“Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas”


Northumberland flees to Scotland and is taken into custody. Despite his protestations of virtue, he is passed from hand to hand, ending in the custody of Douglas. Percy sets sail, believing he will be freed, but ends up under the control of Lord Hunsden


For the background to Northumberland's flight to Scotland, see "The Rising in the North" [Child 175]. Having arrived in Scotland, Northumberland became a valuable pawn -- and in a nation with a child king and no real government, he wound up being passed back and forth until he came into Douglas's hands.

The Countess of Northumberland, in exile in Flanders, raised money to ransom him. But the English matched the ransom, and Northumberland was turned over to Lord Hunsdon in late 1571 and executed in 1572.

For the complete details of these proceedings, see the notes in Child.

Those desiring to see how Percy converted the manuscript text into the published text, see Nick Groom, _The Making of Percy's Reliques_, pp. 127 ffff. -- though Groom is far too sympathetic to Percy's hack-work. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Child 176, "Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas" (1 text)
  2. Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 279-294, "Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas" (2 texts, one being that in the Reliques and the other being the manuscript copy)
  3. Flanders-Ancient3, p. 171, "Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas" (1 fragment, similar to the Child text but so short that it might, from its text, be something else -- e.g. some texts of "Mary Hamilton" have rather similar lyrics; the singer apparently knew more of the song but would not repeat it)
  4. OBB 129, "Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas" (1 text)
  5. Roud #4006
  6. BI, C176


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy)
Found in: Britain