The Family Tree of John Richard McCoy:Information about David Spens
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David Spens (b. 1538, d. 23 Sep 1571)David Spens (son of John Spens and Mariota Anstruther) was born 1538 in Wormeston Fife Scotland, and died 23 Sep 1571 in Wormeston Fife Scotland.He married Margaret Learmonth on Abt. 1550 in Wormiston, Crail, Fife, Scotland, daughter of James Learmonth and Isobel Balfour.
Notes for David Spens:
The following information courtesy of :Twigs of Inman & Spence@ Dr Barbara Inman Beall, Phd.vol I, Fall 1999Lancaster-Wormiston PressPo Box 173Broomfield, CO 80038-0173Sir David Spens, Laird of Wormiston, was born ca. 1538, and he may have been the son of Sir John Spens of Wormiston, who actively recruited Scottish mercenaries for the Swedish government in 1525. Several accounts have been written about Sir David's character and personality. While for the most part he was jovial and well-liked--or as Anderson describes him, "One of the most able and upright characters of the period" (p. 494)-- he definitely had an angry side that emerged whenever he was provoked. An account of such an occurrence is provided by Sir James Balfour Paul in The Scots Peerage concerning Douglas, the Duke of Queensberry:In 1571, on 23 June, he [the Duke] was by the connivance of Lord Henries, carried off by the Laird of Wormiston (Spens), with whom he had a quarrel. Calderwood gives a graphic account of the matter, and the old Laird's message to his son, who nairly escaped capture also (Vol. III, p. 124).No one really knows why David Spens threw in his lot with the Marian faction, but he did. Scotland was divided in the late 1500s between supporters of Mary Queen of Scots (the Marians or the Queen's lords) and supporters of Mary's son James VI, later James I (the King's lords). The Spens family was divided on this issue--this would not be the only time they ever disagreed on an issue. Sir John Spens of Condie, while originally a Marian appointee, had sympathy for the reformers; David Spens of Wormiston, on the other hand, was strictly Marian.In her The Making of a King: A Biography of the Young Man Who Became James VI, Caroline Bingham describes the downfall of the Wormistons:In August 1571, when James was five, and had completed the first year of his education, he made his first public appearance. A Convention of Estates was held in Stirling, the strongest gathering which had yet mustered for the King; for recently Lennox had been joined by a number of the Queen's lords, Argyll, Cassillis, Eglinton and Boyd, and by Morton's nephew, the Earl of Angus. The King was brought to the Convention, 'being cled maist magnificentlie with rob royall", and with a makeshift crown, sceptre and sword borne before him, since the Honours of Scotland were in Edinburgh Castle. There was a throne for him, and he stood on the steps beside his grandfather Lennox and made a little speech which had been prepared for him, and which he had learnt by heart. 'My lords and other true subjects,' he said, 'we are convened here as I understand to do justice, and because my age will not suffer me to do my charge by myself, I have given my power to my goodsire (i.e. grandfather) as regent, and you, to do; and you will answer to God and to me hereafter.'...The Queen's party was, at the same time, holding a rival Convention in Edinburgh, each party somewhat ludicrously 'forfaulting' prominent members of the other. The Queen's lords decided to take advantage of the absence of Morton, who had left his base at Leith and gone up to Stirling, and of the fact that the King's lords were in a vulnerable group at Stirling, lodged about the town, where they were 'verie secure and negligent; for they had not so mutche as a sett watche in time of parlaiment'. The Queen's party, its enterprise planned by Grange, and perhaps inspired by Lethington, decided to attack by night and capture as many opponents as possible. Grange insisted that the prisoners, when taken, should be brought to Edinburgh Castle where they could be forced to come to such terms as the Queen's party should dictate. He was certain that negotiation backed by force would gain far more for the Queen's party than would a crop of murders; and, anxious that the chance should not be lost for the sake of slaughter, he resolved to lead the attack himself. However, 'All the lords...would in no wise grant that he should ride with them, alledging that their only comfort, under God, consisted in his preservation.' They assured him that they were all in agreement with him, and that he could be confident not only of the success of the enterprise, but also that his orders would be carried out as if he were there. The attack was led by the Earl of Huntly and Lord Claud Hamilton; accompanied by David Spence, Laird of Wormeston, who 'had been ordained by the laird of Grange' to make the Regent his prisoner and 'wait upon him, to save him from his particular enemies'; and by Buccleigh 'who loved the laird of Grange better than any of his own kindred', and on whom Grange felt he could also rely to see that his orders were respected. Fernihurst, whose sister Buccleugh had recently married as his second wife, was also with them; and some troubles of his provided the public pretext for so large a riding of armed men. It was given out that they were to go to Jedburgh to settle a dispute between Fernihurst and the town--as though that violent man would have needed the assistance of two great lords, besides his brother-in-law, several other border lords, and a host of warlike retainers, to settle his quarrel!They left Edinburgh just after sunset on 3rd September, and Grange watched them go with grave and justified misgivings. A large number of horses, brought to market in Edinburgh, had been seized for their use, and they set off towards Stirling with as many of their number mounted as possible; and enough horses for the rest were taken by force as they went along. They rode 'with a wonderful confidence' and evidently Grange's orders were quickly forgotten, 'for by the way all their discourse was whom they would kill, and whom they would save'.Having ridden all night they reached Stirling with the first grey light of morning, and the town was still in the silence of sleep, 'so quiet as not a dog was heard to open his mouth and bark'. They were admitted by a townsman 'at a little passage' and burst into the streets shouting 'God and the Queen!' "A Hamilton! A Hamilton!' "Remember the Archbishop!' The King's lords, roused by the war cries, the clash of weapons, and the clattering of horses' hooves, looked out of their lodgings to be met with demands to come down and 'render themselves'. Some of the lords, among them Glencairn and Eglinton, Cassillis and Ruthven, came out without resistance and gave themselves up. The poor old Regent, remembering the Archbishop and knowing all too well what would be in store for him at the hands of his particular enemies, demurred as long as he could. 'Loath was he to come forth, till Garleis and others [his servants] persuaded him, seeing there was no meane to resist.' So he came out and 'rendered himself to Wormeston upon promise to save his life'. This slight delay had endangered the position of the attackers in the town, for they might at any moment expect a sally from the castle. but the King's party was probably saved by the Earl of Morton, who caused a much longer delay by defending his lodging, although it was set on fire, until 'two of his men were slain and the lodging filled with smoke'. At last the flames forced him to come out, and he gave himself up to Buccleugh. By this time the attacking party was in some disorder; 'unruly servants' were looting the merchants' booths, leaving their masters to lead the King's lords captive 'down the steep causey of Stirling on foot'. Lord Claud Hamilton, in defiance of Grange, had ordered all who had 'noblemen prisoners' to kill them as soon as they were out of the town; Buccleugh, however, was determined to defend his prisoner, and so was Wormeston, who had the Regent up behind him on the same horse. Then came the dreaded salley from the castle, and the whole party was thrown into confusion. The Earl of Mar came out of the castle with a handful of harque-busiers and 'pressed through to his lodging beside the market place (it was in building, and not yet finished), and shot out of the lodging...' Then 'other gentlemen that were in the town, came forth into the streets', joined by some of the townsmen, and set upon the attackers, who then realized that all was lost. "Yea, they were so afraitt that they took the flight, and going out at the port trod upon others for throng...These who were before pursuers, abandoning all care of their captives, provided the best way they might for their own safety." Buccleugh rendered himself to Morton, who laconically said "As ye savit me, so shall I save you'. Wormeston, however, had brought the Regent outside the gates, and, at the orders of Lord Claud Hamilton, a man named Captain Calder rose up behind them and shot the Regent in the back, mortally wounding him. Wormeston was 'shott through also' with the same bullet. The attackers then fled as best they could, leaving the two wounded men, still on one horse, in the hands of the Regent's rescuers, who had arrived too late. Wormeston was dragged off the horse and hacked to pieces, while the dying Regent 'cryed continually to save [spare] him, who had done what he could for his preservation' (pp. 57-60).The raid on Stirling began September 3, 1571 with a band of four hundred riders who set out from Edinburgh. The attack was launched early in the morning of September 4, 1571, and on that morning, David Spence died. Watson believes that David's support of the Marian faction was no instant decision on David's part, for "his brother Henry had been arraigned for treason as early as 1567, which suggests that the Spenses were committed to the Queen's party" (p. 151). Watson continues: "Yet we know that Spens was "Greavit" by the murder of the prisoner whose immunity from harm he had personally guaranteed. evidently he differed from many of his fellow-conspirators in that he harboured no personal grudge against the Regent" (p. 151).After the death of David Spens, problems "came in bundles" for his wife and the rest of his family. According to Watson, on October 28, 1571 "David Spens's land of Wormiston and Mairstoun, his tenements in Cupar and Kirk Wynd, Crail, and his office of Constable of Crail were formally awarded to Patrick, 6th Lord Lindsay of the Bryes--Queen Mary's jailer and one of the less attractive adherents of the winning side" (p.151).His widow Margaret Learmonth could waste no time in mourning. As Watson notes, "...it is therefore no surprise to find her remarried, hard onher husband's death, to his near neighbour and kinsman, Sir James Anstruther" (p. 151). Watson continues:Her choice was an astute one, for two reasons: firstly, because of the ties of kinship--from an early date, the fortunes of the Spens and Anstruther families had been intertwined--; and secondly, because Sir James appears to have been highly regarded in court circles; years later he would be appointed Hereditary Grand Carver and Master to the Household. Only eight years after the Stirling raid, perhaps because of the Anstruther guarantee of respectability, the stain on the name of Spens was obliterated by royal decree and James Spens [eldest son of David Spens] was finally permitted to inherit his father's title (p. 151).All of the children of David Spens and Margaret Learmonth are not known, and a dispute exists concerning the date of birth of the oldest son James. While the Watson article gives his date of birth as 1571, just prior to the Stirling raid, a descendant of Sir James Spens, Rear Admiral Vernon Donaldson gives the probable date of birth for James Spens as 1551 because of "a charter granted him by his father David in 1569" (p. 149). Rear Admiral Donaldson concludes that in order to have been granted a charter, James would have had to have reached his eighteen birthday and/or have married Agnes Durie.Two additional children of David Spens and Margaret Learmonth are known: a daughter Lucretia who married Patrick Forbes, Archbishop of Aberdeen, and David Spens. I believe that David Spence, son of David Spence of Wormiston and Margaret Learmonth, was the father of John Spens of Dysart and grandfather of David Spence of Somerset County, Maryland. Notes for Margaret (Spouse 1) The following information courtesy of :Twigs of Inman & Spence@ Dr Barbara Inman Beall, Phd.vol I, Fall 1999Lancaster-Wormiston PressPo Box 173Broomfield, CO 80038-0173On his mother's side, David Spens was descended from the Learmonths of Dairsie Castle, three miles to the north-east of Cupar.In 1537 James Learmonth of Dairsie had bought the lands of Balcomie, which previously he had only rented, from King James V, and had set about building himself a new mansion there. Balcomie lies a mere mile to the east of Wormiston, near Fifeness--the eastermost point of the county--and it was here, on a June evening in 1538, that Mary of Guise was welcomed ashore by the new laird of Balcomie before making her way to St. Andrews and her waiting bridegroom. The Learmonths were an energetic family who had made the city of St. Andrews almost into a personal fief, monopolising as they did the office of provost. In 1549 Patrick Learmonth of Dairsie bought the Isle of May from the prior of the monastery of Pittenweem, no doubt with a view to speculative development of its meagre resources, and another Learmonth who eventually made his way to Russia via Poland is traditionally regarded as the ancestor of the poet and novelist Mikhail Lermontov. An armorial panel on the gatehouse of Balcomie Castle bears the names and heraldic devices of Learmonth and Myrtone, for in 1602 John Learmonth of Balcomie was to marry Elizabeth, daughter of David Myrtone of Randerston. His sister Helen was already married to John, brother of William Myrtone of Cambo...Margaret Learmonth was probably of the Dairsie rather than the Balcomie branch of the family, but visiting her Balcomie relatives would have brought her into at least occasional contact with the neighbouring Spenses, and the eventual match was perhaps a foregone conclusion (pp. 149-150).
More About David Spens:
Record Change: 07 Jan 2007
More About David Spens and Margaret Learmonth:
Marriage: Abt. 1550, Wormiston, Crail, Fife, Scotland.
Children of David Spens and Margaret Learmonth are:
- +David Spens, b. 17 Sep 1571, Wormeston Crail, Fife, Scotland, d. date unknown, Dysart, Fifeshire, Scotland.