See also

Margaret PERCY ( -1540)

1. Margaret PERCY, daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland ( - ), married Henry de CLIFFORD in 1513. She died in 1540.


Henry de CLIFFORD and Margaret PERCY had the following children:


Henry CLIFFORD (1517-1570). Henry was born in 1517. He had the title '12th Lord Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland'. He married Eleanor BRANDON in June 1535. He married Anne DACRE in 1554. He died on 8 January 1570.

Second Generation

2. Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, son of Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland and Maud HERBERT, appeared in the census. He celebrated his Bar Mitzvah.


Henry Algernon Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland (1478-1527), magnate, sometimes known as the Magnificent, was born on 14th January 1478, the eldest son of Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland (c.1449-1489) and Maud ( or before 1485), daughter of William Herbert, first earl of Pembroke. Alan Percy, who became master of St. John's College, Cambridge, was his younger brother. Northumberland succeeded his father aged eleven when the latter was murdered at Cocklodge, near Thirsk, on 28th April, 1489. The young earl was made a knight of the Bath on 21st November 1489 and a knight of the Garter in 1495. He received livery of his estates in 1498.

Following the overthrown of Richard III, the fourth earl had raised the standing of his family to new heights, essentially through the holding of crown offices. Despite the views of some historians, there is no reason to believe that the fourth earl's death was either contrived by or welcome to Henry VII. The challenge for the fifth earl was to restore this standing after a decade's atrophy. The vacuum in northern government left by his father's death had been filled by a council under the earl of Surrey, acting as lieutenant first to Prince Arthur and then, after 1494, to Prince Henry. But whereas it might have been decided to wind up the northern council on the fifth earl's attaining his majority, the decision was taken to keep it in existence under Thomas Savage, archbishop of York, again as lieutenant to Prince Henry. The earl's frustration at his inability to recover his father's position was acknowledged in loose talk by some of his servants reported in 1509: "that if their lord had not room in the North as his father had, it should not be long well (LP Henry VIII, 1/1, no.157).

His efforts to re-create a regional hegemony brought Northumberland into a series of conflicts with Savage and others, especially over Beverley, in his father's day a Percy town. The earl was indicted by Savage for retaining in 1502 and 1504. Then on 23 May 1504, as earl and archbishop were both leaving York with their retinues at about the same time, their parties became entangled at Fulford, south of the cirty, and a fracas took place in which Northumberland was assaulted. Depositions taken afterwards reveal the antipathy between the two men, and also show the deep hostility between their respective households. Both men were forced to enter bonds with the council in November for their future good conduct. It may be suggested that this unexpected confliect ruined the reputation of both men. Northumberland continued on a career of minor brigandage and was the subject of complaints laid before the council in Star Chamber. In 1505 he was fined ?0,000 - ?,000 on a recognizance at the king's pleasure and ?,000 to be paid at 1000 marks per annum - for abducting Elizabeth Hastings, the duaghter and heir of Sir John Hastings of Fenwick in Yorkshire; her subsequent death in the earl's custody deprived the crown of her wardship. Northumberland assigned manors to feoffees for the payment of this fine. Edmund Dudley, when clearing his conscience after being arrested in 1509, recalled that the king had intended to demand only ?,000, although Dudley thought that even this was excessive for the offence. In fact, ?,000 had been paid by the time of the king's death: the outstanding balance was forgiven in 1510. The earl's servants were accused of violence against Sir John Hotham in 1506, and in 1516 he was himself imprisoned in the Fleet for contempt of the council's jurisdiction in private suits, although his exact offence is unrecorded.

Not only did neither Henry VII nor Henry VIII show any inclination to concede ground to the earl in Yorkshire, they also went out of their way to deny him the border offices which an earl of Northumberland might expect to exercise and was best equipped to fulfil. When the earl was made warden-general of the Marches in June 1503, it was merely a ceremonial post to escort Margaret Tudor into Scotland. Thereafter he never held office on the borders, the middle and east marches falling under the control of Thomas, second Baron Dacre, from 1511 onwards. This was not for any lack of military capability on Northumberland's part. In 1497 he served in the royal army against the Cornish rebels and fought at Blackheath. He led his gentry and their tenants from Northumberland, Cumberland and Yorkshire to France in 1513. In 1523 he served on the Scottish borders. By 1522 Dacre was urging that Northumberland's eldest son, Henry, be appointed warden in his place, a choice which perhaps recognized that the fifth earl was still unacceptable to Henry VIII. Hall, however, is the sole authority for the statement that Northumberland was offered and accepted the wardenship in the autumn of 1522, but that he subsequently lobbied the council to be discharged, resigning probably early in 1523 in favour of Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey. This cannot be verified, and some have thought it unlikely.

Perhaps because Northumberland lacked opportunites for military service, most of his public appearances were ceremonial in character. Thus he escorted Queen Margaret of Scotland from Yokr to the border in 1517 (and subsequently complained of the cost). He was among those who attended the king at the Field of Cloth of Gold and was present when Henry met Charles V in 1522. In 1525 he assisted at the ceremony at which Henry Fitzroy was created Duke of Richmond. Northumberland died at Wressle on 19th May 1527 and was buried in Beverley Minster, with little ceremony, probably on 6 June.

Even if, as Hall says, Northumberland's rapid surrender of the wardenship in 1522/3 led to his not being "regarded of his own tenants which disdained him and his blood and much lamented his folly, and all men esteemed him without heart or love of honour and chivalry" (Hall, 652), he still controlled a considerable force. In the 1530's the Percy estates in Northumberland could raise 1,967 men under the command of the constable of Alnwick, the Yorkshire lands 2,280 horse and 3,953 foot, and the Cumberland estates 1,030 horse and 2,011 foot. It seems unliely that a force on such a scale was ever deployed, however: for the earl's retinue drawn from Yorkshire, when it mustered at Newcastle in 1523, totalled 762 men, of whom 170 were drawn from stewardships under his control and not his estate.

As for his wealth, it is clear that the fifth earl of Northumberland was among the richest peers of his generation. Although he was assessed for the subsidy at ?,920 in 1523, it has been suggested that his rental income would have been about ?,700, and his clear income after the deduction of fees and other expenses about ?,600. There is little compelling evidence that the earl was significantly in debt at the time of his death. While he may be thought to have deserved it, the sobriquet of the Magnificent which is sometimes applied to him dates only from the beginning of the nineteenth century, and probably aries from the impression created by the publication of his household book in 1770. This describes an opulent and well-organized household, which in 1511-12 was financed out of an assignment of ?33 6s.8d; slightly later it was in receipt of ?,000 yearly. In fact the long familiar household book is only the first of a pair - a second, a volume of chapel and other regulationss, was purchased by the Bodleian library in 1962 (now MS Eng.hist.b.208). The books shed a little light on the earl's intellectual tastes, providing, for instance, that his almoner should be a "a maker of Interludys" (James, 83). Northumberland is also said to have endowed a teacher of grammar and philosophy at Alnwick Abbey, and, in a letter to his son-in-law the first earl of Cumberland, he justified the appointment of a chantry priest to keep a grammar school at Cockermouth as a "marvelous good and meritorious deed" (Hoyle, "Letters of the Cliffords", 94-5). The earl's secretary, William Peeris, wrote a verse chronicle of the family, which he presented to his master as a new year's gift. Leland described an impressive library at Wressle which has almost totally disappeared.

Northumberland may best be seen as a transitional figure. As a young man he attempted to dominate through the violent exercise of his power. Loose talk by his household servants revealed the scale of his ambitions. His imprisonment in 1516 - for whatever reason - shows that he had not lost his capacity to challenge royal authority in the pursuit of his private objectives. Hence he was among those nobles - the Duke of Buckingham being another - whom in a famously paranoid letter of 1519 or 1520 the king instructed Wolsey to keep watch over. Wolsey himself reassured Northumberland that he was not suspected of collusion with Buckingham after the latter's execution. This did not prevent the cardinal from interfering when the earl's son became emotionally involved with Anne Boleyn some time in the early 1520's. In any case royal suspicion of Northumberland, and the latter's tactless disregard for royal authority, seem to have led him to be excluded from office. Fears of the earl's latent power continued even after his death: Wolsey's interference in the arrangements for the earl's funeral have been read as an example of the cardinal's belief in the incompetence of the sixth earl, but it testifies equally to a determination that the funeral should be a low-key affair and not a demonstration of pro-Percy sentiment.

One of the few manuscripts known to survive from Northumberland's library contains an emblematic drawing of a Tudor rose representing the sun in which is framed a figure (probably the young Henry VIII). From this sun there fall drops of liquid onto an eye (itself weeping) contained within a crescent moon (a Percy badge). Under this lie verses, the first of which is "I receyve noo lighte but of thy beames bright" (Dickens, 42): the Percy moon reflected only the rays of the Tudor sun and no longer emitted any light of its own. The proverbs painted in the high chamber at Leconfield also point to an essential pessimism about life and its stability: no hope should be placed in the world, riches, or honour, for all are uncertain or transitory: instead, hope should only be placed in God. "Trust hym he is moste trewe" and "is above fortunes fall" (James, 89-90). The weight of his family's history, the circumstances of his father's death, and his own failure to satisfy the expectations placed on him by others may have made Northumberland a melancholic in adverse times. It remains to be resolved why, having been brought up at court, he never established a relationship of trust with Henry VIII. Here it may be suggested that, as a young man, he strove too hard to recapture the authority which had been his father's but which the elder Tudor had determined to keep for himself. Recourse to violence destroyed the possibility of trust. Northumberland's response was to eschew royal office except for the ceremonial which he was required to dignify as a noble: in this there is a clear parallel with the duke of Buckingham, another senior noble who found no role in the inner circle of government.

Before 1502 Northumberland married Katherine, daughter of Sir Robert Spencer of Spencercombe in Devon. She survived her husband, dying in 1542. They had three sons: Henry Percy, sixth earl of Northumberland (c.1502-1537), Sir Thomas, executed 1537, and Sir Ingelram of Ingram (d. 1538); and two daughters, Margaret (d. c.1540), who married Henry, Baron Clifford, created earl of Cumberland in 1525, and Maud, who is alleged to have married William, first Baron Conyers (although she does not appear in the Conyers pedigrees).

RW Hoyle.


Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland had the following children:



Margaret PERCY ( -1540)

Third Generation

3. Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland was born circa 1449. He died in 1489. He married Maud HERBERT.


His father was first cousin to (among others) Edward IV of England, Margaret of York, George, Duke of Clarence and Richard III of England. Percy himself was second cousin to (among others) Elizabeth of York, Edward V of England, Richard, Duke of York, Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Edward, Earl of Warwick and Edward of Middleham. Both Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel were his alleged second cousins. Percy was however the only one of the Percy family to appear to take the side of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses.

His father was loyal to the House of Lancaster. He was killed in the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461. The earldom of Northumberland was forfeited by the victorious Yorkists. The adolescent Percy was imprisoned in the Fleet Prison. He was transported to the Tower of London in 1464.

In 1465, John Neville was named Earl of Northumberland in his place. Percy eventually swore fealty to Edward IV and was released in 1469. He petitioned for the return of his paternal titles and estates to him. He gained support by Edward IV himself. John Neville had to quit his title and was instead named Marquess of Montagu in 1470. However the restoration of the title to Percy was delayed by the Parliament of England until 1473.

For the following twelve years, Percy held many of the important government posts in Northern England which were traditional in his family. He commanded the Yorkist reserve at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. Percy never committed his forces to the battle. His inactivity played an important part in the defeat and death of Richard III. Historians suspect him of treason in favour of victor Henry VII of England, although there is an alternative theory that his forces, placed behind those of King Richard, were in no position to take part in the battle before Richard was killed.

If the first theory is true, then Henry himself was either unaware or not appreciative of his treasonous intentions. Percy was arrested along with Ralph Neville, 3rd Earl of Westmorland and Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. He was imprisoned for several months but swore allegiance to the new King. Henry VII released him on terms of good behaviour. Percy was allowed to retain his titles and lands as well as returning to his old posts.

In April 1489, Percy held temporary residence in his estates of Yorkshire. Henry VII had recently allied himself to Anne of Brittany against Charles VIII of France. Taxes rose to finance the military action. Sir John Egremont of Yorkshire led a riot in protestation of the high taxation. Percy was targeted by the rioters and killed on 28 April. He was buried at Beverley Minster.

Yorkshire was formerly a stronghold of support of Richard III. Percy may have been killed in vengeance for Richard.

Percy held many of the important government posts in Northern England which were traditional in his family. He commanded the Yorkist reserve at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. Percy never committed his forces to the battle. His inactivity played an important part in the defeat and death of Richard III. Historians suspect him of treason in favour of victor Henry VII of England, although there is an alternative theory that his forces, placed behind those of King Richard, were in no position to take part in the battle before Richard was killed.


4. Maud HERBERT, daughter of William Herbert, first Earl of Pembroke (2) and Anne PARR, died before 1486. She and Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland had the following children:



Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland ( - )