package, they were obviously of great importance to Cromwell and he gave orders for Will to be apprehended as he passed through Carlisle on his way back to Traquair.
Approaching Carlisle on his return journey, Will was feeling very confident and was in high spirits. He spent some time in Carlisle refreshing himself and resting his horse, but as he crossed the wooden bridge across the River Eden he was suddenly confronted by a body of Cromwell’s soldiers barring his way. Spurring his horse they leapt over the parapet of the bridge into the river below. The River Eden was in flood but Will managed to guide his horse to the side where they scrambled to the safety of the river bank. They set off at the gallop hotly pursued by Cromwell’s soldiers.
Then the swollen River Esk lay before them but the horse
plunged into the river safely gaining the Scottish bank. Will paused and, facing
his pursuers, he invited them across for a drink.
Sad to relate Traquar’s fortune continued to deteriorate hastened by his own reckless conduct. He died in poverty in Edinburgh and that was the last of the line of Stuarts of Traquair.Nothing is recorded as to why Will undertook this mission and what reward, if any, he received Nor do we know the story of the rest of Will’s life, but I am sure, that it would be safe to bet that it was in no way uneventful.
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