Sir Thomas Hoby's Letter to Sir Robert Cecil with Enclosure

Hatfield House: Cecil Papers 88

ff [3–4]

The manner of ye Riotous assalte made vpon Sir Thomas Posthumus Hoby knighte at his howse at Hacknes in ye North Rydding in ye County of york By William Ewre esquir Sir William Ewre knighte, Richard Cholmley; William Dawny, William Hylliarde ye yonger Stephen Hutchenson gentlemen And (blank) Smyth yeoman falkner to the Lord Ewre./

Vpon Tewsday the xxvjth of Auguste aforesayd Sir Thomas Posthumus Hoby standing in his Hall at Hacknes aforesayde, speakinge with some Inhabytantes of the Country touchinge certeyne Country servyces: Ther Came in Sir William Ewres footeboy & sayd that Mr William Ewre Sir William Ewre & sundry other gentlemen woold Come that night to Sir Thomas: Whervnto Sir Thomas answered that he was sory that they did Come at that tyme for that his wyffe was not well and soe he was not soe well provyded for them as he desyred And wishing the footeboy to tell his Master soe much he answered that his Master was huntinge in the fforreste of Pyckering Lyth for as he knew not wherto fynd him. And soe the foote boy departed & enquired of one of Sir Thomas his servantes which was the next way into the fforreste./

Abowte the space of two howres after or theeraboutes; Ther came vnto Hacknes the gentlemen abouenamed Mr Dawny excepted & the sayd Smith with sundry other servingmen and boyes in their Company, And Sir Thomas heeringe that they were Come vp into his dyninge Roome he wente vnto them and towld them that they were welcome but he was sory that they shoold wante the greatest token of theyr welcome for that his wyffe was sicke and had kepte her Chamber and Came not forth that day to dinner./

Presently after this Sir William Ewres footeboy tooke forth Cardes and layde them vpon the table wherwith some of the gentlemen were excersized vntill supper./

In the beginninge of Supper tyme (Mr. Ewre pretending that he Came to hunte although he had noe howndes or greyhowndes with him) Sir Thomas sente for his servante that had moste Chardge of his deare whoe dwelte three myles from him; to be at Hacknes howse the next morninge to attende Mr Ewre: and soe Contynued at the table with them all the tyme of supper which was spente by the gentleman fyrst named (Mr Dawny excepted) partly in discoorsinge of Horses and dogges sportes whervnto Sir Thomas never applied himselfe; partly with lascivious talke wherin euerye sentence was either begone or ended with a grevous Oath yll beseeminge either the place or persons; And partly in inordynate drinkinge vnto helthes; abuses never practyzed in Sir Thomas his howse but once when Mr Ewre came vnto his howse which was in ye yeer before./ In supper tyme Came in a foote boy whome the gentlemen had sente for Mr William Dawny and brought worde that he woold Come vnto them in the morninge./

After supper Sir Thomas willed to have their Chamberes made readye: And soe soone as they wer readye, Sir Thomas Came himselfe and offered to bringe them vnto their lodginges; but they beinge at Dyse with the moste parte of their Company abowte them towld Sir Thomas that they woold play a while And soe they refusinge to goe vnto their Chambers; Sir Thomas did leave them for that night; and wente downe and sett his howshoulde to prayers as they were accustomed./

When Sir Thomas his famyly had begone to sing a psalme (as they are accustomed to doe before prayers) The gentlemen and their Company beinge but a little before lefte by Sir Thomas busye at dyse in the dyninge Chamber which ys over the Hall; presently soe soone as the psalme was begone belowe; the Company aboue made an extraordynary noyse with their feete and some songe and some laughed & were much lowder then those that were singinge in the hall and Certeyne of their Company stoode vpon they stayres at a wyndowe that opened into the Hall and laughed all the tyme of prayers./

The next morninge the gentlemen wente to breakefaste in the dyninge Roome and had Smith with them And at the latter ende of breakefaste Sir Thomas Cominge forth of his bedd Chamber into a little Chamber betweene his bedd Chamber and the dyninge Roome, wher vsually he doth make him ready He hard some in the Company Call for more wyne to pledge a health and an other swearinge that he woold runne away and did soe rather then drinke any more with him and in feare to offende god soe much as to mispend the blessinges which god had geven him to releeve necessitye in such synfull excesse; And soe he sente for the key of his wyne seller and willed his men to tell the gentlemen that they Coold Come by noe more Wyne; Presently after this Sir Thomas sente to Mr Ewre whoe was then at Cardes in the dyninge Roome to know how he would bestowe that day; Whervnto answer was made that he woold stay that day in the howse to rest his dogges (which indeed he had not ther) and his horses; and woold hunte the next day; That answer being brought to Sir Thomas whoe was then with his wyffe beinge in bedd by reason she had not been Well and had rested yll in the night she sente vnto Mr Ewre this messadge followinge; Tell Mr Ewre yat yf he will leave to disquiet me with his Cardinge; dysinge; and excessyve drynkeing; and fall to other sportes they shall be very welcome./| After this messadge was sente to Mr Ewre he sente vnto Sir Thomas his wyffe to tell her that he woold see her and be gone: whervnto she answered that she was in bed and when she was ready she woold send him worde./

Soe soone as she was ready she sente vnto Mr Ewre this messadge followinge Goe tell Mr Ewre yat I am Ready & I will speake with him soe as he will come alone; but yf he will not come alone he shall pardon me for I am not well. vnto which messadge Mr Ewre replyed in the heeringe of all the Company as followeth By god thy Master sends me such scurvy messadges yat I care not for them I came to se my Lady and not for his meate and his drynke: Bedd him send worde what yt Lyeth him in & I will pay him for yt & will sett vp a payre of hornes at the gate & be gone which speeches were delyvered vnto both Sir Thomas and his wyffe Beinge both together in their bedchamber./

Vpon the relacion of this speech Sir Thomas sente backe vnto Mr Ewre this messadge followinge Goe tell Mr Ewre yat I require him to departe my howse and growndes with his whole Company And there yf he will send me eyther this or any other messadge I will receyve them: Whervnto Mr Ewre sente this answer followinge I doe stay to stay to see thy Master & thy Lady & wee will keepe this Chamber (which was the little Chamber between Sir Thomas his bedd Chamber and the dyninge Roome wherin the gentlemen and Mr William Dawny whoe Came not longe before then were) though ther come xx: or xl: Menne./

At the same tyme when Mr William Ewre Made this answere Sir William Ewre looking forth of the windowe he did see certeyne of the Country people Cominge in (that being the day for the sessinge of the Subsydy for the Lyberty of Whitby Strande) and vsed thes speeches followinge: What I thinke the Country ys cominge in: Whervnto he was answered by one of Sir Thomas his servantes that ther was a Comyssione to be sitten on then that day; whervnto Sir William Replyed as followeth I care not for any Comyssione wee are strong enogh to keepe ye Chamber And Mr William Ewre presently sayd as followeth I care not for the Comyssione I will teare yt in peeces Not longe after thes speeches all the rest of the Company wente forth of that little Chamber and lefte Mr William Ewre behynde with a Coople of Sir Thomas his men and when they were gone one of Sir Thomas his men woold have boulted the dore after them least they shoold have Come backe to his Lady When Mr Ewre was with her; but the Company which wer gone forth perceyvinge that did Catch him by the arme & with vyolence did plucke him forth of the Chamber and throwe him from the dore agaynste the tables ende in the dyninge Roome & with all they sayde they woold have noe blwe Cotes there. But notwithstandinge Sir Thomas his other servante yat was with Mr Ewre did bowlte the dore when his fellow was throwen forth and withall did signifye soe much vnto his Lady whoe presentely sente for Mr Ewre to Come vnto her ‸⸢in her bed Chamber⸣ And at his Cominge and after salutacions she begane with that which moste Concerned her and demanded What he meante to say he woold sett vp hornes at the gate whervnto he answered That he Coold wish she woold geve her husband forty payre for he was a scurvy ape and a spyndleshanked ape; a scurvy Vrchen and his best freyndes of ye pryvy Consell should tell him what he was whervnto the Lady Hoby replyed as followeth I pray you Mr Ewre departe the howse in quietnes with your Company Whervpon Mr Ewre wente forth and stayed not vntill he came vnto the reste of his Coompany whoe were in the dininge Roome wher he Called a servant of Sir Thomas his and sayd vnto him before them all Tell thy Master he sente me a scurvy messadge and the next tyme I meete him I will tell him soe yf he be vpon the bench (and offeringe to take the man by the bearde sayde) And will pull him by the bearde./

Which soe soone as Mr Ewre had sayd to Sir Thomas his servante some of the Company asked Mr Ewre wher Sir Thomas was when he was with my Lady who vnto Mr Ewre answered as followeth I had thought he had been on the bedd but I looked ther but Coold not find him: I thinke now he was vndere the bedd which If I had known I woold have plucked him forth. When all the Company were goinge away Smith passinge through the Hall sayd as followeth. By gods Harte I woold thes hornes (meaninge the stagges heades nayled vpon ye screen) were as fast vpon Sir Thomas his head as they are vpon the poste./

At Mr Ewres Coming into the vttermoste Corte he sayd he woold goe to the toppe of the hill before the gate and flinge downe Myllstones and throw downe howses and woold play yonge Devereux. And withall at the same tyme he did flinge stones at the wyndowes in ye dyning Roome and did breake fower quarrelles of glasse in one wyndowe and one quarrel in the wyndowe on the other side of the Chamber over agaynst that wyndowe In this tyme Smith threwe downe the stockes standinge at the Church style and when he wente away one of the parysh sett them vp agayne and as Smith Came backe he brake them all in peeces, and sayd Yff any shall dare to sett them vp agayne I will sett him in them.

And abowte the same tyme he did flinge a great peece of wood at a poore wyddowes chymny and brake yt and sayd But for the poore people in yt I woold fyre the towne with many more lewde & wicked speeches And then he tooke his horse and dyd Ryde over a peece of grownde lately levelled by Sir Thomas before his gate for ‸⸢anowthere⸣ Corte And when he was asked whie he did spoyle the Coort he answered that he did yt for that purpose in spight and soe they all departed, and all this tyme Mr Ewre had noe howndes yat Came to Hacknes./

Stronge Cyrcumstances to prove yat this was donne to offer Sir Thomas Posthumus Hoby a disgrace and soe to enforce him to vndertake som bloddy quarell for the salving his Reputacion or els to leave him a disgraced person in the worlde.

ffyrst they Came before they were invyted./

Secondly ther was never that familiarytye between ether of the gentlemen and Sir Thomas that they shoold Come vnto his howse vnbedd and presume of his kyndnes whoe doth noe way Depende on them or theirs./

Thyrdly they brought dyse and Cardes with them and played at them in his howse wher thos playes by reason of the abuses which doe vsually followe them have beene by Sir Thomas himselfe forbydden Soe as they know that those Coorses woold very much discontente him by reasone that the laste yeer Mr Ewre Cominge in the same manner <....>d<.>d vsed thos playes wherto Sir Thomas did take exceptiones and vsed meanes that mr Ewre had notyce therof./

ffowrthly ther was apparante vnkindnes Conceyved agaynst Sir Thomas by all the gentlemen themselves or their freyndes abowte the executione of his place and Callinge of Iustyce of peace or as a Comyssioner for musters as vpon examinatione vpon Oath shall manyfestly appeare

ffyftely yt was presended by them that they had been huntinge and meante to hunte agayne wher as indeed and as Sir Thomas was informed they did not hunte that day and they had noe howndes nor grayhowndes with them Therfore yt seemeth they had some farther ende whervnto their Cominge tended then huntynge of deare/

Syxtly Mr Ewre ever dyrected his bad answers vnto S<..>ir Thomas in answer vnto his wyves messadges which shewed that ther purpose was to leave the cause of quarrell vpon Sir Thomas either to disgrace him or to enforce him to quarrell./

Lastly although they receyved entertaymente for fare & lodginge euerye waye answerable to their places & Callinge yet did they not refrayne from any synfull Coorse that Coold be practysed in that place though they knew that therby ther dyd Crosse Sir Thomas his dispositione; which was a manyfeste proofe that they Came to the ende to offer discontente and to offer vyolence to the Lawes of hospytalitye in practysinge oughte that shoold prove offensyve to the owner of the howse./

More ‸⸢proofes⸣ will be made of their practize but men will not speak volentaryly agaynst them in respecte of the Lord Ewres greatness in the partes wher he doth dwell./

  • Marginalia
    • °5t september: 1600./°

      [Footnote: 1600: underlined]

  • Footnotes
    • 1600: underlined
    • The manner … Ewre: in italic script
    • some: 2 minims for m
    • stay to stay to: dittography; for stay to
    • What I … in: in italic script
    • I care not … Chamber: in italic script
    • I care not … peeces: in italic script
    • That he Coold … was: in italic script
    • I pray … Company: in italic script
    • Tell thy … bench in italic script
    • And will … bearde: in italic script
    • I had thought … forth: in italic script
    • By gods … poste: in italic script
    • Yff … them: in italic script
    • Stronge … worlde: in italic script
  • Glossed Terms
    • falkner n falconer
  • Endnote

    Several prominent members of the community participated in the Hackness home invasion. Henry Cholmley (1556–1615/16) was the son of Sir Richard Cholmley of Whitby (c 1516–83). He was a JP for the North Riding by 1599 and was knighted in 1603. He served as MP for Westmorland in 1597 (HPO, 'Cholmley, Henry (1556–1616),' accessed 30 December 2020). Sir Christopher Hilliard [Hildyard] of Winestead's family had held lands in Holderness, East Riding, since the fourteenth century. Sir Christopher (1567–1634) was returned as MP for Hedon-in-Holderness regularly between 1589 and 1628 and served as a JP (East Riding) from 1601. He was a member of the Council of the North from 1603 until his death in 1634, and was county sheriff in 1612–13 (HPO, 'Hilliard, Christopher II (1567–1634),' accessed 30 December 2020). Stephen Hutchinson of Wykeham Abbey (1572–by 1648) served as MP for Scarborough in 1626. A staunch parliamentarian, he disinherited his royalist son, leaving him an annuity of £40 during his lifetime (HPO, 'Hutchinson, Stephen (1572–by 1648),' accessed 30 December 2020). Several members of the household of Ralph Eure (1558–1617), third Baron Eure, along with his local supporters, participated in the home invasion: William Eure (1579–1646) his son; Sir William Eure of Bradley (b. c 1569), his brother; William Dawney, brother of Lady Mary Eure (d. 1612), wife of the baron; George Smith, the baron's falconer; William Bourne, a retainer in the household. Other participants included: Robert Cooke, a servant to William Dawney; Richard Cholmley (1580–1631), son of Henry Cholmley; John Cholmley, brother of Henry Cholmley; George Wheatly, a servant of Henry Cholmley; William Hilliard the younger, nephew of Sir Christopher Hilliard; John Harrison, and Robert Wright.

    Sir Walter Devereux spent much of his career in Ireland, where he gained a reputation for ruthlessness and destruction (Alfred Webb, 'Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex,' LibraryIreland,, accessed 8 August 2021; J.J.N. McGurk, 'Devereux, Walter, first earl of Essex (1539–1576)' ODNB, accessed 4 August 2021).

  • Document Description

    Record title: Sir Thomas Hoby's Letter to Sir Robert Cecil with Enclosure
    Repository: Hatfield House
    Shelfmark: Cecil Papers 88
    Repository location: Hertfordshire

    On 26 August 1600 a group of young North Riding gentry led by William Eure (1579–1646), son of Ralph Eure (1558–1617), third Baron Eure, and Ralph's brother, Sir William, arrived at Hackness and demanded hospitality of Sir Thomas on the pretext of being on a hunting expedition. Sir Thomas received them with what may have been perceived as ill grace. The company spent the evening drinking and dicing, to Sir Thomas' disgust, to the extent that he eventually locked the wine cellar. When the family sat down to evening prayers the interlopers attempted to disrupt the service by stamping of feet and singing. Upon departure in the morning, some damage was done, including several broken windows. Hoby wrote a letter of complaint to the privy council (see Sir Thomas Hoby's Letter to Sir Robert Cecil) and the case eventually went to Star Chamber where Eure was fined £100 annually (see YNNA05, YNNA06, YNNA07, and YNNA08).

    1600; English; paper; 2 bifolia, folded thrice horizontally and once vertically, bound together with other single sheets and booklets of miscellaneous sizes; 350 x 250 mm; originally unnumbered (ff [1v–2] blank), now foliated 17–18 (enclosure) and 19 (letter); letter (f [1]) addressed on f [2v]: 'To the Ryght honorable ye | Lords of her Maiesties pryvy | Cownsell./' and endorsed in a different hand: '5. September 1600 | Sir Thomas Posthumus Hobby | to the Lords./ | a Riottous assualt committed vpon him in his house, by Mr Evres./,' enclosure (ff [3–4]) endorsed in the same hand (f [4v])'ye Manner of the Riott.'

Back To Top