Home, Alexander (d.1516) (DNB00)

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HOME, ALEXANDER, third Lord Home (d. 1516), eldest son of Alexander, second baron Home [q. v.], was served heir to his father 21 Oct. 1506, and was appointed to the office of lord high chamberlain in the following year. Home was virtually prime minister during the remainder of the reign of James IV, and greatly increased the influence and importance of his family. According to Buchanan, his ‘disposition was more fierce than was expedient for the good of those times,’ and it was chiefly through his prompting that James was led to try his strength with England. The wardenship of the borders, previously entrusted to the care of three separate nobles, was delivered into his sole charge, and thus his authority was made predominant in the south of Scotland. To revenge the capture of the sea-captain Andrew Barton [q. v.] by the English, Home, in 1513, with consent of the king, invaded Northumberland at the head of eight thousand men, and burnt and ravaged several towns and villages. Returning home heavily laden with spoil, and devoting all their attention to warding off attacks from the rear, they, on 13 Aug. 1513, fell into an ambush, and, being thrown into confusion by the sudden attack of the English archers, were completely routed, no fewer than five hundred being slain, and a great many taken prisoners, including Home's brother, Sir George. Irritated at the disaster, King James immediately resolved to take the field against England in person, and with a powerful force stormed a number of the border fortresses. On the approach of Surrey, he took up his position on the hill of Flodden. At that fatal battle Home, along with Huntly, had command of the vanguard. By a furious charge at the commencement Home completely routed Edmund Howard, who, with one thousand Cheshire men and five hundred Lancastrians (Letters of Henry VIII, i. 444), had command of the right; but conceiving that the battle was already won, Home's men, who had followed far in pursuit, began, according to their border habits, to concentrate their energies on pillaging. Lindsay of Pitscottie states that Huntly, observing the desperate straits of the king, sent to Home to come to his rescue, but that Home replied, ‘He does weill that does for himselff, for we have foughten our vangaird and wone the same, and thairfoir latt the rest doe thair pairtis as weill as we have done’ (Chronicles, ed. 1814, p. 278). However this may be, Home and his followers took no further part in the conflict, and remained in ignorance of the result in the neighbourhood of the field of battle all night. On the morrow they found it deserted by both parties and the Scottish artillery standing without a guard on the hillside, but retired without any attempt to bring it with them. On 13 Oct. 1513 following Home's lands were ravaged by the English under Dacre (Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII, vol. i. entry 4529). For repression of disorders consequent on the minority of the king, Home was in April 1514 constituted chief justice on the south side of the Forth (ib. i. 4951), a position which greatly increased his influence, and rendered him a powerful rival of the Earls of Angus. Archibald Douglas, sixth earl of Angus [q. v.], had married the widow of the king, and Home, being of opinion ‘that he would overrun all the whole countrie’ (Lindsay, p. 289), convened a council of the nobles at Edinburgh, where he proposed the recall of the Duke of Albany to act as regent. The lords were somewhat reluctant to take so bold a step, but on Home consenting that his name should appear first, they immediately signed an agreement for Albany's appointment. Circumstances, however, soon occurred in connection with the election in 1514 of an archbishop to the see of St. Andrews which caused Home to ally himself against Albany. Angus supported the claims of his uncle, Gavin Douglas [q. v.], for the see, while Andrew Forman [q. v.], the nominee of the pope, had obtained the support of Lord Home; but the claims of Douglas were not persisted in, and finally John Hepburn [q. v.], prior of St. Andrews, the third claimant, who had been besieged by Angus in the archbishop's palace, came to terms, and withdrew his opposition to Forman's appointment. Nevertheless, to Hepburn the loss of this great preferment was permanently galling; and becoming one of the chief confidants of Albany, he revenged himself by poisoning the duke's mind against both Angus and Home. They therefore found it expedient to make common cause with each other. In accordance with a decision of the estates, Albany determined to obtain possession of the young king, but this was met by the queen with the proposal that he should be committed to the custody of four persons nominated by herself, her husband Angus and Home being two of these. The terms were rejected, and Albany resolved to besiege Stirling Castle, where the young king was under the care of his mother. Home was ordered to arrest Sir George Douglas [q. v.], the brother of Angus, but declined to do so, and returned to his border fortress at Newark, while Angus also retired to his own territories. Threatened by the forces of the regent, the queen at once surrendered, and she and the young king were sent to the castle of Edinburgh. On this, Home immediately entered into communications with Dacre, and raised a large force to co-operate with one to be sent to his assistance from England. Ordered by Albany to leave the kingdom, he replied by recapturing his castle of Home on 26 Aug. (Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII, ii. 861) and also the strong border fortress of Blackadder.

The queen, who had gone to Linlithgow on the plea that she was near her time of childbearing, now made her escape by the help of her husband Angus, and was escorted by some followers of Home to the fortress of Blackadder. The promised help from England failed to arrive, and Home, threatened by the formidable force under Albany, agreed, on the promise of an amnesty and pardon, to have a conference with Albany at Douglas. Albany is also stated to have made Home promises of high reward and promotion if he would leave the queen's party (ib. 1012). Probably it was these offers that finally determined him to consent to a personal interview, but immediately on arriving he was arrested (ib. 1086) and sent to the castle of Edinburgh, where he was placed under the charge of the Earl of Arran. Arran was persuaded by Home not only to permit him to escape, but to join him in his flight to the borders. Angus and the queen now left Home's fortress of Blackadder, and joined Home and Arran in Northumberland. On 15 Oct. 1515 Angus, Home, and Arran entered into a league, engaging themselves and their supporters to resist the regent, and to deprive him of the custody of the young king. Not long afterwards the league was renounced by Arran. Angus and Home, finding that the English king would not give them any substantial support, came to terms with Albany, and returned to Scotland.

Home received a pardon on condition that he lived peacably on his estates, and ceased to intrigue with England. Not long afterwards Home and his brother William were summoned to a convention in September at Edinburgh to consider Scottish relations with England, but as soon as they entered the gates of the abbey of Holyrood, they were arrested on the charge of high treason. The exact nature of the accusation against them is doubtful. Buchanan asserts that both Home's private crimes and his former rebellions were insisted on, and that it was alleged that he had not done his duty at the battle of Flodden. The advice of the Prior Hepburn and Albany's desire to rid himself of a formidable foe best explain the sentence of death which was immediately pronounced. According to Leslie, Home was beheaded on 8 Oct. 1516, and his brother on the 9th, but Buchanan gives the dates as the 10th and 11th. Their heads were exposed on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, where they remained till 1521, when they were taken down by Home of Wedderburn, and buried in Greyfriars churchyard. Home's title and estates were forfeited. In revenge for Baron Home's execution, Home of Wedderburn drew Antony Darcy, who had been made by Albany warden of the marches, into an ambuscade, and put him to death with savage cruelty, 9 Sept. 1517. By his wife, Agnes Stewart, Home had two daughters, Janet, married to Sir John Hamilton, natural brother of the Duke of Chatelherault; and Alison. His brother George [q. v.] was restored to the title and estates 12 Aug. 1522.

[Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot.; Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII; Histories of Leslie, Buchanan, and Lindsay of Pitscottie; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 734–5; Crawfurd's Officers of State, pp. 323–4. Crawfurd confounds him with his father, the second earl.]

T. F. H.