William De Lisle
Sex: male
Birth: about 1485
Death: 26 JAN 1527/28
Father: Humphrey De Lisle (1460-1516)
Mother: Margaret Bowes
Spouse/Partner: Agnes possibly Fenwick


Birth and Parentage and Early LifeEdit

Sir William Lisle was born about 1485 at Felton, Northumberland, England. He was executed about 26 January, 1527/28. He was the son of Sir Humphrey De Lisle (1460-1516) and Margaret Bowes.

He married at least one time according to some sources to an unknown Miss Fenwick and to other sources to an Agnes. They may both be the same woman.

The sources which call her a Fenwick, say that she was the sister of Ralph Fenwick There was a Sir Ralph Fenwick who was also and outlaw in Northumberland at the same time as the Lisles were.

One of the places that William Lisle lived was Felton, Northumberland, England. Felton is a small village in north Northumberland in North East England. Felton is situated about 10 miles south of the town of Alnwick, and 9 miles north of Morpeth. The nearest city is Newcastle upon Tyne (24 miles away) and the Scottish border is about an hour away. Felton has two bridges crossing the River Coquet. One is very old (approx 500 years), and the other was built in 1926. The older bridge is closed to traffic, and is often used for village events.

According o A History of Northumberland, in three parts, Troughen was one of the places that the Lisles held property in.

pg. 133 TROUGHEN—The Lisles had property here for a long time. About the year 1273, Julian, the widow of Michael Bayfelt, granted to "my lord Robert de Lisle." his heirs and assigns, all the lands and houses which she had in Goseford and Trowen by the gift of her father, Otwer deLisle; and in 1290, John de Herle sued John de Lisle, of Woodburn, for a messuage, thirteen acres of land, and three acres of meadow, in Trehquen--(III. i. 177.)

pg. 136 Sir Humphrey Lisle, knight, in 1440, gave to Wiliam Reed, of Troughwen, the hamlet called Bromhope, in Reddesdale, in exchange for lands in Buteland and Redesmouth.

pg. 168 The Calverly MS. says, that John de Lisle de Woodburn was the heir to Sir Robert de Lisle, of Woodburn, who gave him all his possessions in Northumberland and Redesdale; and that "by the inquest after his death, 1350, it appears that he by the name of John de Lisle of Wodeburn" (Cal. i. p. m. ii. 164) "died seized of the manor of Salcliff and Lylefield," 40 acres of land in Flixburgh," and all the lands joining juxta Santon with the demains bordering upon Sheffield on the east of his manor of Coningsby in Lincolnshire."--(Calverly MS. at Wallington.)

pg. 171 EAST WOODBURN—At the mouth of Lisles-burn, the Rede turns suddenly against a sandstone cliff to the west, and has a part of the village of East Woodburn crowning the crag on its southern margin. Till the new bridge was made by this village; and the traveller at all times had and easy and a safe passage this way up the east side of the river, and persons and droves of cattle coming from its west side, or out of Tindale and the southern parts of Scotland, crossed the Rede at the Old Bridge. But East Woodburn is most remarkable for having been the property and place of residence of the old and distinguished family of De Lisle, the site of whose house still goes by the name of Hall-yards, and has its antient importance still recorded in extensive masses ofprostate ruins, and in the remains of a fish-pond, which have a strong embankment on tewo sides, and a terrace ending in a circular plot of ground in the middle. Its situatio, on a rock, fringed with trees, is strong and delightful, overlooking downwaerds, as it dloes, thse lovely haughs,

The Lisle Family and Their OutlawryEdit

Humphrey De Lisle (1460-1516), the father or William Lisle was born, about 1460 in Felton, Northumberland, England. He was the son of Robert Lisle, of Felton and Woodburn, and Isabelle Camville. Isabelle Canville, was the daughter of Richard Canvill, Lord of Gosforth.

He was knighted in Scotland, 3 Henry VIII, and died June 30, 1517. He married Margaret Bowes, daughter of Sir William Bowes of Streatlam Castle and Dalden.


Humphrey Lisle's arms were ermine a lion rampant azure. One of the manors possessed by Humphrey was called Cumberwell/Camberwell. The family also had the lordship of Felton, the manor of Woodburn and lands in Redesdale. The Lisle's and other families lived in groups of three or four households, and on these small farms could not eke out a living, without resorting to stealing or "reiving".

In 1502, Humphrey was along with the prior of Brinkburn and 20 men on horseback, charged with meeting the king's daughter, Margaret and escourting her to where the sheriff of the county waited to meet her and then take her on to Morpeth, where she stayed at Alnwick castle two nights before moving on. She was journeying to meet her future husband, the king of Scotland.

Humphrey evidently did not get along with the local church officials. In a book about St. Cuthbert, it says that the church officials had sent some sort of an edict or message that did not sit well with him and that he smacked the priest on both cheeks and tore the missive into pieces and made him eat part of it. Then he set the priest on his horse backwards and sent him through the town and told him he should appologise for bringing such a letter there. Footnotes on the bottom of the page, state that this was the Humphry Lisle married to Margaret Bowes.

The same book says He was Ambassador to Scotland, 13 H. 7. (1497), and gives his date of death as 1516. It says that he passed on his hatred for the church to his son Sir William and his grandson, Sir Humphrey.

There was a general pardon given in 1509, but Humphrey was exempted from it and imprisoned in London. In 1512 he was in trouble again over his feud over tithes with the canons of Brinkburn.

In 1521, Humphrey and his son and grandson were involved in an attack on the priory and one of the canons was killed. This may have been what caused Cardinal Wolsey to pay closer attention to the Lisle's.

Humphrey's actions, and those of his son and grandson, are quoted from letters of the time as follows: "Sir Humfrey Lisle has done divers wrongs, &c. &c. to the poore Priour of Brinkburne, his brethren and his servants — setting them in the stoks wrongusly — putting the Vicar of Felton, being a Canon of Brinkburne, from his Cure, and putting in a secular prieste, &c. I have taken pains for redress, and have summoned him, &c. but in vain." — Lord Dacre to the Privy Council, dated at Carlisle, 18th Aug. circ. 152.."

In the following is an account of Humphrey's son being jailed for incidents with the Prior of Brinkburn.

"'Sir William Lisle and his son committed to Pontefract Castle for their behaviour to the Prior of Brinkburne, the Vicar of Felton, &c." — Thomas Magnus to Cardinal Wolsey, t. d. MSS. Cotton, Calig. B. III. 44."

"I have proceeded against Wm Lysle and his complices, aided by the Justices of Oye'r all the lands, &c. of the late William Lysle for the King's use — William Lysle, Humfrey Lysle his son, John Ogle, William Schafthowe, and Thomas Fenwicke, gentelmen of name, chief leaders and most haynous offenders of all the said rebells, all attainted of treason — all hanged, drawn,and quartered, except Humfrey Lysle, whom I send for the King's pleasure. I keepe here the other young son of the said Wm Lysle, (Robert who afterwards married and perpetuated the family.) The heads and quarters of them so executed, I have caused to be set up uppon the don-geon of the Castle of Newcastell and other placet in sight of the people. The residue of the re-bells have been attaynted for marche treason and put to execution to the extremytie." — Earl of Northumberland to Wolsey, Alnwicke, 2 Ap. (1526 ?) Ib. f. 146. • See the year 1430 — 1."

Here we have Humphrey De Lisle (1460-1516) and his son William being accused of taking corn from fields claimed by the town of Acton, or the canons of Brinkburn, and Humphrey is accused of killing the canon of Brinkburn.

"In a bill of information to Cardinal Wolsey, " for the repressing of maintainers of murder within the county of Northumberland," with marginal notes showing what has become of each offender, or what is to be done with him, are one or two entries that illustrate later events. Number seven in the list is Humphrey Lisle of Felton and Gosforth, who is indicted with Jowsey, for the cruel murder of Sir Richard Lighten, canon of Brinkburn, " because he occupied their own tithe corns of the town of Acton ; and because his brethren are religious men they may not follow the pele." The marginal note states that the malefactors are "in the shire of Northumberland, kept in secret places."

In the next paragraph it is explained that Sir William occupied the tithe corns that year and the year before, against the will of the canons, without paying any rent, and when he heard that Lighten was occupying them "he sent his son and servant to turn them out ; on which they killed him with their swords." Number nine reads : — " Good it were that Thomas Strey, clerk of the assize, was called upon to present unto your grace all such indictments as was found of wilful escapes at the assizes, holden at Newcastle afore Mr. Brudenell and others, in annis x. and xi." To this the marginal note is " of the names of them a privy seal to be made, and sent for to make answer."

Despite this trouble with the churchmen and authorities, it appears that Humphrey's son William still served in the capacity of Captain at Wark Castle, in the border wars with Scotland. In the same book, the following account is found of a fierce battle he took part in in the fall of 1523:

"Border lawlessness was followed this year by actual hostilities between the two nations for the first time in ten years. The earl of Surrey, the marquis of Dorset, and lord Dacre, wardens of the marches, were at their posts, and Dorset, who governed the east and middle marches, had two lieutenants to assist him, Sir William Bulmer and Sir William Eure. Mutual incursions followed, and on the 3rd of November the Scots, with French allies, besieged Wark, but were repulsed. Wolsey wrote, on 4 December, the following account of the position of affairs to dean (afterwards bishop) Sampson : — "The duke of Albany, after all his preparations, boasts and brags about invasion, long dwelling and lingering upon the borders, bruiting that he would come unto Berwick, Carlisle, Norham, or some other strong place, which all were sufficiently furnished for his resistance, came at last before a poor castle, not yet fully built and finished, called Wark, wherein were only 100 soldiers, with a captain named Sir William Lisle, unto which place he bent, and two whole days shot at his great ordnance right fiercely, being right well manfully and valiantly defended ; the third day, early in the morning, he set over the river unto this English side, where the base court of the castle was, 3000 Frenchmen and 1500 Scots, to give the assault on this side while the battery endured on the other ; who (being the base court over large to be with all the rest defended by 100 persons)in process entered the same, giving the assault to the inner ward so eagerly, that, partly by sufferance of the captain and soldiers, they also entered the same, being slain with fighting at handstrokes as fast as they came in, in such wise that, after the captain of the French footmen, with twenty of his company there slain, the rest were driven out of the inner ward, and by the captain and Englishmen so freshly pursued, that they, with above 1500 footmen, French and Scots, then being in the base court, were totally driven and expelled out of the same, and with loss of above nine score of them, compelled to flee again over the water, where not a few were drowned for haste."Thus rid of the assault, Lisle sent word to the earl of Surrey, then in or near Berwick, who marched for Wark ; and Albany, hearing of his movements, raised the siege and returned to Scotland ; there lodging at an abbey called Eccles. Then, hearing that Surrey intended to pursue him, he sounded a retreat, ' in despite of all the Scottish borderers, who exhorted him to tarry, and to revenge the displeasures done unto them,' and he ' shamefully and cowardly fledand ran away.' "

But at some point between 1523 and 1527, he became an outlaw.

"The great local events of this year centre round the proceedings of Sir William Lisle. Magnus, writing to Wolsey in the summer,describes his own arrival at York at the March assizes, where he sat with the king's justices and lord Richmond's counsel, and where he found Sir William Lisle and Humphrey his son, who were indicted by Sir William Ellerker, sheriff of Northumberland, and Roger Heron. Ellerker's complaint was that he, as sheriff, awarded a replevy against Sir William Lisle for an unlawful distress, and sent his servants at the request of the party aggrieved, to execute the same ; and that with a hundred persons the prisoner came to the landship where he dwelt [Widdrington], and carried away "40 hede of noote." He followed him, and demanded why he had done so; and he said "he did the same because that Sir William Ellerker's servants had made masters in his lordship ; saying also, he was as free in the same as was the king, and that neither the king, nor any other his officers, if he might be a party to them, should meddle with him or his said lordship."Roger Heron, also, had charges to make against Lisle : — " Whereas,variance, strife, and debate is between him and the said Sir William Lisle, as they were communing together, thesaid Sir William said to the said Roger,What! means thou to strive with me? Wilt thou win anything at my hands? I have ruffled with the warden, and also with the cardinal, and trust to pluck him by the nose. Magnus adds, that the " vicar of Felton, being a canon of Brinkbourne, curate to the said Sir William Lisle, a kinsman of his, and another his servant,being alleged to have been witnesses in this matter, were sent for to York, and being sworn, were examined ; but they would not confess any such words spoken against your said grace." Sir William and his son were committed by the court to Pontefract Castle ; and having so stated, Magnus went on to inform Wolsey that from York he went to the assizes at Newcastle, where " there hath not been so great an assize before, and so good appearance of gentlemen, all men using themselves most lowly to obey to the king's laws and his high commandments, insomuch that no man was in fear to complain, nor to give evidence against the thieves and malefactors ; whereof there was put to execution sixteen persons, many of them of the great surnames and headmen both of Tynedale and Riddesdale. Two of the Fenwicks, divers others of the Shaftoes, Pottes, Halls, and Hedleys, did suffer. Such a thing hath not been seen at one assize in these parts before." He submitted to the cardinal a scheme by which they might be kept more cheaply in order. The " pledges " were costly ; and the plan was that there should be chosen of the most principal surnames in Tynedale, thirty-six — three twelves — " to be laid at three sundry times of the year." He would apply the wages of six or seven soldiers of Berwick, every of them at 6/. 135. 4d., for giving competent meat and drink to the said twelve persons, after the rate of i8d. by the week ; which twelve persons, as is supposed, should, for the defence of the said town of Berwick and the country, do as much or more good by adventuring of their bodies, as would the said six or seven soldiers. He informs Wolsey that there is a "towardness"for good rule to be kept in Northumberland ; and for the better inducing of the same, he and other of lord Richmond's council have appointed to be again in Newcastle for keeping of the quarter sessions before Martinmas."

The indication of William Lisle's statement was that he felt as many men of his time did. He believed that he was sole lord of his lands and no one had the right to come onto his property and take his cattle, hence the supposed crime he committed of taking cattle back from the man sent to take his. He also did not believe that the church had authority over him.

In the following is a description of William Lisle and his son Humphrey escaping with others from Newcastle], for murder and felonies. They went over the border to Scotland.

"The spring assizes in Newcastle were barely over, when Sir William Lisle, who had given bond and obtained his release from Pontefract, came north, and offending again, was sent to gaol in Newcastle with his son, to answer the charges brought against him. On the 8th of July cardinal Wolsey writes to the king: — "I have been advertised from my chancellor of Durham of an heinous attempt done by Sir John [William] Lisle and his son, who, committed to ward at Newcastle by my lord of Richmond's council, as well for murder and felony as for divers other grievous offences, hath not only broken the prison wherein they were themselves, but also other prisons there, wherein was divers outlaws kept, some for felony, some for murder and treason. They be fled and escaped into Scotland ; and with them, at their issuing out of Newcastle, joined twenty other outlaws. By the reason of this attempt, the said Sir John [William] Lisle hath not only forfeited his bond, but his sureties, which were bond that he should be true prisoner, hath forfeited the sum of five hundred pounds."Wolsey suggests that Sir William Parr shall have Lisle's land, or a good part thereof. "With the 5oo/. rest your highness may do your most gracious pleasure." July &t&. — The king's secretary, Knight, writes to Wolsey that Henry had acted on his advice to send letters to James V. for the apprehension of Sir William Lisle, Humphrey his son, and others that by Sir William's means had broken the prison in Newcastle. August loth. — The earl of Angus writes to Henry, assuring him of his diligence. The king of Scots,his master, has summoned his wardens, and taxed them severely with receiving trangressors against his uncle's laws. Angus has not been able to ascertain the haunts of these rebels, but will nothing spare, cost, travail, nor danger of body, to take their persons, and deliver them to king Henry's officers. August \2th. — Lisle, his son, and William Shafto, proclaimed as rebels who have broken the king's prison at Newcastle, liberated traitors, escaped to Scotland, and, in company with other outlaws, have burned the town of Holmeshaugh in Northumberland. Rewards are offered for their apprehension — namely, one hundred marks for Sir William, 4O/. for Humphrey, and 2O/. for Shafto. A few days later Magnus writes to the king that Lisle has been proclaimed throughout Northumberland for breaking prison at Newcastle, and releasing rebels, stealing forty horses [it was head of noot, or neat cattle before] at Widdrington, and burning a town belonging to Sir William Ellerker. Lisle, he adds, had become bound, after his committal to Pontefract, to be of good abearing, and not commit any treason, felony, robbery, riot, extortion, or forcible entry, but had forthwith gone and done what he was pledged not to do ; and hence the indictment in Northumberland, where he and his son were at large, and where, as Magnus reports,there was great dearth of corn and much poverty, and outbreaks were therefore the more probable. The duke of Richmond was now lieutenant-general of the forces north of Trent, and lord warden of the Scottish border ; and on the 7th of September his council (of which Magnus was director), addressed a letter to king Henry, under the impression that Lisle was resident in the debatable ground [which Sir William Eure contradicted on the I2th] with the broken men of both the borders, misruling and disordering the countries next adjoining thereunto. Five weeks later the council despatched to Wolsey a circumstantial account of the affair ; adding that all efforts to apprehend Lisle and his accomplices had been in vain, and that others in both countries robbed and spoiled " under the pretence and colours of the said Sir William and his other outlaws." The council had, therefore, instructed Sir William Eure to remove from Harbottle, and advised that he should lie at Felton, or thereabouts, being a lordship of Lisle's, where he and his son often were, and had their chief succour and relief ; and as horse-meat and other victuals were scarce and dear in those parts, his retainers and soldiers, to the number of three score, to have fourpence by the day during the space of two months. Certain houses within the woods of Felton to be "burnt, destroyed, and pulled down, and the corn, hay, and victuals there either to be carried thence and employed to the relief of the said Sir William Eure and his company, or else to be burnt and destroyed ; whereby the said Sir William Lisle, nor none of his, shall have any aid, relief, or succour in that quarter, where hath been their chief refuge." Divers women and other simple persons, " their espials and messengers," were to be seized and sent to the gaol of Newcastle. Newton " another place " of Lisle's, also, " nigh unto the borders of your bishopric of Durham," to have good watch and espial, lest, debarred from Felton, he should resort thither, " like as he hath done of late." Moreover, the council signified to his grace some distrust of Eure. " As far as we can in anywise conceive, albeit the said Sir William Eure is sheriff of the county of Northumberland,vice-warden and lieutenant of the middle marches, and keeper of Tyndale and Riddisdale, yet we do not see that he can or may serve the king's highness so substantially as he ought to do in that country,considering the great hurts and heinous attempts committed more often upon the middle marches than in any other places, and that the inhabitants of that country do neither arise, assemble, nor stir with him for the defence of the same." Wolsey has subsequently a letter from Eure, dated Harbottle, 27 October: — "Of late I did certify your grace of the demeanour of the country, and how oft I have demanded justice and redress of the Scots for such offences and attempts as are committed and done by the surnames of the Armstrongs, Nixons, and Crosiers, with whom Sir William Lisle, and all other his adherents, are reset, and daily ride together, and commit burnings,murders, and hardships within the realm of England ; and as yet I can get no remedy thereof, but answers of delays, to the utter undoing of the middle marches of England, and the king's true subjects dwelling within the same." His opinion, with which he prays the cardinal not to be miscontented, is, " that either there must be well horsed men abiding and remaining upon the frontiers of England foreanenst Liddesdale, as at Haltwhistle, Hexham, Swinburn, Gonnerton, and Chipchase, or else the surnames of Armstrongs and others, with the outlaws above written, hath well-nigh utterly destroyed the head of Northumberland and the water of Tyne, and, or Christmas, in mine opinion, without hasty remedy it shall be clearly destroyed. For I do by myself at Harbottle, which is the middle part and uttermost frontier of the middle marches; and the greatest hurt that the Scots and outlaws in times past was to come in there and do harm in England. And by cause of my lying there, they come down the water of Tyne, which is sixteen miles from me ; and so, pleaseth your grace, I am not of power to keep both the places. Where though, without hasty remedy, seeing there is no punishment in Scotland for Liddesdale, the country will be utterly destroyed." Eure promises, however, to do his uttermost to withstand the marauders. Angus, chancellor of Scotland, sends greetings to king Henry in November, and touching "Sir William Lisle, son, and complices, rebels to your majesty," has made proclamation for the taking or slaying of them, " and shall never be at rest, nor quiet in mind, nothing sparing pain, travail, nor expense,unto the time your solicitude be satisfied in the premises." [J. C.]

On the twenty-seventh of the same month the duke of Richmond's council report to Wolsey that they "have kept a warden court and sessions of peace at Newcastle, and have been there ten days. One Collingwood has been executed, a notable offender in march treason,who was brought in by Robert Collingwood, chief of his name. Many persons were indicted for robbery, whose arraignment was adjourned till the coming of the justices of assize to Durham, in Lent,for they have not been accustomed to go to Newcastle except once a-year at Lammas. Hope by mid-Lent to have a good number of offenders brought before them for an example. The gentlemen of Northumberland behaved well in giving their verdicts and evidence.No mention is made of Sir William Lisle and his accomplices" ; but their doom was rapidly approaching, and while the following year was yet young, the old keep of the castle of Newcastle presented their ghastly quarters to " the view and sight of the people."

William Lisle's Surrender and ExecutionEdit

Sir William Lisle's lawless adventures in the previous year came to a sad ending. On the I2th of January the earl of Northumberland writes to the king that, "hearing of an intended raid by certain outlaws at Felton, he sent Roger Lassels thither at midnight, who apprehended Alex. Crawhawe, the chief counsellor of William and Humphrey Lisle ; John Pringle, to whose house the Lisles and their spies resorted; Matthew Stokehall, of Tindale, one of the pledges that broke from the duke of Richmond's council at Pomfret; John Armstrong, who brought the Armstrongs to Newcastle when they broke the gaol there, and eleven others. Held a warden court at Alnwick, on Wednesday, 8 January, and beheaded nine for march treason and hanged five for felony. On the twenty-eighth the earl is able to report to Wolsey the surrender of William Lisle and his son, with most of their adherents. Thomas Errington, his own [the earl's] servant, and Edward Horsley, the cardinal's servant, with their tenants, made a fray on the twenty-first, on William Charlton, otherwise William of Shotlington, the head rebel of all the outlaws, Harry Noble, Archibald Dodd, and Roger Armstrong, who had been on a raid into the bishopric, and brought away the priest of Muggleswick as their prisoner. " And finally the said William Charlton of Shotlington was slain, and one James Noble slain too, and one Roger Armstrong and one Archibald Dodd too ; other their complices were taken, the residue escaped. I caused the said William Charlton, because he had committed divers and sundry horrible and cruel crimes and offences within your grace's dominions of Durham and Hexham — as burning of towns, murders, robberies, spoils, taking of persons, and other such like detestable and unlawful attempts — for the which causes I caused his body to be hanged up in chains, upon a pair of gallows, nigh unto your grace's said town of Hexham, and in likewise the body of James Noble is hanged up at Haydon Bridge, within my lordship of Langley. And at a warden court holden at my castle of Alnwick on Monday, the 2/th day of the said month of January, Roger Armstrong and Archibald Dodd were attainted of sundry march treasons ; and for terrible example of semblable offenders, I have caused their bodies to be in like case hanged up in chains — the one of them nigh the town of Newcastle, and the other at Alnwick. And upon the said conflict and overthrow of the said thieves spread abroad in the country, and also the noise and speech of the country, that if the earl of Angus would not deliver unto me the king's rebellious prisoners, aided and assisted in Scotland, that I would invade Nedesdale [Liddesdale ?], where they were kept, and destroy and burn all the houses and holds there ; the which among the outlaws, as well of Scotland as of England, by the dread of the same, as it is supposed, was the occasion that upon Sunday, the 26th day of the present month of January, came William Lisle, Humphrey Lisle, William Shaftowe, and other their adherents, in all the number of eighteen persons, without any composition, covenant, or comfort of me or of any other to my knowledge, in my way coming from the high mass at the parish church of Alnwick, in their linen clothes, and halters about their necks, kneeling upon their knees, in very humble and lowly manner submitted themselves to the king's highness's mercy and your grace, knowledging their offences, and requiring of his highness mercy and pardon; and if not, they were ready to bide his execution of his most dread laws."

Another book, Society, Politics and Culture By Mervyn Evans James, gives a similar account of William's surrender to the Earl of Northumberland:

In a letter to the king from Henry Percy,6th Earl of Northumberland.

"On Sunday late in January 1528, as the young sixth earl of Northumberland, only lately appointed warden of the East and Middlw Marches, made his was from mass along the Canongate at Alnwick to the great fourteenth-century gatehouse of the castle, he was encountered by a melancholy little group of suppliants, lightly clad, and shivering in the cold wind. They wore only white shirts, and there were halters about their necks, symbols of abasement and repentance. Kneeling in the mud, all fifteen of them made unconditional submission to the king's authority, and were immediately committed to the castle prison. Amongst them were gentlemen of worship in Northumberland, particularly Sir William Lisle, lord of Felton near Alnwick, and Humphrey his young heir; but also John Ogle, William Shaftoe, and Thomas Fenwick. All were bandits, who since the previous summer, when Lisle had escaped from inprisonment at Newcastle, had kept the Marches in and uproar."

Within a few days after this remarkable surrender, Brian Tukewrites to Wolsey on behalf of the youth Humphrey Lisle: — "One of the surrendered prisoners is an unoffending lad, not past twelve or thirteen, son of Sir William, simply out with his father, " peradven-ture fearing lest he should lack bread at home." " Whether it be of fatherly compassion, for I have children of mine own, and one much of that age, vel nescio quo spiritu ductus, the remembrance of this innocent hath caused me that in my bed this night I could not forbear to water my plants, having in fresh remembrance what I knew in king Henry the VIIs days, as considered and alleged touching the difference between the king's laws and an instinct or law that is in nature, when Sir James Tirel and Sir John Wyndham were put to death, and their sons upon that consideration pardoned. I thought convenient to advertise your grace what was showed me of the younger son, most humbly beseeching the same to pardon me of my boldness and simple pity." - Humphrey was spared, and probably his younger brother. The rest were hanged and quartered, and their remains publicly exhibited in Newcastle and elsewhere, as appears by a letter from the earl of Northumberland to Wolsey, dated the 2nd April : — " For the more terrible and dreadful example of all the inhabitants in these parts, William Lisle, Humphrey Lisle his son,John Ogle, William Shaftowe, and Thomas Fenwick, gentlemen of name, chief leaders and most heinous offenders of all the said rebels,were, according to their demerits, attainted of high treason, and by me had judgment given to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. The execution whereof was accomplished upon them accordingly, only reserving Humphrey Lisle, whom, according to the pleasure of the king's highness and your grace, I have sent by this bearer, John Norton, my servant, to be further ordered as shall stand with your gracious pleasure, notwithstanding he had judgment among the other. And the other young son of the said William Lisle I detain here with me, to such time as I shall be advertised of the further mind and pleasure of the king's highness and your grace's concerning the said young Lisle. And the heads and quarters of them that were so executed for high treason I have caused to be set up upon the 'dongeon ' of the castle of Newcastle, and in sundry other eminent and open places, most apparent to the view and sight of the people, to the high contentation of all the true inhabitants of these parts, and extreme terror of all other semblable offenders. The residue of the said rebels been also attainted for march treasons and put to execution . . and have also . . . executed and put to death six thieves of Tynedale, who of late time were reported the most notorious and heinous offenders of that country. After which execution so done, the 2nd day of this instant month of April, at this town of Newcastlc-upon-Tyne, in presence of the most part of the gentlemen and freeholders of Northumberland ; the Tynedale men in great numbers submitted themselves, according to the king's most gracious pleasure, in most humble wise, upon their bare knees, beseeching his highness of grace and pardon for their offences past," etc. [J. C.]"

Humphrey Lisle made a confession in June of the offences which his father and himself, with their adherents, had committed, as follows : —

1. About twelve months ago he and his father, with about forty persons, Scots and English (of whom all the English have been executed) attacked Newcastle, compelled the keepers of the castle to surrender the keys, and delivered nine prisoners.

2. Shortly afterwards came to Widdrington, intending to have taken or slain Sir William Ellerker, if he had issued out of the town, and took away twenty horses from the fields.

3. With about 140 persons, chiefly Scots, spoiled and burned Holmeshaigh.

4. Attacked Widdrington a second time, and took prisoner and ransomed Michael Vynell.

5. In returning to Scotland took prisoners four of my lord of Northumberland's company, three of whom they liberated without ransom.

6. Burned three or four houses in Thropell, and took three prisoners.

7. Burned Lynton, a farmhouse of Sir William Ellerker's, and drove away forty-three cattle.

8. He himself and four servants burned the house of Roger Heron in Eshed.

9. Drove away sixty head of cattle from Togston.

10. He and his servant, John Ogle, disguised as beggars, robbed two men of Staumford on horseback of their horses and spears.

11. He and four servants plundered a house in Wooddon of household stuff value 465. 8d.

12. He took two horses from Anthony Lilburn.

13. Took fourteen head of cattle from Whittell and eight from Henry Lex of Thurston ; took prisoners three or four men between Alnwick and Warkworth, and two between Warkworth and Chibburn ; robbed the shop of Henry Sanderson in Alnwick of 4/. worth of goods, and the house of Thomas Dryden in Alemouth of four marks' worth.

14. When about thirteen years old was present when Roger Jowsye killed a canon of Brinkburn.

15. At Gosforth, a mile from Newcastle, took prisoners twenty- seven persons passing by in the high street, of whom he had 26s. Sd., and ransomed all but seven, whom he kept for a while in servitude in Scotland.

16. Returning to Scotland, met his father, and took two prisoners on the Tyne on the highway between Newcastle and Chollerford, and robbed them of horses and weapons.

17. In the highway between Lesburyand Warkworth he and three servants robbed two fishermen of four marks and an ambling mare. Signed — " By me, Umfra Lysle."

Young Lisle appears to have rendered service in return for his pardon. On the 27th December 1531 the earl of Northumberland wrote to the king commending " Humphrey Lisle for the apprehension of Hob Elwold, who was put to execution when the writer was at Dilston, which is a great quietness to the king's subjects on the Tyne."

Then we have in July of 1535 the following entry: July 28. At a warden court held in Newcastle, Sir Humphrey Lisle of Felton, knight, and Alexander Shafto of Scremerston, were indicted for divers march treasons committed by them on the east and middle marches. Hearing of the indictments the accused fled, and the earl of Northumberland issued a proclamation against them.

A point of interest follows on the same page. There is an entry concerning a John Marshall and his wife Philippa. A few generations into the Lisle genealogy from William Lisle, there is a descendant who marries a Philippa Marshall, daughter of John Marshall. It was previously erroneously recorded as Philippa Maskell. It would be interesting to find if this John Marshall and wife Philippa in Northumberland were ancestors of the later Philippa. It would help further support my claim that Thomas of Bromsgrove Lilly was from this same family. The following is the mention in the same book:

December 31.The prior and convent of Tynemouth grant and confirm to John Marshall, gentleman, and Phillippa, his wife, a certain annuity, or yearly fee of ten pounds sterling, issuing from their lands and tenements in the vill and territories of Benwell, near Newcastle, to be paid yearly by equal instalments, at the feasts of the nativity of St. John the Baptist and our Lord. To hold the said annuity to the aforesaid John Marshall and Phillippa, and either of them longestliving, with power of distraint after twenty days arrear, etc.

In November of 1559, there is a mention of a Lancelot Lisle helping to post bond for another man, as follows: November 8. There is of this date a bond of John Hall of Otterburn, Launcelot Lisle of Gosforth, and four others, to the earl of Northumberland,and Francis Slingsby, keeper of Tynedale, in I4OL., for the personal appearance of Jarret [Gerard] Charlton of the " Howe Hill," at Newcastle, on the 15th of January next.

Humphrey Lisle and Anne Ogle had three sons, William, Percival and Thomas, and one daughter, name unknown.

It is my opinion that the church in the area of Northumberland, where the Lisle's lived was taxing the people too heavily, and that the people had to do what was necessary to live. There were other more devious plots being hatched in the king's court. Cardinal Wolsey was in need of a way to remove King Henry VIII's rival for Anne Boleyn. So, they sent him back to Northumberland to clean up the civil unrest. It is evident from the letters above that Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, inherited the Earldom about that time. He had been brought up in Cardinal Wolsey's household and Wolsey and in turn Henry VIII, most likely counted on this to cause him to be more compliant to their wishes than his father had been. Humphrey Lisle, the older had been Sheriff of Northumberland and as a law abiding person, would have to have reasons for becoming an outlaw. Being used in the power struggle between he Percies and the king had dire consequences. The recorded accounts quoted above state that the people had resorted to eating horse meat and that even it was scarce. The accounts above also state that at one point, woods and houses were burnt near Woodburn, and whatever food was to be found in the fields were either to be given to the soldiers sent on this errand or to be burnt. In addition to this women and old people were rounded up and sent to jail. If peace could have been made before, it wasn't going to happen after this attrocity had taken place on Lisle lands.

The 6th Earl of Northumberland was hesitant to execute the Lisle's as they had formerly been Percy men. What the government in London saw as justifiable enforcement of law, was seen in Northumberland as a betrayal of Percy against his subordinants and servants the Lisle's, under the rules of fealty. Part of the reason Percy was forced to execute these men, was Henry VIII and his determination to prove that he was the one in control of the area and not Percy. The 5th Earl of Northumberland, was the most powerful and wealthy man in the north and Henry feared that if he were to so choose, he could lead the north against the southern part of England. He also had connections with Scotland and Henry feared his power on that front also. Henry VII and Henry VIII began converting families that had been in the service of the Percies, into the king's service, in order to lessen their power.

William Lisle had been made constable of the castle at Alnwick.Before this he had been constable of Wark castle. This would not have been done if he had not been in good standing with the Percies. The politics of the time was so that most of the gentry in Northumberland were at one time or another involved in "reiving" or in others words raiding other peoples land and stealing their cattle, on either side of the border with Scotland. Blackmail and murder were part of the results and the Northumberland people considered it a way of life. It was partly as a result of rising population putting too much strain on the available resources of the area.

The 5th and 6th Earls of Northumberland suffered greatly at the hands of Henry VIII. Henry even placed a heavy tax on the older Percy's funeral. The younger Percy died impoverished and disgraced. His having been forced to testify against Anne Boleyn, must have contributed negatively on his life.

They had probably allowed or even condoned the actions of the Lisles as a means to prove to the king that the area could not effectively be controlled without the Percys.

William Lisle, whom I believe to be the father of Thomas of Bromsgrove, had a son named Lancelot, by his wife whose maiden name was Fenwick. I have not found her Christian name. This Lancelot mentioned above is likely their son.

In addition to this evidence for Thomas of Bromsgrove being the son of William Lisle and unknown Fenwick is this; The unknown Fenwick wife of William may have been the daughter of Ralph Fenwick and Margery Mitford.

The Catherine Fenwick, who married Lancelot Lisle, was the daughter of Richard Fenwick,who in turn was the son of Ralph Fenwick. (Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families - Page 320 by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham)

There seems also to be a connection in the arms of the Lilley's of Bromsgrove, Worcester and the De Lisle arms from Northumberland.

The De Lisles in Northumberland had their arms as, Gu. cruelly or a lion pass. guard. arg. De Lisle and some were crowned or

There was a Baron de L'isle in reign of Henry VI Gu. a lion pass. or. crowned or.

The Lisles in Worcester had arms, Ermine, a lion rampant azure[charged with a mullet for difference].

The common factor here seems to be the lion.

I have an idea that William's father in law Ralph Fenwick being at one time sheriff of Northumberland, must have made his outlawry difficult for his family. It is also possible that Ralph may have helped talk him into surrendering to the authorities.

Archaeologia Aeliana, Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquities‎ - Page 141 by Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeology - 1954

In 1516 Sir William Lisle was living at Ogle, and it was possibly then that he and Fenwick began their association. In 1527 Lisle was using Felton as the...

William Lisle and Thomas Bromsgrove LillyEdit

William Lisle, whom I believe to be the father of Thomas of Bromsgrove, had a son named Lancelot, by his wife whose maiden name was Fenwick. I have not found her Christian name. This Lancelot mentioned above is likely their son.

In addition to this evidence for Thomas of Bromsgrove being the son of William Lisle and unknown Fenwick is this; The unknown Fenwick wife of William was the daughter of Ralph Fenwick and Margery Mitford.

The Catherine Fenwick, who married Lancelot Lisle, was the daughter of Richard Fenwick,who in turn was the son of Ralph Fenwick. (Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families - Page 320 by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham)


Name Birth Death

Humphrey Lisle 1516-1518
20 FEB 1544/45

Lucy Lisle 12 SEP 1516

Jane Lisle about 1522

Lancelot Lisle about 1524
28 APR 1558

Margery Lisle about 1524

Robert Lisle about 1527

Thomas Bromsgrove Lisle Lilly about 1515


  • Archaeologia Aeliana, Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquities: Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquities‎

- Page 74 by Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeology - 1942

  • Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families‎ - Page 144

by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, David Faris - Social Science - 2004

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by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham - Reference - 2005

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by John Hodgson, James Raine, John Collingwood Bruce, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain Exchequer - Northumberland (England) - 1858

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by Thomas Gregory Smart - 1868

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by Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeology - 1935

  • Society, Politics and Culture By Mervyn Evans James
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by Josiah Clement Wedgwood, Anne Holt, Great Britain. Parliament. Committee on History of Parliament - Great Britain - 1936

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by Josiah Clement Wedgwood, Anne Holt, Great Britain. Parliament. Committee on History of Parliament - Great Britain - 1936

  • Saint Cuthbert By James Raine, SAINT. CUTHBERT
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