Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 24.djvu/332

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Harclay
Harclay
318

got before the earl, and seized the bridge which guarded a neighbouring ford. On 16 March Lancaster arrived and attacked Harclay's forces ; but the able imitation of Scottish tactics which Harclay had adopted soon threw the enemy into confusion. The Earl of Hereford was slain in an attempt to force the passage of the bridge on foot, and the archers prevented Lancaster's horse from crossing the ford. Lancaster was compelled to beg for a truce till next morning, when, as Hereford's men had all run away in the night, and the sheriff of Yorkshire had brought his levies to join Harclay, he was obliged to surrender to Harclay (Monk OF Malmesbury, pp. 268-9 ; Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 243-4, Maitland Club, give the fullest account of the battle). Harclay took his prisoners to York, and thence to Pontefract, where he was one of the informal court which condemned Lancaster to death. On 25 March, three days after Lancaster's execution, the king created Harclay Earl of Carlisle, girding him with his own hands with the sword of the county, and conferring on him large rewards and estates (Trokelowe, pp. 126-7). These included 20l. a year from the issues of his shire and estates in Cumberland and Westmoreland worth one thousand marks a year, and estates in the marches of Wales worth five hundred marks a year also. Until he received these he was to receive a pension of one thousand marks from the exchequer. His patent was the first 'wherein any preamble importing the merits of the person dignified was ever used' (Dugdale, ii. 97). Other grants from the forfeited estates of Roger Clifford quickly followed. On 26 March he was created captain and warden of the four northern counties and of the bishopric of Durham. He was at the parliament which met at York in May (Ann. Paulini, i. 303), where he seems to have quarrelled with Hugh le Despenser, there made Earl of Winchester. He was appointed on 2 July warden of the Scottish marches, and was occupied in fighting against the Scots all the summer. At Michaelmas, on the Scots invading Yorkshire, he marched with thirty thousand men eastwards to the assistance of the king. But on 14 Oct. Edward barely escaped capture at Byland, and Carlisle dismissed his army in disgust. On 3 Jan. 1323 he had a private interview with Robert Bruce at Lochmaben, and after a long conversation formed a compact with him to refer the differences between the two countries to a council of six English and six Scottish magnates. On his return he convoked the great men of Cumberland together, and compelled them, 'more by fear than love,' to swear to maintain what, with all its speciousness, was a scarcely veiled attempt at treason. But the common people of the north rejoiced at the prospect of peace. It was believed that Carlisle had been offered a sister of Bruce as his wife (Murimuth, p. 396 ; Trokelowe, p. 127 ; Walsingham).

The king and council were in great alarm, and on 1 Feb. issued a commission for the earl's apprehension. Antony de Lucy, Carlisle's special friend and confidant, was sent to seize him. On 25 Feb. Lucy entered Carlisle Castle with a small band of followers, on the pretence of conferring with the earl on some private business. He found him dictating a letter in the great hall, and Carlisle, taken by surprise, surrendered. His chief followers fled to the Scots after hardly a show of resistance. On 3 March Geoffry le Scrope, as justiciar, published at Carlisle the king's sentence against the traitor, who also seems, though with little warranty, to have been made the scapegoat of Edward's danger at By land (Leland, Collectanea, i. 670). The sword of the county was wrested from his hands. The golden spurs of knighthood were cut away from his heels. He was dragged through Carlisle town to the gallows at Henriby, and there hanged, drawn, and quartered. He behaved with the utmost intrepidity during all his sufferings, and convinced the Franciscan friars of Carlisle who had received his dying confession that he had acted from good motives. With his last breath he explained to the bystanders that his only aim was to bring the distracted realm to peace. His head was sent to London and received by the mayor and sheriffs with a great blast of horns, and stuck up on a long pole over London Bridge (Ann. Paul. p. 304), and his four quarters sent to Carlisle, Newcastle, York, and Shrewsbury (Parl. Writs, ii. iii. 971, more precise than Lanercost, p. 251). His sudden elevation had perhaps turned his head, and he aspired to play with inferior forces the part of a Thomas of Lancaster.

Carlisle had a wife named Ermerarde (Doyle, Official Baronage, i. 326) ; but she must have died before him if there be any truth in the projected Scotch marriage. He had a brother named John Harclay, but no children of his are mentioned.

[The so-called Chronicle of Lanercost, pp. 242-5, 248-51 (Maitland Club), very full and extremely favourable to him, was probably written by the Carlisle Franciscans who received his last confession ; Annales Paulini and Vita Edwardi II. Auctore Malmesburiensi in Stubhs's Chronicles of Edward I and II (Rolls Series) ; Knyghton in Twysden's Decem Scriptores; Annales Monastici