The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Edinburgh: Anne intrigues with Scots Royalists (on behalf of Bampfield?); she begins a lawsuit, meets James Halkett, pp. 72 - 77]

[p. 72] Itt was noe wonder if I had trouble to part with the noble familly [p. 73] at Fyvie, where I had beene neere two yeare treated with all the kindnese imaginable, and where my satisfaction was so great that I could contentedly have spentt the remainder of my life there if itt had beene as convenientt as itt was pleasing. Butt now itt was time to free my Lady [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] of the trouble I had given her so long, and nesesary for mee to goe to Edinb [Edinburgh] to looke affter what was my concerne, and to begin a law suite for recovering the most considerable part of my portion.

So having taken my leave of my Lady [Dunfermline] and my Lady Anna Ariskine [Anna Erskine] and all the familly, nott with dry eyes of either side (butt the teares that moved mee most was from that good old man Mr. George Sharpe, Minister of Fyvie, and his wife, to and from whom I gave and receaved much respect), upon Thursday the 24. of June, 1652, my Lord Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], with his nephew the late Lord Lyon [Sir Charles Erskine of Cambo]1and severall other gentlemen, wentt from Fyvie, allowing mee and my woman the honour of there company, and lay that night att my Lord Frazer's att Mohull [Andrew, Lord Fraser of Muchalls], the next night att Northwatter brig [North Water Bridge],2 a' Saturday night att Belcarese [Balcarres House], where wee staid till Tuesday; that night came to Brunt Island [B; and Wednesday the 30. to Edb [Edinburgh], where I wentt to my former lodging att Sainders Speers, and staid there some time till Sir Robert Muray [Moray] and his lady [Lady Sophia Moray] came to towne,3 who lying att the Neither Bow perswaded mee to take a chamber neere them, which was an advantage nott to be refused, having allso the conveniency of beeing neerer the place where all my busynese chiefely lay.

The lodging they chused for mee was up the staires by John Meenes shop, belonging to a discreet old gentlewoman, who had a backe way up to the roomes shee used her selfe.

I had nott beene there two or three nights, when, my Lord Dunfermeline [Charles Seton, the 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] and my Lord Belcarese [Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres] having supt with mee,3 and gone away aboutt 9 a'clocke, I sate up later than ordinary to write letters to Fyvie with one going there the next morning, and before I had quite done there came soldiers to the chamber doore and knockt very rudely.

Att first I made them noe answeare, butt they knockt with that violence that I thought they would have broke up the door, and then I inquired who they were, and what they [p. 74] would have. They told mee they would come in and see who was with mee, or what I was doing. I told them I knew noe warrantt they had for that inquiry, yett to sattisfy them I assured them there was none there butt myselfe and my woman. They told mee I lyed, and that if I would nott open the doore they would breake itt open.

I knew nott what to say or doe, butt I bid Crew (which was my woman's name) goe and desire the Mrs [mistress] of the howse to come downe.

They hearing the backe doore open, cried outt, "Shee hath now lett them outt att the backe doore; goe and stope them:" and with that they forced up the doore and run through the roome, and some wentt up staires and some downe the staires, butt finding noe body they came in in a great chafe.

I asked them if they had found those they wentt to seeke. They said Noe, for I had lett them outt. "Gentlemen, (said I,) you may assure yourselves I will complaine of you to your officers, for if I may nott have liberty in my owne lodging to sitt up and burne a candle as long as I please without having such a disturbance, and upon such unworthy grounds as you would inferre, I thinke few will heare of itt that will nott condemne your uncivill actions."

They seemed to justify themselves by an order they said they had to breake up any doores where they saw lights affter ten a' clocke, and that they had beene civill, and expected I would give them something to drinke. I told them when they deserved itt they should have itt; butt sure they could nott expect itt from mee, having done as much as they could to bring a scandall upon mee that was a stranger newly come there, and therfore might bee the greater prejudice.

They saw mee very angry, and that they could nott prevaile to get anything, and therfore left mee in disorder enough to thinke what the neibours aboutt might think of me to heare what they said and did at my chamber doore.

The next morning I sentt for W. Muray of Hermiston [Sir William Murray],4 who was very great with the English officers, and desired him to goe to their captaine and complaine, which hee did, and there captaine sentt downe to referre to mee there punishmentt, for they had noe allowance for what they did. I soone remitted there punishmentt, condittionally that they did nott practice the like againe.

The noise of this came [p. 75] to as many persons' eares as I was aquainted with, and the disorder I was in by aprehending itt might bee usuall to have such alarums as long as I lay there, having a great window to the streett, and none in the howse butt weemen, this made mee thinke of changing my lodging, butt where to fixe I was undetermined, when my Lord Twedale [John Hay, either the 1st or 2nd Earl of Tweedale] and my Lady [Margaret or Jean] very obliegingly off'red mee the use of some roomes in his Lords [Lordship's] howse [near the Netherbow], they beeing then to goe outt of towne,5 and left only one roome furnished, and a porter to take care of the howse. I accepted of the offer with very great sence of the faver, butt my next deficulty was where to borow or hire furniture for my chamber and my woman's [Crew's]. That wantt was withoutt my seeking supplied by my Lady Belcarese [Lady Anna Lindsay, born Mackenzie, Countess of Balcarres],6 who very civilly lent mee all nesesary accomodations. So I removed my lodging into my Lord Twedale's [Tweedale's] howse, which I had never had the offer of if the insolency of the soldiers had nott given occation for itt; and so I had an advantage by the prejudice they intended mee.

Affter I had beene some time setled I inquired for Mr. W. H., who was the lawyer who (in my mother's life time had upon her asignation to mee of the bond of 2000l. sterling, with interest from '47) began the suite in my name against Ar. Hay [Archibald Hay] who was caution for that sum with the E. of Kinowle [George Hay, 3rd Earl of Kinnoul]. A. [Archibald] Hay beeing now dead, I was to proceed against his executors. What the trouble and expense of that procese was is too tedious to relate here, butt in gratitude I shall ever accknowledge the obligation I had to my Lord Newbeth [Sir John Baird of Newbyth] and his father [James Baird, also an advocate], who I could never perswade to take one peny of mee, and yett they were as ready to asist mee with there advice and attendance to solicitte the judges as they who tooke most from mee.7

The great disadvantage I had was, that my antagonist was very favourably looked upon by the English judges as beeing inclined to there principles, and they looked upon mee as a Malignantt [Royalist], and therefore they gave him all the advantage hee could desire against mee, which was by delays, while hee secured himselfe by fraudulent conveyencys of all the mony in good hands, and then they gave mee a decreet for recovering the rest. What I have now related in few words cost [p. 76] mee some yeares attendance. Butt I shall leave what relates to that to mention some other particulars more to my sattisfaction.

Affter I had beene some time at my Lord Tweedale's howse, one Thursday my Lord Dunfermeline [Charles Seton, the 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] came to see mee, and brought a gentleman with him who I had never scene before, and told mee they had beene both dining with my Lady Morton [Anne Villiers, Countess of Morton],8 who was going to Sir John Gilmour's [Sir John Gilmour, of Craigmliller's] lady's buriall, and had promised to call him, and they had only so much time as to come in and aske how I liked my new lodging.

I had scarce gieven an answeare when one came in to tell mee Mr. D. Dickson [David Dickson] was without. I wentt to the doore to bring him in, butt cheefely to aske one of my Lord D. [Dunfermline's] servantts what gentleman that was with his Lord, who told mee itt was Sir James Halkett.9

I said, "If hee had nott come with your Lord, I would nott have beene so civill as I am to him, because hee hath a sword aboutt him;" for all the nobility and gentry had that marke of slavery upon them that none had liberty to weare a sword, only such as served there interest and disowned the King, which made mee hate to see a Scotch man with a sword.

Mr. Seaton,10 who I was speaking to, smiled and said I was mistaken, for itt was only a sticke hee had in his hand under his coate, that stucke outt like a sword, for hee was too honest a gentleman to weare one now. Going in againe and seeing my error made mee change my thoughts of him. Presently affter word came that my Lady Morton staid in her coach for them at the doore, and they wentt away.

This was the first time I saw Sir James Halkett; butt before Satturday night I had five visitts from him, every time making a severall pretence, either incoming for Sir Robert Muray [Sir Robert Moray, Sir James's first cousin] or my Lord Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], or bringing some commission to mee from my Lady Morton. Hee was cousin german with Sir R. M. {Robert Moray] and much respected and very intimate with the other, and therefore I could nott butt bee very civill to him upon that accountt and I saw noe reason butt that hee might challenge itt upon his owne.

Affter I had beene some time in Edb [Edinburgh], I had a visitt from one who had frequently beene at my mother's, and was much obleiged to a [p. 77] neere relation of mine, and to them [him ?] I told the deficulty I had to gett any mony outt of England, and the few I had interest in to borow of in Edb [Edinburgh], and hee very civilly lentt mee what paid the mony which the midwife trusted to iny care,11 and for other nesesary occations.

[1 Since in a marginal note to the place where she quotes Joseph Bampfield's last statement to her in his last visit (p. 95, see London: Last of Bampfield), Anne Halkett states she is writing this document on 8 January 1677/78, and Sir Charles Erskine of Cambo died in September 1677, it is evident she is working from a draft written earlier, one which she is now revising. From Simon Couper's 1701 Life, it is evident that when she finished it (probably at Sir James's death), she carried on keeping her exacting diaires upon which it is based. So this is a document perhaps revised more than once. Loftis says "the late Lord Lyon" is a courtesy title for "the chief herald of Scotland" (see Loftis, Memoirs, Textual Notes 82:25, p. 223 and 201n.) EM]

[2 Andrew Frazer (d. 1656), 2nd Lord Fraser of Muchalls, was a parliamentary commissioner (Loftis, Memoirs, 246n). North Water Bridge was a hamlet 2 miles north of Montrose, on the border of Angus and Kincardine. Nether Bow is the "name of the eastern extremity of a principal street in Edinburgh (Loftis, Memoirs, 201n, 246n). It's right off the Canongate; see Stevenson's map, The Scottish Revolution, 1637-44 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2003), p. 399. We have here an instance of the Royalsts availing themselves of the help of a friend who was a Parliamentarian. She is retracing the route she first took June 15, 1650, see (Fife, p. 57 EM]

[3 Balcarres House was in East Fife, Scotland. Sir Robert Moray (1608/9-73) was first cousin to James Halkett, the man Anne would marry nearly four years later (see note 9 below). Moray was an intelligent man who would later become the first president of the Royal Society; until late in 1653, he consistently supported Bampfield as a trustworthy man working on behalf of the Presbyterians (see Bampfield's Apology, 165). Moray's wife's name was Sophia (1624-53). Anne would later rescue Alexander Lindsay, 1st Lord Balcarres's books and help him and his wife to escape. Balcarres was a supporter of the Covenanters, then of Charles II, then capitulated to Cromwell after the Battle of Worcester, only to rejoin Charles II on the continent (1653); he was also head of the Presbyterians and King's Secretary for Scotland, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. He did die in exile.

Balcarres can be connected to Anne through her connection to Joseph Bampfield. Like Bampfield, he was a Presbyterian Royalist and they worked together in various intrigues and continuted to value, to trust, and to help one another, and, as in the case of Bampfield, Charles II disliked and distrusted Balcarres. Balcarres is also connected to Anne through her new connection with Lady Sophia Moray; Lady Sophia was daughter of Sir David Lindsay of Balcarres and sister to this same Lord Balcarres who was one of the most active of the Scottish royalists. There's a good life in the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, by Rosalind Marshall. For Charles's dislike of Balcarres, see Bampfield's Apology, 143-44, 165-67, Eva Scott, The Travels of the King: Charles II in Germany and Flanders, 1654-1660 (London: Constable, 1907):336-37, 364, 366.

Now in Loftis's Bampfield's Later Career, a biographical supplement to Bampfield's Apology, p. 157, Loftis suggests that Anne Murray is at this point taking "part in Bampfield's political activities. It was she who introduced him to Scottish Royalists in Edinburgh in 1652. Perhaps it was she through whom he [had] made the acquaintance of her first cousin, [William Murray, the earl of Dysart." Bampfield travelled with Dysart after his duel with Anne's brother-in-law, Sir Henry Newton, see Her brother-in-law duels with Bampfield, p 53 and note 2. So Anne's plans for getting on with her life after leaving the safety of Fyvie, includes more than an attempt to retrieve her inheritance. She has been in contact with Bampfield and has perhaps relented in her determination to have documentary or certain proof Bampfield's wife is dead.

Alexander Robertson in his The Life of Sir Robert Moray (London: Longsman, 1922): 78-81, describes the scene and adds that "Sir Robert ws convinced of the Colonel's innocence, alike in his public and in his private capacity." He says that "on the 8th of November 'Balcarres left Balcarres and went to St. Andrews to dwell with his whole family. It required considerable courage to engatge in such a transation in the capital. Discovery would have led to unpleasant results, and the fear of detection did for some time weigh upon the group." EM]

[4 Loftis suggests this man is Sir William Murray, a Royalist who served under the Duke of Hamiliton, the fervent Royalist who was loyal to Charles II and died at Worcester. Hermiston is a village in Midlothian. Stevenson, Revolution and Counter Revolution, 207, Fraser, Royal Charles, 109; (Loftis, Memoirs, 201-2n). EM]

[5 If this John Hay is the 1st Earl of Tweedale, his wife is Lady Margaret, born Montgomery; if this is John Hay, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Tweedale, his wife is Lady Jean (birth name Seton). Both men were active Scottish royalists. The 1st Earl died in either May 1653 or sometime in 1654; the 2nd Earl served in the army of Charles I and the Scottish Covenanters, attended the coronation of Charles II at Scone, and attempted to reconcile the Royalists and Covenanters (Loftis, Memoirs, 202 and 249n.) Hay was active in the restoration government in Scotland after 1660, see Clare Jackson, Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003):78. 80. The people Anne was connected to when she was identified as Bampfield's bethrothed were the ssame people she was connected to when she married Halkett. EM]

[6 Lady Anna Lindsay, born Mackenzie, Countess of Balcarres is another 17th century woman who left writing about her life. See A Memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie, Countess of Balcarres and Afterwards of Argyll (1621-1706) and the life by Rosalind K. Marshall in the ODNB. EM]

[7 From Couper 1701 Life, p. 27: "The ground of the Law Suit, in which She was engaged, was a Bond of 2000 lib Ster. due by the Earle of Kinnoul and Archibald Hay his Cautioner [i.e., 'one who gives or becomes security for another']; This Suit had been begun, some Years before, in her name, by Mr W. H. Advocat against Archibald Hay; who, being dead, it is revived, and carried on against his Executors.' S. C. explains this at the time of Anne's mother's death (1647): Jane Drummond Murray "'made over to her, by Assignation, a Bond of the Earl of Kinnoul of 2000 lib. Ster", p. 14. Loftis says the date of Anne Murray's mother's gift of bond to her suggests that it was an obligation of either George Hay, second Earl of Kinnoull (d. 1644) or his son, George Hay, third Earl (d. 1649). Sir John Baird, of Newbyth (1620-98), an advocate in Aberdeenshire, was the son of James Baird. Sir John became Lord Newbyth in 1644 when 'he was created an ordinary lord of session'." (Loftis, Memoirs, 202n.) EM]

[8 Sir John Gilmour (1661-70) was an advocate and later Lord President of the Court of Session. Many of these men were lawyers. Anne Villiers Douglas, Lady Morton (d. 1654) was another adventurous woman James Halkett was drawn to. Lady Morton was born Anne Villiers (d. 145) and married to Robert, son of William Douglas, Earl of Morton. She was called Lady Dalketh until the death of her husband's father. She was now a widow; in 1646 she had been governess to Princess Henrietta (then 2) and had disguised herself as a poor woman and Henrietta as a boy (in rags) and escaped with Henrietta to Queen Henrietta Maria in France. (Loftis, Memoirs, 202n, 240, 247n.) See also Quentine Bone, Henrietta Maria, Queen of the Cavaliers (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Pr, 1972):210. Lady Morton's past or adventurous nature resembles Anne's and suggests along with Anne's devotion to the royalist cause, Halkett was attracted to her because she was daring. EM]

[9 David Dickson (1583-1663) was a Presbyterian clergyman. His first appearance alongside James Halkett suggests their closeness. Dickson will help persuade Anne to marry Halkett. He was a much respected and radical (in Scottish covenanting terms) preacher and politicked himself, see Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution, 1637-1644: The Triumph of the Covenanters, 58-59, 62 and elsewhere..

Of James Halkett, Loftis writes: He was "a middle-aged widower with four children, two sons and two daughters," "long active in Scottish affairs . . . A zealous Royalist, he was colonel of a calvary regiment in the army of Scotland." He was probably born in the first decade of the 17th century; he was "knighted in 1633. He took an active part in military campaigns of the 1640s and 1650s. His older daughter had almost reached maturity when Anne Murray became her governess in 1653. His younger son by marriage -- James, later knighted for gallantry by Charles II -- held a commission as Cornet in 1664." James Halkett died suddenly on 24 September 1670. His first wife was Margaret, born Montgomery whose relatives we see him bringing to meet Anne. James and Margaret Halkett's daughters were Mary and Anna (the younger one); the oldest son was Sir Charles (d. 1697, see above) and his second, James (Loftis, Memoirs, 202n, 248n.) Cummings describes Halkett as follows: "a middle-aged widower of good family, whose wife had left him with two sons and two daughters, whom he probably found more than he could manage, at least to his own satisfaction, for he was a conscientious and high-minded person. In any case, he made Anne's acquaintance on a Thursday, and by Saturday night had visited her five times" (AH, 670). Anne presents Halkett both as an afterthought (as he was not special at the time) and in a way that signals he is going to be someone central to her life; she indicates very quickly he was immediately attracted to her. For a more detailed list of Halkett's family before marrying Anne Murray, see She marries Halkett, pp. 102-3n4. EM]

[10 Mr Seaton is a servant of Lord Dunfermline (1652) (Loftis, Memoirs, 265n). EM]

[11 This is the money Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline paid the midwife for her childbirth, which the woman gave to Anne, see Nearly Two Years at Fyvie, Aberdeen, p. 72. EM]

A 17th century gable in the West Bow of Edinburgh (1947 photo)

Whitehorse Close, Canongate, about 1850

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