|The Earl of Northumberland|
Medallion of Henry Percy
|Died||29 June 1537|
|Spouse(s)||Lady Mary Talbot|
|Father||Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland|
Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, KG (c. 1502 – 1537) was an English nobleman, active as a military officer in the north.He is now primarily remembered as the betrothed of Anne Boleyn, whom he was forced to give up before she became involved with and later married King Henry VIII.
Henry Percy was born about 1502,the eldest son of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, by Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Spencer. Through his mother he was a first cousin of William Carey, who was the brother-in-law to Anne Boleyn.
When quite young, Henry was sent to serve as a page in Thomas Wolsey's household. It was a way for young aristocrats to learn about their societies.He was knighted in 1519. The principal source for the early passages of Percy's life is the biography of Wolsey by George Cavendish.
Though his father had planned by 1516 to betroth Percy to Mary Talbot, the daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, he fell in love with Anne Boleyn, then a young lady about the court. Percy became betrothed to Anne, probably in the spring of 1523 when he was still page to Wolsey. On hearing the news, Wolsey scolded Lord Percy before his household, as permission for the marriage had not been sought from his father nor from the King. The latter had an interest due to the importance of the Northumberland earldom. While Cavendish claimed that the King already had a personal interest in Anne at this point, driving Wolsey's angry reaction, this has been debated.The intrigue was soon discovered, and the Earl of Northumberland sent for young Lord Percy.
Besides the proposed Talbot match, another serious obstacle was that Anne was intended to wed James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond (who was then a page in Wolsey's household). This match was intended to manage and resolve a dispute over the earldom of Ormond involving Sir Thomas Boleyn, her father,who had a somewhat feeble claim on the vast Ormond estates in Munster through his grandfather.
Another significant reason for Percy's father's refusal to permit the match was that he believed Anne Boleyn, a mere knight's daughter, not a high enough rank for his son and heir.
Percy's father reportedly scolded him, saying "thou hast always been a proud, presumptuous, and unthrift waster," and he was quickly and unhappily married to Lady Mary Talbot, daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, by early 1524or in 1525, with earlier legal stages. Starkey dates it at August 1525 or August 1526. The old earl allowed the couple little in the way of comforts or income. Wolsey attempted to insinuate his own servants into the household as a means of controlling the young Henry.
By 1528, only four years into their marriage, the couple's relationship had broken down irretrievably. Northumberland suspected his wife of spying on him for Norfolk, while her father worried that the young husband was abusing her and might even poison her. Northumberland was outraged at Shrewsbury's suspicions and refused to permit his father-in-law's servants to see or speak to his wife. When the countess's brother-in-law, William, Lord Dacre, asked the Duke of Norfolk to defend her, Northumberland told Norfolk that he, Northumberland, would never see her again as long as he lived. The couple may have separated shortly thereafter, at least temporarily, since Mary delivered a stillborn child at her father's home in April 1529. In 1532, Mary accused her husband of a precontract (i.e. betrothal with legal force) with Anne Boleyn. She confided her alleged grievance to her father, who then mentioned the matter to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Anne Boleyn, consulted, ordered an inquiry. Northumberland denied the accusation on oath.
In 1536 Shrewsbury noted his daughter had been living with him for two and half years. At about the same time, Northumberland announced that he was bequeathing his entire inheritance to the King since he had no children, and he and his wife were not likely to have a legitimate heir. He was by then also estranged from his brothers, and did not want them to inherit his property.Mary Talbot hated Henry heartily for the rest of his short life, and later sought a divorce.
In July 1522 Northumberland was made a member of the Council of the North; in October he was made deputy warden of the East Marches. His brother-in-law William Dacre suggested that, young as Northumberland was, he should be made warden the same year.
On 19 May 1527 he succeeded his father as sixth Earl of Northumberland; he was made steward of the honour of Holderness on 18 June. On 2 December he became Lord Warden of the East and West Marches.
Northumberland was constantly ill with an ague–a feverish, shivery illness, probably malaria–and was burdened with debt, and yet had to keep up an establishment and engage in fighting on his own account. Cardinal Wolsey treated him in a patronising manner. He was not often allowed to go to court, nor even to his father's funeral. His chief friend was Sir Thomas Arundell.
In spite of all this, Northumberland was very active on the borders. He had leave in 1528 to come to London; in 1530, while he was at Topcliffe, he received a message from the king ordering him to go to Cawood and arrest Wolsey. He sent his prisoner south in the custody of Sir Roger Lascelles, while he remained to make an inventory of the Cardinal's goods. He was one of the peers who signed the letter to the Pope in July 1530 asking that the divorce might be hurried on, was a friend of Sir Thomas Legh, and possibly was a reformer. On 23 April 1531 he was created Knight of the Garter. On 11 May 1532 he was made High Sheriff of Northumberland for life and on 26 April, a privy councillor.
Northumberland took part in the trial of Lord Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre, who at first pleaded ‘not guilty.’ to charges of treason. Dacre, however, was ‘over persuaded.’ He changed his plea to guilty. He must have hoped for, or expected, leniency. The judges and Dacre then tried to get the king’s mercy. It wasn’t forthcoming. Dacre was executed at Tyburn by hanging, having been given false hope when a stay of execution arrived in the morning. Three other of Dacre’s party were also executed.
Northumberland was accused of slackness on the borders, and also of having a sword of state carried before him when he went as justiciary to York. If illness was in part responsible, Eustace Chapuys also ranked him, on information which he had from his doctor, among the disaffected early in 1535.
In May 1536 Northumberland, by now a man in broken health, formed one of the jury for the trial of Anne Boleyn. Anne is said to have confessed a precontract with him in the hope of saving her life.He collapsed following the verdict and had to be carried out.
Having no children, Northumberland began to arrange his affairs. In February 1535 he wrote to Thomas Cromwell that he had decided to make the king his heir, a decision he confirmed later. In 1536 he was created Lord President of the Council of the North, and vicegerent of the Order of the Garter.
In September 1536 he had a grant of £1,000 to come to London to make arrangements about his lands. The matter was incomplete when the Pilgrimage of Grace began. Northumberland's brothers and mother were open sympathisers with the rebels, but the Earl himself remained loyal to the Crown. The rebel leader Robert Aske and his men came to Wressle Castle, where Percy was ill in bed, and asked him to resign his commands of the marches into the hands of his brothers, or at least go over to the rebels. He refused both requests; and when the lawyer William Stapleton went up to see him, he was in despair. Aske sent him to York, to protect him from his followers, who wanted to behead him.
Northumberland made a grant to the king of his estates,on condition that they pass to his nephew. When, however, his brother, Sir Thomas, was attainted and executed, Northumberland made the grant unconditional in June 1537. By this time his mind was fast failing. He moved to Newington Green, where Richard Layton visited him on 29 June 1537. Layton found him yellow and distended.
Northumberland died on 29 June 1537, and was buried in St Augustin's Church, now the site of St John at Hackney parish church.A (presumed Victorian era) memorial plaque was discovered during the 2020 refurbishment of St John at Hackney, and was re-installed inside the church.
He married, in 1524, Mary Talbot, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, but left surviving no issue. They did have one known child, stillborn on April 1529 at the home of the earl of Shrewsbury, where Mary had gone to escape her husband.The earldom fell into abeyance on his death, but was revived in favour of his nephew Thomas. His widow lived until 1572. He left an out-of-wedlock daughter, Isabel, who, in 1544, married Henry Tempest of Broughton.
Northumberland's two brothers, Sir Thomas and Sir Ingelram Percy, took an active part in the management of his estates. They were both leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Both were arrested. Sir Thomas was attainted and executed in 1537. His sons succeeded to the earldom: Thomas as seventh earl and Henry as eighth earl. Sir Ingelram Percy was confined in the Beauchamp Tower, where his name is to be seen cut in the stone. He was soon liberated, went abroad into exile, and died about 1540.
Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Their marriage, and her execution for treason and other charges by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that marked the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Anne of the Thousand Days is a 1969 British period drama film based on the life of Anne Boleyn, directed by Charles Jarrott and produced by Hal B. Wallis. The screenplay by Bridget Boland and John Hale is an adaptation of the 1948 play of the same name by Maxwell Anderson.
Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, 1st Earl of Ormond, 1st Viscount RochfordKGKB, of Hever Castle in Kent, was an English diplomat and politician who was the father of Queen Anne Boleyn, from 1533 the second wife of King Henry VIII, and was thus the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. By Henry VIII he was made a Knight of the Garter in 1523 and was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford in 1525 and in 1529 was further enobled as Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond.
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, was a prominent English politician and nobleman of the Tudor era. He was an uncle of two of the wives of King Henry VIII, namely Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both of whom were beheaded, and played a major role in the machinations affecting these royal marriages. After falling from favour in 1546, he was stripped of his Dukedom and imprisoned in the Tower of London, avoiding execution when Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.
George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford was an English courtier and nobleman who played a prominent role in the politics of the early 1530s, and was the brother of Queen Anne Boleyn, from 1533 the second wife of King Henry VIII and thus the maternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth I. Following his father's promotion in the peerage in 1529 to Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, he adopted his father's junior title Viscount Rochford as a courtesy title. He was accused of incest with his sister Anne during the period of her trial for high treason, as a result of which both were executed.
The title of Earl of Northumberland has been created several times in the Peerage of England and of Great Britain, succeeding the title Earl of Northumbria. Its most famous holders are the House of Percy, who were the most powerful noble family in Northern England for much of the Middle Ages. The heirs of the Percys, via a female line, were ultimately made Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and continue to hold the earldom as a subsidiary title.
Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon KG, was an English nobleman and courtier. He was the patron of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, William Shakespeare's playing company. The son of Mary Boleyn, he was a cousin of Elizabeth I.
Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, 1st Baron Percy, KG, led the Rising of the North and was executed for treason. He was later beatified by the Catholic Church.
Sir George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, 6th Earl of Waterford, 12th Baron Talbot, KG, Earl Marshal was an English magnate and military commander. He also held the subsidiary titles of 15th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 11th Baron Furnivall. He was best known for his tenure as keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots between 1568 – 1585, his marriage to his second wife Elizabeth Talbot, as well as his surviving collection of written work.
Sir George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, 4th Earl of Waterford, 10th Baron Talbot, KG, KB, PC was the son of John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury, and Lady Catherine Stafford, daughter of the 1st Duke of Buckingham. He also held the subsidiary titles of 13th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 9th Baron Furnivall.
Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, KG was an English nobleman and a member of the courts of both Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII.
Henry Norris was an English courtier who was Groom of the Stool in the privy chamber of King Henry VIII. While a close servant of the King, he also supported the faction in court led by Queen Anne Boleyn, and when Anne fell out of favour, he was among those accused of treason and adultery with her. He was found guilty and executed, together with the Queen's brother, George Boleyn, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton. Most historical authorities argue that the accusations were untrue and part of a plot to get rid of Anne.
Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter, 2nd Earl of Devon, KG, PC, feudal baron of Okehampton, feudal baron of Plympton, of Tiverton Castle, Okehampton Castle and Colcombe Castle all in Devon, was a grandson of King Edward IV, nephew of the queen consort, Elizabeth of York and a first cousin of King Henry VIII. Henry Courtenay was a close friend of Henry VIII's, having "been brought up of a child with his grace in his chamber."
James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond and 2nd Earl of Ossory, known as the Lame, was in 1541 confirmed as Earl of Ormond thereby ending the dispute over the Ormond earldom between his father, Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, and Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire. He died from poison in London.
Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland KG was a member of the Clifford family which was seated at Skipton Castle, Yorkshire from 1310 to 1676.
Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland was a member of the Clifford family, seated at Skipton Castle from 1310 to 1676. His wife was Lady Eleanor Brandon, a niece of King Henry VIII.
Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, KG was the son of Humphrey Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre of Gilsland and Mabel Parr, great-aunt of queen consort Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England. His mother was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal by his wife, Alice Tunstall.
Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of WestmorlandKG, was an English peer and soldier. He was the grandson of Ralph Neville, 3rd Earl of Westmorland, and the father of Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland.
Elizabeth, Lady Boleyn was a lady-in-waiting at the court of Henry VIII of England. Through her marriage to Sir James Boleyn, she was the aunt of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. The two were not close, and Elizabeth Boleyn acted as her niece's gaoler when Queen Anne was arrested on charges of adultery, incest and conspiracy to kill the King.
Mary Percy, Countess of Northumberland was a courtier and noblewoman during the reign of Henry VIII of England. She was the daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury. Her husband, Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, had wished to marry Anne Boleyn instead of her.
|Peerage of England|
| Earl of Northumberland |