Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object ID 1000.129.06
Title Origins of the Name "Chevy Chase:" a Tale of Battles and Ballads
Object Name Exhibit
Date 03/20/1994
Creator Eleanor Ford
Description Origins of the Name "Chevy Chase" a Tale of Battles and Ballads exhibit
March 20, 1994 for Section 3 and the Chevy Chase Historical Society Gala at 3709 Bradley Lane
by Eleanor Ford

5. After the Battle

[1000.129.06a]
The Scots force, with prisoners and booty, returrned north and buried their leader James Douglas at Melrose Abbey.

[1000.129.06b]
The English troops buried their 1800 dead near Otterburn in the churchyard at Elsdon. Their leader Harry Percy, "Hotspur," was ransomed and returned to Northumberland and a tumultuous career. He died in the battle of Shrewbury, in 1403, fighting WITH a Douglas, against his king, Henry IV. Denounced a traitor, and a rebel, his body was quartered and impaled.

Froissart's Chronicles

In 1390, Jean Froissart, one of the great writers of medieval Europe, published his account of the Battle of Otterburn, based on interviews with participants. For many years this was the only printed account of the battle, and it is still the most accurate. From book III:

"Now let us speak of the young James earl of Douglas, who did marvels in arms or he was beaten down. When he was overthrown, the press was great about him, so that he could not relieve, for with an axe he had his death's wound. His men followed him as near as they could, and there came to him sir James Lindsay his cousin and sir John and sir Walter Sinclair and other knights and squires. And by him was a gentle knight of his, who followed him all the day, and a chaplain of his, not like a priest but like a valiant man of arms, for all that night he followed the earl with a good axe in his hands and still scrimmished about the earl thereas he lay, and reculed back some of the Englishmen with great strokes that he gave. Thus he was found fighting near to his master, whereby he had great praise, and thereby the same year he was made archdeacon of Aberdeen. This priest was called sir William of North Berwick: he was a tall man and a hardy and was sore hurt. When these knights came to the earl, they found him in an evil case and a knight of his lying by him called sir Robert Hart: he had a fifteen wounds in one place and other. Then sir John Sinclair demanded of the earl how he did. `Right evil, cousin,' quoth the earl, `but thanked be God there hath been but a few of mine ancestors that hath died in their beds: but, cousin, I require you think to revenge me, for I reckon myself but dead, for my heart fainteth oftentimes. My cousin Walter and you, I pray you raise up again my banner which lieth on the ground, and my squire Davie Collemine slain: but, sirs, shew nother to friend nor foe in what case ye see me in; for if mine enemies knew it, they would rejoice, and our friends discomforted.' The two brethren of Sinclair and sir James Lindsay did as the earl had desired them andraised up again his banner and cried 'Douglas!' Such as were behind and heard that cry drew together and set on their enemies valiantly and reculed back the Englishmen and many overthrown, and so drave the Englishmen back beyond the place whereas the earl lay, who was by that time dead, and so came to the earl's banner, the which sir John Sinclair held in his hands, and many good knights and squires of Scotland about him, and still company drew to the1 cry of `Douglas.' Thither came the earl Moray with his banner well accompanied, and also the earl de la March and of Dunbar, and when they saw the Englishmen recule and their company assembled together, they renewed again the battle and gave many hard and sad strokes."

Harvard Classics, ed. C.W. Eliot, 1938.

The Popular Ballads:

"they were made for singin' and na' for readin'"
Composed and passed on orally through generations by the largely illiterate people of England and Scotland, the story of the battle was improvised by singers to popular tunes. The many individual versions gradually became composites. There was no single "correct" version. Few were printed before the 18the century.

The Battle of Otterburn

THE BATTLE OF OTTERURN
1. abowght the Lamasse tyde,
Whan husbondes wynnes ther haye,
The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd hym ryde,
In Ynglond to take a praye.

2. The yerlle of Fyffe, wythowghten stryffe,
He bowynd hym over Sulway;
The grete wolde ever to-gether ryde;
That raysse they may rewe for aye.

3. Over Hoppertope hyll they cam in,
And so down by Rodelyffe crage;
Vpon Grene Lynton they lyghted dowyn,
Styrande many a stage.

4. And boldely brente Northomberlond,
And haryed many a towyn;
They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange,
To batell that were not bowyn.

5. Than spake a berne vpon the bent,
Of comforte that was not colde,
And sayd, We haue brente Northombertlond,
We haue all welth in holde.

6. Now we have haryed all Bamborowe schyre,
All the welth in the worlde haue wee,
I rede we ryde to Newe Castell,
So styll and stalworthlye.

7. Vpon the morowe, when it was day,
The standerds schone full bryght;
To the Newe Castell the toke the waye,
And thether they cam full ryght.

8. Syr Henry Perssy laye at the New Castell,
I tell yow wythowtten drede;
He had byn a march-man all hys dayes,
And kepte Barwyke vpon Twede.

9. To the Newe Castell when they cans,
The Skottes they cryde on hyght.
'Syr Hary Perssy, and thou byste within,
Coin to the fylde, and fyght.

10. 'For we haue brente Northomberloude,
Thy erytage good and ryght,
And syne my logeyng I bane take
Wyth my brande dubbyd many a knyght.'

11. Syr Harry Perssy cam to the walles,
The Skottyssch oste for to se,
And sayd, And thou bast brente Northomberlond,
Full sore it rewyth me.

12. Yf thou bast haryed all Bamborowe schyre,
Thow bast done me grete envye;
For the trespasse thow hast me done,
The tone of vs schall dye.

13. 'Where schall I by de the ?' sayd the Dowglas,
'Or where wylte thow com to me?'
At Otterborne, in the hygh way,
[T]her mast thow well logeed be.

14. '[T]he roo full rekeles ther sche rinnes,
[T]o make the game a[nd] glee;
[T]he fawken and the fesaunt both,
Among the holtes on bye.

15. 'Ther mast thow have thy welth at wyll,
Well looged ther mast be;
Yt schall not be long or I com the tyll,'
Sayd Syr Harry Perssye.

16. 'Thor schall I byde the,' sayd the Dowglas,
'By the fayth of my bodye:'
Thether schall I coin,' sayd Sr Harry Perssy,
My trowth I plyght to the.'

17. A pype of wyne he gaue them over the walles,
For soth as I yew saye;
Ther he mayd the Dowglasse drynke,
And all hys ost that daye.